Friday, May 29, 2009

STILL LOVING YOUTH (SLY) | Profile | Feb, 2009 | Special Interview by El Williams

1. What moves you emotionally in what you are doing at the moment (music and writes)?

Heart aches, mind inquiries, and our innate quest to know our true selves.

2. What excites you intellectually?

Almost everything related to the origins of life. In the past ten years, I’ve grown interest in alternative history of our world and universe, and that includes the mystery of the first human, sacred sites that spread out throughout the globe, extra-terrestrials, pyschedelics, etc. I start to question the collective knowledge and start my own investigation, and study the works of modern explorers who question the same thing (Graham Hancock, Zeccharia Sitchin, Terrence McKenna, Amit Goswami, Gregg Braden, etc).

3. What inspires you as beautiful?

Nature. Almost everything about it IS beautiful. I like watching the sky—clouds, sunset, moon, and the stars. I like watching the trees—leaves, birds, entwined branches. I like watching the rain—reflections on the puddles, raindrops. I just love observing nature. It’s so simple and yet one can find profound revelations just by reflecting upon Nature. Nature is our mirror. Animals are beautiful, too. People, in their utmost acceptance of themselves, are also beautiful – like babies and children, or adults who have deep connections with themselves.

4. What reminds you of sadness?

The capability and capacity of humans to destroy other beings and also one another.

5. What are you able to do now that you have never been able to do before?

Living in Jakarta. Just a year ago, it’s something that occurs to me as an impossibility. Yet, here I am [grin].

6. If it seems you are getting paid at last for what you used to have to do alone at night at your own expense, is what you are doing now really what you were doing then? How is it different? Are you being paid, rewarded, supported for being yourself, or for not being yourself in some fairly subtle way?

You mean writing and daydreaming? :)
Yeah, I think I’m very lucky to have my hobbies as my professions. I basically do what I love to do and getting paid for it. The difference now is people’s expectations on me; because once your creativity is out in the open and people know about your work, they start to expect things. They expect you not to stop, they expect you to stay the same. So, staying true to yourself and be willing to accept your own natural flow—even though it means you have to occasionally stop, to change, to evolve against people’s expectation—is the biggest challenge of all artists. It’s an art of itself.


7. Will any kind of art continue to be fields of professional specialization in the future in this society if new tools permit easy generation of material without extensive (time-consuming and often expensive) training and physical coordination skills?

I think we will always need art, no matter how modern and sophisticated the technology will be. Of course, the formats may change, the hardwares may change, but it’s just the outer layer. Deep down inside, we all need art, we’re all artists. Artistry is the main gateway to express our divinity. We can never defy that. We’ll just have to dance with the changes, I guess.

8. How does the awareness of your audience (market) influence the work you are creating? Is it easier to rely on external considerations such as audience, market, or "fashion" to structure your creative output, or to let inner directions and interests structure your work?

I think there’s always constant pull between the two—the outer direction and inner direction—and the artist stands in the middle of the pull. The first step is just to accept that dynamic. Knowing there’s always a pull and a constant dynamic between ourselves and others. It helps us to be realistic and not so stressful about fashion, trends, idealism, etc. But to be in a total ignorance of what’s going on out there is not only dangerous, but also impossible. So, when I create things, I occasionally put myself in the audience seat as well, try to imagine or empathize with their response, reactions, etc. And because I’ve had the experience of being the producers of my own works, I also have the privilege of viewing things from the business side as well—how the market will respond, how to design the most optimal marketing plan, etc. And sometimes those perspectives collide with one another. We cannot avoid that from happening. It’s just how things are. So, being relaxed about it is a profound gift an artist can give to him/herself.
One parameter that I always use is: just write books that you like to read, just make records that you like to buy. Don’t worry so much about the rest. For me that parameter serves as the middle path; you’re being true to yourself and yet at the same time it enables you to include others by positioning yourself as a mere consumer. Put it this way: worse come to worst, at least you have yourself to buy your own stuff :)

9. How is your work different from the work of those who are doing things most similar to what you do? How do you want to be different or want to be the same?

Lately I learned something about myself. They say, imitation is the greatest flattery. But I really hate copycats. Nothing gets more into my nerves than having someone ‘copying’ me. As long as I remember, I’ve always struggled to be different. But actually it’s a thin line between imitating and being influenced. I have many influences myself. I even think our minds and our creativities are actually patches of many other people’s works before us. Yet we cannot be identically the same with others, no matter how much we want and try to imitate them. That’s life. Nothing is identical. So, I begin to realize that effortlessly I’m always different. And so are other people. The degree of differences may vary, though. And perhaps this is what we coin as ‘originality’: when someone or something felt very different from the mass. But when we understand that everything IS naturally different, nothing is truly original anyway. And we can be more relaxed about this whole fuss of being different.

10. How can objectivity and subjectivity be maintained in balance during the creative process, so that neither overshadows the other?

I don’t believe in objectivity. I don’t think such thing exists. Everything in life is subjective, even science has proven to some degree that our reality IS a subjective reality, which means nothing stands on its own, reality is our subjective creation. So I don’t bother about being objective, especially in my creative process. I think subjectivity is what makes it interesting in the first place. Subjectivity is the ultimate, if not only, distinctive factor that makes our work different from others.

11. In what ways do you value the final results you complete and for how long? How do you value the process of doing, creating?

For some, a creative process can be seen like ‘giving birth’. Some may see it as ‘baking’. But it’s all similar feeling deep down. The way I experience it, I feel myself more like a medium for something that wants to reach out, to touch and to speak to the world. That something is larger than my conscious self. Some may call it divinity, some may call it the creative realm. Whatever that is, a creative process always feels sacred. I think to have that experience is the ultimate privilege of being human.
A ‘waiting’ period is also what’s essential in my work. I call the process “fermentation”. When I’m done writing my manuscript or song, I will let them be for a while, let them “ferment”. There’s no fixed time, with a song it can be a few days or a week, with a book it can be a month or two. This waiting period allows me to get back to my work with a fresh perspective. During the making I naturally tend to be microscopic, but after giving it some time, I can look back at my work from a telescopic view. And from that view, it’s easier to spot the flaw or brilliance that had blossomed during the fermentation period. It helps me a lot to finalize my work.


12. Do we have free will, or is everything destined?

I’m not really sure myself. I used to be a strong believer of free-will, and I used to believe strongly in destiny too, or the ‘grand plan’ theory. But now I’m not so sure anymore. And I guess, to have this question remains an uncertainty is a healthier and more realistic way to approach life, to live moment by moment. Our perceptions always change from time to time, anyway. At one time, maybe the free-will concept works better, but at another time, destiny may be more suitable. But if you look at it from karmic law, or cause-and-effect principle, I think free-will and destiny should complement each other, rather than contradict. To some extent we can have experience and exercise free-will, but our accumulated karma (which we cannot know or perceive wholesomely) can sometimes preventing us from experiencing free-will. So at some cases, people can feel there’s no such as thing as free-will, simply because their karma do not allow them to experience it yet. But since karma is basically a causality, it’s not a fixed thing too. Its direction can be altered by doing new karma, therefore new reality occurs for us, and so on and so forth. And that implies an organic and a living destiny, instead of a fixed one.

13. Are we being told the truth about our origins and destiny?

I think the best mystery is the one that is so simple that our complex minds keep missing it. I’m not 100% sure whether the given history or the scriptures were telling us the truth or not. But I feel the hints and the answers for that mystery are everywhere, right in front of our eyes.
Like I’ve told you before, I have grown interest in that subject, and I’ve adopted it as my personal inquiry. I just find it exciting and stimulating by nature. I’m very open to all kinds of ideas, even some that majority finds as nonsense, wacky, etc. Believing in one single truth and leaving no room for other possibilities is just very boring for me. So if one day we find out that our ancestor is fish rather than ape, I won’t be surprised. Or if we find out that homosapiens were resulted from a genetic experiments by the ET’s, I won’t be surprised either. I’m all here for surprises, heheh.

14. Is "evil" an indispensable part of reality? Would there be crime, racism or hate without it? What would "good" do if there wasn't evil?

Without the opposite, I think “good” will be no good. Heheh. Like any other dualistic reality, good and evil is dependent on each other, that’s why I’m not interested so much in both. I think life is more than just the battle of good and evil. Life is also about transcending both of them.

15. Do you think science will eventually explain everything we wonder about now?

What I like about science is, it always makes room for a change. What’s right today may not be right tomorrow. What’s labeled wrong today may be labeled correct by tomorrow. It’s ever changing. And I think it’s a healthy approach if we’d like to explore more about life and ourselves. It helps us not to be fixated in a single truth. So, yes, as spirit, I think it serves us best if we maintain a scientific spirit.
But if science only represents materialistic reality, it will eventually find a dead end. Science needs to explore more about non-matter reality as well—our inner space. We have landed on the moon, yet most of us do not seek into ourselves. We know so little about our inner space (maybe that’s why we’ve only gone to the moon, not yet other galaxy). By embracing and exploring our inner space, I think humanity will leap into a reality that we’ve only dared to dream.

16. How would you respond to behavior like adopting children who aren't family members, voluntary celibacy, or people deciding to spend their whole life praying?

We’ve seen the worse and more outrageous sample of human behaviours, like genocide in Rwanda or the Nazi camps. So, by all means, adopting children, celibacy, and lifetime praying are very “normal” and “acceptable”. So I would say: GO CRAZY WITH IT! HAVE THE MOST BLAST CELIBATE LIFE EVER! HAVE A GRRREAAAT PRAY DAY! AND ADOPT AS MANY CHILDREN AS IF YOU’RE BUILDING A NATION! :)

17. Can you tell me the process of deciding your son’s name? And why you decided that name in the end?

I’ve always fond of Gaelic name, such as Keenan, Keira, Keane. Keenan has been my long time favorite, though. I’d also like to add a Buddhist element in his name, and the name “Avalokiteshvara” resonates with me somehow. But it’s too long and it’s almost like naming your child “God” – way too heavy socially, poor child. So I asked around, and found out from a Tibetan friend that “Avalokiteshvara” is rooted from an adjective “Avalokita” which means compassionate. “Kirana” means light, and it was his father’s name. So there it goes: Keenan Avalokita Kirana. A cocktail of Gaelic, Tibetan, and Sanskrit :)

18. If you were able to teach every person, what would you want people to believe?

Try not to believe in anything. Instead, try to question everything. Experience those that ache you the most, that move you the most, that trigger your curiosities the most. And after experiencing, you no longer need to believe. You just KNOW.
Knowing is so different from believing.

19. Do you believe that being a vegetarian means that you actually helping our Mother Earth?

To some extent, yes. Only because now we’ve industrialized our food in such way that it’s no longer sensible and sustainable for Earth and humanity at large. I probably won’t question this if we were still a hunting tribe. In those days, we don’t pile up foods, we eat when we have to. Now, we eat for lifestyle, we eat to escape our stress, we eat upon great sufferings from other beings (in this case, the animals that we’ve systematically bred and killed). 90% of big fishes are gone from the ocean now, millions of cattles are living in a literal hell from the time they were born until they die on our plate, for what? 60% of humans still live in hunger anyway. So whom are we feeding? Being a vegetarian is just a moral option that’s sensible for this time. It’s like ‘fasting’ when we’re already overfed and obese. So actually we’re doing ourselves a favor by limiting ourselves and our food to some degree.

Last question…
20. Who are you?

I have no idea.