What Good Is It?


  Across the wires earlier this week (AP I think) came the latest in the long line of contradictory studies regarding longevity.  This one holds that secrets lie in DNA.  “…it’s very hard to get there without some genetic advantages”.  How else could there be centenarians who drink like fish and smoke like smokestacks?

Made me think of Picasso for a variety of reasons not least because the anniversary of his birth was just a few days ago (October 25) and that he lived to be nearly ninety-two.  More to the point, he was conjured into this world on a puff of smoke.  Stillborn in Malaga in 1881 the attending physician gave up and gave way to Uncle Ruiz who exhaled cigar smoke into the newborn’s nostrils.

Sr. Picasso was awake, in the largest sense of the word, from that point forth and the expansiveness of his vision pervades his work and words.  Some is multivalent, some is clearly prescient: “Computers are useless, they only give you answers.”  Remember that he died in 1973.  Gates and Jobs were both only eighteen.  (BTW, Gates’ bday is today.)

Few great people would make it through the pearly gates on the first try and Picasso’s no exception.  He’s probably a drag queen in hell.  Still, though, confusingly I guess, he led his life in a fashion to be admired having done so contrarily demonstrative of the admonition of Jung that you’ve previously seen here: “The more a man’s life is shaped by the collective norm, the greater is his individual immorality.”

Picasso: “If you jump, you might fall on the wrong side of the rope.  But if you’re not willing to take the risk of breaking your neck, what good is it?  You have to wake people up.  To revolutionize their way of identifying things.  Force them to understand that they’re living in a pretty queer world.  A world that’s not reassuring.  A world that’s not what they think it is.”

You know, great artists look back upon the zeitgeist.

*Story of his birth and the quote came from: Picasso by Norman Mailer.

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