Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Royal Ballet School

Most of the people reading this blog lead comfortable lives, I certainly do. Just by having a private computer and an internet connection, a certain economic stability seems presupposed. Urban city life is an easy, streamlined one. But it is also dehumanizing. You can do most of the things you need without leaving your home. A relatively painless dayjob can be secured and one can find themselves supporting their existence indefinitely. The job might wound their pride and they might not be fulfilling any other essential instinct but that of survival, but it seems safe, and safe is difficult to stray away from, although it doesn't feel great, it feels, okay... It seems that early life is channeled and controlled and goals appear to be set without your consent (those of academic accomplishment and whatnot) and once all this runs its course you are left there in the middle of your young life, around 20, 25 without any definite goals set by others and you have to decide what you are willing to risk for a more essential life. There is no more 'leveling up' to do on the course set by some elder constant rule-set, you have to change genres, it's no longer an RPG, it is an adventure.

Self-actualization in the midst of ease of sustenance is elusive. We want a lot of things but our willpower isn't enough to go after them. A lot of the time we are left with unrequited dreams lingering in the back of our heads for many years. There is a specific point in life when if you haven't gone after a particular dream, it appears almost farcical that you ever had it, taunting you with its impossibility. Inching towards that point, we feel a peculiar combination of shame and pride in still indulging ourselves in its fantasy. There is no deeper concept or anything more fanciful to this comic than an illustration of this.

Oh, also, last panel: that is my room. Also, a few panels above, that is my kitchen (and cat). You have metaphysically visited my house now. You were good guests.

-Helm

10 comments:

HS said...

It seems that early life is channeled and controlled and goals appear to be set without your consent (those of academic accomplishment and whatnot) and once all this runs its course you are left there in the middle of your young life, around 20, 25 without any definite goals set by others and you have to decide what you are willing to risk for a more essential life. There is no more 'leveling up' to do on the course set by some elder constant rule-set, you have to change genres, it's no longer an RPG, it is an adventure.

Wonderful text Helm. I can fully identify with it. Sadly.

///

Με τι καρδιά, με τι πνοή,
τι πόθους και τι πάθος
πήραμε τη ζωή μας· λάθος!
κι αλλάξαμε ζωή.
(Σεφέρης)

Johnny Spade said...

Yes, the hidden and sweetly embarrassing dreams we secretly want to make true. Though in most cases the only thing they cause (while spoken aloud to your close friends) is disapprobation (all those "get down to earth, man!" and "you be kidding?" lines), what could we do without them?

This is my next personal favorite, it seems that all pieces tagged 'Helmspeak' are going to be. I really like its technical side -- which makes the story even more perceptible.

Oh, how would you explain the thing behind the name? You said it's something like a 'hill-billy' but not completely . . .

Helm said...

Oh yeah, Giakoumis. It's one of the few cases where I considered giving him an English name so as not to upset the mood of the comic. The character isn't originally mine, he was created by a close friend and fellow Greek comic artist going by the alias 'Dustbin'. We collaborate on the fanzine 'Free Your Line', to whom the comic is dedicated to as well. The name has a very... rural connotation. It is not important to the story really, but I am trying to keep all that is Greek in these comics, Greek.

gold said...

I was an angry vegetarian for two years.
Some time ago there was a family gathering at my mother's house and one deaf lady, my late grandfather's girlfriend, got very excited. Using incomprehensible grunts and sign language, she expressed her amazement at the fact that I eat grilled sausage.
She invited me to take one more.
I couldn't take another bite.
Then I felt: young Blazej is looking at you, man.
And then I went to the Mazury lakes where I had spent my holidays each year when I was a kid, but later I stopped going there. I sat at night by a campfire, a heavy bird flew over dark waters, and I felt: the lakes that knew you as a young snot now look at you. What new have you brought as a gift? What do you have to show after 15 years?

I suppose that if, say, 20 years old me saw the present me now, he would hate me. Then again, I could say: but you still live off your parents, you annoying, pretentious brat!!1! Oh, and isn't your hair dyed?

Great stuff, I love the way it's drawn.

Ah, also, Helm: care to enter the challenge?
http://www.bigbluecup.com/yabb/index.php?topic=35518.0

Helm said...

She invited me to take one more.

"I am glad you are just like all of us after all. In fact, I always knew you were just like us. With every bite you are."

What new have you brought as a gift? What do you have to show after 15 years?

I have to answer to a similar voice every year when I go visit its former owner. Sometimes I cry and all I can find myself muttering is "I am doing my best". I am not though, am I? I lack the willpower to do my best. I can imagine me doing so much more. It is with great difficulty that I remind myself that I am not doing my best, I am doing the only things I would ever be able to do. There is no free will and so many circumstances conspire towards the end result of my existence. I have tied my superego with a voice from beyond dictating impossibility as possibility, for good or worse. Perhaps that is also one of these 'circumstances' that define what happens to me, and perhaps they add to the good in my life. Perhaps not. I will exclaim judgment only when I am done.

Ah, also, Helm: care to enter the challenge?

I not only entered, I conquered.

Blazej, thank you for commenting on my artworks. I appreciate it very much.

blazej said...

Well, I just like to read these comics for pleasure and reflection, it's purely egotistical (like listening to songs you like). So, I thank you as well.

I didn't get this "former owner" = owner of what?

Doing your best... well, what I sometimes detest about myself is that my will is as strong and chanelled as a bowl of porridge, ha! Do you believe that scientists make discoveries thinking long and hard about something? I would say they just stumble upon conclusions and the work is only to prove or disprove them...
Yours and mine is a normal state, I think. Being a perpetually driven man, a steel-bent achiever is a deviation. The deviants take the cake, but that's another story...

Helm said...

I thanked you for commenting on the pieces, which isn't the same as just perusing them.

Former owner of a voice, uh, I'd rather not get into explanations.

But I want to be a perpetually driven steel-bent deviation! All the music I've ever been enamored with is all about DO WHAT THOU WILT. LOVE UNDER WILL! HUMANITARIAN SUPERMAN! LIVES FOREVER! :(

Fuzzpilz said...

Regarding what Blazej said about scientists... I find it interesting how this works in mathematics. As a simple student I've only had it on a small scale, but from everything I hear even the greats often essentially experience it like this:

You work and work on your problem, but the solution doesn't come directly from the hard work. Instead, at some point (perhaps when you're not even actively engaged with it, under the shower, on the bus) it's as though the fog suddenly clears and the crucial part of whatever you're looking for somehow just appears in front of you, and then it's just a matter of picking at it, refining. But this usually won't happen if you don't work at it - it's not magic, it's the back of your mind doing the actual work, which it wouldn't if you weren't immersed in the need of it.

Not terribly relevant to the comic, but it's something I find fascinating every time.

For some personal notes on the contrast of safety vs. self-actualization: I find that as a thorough introvert and nerd, not particularly interested in fame or riches or in "getting a life" as they say, I may have it easier dealing with this than some. Everything I most want to do with my life, I can do with a computer and some paper. I frankly don't think I'd have much difficulty dealing with an uninteresting job if I had some amount of free time to devote to my real interests. Really, the main problem I had in my civilian service time (where I spent eight hours a day mostly pushing wheelchairs or sitting around waiting to push wheelchairs) was the lack of privacy in my off hours because I had to share a 9 m^2 room with another guy. But it'd have been harder if my true aspiration was dancing, that's for sure.

Helm said...

Fuzz: I was reading an issue of Scientific American (that hs gave to me :D ) and there was an examination of how when you spend a lot of time thinking about a problem, then when you 'idle', especially when you sleep, the brain keeps pondering, tries to come up with solutions, though the conscious side doesn't exactly realize. I think this is what happens with scientists like you say. They *have* to put in the long hours of work, but the answer will come from the conditioned subconscious.

This is why I tape the comics to the wall when they're in their preliminary stage. Because I look at them constantly and suddenly small changes and fixes come to me.

About nerd self-actualization. I don't think there are many humans in this world that can sustain themselves on the extra-extracurricular just with a computer and pieces of paper. I've tried, at least, and it didn't work for me. Long bouts of shallow depressions may follow due to lack of meaningful human interaction. Even us nerds like friends, right? And don't we also want some compassion and understanding once in a while? These things are very elusive and even harder to come by when the one seeking has hidden themselves very deeply inside themselves.

Conceit Arturo said...

Nice. I really liked the ''pop art relationships that lead nowhere'' bit. I seem to be starting to get pulled into them too.