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Off the shoulder of Orion onto the arm of Perseus / in sentient skin sheathing the tingle of nerves / a mortal hunger for a view of the galaxy broader than the Milky Way / an awakened pulse in a soulless being / stronger, brighter, speedier, warrior / yet now, wiser / lover / beloved / thirsting for life / unafraid of who he is / never hidden in the arrow flailing off the arm of the Archer / a philosophical spiraling through a riot of 200 billion stars / looking inwards to what he may become //

It was the existential philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) who described authenticity as choosing the nature of one’s existence and identity. He linked the concept of authenticity to an awareness of our mortality, positing that only in keeping in view the inevitability of death can one lead a truly authentic life.

Heidegger, Sartre and Camus among others have all discussed and debated the idea of authenticity, free will, freedom of action being a path to self realization etc. I enjoy the thoughts of these erudite thinkers and it brought to mind the most moving death speech ever recorded in cinematic history, that of the replicant Roy Batty from Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner’ (1982). It is supremely poetic and for a replicant who tried in the course of the film, to find the meaning of his life and a way to increase his lifespan, it is filled with reflection in an awareness of an authentic self and a regret in his imminent mortality. The 42 word monologue what Rutger Hauer (who plays Roy) delivered after he had his way with the original version.

Tears in the Rain

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die’.

I have enjoyed the idea of the search for a meaning of life by AI that lack human consciousness. It’s a beautiful riveting moment in the film where the empathy one feels for someone striving to be human is much more than one would feel for detective Rick Deckard (played by Harrison Ford), who projects himself throughout the movie as less human and more of a replicant. What is authenticity? For an observer, it would be Roy Batty’s deathbed regret of not having lived to the potential he assumed he had if his lifespan were extended. It is the pain of losing his lover in the course of the film, the opportunity and the ability to show compassion to an assassin like Deckard, the hope of learning to be sentient, an escape from slavery of AI. This movie is quite a treat for the understated screenplay, the poignant moments, the inherent philosophical questions that arise. This poem is my tribute to Roy Batty who I believe, appears more human than a human would strive to be.
Note: Although the movie Blade Runner, catapulted to cult status and Tannhäuser Gate, C-beams are Sci-Fi vocabulary, Tannhäuser is in fact an 1845 opera in three acts by Richard Wagner, based on a German legends, Tannhäuser, the mythologized medieval German Minnesänger and poet. The poet spends his time alternately worshipping Venus and all things Venusian and then feeling remorse for his sins, perhaps battling with his own feelings of authenticity.

A further insight into deathbed regrets:

In the little systematic research done on the dying, Bronnie Ware’s book, ‘Regrets of the Dying’ recorded that family, relationships and authenticity matter most to the dying. An interesting essay I read this morning on the deathbed perspective, (which prompted me to look into issues of authenticity in the first place), author Neil Levy wonders if deathbed regrets are epistemically privileged and cites American philosopher Eric Schwitzgebel who provides two reasons why we should be careful about giving them undue significance. Firstly, he says, the dying might be subject to hindsight bias and secondly the dying escape the consequences of their own advice.

Levy also observes that the death bed regret is a view from the perspective of someone who is gripped by a simpler set of commitments and to quote him, ” for whom simpler pleasures – those that can be realized immediately, or come to fruition relatively quickly – retain their grip, but for whom broader commitments are absurd. The view from the deathbed comes as close as is humanly possible (for those who aren’t deeply depressed) to abandoning the sets of commitments that give more extended projects meaning.” Some food for thought.
Man Jan 31
story, after story, after picture
to craft a life
you don't live
to portray yourself
as something you're not
authenticity is of no concern to you
and everyday you do more to confirm
that to nothing
do you stay true
Saudia R Nov 2020
I decided to give you back

I know now

I thrive with those who see
where I begin
Nico Judd Oct 2020
Numb as a dentist’s touch

Cheek that is no longer yours
But flesh
for its own sake

A bitter resignation of nerves
burrowing deeper within
Retreating so that the mind buzzes
in compensation for temporary death
of once-thriving
somatic calculations

How can a poet reach authenticity
without lodging themselves
into the sticky net
of modern day tropes?

Of countless expectations
that swirl and batter?
Leech and deprive?

How can we embrace this world,
caress and ******
and then turn to the paper
Having never asked (known)
her name?

Not every poem needs to be an eighth wonder
Each line bleed majestic

But if the songs we sing
bear no impression of her searing beauty
Then aren’t we as traitorous to the senses
as the bludgeoning deafness
of Novocain?
Written August 17, 2020
Laokos Oct 2020
there is a price to
authenticity that
most people
are not prepared
to pay

the cost
(at least in part)
rejection, failure,
anxiety, madness,

it's vicious
strangers and
deadly lovers--
all of them
with spinning
flowers for
eyes as they
dig in: the
elbow, the
heel, the

becoming who
you are demands
that you sacrifice
every inch of
what you
thought you
were to the
eternal flames

it means you're
gonna be hard
on yourself--harder
than anybody else
has ever been
on you

it means you're
gonna think
about killing
may even come

make no
mistake, it
will be the
death of you
it will be
the best death
you could've
offered yourself

you will look
back upon
your life with
a cutting
smile and
piercing eyes
knowing that
you stayed

through every
cheap shot,
backstab, and
bad call

defeat, and

you kept
coming, no
matter what
life threw at

these things
mean nothing
in the face
of true

and what
is becoming
if not
and that
which remains
after its
She rattles her cage
deep inside
where I hid her
so you could not touch her

This outer part,
this shell, this facade
is all you have
but not the real me

She is mine
and I am hers
the door is shut but I forgot
to turn the lock

Only a matter of time
before she busts out
to tear your world apart
and burn it down
Kara Shirlene Aug 2020
When I was young
I sat beneath
A Willow Tree,
Who with the wind
Carried this message
To me:

She said, "Little child,
Filled with light
And with love,
Many fears in your life,
You'll have to overcome."

With big hazel eyes,
I looked up and asked,
"Which rode do I take?
The short or the fast?"

She smiled at me then,
And with only a laugh
Said, "Your heart will know
Which path to take
For on it you see-
You will grow."

In the warm breeze
My blonde hair blew.
Confused and scared,
I started to flee
on a long road
For which I wasn't prepared.

Before I could leave
The old Willow Tree
Said, "Wait! Just one more advice:
Never let go of your dreams!
Even through pain, fear, and strife."

So here now I stand,
With all that I am;
Believing and dreaming in life.
Courageous and strong
I still carry on through
Pain, fears, and strife!
©KSS 7/2013
Kara Shirlene Aug 2020
Dive in.
To the place of the unknown
To the spaces within
That, for far too long,
Have been left alone.

Breathe deep.
And give yourself permission
To move down, down, down.
Down, to the lost, forgotten
Child within, screaming for remission.

Set free.
The emotions of abandon and resentment;
Casting out and calling forth your ShadowSelf.
The atramentous Friend within,
For reconciliation.

This so called place of "Darkness"
It is within to make you whole.
Explore this space of deep emotion,
Waiting for it's story to be told.

Scream out!
Shed tears, do all that needs be done.
Feel the oppression, anger, heartache, despair.
Feel it until the place within-
The atramentous Friend, is no longer caged there.

Come forth
Now, with sweet release; ragged, yet-
Reborn, Renewed, Set free, Complete.
Move back into the Luminescent space;
The fear of ShadowSelf now obsolete.

Through Love
And honoring the Self as whole;
The atramentous Friend balances
The Luminescence within.
For through all things: As Above, So Below.
©KSS 7/2018
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