In “Fleishman is in Trouble,” Toby stares into the blacker-than-black Vantablack and Libby stares into the metaphorical Vantablack. It’s the blackest most terrifying black. Rachel spends a long time in the terror of the Vantablack.
In “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Joy and Evelyn stare into the everything bagel.
We all stare into this terrifying abyss, which encompasses all the horrible things that we can’t understand. (Like space in my previous post). What is the solution, if there is one? What do these two pieces of art say? (Just realized, after I posted this, that this ties into the everything bagel post from before. Cyclically coming back like the Earth, like electrons, maybe?)
For one, find those who will listen and be one of those that listen, like Libby, like Evelyn eventually does. Secondly, don’t run screaming from the spiral into Vantablack, because it is always there. Accept it, go through it. Emerge. Be Buddhist about it, maybe. Combine those ideas and find people that accept the struggle – the terrible, soul-wrenching, bitter struggle. Accept it first in ourselves. It is there. It is part of us. Accept it in kids. Accept it in people we don’t really know. Accept it in those closest to us.
If you know the Vantablack is there, if you acknowledge it, you can maybe look just a bit into the Vantablack hand in hand – with others or maybe just with the versions of yourself. Then the Vantablack, the bagel, can also be a jumping off point for creation or empathy or something.
Then that thing could be joy, irreverence, appreciation. The googly eyes of EEAAO. Is that irresponsible, as Evelyn thinks at first? No, as she finds out. It is necessary. It is the balance to the Vantablack bagel.
We need to have humility that we can’t take the whole Vantablack bagel. We are little creatures that know it’s there but not too much more. But then we balance the bagel, because we know balance is key. And if it’s an everything bagel, we balance it with googly eyes and everything they stand for.
People, acceptance, looking hand in hand. Googly eyes. It is possible.