There is an impenetrable veil between physical pain and psychological trauma, between what we think everyone feels when the stinger pierces the flesh, the needle pinches the arm and the splinter penetrates the skin; between discomfort we can describe versus agony we cannot articulate; between the endurance of the body versus the exhaustion of the mind; between the fight to live versus the flight from life; between what science can address and a mystery no man can answer.
I speak of many things, but one thing in particular: The human brain, whose grey matter is darker in its complexity than the darkest matter of the universe; whose 100 billion neurons outnumber the stars in the galaxy; whose cellular appearance looks like the product of chance, while its arrangement is very much the result of design, because if I were to somehow photograph one man’s synapses – if I were to film the fibers and frequencies of these sparks – I would still be unable to see the light.
It will take more than reason to explain what is invisible but intact.
It will take more than intellect to discover what we can intuit.
It will take a moment of transcendence to understand what the departed have, which is also what Chris Cornell now possesses: A soul beneath the ribs of death.
And yet, we will never know – not now, not a thousand years from now, not ever – we will never know another man’s anguish.
We will never know the why behind the how of suicide.
Other species end their lives: Ants do so to protect their colonies from predators, while mice do so because of overpopulation.
Even some dogs will starve themselves when their masters are no more.
But only man proves the rightness of Charles Darwin by revealing the wrongness of the late theorist’s righteousness.
For evolution is not without a revolutionary distinction between survival of the fittest and the loss of the men – and women – most fit for genius in art, music, physics, prose and poetry.
We will never be able to fully appreciate Chris Cornell’s passing because we will never be privy to experiences that are – and will always be – his own.
All we can do is recognize there is nothing random to the radiance every person exudes.