I am currently reading Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas, which I recommend for fans of U2 and non-fans alike. Here are a couple of things I thought were interesting.
On Fame and Beauty:
Self-consciousness. These thoughts can bend you out of shape. You walk differently. YOu carry yourself differently. Ask any photographer. You see, a photographer understands that a face once beautiful can become ugly because of self-consciousness. The great gift of models are not that they're more beautiful than the next person, it's that they're able to be photographed and not be self-conscious. The lips drain of blood. The face suddenly harrowed. The photograph is being taken, but the reason why you wanted to take it has gone. In the 80's I was that.
An interesting conversation where Bono explains the gospel of grace to his interviewer:
MA: As I told you, I think I'm beginning to understand religion because I have started acting and thinking like a father. What do you make of that?
Bono: Yes, I think that's normal. It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the Universe might be looking for company, a real realationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma.
MA: I haven't heard you talk about that.
Bono: I really believe we've moved out of the realm of Karma into one of Grace.
MA: Well, that doesn't make it clearer for me.
Bono: You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: and eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics - in physical laws - every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the Universe. I'm abosolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "As you reap, so shall you sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interruptes, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done an lot of stupid stuff.
MA: I'd be interested to hear that.
Bono: That's between me and God. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep shit. It doesnt' excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity.
MA: The son of God who takes away the sins of the world. Iw ish I could believe that.
Bono: But I love the idea of the Sacrificial Lamb. I love the idea tha tGod says: Look you creatins, there are certain results to the way wee are, to selfishiness, and there's mortality as part of your very sinful nature, and let's face it, you're not living a very good life, are you? There are consequences to actions. The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sin of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That's the point. It should keep us humbled ... it's not our own good works tha tget us through the gates of heaven.
MA: That's a great idea, no denying it. Such great hope is wonderful, even though it's close to lunacy, in my vew. Christ has his rank among the worlds great thinkers. But the Son of God, isn't that farfetched?
Bono: No it's not farfetched to me. Look, the secular response to the Christ story always goes like this: he was a great prophet, obviously a very interesting guy, had a lot to say along the lines of other great prophets, be they Elijah, Muhammad, Buddha, or Confucius. But actually Christ doesn't allow you that. He doesn't let you off that hook. Christ says, "No, I"m not saying I'm ateacher, don't call me teacher. I'm not saying I'm a prophet. I'm saying I'm the Messiah. I'm saying: I am God incarnate." And people say: no, no, please just be a prophet. A prophet we can take. You're a bit eccentric. We've had John the Baptist eating locusts and wild honey, we can handle that. But dont' mention the "M" word! Because you know, we're gonna have to crucify you. And he goes: No, no. I know you're expecting me to come back with an army and set you free from these creeps, but actually I am the Messiah. At this point, everyone starts staring at their shoes, and says: Oh my God, he's gonna keep saying this. So what you're left with is: either Christ was who He said He was - the Messiah - or a complete nutcase. I mean, we're talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson.... the idea that the entire course of civilization for over half of the globe could have it's fate changed and turned upside down by a nutcase, for me, that's farfetched.
MA: But sometimes I'm not far from thinking that the world has been shaped by a bunch of nutcases, or one big nutcase hiding somewhere in some big fancy invisible lighthouse. [Bono laughs] Now, that cartoon stuff of yours has taken serious possession of my brain. what I mean here is that Christ was not the only one to make those kind of claims. There have been other prophets.
Bono: That's right. But they didn't change anything....