If the stars shine –
well then — somebody needs it?
Then — somebody wants them out there?
This is what I call “projections of instrumentality.” Human mind seeks order, sense, meaning. We are in a continuous state of apophenia - in a state of meaning-making, in a never-ending process of connecting the dots. Except for when we don’t – when we let go of this meaning-making, illusion-making search for reassurance.
I find it ironic that Mayakaovsky had the Sanskrit word for “illusion” (Maya) built right into his name. The Maya of Meaning is a kind of Kantian apriori, along with time and space.
Ornaments cannot be made of pure gold. Some alloy must be mixed with it. A man totally devoid of Maya [Illusion] will not survive more than twenty-one days. So long as the man has body, he must have some [Illusion], however small, to carry on the bodily functions.
Mayakovsky committed a suicide at 33 years of age. Must’ve run out of Maya, must’ve run out of the illusion, must’ve run out of meaning.
What’s on your mind?
I hope something.
Here’s the entire poem “Listen!” by Mayakovsky (in translation by K. Rusanov)(note a slightly different translation of the first stanza).
If they kindle the stars –
well then — somebody needs it?
Then — somebody wants them out there?
Then — somebody calls these tiny gobs
And sweating blood
in the blizzards of midday dust,
rushes up to god,
is afraid of being late,
kisses his sinewy hand,
that there be a star, without fail! –
he won’t survive this starless torment!
And then walks about uneasy,
but calm on the surface.
Says to somebody:
“Now you’re ok, right?
If they kindle the stars –
then — somebody needs it?
Then — it is essential
that at least one star lights up
over the roofs
Here’s a pattern-breaking syllogism to get you started today:
1. A desire for certainty is a search for reassurance.
2. A search for reassurance is a mother issue.
3. Thus, a desire for certainty is a mother issue.
Mother Certainty, comfort me.
I am afraid of not-knowing.
A few pattern-interruption points from Talking Heads (from 1984):
“There is a finite number of jokes in the universe.”
“There is no music in space.”
“Cats like houses better than people.”
“Schools are for training people how to listen to other people.”
“Violence on television only affects children whose parents act like television personalities.”
“Table manners are for people who have nothing to do.”
“Civilization is a religion.”
“People will remember you better if always wear the same outfit.”
“In the future we will all drive standing up.”
“Adults think with their mouths open.”
“Passport pictures are what people really look like.”
“In the future it will be a relief to find a place without a culture.”
“When everything is worth money then money is worth nothing.”
“In the future love will be taught on television and by listening to pop songs.”
The future is, of course, always now. And the pattern-interruption advice from Talking Heads reveals the path to the present moment: “Stop making sense.”
Take yourself to the river of the now and drop your mind into the water of whatever is.
Break the pattern to resume your flow.
November 6th, 2012: the day we vote on economy… the year of apocalyptic partisanship… the year of promises of new economy…
I usually don’t mess with economics. The last time I spoke on the topic was when I re-phrased the all-too-familiar “It’s economy, stupid!” meme into “It’s psychology, stupid!” in my 2009 Huffington Post blog.
My question is this:
What kind of economy are we trying to build?
The kind of economy where everyone who wants to work can work?
Or the kind of economy that works by itself without the need to work?
Or the kind of economy where work doesn’t feel like work?
These are all very different questions and the answers to these questions range from industrial age pragmatism to utopian fantasies.
But I am looking for something in the middle, for an economy of the Middle Way for the middle class…
Is there such a beast?
Turns out there is and it’s called Buddhist Economics as described (in the 1970s) by E. F. Schumacher in “Small is Beautiful” (a must read!).
A couple of excerpts and a few points.
“There is universal agreement that a fundamental source of wealth is human labor. Now, the modern economists have been brought up to consider “labor” or work as little more than a necessary evil. From the point of view of the employer, [labor] is in any case simply an item of cost, to be reduced to a minimum… say, by automation. From the point of view of the workman, [labor/work] is a “disutility;” to work is to make a sacrifice of one’s leisure and comfort, and wages are a kind of compensation for the sacrifice. Hence the ideal from the point of the employer is to have output without employees, and the ideal from the point of view of the employee is to have income without employment.”
Exactly: that’s what I, as an immigrant to this country, have witnessed over the past 20 years – employers try to get rid of employees and the working public keeps dreaming the American dream of early retirement.
I am a big fan of the television show …
You see, we over-identify with our brains. We think of brains as our central organs whereas in reality we are a massive neural colony (nervous system) on a body-wide scale. We think that we are in our skulls. But we aren’t. We – the neural colonies that inhabit a given body – are all throughout. You are not just in your skull. You are also in your fingertips and in your toes. You are everywhere you find the neurons that you are along with all of your axonal or dendritic extensions.
“We have seen the whole and we are extraordinarily alive.” (1)
Having seen the Whole we have seen ourselves… and yes, we are extraordinarily alive.
A Part that recognizes itself as a Whole stops being apart, stops being an “I” and becomes a “We.”
Subject-Object duality is a vestige of our predatory nature: a life-form (such as you) eyes (sees) another life-form; zooms in, focuses, attends… to see if this other life-form is fit to eat; subject-object duality is born: “I” want “it.” This is our evolutionary past: our attention evolved to track patterns.
To attend is to objectify, to turn an aspect of reality into an “object,” into a “thing.” When you objectify an aspect of your environment at the very same time you are also objectifying yourself, turning your unconditional sense of being into a “thing” called “self.” Indeed, to attend to the Other is to distill yourself into a stand-alone Self out of the oneness of what surrounds you. Immersed in all that is at a baseline, we pop out of this anonymity of mindlessness as soon as we begin to track and hunt patterns.
We are first and foremost informational hunter-gatherers.
Short answer: mind is just another four-letter word.
Long answer: mind is a body that thinks it is not a body but something separate from it. Thus, a mind is a deluded body. Once again: here you are, a “mind,” thinking that you are “in” a “body,” but you aren’t “in” a body. You are a body, a body thinking that you are a mind, i.e. a body that does not know oneself, a body that thinks it isn’t what it is but something else. But you aren’t anything else. You are this body. That’s all. I hope it’s enough since there isn’t anything else.
Sure, you can call this “mind” a subtle body, or a body-within-a-body, or an inner body, but a body is still a body even if it’s in the form of a nesting doll set. You are one, not two, even if you use two words (body and mind) to describe this two-dimensional oneness of yours.
“Yam gruel is a gruel made by boiling slices of yam in a soup of sweet arrow-root. […] It was regarded as the supreme delicacy. […] Accordingly, such lower officials as Goi could taste it only once a year when they were invited as […] guests to the Regent’s Palace. […] On such occasion they could eat no more of it than barely enough to moisten their lips. So it had been [Goi’s] long-cherished desire to satiate himself with yam gruel. Of course, he himself did not confide his desire to anyone. He himself might not have been clearly aware that it had been his life-long wish. But as a matter of fact, it would hardly be too much to say that he lived for this purpose. A man sometimes devotes his life to a desire which he is not sure will ever be fulfilled. Those who laugh at this folly are, after all, no more than mere spectators of life.”
I have but one question for you today, but I’ll state it thrice:
Are you aware of what drives you and why?
What yam gruel are you still chasing?
Have you had a taste of life yet?
Note to Mere Spectators of Life: if you happen to have the wisdom of merely noticing “what is,” without chasing it, I salute your equanimity!
Reference: Rashomon & Other Stories, by Ryunosuke Akutagawa
Life is hardware with software. Hardware without software is dead matter. Hardware with software is living matter. But hardware and software are not two. Software is when hardware softens. When hardware softens to enable self-reflection it becomes software. Software is just self-aware hardware.
Hardware that is aware of self is also aware of other. Life runs on self-other duality: to know other is to know self; to know self is to know other. But, of course, self is other and other is self (since this world knows no true separateness).
Confused? Enlightened? Doesn’t matter as long as this reading served as a neural cleanse of sorts for your mindware. When you started reading this you were mentally at point A. Now you are mentally at point B. Your mind moved on (even if your body hasn’t). It’s always like that: mind rinses itself. What’s next? C for yourself.
Postscript: When lost in flow, find flow to rediscover yourself. Whether it’s from A to B or from B to C or from A to C is irrelevant. No need to get hung up on the informational specifics of the content that flows through your mind. Flow itself is the anchor.