To Be or Not To Be, That is Not the Question (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 201)

I would say that the major religious problem today is the systematic liquidation of man’s sensitivity to the challenge of God. Let me try to explain that. We cannot understand man in his own terms. Man is not to be understood in the image of nature, in the image of an animal, or in the image of a machine. He has to be understood in terms of a transcendence, and that transcendence is not a passive thing; it is a challenging transcendence. Man is always being challenged; a question is always being asked of him. The moment man disavows the living transcendence, he is contracted; he is reduced to a level on which his distinction as a human being gradually disappears. What makes a man human is his openness to transcendence, which lifts him to a higher level than himself. Overwhelmed by the power he has achieved, man now has the illusion of sovereignty; he has become blind to his own situation, and deaf to the question being asked of him.

To destroy the illusion that man is his own center cannot be done easily. In order to understand, and to cultivate an openness to transcendence, many prerequisites are necessary, prerequisites of the mind and of the heart. However, our society, our education, all continue to corrode mens’ sensibilities. I am not optimistic; we are getting poorer by the day. To give you an example: Man does not feel a sense of outrage anymore, even in the face of crime. We are getting used to it. We are getting accustomed to evil. We are surrendering to that which we call inevitable. That is fatalism; it is pagan. The message of the Bible is that man is capable of making a choice. Choose life — but instead we choose death, blindness, callousness, helpnessness, despair.

Religion, if taught as religion, has no life. In order to understand what the Bible says, one has to understand life as seen by the Bible, all of life. My understanding of the meaning of God depends on my way of looking at this very table, at this very desk, at everything, at creation. The tragedy of religion is partly due to its isolation from life, as if God could be segregated. God has become an alibi for our conscience, for real faith. He has become a sort of after-life insurance policy.

Just as we are commanded to love man, we are also called upon to be sensitive to the grandeur of God’s creation. We are infatuated with our great technological achievements; we have forgotten the mystery of being, of being alive. We have lost our sense of wonder, our sense of radical amazement at sheer being. We have forgotten the meaning of being human and the deep responsibility involved in just being alive. Shakespeare’s Hamlet said: “To be or not to be, that is the question.” But that is no problem. We all want to be. The real problem, biblically speaking, is how to be and how not to be; that is our challenge, and it is what makes the difference between the human and the animal. The animal also wants to be. For us, it is the problem of how to be and how not to be, on the levels of existence. Now, what is the meaning of God? The meaning of God is precisely the challenge of “how to be.”

Abraham Joshua Heschel          1966

The Poison and Wine of Laughter – Part 2 (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 200)

A much different energy, whether isolated or commingling in its flow, accompanies the willful humor which may be implemented to tickle our awarenesses.

I believe that this delicious and relaxing wine of laughter can only be properly served and shared in the gobleted prisms of sparkling and chiming clarity. Its consumption  ebbs and flows only amongst those who prefer the good hearted spirit of celebrated comradery, understanding and reflection for all; toasts and counter toasts of sloshing wine, teasing and playful contemplative joy, to dull the razor’s edge for another, as much or even more so, than for yourself. It is the polished reflection of an acknowledged and shared higher awareness that may only arise out of the union of genuine engagement in which we mutually decide to smile and dance and frolic despite whatever else may be.

This vino of laughter is a magical elixir of lightness which brings counterbalance to the heaviest awareness of the dark realms of existence by protecting the totality of focus via its gulping defiance of complete surrender to the piecemeal density of the gloom. Jovial levity is not denial of or withdrawal from that infinite gloom or its unrelenting presence which is woven into all things; it is only a refusal to sink into the fathomless darkness, a refusal to allow oneself to hopelessly suffocate in the pure nullifying oblivion which lurks in depths below. The jesters of chosen levity have learned to whimsically walk upon that malignant swell and  even dance upon its blackwater when they find a kindred spirit who dares to stride along with them in the same defiant movements. It is a defiant communion that may properly align and balance all of the lightness and darkness gracefully and cursedly beknown to those who possess a highly enlightened awareness.

It is a saving grace of higher transcendence for those who might easily go mad or succumb to suicide without its tickling touch of perpetual light, love, and perspective.

As amusement most readily aligns with psychopathy/sociopathy and apathy, willfully aware humor most readily aligns with empathy. Where psychopathy and apathy typically find themselves engaged in laughter that flows from the ridicule or harassment of another (over-dominance) or the passive aggressive patronizing of others (over-nurturing) for some ulterior motive, empathy typically engages in the stable and balanced satirical laughter of perception, comprehension, and the hope to bring about a better existence for all parties involved. The poison of amusement employed in psychopathy and apathy creates only a marketed pseudo-union of exchange which perpetuates the delinquency of  delusional perception and thus, potentiates isolated destabilization for all. On the other hand, or perhaps I should say instead, in the other glass, the wine of humor employed by empaths is a swirling interaction of genuine union and thus, its magical liquor bathes all in the warm glow of bonding synergistic stability.

When the laughter of willfully aware humor is faked, bastardized, exploited, and/or  weaponized it becomes a numbed and zombified sensation of the pseudo-reality of the living dead. It becomes amusement.

When we let go of our egos and acknowledge the imperfect and bemusing flaws, glitches, and defects of our existence and coexistence, we move beyond ourselves and connect our energy much more readily with all of the other creatures and forces within the realm of existence; we connect to the rest of existence not only through pattern recognition, alignment, consistency, and  the refined establishment of perfected order and precision of purpose, but also via the vast pervasive and permeating “dark energy” of confusing, puzzling, and often entertaining chaos; we exist and connect not piecemeal and fragmented, but in isolated union with our own multidimensionality and even more importantly, in the greater communal multidimensional union of higher transcendence.

If we are to truly live, we must love, and if we are to truly love, we must. . .we must,  laugh. May the wine of love and laughter flow through your veins forevermore.

Cribb          2017

 

 

 

The Poison and Wine of Laughter – Part 1 (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 199)

The difference between these two forms of laughter, better stated as amusement or willfully applied humor, might be the most tragically misunderstood and misinterpreted experience in the universe.

The Poison

Amusement has become the expected and the demanded law of the land by the herd. People declare their overt fondness and preference of friends and mates that keep them amused on a perpetual basis while they discount or minimize the need and importance of all of the person’s other qualities and character traits. Internet dating sites clearly display this knee jerk regurgitated “Isn’t it obvious, just like everyone else knows and says, duh?” proclamation; being amusing is the one trait cherished above all others and an absolute must have in any potential suitor interested in a possible relationship or even one simple encounter.

It is also a prime defining trait of psychopaths and the psychopathic manipulation of others. The uncanny ability of a psychopath to intoxicatingly bedazzle their “victims” into a giddy state of apathy and unconcern for reality, consequences, and ramifications, is well documented in the psychological and behavioral literature. Players seducing their prey for the night, slick willy businessmen sealing a deal, con-artists conning, heretical revival preachers enunciating and gesticulating their flock into hyper-emotional overload just prior to the passing of the collection plate, and corrupt politicians charming the masses into blind passionate obedience via the bombast and hyperbole of vitriol against a scapegoat, all exemplify amusement being implemented in its more malignant version.

A more benign form of amusement involves much less overt manipulation and a significantly lower conscious awareness of  intent by the implementer. This manifestation typically expresses itself via more basic, mundane, crude, unintelligent, and a lowest-common-denominator-bonding-experience that thrives and energizes itself on folly, ridicule, debasement, trash talking, or blubbering non-contemplative mesmerization. Fart jokes, burp songs, practical jokes emphasizing cruelty, engaging in trash talk with rival sports fans or about a previous romantic experience, and the subtle influence imposed on specific independent individuals by their larger group amusement state or more accurately, their larger group – pseudo, pretend, and feigned – amusement state, all exemplify this dynamic. Even the use of boring and uninteresting conversation, or numb and fake conversation, with only a subconscious intent to unconditionally ensnare another’s attention, is an example of this woeful benign amusement.

While the benign form of amusement may sometimes be harmless and/or a simple break from reality and contemplative awareness, typically both forms are dastardly and heinous. They both promote delusion via withdrawal and distraction from visceral perception and awareness; they negate reality, serving the same effect on people as that of an addict succumbing to a fix or a hit. But the drug of amusement is tragically and counterproductively swallowed under the satiating pretense of enlightenment and a desired interaction with the best aspects of life. Nothing could be further from the truth. Amusement is the doublespeak-doublethink bastardized child of, the Bizarro antivilian to, and the Dark Sided Sith, of aware and willfully applied  humor. Do not mistake this poison for wine, no matter the sparkle, spectacle, and charmful elegance of the decanter it resides within.

(continued and completed in Part 2)

Cribb          2017

A Capacity for Irrelevant Dancing (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 198)

Blood beats in the ears. Beat, beat, beat. A slow drum in the darkness, beating in the ears of one who lies wakeful with fever, with the sickness of too much misery. It beats unceasingly, in the ears, in the mind itself. Body and mind are indivisible and in the spirit blood painfully throbs. Sad thoughts droop through the mind. A small pure light comes swaying down through the darkness, comes to rest, resigning itself to the obscurity of its misfortune. There is resignation, but blood still beats in the ears. Blood still painfully beats, though the mind has acquiesced. And then, suddenly, the mind exerts itself, throws off the fever of too much suffering and, laughing, commands the body to dance. The introduction to the last movement comes to its suspended, throbbing close. There is an instant of expectation and then, with a series of mounting trochees and a downward hurrying, step after tiny step, in triple time, the dance begins. Irrelevant, irreverent, out of key with all that has gone before. But man’s greatest strength lies in his capacity for irrelevance. In the midst of pestilences, he builds cathedrals; and a slave, he can think the irrelevant and unsuitable thoughts of a free man. The spirit is slave to fever and beating blood, at the mercy of an obscure and tyrannous misfortune. But irrelevantly, it elects to dance in triple measure—a mounting skip, a patter of descending feet.

Antic Hay

Aldous Huxley          1923

Love Not of the Real Child (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 197)

It is one of the turning points in therapy when the patient comes to the emotional insight that all the love she has captured with so much effort and self-denial was not meant for her as she really was, that the admiration for her beauty and achievements was aimed at this beauty and these achievements, and not at the child herself. In therapy, this small and lonely child that is hidden behind her achievements wakes up and asks: “What would have happened if I had appeared before you, sad, needy, angry, furious? Where would your love have been then? And I was all these things as well. Does this mean that it was not really me you loved, but only what I pretended to be? The well-behaved, reliable, empathic, understanding, and convenient child, who in fact was a never a child at all? What became of my childhood? Have I not been cheated out of it? I can never return to it. I can never make up for it. From the beginning I have been a little adult.

The Drama of the Gifted Child: the Search for the True Self

Alice Miller          1994

Supernerd Boy and Mr. Robot (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 196)

During my shared little shit fits and grumblings of frustration over observing people and their disheartening behavior towards themselves and one another, my girlfriend has often asked me if I believe that everyone is unstable and delusional. My answer is always the same; the overwhelming majority by far. Her response to my retort has become set in stone. “If you think everyone else is delusional and unstable, doesn’t that mean that you are the common denominator and suggest that you might be the only one who is delusional and unstable and not everyone else?”

I believe it to be an oversimplified and distractive question, but I still understand and acknowledge its merit. At this point in the dialogue, I have to remind her that I have never really declared my sanity or used it as a pedestal to stand on in front of others. If anything, I have flayed myself wide open in admission and vulnerability for anyone who desires to know the real me. I remind her how much time, how much desire, how much effort, and how much luck has been necessary for me to escape most of my demons and achieve the degree of stability and enlightenment which I have. I further remind her that it is a constant and never ending process for me, just as with anyone else attempting the same, to keep the delusion in check and to perpetuate personal stability.

Maybe it is an exchange and exercise she needs to test me with periodically, a barometer to see if I will continue to remain true to my thoughts in the challenges of time and redundant inquiry. Sometimes, questions and answers need to be repeated to fan the flame of motivation necessary to willingly engage your fear. And I should always re-challenge and reevaluate my perceptions and conclusions. One should never be allowed to become stagnant in the acceptance of such beliefs.

So, with all of this forever branded into my mind, I found it quite intriguing last night when watching a brilliantly written television show, to observe an imaginary character from the subconscious of a paranoid schizophrenic empathic genius, deliver an eloquent and comprehensive monologue, defining and illustrating how despite his existence as a delusional construct of a psyche, his inherent awareness still defined him as being more real, specifically far more real, than what the rest of the world had become and was systematically continuing to be with its collective awareness, perceptions, and behavior for over at least the last fifty years.

Bravo Mr. Robot, bravo.

Cribb          2017