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

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

Most Mouths (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 193)

One of the most bizarre and most difficult experiences I find myself continuing to endure in life is when a person seeks my help, knowledge, expertise, commentary, support, and/or advice in exuberant word, but only pseudo-action. I was in my mid-forties before I was finally able to accept that most people don’t even mean or know exactly what they actually say. Most mouths operate on an advertised level of nobility or expectation or polished distraction, while the actions of their host proceed unhindered and untethered in a whatever direction which is often completely antagonistic to their proclaimed desire. Is the pleading and bloviating of falsity a sincere attempt at the ideal, to strive to be better than the demon which pulls our visceral strings? Or is it just a barking mantra of parroted and regurgitated irrelevance, known all along by the speaker to be the penultimate tarbaby of destabilization which might be placed in the arms of the empath? Do these mouths cry out through the bars, as a prisoner might, from the hellish dominion of their maximum security psyches or do they just bullshit on a stage, seeking only power, glory, fixes, and dominance throughout the show of their singing and dancing? Obviously, whichever option rules, a neurotic glitch of the psyche is occurring during these discrepancies and it does appear that most are unconscious of their volatile inconsistencies between word and mouth. To push irrefutable awareness and acknowledgement with eyes stapled wide open on to them or not, that is the question. Who sincerely seeks shelter, aid, and healing, but can only handle so much in their fragility and who is just playing in the dark arts of emptiness and boredom? A terrified, bruised and broken Angel or a conniving Demon, spreading hell on Earth in every way imaginable? I suppose that at the end of all of these questions, none of the answers really matter. What matters most is my response and if I do the right thing, if I proceed as a creature of light, love, and stability. If I can do that, the rest will sort itself out as it should or as best it might, and the darkness that does prowl in its insatiable hunger will never be able to prey upon me.

Cribb          2017

Looking in the Light (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 192)

One night some of Nasruddin’s friends came upon him crawling around on his hands and knees searching for something beneath a lamppost. When they asked him what he was looking for, he told them that he had lost the key to his house. They all got down to help him look, but without any success. Finally, one of them asked Nasruddin where exactly he had lost the key. Nasruddin replied, “In the house.”

“Then why,” his friends asked, “are you looking under the lamppost?”

Nasruddin replied, “Because there’s more light here.”

Seeking the Heart of Wisdom: The Path of Insight Meditation

Goldstein and Kornfield          1987

The Two Poles of the False Self; The Root of much Mental and Behavioral Illness (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 190)

Paraphrased pretext note: According to Buddhist psychology, narcissism is an inherent consequence or side effect of maturation in human existence. It does not necessarily have to become a demon of future suffering, instability, and mental anguish, but most often it does. The adults suffering from such eventually become parents and pass this insufferable torch onto their children via their over invasiveness/intrusiveness or neglectful behavior in relation to their child’s true self. The child’s narcissistic anchor is unable to lock and hold on a stable parental entity in this dynamic and is thus unable to naturally autocorrect by withering away into oblivion from whence it came. Instead, the narcissistic anchor becomes a narcissistic “demon” possessing the child and that demon then assumes one of two possible versions, creating the shell of a false self around the child. Often, the child grows into an adult who continues to carry the demon for the rest of their life.

Cribb 2017

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Just as the philosophers of the Buddha’s day could be described as either eternalists (who believed in an immortal heaven, God, or real self) or annihilationists (who believed only in the meaninglessness or futility of life, so the human psyche finds comfort in alternatively embracing one or the other of these views. they are in fact, the two poles of the false self: namely, the grandiose self developed in compliance with the parent’s demands and in constant need of admiration, and the empty self, alone and impoverished, alienated and insecure, aware only of the love that was never given. The grandiose self, while fragile and dependent on the admiration of others, believes itself to be omnipotent or self-sufficient and so retreats to aloofness or remoteness, or, when threatened, clings to an idealized other from whom it hopes to retrieve its power. The empty self clings in desperation to that which it feels can assuage its hollowness or retreats to a barren void in which it is unapproachable and which reinforces the belief in its own unworthiness. Neither feels entirely satisfactorily, but to the extent that we are governed by the demands of the false self, we can envision no alternative.

thoughts without a thinker

Mark Epstein, M.D.          1995

And Under the Gaze of God? (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 189)

It was a life of order and strict service, an unending sacrifice, a constantly renewed striving for clarity and justice. It was much purer, much better than the life of an artist, vagrant, and seducer of women. But seen from above, with God’s eyes — was this exemplary life of order and discipline, of renunciation of the world and of the joys of the senses, of remoteness from dirt and blood, of withdrawal into philosophy and meditation any better than Goldmund’s life? Had man really been created to live a regulated life, with hours and duties indicated by prayer bells? Had man really been created to study Aristotle and Saint Thomas, to know Greek, to extinguish his senses, to flee the world? Had God not created him with senses and instincts, with blood-colored darknesses, with the capacity for sin, lust, and despair? These were the questions around which the Abbot’s thoughts circled when they dwelt upon his friend.

Yes, and was it not perhaps more childlike and human to lead a Goldmund-life, more courageous, more noble perhaps in the end to abandon oneself to the cruel stream of reality, to chaos, to commit sins and accept their bitter consequences rather than live a clean life with washed hands outside the world, laying out a lonely harmonious thought-garden, strolling sinlessly among one’s sheltered flower beds. Perhaps it was harder, braver and nobler to wander through the forests and along the highways with torn shoes, to suffer sun and rain, hunger and need, to play with the joys of the senses and pay for them with suffering.

Narcissus and Goldmund

Hermann Hesse          1930