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

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

But Not (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 194)

Pretext Comment: This passage is the most succinct yet comprehensive statement I believe that I have ever come across which explains the overwhelming majority of ongoing mental illness in any of its various forms.

I knew

what had been done to me,

but not

what I had done to myself.

thoughts without a thinker

Mark Epstein          1995

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

Awakening or Bondage (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 185)

Yet, one of the most compelling things about the Buddhist view of suffering is the notion, inherent in the Wheel of Life image, that the causes of suffering are also the means of release; that is, the sufferer’s perspective determines whether a given realm is a vehicle for awakening or bondage. Conditioned by the forces of attachment, aversion, and delusion, our faulty perception of the realms—not the realms themselves—cause suffering.

thoughts without a thinker

Mark Epstein, M.D.          1995

But It’s Here Now (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 184)

“Some people think that it’s only possible to be happy if one makes noise,” she said, after a pause. “I find it’s too delicate and melancholy for noise. Being happy is rather melancholy—like the most beautiful landscape, like those trees and the grass and the clouds and the sunshine today.”

“From the outside,” said Gumbril, “it even looks rather dull.” They stumbled up the dark staircase to his rooms. Gumbril lit a pair of candles and put the kettle on the gas ring. They sat together on the divan sipping tea. In the rich, soft light of the candles she looked different, more beautiful. The silk of her dress seemed wonderfully rich and glossy, like the petals of a tulip, and on her face, on her bare arms and neck the light seemed to spread an impalpable bright bloom. On the wall behind them, their shadows ran up towards the ceiling, enormous and profoundly black.

“How unreal it is,” Gumbril whispered. “Not true. This remote secret room. These lights and shadows out of another time. And you out of nowhere and I, out of a past utterly remote from yours, sitting together here, together—and being happy. That’s the strangest thing of all. Being quite senselessly happy. It’s unreal, unreal.”

“But why,” said Emily, “why? It’s here and happening now. It is real.”

“It all might vanish, at any moment,” he said.

Emily smiled rather sadly. “It’ll vanish in due time,” she said. “Quite naturally, not by magic; it’ll vanish the way everything else vanishes and changes. But it’s here now.

They gave themselves up to the enchantment. The candles burned, two shining eyes of flame, without a wink, minute after minute. But for them were no longer any minutes. Emily leaned against him, her body held in the crook of his arm, her head resting on his shoulder. He caressed his cheek against her hair; sometimes, very gently, he kissed her forehead or her closed eyes.

“If I had know you years ago . . .” she sighed. “But I was a silly little idiot then. I shouldn’t have notice any difference between you and anybody else.”

Antic Hay

Aldous Huxley          1923

 

 

 

 

The White Nightgown Mindset (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 180)

William James warned his students that a certain kind of mindset was approaching the West—it could hardly be called a way of thought—in which no physical details are noticed. Fingernails are not noticed, trees in the plural are mentioned, but no particular tree is ever loved, nor where it stands; the hair of the ear is not noticed. We now see this mindset spread all over freshman English papers, which American students can now write quickly, on utterly generalized subjects; the nouns are usually plurals, and the feelings are all ones it would be nice to have. The same mindset turns up on the Watergate tapes, and working now with more elaborate generalizations, in graduate seminars in English, in which all the details in Yeats’s poems turn out to be archetypes or Irish Renaissance themes. It is the lingua franca, replacing Latin. The mindset could be described as the ability to talk of Africa without visualizing the hair in the baboon’s ear, or even a baboon. Instead the mindset reports “wild animals.” Since the immense range of color belongs to physical detail—the thatness—of the universe, it is the inability to see color. People with this mindset have minds that resemble white nightgowns. For people of this mindset, there’s not much difference between 3 and 742; the count of something is a detail. In fact the number they are most interested in, as James noted, is one. That’s a number without physical detail.

WIlliam James observed this approaching mindset and associated out from it sideways. He noticed the mindset resembled the upper class of Boston. They too disliked the sordid details—the hair in the ear of religion, the smells of the Irish entryway—and preferred the religion of the One. Naturally, they became Unitarians. If the “cultured people” move into this mindset, a curious thing happens; the upper (spiritual) half of life and the lower (sensual) half of life begin to part company. One part ascends; the other part, no longer connected to the high, sinks. The gaps between grom wider and wider. The educated class has the Pure One, the working class people are left with nothing but the crude physical details of their lives—the husband’s old pipe and the spit knocked out of it, the washing tub, the water and slush from the children’s boots on the entry floor, the corns on the feet, the mess of dishes in the sink, the secular love-making in the cold room. These physical details are now, in the twentieth century, not only unpenetrated by religion, but they somehow prove to the unconscious that “religion is a nullity.” James emphasized that perception, and Stevens grieved over the insight all his life. For the working class there’s nothing left but the Emperor of Ice Cream. The middle class is now the working class, and so the majority of people in the West are worse off than they were in the Middle Ages.

A Little Book on the Human Shadow

Robert Bly          1988