Buddhism, Meditation, False Narratives, Pop Music and Crazy Love…

IMG_1559What is the goal of meditation, anyway, if not to remove those pesky little thought loops and dangling participles, half-baked ideas and non sequiturs, random musings and assorted misgivings? Notice that these are all verbal manifestations of consciousness, as if that were the only kind, or maybe the worst kind. It’s not…

Sounds are the stickiest mental apparitions to which we (I, anyway) must periodically apply mental floss and chrome dome cleaner, Drano for clogged pipes and Janitor in a Drum for those hard-to-get-to corners where lint just loves to build up unnoticed—until your most important client shows up unexpectedly to discuss next year’s product line and drops his stylo next to that hard-to-reach corner by the sofa, uh-oh…

Sound of Silence at #1 on non-Hit Parade

And there’s a word—three words—for those sounds that get stuck in your head, so prevalent are they, better known as ‘pop hit singles’, their success judged by their ability to get stuck in your bloody head, when really they should be judged by your ability to forget them, at least until it’s time for the next appropriate dose. That’s called jazz…

So meditation serves the same function as your laptop’s disk ‘de-fragmenter’ or ‘cache cleaner’ or some other cyber-jive colon-blow cathartic mother-board de-constipator, and that’s good. Just to sit for an hour or so every day with the specific goal of no-thought, not for a while at least, and no silly love songs either…

I think, therefore I am—NOT!

“I think, therefore I am,” said Rene’ Descartes once upon a time, way back when, back when the Renaissance was just picking up steam, and clever people were saying clever things in and around Europe for the first time in, oh, about 1500 years, feeling their oats and everybody else’s, too, feeling being the key concept here, and likely more important than thought, anyway, simply because thought pretends to so much more, so much more likely to fall flat on its face, as Descartes does here…

Narratives can be nice, and they occupy a large part of our thought process, but they are not identical to it, and that’s where Descartes makes his mistake. There is no doubt that thought existed before language, and is capable of far more than that, so no slight intended. But what exactly was it like? No, wait, that’s too leading. WTF, in fact, WAS it? The problem is that none of us can even remember, as if any one of us can remember what digital media was like before point-and-click. Here’s a clue: it wasn’t media at all. It was command line interface…

Thinking is not the problem—narratives are…

And thought isn’t narrative, ’cause that’s the problem, not thought itself, but verbal narrative, with beginnings, middles and ends just dying to entertain you. And there’s a word for that: stories. That’s the problem, their catchiness, their stickiness, their can’t-get-it-out-of-my-mindedness, and that’s worth Big Bucks on the open market, black market or white, where dreams are sold wholesale, only to be cut with sugar and distributed on anonymous street corners and belated back alleys where refugees huddle over open-pit fires and needles are not needed…

So what’s the ultimate goal, then, if meditation helps to return us to that more primitive state sans narrative? Surely as human beings we are genetically equipped and pre-dispositioned to think, so how can we go about that while avoiding the traps and pitfalls of canned laughter and elevator muzak, silly love songs and sit-com laugh-tracks?

Narratives or Pictures? It’s all Hollywood, baby…

First we can vary the narrative, not so linear and not so predictable, but I think the final answer is to be found in a more visual form of thinking, not unlike the Boolean logic which powers our computers, and something like which must have powered our paleo-brains way back when and all God’s creatures to this very day, to a greater or lesser extent, more than less than, equal or not equal, included or not included, in subsets and Venn diagrams, ‘new math’…

The advantage of visual basic thought is that it doesn’t get caught in the usual thought-loops, while at the same time is intrinsic to memory, your ability to recall likely and ultimately reducible to this singular trait: photographic memory, in each and every one of us to a greater or lesser extent. And if by chance a picture does get stuck in yer bloody head, then you’re in big trouble, ’cause that means you’re in love, you lucky guy, and ain’t nothing gonna’ cure that overnight, not without some sulfur and molasses and twenty feet of nylon rope…

Marketeers want to hack your mind!

Christianity loves it, of course, love that is, and has built a religion around it, dancing like nobody’s watching, nobody’s business, that is, and all that jazz, feeling the feeling, and all that rap, right in yo’ face, but Buddhism is more circumspect, and prefers to take a wait-and-see attitude. Capitalism loves it, too, of course, ’cause that picture you can’t get outta yer head is not only love, but big bucks, consumerist craving, which can be parlayed into multiple trips to the local mall or river Amazon…

But love must be restrained in favor of wisdom, by Buddhist logic, unless we’re talking universal love, compassion and kindness, nothing personal, no possession either implied or intended, ironic that this higher belief system came B4 the simpler love-it-or-leave-it Christianity, or devotional disciplinary Islam, proof of our cultural neoteny, I suppose, putting carts before horses and wisdom before passion, unless it’s passionate suffering, of course, and that’s Buddhism in a nutshell…

p.s. Photographic memory has never been proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, but eidetic memory, wherein an image lingers longer and more intensely than normal, has been proven, and is more prevalent in children, if we can only un-do all that we’ve learned and start all over…