inertia of TV


inertia-001-jason-decaires-taylor-sculpturePOSTCARD 141: New Delhi: I passed a shop selling TVs, walked in and stood there for a moment in the zizzling static of huge glowing plasma screens. We don’t have a TV at home, haven’t owned one for nearly 5 years. It seems alien to me now, ‘entertainment’, compulsive Bollywood movies with high-power advertising every five minutes. I managed to kick the TV habit many years ago in the house in East Anglia. Reblogged below are some excerpts from the post I wrote about that event.

(Originally dated October 2, 2012): There used to be a TV here but I gave it away. A big old fashioned dinosaur TV, too large for this little old cottage. No room for it; limited floor space, low ceiling height, clutter and junk (jutter and clunk). I manhandled the TV upstairs but it was no good there; then downstairs again and hurt my back in the process. It was always in the way; just too big. I had it under the table for a while but it looked silly there… and I started to see that it had to go.

But I was dependent on TV watching; every other activity took second place to that, and attempting to disengage from TV was a struggle. What to do? I’d try switching it off suddenly, right in the middle of something, a chat show, whatever, just to see what the room felt and looked like without all the noise, bright lights and rewarding, congratulatory applause. But every time I did that, the absolute silence of a world without TV was devastating! The lack of colour and severity of greyness in the house was just… sad! I had to switch it on immediately. TV was like a friend, I couldn’t say goodbye to it. I kept on doing that, though, switching it off and on again, in the middle of programmes, to surprise myself. Eventually I started to get interested in the idea of the silence that remained without TV, typical of the location I was in – a house surrounded by quiet fields and nature.

But TV-cold-turkey was no fun and I was in denial for a very long time. Then one day I was watching the BBC news and noticed the newsreader pronounced his words with a weird sort of ‘smirk’… kinda disgusting, and then the whole ugly ‘self’ aspect of it was revealed. Shocking, but I was glad it happened because it was obvious then that I didn’t feel comfortable with TV in the house – it had to go. I carried it out the back door and left it in the garden; went back inside and discovered this huge space in the room where it used to be. Interesting to see the directions in the room created by a focus on TV; chairs arranged so that viewing could take place comfortably. So I rearranged the furniture, changed it all around, and that was really quite liberating.

I’d return to the kitchen window from time to time and look at the TV out there in the garden – holding my attention, still… thinking, that object should be ‘inside’, not ‘outside’. Completely out of context in the garden, but I just left it there; no longer connected to it. Later that day, it started to rain and drops were falling on the dusty black surface – the urge to take it back in… that was difficult. The neighbour dropped by and he said it’s not a good thing to leave a TV out in the rain. I told him I didn’t want it anymore, maybe he’d like to have it for his spare room? Okay thank you very much… and, you’re welcome. So I gave him the channel changer and that was it. Off he went and I watched him carry it into his house, happily bewildered by my generosity and failing to understand my joy at having escaped the inertia of TV.

‘Like a thief entering an empty house, bad thoughts cannot in any way harm an empty mind.’ [Padmasanbhava]

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Photo: Jason deCaires Taylor’s underwater sculpture, ‘Inertia’. Click here for more images.
Excerpts from an earlier post, titled The End of TV.

60 thoughts on “inertia of TV

  1. Great post! As i recognized all of this before i moved into my house where i live now, i don’t have a tv.

    Yet i wonder if i don’t have the same challenge with the personal computer here.. a little bit more freedom, but still a screen to stare at.. :wonders:

    • This is it, the addiction shifts to the computer screen. Yes but at least there’s an opportunity to ‘choose’ when you have to create what you want to see. On TV there’s often just the hours of mindless channel surfing, searching for some kind of TV happiness that doesn’t exist…

  2. I too got rid of a large analog TV some years back in the switch over to digital here in Australia. I took it to the dump and felt the conditioned ‘uncomfortable’ arise leaving a perfectly good (although soon to be out-of-date) item at the dusty designated area of ‘electrical goods’. I placed it carefully on the rocky barren ground next to all the other dishevelled and broken TVs, telling myself that if I look after it (even at the dump), someone in need might come along soon and give it a good home. As I got back in my car and began to leave, the friendly dump worker came over and picked up my TV, by it’s electrical cord, and dragged it along the ground, screen face down, screaching to the next section. My heart ached at the sound and sight of it. Thankfully now I no longer own a TV, preferring the ease of my iPad and ABC catch up (no commercials). 🙂 However, I’ve been wondering about letting go of this too lately. I find it difficult to find programs of interest these days, even on the ABC, and often stop watching them. I do realise or feel a form of dependency, or company, is being met whilst living alone. I like your idea of just turning it off at random and seeing how the room feels. I’ll try that. Thanks for a great post. Mx

    • Thanks Melinda… sad story about an old TV, the attachment – something we can all relate to. I recognise the feeling when you ‘placed it carefully on the rocky barren ground’, your TV was still part of you, even though it was in the dump. Then the shock when it was unceremoniously dragged away. Everything comes to an end, but something new arises to take its place – there’s always an opportunity to review our relationship with objects.
      I was going to use the title: ‘hypnosis of TV’ and maybe that does describe it better. The situation where it’s almost against your will, quite difficult to snap out of it. It’s possible that with iPad and videos, the power of TV is less than it was – at least the controlling effect of TV News has diminished, people are beginning to ‘wake up’ now. What we need to be able to do is know when enough is enough, switch off these devices and re-enter the world 🙂 Thanks for this lovely comment…

      • Thanks Tiramit… yes it was interesting to watch the attachment to the object ie old TV and the parental conditioning of such items being held in high regard, play itself out. I’m glad to say I’ve recovered 🙂 and am much happier with my relationship to TV/Video entertainment these days. Yes I agree with you about the TV News. Something I happily let go of many years ago. I’ve always felt that if there is something really important going on in the world, someone will tell me. Still find it works today. 🙂 Cheers Mx

      • This is it, there’s a lesson to be learned from the no-choice circumstance, having to let go and seeing the attachment play itself out. It helps in more difficult situations when there is a choice but there’s an unthinking engagement with the object that’s preventing the automatic relinquishing. Essentially there’s an awareness about habitual thinking that doesn’t lead to anywhere good and just then, seeing it for what it is, the natural reaction is to let go of it for a moment, and there’s a tipping point in having pretty nearly made the decision to allow it to go – all of a sudden it’s going… there it goes, and it’s gone.

      • Love this Tiramit… and know exactly what you say… the everyday moments of ‘letting it go’ are becoming more and more frequent here, which in itself creates more and more resting or spaciousness. Ahhhhh. Much love Mx

      • Yes, a great easing… knowing that all ‘driven’ stuff and all the intensity, jaw-clenching obsessive behaviour; all of it just falls away.

  3. I used be a fanatic with a whole line up for prime time every night. Finally I broke away. Then I got sick and I needed something to do as I laid in bed recouping. Now I tape my shows and watch them when ever I need to rest. I enjoy the quiet too and will turn off the TV at any given time.

    • Thanks Kimberly and I hope your struggle with illness is easing off these days. Interesting to think that having to rest because you’re ill is what does it with TV. There’s a passivity about it usually, applying a structure like taping your shows to watch later is the way to break the passive enthrallment…

  4. we become happy if we let things go usually if we loose interest in them, I loose interest in TV nearly one years ago. When I was in Nepal it was kind of compulsion for me to watch TV because every family members gather to watch TV and chit chat and laughter. It has been 6 months I moved to Dubai. I don’t have TV which is big relief. :). Nice post brother . Thanks for sharing.

    • I like this idea that we let things go by losing interest in them, a kind of conscious indifference to things that were once thought to be important. It happens when one sees through it all – the object is maintained by our interest, a desire to ‘have’, to possess. Example, television, we can see through the illusion, consciously lose interest in it, and the need to have TV is no longer there.

  5. I confess I still have a television, Tiramit, but it is used for certain things now. I don’t watch television much per se, but some times when I’m tired I enjoy watching movies. I think, like so many things, there is no one answer here about what one should or shouldn’t do with their televisions. I love that you took yours outside and abandoned it, then peeked at it through the window as the rains arrived. I can feel the difficulty in resisting the urge to go grab it and bring it out of the rain, to fix what’s wrong with the picture… I also loved your description of rearranging the room. It reminded me that it’s really about what we do with the space we give ourselves… what we discover when we realize the room doesn’t have to be as it was… That was just one way of countless many ways that are available… Our lives can be like that I think. There so often seems only one way of looking at them, and then… aha… the same life can look totally different… 🙂

    Peace
    Michael

    • Thanks for this Michael, I’d been happy with the presence of television in my personal space for quite a long time. I was living alone there, off and on (see the post: house on a hill) then sort of woke up to it one day. Suddenly felt it was a tad intrusive in that little old house. Tried to get rid of it and became aware of the attachment… this cherished object. Realised I had to take action, dumped it in the garden, then had to go through that period of reluctant relinquishment (a kind of bereavement?) but after it had gone I stepped into a new world, able to read for hours in the evening, ordered a huge number of books from Amazon and life just moved on: ‘sabbe damma nalam abhinivesaya’

  6. I have been thinking of a life without TV for a while. I don’t watch a lot of it and I hate the way it looks and takes up space. Perhaps when the kids have all moved out.. I love the idea of more expansive silence in the home and more time to read and write.

    • It’s exactly how I felt, but no kids in the house so I only had myself to question the action of getting rid of it. I imagine that when your kids move out and you’re able remove it from your environment, it’ll be a great relief. Besides, there are other ways of streaming images nowadays and you can choose when you want to do that…

    • It’s true, easier said than done maybe… courage supported by an underlying conviction that’s suddenly there – this helps. I had to do something immediately so I put the TV out in the garden (no shed or garage). Happily, the neighbour took it away a few hours later and the decision was made for me…

  7. I’ve never owned a TV and apart from the odd bout of couch surfing between homes I haven’t shared a dwelling with one since the early 80s.

    What most prompted me to ditch it was that the shared accommodation places I lived in functioned far better without it. Apart from avoiding the disputes TV itself engendered there was the fact that we actually spent time interacting with each other instead of vegging out in front of the boob tube.

    There have been a couple of downsides though. One has been the increasing alienation between myself and most of my community. It’s not just that so many water cooler conservations centre on whatever banality polluted the airwaves last night. It’s also that many of my peers form their opinions and preferences either in accordance with or in reaction against what they’ve seen on the tellie. Another downside is that when I’m inevitably exposed to television – in doctors’ waiting rooms or when visiting friends or rellies – I now find it almost intolerable. Ignoring the TV and reading a book while waiting for an appointment is one thing but doing so as a guest in someone else’s living room is a bit of a social faux pas. Not as much as daring to interrupt a program with something as unstimulating as a conversation though.

    Then one day I was watching the BBC news and noticed the newsreader pronounced his words with a weird sort of ‘smirk’… kinda disgusting

    One of the last TV programs I regularly watched was Not the Nine O’Clock News. The regular skit that stayed with me is Pamela Stephenson doing a send up of the smug ‘liberalism’ and racism of BBC newscasters, in particular her monkey-like facial expressions while over-pronouncing African names.

    • “I haven’t shared a dwelling with one since the early 80s.”
      This sums it up for me, TV is like an intrusive presence that you live with and would really like to not have in your space but you can’t seem to do anything about it. In fact there’s got to be a pretty good reason to have it removed from your life, otherwise it stays there. I used to think it was a choice, but realised this was really masking a kind of addiction. Not a problem, it’s easy to get rid of TV once you decide to do it. Most people don’t, see it as socially acceptable behaviour, become subject to all the whims and fancies and “form their opinions and preferences either in accordance with or in reaction against what they’ve seen on the tellie”. Interesting here how the ‘reaction against’ is as strong as the ‘accordance with’. So that even though TV viewers can be aware of ‘the smug ‘liberalism’ and racism of BBC newscasters’, and be uncomfortable with that, it’s likely they’ll see it as the usual reaction-against emotion and allow it to feed into that sort of logic. Orwell’s 1984 revisited…

      • Interesting here how the ‘reaction against’ is as strong as the ‘accordance with’.

        I had that illustrated to me not long after my recent move.

        My new neighbour likes to stand in her garden while speaking very loudly on her cellphone. Apart from the volume I was discomfited by the way most of her conversations seem to consist of condemning mutual acquaintances of herself and whoever she was speaking to. It was only when a TV watching friend of mine visited that I learned at least some of the people she so vehemently slags off are characters from TV programs.

        I think a lot of the function of modern media is the same as Orwell’s two minute hate – though it’s more like a 24/7 hate. As in 1984, many of the objects of hate are fictional.

      • Pretty scary how it functions in adversity; a population blinded by television, fiction becomes reality – a benign schizoid state. Trapped in a world of vivid sensory input, surrounded by causes and conditions but never able to turn around and see the actuality of it. Ignorance is willful ignoring, avidya, a profound misunderstanding of the nature of reality, obsessed with not knowing. Fortunately, I don’t have to struggle with it so much because I’m mostly in non-English speaking countries so TV presentations don’t immediately catch my attention. Also there are vestiges of spirituality in Asian countries that have been practically abolished in the White culture.

    • I’m not inclined to give much credence to that sort of thing.

      Firstly, the fact that they’ve correlated brain states associated with suggestibility in TV watchers (I’m assuming here they set up decent controls, but that’s a pretty big assumption when it comes to pop-culture oriented neuroscience) doesn’t add to anything standard observation and common sense tells us. They probably started with the same assumptions about suggestibility we already use before even looking at brain states, so their logic is likely circular. More to the point there’s almost certainly far more going on in the brain (or wherever else the mind ‘resides’ – it sure ain’t safe assuming the mind is entirely emergent from the brain) than what they observed, some of which could neutralise, modulate or redirect the states they associate with suggestibility.

      Secondly it’s a pretty big stretch to assume suggestibility is automatically bad – even if advertisers think they can exploit it. Obviously we have evolved suggestible states of mind for a reason (probably lots of them). They could be important for socialisation or just to suspend disbelief long enough to enjoy a good story.

      Sadly contemporary neuroscience – especially of the kind that gets into the media – is characterised by massive over-reach, not only in terms of good science but even more fundamentally in terms of unexamined ontological and epistemological assumptions. That’s one reason I called my blog ‘Neurodrooling’. I can’t remember who said “if the brain was simple enough to understand we would be too simple to understand it” but I think that’s doubly true of the mind.

      • I too am sceptical about this kind of thing. Certainly I appear to myself to be able to overcome advertising suggestibility, for example. Perhaps I was wrong to link to the article here.

      • Okay, as far as I’m concerned, to link the article here. I have so little exposure to TV these days I don’t have much to say other than it’s pretty hypnotic, and don’t watch it. Helps of course when it’s all in a language you have to apply cognitive faculties to understand and you pretty soon realise then it’s not worth it…

      • Yeah, I think personal experience and self-examination are far better guides to that sort of thing than pop neuroscience. Unfortunately many of its practitioners are pretty well versed in common prejudices, confirmation bias and cognitive dissonance and so often exploit our need for ‘objective’ confirmation of our own opinions. So you get people like Susan Greenfield pretty much making a career out of ‘finding’ neurological evidence to support the same old moral panics that have been the staple of the tabloids since Pulitzer invented yellow journalism (or at least inventing theories as to why that evidence must exist).

      • She’s the one with the pink and green hair, yes, I suppose it’s just selling the product in the same way as everything else is sold. Like the TV news is a scripted performance created for a malleable audience and let’s see what they do with this sort of thing, learning over the years how best to create a form that’s ‘suitable’ and sticking with that

      • She’s the one with the pink and green hair, yes

        I think you mean Susan Blackmore. While she’s also a neuroscientist prone to overplaying her data she’s not in the same league as Baroness Greenfield when it comes to self-interested pseudoscience.

        One example was Greenfield’s promotion of Brain Gym, a series of exercises rolled out to schools all over the world – especially the UK – that basically consisted of getting kids to throw a small bean bag from hand to hand to supposedly boost their IQs. Greenfield provided a media platform and a load of neurobabble supposedly supporting its efficacy – despite a complete lack supporting trial data. And whaddya know, the good Baroness just happened to have a large stake in the company that sells it. Needless to say the trials that have since been done have detected no improvement in the kids subjected to it. Nonetheless it still receives taxpayer funding in schools here and in the UK.

        Greenfield is a good example of an advertiser who gets in under the radar of many who think themselves immune to advertising.

      • Yes, thanks for that. Just read something about the spurious data in her “500 peer-reviewed papers”. Truth doesn’t matter if you’re hoping to sell copies of your book and people just buy it because they don’t want to know that it’s all bogus, the tipping point or whatever…

      • Yeah, the ‘internet rots your brain stuff’ is a perfect example of the sort of tropes far too many neuroscientists play up to. You can trace widespread beliefs in every generation back to Plato that “The yoof of today are going to pot because of (insert recent technology or social trend here)”. It was even said about books with the invention of the printing press.

        Like so many mind science fields, neuroscience is full of those who offer a superficial scientific imprimatur to widespread existing prejudices.

        If you’re actually interested in this sort of stuff I’d recommend A Skeptic’s Guide to the Mind: What Neuroscience Can and Cannot Tell Us About Ourselves by Robert Burton. Burton is both a neuroscientist and a philosopher of science. When you bring those two fields together a surprisingly large proportion of the former can be seen to have no clothes. Unfortunately, in my view even Burton is working from a couple of very shaky ontological assumptions, but compared to almost all the other writers I’ve seen in the field his is a fresh breath of scientific skepticism and philosophical rigour.

      • Thanks for all your comments, I made a note about the Robert Burton book and if I have time will read it. “…neuroscience is full of those who offer a superficial scientific imprimatur to widespread existing prejudices.” What you’re saying here makes a lot of sense. All too often, people just believe whatever it is that’s dished up to them. We all need to be made more aware of the power of media…

      • I appear to myself to be able to overcome advertising suggestibility too. As far as I can tell everyone can say that sincerely about themselves. If we’re all correct there’s billions of dollars spent every year on an industry that has zero effect.

        It’s probably safer to say I can’t see the ways in which I’m susceptible to advertising.

      • Can’t imagine your contribution or mine or Ben’s amounting to much in terms of the billion dollar investments 🙂 but if you consider how George W came to be President you have to realize they already have more than enough buyers… the blind, deaf and dumb analogy stretches that far too

      • Hey, I’m typing this on a Windows box. I’ve got a pretty strong background in IT that tells me Windows is an inferior operating system. I also went to a bit of effort in the 90s trying to convince people I knew to adopt Linux instead. But the standard’s not set by the best product but by the most successfully marketed one. I eventually relented both because there were so few applications being developed for, or ported properly to, Linux and because I needed to keep my Windows skills up to be able to assist the people and organisations I work with who use it.

        So even when I can see through it I’m still susceptible to advertising.

      • Sorry, I’m saddened to hear you’re a Windows person, I’m a Mac person. I had a friend in the 90s who attempted to convince me about Linux but I just waited till things got simpler and I gave Windows a try but decided it was a very poor and cheap version of Mac… not necessary to get into this. I think that if you can ‘see’ the influence, and are aware of it happening then it’s not subliminal and you can choose not to purchase inferior products 🙂

      • Even Macs are now ‘Windowised’. About 12 years ago Apple abandoned it’s own processors and adopted Windows compatible Intel ones for greater compatibility and portability of programs. OS X has increasingly been developed with Windows compatibility in mind. Macs still probably have the edge with regards to CAD/CAM and a few other graphics heavy apps but it’s getting harder and harder to slide a cigarette paper between the two OSs. Macs do tend to be significantly more expensive than equivalent Windows boxes though. And if claims that Apple are a more ethical company than Microsoft were ever true it stopped being so in the 1980s. Even the claim that Apples are more malware resistant is no longer true.

        However Apple’s promotion of Macs and OS X as the choices of sophisticated non-conformists has been a masterpiece of successful marketing that has kept Macs alive much longer than their merits alone would ever have done.

  8. I find it hard to believe that Macs are now ‘Windowised’, simply because the Windows OS was such an ugly thing, but you know better than me with your background. And the choices of sophisticated non-conformists falling prey to successful marketing or was it just a better machine maybe? I can’t remember being overly influenced by marketing, it looked plain, no frills and had icons you could drag and drop. So I gave up Windows from that day on. It may be different now, could be Windows are morphing into Mac (can’t imagine it the other way round). Anyway this is all relevant to the topic, it’s mostly about salesmanship because the public have had their own innovative ability squashed out of them and tend to accept the best offer etc…

    • Both Windows and Mac OS came from the operating system of the Xerox Star, an amazingly innovative (and expensive) machine I worked on in the early 80s. It was Xerox’s Palo Alto team that developed the WIMP concept (windows, icons, mice and pull-down menus). The Star had drag and drop icons from the start, as did both Windows and Mac OS, but it’s fair to say that in the early days the drag and drop functions of OS were more comprehensive and intuitive than those of Windows. The last I used a Mac (about seven years ago) that was barely true though. Windows had almost caught up.

      • Interesting to have this technical info. It was about ten years ago I switched to mac and the strange thing is that now I have this psycho-repulsive thing if I have to use windows. I suppose it’s got something to do with preferences, that’s interesting too…

    • I should also mention that Apple was a couple of years ahead of Microsoft in adopting WIMP protocols. Microsoft got its start with MS-DOS, a non-WIMP operating system based on the 8-bit CP/M operating system that was originally upgraded for 16-bit machines by developers as an interim measure while waiting for a proper 16-bit OS. Before Microsoft acquired it MS-DOS was called QD-DOS. The QD stood for ‘Quick and Dirty’.

  9. Very nice and thoughtful to reflect on ‘feeling space’ and consumption.

    Some time ago, I drew a small cartoon which will reproduce on my blog, but can share it as a thought experiment here.

    I wanted to draw a cartoon that showed “TV reality” as real, and see us from their perspective. So we see “Friends” or some such, with happy people playing around. In the background is their TV. But their TV shows us watching them. What they see is a sallow eyed, bleak reality of empty expressionless “friends” watching them, the blue flicker on their faces. They look a little like Eduard Mönch’s “the scream”, but in a group, and without the self awareness or protection of the hands to the face.

    No wonder the “Friends” don’t watch us on TV…

    A nice book about these topics is Jerry Mander’s [sic] “In The Absence of The Sacred”.

    • By the way, for me personally it is interesting to extend our lessons about TV to all tools and consumption. A TV is a marvelous invention of human ingenuity. So is a fork. Or a screwdriver, or a chair. Tools change the way our bodies and minds interact with reality.

      Food, TV, the Internet, computers etc are consumptive tools. That is, they are useful and give us utility, but also greatly change the way we use our time, bodies, minds. A fork also does this. But these extreme consumptive tools make these effects much more obvious.

      In the “old days”, humans probably spent much more time interacting, moving their bodies in the task of acquiring and preparing food. Now we spend it often not interacting directly, not moving, and not preparing food, but instead interacting with ‘information’. When we see what a drastic change this has been in such a short time, roughly after WWII, it is jaw – dropping, and seems like science fiction, and we might turn to saner minds like Douglas Adams to find more reasonable solutions of how to react, perhaps having robots to feel for us or watch TV for us. 🙂

      An interesting experiment would be to make a spreadsheet of “tools” (just randomly sample a few), then think about: how often do I use it? What direct effect does it have? What side effect does it have? Opportunity cost? Social effect? How long did I have to work to acquire it? How much energy does it use? Does it make my life richer or poorer (deep gut feeling)? Etc.

      Perhaps also interesting to look up the origin of the word “robot” and the concept of “energy slave” by Buckminster Fuller.

      • Ah, just a last thought. Similar to your original post: what immediate relationship do my feelings have with this tool? What deeper effect? (Numbing, attachment, etc)

        I don’t mean to say that everything is “bad”, but when we step back and look at the massively high number of choices we theoretically have, it is curious that we choose such a “low dimensional” choice that can also lead to diabetes, obesity, depression, etc etc.

      • As you say, it’s not necessarily ‘bad’ but I think TV can be like an addictive drug for many people. They are ‘trapped’ by it, unable to make rational choices…

      • Sorry I can’t seem to get WordPress to let me post these replies in the correct order.
        TV and the internet, etc., all facile tools for the most part sold to consumers who are likely to fall into a state of hypnosis as soon as the screen is on. The example of ‘robot’ you use could be applied to the mesmerised masses who respond to the same old triggers…

    • Thanks for your comments and apologies for this late reply. I checked out the book on Amazon: The Failure of Technology and the Survival of the Indian Nations. I know plenty of people here in Delhi who would be interested.
      I like your cartoon idea and Eduard Minch image of TV watchers…

  10. I too have abandoned the TV. It”s draw of attraction to me started to fade about 7 or 8 years ago. Know I see it, especially The News as some twisted identity liking to invade my life. That tortured sneer of suggestion that looks to haunt you.
    You know I question if my perceived reality at times is conscious intent, as though I have some control over it or if being is simply happening and my mind is a step behind it attempting to take credit for it. I’d like to cast myself as some “enlightened” being that has no fear and is simply sitting in admiration of life with awe and a smile. I don’t believe though that state of indifference to our mind is achievable. No matter who we may be. Be it J.C., Buddha, or what have you. The duality of life is and the non duality we look to is sonething we continually have to let go of (the mind) in order to be.
    I remember watching The Dali Lama speaking in a interview. He was being asked about China’s involvement in Tibet and as he spoke about it. He came out of his habitual smile and became concerned and his demeanor changed from this happy man of acceptance to a concerned individual expressing the “wrong” of China’s control. I smiled to myself seeing that as it showed me that none of us have a looking glass or a TV inside us that allows us to have a permanent vision of being.
    I look at J.C. having to cone to terms with the crucifixion and how he needed to meditate for some time to simply Be. I feel that had.Buddha been faced with crucifixion he to would have to find the place with in himself to over come that fear that threatens the thought of himself.
    That all may sound like heavy thinking but it helps me to see it that way so I can be okay with my fear in my way.

    • Hi tommyg, it’s taken me a while to reply, thinking about the JC imagery and what the symbol you’ve used as an example actually means to me – I suppose it’s what I ran away from originally, unwilling to face that.
      I later discovered it again in the Four Noble Truths; there is Suffering and there’s a Cause of suffering. When you see that, you know there’s a Way to deal with it, and the 8fold Path shows how it’s done. This makes more sense to me as a teaching than just the focus on Suffering, then getting to the Way simply through belief. People need a bit more pragmatic guidance; suffering has a cause (wanting things to be different than what they are) and indicates the way to go to be free of it – otherwise they get stuck in ignoring (ignorance).
      It’s almost as if TV is doing the opposite; encouraging attachment, stimulating craving. Easy to do because there’s this deep familiarity with the illusion – the human condition, everything is perceived. It’s hidden and obscured yet once you see through it, it’s impossible to return to that gullibility… you just know. I like what you’re saying about reality just unfolds and mind rationalises how it appears, looking through windows of eyes at ‘appearances’, something happening ‘out there.’ This is the contemplation, this is the mystery and there are some individuals in the world who have felt compelled to find a way to understand that.

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