The brain can only function excellently…at its highest capacity and energy, when it is completely secure…when it is not believing, or holding onto some illusions, some concepts/beliefs/fate…some fantastic ideas. Or- the ideas of Marx, and Lenin, [krishnamurti,] and so on. Or- our own democratic ideas and holding onto them.
-taps microphone a few times- Does this thing still work??
My notebook of naturalistic notes is currently on vacation. While hanging with Mr-Baby-Consciousness and his dad earlier this week I left it over at their place. Oops. Way to go!
Yesterday St. Paul saw the most fantastic and gorgeous thunderstorm in…..ever? Was working as the sky became dark. Over the course of a few minutes we found ourselves with monsoon-style rains and water in the basement. I left a cup outside and quickly gathered an inch’s worth of water to sip on….not bad. This morning it again looks grey but not aggressively so. Maybe we’ll get lucky again. It feels pretty marvelous to wake up without issues these days- it felt like half a lifetime that these morning hours were lost to me. But to have a morning sit in a chair, by a window, with coffee & a laptop is a remarkable and redeemable form of satisfaction. The gnashing teeth of car engines continues to beat and batter the eardrums, & to yank the attention span out of the sound of silence. the sound of vehicles driving by has taken on this sickening flavor lately (as referenced in previous posts), & I notice it is most poignant when I’m at home trying to relax. Many times (this morning included) I leave a small fan on to generate some white noise but that’s both annoying and insufficient. Maybe rural living (or living on a street less busy than Selby) would resolve this bizarrely off-putting experience.
The leaves, buds, grass are all quite far along. Last time we spoke they were just erupting from their woody bedspreads but now they are out the door and off to work for the day. It would really serve me to go on another long walk down the railroad tracks – must’ve really colored in by now. 90% of the joy of those railroad walks is the solitude and that is likely much enhanced with the occlusion of road-views. I’ll find out.
The curtains are signaling a bit of a breeze – my skin waits for its touch but nothing yet. The very high squeak of a bird. A lady closes her car door across the street. I inhale through the nose, revealing yet another squeak – guess it’s me, not a bird. A massive blue truck outside – EAST METRO ENVIRONMENTAL (EME) ST. PAUL, MN. THE LOCAL ALTERNATIVE. 651-735-9159
Looks like the wind is picking up. The monkey-mind is tempted to reach its left thumb over to the apple key, & to reach the left index finger over to the T, & to open a new tab, & to type “weather” (or maybe St. Paul weather), & to determine exactly whether or not it will rain, & how much, & how likely it is that it’ll rain on my way to work, & to plan accordingly. this entire image/desire fleets through my mind, but not through my mind’s eye so much as in the quivering of my left hand. to check the weather in this way is essentially a reflex and one that occurs quickly and automatically. but what difference does it make? can’t I keep an umbrella with me either way? the desire to know is what’s at play here, or at the very least the desire to follow through on regular impulse. to rapidly open yet another browser tab is to outwardly and digitally express the death of one’s attention span. why check the weather at this moment? I’m sitting in front of a fucking window! I’ll just bring an umbrella (in order to satisfy the concern about rain) rather than jump through the hoops of a mental formulation (in order to satisfy the concern about rain maybe sorta possibly happening).
these types of mental reflexes are what gets me into trouble sometimes, especially with planning my day. it’s a quick jump to Google whenever I need directions for the bus. But where does that really get me? All of the routes I might need to take somewhere have maps. I don’t use the maps when I use google. And I can’t use Google on the bus. So very often it seems that I’m screwed with regards to weather or getting around on the bus or yada yada yada. A cell phone really didn’t help with that…when the mind satisfies the immediate impulse, and provides itself with intermittent and fleeting confirmation of various factoids, it doesn’t really grasp them. At least mine doesnt & I supposedly have a really fancy memory. How very nice it’s been to avoid that extra browser tab & simply figure it out. With the bus example that means using the maps that are on the bus and also asking someone how something is done. Getting verbal input from someone is so much more valuable and often leads to a more direct answer. In the Vision of the Cell my mind appreciates the tendency of microorganisms, enzymes, mitochondria, etc. to help one another out within the vast architecture of the interstitial fluid.
More cars. The curtains are still dancing with the breeze a bit but this time my skin feels licked – rather, the outside of my pants. A bit cool but not excessively so. I’ll wear leggings underneath my cottony pant things &
hopefully that will be sufficient I’ll assume that will be sufficient. Suddenly it begins to snow! What??? Large chunky flakes fall from the sky….oh just kidding that’s my dandruff.
this kid is too darned adorable. I’m currently with him at his momma & poppa’s – they’re out on a date. and lucky them, because both of them are pretty swell folks. as is their little boy here – his facial expressions are so remarkably nuanced. sitting with him & constantly smiling at him, trying to make him smile back – i am instantly reminded that He Sees Through Me, and wont be irrationally tickled into a happy state. immense and subtle is his learning – amazing to watch him move, grasp, re-grasp, squeak, re-grasp, drop……like a drop of ink falling into the water. the ink (baby) & its environment (water) are not separate, but are distinct…..& adjust, mingle, altering one another reciprocally. even most contemporary language in the world of developmental psychology and developmental neuroscience is suggestive of this idea that babies are ‘learning the skills needed to be an adult,’ as if the passivity of embodiment suddenly vanishes at old age. in my experience both the adult (or the advanced adult/senior/cute old prune) and the child follow this same ink-water relationship. perhaps the adult-ink has settled more equally into the water, and is more familiar with the turnings of the water, and vice versa. but both follow the same rules, & neither is entitled to magic intentionality.
as a helpful reminder (or perhaps the very prompt) for these lines of thinking are some of the books that mom & dad have sitting around here. The Soul of an Octopus is the clear Ian-choice:
“Popular naturalist Sy Montgomery explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus, the remarkable connections it makes with people, and the vibrant community that arises around this complex, intelligent, and spirited creature. Practicing true immersion journalism, from New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico, Montgomery befriends individual octopuses with strikingly different personalities – gentle Athena, assertive Octavia, curious Kali, and joyful Karma – who show their cleverness in myriad ways: escaping enclosures, creative trickery to get food, and jetting water to bounce balls. Montgomery also chronicles scientists’ growing appreciation of the octopus’s problem-solving as she tells a love story. By turns funny, entertaining, touching, and profound, The Soul of an Octopus reveals what octopuses can teach us about the meeting of two very different minds.”
but resting just nearby is another consciousness-themed text. Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy. I would type the description of that one but it’s too long, and this baby over here is murmuring/moving in his sleep.
Be back soon
“haha Ian I love being in public with you it’s so funny and weird”
“what’s THAT supposed to mean”
“the way you just yell up at crows and talk to them”
“i talk AT them I do not talk TO them”
“i’m serious. i talk AT them. i can’t talk to animals”
“uh huh. i’m suspicious”
An exciting morning.
Got up for my usual headache-coffee-nomoreheadache-sit in chair-birdwatch-meditate session this morning. My usual perch (the purple chair in the living room) had been twisted in the opposite direction when company came over yesterday, so I turned it around to face the window. Sat. Headache buzzing, coffee steaming (in the “Our Hearts are Very Old Friends” mug, extra sugar, a little milk. No meat for the crows today, even though I’d like to have some, so instead I was just watching them fly about. Pretty loud this morning too.
Suddenly, across the street- a little brown pup. Puppy? Dog? I was unsure. It was lingering on the sidewalk, conspicuously alone – I looked up & down the street while leaning forward in the purple chair. Didn’t see anything. The little thing crossed the street towards my house, now CLEARLY alone, with no collar to speak of. I immediately hopped up out of my chair, leaving the coffee & my keys in the living room, & went down the stairs. Got to the porch & saw the little critter out on the sidewalk in front of my house.
It looked at me – cautiously and intently, while backing away towards Fry street.
It took off. Walking neatly & adorably along the sidewalk – too civil (and too small) to be any type of wild creature. Nope. Definitely domesticated, definitely helpless, definitely hungry and thirsty, and I’m definitely not its poppa. Therefore no surprise that it bolted. The other morning (a few miles away on Jefferson) I saw a poster for a missing dog – even made an effort to memorize the number. On that day I remember walking away & being concerned that I couldn’t remember the number. Not because I was expecting to find a missing dog (I don’t even have a cell phone to call anyone should I run into a missing dog), but because numbers are really fun, & to be forgetful of them is really annoying to me. So as I saw this dog in front of my house, backing away, I remembered the poster – bright yellow, located on Jefferson ave – it had 2 numbers listed. What were they? 651-???-6041? Even though I couldn’t remember them I could remember 2 other details from the poster: that the dog might have its leash or harness on it (purple in color) and that the dog would run away if approached. With the available information, and the small possibility that this was indeed the dog, the best I could do was to not approach it. At least not too clearly/aggressively/etc. After this first moment of observation and cogitation had passed the dog took off from the house pretty quick & I just walked down to the end of the stoop. Watched it run up the street towards Fry, turning left into the lawn of that apartment building on the corner. At that moment it paused to glance back at me – I was still looking at it -& it left. A crow flew overhead as I walked eastward up the street, & as I tried to call out to the dog the crow landed over my head. Even though the dog situation was sorta stressful the crow certainly made me smile. In fact the entire encounter was smile-worthy. For all the intentional and planned and calculated effort I’ve put in buying meat for the crows, & all the exacting regularity with which I’ve fed them, it is of course while I’m out chasing a lost creature that a crow actually comes up to greet me. It sat overhead in the tree & adjusted itself once, so that its head was facing me. I continued calling for the dog up the street, but it was further up Fry. So up Fry I went. Turned right onto Dayton and, upon getting a few houses up the street someone yelled at me from out a window. They were trying to guide me towards the dog – & then the voice asked, “Is that Ian?”
A former classmate from a few philosophy classes was the onlooker! We chatted a bit thru the window about the pup – they had spotted it the night before over on Selby – but the lil’ fella had disappeared somewhere on Dayton and I decided to walk home. Walked home. Decided to go back out. Went back out.
Found the guy back on Dayton & Fry after poking around for a while. Brought him back up to classmate’s house & left him there. I’ll add a little more about the guy & his movements, etc – but I have 6 minutes until I need to leave for work. And to think- as soon as I sat down with my coffee in the living room I had already assumed it would be a boring morning. Guess not!
Grady’s birthday. With quite the gift to me, actually- phone call earlier. Was really nice. Finding myself now in an Art Space. Warsaw gallery (?) on campus. That prickly person-y perturbed silence of imperceptible voices; speech bouncing off of skull-cracking flatness. It’s a calming type of roar, ebbing and dissolving into/out of loudness like waves. It’s the senior art show & that is pretty cool – Juliette’s work has been a big part of her life lately & it’s so nice to see the completed work, her smiling about it, people admiring it. This space is certainly occupied in the verbal sense. Also adding to auditory anomaly and attention is the tapping-off to my right a little art exhibit (?) where you turn your shoes into tap-dancing shoes. There are instructions, straps w/individual metal plates on them. The smaller one the size of a quarter, the larger the size of a silver dollar or a bit larger – and a space for dancing. Dancing space is perhaps 15 by 20 feet (12 by 15?) with purple/pink sheer drapes above & on sides. One side is against wall. Opposite wall is a projector, throwing white shadow-fodder onto the wall. Just in writing this 2 parties of ppl have entered & left. NO way to keep up (as a written description) w their movements.
Taps like glass, stalagtites, dripping and ploppingploppingplopping but not shattering, one of her laces is undone–
Lots of grimaces here. Yknow, that smile that white people have when they see you. It’s posturing, not unlike how students briefly sit up straight when a principal or authority figure enters – the erector muscles in the eager & concerned backs, holding @ attention out of obligation, but not for one minute longer – act in tandem w the muscles of the face in these separate circumstances. The lips tighten, mouth burps upward into an almost-wannabe grin (those w/dimples will falsely proclaim them) – sometimes the eyebrows go up. Mine do, at least.