[NetBehaviour] Virus Diary Day 5: Consciousness and Monkey-Mind
maxnmherman at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 24 17:57:14 CEST 2020
I agree Patrick, warm as toast!
But yes the "green infrastructure" stimulus package makes 100% sense and has bipartisan support. Even if Turmp gets re-elected, gosh forbid, the green revolution will start moving its slow thighs in the desert (ha ha get it?).
And oh yes the monkey-mind -- we humans have it much worse than monkeys do! Chitta-vritti, quite onomatopoetic. Due to over-excitement from simplistic ideas of my youth I've taken up meditation for a good 17 years and it indeed is helpful (and I might even say beautiful, deeply aesthetic in its own right, even if that's just "my brain on sufficient oxygen." One phrase I often use is "the tanden, or tether for the monkey-mind." Just be aware of breathing. Quite simple, and surprisingly powerful if done consistently (not like for 10 hours of Hercules effort, but for a few minutes each day for several days in a row). I'm even working on a new frontier of artistic wellness, self-styled Mindfulness-Based Aesthetic Resilience or MBAR. Sounds dumb maybe, but if you look at the real MBI's out there (mindfulness-based interventions) they use poems, which are art. And what do we aesthetic types need more now than resilience?
By the early 90's I felt sure that economies were generally hybrid, some socialism and some market mixed. This applies to today as well as the past and might be intrinsic even. For example, the US government built the internet with taxpayer money, like a railroad so to speak, then let the business people (and financial folks) go about what they do. We ended up with a lot of digital economy.
For the next phase or "revolution" or "cycle of seasons," which is obviously the green one, we need some big new infrastructure again, requiring similar state-funded investment because the right-now profit needs of companies and venture cap won't invest in that decades-away stuff. Need more Keynes, but there is so much libertarian technotopic hooliganism the state has been "delegitimized" to use Janeway's term in Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy. Finance bubbles led to nationalist populism and therefore great gridlock. Ergo BoJo.
Yet: crises (usually but not exclusively wars) historically prompt the state funding of basic infrastructure (railroads, internet, electricity). Today's pandemic is certainly a crisis; the time is ripe for green infrastructure and it has bipartisan support in main-mainstream publications like the WashPost and Foreign Affairs (Baker and Podesta both). Hope is always healthy but right now it might even be practical.
What role for art in all this, for writing? A complex environment to be sure, but the monkey-mind only makes us ill. Calm reflection and a peaceful state lends itself to both insight and quick reflexes, what in the Italian Renaissance they expressed as festina lente, "hurry slowly." Full disclosure I learned this from Calvino's Six Memos. Basho called it "furyu," from the two characters "wind" and "flowing":
the beginning of furyu
song of the north.
Absent a mighty Ministry of Art to dominate and dictate all aesthetic activity in each and every sentient being past, present, and future, what types of actions are conducive to the positives we all (or many of us) want? Trial and error, improvisation, play even, honest friendship, and care for our fellow humans and the living planet are all part of it. Like meditation, it has a subtlety and an intuition about it, a trust of process, a degree of hope with some relinquishment of the urge to control. Opportunities are important, but even if missed new ones appear.
Shared conversations or experiences, while not forcible, are to be valued. Human intelligence, of the aesthetic and scientific and other kinds, is a network of network phenomena (and I don't mean computer ones!). So, in the case of the Mona Lisa, Leonardo, who clearly stated that he was banned on pain of death from clearly stating what he thought the truth was, painted us a map -- a map with which to interpret his writings, as well as to enjoy visually in its own visual right. (Calvino called this memo -- or reminder to us, or tanden -- "Visibility," the flowing interaction of complex systems of words and images and really all else too, as taught by Pythagoras, Ovid, Lucretius, and the Buddha.)
How does the Mona Lisa work? Well I'm no expert, but I have read Calvino and a few books and have tried my best to look at the painting, as well as reading the notebooks. And I'm pretty sure the painting is about the aesthetic and scientific necessity of meditation. Leonardo meditated, the Mona Lisa is meditating, and she looks at us to say "why are you doing your foolish technology all day? Sit with me a while and meditate." The bridge, the history of the human arts, emerges out of the evolutionary distant past to redirect our attention, having drifted to infinitude, back to her, but she wears the fabric of its products as a garment not an implant. We each need to do this "experience" thing, which Leonardo called "the mistress of all who wrote well," for ourselves, a priori and sum res cogitem (if in cogitem we include the fullest sense of art, meditation, communication, expression, the Reason cited in the Constitution, and embodied cognition of every sort).
How do things shift? Sometimes it starts with some people connecting some dots that didn't use to be connected. Then discussing as best they can, not solving everything all at once but sticking with it nevertheless.
All very best during the sequestration,
PS - Leonardo scholarship of the last 500 years does NOT ascribe to the view I'm proposing, the bridge-garment-experience hypothesis. Zwijnenberg of Leiden drifted somewhat toward its direction by noticing in 2012 that the bridge "bridges the macrocosm to the microcosm." But he is laughed at even for that by "strict constructionists" of the expert school; and those of these who I've mentioned BGE to have been well in some cases quite hostile. And how could they not be? They don't want Leonardo to have been a novelist, especially not in Calvino's sense of "the novel as a vast net"; but wishing doesn't make it so. People with the willingness to discuss the Mona Lisa afresh, in this somewhat pan-meditative context, might find it worthwhile to do so. Just one headline and.... After all, what damn good is the painting if we can't look at it, much less see it, much less discuss what we see? Monkey-mind needs to chill and look the Mona Lisa in the eyes. For at least five minutes, and at least three days in a row.
https://www.academia.edu/6742766/Leonardo_da_Vinci_Society_Newsletter_39_Nov_2012_ [see page 9 for Zwijnenberg]
From: NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on behalf of Patrick Lichty <lists at voyd.com>
Sent: Friday, April 24, 2020 6:29 AM
To: netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
Subject: [NetBehaviour] Virus Diary Day 5: Consciousness and Monkey-Mind
Virus Diary: Day 5, Day 45 of Isolation
This one is short.
Then locked in a room, it's easy to loop.
Spiraling in, the walls close, the monkey-mind bangs on the bars.
Forget Wisconsin, LIBERATE ME!
The Super-Ego watches the sleeper; the Id races about madly.
This is where rationalism threatens to go on holiday as the kids cry in hunger because you haven;t been to work for two months.
"I believe the Free Market will shut down any business circulating a virus.", the mayor of Las Vegas said.
Well, that's nice if the incubation period were not 14 days.
I could be to Shanghai, Kathmandu, and Warsaw by then.
Things fall apart, American free-market logic does not hold.
Finally, the Washington post said, "Maybe this could be a call to action on Climate Change"
Said the frog in the Dutch Oven that just blew its lid through the ceiling.
It's hot in here, baby.
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