Concurrently this summer, I began to practice orgasmic meditation, read Bukowski’s Post Office and studied Oliver Sacks’ Musicophilia about what happens in the brain when playing or listening to music and how brains work to evoke experience ranging from subcortical automatic responses to cognition and optical and audio experience. More about Bukowski later.
Re the brain, fMRI shows that different areas of the brain are active when playing or listening to music that are not active in processing language or visual perceptions or imagining (though there’s interaction) or other kinds of audio processing. Bukowski said he didn’t write sober and didn’t write without listening to classical music, which he did on the radio in LA, which probably means KPFK. Today, it would be KUSC since KPFK went to the dogs. The nexus is that music (in common with orgasm) evokes and expresses in the subcortical brain and automatically stimulates the motor cortex. Automatic motor responses in both cases (foot tapping, moaning) can be inhibited by cognitive suppression by higher cortical processes and this inhibition can be (and is) trained by conditioning in early childhood or later and an opposite effect is possible that focuses and trains motor responses, for instance, by practicing an instrument in correlation to a score, drumming with a group, etc. Although, it seems strange that our researchers haven’t correlated the two, the processes of inhibition and expression of sexuality are very similar with similar effect.
At the link, below, I’ve attached the last 4 pages of Musicophilia in which Sacks describes how music excites a sense of self in Alzheimers patients and indirectly, explains why Bukowski listened to classical music on a radio, in order to write.
Something in the rhythm of sexual intercourse unites the sensibility of Beethoven and the honesty of Bukowski’s poetry and on the other side of this combining certain kinds of rhythms with sensual images (or not) evokes orgasmic reverie.
This neurological nexus also explains Bukowski’s view of the Hollywood motion picture business. “I never realized that there were so many movie magazines or magazines interested in the movies. It was a sickness. This great interest in a medium that relentlessly and consistently failed, time after time after time, to produce anything at all. People became so used to seeing shit on film that they no longer realized is WAS shit.” (From ‘Hollywood’, on his experience writing “Barfly”).
(Sex and music. Music and sex. It’s so obvious. Barbarella, I love you and I always have. Why has fate kept us apart?)
“…on writing “Hollywood”(1989)] I found out that Hollywood is more crooked, dumber, crueler, stupider than all the books I read about it. They didn’t go deeply enough into how it lacks art and soul and heart, how it’s really a piece of crap. There are too many hands directing, there are too many fingers in the pot, they’re all kind of ignorant about what they are doing, they are greedy and they are vicious. So you don’t get much of a movie. [from Bukowski: Born into This (2003)].
Bukowski and Sacks are both recently R.I.P., 1994 and last August, respectively, and this leaves us with a question I feel the two of them, together, could have answered. I imagine it would be like having Bach and Darwin discussing tantra. Perhaps, if Sacks had written as much about his sexual experience as Bukowski. It’s up to the imagination now. History is like that. I rarely have the right questions when someone is around to answer them or I’m too busy chasing pussy. I don’t know.