One should steal only when one cannot rob!

Let me now imagine god as a woman; images of faces, tones of voice, eyes closing and opening; a magical thing; I’m rendered hypnotizable by this and how are you? A repulsive attraction for some and I feel this when I raise my eyes to the mirror, like the feel of toxins in my body; I like to fly but I don’t like flying solo. Flying solo and toxins  defines me; how can anyone with a rational mind trust this world? And there’s no exit. Sartre made it pay but Zarathustra said,

“…what you abstain from, too, weaves at the web of all human future, your nothing too is a spider web and a spider which lives on the blood of the future. And when you receive it is like stealing, you small men of virtue; but even among rogues, honor says, “One should steal only where one cannot rob.” (F. Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra)

“If we are to remain idealists, without disgust…”

Lately, I’ve wanted to feel life deserves applause, as if life isn’t extraordinary, what’s going on here, in this “universe”, which as a mental construct would make Archimedes wonder, not to mention boys like Jesus, Mohammed and Genghis Khan. Wonder is how I feel and now that I know God is female and the sensations sensible that shocked and tingled; made me laugh at the absurdity of sex.

Early on, I had difficulty understanding at times when things seemed inconsistent with survival and I’m not present to life’s wondrous promise and I feel fear, envy the virtuosity of others, guilt about my fear of being known for who and what I am, I disguise competence in my wish to hide; as if invisible, unknown, not wanting to be known but heard. These idiots would nail me to a cross. Always a Jew in a hive of Christians, afraid to go to Shul, let alone Israel. Anywhere. I inherited the experience at Auschwitz, people in uniform are potential Nazis. Catholics, protestants, methodists, mormons, prebyterians, episcopelians, all. It’s not a rational paranoia. It’s an emotional assessment made without thinking, emotional response.

Growing up, my circumstances were appropriate for un-rewardable pagan lives, not far beyond redemption. Curiosity led me to a protestant Sunday school class in the Temple district of Philadelphia, near Broad and Allegheny. That was the first time I heard of original sin, though the terms were meaningless as immaculate conception but I never got the relevance of the cute blond doll baby, they called, Jesus Christ. Nothing fabulous about Moses, David, King Solomon, etc. The holy trio was credible to me than their Santa Claus, a myth I I considered a benign fantasy and I was stunned in disbelief by the conviction of my Sunday Schoolmates about fabulous stories. Much later, after willingly submitting to the notion that immaculate conception is real, it did very little for me for I didn’t understand the representation of characters . Knowing that God is female, I get it. She’s not rendered un-immaculate, no matter whom (or how) she likes to screw and there is no justice in the world for men.

If we believed that story, clearly we are prepared to believe just about anything. Which explains a lot. God didn’t make up this story, men did. What were they supposed to say, when their partner was pregnant again with another dark-skinned kid born while they were out discovering America, who doesn’t resemble them?  Did they believe the story?  What was their choice? From a practical viewpoint, the incredibleness of immaculate conception and original sin led me to suspect something weird is going on about desire. Erotic love and jealousy, shame, disgust and anger associated with erotic passion are mysterious to a child; the erotic is a subtext in esoteric conceptions of God, devil and Paradise. In any case, Camden, New Jersey isn’t paradise and things can get worse.

The language of this essay may difficult to follow, repetition is intended to draw distinctions and I study my own experience.

The language of this essay may difficult to follow, repetition is intended to draw distinctions and I study my own experience.

When I haven’t felt compassion for the plight of the poor or other kinds of victims of human organization, it is either because I viewed sufferers as responsible for their situations or because I felt I was partly responsible. You can’t feel compassionate for someone you’re beating up, not even when it’s yourself. This would be an oxymoron.

And the will to survive; the natural self-interest of a human being makes us complicit in our downfall, and this could be seen as original sin but it’s not a sin. It isn’t a sin to want to survive, it’s on the mark and we can’t sanely avoid it. Even self-sacrifice serves the survival of something we identify with ourselves. Although I’m certain I didn’t kill Christ nor his followers, I’m open to the possibility that had I been there, depending on circumstances, the way I’m made up, I can see myself in Hitler’s shoes, and even Pol Pot’s. I see myself in the Hitlers in our history and in members of their bureaucracies. Genocide is thinkable for me in that context. On the other hand, I didn’t imagine that people are as stupid and unimaginative as in retrospect, it appears we are. We are too easily influenced by reward. The sweetest little middle class mother feels little discomfort about the plight of victims of the holocaust, famine or of engineering disasters like Fukushima not to mention political phenomena like Goebbels, Dick Cheney, George Bush and/or Richard Nixon, et cetera. It’s not in her interest to disrupt the illusion of distance from the victims.

When fortune smiles on us, our success doesn’t reflect our talent, virtue or intelligence, for good luck, whether accidental or ordained is irrespective of individual circumstances. It’s as true that I’ve caused all the evil in the world as all the good, yet my liability is limited to an arbitrary pittance, perhaps, equivalent to a sum, like $1200 in United States dollars in 2016. It’s mysterious that my personal liability is so limited but it is. I do understand that results were not guaranteed nor harm intentional and that there was contributory negligence—victims are responsible for how they feel their lives turned out. A $1200 price tag doesn’t annoy me and even though animals were hurt in the making of the narrative of my life, the reason I feel no compassion for them is simply because, when I don’t see victims as bringing it on themselves, I see myself as the cause of their suffering; it’s a feeling of guilt associated with gender in narratives of my linguistic heritage, in which this is promoted. I live in a predominantly heterosexual world created by men guided by desires of women that attract and influence men. Bearing and raising children exempts them from responsibility.

Psyche discovers Eros
Psyche discovers Eros

Desire came upon me first as I slept, in dreams. I liked the feel of it but, like Psyche’s Eros, I had no idea to what force I’d binded myself and then blinded myself to it with shame. I wanted to feel only desire and at the same time, shame filled me with disgust at the selfishness of my desire. Leopold Bloom. Don Quejano. Miguel Cervantes.

It had been so long since I had let myself express desire and so pleasure is associated with discomfort. I’m nervous when I see desire in a woman’s eyes because desire renders me vulnerable. I allow myself to feel desire and the shame I feel at my helplessness before it flavors pleasure. I can’t feel other than I feel. I can’t pretend that I’m not nervous around erotic desire. Psilocybin mushrooms allow freedom from inhibiting fear but it hadn’t occurred to me before now that this is the relationship with erotic desire that shapes the current politics of the world.

Greek stoics and their Christian counterparts viewed the erotic as animal, subhuman in this sense, and as sinful and evil and they saw female attraction to the male incompletely: their rationalizations accommodated emotional cognition that governed their behavior and thus, the social order, and their narratives of erotic love are true to this experience, requiring explanations by a deus ex machina to  make sense of it. Gods made human beings as illogical as we are with respect to erotic desire for their own perverse pleasure. Yet, these narratives about erotic love and desire projected a modern world that otherwise couldn’t have come about, including all good and evil in this world. As time went by, narratives that are consistent with the way the world works continued to evolve and here we are.

The logical conclusion revealed in all great narratives in the literary canon is that the world appears to us as it does to a great extent because we distinguish classes of things by emotional cognition. In terms of intimacy and desire, I see men, women, children, black, attractive, repulsive, admirable, Arab, male, desirable, hateful, fascist, and so on and everyone I encounter, falls into classes by dint of blends of emotions I feel towards them in the moment I encounter them. When I realized that we class each other in accordance with emotions they evoke in us and that usually, we look no further than this, I began to challenge myself to look again and this practice, though reasonable, has gotten me into trouble more than once.

We classify people based on the degrees to which they evoke disgust, sexual excitement, compassion, fear, remorse, romantic longing and so on. Then we rationalize about our emotional judgments, which is like profiling. Emotions we feel in the presence of a member of a class are predicted by the class in which we see them, which is justified by previous experience and this includes emotional responses inherited from personal genetic predecessors. When I understood this, I thought to break away from these patterns of perception. I tried everything: yoga, wheat grass, ayahuasca, ecstasy and LSD. I found that my emotional responses define me; they are traits of a personality that developed from experiences from the moment of conception. I found that I can’t unfeel what I’m feeling and the best I can do is to distinguish the justification I invent to explain my emotional judgments so that rational explanations are both understandable and debunked: Jews are acquisitive, children are innocent, women are sensitive, dark skinned people are animals, etc. Then I saw that I’ve adapted many emotional responses from narratives I’ve followed because in following a narrative, I co-create the universe with the story teller. For example, I feel jealousy when a woman I’m with flirts with a black man because I believe black men arouse sexual excitement in white women, an interesting form of racism. I view my emotional responses either as qualities of myself or as a true fact about another; proving inherent qualities of persons I respond to emotionally and all along I thought my judgments are rational when they are really only consistent with my emotional cognitions.

Rational judgments are not judgments at all. They are rationalizations of emotions we feel about classes of people we distinguish according to qualities of emotions evoked.  The Greeks tried to understand what emotion is and wrote a lot about it. Chryssipus, Plato, Aristotle, Socrates and then, on to St. Augustine, Spinoza and so on. They all found that emotion is an evaluation about how the object of an emotion is likely to either assist or harm that which we hold most dear, in Greek, our eudaimonia. An object of the emotion of love occurs for us with qualities that evoke longing and desire for the object, imagined as outside the self and possessed of the ability to inspire feelings of flourishing one’s eudaimonia.

Like Cervantes and his alter ego, Don Quejano, I learned that eudaimonia for a heterosexual man in my culture called for accomplishments like bonafide certificates, a child or two to demonstrate virility and confirmation of sexual potency, a female partner to be worn like a scout’s merit badge. I respond to women as men “should” behave but erotic longing and desire are felt emotional awareness towards sexual and/or romantic objects. Romantic love isn’t an illusion, it’s an emotional response, the triggers of which were designed by my earliest experiences and modified continually.  I’m genetically “wired” to respond as I do to begin with, even before the egg was fertilized. There was never a decision about this. I thirst and drink to quench the thirst. I fuck to fuck, no need to know who or what it is that I’m fucking with. I’m in love with the object that evokes that emotion. I’m aroused in the presence of an arousing object. I feel embarrassed when I see myself or others behaving selfishly but my erotic interest attenuates the thought and instead inspires sublimation, hence Don Quixote and Ulysses.

Martha Nussbaum wrapped up her book, Upheavals of Thought; The Intelligence of Emotions with the statement, “The longing for totality breeds intolerance of the dividual. We are left not with a total text but with insights from several idealistic pictures we may try to incorporate into the greater chaos of our lives: with Dante’s lucid love of the individual, piercing the fog of envy, anger and sloth; with Mahler’s triumphant compassion, rising above envy, including the whole world of mortal striving in its embrace; with Whitman’s political call to a democratic equality grounded in the recognition of mortality, “with the most excellent sun, so calm and haughty…the gentle soft-born measureless light…”

Nussbaum begins her book with Marcel Proust’s views of love but found an answer eventually in James Joyce’s narrative, Ulysses:

“…we are left with the more tentative and tender love of their [Dante’s, Mahler’s, Whitman’s] comic counterpart, which expresses an attitude we badly need if we are to remain idealists without disgust. By ending with Poldy and Molly, who both endorse and tenderly mock the spirit of ascent [of love], I have tried to indicate that even in their real life imperfect form, indeed especially in that real form, in which the incompleteness and surprise of human life is accepted rather than hated, love and its allies among the emotions (grief, compassion) provides powerful guidance toward social justice, the basis for a politics that addresses the needs of other groups and nations, rather than spawning the various forms of hatred that our texts have identified. In Poldy’s sudden defection from Spinoza. In Molly’s inconstant desire, in the way surprise and passivity are embraced in the movement of the text, we find a mercy and an equity that we need to combine with our other loftier visions—no doubt with our own mercy toward the uneven intermittence of attention and desire that inhabits our own imaginations.”

Don’t Bother To Knock

is a candidate for Feminist Nightmare of 1952. Woman is stigmatized for her erotic nature. Jim Backus’ character quips, “all I know is what I read in the papers” [and]

Marilyn Monroe personifies an ideal female intellect, appearance, speech, behavior, dress, taste, gesture and dependence. I felt cognitive dissonance when evil peeped through Marilyn’s passivity; fear and disgust but not with the erotic, which evokes pleasantly lascivious feelings but at the incongruity of erotic attraction and murderous, thoughtless, predatory evil. 

The title, in the vernacular, “don’t bother to knock” characterizes female passivity. Females in the story include a girl of 10, an adolescent, unbalanced Monroe and Anne Bancroft. 

Lyn (Bancroft) to Jed (Widmark) "It's over."
Lyn (Anne Bancroft) to Jed (Richard Widmark) “It’s over.”

The authentic vulnerability Monroe portrays led me to reflect that, unlike her character, I gave no conscious attention to the future I was creating. Narratives promulgated in media, churches and temples supported  life having a purpose, even beyond death and a living human being personifies expression of faith. Monroe’s character is faithful. Religion isn’t needed to keep the faith but is a reminder that faith defines human being, however, religion is a narrative that validates the idea of a meaningful life.

(Belief in the state is religious, as politicians know: Stalin, Trump, Bernie Sanders and Hillary could affirm, after a couple martinis.)

My emotional cognition when viewing this film, brought up memories of when I’ve been unable to act on or even to speak of my desire, not unlike Widmark’s portrayal of Jed, self-protective; afraid of being used  in preparation for abandonment. Monroe’s portrayal of Nell’s confusion as faith encounters the irony of not admitting knowledge or knowing in what way life could be meaningful when love is neither durable nor trustworthy. Choosing on appearances, wanting to believe feelings but not trusting them, I learned I can get the love I can afford to pay for, dependent, helpless and terrified by my weakness and vulnerability in the face of it.

Nell (Monroe) & Eddie (Cook)
Nell (Monroe) & Eddie (Cook)

Not long ago, I viewed a YouTube video of Marilyn Monroe’s last filmed interview and I found a statement published by the last writer to have interviewed her, the day before she died.

Widmark & Monroe
Widmark & Monroe

In the filmed interview, she clearly explained the nature of the collaboration of a director and an actor.

Marilyn Monroe as Nell
Marilyn Monroe as Nell

I got no feeling of connection in the narrative between the writer and Monroe in the written interview but I felt a too familiar remorse.

At work, composing.
At work, composing.

A reminder that I became hyper-vigilant after unusual circumstances of my birth and of the first 3 years of life, when my mother, unable to care for me, first gave me to her sister, then to an orphanage. My older brother took misguided advantage of my weakness in creating his own misguided relationship strategy.

Survival left me keenly observant but distrustful, with expectations of abandonment and a strategy that continued to create this experience without knowing when or how I produce this result in relationships. I couldn’t admit the imperfection or the shame at my helplessness and dependence and that I felt my existence had been imposed on our mother by her love.

Repeated experiences of abandonment justify the need for hyper-vigilance. Shame was also validated by media and envy of the success of others, and supported by pleasure at the failure of others, confounding compassion since this feeling of pleasure makes me complicit in their plight. Morality and ethics seemed a matter of knowing what I can get away with. Since, I project abandonment and rejection, I’m also vulnerable to those who see it, making their revenge a part of the strategy: all that is required is to desire love and the situation arises. My brilliant mind.

I wish she was still around: mother and Marilyn.

The End

As A Producer,

…I represent the product, define its objectives and track its progress. I’m called, Producer, because it is my task to “own” the vision behind the product and where it should go, representing needs of both intended viewers and the enterprise. In light of resources and the creative team’s input, I choose what to work on when and make the call when a product has achieved its objectives.

When I approach making a motion picture as a product for consumers, consideration of public taste shapes both story and style. Depictions of physical violence and terror meet some popular tastes. Slap stick comedy, romance, satire and in every genre, love and erotic desire. A style appropriate to any particular audience can be found for every story. Understanding the audience expected to follow a story may be partially informed by focus groups or other opinions but ultimately, the audience for a movie reflects the spirit in which the story is told, a context for which a producer is responsible.

I contribute to a team’s completion of its work by planning and completing projects with team members acting as elements in a neural network that incorporates experience informed from the perspectives of their particular disciplines, including coders, testers and user experience designers, marketing leaders as well as musicians, editors and writers. I work with colleagues from all these specializations to design, build and perfect the product in the context of the spirit in which the story is being told.

Desire for perfection of the product is reflected in the approach of each team member to the task. In cinematography, for example, this shows up in heightened sensitivity to the experience of the object in focus, an emotional cognition about that object–this differs from rational decision making, because the cognition guides action before rational judgment and thus in anticipation of what happens next, which, since this is unpredictable, is often unexpected and offers unthought-of  opportunities to which the artist responds either on principle or again, emotional cognition. Camera operator, actor, director, grip, best boy, recordist and so on, all respond to experience with action in the moment, all guided by emotional cognition about color, light, sound, silence, movement, shape, tone, depth and context in a frame informing a process that Einstein referenced in describing his comprehension of relativity as not of his rational mind.

Children Of The Lesser God

These photos were made at a festival for children of farm workers and their families, whom I lived among in Santa Maria for a year, 2011-12.

I worked at the library for a while, straightening the rows of books in Spanish that were never checked out, though 85% of the 125,000 population of Santa Maria speaks Spanish at home and at work.

Schools there are bilingual but children are not asked to read the Spanish classics, like Don Quixote, nor do they understand the value of their Spanish and native heritage and grow to feel their cultural heritage has negative value to their potential for success.

%22indians%22 copy %22mexicans%22 copy 3 sisters 5 brothers a done deal accordionist accordionista aeropostal all eyes amazed american family americanfamily 2 approach with care at last beginning of a smile blue shirt brown eyes caught by the hat children of illegal immigrants

All Politics Is Local, Dr. Frankenstein

I regret not volunteering my time with a literacy advocacy group, when this was requested of me some years ago.

I scoffed at the idea that knowledge would make any difference, I was somewhat erudite at the time and I couldn’t see myself learning anything because there didn’t seem to be anything important to learn from reading narratives. I’d done that since childhood.

Academics have proved a mythical bell curve in which the ability for intelligent cognition for 98% of the population has modest mental capacity and 2% are bright. Regardless of our rational ability, however, we are not so differentiated in terms of emotional cognition, perhaps because this is more difficult to measure scientifically. The term, emotional intelligence is itself confusing.

The nature of agency makes us territorial and self-centered and emotional cognition tells us how anything encountered may impact our selves. From this set of responses, we weave the tapestry of our understanding of ourselves and the world which makes up personal narratives.

Like title insurance, which supports the fiction of ownership of land and buildings so rent is paid to the persona named on the title, our identity cards and numbers set the boundaries of our individual agency just as title insurance guarantees that taxes will be paid by the person named on the title and that that person alone can say who uses the property. Can you imagine how the Homestead Act affected the native population? 

Narrative fiction has value for readers. Popular fiction and nonfiction are generally more likely to be an opiate for the masses, guidance for agency. A popular narrative annoying me today is the myth of democracy in America. The election of a president and congress is produced at a cost of hundreds of millions, mostly in media purchases. Every 4 years a feeding trough is set up for media companies. The myth of democracy would collapse if those people over 60 chose not to vote.  We should try that next time.

That’s the reason for candidates like Ralph Nader and Bernie Sanders, to give the appearance of rational choices about salient differences. The other two candidates, the real candidates, are ambiguously related to concerns of most people. It’s not that these candidates are selected because their notions are irrelevant. Electoral government is based on the idea that a person can represent the interests of a number of others and as the size of a constituency grows, the less likely it is they will be represented. Plato felt 5000 is a maximum number and we number 400 million. On the evidence, it’s absurd and the result is that people complain that congress doesn’t reflect the interests of the electorate?

Unfortunately because the actual control of government is concentrated in a power structure and the power of a corporate body this size is immense, it looks like a no-exit march to environmental destruction now because the priorities those holding the power are thoughtless of the effect on the many.

We’ve been losing an arms race to ourselves. There are a few choices but they all move the focus of public expenditure from military, technology and policing to social welfare. To accomplish this only requires that we tell the truth that politics is local. The most corrupt aspects of our justice system are local. All social services are locally administered. Governance should logically be local and Plato’s model will probably work. 

It’s symptomatic of a recent failure of our form of government that an unprecedented number of formerly deployed servicemen are committing suicide, including some whose, work was operating drones from a base thousands of miles from action. If  my employees commit suicide as a result of their employment, you’d shut down the business. A crowd of people dressed in black would surround my place of business, carrying torches, screaming, like Dr. Frankenstein.

Someone asked how I became a composer so late in life.

Caveat: Work in Progress! Biographic material subject to revision as things appear differently sometimes, when looking back, as time, unfolded, reveals me to me, as if I’m elsewhere and then it seems that I-today remembers me differently. I-today wasn’t present and what was sometimes humiliates me to consider. This line leads me to why am I here now? I have a human need for creative projects. I’m loved by my daughter, who is almost a sister.

I didn’t understand the longterm impact of an emotion of disgust in the presence of an older person, a not wanting to be them; that I couldn’t imagine becoming old and I didn’t want to. I also feared I would die very young. Thoughtlessly, I found myself on the threshold of my own age bias. Perceptions of age in this culture reflect the relationship of erotic love to power and it’s not a sliding scale.

My feelings and the empirical evidence presume that life means something, I’ve given it thought and I rationally choose it despite the evidence. That I wait for things to change is a prayer. Then, there’s music and reading and for some, who can afford it, whoring. The world would change direction if we subsidized sex work. A voucher system. There are epic possibilities for corruption. Expressions of anger and revenge would show up in new ways. A mini series.

My character’s genetic structure must reflect at least a couple centuries of music and theatre. However,  the creative process is a form of madness and I had experiences of abandonment at unusual events in the early years. I’m always editing names. Memory delivers images of events that I describe using words, sometimes  imagined events. It’s helpful to know the difference and many times it’s hard to say. Memory is not the interpreter but it remembers interpretations associated with emotions in different ways depending on the experience and awareness of the rememberer.

I remember when she went to work as a typist at the Philadelphia Navy yard in 1940, placing me in Loretta’s hands. But I didn’t know where she went nor what people did there. Yet I got how she felt about working at the place. She had literally left the house she and my father rented in Hollywood with my brother, who was 3 at the time. I was born in Chicago on a stop-over to Philadelphia. I met my father finally at the age of 35, when I was on or just over the brink of divorce. He said he married, in sequence, three women, producing two children with each. I’m afraid that’s in the genes. I’ve felt the weight of karma, which endorses my underlying Jewish mentality.

Mother had no time and less energy nor a great desire to oversee temperamental talent but she understood and even felt compassion for its provenance, everything about her experience of my father disgusted her, including the music profession. I get the efficacy of practicing scales but I don’t do it well enough to be profitable. In my world, we have technology that has allowed me to make distinctions in music with as much if not more attention, to hear the Bach in Mahler and v.v. Where would we be with technology if we couldn’t make it possible for a composer to create a symphony without his becoming a skilled performer of an acoustic instrument? This is one of the reasons why I had to wait so long, longing sometimes for the day to come, surrounding myself with instruments I learned to make lovely sounds on but not to play. I avoid playing with others and am generally, uncool. I’ve been a demon for getting jobs done when I’m called upon to do and I’m mostly useful in creative work. I’ve been prescient as a writer, taking things to logical conclusions and remaining alert to changing circumstances.

When I was four years old, she had farmed my brother out to live with our uncle and moved us into the large flat above the store her mother’s second husband owned in Camden, New Jersey and I got to know black people when I wandered away when grandma was inattentive. My brother was unwanted by his aunt having to do with my brothers effect on his cousin, her son, who became the chief administrator of a significant psychiatric hospital.

So she moved us from my grandmother’s flat in a Jewish ghetto on Kaighns Avenue to a flat in a brownstone on North 15th Street in Philadelphia. The three-story house was a long block north off Allegheny, on a corner of a cultural vortex at the intersecting boundaries of black, Irish Catholic, Protestant and Italian Catholic communities. No other Jews lived here. Kids played in their own communities and learned a xenophobic interest in those of other communities but there was no Jewish community in this intersection. I felt it was safer to be invisible. It was a strategy to disappear, like a chameleon, hiding in the background, as I passed from world to world to world  walking to and from school.

With the experience of a chameleon not unlike Felix Krull, I commenced a life and even though it included assumptions of privilege of race and intellect and  even though fortune presented opportunities and even though I can’t avoid accomplishing whatever is set before me to do, I have felt compelled to deprecate my natural talent and move forward as if methodically. In a high school, in Norwalk, California, I was identified by a perceptive teacher as a clever communicator and my mother began collecting trophies I’d win in forensic contests. It was thrilling to be emotionally committed and emotionally detached in the performance. At Long Beach State College, I continued to compete and discovered sculpture and radio theater. I directed two and wrote two for the college radio program. I was in love but introduced to sex by a sexually avid 19 year old theater student from Santa Ana. I was grateful also for the degree because I was starving at the time until a girlfriend arranged for me to get a job as a social worker, providing I got the diploma.

A couple years later, I met Anne Webster; shortly before I was fired from my job as a probation counselor by the new manager of an LA County probation camp for emotionally disturbed male juvenile delinquents. They brought in Ira from Israel where he’d worked in a  military boot camp. He wore khaki and introduced the camp to the Israeli tough love approach to behavior modification. Since I had  more in common with the juvenile charges we oversaw, I didn’t fit Ira’s pictures. I was in angst over a woman I adored, who didn’t want to know I existed, not that I could have changed that then.

Had I read Don Quixote then, as my girlfriend’s mother suggested, I wouldn’t have recognized myself anyway.  I don’t remember what inspired it but I went to Puerto Vallarta  by train and bus and when I returned, I moved into a house in Santa Monica with Anne. 1967 was not a bad year, give or take Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam war.

Anne introduced me to Buñuel, Bergman, Kurosawa, Fellini and so on. It occurred to me that, if a storteller can show photographic images in addition to the audio, making a narrative fiction in film is a piece of cake and the universe smiled and agreed. I began making films first for use in elementary school classrooms. Viewers followed my stories, young children and black people; especially. When I was 11 years old, I was the only white male at Gillespie Junior High School, which later led to a connection with John Birks (Dizzy)  Gillespie and a tour to Upsala with him and Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon, Thelonius Monk, Ben Webster, Don Cherry, Sahib Shihab.

Several years later, after Anne and I had split up and I was in LA and she and my daughter lived in Oakland, I had an idea for a movie based on a  magic building but, instead of producing the story, I got Xerox to help me make the building. My chameleon act: “Can you do that?” “Sure I can do that”” The media called the building the most intelligent building in the world, an oxymoron. McGraw Hill published my book about it, called, Architectonics. I discovered that I can write pretty good.  I then led a new nonprofit corporation in San Diego and before I knew it, I’d developed hundreds of homes affordable to families of people with whom I have nothing in common but my human physical form, not unlike those around whom I grew up in Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey.

In the morning of February 17, 1997, during my daily 7 A.M. run on the beach, I fell unconscious into the Pacific Ocean due to oxygen starvation in my brain when the aortic valve didn’t open sufficiently. I regained consciousness as the blood rushed to my head when I was floating face down in the water. For a few minutes, although I was, in a sense, awake, my eyes took in the view of sand settling below the surf, I had no memory.. “I” simply didn’t occur. Nothing occurred. I felt nothing but a sense of awe. No desire, no regret, no pain, no judgment, I felt lucid, satisfying sensation. As my eyes scanned  trees and residences along the bluff above the beach, I felt vague familiarity and curiosity. My attention came to rest on a large, round window in the gable of a grey clapboard house. It’s peculiar shape connected with the name of the neighbor who designed that house. As her name occurred to me, my life came tumbling back to me through that round window like a tornado in reverse motion. I thought, in the words of Jackie Gleason, “Pow! Right in the kisser!”

 Following a “pulmonary autograft procedure” (open heart surgery), my heart was successfully reconstructed. The medical profession is unable to acknowledge the post traumatic stress disorder created by terrifying medical procedures, leaving parents to their psychological fate, which varies depending on the patient’s immediate family and I had none. Systematically, I gave up everything, though I tried to keep my dignity. I gave up human relationship. I gave up my home and I drove off, heading north from Del Mar in an old pickup truck with a camper shell, with a dog and a cat. A year later, when I was camping alone, in a 1973 Southwind RV, in a redwood forest 13 miles from Ft. Bragg in Mendocino County, first the cat and then the dog died. I then truly had nothing and it wasn’t any better that I knew I had nothing, however, there was a stark authenticity about it that reminded me of my experience on the beach in Del Mar that day when I didn’t remember anything.

The road into the place, where I camped in Jackson State Forest was an ancient logging road that winds down the side of a canyon from Highway 22 to a tributary of the Noyo. The road is a litany of jarring potholes and bone rattling rocks constantly overturned by logging trucks. Twisting ruts deepened in frequent rains and then filled with dust again when it was dry.  The occasional pile of bear shit and fallen branches added surprise and color each day but I grew to know that road “like the back of my hand”. I timed the four miles of ruts, rocks and hairpin turns above precipitous drops and tried to beat my time from camp to highway and highway to camp.  At speed, sound and movement became rhythmic and, my brain, soaked in adrenalin, gave me a short-lived feeling of being alive. It was at the start of one of these trips, when I was taking Bear (the dog) to a vet, that I first heard the music.

At first I thought I only remembered the Can Can from Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman. I was frightened, when I couldn’t make the music stop. Then the music stopped when I stopped the truck at the stop sign at 22, starting again when I turned onto the highway.  I could stop listening to the music by putting my attention on something else, but the music continued. When I focused on the music, I could hear all the instruments and I found I could change the tempo and I began playing with the arrangement and orchestration.

By now, I’ve read Oliver Sacks studies of patients in his book, Musicophilia (Random House,2007) but when this happened, I had a thought that going mad is unfairly criticized that being nuts isn’t so bad. That I heard the Can Can seemed profoundly ironic.  It started at the instant the truck started and it only stopped at the completion of a perfect cadential phrase and I would carefully stop the truck and modify the tempo towards this end.  I experimented with turning the music on and off while imagining driving. Tales of Hoffman was the first piece of theatrical music I heard, when my mother left me in the care of my grandmother and I played with her Victrola records.

I’m astonished and a little bitter thinking about my long unacknowledged capacity for creation of music, like an unrequited love denied through a lifetime of emotional poverty, persisting  through all my careers during my time as a chameleon. How remarkable that during all those years, I’d always owned and toyed with instruments. For several years, when I lived in Canada, there were five pianos in my home and a bass viol, vibraphone, several guitars, flutes and some drums. I played them for fun and relaxation. And I often chose the company of musicians, whom I envied  for making a living doing what they loved to, but also, I envied them their musical ability. I felt intuitively that I could learn to play but I’d never learn to use an instrument like Casals, Miles or Ellington. I was resigned that I wouldn’t make music.

Offenbach’s Can Can is a musical rendering of Hieronymus Bosch’s vision of The Garden of Earthly Delights. When I moved out of the forest and into an RV Park in Ft. Bragg. I also began to suspect that my interest is music was a message. In light of my fascination with music since those early days with my Grandmother’s Victrola,, it seems strange that I avoided taking it up seriously. But it makes perfect sense that I should feel as I do for I knew no other way to develop knowledge and ability with music except by mastering an instrument because this is conventional knowledge. Ask any music teacher in any school anywhere. Nevertheless, my ambition has always been to conduct the philharmonic and while I’d avoided any serious study of music, my experience of the most complex harmony grew intuitively. To not study music now was no longer an option. Offenbach’s high kicking line of dancers launched me into my career.

It seems astounding that five years later, I’ve earned an MFA in composition. I’ve deconstructed and recreated works of Bartok, Bach, Debussy, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Mahler, Brahms, Beethoven and I’ve learned enough about Arabic Maqam, Indian Carnatic and traditional Chinese music to understand and use their idiomatic forms. Most importantly, I feel satisfied when I’m writing music.

Much of what I’ve learned about music has been through reading, taking classes and learning how to listen acutely but my progress has been mostly empowered by new professional audio software for programming midi mainly using samples sold by Vienna Symphonic Instruments. Years of dedicated practice might allow a gifted musician to play in a symphony orchestra but you can learn more about a complex piece when you program the shape of each note by each instrument. This technology allows you to stand on the practice of all music ever by anyone anywhere and anytime.

The best part of this story is my journey in music has only just begun.

What I’ve Learned in Film School

Current interest in yoga and practices of meditation and the fascination of spectator sports is motivated by a desire to feel; to experience life viscerally, emotionally and completely in a culture in which we are protected from feeling by technology and fear.

Viewers emotionally experience danger of the real, unknowable, unpredictable world when viewing film narratives, knowing that they are physically insulated, that it’s all pretend. Narrative works through emotional, not rational cognition and the forms of narrative in each culture are derived from the way individuals in that culture are conditioned by their environment to feel in the presence of recognized circumstances. We interpret the world as an after-thought; as a narrative in stories we tell ourselves (and others) about what we thought had happened. Narrative films tap this process.

Throughout knowable history, in voices in song, oral storytelling, print, plays, music, film, dance, sculpture and graphic arts, narratives evoke emotional cognition, an experience that colors the viewer’s perceptions of the world by associating feelings with appearances. Narratives have a primary purpose in shaping human perceptions and the social relevance of responses to perceptions. This is a defining characteristic of humans, not seen in other species.

As individuals, communities, cultures and a planetary civilization, our emotional perceptions guide our choices in managing our lives and communities. Since the turn of the 20th century, this guidance led humanity through two world wars, two global economic crashes, widespread deforestation, radioactive contamination of the seas and now a global climate change, which is an ecological catastrophe. There’s a reason to suspect a better appreciation for the uses and purposes of narrative may be required to change the course.

Sociological studies after the end of WWII by David Riesman and associates described in The Lonely Crowd (1950), revealed how mass media shapes core values of the population. Cinema conveys values that have led to social and ecological problems. Core values promulgated in media create political will that, in this democracy, has sustained impoverishment, warfare and environmental neglect. Our world would be a different place had we not this kind of media and the most obvious change would be more local autonomy, a down-sizing of scale to much smaller governmental units.

Traditional studies of cinema in America have promoted a global media industry and the social and environmental conditions that the media sometimes pretends to oppose. To affect these conditions by democratic action, requires a cinema that is not committed to global values.

Banning of talent in the witch hunt led by Senators Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon beginning in 1947 began a political purge that shifted creative control out of the hands of artists to reactionary capitalists that are not interested in the voices of labor and biased against social welfare . Film historians, scholars and theorists now focus on form and ignore that censorship in Hollywood works by green lighting content that meets criteria. Counter culture material isn’t prohibited, it’s given notes for changes required for it to be funded. Form follows function in film and when historians and theorists ignore the function of content, they ascribe choices of form to irrelevant historical influence.

 

 

La Belle Époque

At werk
At work…

Reading Celine’s novel, Death On The Installment Plan, concurrently with Martha Nussbaum’s Upheavals Of Thought, people in my life show up as characters in a story, like a compound prescription: insight plus character precipitates understanding, add another chemical reveals how that understanding shapes my current views.

Conclusions I’m reaching don’t makes sense to colleagues. I have to explain things and as they listen to their own thinking, through their  own systems of belief and my ideas and values don’t fit the shape of the world that emerged from the chrysalis of their youth as they sought to know a world that seemed somewhat dangerous. To distrust my intellect is scary; to disguise my desire seems safer;  denying experience is crucial to avoid discovery and  it’s profitable to play by rules regardless of logic or morality. Last month, I read Celine and his latter day disciples, Fante and Bukowski, describing the muck of Euro-American civilization that results from rationalizing hegemonic cultures and the real purpose of capitalism, not as greed, but because it creates a hierarchy of caste of infinite gradation from the dung beetle to the dung matriarch. (Their characters reminded me of patients I filmed in a San Juan mental hospital for a documentary about Puerto Rico.) 

Wealthy classes assuage their pain with status symbols, drugs and psychoanalysis. Celine and Bukowski describe some of the agony of those of lesser means. For the middle class, there is Landmark’s Forum and it’s processor, the est training.

In the est training, in 1979, it was interesting see how others views of the world, beginning in early childhood, relate to their views of others and of themselves, rather than to the reality. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see their emotions about these filtered views: the interpretive processes behind them that emerged from decisions they made as toddlers when confronted with a unpredictable world. We couldn’t examine emotions that color our perceptions, perhaps, there was no way to monetize such an inquiry and est was a business. Nor, could we examine the goals and beliefs that gave rise to these emotions. This particular inquiry requires a philosophical context that is better informed so we examine the psychology of decisions we would continue to live with but at least we were able to see that we do have filters that guide every choice we make and  justify actions that are in consistent with the ethical stands we profess and we were thereafter conscious that even though we’re relating to others, we’re not connecting with them. It was freeing and unsettling to see this disparity, especially when those with whom we’ve not authentically connected are important to us;  spouses, children, lovers, parents, co-workers, siblings… Becoming aware of this inability to be authentic created opportunities to sell more programs to est graduates but it also had the effect of gracing some ignorance with humility. It’s better than nothing.

If we know that we fabricate our views of the world and ourselves, logically, we should able to improve the quality of our relationships by incorporating practices that keep us within ethical boundaries and help us to self-regulate expression and est graduates spoke of this as “taking responsibility” (for the quality of their relationships). But these practices don’t address the cause of inauthenticity, they simply try to manage the effects of it. When emotions tell you that a situation is threatening, you can pretend that your desire is impractical but the desire and the emotion remain. Those desires, however, are related to your most important goals and projects, and your identity.

In Upheavals of Thought, Martha Nussbaum clarifies the issues I’ve raised about the fact that emotional cognitions rule your experience  by inquiring into the nature of emotion, developing her thesis from her reviews of 2600 years of rigorous thinking from ancient Greece, before Aristotle, through Chryssipus, forward in time through the history of western and eastern culture. She also cites current studies in psychology, sociology, psychiatry, literature, music and neuroscience. Her principle thesis is inspired by the writing of  Marcel Proust, whose artist-aristocrat’s experience of Paris in the Belle Époque is far from Celine’s “experience of this same period, of those for whom life wasn’t belle Nussbaum’s theory is that emotions are cognitive/evaluative responses and that by understanding your emotions, you are able to negotiate them.

Angelica

Reading Celine’s Death on the Installment Plan and Martha Nussbaum’s Upheavals of Thought, between viewing French and Japanese rom-coms and other melodramas and composing Before 7 Falls, a symphonic poem in d minor, more or less…

Bambi Kush
Bambi Kush

a female agist goes into a bar in heaven
an angelic barmaid places a cork coaster before her
painted with the face of death, she says,
to the agist, ‘what’ll it be, sugar?’
The femagist says, ‘sorry,
what’s the question…exactly?’

I was there last night, watching…
making the rounds with the angel of death
It’s a kick, watching her work, gives me fever
Later, in the alley out back
Her tongue slips into my mouth,
I vibrate in the heat of her orgasm.

Off she goes again to cuckold me
throws back a laugh, casual
over her shoulder
black hair still swaying in the rhythm of intercourse.

Some of my friends are sex-pos, at war with the sexual shame in which they may also be trafficking. There’re some closet racists, too, neotenous, agist with degrees of schizophrenia (redundant); a dollop here and there of bi-polars among the bi-sexuals; some self-deluding honest crooks, kooks and housewives; some sell eternity, starting tomorrow, their egos melted together could suffocate a small planet, imagine, vanity, wicked like a candle, eclipsed the night.

An elephant moved into the apartment above mine. It’s often restless, stumbling back and forth across hardwood floors…

$60 for 20 Minutes – A Story of Intimacy in the 21st Century

The sign said live nude models.

I walked by the place on the way to the thrift store and on the way back to my car I opened the grey door and went in.

To see what would happen.

It was a small vestibular waiting room.

From behind another grey door a woman’s voice said, just a minute I’ll be right there.

A faded poster on the wall by that door announced $60 for 20 minutes, $80 for 30 minutes, $120 for an hour.

There was a dingy upholstered chair.

As my eyes adjusted to the dimly lit room, the door opened and a surprisingly pretty woman, 5′ 5, straight blond hair, brown eyes, in a little black dress with bare shoulders came toward me.

She stood very close. Can I help you? Her voice was soft and self-assured.

Probably.

As she explained the rates on the poster, I felt embarrassed and turned away from her. She moved to stand facing me,  adding, “and since we work for tips, we can be as naughty as you can afford.” As I considered this, she said, “and we take all major credit cards, visa, amex…” She smiled and I saw her eyes laughing.

I don’t know, I was walking by. I’ve seen this place forever. It was just an impulse.

It always is, she said.

So, who are the models?

There are several girls but I’m here now.

You’re more than acceptable.

Yes, she said, I know.

I don’t have a lot of money.

Do the minimum, see if you like it.

It was just an impulse.

Yes, it always is.

She opened the grey door and I went through into a short hallway and then through another door into a small, carpeted room, bathed in a deep red light. On one side, a  beige leather upholstered chair, like a sofa without arms and before it, a long narrow bench, upholstered in black leather.

It’s completely private, you see, she said as she shut the door.

Is that a one way mirror? A large mirror with an ornate gold frame was on the wall above the sofa-chair.

Oh, yes, she pulled the bottom of the mirror away from the wall. See?

She sat on the leather bench and I sat on the sofa-chair facing her.

Since we work for tips, she said, you have to tip me so we know what we’re going to do.

Oh! The $60 is for the room.

Yes.

I’m being careful with money, as you can see. Can I give you another $60.

Sure. She took my credit card. Make yourself comfortable. I’ll be right back. She went out and closed the door.

I thought about undressing and then imagined myself standing there with my little pot belly when she returns and what if this is some kind of a scam? I nosed around looking into things and heard her heels clicking in the hall.

She came in, handed me my card and the receipt and a pen to sign it.

I should take off my clothes?

Whatever feels comfortable. But the more you get into it, the more comfortable I am and the more you get out of it. Right?

Since I was on my way to kayak I had on a bathing suit, t-shirt and flip flops. She had her little black dress off before I was undressed. Her  body drew my mind out through my eyes. I instinctively reached for her shoulders, wanting to feel her body against mine. She resisted.

I’ll give you a good show, she said. You sit there and do this with me.

I want to touch.

Ok, she reclined on the upholstered bench with her legs butterflied in front of me, you can touch me anywhere but here, Ok?

But that’s my favorite spot.

I know.

Well ok. You are so beautiful. It hurts me to look at you.

She began playing with her pussy, rubbing her clit with the fingers of her right hand from above and inserting the fingers of her left hand from below. Come on, you play, too, she said, and we can both come. I’d like you to come.

I’d rather help you. I mean I’d like to.  Just to watch you is intense.

Are you sure? Come on, I want you to come to. Look…

I like your feet, I said, kissing her instep and feeling the smoothness of her legs and the damp warmth behind her knees, My finger tips trailed gently along her inner thighs as she masturbated. Reaching under her buttocks, I pulled her toward my face… she tensed.

Don’t worry, I heard what you said. She relaxed and I lowered my face, inhaling, not touching.

Jerking off seemed wrong. Why touch myself with her body my objective.

There’s nothing about you that doesn’t turn me on now.

I see, she said.

What’s your name?  Sorry. What’s the relevance?

Name? Do you like Sabrina.

I wasn’t going to jerk off so she pretended to orgasm. Not believable but so what.  Propped up on her elbow watched me. I talked to her about Orgasmic Meditation. She asked questions, she was interested,

I feel comfortable sitting here with you, talking, as if we’re not naked in a dimly red-lit room in a dingy building on Pacific Highway across from the airport.

I walked through a taboo door and asked for something I wanted from someone who was ready to give it in return for money. She thanked me for being her voyeur.

I felt $120 richer but I was $120 poorer. Emotions are interesting.

My next stop was Ralphs. Lettuce, juice. I’m getting out of my car in the parking lot and the woman sitting in the car beside mine smiles at me with a cider house grin, tales me by surprise. It was a little after four; the middle school moms were  “getting dinner” and for some reason, they were looking at me. I need to print cards.

©Michael Winn

1984? Here’s what it looks like: Blacklist

Last night I abused myself with 5 episodes of  Blacklist,  a paen to the CIA, FBI and other pro-military, pro-capitalist propaganda that pings a list of hot button pseudo-feminist values in a graphic novel format. I suffered this un-climactic jerk-off to understand what disgusts me about scoring for crappy tv shows. It’s not because I’m no longer in touch with culture or my hand isn’t steady. I’m reading Bukowski!

Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 11.14.40 AM

It took 3 three episodes to get what’s going on in the show. I kept waiting for the story and I fell asleep during parts of the 4th and gave up entirely during the 5th episode. There is nothing going on.  There’s only tension and interest created by visual and audio spectacle and an underlying theme justifying capital punishment, warfare and violent competition, with women playing power roles.

Stylewise, the show’s an animated comic book with video images of live actors rather than cartoon drawings. Music makes an A/V comic book without a compelling story possible. Sans music, this show has no continuity, doesn’t hold interest, there’s no story. Stories can be propaganda, values are always implicit if not explicit but media without a compelling story is overtly propaganda.

Comic books are as important and valuable as any other way to tell a story. A comic book story can be great, entertaining, enlightening, exciting, enriching, delightful. A TV show or movie following a comic book format, for instance, Tarantino’s films can be cool. But using music as a special effect to laver feelings, like lard, on a slab of bad writing is abusive and should be punished but for commitment to freedom of expression. Even so…

Without a commercial sponsor, what is being sold in this particular kind of media is the militaristic, capitalist values it glorifies. Who pays for it? Who benefits from perpetuating these values? Take a look at the backers. The Blacklist criminalizes anti-establishment villains while it glorifies establishment authority, capitalism and warfare and it seems weirdly asexual and counter-romantic. However, using the title, Blacklist, has a specific anti-progressive effect: it defuses associations with another Blacklist, that of former U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy and his buddy, Richard Nixon, a real blacklist that purged the motion picture industry of most of its greatest and best writers, film makers and composers.

When I say I never watch TV, I really mean, really, I haven’t watched TV since 1960.  I only go to movie theaters when friends ask me, which isn’t often since I don’t encourage it. I’ve seen many films. In my 3rd and 4th years of high school, I stayed home and watched independent TV broadcasters in LA, who at that time, having no other programming, ran nothing but old films 24/7; every film made since 1915. I fell in love with cinema and went to college and got a degree in it and made films for many years. I’ve seen many films many times and I also watched a lot of early TV; Edward R. Murrow, Skelton, Ceasar, Benny, Gleason, Groucho, Sullivan, Reiner; live.

It sickens me to see the potential of the broadcast media ignored. I understand that telling the truth would get in the way of business as usual because art requires authenticity. But I miss the art.  Watching this Blacklist crap last night, I felt a kinship with Carson McCullers, W.C. Fields, Samuel Clemens and Henry Bukowski, all of whom drank themselves to death. I wanted to drink a pint of whiskey. It’s not just that the media is propaganda and stupidly written and poorly performed and directed and edited but that there are sufficient numbers of viewers that don’t know better than to take in this crap, and from this I infer there’s all these uneducated people populating the world now, who don’t know the difference, who literally wouldn’t know Debussy from Darwin beyond the name.

It’s not easy for people who were not adolescent in the 40s or 50s  to understand the relationship between culture and story-telling media even though they may appreciate the wit of filmmakers of the early 20th century. They appreciate Casablanca and The World of Apu and Citizen Kane but they miss the connection with culture these works enjoyed because the connection between media and culture has changed. The  propaganda of law enforcement melodramas is a world apart from the media world of these  films. The satire of John Stewart about things we can now only laugh about and “reality TV” that are just freak shows doesn’t connect with a community in action about the ideals of the culture.  As Lenny Bruce put  it during his obscenity trial, “if something is mostly art with maybe a little shit in it, that’s alright but, when it’s the other way around, then it’s shit.”

US Federal Budget - 2011
US Federal Budget – 2014

We don’t laugh about what’s at stake but some good could come from laughing about the absurdity of the $149 billion US Navy budget. It’s ridiculous. Imagine all those hugely expensive steel ships, submarines and jet planes pouring greenhouse gasses into the air and creating nuclear fission waste  like there’s no tomorrow and what’s funniest is that they are literally creating no-tomorrow. The irony is that we don’t need those ships and airplanes and nuclear weapons, they’re a useless liability in light of current technology, like the aging copper wire telephone infrastructure. The good thing about the U.S. Navy is that it does have this absurd cost that is dragging the quality life down for most Americans and we can’t avoid seeing how really stupid it is. So it let’s us see real clear that the reason  we can’t get rid of the US Navy isn’t because it’s iconic but simply because the political mouths all this money feeds from the billions Congress allots them  from the federal treasury allows this organization to promote it’s survival on shows like Blacklist, thus perpetuating the U.S.Navy and it’s not really anyone’s intention that this wastefulness helps to  kill our chances of survival. And the funny thing is that we are this organization and we are self-destructing. Praise the lord and pass the Scotch. I’ll take mine with some yoga.

…30…

Musicophilia, Bukowski and Orgasm – The Riddle

Henry "Charles" Bukowski
Henry “Charles” Bukowski

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.

Cover
Cover
Oliver Sacks
Oliver Sacks

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.

Musicophilia P 384
Musicophilia P 384

Musicophiliae 382-385-2
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.