03 June 2005

Watts: Set Your Brain On "Low"; Baste Frequently

Dig that 100-Watts smile! Posted by Hello


Either it's a really good idea to listen to recordings of
Alan Watts while you're depressed or it's not. Here's the problem. I pointed out in another letter some time ago that one of the things that supports the refractory period of an emotion is a sort of "channel" of thought that seems to arise that will only support thoughts congruent with that emotion. Depression, f'rinstance, like the one that's been chewing at me for the past three or so days, will only entertain thoughts that support its reason for being. So I don't even have to tell you what my mental story has been the past few days. All I have to do is say that I've been depressed and you can pretty much guess the internal dialogue.

So along comes Watts, courtesy of
Audible.com, and exclaims that thinking is the thing that separates us from reality. And as I said in a previous letter, thinking is almost never concerned with what's going on in the present. It's mired in the mud of some previous experience, or anxiously trying to anticipate future events. Since "present" is the only moment there really is, then maybe Watts is on to something there. I spend a lot of my time when I'm depressed not only gnawing on actual negative events in the past, but brewing up imaginary negative events to stew on even more. "Throwing rocks in my own pond", as Teresa would say. It's not bad enough that I actually had an argument with this or that person at some time in the past, but I have to go and dream up an imaginary argument to have with them in the present! Christ Jesus, do I have the fucking corner on the neuroses market or what!? What a waste of a perfectly good brain. And the real kick in the prunes is that as much as I know about emotion, it doesn't seem to stop the process from happening.

So there must be some way in which I benefit from doing this or I'd stop doing it, right? Or is that completely off the mark? Do humans continue behaviors that are of no benefit to them whatsoever? I have no idea. How is your vantage point? What can you see from over there? Tell me what this is that I have caught in my philosophical teeth.

Cheers, and give my best to Marie.

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