Monday, September 15, 2014

At The Spiritual Film Festival

- Are you a filmmaker?
- No.
- What brings you here?
- To a spiritual film festival? Can I say I'm here because I am spiritual?
- Are you?
- Not especially. Are you?
- I meditate. Do you?
- No. I do quietly watch myself going mad. Is that meditating?
- You look alright, like you're not doing too bad.
- Like I'm in the movie business. I'm not fat, and still quite normal, for the time being. I live in Beverly Hills in the apartment of a mad Iranian Jew who thinks of himself as an amateur messiah and believes he "helps the people" by giving them a few dollars and especially by inviting petty criminals and crazy prostitutes to live with him until he decides they don't respect his greatness and calls the police to have them thrown out. He's just invited a new creature over, a fellow dressed in the outfit of a drug user and club goer. He apparently has no past and no future. The amateur messiah lives with his mother, who is severely demented. She can't really remember who I am from day to day. She has paranoid periods when she thinks everyone is stealing her chicken legs and peanuts and reading glasses. Sometimes she thinks I am a 10 foot tall giant. The building manager threatens to call the police and have me thrown out every time she sees me. The amateur messiah's estranged wife, daily receiving phone calls from one of messiah's proteges threatening to murder her, calls him every day to try to get him not to invite the caller, the above mentioned crazy prostitute, back into his home. He says he won't but he does anyway (before calling the police and having her thrown out. He's done this several times in recent history.) The current resident, the drug user club goer, admits he moves in the same circles as the crazy prostitute, possibly is her pimp or boyfriend. The crazy prostitute has told the estranged wife she is going to take over the messiah's apartment, throw everyone out and move in with her boyfriend. I am stuck there in the apartment. I'd rather be in the movie business.
- Whoa. That's a little too much.
- So go meditate. You know, I don't like spiritual people, living so close to them as I do. You spiritualists have got your tricks, your meditation, do-gooding, your praying. Your sleep deprivation, fasting, immobility. Your doing as little as possible, repeating the same actions by fixed rule, isolating yourself from having anything done to you, and yes, as a result you see god, the world is a pretty nice place. Then it's over, you come down from the mountain top, attend a spiritual film festival, and show yourselves to me as blank faced, staring, irritable zombies.
- You think I am a zombie?
- Well, you sure don't look happy. I know how happy looks. Children are happy. Do you know why?
- Why?
- Because they know exactly what to do in the world. They want to play. They don't need to use spiritual tricks to escape. When they get fed up with playing they go home. Only, when they get older, they fall in love. And do you know what falling in love is?
- What is it?
- It's like meditation, except it is not done alone, it's done with another person, and done involuntarily. Just like with meditation, the world gets pared down, as interest increases in the loved one interest in all the rest of the world decreases. That's fine for while, but when love comes crashing down, as it does because we don't know much at all about this person we've lost interest in the world for the sake of, there is nothing out in the pared down world to distract us from the loved one we've just lost and can't understand. When the time comes and parents, in the spirit of independence*, throw their children out into the world on their own spiritual journey, what do the new adults find there? Everyone falling in love with each other and falling for the practice of one meditation trick or another**, the transcendental kind or trick of money making or love of a sports team or a political team or the practice of some profession. The only thing the tricks have in common is hatred and fear of the world they provide an escape from, that very same world as children they use to love to play in. The spiritual make up political rules to keep themselves from killing each other in the world they hate in their different ways, and those political rules themselves can become, in repeating them to each other, another meditation trick, though each new adult individually will hate the real world that stays out there behind the words they repeat in each other's company.
- Do you make this stuff up?
- You don't like it?
- We call it "monkey mind".
- Monkeys can't talk to each other about how they should live better with each other. That is what we humans can do and need to do. Our job is to learn how each to fall for each other without falling out with the rest of the world. Do you know how that can be done?
- No. Do you?
- The trick is to do what we did as kids, to play with the world we fall for, so we get to know it, not disdain it, and when we do love, and get out of the world in love, we know what we did, can learn from it, repeat what worked in the past and avoid repeating what didn't.***
- I'm going in. The movie's starting.

Further Reading:
A Spiritualist Campaigns For Congress, An Anarchist Attends
* A Big Mistake
** Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism, Doing For The Sake Of Doing
*** The Technology Of Good (And Other Stories)
The Picture Of George Sand