Demons of the Thinking Mind

Linda and I have been watching a Netflix series called “How to Change Your Mind,” about the resurgence of interest in using psychedelics to reverse or alleviate various mental aberrations such as OCD, depression, anxiety, etc. Last night, they were covering MDMA (Ecstasy), interviewing various experimental participants who, in the main, had quickly – and radically – discovered love for humanity and the world.

This sort of announcement, much as I support the use of psychedelics, always sets me off. Why? Getting ready to slough off into sleep (my hour best suited to thinking clearly), I decided to try to pinpoint my response. 

Mostly, I thought at first, it’s the woo-woo aspect of tossing the word “love” around like a verbal whiffle ball. But looking deeper, I realized that I just don’t want to “love” the world. What I want is to understand the world, to know it. 

All right, we’ll never quite encompass “reality,” because we can’t agree on what that term means. But I’d like to great as close to an understanding as possible. Because to me, knowledge is the ultimate, perhaps the only worthwhile justification of existence. If we’re here for any reason (though of course we aren’t), it’s to know – to examine, discover and use, in whatever way, the basic construction of life and the universe.

*   *   *

A suggestions for a banner for the Pennsylvania senate election, directed at dear Dr. Oz: “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”

*   *   *

I’ve had a recurring fantasy of the Hare Khrisnas cavorting down the street (“like drunker marionettes,” as a fellow carpenter once described them), singing, “Horrid Christians, horrid Christians, horrid Christians, horrid Chris-is-tians…”

*   *   *

Confusing signs put up along the roads up here, far in advance of actual roadwork: “Fresh Oil and Chips” and “No Pavement Markings.”

In the first case, I’d like to like to change the signs to either “Fresh Fish and Chips” or “Fish Oil and Chips.” As to the second: Should we also note, “No Elephants on Road”? And what might the unlikely term “pavement markings” convey to someone from out of state? I picture a vehicle hauling a 10-foot-diameter revolving drum that prints “FUCK YOU” on the roadway every (roughly) 31.416 feet.

*   *   *

I recall the sign above the road as you drive into Philadelphia International Airport:

“Ceiling height 13’ 8” ”

Beware low-flying planes?

*   *   *

Why was the vacuum cleaner invented?

Because nature abhors a dirty vacuum.

 *   *   *

T-shirt suggestion for MAGA supporters who advocate revolution: 

“I am revolting!”

 *   *   *

A recent dream: I’m not me in this dream, though I’m the interior character, seeing the world from the inside as a personal self. Possibly it’s a scripted episode and I’m an actor? I seem to be a Black man. Some harm has been done to my daughter (the harm was noted in the dream, but the early parts are lost in the mist so I can’t recall what it was), and I have to confront/attack the person responsible. I go to this person’s house or workplace and viciously attack. I’m attacking a woman, though I think the harm was done by a man. By the end, she has become a white tiger and I’m breaking or trying to break the tiger’s hind legs.

Looking back, I don’t see any connection to my current life, any meaning in the actions, or even any elements springing from the preceding day’s activities, which is unusual for me. What, if anything, is it telling me?

*   *   *

Almost every poll or questionnaire I’ve seen drawn up to determine what people are thinking concerning current situations not only includes obvious inherent biases, but its subtle arrangements (the sequence of questions, the terms used, their grammar, etc.) would appeal differently to differing group or individual assumptions.

So… thought I, applying whichever advanced AI languages or algorithms social media have been using, couldn’t most of these polls or questionnaires be fed into an AI to identify at least the most obvious biases? You can’t predict every ridiculous reaction that every individual will have, but at least eliminate the most glaring errors.

*   *   *

I don’t drink coffee (can barely stomach the smell), but for those of you who do, one of my rare social/corporate suggestions:

Boycott Starbucks! 

Their anti-union and anti-worker positions have become truly repulsive – not only firing workers for unionizing, but even closing outlets that support union activities. They’ve become as vicious and evil as the coal industry and robber barons of the 19th century, a truly trash outfit.

Tea’s marginally better for you anyway.

*   *   *

Any and all of the above depends on my and your personal outlook. We are each separate entities, and there’s damned little generalization of outlook that pertains across the human race or its subdivisions, however you slice them: not by race, by sex, by gender, by religion, by occupation (or lack thereof), by national origin, by previous condition of ineptitude.

There are statistic leanings within all of these groups, but how far (and even which way) we each lean is individually determined, usually by factors we can’t fully identify.

*   *   *

Now let me get tack to whatever the hell it is I should be doing, before I turned (retch!) philosophical.

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