Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Life in the Senses: being me

From time to time I will be most personal in my remarks. I will dig into my innards, as shallow as these sometimes appear to me, and reveal what is of use therein.

I do not live a life of the mind or the heart but of the senses. I do not mean I am a hedonist or live for pleasures. I do not mean that I don't think in ideas or read five books at a time (which I do). What I mean, and I scarcely have the proper or even casual language with which to adequately portray or represent it, is that I navigate through the world by inner vibrations (or vibes as they would say in the 70s). I get feelings about what is around me without those feelings being translated into either discursive thoughts, concrete sentences or clear emotions like happiness or sadness. I do not know what to make of this cognitive style. I do not know if it is good or bad in any objective or absolute sense. I do know that it relies heavily upon what people have always called intuition, though I tend to have great detachment from things. I see the whys and wherefores of things before I pass judgement upon them. I can easily see things from points of view opposite of my own, though I always know in my gut, heart, and brain what my stance really is, however much I can entertain "the other side."

I get great feelings from things that are not immediately important: from the shape of buildings, the layout of our cities, and the size and depth of our crowds. I am sensitive to sounds of course, being a musician, but as equally sensitive to the tones in people's voices rather than their content or literal meaning.

It can be a tiring way to live, but it can be equally rewarding as this is the source of how I create and work. Often I will spend an hour or more on a phrase or a chord, to make sure it is the right one. And it is never a matter of purely intellectual or systematic concerns but again of their vibration.

I feel that every day I have been alive I have learned something new. It might be a piece of the trivial or an ephemera; just as often it has been something that for a time feels momentous or life changing. I am by nature a skeptic, but I am equally Romantic in that I feel values are real and not mere conventions we decide upon. I do feel indebted to the enlightenment and the age of Reason but feel just as strongly that their displacement of spirit and soul to be sadly mistaken. At the same time I dislike the specificity with which followers practice the world's religions, but when I read those religions with an ear towards their language and their stories the faiths seem to me among the most beautiful and truthful things ever created, whether divined or not. But it all too often seems as if my reading of them is in marked contrast to how those that call themselves believers read them, the latter seems closer to a laundry list of what sex acts to perform or from which to refrain and when to eat fish, or pork or not, and whether God means for the home team to win or not in that particular season.

That is all I can reveal of myself for now. I hope it hasn't been too vague, nor too exhibitionistic. It is in an attempt to understand.

1 comment:

  1. That's an interesting way to go through life. I'm only guessing, but to me it seems like a very "male" way to go through the world. I have a theory that the male has strong attachments to the primitive hunter, a theory which I got after reading a lot of sex pulp novels from the 1960s. The men in those novels live as you do, by sensation. Their attention would flit from moment to moment from a woman's perfume or the shape of her silhouette, to the dim awareness of a male rival, to some business he had to take care of, to people entering and exiting a room and whether they were likely to be friends or enemies, then back to the woman, etc. Very much like a hunter out on the savannah. It must be a somewhat ordinary male trait, because all of these authors of these pulp novels seemed to know that this is the way a man's mind works. My mind works in a very different way. I am much less floating, much more goal-oriented and grounded in my own ego. But it seems that your way is perfectly suited to a jazz musician!