Visiting Tate’s Gallery in London last week I came a cross a quote by an abstract painter that has been resonating in my head:
I have nothing to say, and I am saying it.
Looking for the quote on the internet, it turns out that it has been used also by others, among them the American experimental composer and artist John Cage:
“I have nothing to say / and I am saying it / and that is poetry / as I needed it”
There are so many people telling you what you should think, or not think. The nothing to say and saying it, may express an attitude that is more open an neutral. That willingness to allow other persons to make up their own mind and find their own way, may be a very basic Acem meditation-attitude. It is not nihilistic, it is not post-modern, it is simply open and neutral.
I was really delighted by the Winner-Takes-All sweep of Oscars by the King’s Speech. It was one of the best movies I have seen for a long time. After some time I was surprised that the movie appeared to be nearing its end – after just one hour. I looked at may watch: Nearly two hours had passed.
It was like that kind of meditation when the time just flows by. In some ways the movie was low key and moving not slowly, but silently. But it was very intense. – For me, the movie also made one other connection to Acem Meditation. The unorthodox speech therapist, friendly, unorthodox, inventive, quite competent, independent and quite sensitive, also, to a certain extent, reminded me of Are Holen, the founder of Acem.
You probably would not expect a comment on the Meditation Blog upon Timothy Snyder: The Bloodlands – Europe between Hitler and Stalin. But there are some interesting psychological perspectives relevant for meditation. Most of the book describes truly awful events, but the shock lies much in the realization that the narrative is probably fairly accurate in its description of the mass murder of 14 million people. The book is a bestseller and has received fabulous reviews from some of the best historians in the world. It is interesting, even when one knows parts of the story. It is intelligently written, but by a truly angry man! In writing the book, I think Snyder reveals a basic drive in the human psyche: The need to understand even what is truly awful. In the will to understand there is hope. The crimes were committed by humans, but they are also investigated to be understood by humans.
You should be careful in selecting the person with whom you meditate – especially if you are a top political leader. German researchers have found that countries whose top political leadership meets with the Dalai Lama lose more than 8 per cent in annaul exports to China. It tells you something about what you might expect in a world where China is more dominant. The effect of your Dalai Lama “meditation” goes away after two years. See the report at CNN.
The play “The Spin Doctor” (adapted from the English/American original “Feel Good”) has one character that is really awful: Arrogant, completely unreliable (always spinning/lying, totally selfish etc). I saw the play yesterday with some friends and had to laugh – and not only at the appropriate places. To really drive home that the spin doctor is the bad-bad guy in the play, the author after some time allows it to be revealed that the spin doctor is also a vegetarian (nothing worse!) and has completely stopped drinking alcohol – well even worse. That is how far down you may get in describing an absolutely unsympathetic character! The behavior of the spin doctor is much closer to some kind of impulsive, non-empathetic alcoholic. But that kind of consistency is obviously not the point. The aim is more to create a character as negative as you can by putting all kinds of negative labels on the person. If you had any hope that a greener diet and less alcohol should help the world, you may have to realise that you still have a mile or to to go before there is a consensus out there.
Reporters are embedded in modern warfare operations. On television we may daily watch real people getting killed for real.
But some killing floors are off limits. In the book The Omnivore’s Dilemma the author Michael Pollan tries to analyze modern food production. At one point he was denied all access: To the killing floors of modern slaughterhouses. They are No Trespassing territory to all reporters. And for good reasons! The food industry realizes that if the public really saw how the butchery went on, there would be another attitude regarding what one eats. Just reading about it is sickening. In one slaughterhouse 400 cattle are killed per hour. There is ‘only’ an error rate of maximum 5 per cent (much higher before the public demanded that McDonald and other meat providers do something). This means that not more than 20 cattle an hour are still alive when they are skinned and hooked up upside down etc.
One of the main items on the Norwegian main TV news broadcast tonight (18th Oct) was on David Lynch – coming to Norway not only to promote his films, but mostly to market Transcendental Meditation to the Norwegian media and to two cabinet ministers in direct meetings – see link. The reason why he is given so mush space, is, of course, that it looks strange. He is overenthusiastic, promises miracles, a revolution of the school system etc. The news broadcasters love stars making a kind of fool of themselves. As part of what I somewhat immodestly would call a more realistic meditaion movement, where also former practicioners of TM might find a very interesting approach to meditation, the Lynch-episode awokes ambivalence. On the one hand, it makes meditation look strange and unreal. On the other hand, it might help more persons to become aware of organisations like Acem.