Mellow Gold, Steel Trap • 13 June 2008

Mellow gold: summer music. The other morning with memories of beery oak grove sunsets circa 1996, I played the old record on the way to practice. Loser is the first song. It’s hard not to sing the chorus, but I have no memory for the absurd beat-nick hip-hop verses except for when he finally slows it down…and my time is a piece of wax fallin on a termite… that’s choking on the splinters.

Except for at 5:40 when the mind is all quiet and sharp and the song goes on fresh. What the heck? I belted out both verses traveling up and around San Vicente to practice (there just one road that describes a giant arch from house to shala—I just have to turn right out of my building, and eight minutes later left at a light). At the end of the song I hit the deck and played it again. In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey butane in my veins and I’m out to cut the junkie with the plastic eyeballs spraypaint the vegetables…

What? I was happy to find that of all things intact in my head, but couldn’t reproduce the trick brain-tired after a day’s work. The Editor said: Yeah of course you know the lyrics word for word. Because your mind is a steel trap. Unless you are telling a story to friends. Then you are unreliable and make shit up.

Steel trap? Thanks man. As for unreliable, I guess that is the trick with subjectivity. It skews everything and makes me a shadier character.

Which reminds me. It’s not really accurate to say I’m the child of Karl Popper (you listening, Natalie?), only sort of his child. Popper , like Gregor's Carl Sagan but more abstractly, thought the truth was "out there" and believed trying to dis-prove bold propositions was the logically strongest way to find it out. Except, er…, unless we're talking physics, the truth is not out there. The truth is what works. I’m with Wittgenstein and the Buddha and Karen on that. Or a better way to say it is that what’s true is specific to every social- economic- religious- political- cultural era, which is what Marx and the Integralists bear out in their different ways. The truth is ephochal.

So if it isn’t out there—if the truth is just what works—why bother to frame bold conjectures? I guess if you don’t want to deceive yourself. The truth is what works to hide from your problems. But on the other hand the truth is what works to develop your character. The truth is what works to let go of your pain and be a nicer person. I dunno. I really don't know what the truth is in this sense.

I guess you only would want to frame bold conjectures if you are curious about existence. Otherwise, sure: don’t. You’ll be relatively shallow and easily duped, but maybe that’s your truth. Go om shanti go.

The only reason I bring it up is that I’m working over a paradox here in the SoCal yoga subculture. People go thorough daily life as tough customers, smart operators, asking the world to be honest with them and yield its best stuff for their efforts. They get amazing things done, take care of themselves and their families, learn and grow as a result. Except for around their yoga, these same reasonable people might employ bizarrely low standards for truth. Instead of truth being what works for happy relationships and productive work and a beautiful life, truth becomes: whatever the authorities tell me, or whatever seems fun to believe. The truth is what feels good on a surface level. Kind of escapist, that.

It’s almost like we don’t take spiritual life seriously here in this little breeding ground of modern lifestyle norms. 

It's almost like we don't expect anything real from spiritual life.

Wouldn’t this be the area where we would employ the highest standards for truth and meaning? Isn’t this the part of our life where truth is most important and worthwhile? Wouldn’t we want to make ourselves most open to finding out new shit in this particular area of our lives? Why are people who are not flakey or fake about work and relationships happy to settle for other-worldly, airy-fairy yoga?

Don’t believe everything that you breathe you got a parking violation and a maggot on your sleeve