Monday, December 28, 2009

Mind's Halftime

There is an unlimited universe of mentality about which most of us know almost nothing.

DB - The Vagabond
One day, years ago, I was talking with a commercial airline pilot. He spoke of the difficulties of piloting a plane, particularly a large commercial jet. He said that the taking off and landing procedures were tricky maneuvers, especially landing. I asked him why landing was more difficult than taking off or flying. He explained that the aircraft was designed to fly. Flying is something it does very well. When you land it you are coaxing it to do something it wasn't necessarily designed to do.

It was in the 40's here today. For the first time in many days I could open the window and let some fresh air into my apartment. Relieving my stuffy apartment reminded me at how stuffed up my mind can get sometimes. My mind was designed to think, not to stop thinking. But sometimes I want to blow the whistle and say "Time out. Halftime. Stop!"

In the intellectual race between the tortoise and the hare I am definitely the tortoise. I admire people who can quickly grasp a concept and start applying it. That's not me. I plod through books as if they were written in a language I only vaguely understand. I don't read books. I eat them.

But while digesting the morsels of information contained in the wide variety of literature I read I now and then come across something that could be called knowledge. "Ay, there's the rub." Whenever that happens my own mind kicks in and I start thinking (heaven forbid).

Knowledge comes to us in two ways. Most of us know what we know because it was passed along to us by those who received it from someone else, and so on. And the further back that passing comes from the more venerated that knowledge is. It is known as "wisdom." But is it? Every once in a while someone will kick that "received wisdom" in the butt and come up with a more enlightened understanding of the information, and thus obtain more information, more knowledge.

In the case of music, for example, Mozart and Beethoven both bit their thumbs at the conventional modes of composing, and thank goodness they did. That same irreverence has happened in all areas of life and on all continents. But then it becomes received wisdom which then must be passed along in it's turn. We study harmony and counterpoint not to learn how to write music but to learn how music has been written up to the moment.

What is it that allows, prompts someone to turn away from this hand-me-down knowledge and find a newer understanding of things? It's inspiration. Inspiration doesn't come from books or teaching. Those things can inspire us to seek out what has been uncovered in our own thoughts. But it isn't until those things are articulated by us that they have any reality or existence except as microchips of the brain, a nice gift tucked away on the shelf. When they are articulated a channel begins to open up for more understanding, more inspiration, more wisdom. When you get to the point where you are wondering where all this "good stuff" is coming from you are on the door step of realizing the infinity of mentality. The middle men of books, teachers, Internet search programs and received knowledge are dispensed with or take an appropriate seat at the back. When you reach that state of enlightenment do what the sages do. Take a break. But not a long one. Halftime only. Absorb what you've done, what's happened to you, what it means, and then go back to work.

DB -The Vagabond

1 comment:

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I think wisdom, by its very nature, it cultivated over time. Inspiration, also by its nature, is much more immediate. I find that I am much more a wisdom type than an inspirational type :o)