Blah Blah Blah of the Day

The other night I was riding home late on the Q line from Manhattan to Brooklyn. A new phenomenon struck me. No, it is not the excessive texting. It is the excessive jabbering coming from the lips of 20 somethings. I have never seen anything like it. Sitting in my seat, I felt like I just happened into a cocktail party. My wife has confirmed that when she rides around the same time, the same thing occurs. We ride home in the “party” car.

Reading on the subway has always been a common thing for me. Now it seems that concentrating is challenged by the flow of exuberant conversation all around me. What used to be a moment of solitude in a sea of people, has been invaded by the empty thoughts of the multitudes who are happy to be employed in the grand illusion.

Hey! You over there, I know about your kind
You’re like the Independent Network News on Channel 9
Everywhere that you go, no matter where you at
I said you talk about this, and you talk about that
When the cat took your tongue, I say you took it right back
Your mouth is so big, one bite would kill a Big Mac

You talk too much You never shut up
I said you talk too much Homeboy you never shut up

You talk about people, you don’t even know
And you talk about places, you NEVER go
You talk about your girl, from head to toe
I said your mouth’s moving fast, and your brain’s moving slow
—Run DMC from the song “You Talk Too Much”

What is all the excitement about? All the chatting. Truth is, when I give a listen to what is being talked about, my sense is that much of it is vacuous. Meaningless tripe about movies, occupations, the day at the office. Nothing meaningful is being said. And somehow I feel that it is not an opinion I express about all of this, but an observation on how the failed system of education in the world has born its’ fruit. The young minds have been shut down due to the constant barrage of facts being force fed to them as students. The shutdown in the mind and the heart has led to an epidemic disinterest in the world we live in. Yes there are many positive things happening everyday that would give one a cause for hope. But with every action comes its’ diametrically opposing reaction. If some are searching for new meaning, or a new way of living in the 21st century, then the other end of the see-saw has those who have become closed off to meaning and cling to an old dying idea that can be summed up in one word: capitalism.

Here is one reality quoted from an NPR article:

Foreclosure activity surged last month across about half of the nation’s states, as banks tackled a backlog of homes with mortgages that had gone unpaid yet remained in limbo due to delays stemming from foreclosure-abuse claims.

In other words, people now owe more on their homes then the homes are worth. Does not seem very promising to me. But what I would like to hear from those around me is how we as a community are going to survive all of this. Are we going to hunker down under the cellar stairs with a shot gun and a flash light and shoot anything that moves?

There was a video I watched recently of Sarah Palin. She was making the wild claim that Obama wants to take us back to the days of the Civil War. The truth about her speech was that she did not seem to know anything about history, the 1800’s, Abraham Lincoln or why we were in a Civil War in the first place. I think she gleans her facts from the toilet paper after she wipes her ass. Why this women is given any platform to speak at all, let alone a network news program is beyond the comprehension of my over worked brain. But I am posting it here and let the reader judge for themself.

This is 1:23 minutes of blah blah blah. She succeeds in pouring out a pile of words which in their sum total add up to nothing. All I can concentrate on here, is her bad make-up and her exasperated breathing which she emphasizes with disgust for our sitting president. No media personality was ever able to treat George Bush or any other white president with such disdain. The fact that Obama is a black man seems to give these wacko pundits the license to say anything that crosses their retarded minds. And there seems to be no end to the public platforms just hungry to air this verbal and hateful nonsense.

After listening to this again, I am reminded of Donald Rumsfeld answering the press.

If a prospective Presidential approach can’t be explained clearly enough to be understood well, it probably hasn’t been thought through well enough. If not well understood by the American people, it probably won’t “sail” anyway. Send it back for further thought. —Donald Rumsfeld

The man was a master at saying nothing, and meaning it!

The out pouring of words that we read on blogs, hear on news and the babble of everyday folks has become a vast rushing waterfall of nonsense puring down on the rest of us with the unconscious intention of burying anything that might have a glimmer of reality to it. A way to better our world is turned into a joke. But the joke won’t be on just those who wish a change in the paradigm, it will be a joke on the whole planet. And there won’t be a bank to laugh on the way to. Right now, I must find a place of inner quiet to get away from all the words, including the ones that run endlessly through my own mind.

This is the story I will leave for those who are trying to get away from the world of BLAH BLAH BLAH.

What is the Sound of One Hand Clapping?

The master of Kennin temple was Mokurai, Silent Thunder. He had a little protégé named Toyo who was only twelve years old. Toyo saw the older disciples visit the master’s room each morning and evening to receive instruction in sanzen or personal guidence in which they were given koans to stop mind-wandering.

Toyo wished to do sanzen also.

“Wait a while,” said Mokurai. “You are too young.”

But the child insisted, so the teacher finally consented.

In the evening little Toyo went at the proper time to the threshold of Mokurai’s sanzen room. He struck the gong to announce his presence, bowed respectfully three times outside the door, and went to sit before the master in respectful silence.

“You can hear the sound of two hands when they clap together,” said Mokurai. “Now show me the sound of one hand.”

Toyo bowed and went to his room to consider this problem. From his window he could hear the music of the geishas. “Ah, I have it!” he proclaimed.

The next evening, when his teacher asked him to illustrate the sound of one hand, Toyo began to play the music of the geishas.

“No, no,” said Mokurai. “That will never do. That is not the sound of one hand. You’ve not got it at all.”

Thinking that such music might interrupt, Toyo moved his abode to a quiet place. He meditated again. “What can the sound of one hand be?” He happened to hear some water dripping. “I have it,” imagined Toyo.

When he next appeared before his teacher, he imitated dripping water.

“What is that?” asked Mokurai. “That is the sound of dripping water, but not the sound of one hand. Try again.”

In vain Toyo meditated to hear the sound of one hand. He heard the sighing of the wind. But the sound was rejected.

He heard the cry of an owl. This was also refused.

The sound of one hand was not the locusts.

For more than ten times Toyo visited Mokurai with different sounds. All were wrong. For almost a year he pondered what the sound of one hand might be.

At last Toyo entered true meditation and transcended all sounds. “I could collect no more,” he explained later, “so I reached the soundless sound.”

Toyo had realized the sound of one hand.


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2 Comments on “Blah Blah Blah of the Day”

  1. Becca says:

    Mindless chatter seems to be something that all people my age make use of at one point or another. Although my mindless chatter when I was jetlag with you the night of my arrival was about Burma and Aung San Suu Kyi. Different levels, yet the same need to be talked to. Perhaps finding oneself in an already overly-packed society here depicted in the Subway (which is very representative to a certain extent of what New York is all about. Even you said so) creates the need to be known and noticed by at least one person. Many youths I’ve encountered through travel and Couchsurfin all seem to need to talk. One even admitted that he found silence and solitude oppressing. Others needed to start conversations about the most random things, like “Brad Pitt or Mitt Romney?” and go on talking from there. Another couldn’t bear being left alone and felt the need to interrupt my studying in order to not feel lonely.

    What I get the impression is happening now with so many people of my generation is that they’ve been taught that silence and space for thought is not acceptable. Why would it be? Of course we shouldn’t be allowed to construct our own philosophy, basic principles and ideologies. That’s what the media and television is for. So many of us need to be in front of a screen if we’re alone. So many others need music at all times. So few can face any kind of solitude. Reason why I appreciate my best friend so much, with whom I don’t need to talk to feel comfortable with. Reason why I enjoy having the possibility to travel on my own. My space becomes my own and my thoughts have the time to create my ideas. How many people my age can say as much?

    And about Sarah Palin… You don’t need to watch a woman who seems to lack as much basic knowledge as her on television to realize how uneducated so many people in American media are. I personally think about Jon Stewart raging war on Christmas, was it? And Fox’s response to it: the presentator didn’t explain, but simply affirmed with this smug expression, “Jon Stewart has declared war on Christmas. Well, he’s going to Hell all right!”.


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