What will you do?

Karl Malden was someone who had a big impression upon me as a youth. I was always fixated by tv and the distraction it provided from daily life. The distraction continues, but I am more interested in daily life now than before. You did not ask why, but I will share anyway. That is the new thing this century: sharing even when they beg you don’t.

One of the reasons why life now is more interesting than screens is because screens are everywhere; and anytime something becomes ubiquitous, the content suffers from a lack of meaning and purpose most of the time. What I find now is that things that are worth viewing on tv or the web is based on something that actually happened anyway, not something created for the screen. You know what I mean? People being shot or beaten by police is fascinating to watch, since it is happening. If it was just a fiction portrayed by actors, it would be so very boring as to be considered a nuisance. This is why when something is designated as fake news or a fabrication, it is an immediate turn off; no one cares what you have made up anymore!

The mainstream is so big, it seems like the sky now. You don’t notice it unless it doesn’t look blue or something up there makes a whole lot of noise. If its mainstream, it fades easily into the background–the images, the noise, even how it feels sometimes. How about taste. Are your taste buds bored? Sure they are. We have developed sophisticated gadgets and things, but we eat the same things all the time. Don’t want to take chances I guess, which we will do with a new video (song, game or movie). Our ears are the most bored thing on our bodies. For some it may be an unmentionable region; if so, that’s difficult to treat. But let’s stick to taste, touch, sight, smell and sound.

It’s not good to have a bored sense of hearing. What goes into the ear lodges itself in our psyche for (many many) months if not years. Of course the same seems to hold for what we see; yet sounds are quite compelling. Sound can be absorbed from any angle, while vision is limited by our periphery; and what we see on the side is less compelling than what we see in front of us. That’s why there are so many options on where we put speakers in our space. Sound has such a cool factor and can stimulate us without much help from the other senses. Words from a sweetheart or honey linger for long periods of time, and you don’t mind if that person says those sweet words to you over and over again. When it comes to what we see, the thrill wears off pretty soon; and the same happens with taste as well.

What about smell. That is still a new frontier! Marketeers have not come up with a way to get to us through smell yet. They put fragrances in magazines, but for the most part, not enough work has been done to digitize scents and lead you to the retail checkout with something as subtle as a whiff. But a sound or a song – done. A picture or video, well you get the point. We are still living in the sight and sound dimension–a theme park where everything is reaching out to us and for us, making us laugh, cry, dance and sing. We will eat because people have to eat anyway. Even if what we had doesn’t taste like anything anymore. It goes in, maybe tips it’s hat to a few taste buds with whom it became recently acquainted, and passes through and down the hatch. Rarely is the experience memorable anymore; and memories matter.

Which reminds me: what you hear is very important indeed. That is why music and all of those things that are called music these days are important. We claim to have content preferences and companies pretend to cater to them; but both they and we are in denial. Not much of what we hear matters anymore. It sounds like sounds. If we change the volume, or break up the cadence or vary the beat, then moments of stimulation are the result. Those moments are fleeting, and your level of satisfaction started to level off when you were still a teenager. I’m sorry, but this has happened to sounds, to sights to touch and tastes. So smells are the final frontier. But wait.

The final frontier is whatever your heart wants it to be. This I can guarantee: you and I must hear something new, taste something new, see something new, and feel something new. Touch is a funny thing, because we can feel externally and internally. Actually, the other senses are also external and internal, but sounds from within you are absurd; right? Visions in your mind, we are told, should not be trusted. Somebody on tv has to tell you when and whether it is alright to host visions and sounds of your own. If you are recognized as an artist, you might be allowed to share what your mind’s eye sees or what your inner self has heard. Seems pretty regulated to me though. If you want something new, get in line – over there; that line way over there is for those asking for something new. There will be a significant wait for it. If you don’t mind the same old, no waiting.

Waiting for the new phone, or burger, or song or virtual reality thing? Let me remind you that the real reality thing still has wicked potential. But you first have to know who and what you are – at least a little. You have a purpose as one person and as a member of a group. Life itself has a purpose, and no, it’s not to eat all the wings and store all those songs in the cloud or see everything that they did with the story line for the 5th straight year. Really? I swear it’s not that; but you already know that it isn’t.

Our dilemma; who said something about a dilemma? I did. Our dilemma is that we feel stuck and our energy is drained. Look at those folks who are getting on boats and in strange cargo vessels to get from the third world over to the first one, where we are. They have a lot of energy, drive, enthusiasm and desperation. No one can argue with that. But the lie I was told was that I didn’t need to have the same desperation and “last act” mindset because I’m already in the promised land. We are already in heaven, and already saved. You see where this is going, so brace yourself. This is not heaven here; nor are we saved yet. But it is important to the system process that we feel like we are saved and comfortable.

You can hear these words in your own mind now. Sounds different because it is different; it is cutting through the numbness of the noise that surrounds us. Karl Malden did these commercials when I was a kid that had in them the provocative line: “What will you do?” The pitch was for traveler’s checks which only upper class folks would even worry about. I walked around as a kid asking myself this question hundreds of times throughout my life. And I have answers. They key is to change the sound, the vision and the feeling. Starting with a strong desire, you can do anything; and help will come to you.

So, to paraphrase another actor today, let me ask you, “What’s in your heart, and what will you do?”


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