Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Life of the Mind

You know that you're intellectually overstimulated when you stay up until 7:00 am every night during the week, poring over such diverse works as R.K. Narayan's The Bhagavad Gita and Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics, when you're tracing the path of the concept of thelema through François Rabelais to Aleister Crowley to Hermann Hesse, and writing a cheeky and ostentatious linguistically splashy review of Billy Collins's "Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes" (which happens to be a kick-ass poem, by the way).

It's not the reading and writing so much as the stepped-up tempo, the white heat of the end of the semester and the sizzling and popping of the synapses, the cascading flood of neurotransmitters fueled by coffee, yerba mate, and the bad food (as mentioned below).

You know it's bad when you find yourself finally in bed, the sky turning and lightening from violet to winter white, and on the flickering television is an adorable little penguin named Paz, with a squeaky child's voice, playing games and learning about life with his friends Pig, Dog, and Rabbit. The show is called "Ready, Set, Learn", and you LOVE it.

At least you love these animated shorts--kept to under eight minutes so as to not run over the shorter attention spans of preschoolers--and you realize that while the content is what some might choose to call "cheesy", it nevertheless serves as an aid to mental and emotional decompression. It's a sort of pre-sleep relaxation period. Paz and his mother, Big Penguin, have discussions over "sammiches" about the color of anger (red) and sadness (blue), as well as Paz's small stature, which we are all assured will change as he gets older. You realize that if you had a child, this is the sort of thing that you would like them to watch, as opposed to virtually everything else on the television.

* * *

The thing is, I don't know if it's simply the fact that I'm burnt out, or if I really am so deeply touched by the subject matter (i.e. socialization, communion, our inherent need for love and companionship, our shared struggle for meaning) but I've been having a pretty visceral reaction to Paz lately.

I tend to get teary watching it.

I watched Paz "play circus" this morning, and he pretended that he was "The Great Penguini".

It was beautiful.

This is the life of the mind.

1 comment:

Bhaskara said...

One deep critical reading may be adequate for Gita. It may not deserve more. Mostly it is the work of priests who were unwillingly doing the dictates of patron kings. www.bhagavadgitayb.blogspot.com. The whole Mahabharata (in which 714 verse Gita is a tiny part of 115,000 verses) if read carefully reveals that priests were more interested in animal sacrifices and dakshinas (gifts given by king to priests).