Harry Haller is a friend of mine who is really very intelligent, but he has one glaring fault, and that is that he always assumes he is automatically right and other people are always wrong. This is his default judgement. Here is an example: We are discussing the I Ching, the Book of Changes. I explained to him the possible hexagrams, and that there are 8 possible trigrams, or groups of three lines, either yin or yang. A yang is considered stronger energy, and a yin is weaker. The yang is a straight line, and the yin is a broken line. Just as a way to remember the possible trigrams, I like to think of them as a family with the father being three yang lines, and the mother three yin lines. Then there are three sisters and three brothers. If the yang line is on top, then that is the oldest brother, and so on. These 8 possible combinations are then arranged in pairs, and there are 64 combinations, or hexagrams, with 6 lines each. You can look up each hexagram in the I Ching, and there you will find your answer. But there are also lines that are in transition, that are changing. These are rarer than the unchanging lines, and the rarest situation is a yin line of weak energy becoming a yang line. It is more common for a strong line to become weak.
Anyway, if you have changing lines, then it yields a second hexagram, and you need to consider that in your answer as well. The bottom line (this is an inside joke because the hexagrams are built from the bottom line up) is that you don’t want just a random pick of the hexagram, with a 1/64th chance of any one being the answer. They reflect certain states of energy in the universe, and some states only occur rarely. But Harry, who knows nothing of the I Ching assumes that all hexagrams have equal probability, and this is how it works. How it should work. How it must work. Also, he knows that it is all baloney anyway, so one random number from 1 to 64 should be just as stupid and meaningless as any other.
This way of thinking he likes to flatter himself is pragmatic and logical but I think it is stupid and pig headed. Also, he lives too abstractly, in his head, and he isn’t even alive. Like, he has toast with peanut butter for dinner, because he doesn’t see much difference in something like that and something prepared with love and artistry. It is all like he is just putting cheap gas in a machine, and the taste doesn’t matter, or even in the case of food, little micronutrients that his body craves. It is for this reason also that I suspect though he is widely read in literature and philosophy, he remains indifferent to poetry.
Meditation is a waste of time. Harry Haller tried it once, and it was boring. Nothing happened. Also, there is no God, because when his father died, he tried praying, and felt like no one was listening. So, he is certain that God doesn’t exist.
When it is time for him to die, perhaps then he will realize, that he is already dead, and has yet to ever actually live. I can say this with impunity because his computer is broken and there is little chance that he will ever read this, and by the time he does, if that ever happens, it will be ancient history.
Anyway, to get back to the I Ching, the Book of Changes, I was consulting it using a method of flipping coins, but I wanted to get a better result using yarrow stalks. I didn’t know where to get yarrow stalks, and also I thought that the yarrow stalks were somehow like coins with a head and a tail side. But after Harry left I went online and watched a few videos that explained how it works. So, I am going to start doing I Ching again. Stay tuned.
We are watching movies together, Harry and I, and we alternate. I made him watch Closer, and he made me watch Terminator, Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight. Next week we are going to watch Fight Club. Also, he wanted me to watch Now, Voyager, starring Bette Davis, as a repressed spinster who finally starts to live later in life. A late bloomer. He was embarrassed by it, and also felt it was a little corny. I enjoyed that movie, and felt it was really a window into his soul. Only thing is, he identified with Charlotte Vale, the repressed spinster who finally blossomed, but I feel like he is more like the spinster before she blossomed, that he has yet to really come alive. Stay tuned for further developments along this line also.
Luke is another philosopher in our group. He was wearing a Fight Club t-shirt, so we talked about that movie. As an aside, Luke was a big fan of Stanley Kubrick and he had some interesting theories about The Shining and said there was a documentary called Room 237 that said that the moon landing was fake and was staged by Kubrick. Also, there is this scene in Eyes Wide Shut where a guy answers the door at the secret orgy wearing a Bob Hope mask because Bob Hope was a secret perv.
Anyway, Luke is going to bring Fight Club to our next meeting. Also, he was reading a book by Sam Harris, an atheist (not the Sam Harris who won Star Search by singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow, although I’ve never seen them both in the same room together) but anyway, the book by Sam Harris was about Spirituality without believing in God. I am interested in reading it, but feel like it is just a way to get around the God thing. Like, if you are in AA and you have to relinquish control to a Higher Power, as you understand it. Like God, but you don’t want to call it God. A higher power, as you understand it, is just God, but maybe you had a bad experience, so you don’t want to call it God. Whatever.
In other news, I am taking saxophone lessons from Paul Perez, and he had to postpone the lesson from Thursday to Friday because he recorded with Lee Thornburg and Freebo at Aum Studios. Thornburg was in Tower of Power, and has played with all kinds of big names like Chicago, Supertramp, and George Lowell of Little Feat, while Freebo has also played with a lot of super heavy weights most notably Bonnie Raitt. Paul is a really great sax teacher, and he was also in Tower of Power. The session was at Aum Studios, right around the corner from this coffee shop where I am at now. I am suddenly inspired to practice my sax, though Bakersfield is in the triple digits already and my house is like a blast furnace. But I need to blow my own horn!