halfwaythrough4.jpgI should have thoughts about this. It must somehow re-organize me.

The University of Tennessee recently signed a deal with Chase worth $10 million—roughly $384 per student at a school with an enrollment of 26,038. (To allow them exclusive rights to attempt to get students to sign up for their credit cards on campus)

Some states have passed laws prohibiting credit card companies from targeting students on campus.

It’s a bit like selling heroin. Free choice and personal responsibility, versus social responsibility and trying to avoid tempting harmful choices.

$384 per student, just for the contract to market to them. The campus salesperson also gets commission, and each sign up pays the student a gift. The cost per sign-up has to exceed a grand. I should be in the money lending business. Or heroin sales.

No wonder rich people tend to vote republican, while the poor vote democrat. I can’t figure out what my bias is – free will, or social responsibility?

I know that my bias depends on what I want. This is one of a few reasons I find Warren Buffet to be cool. He advocates for higher taxes for the wealthy, and for higher death taxes. His legal-death-will doesn’t bequeath big chunks of resources to his progeny. He must have put some time into thinking about what he wants.

I’m sure most people find his will to be ungenerous, as it gives to society rather than his kin.

Laughter is one of my favorite pleasures. It seems it happens when two unrelated ideas cause a shock of connection. It is especially poignant if the connection causes a re-evaluation towards one of the ideas. A pun is fun, but a nasty pun is funnier.

Laughter comes in shocks, right? Insight comes in glimpses, in dreams. We court it, but can only wait for it. Right?

Ouch, it hurts me to preach… Being in two places at once is a discipline of mind, and can be trained for. These words won’t inspire you to sit in a corner training your attention to evenly cover a field of attention and possibilities any more than an erotic tale will inspire you to learn sexual chi-kung. Training awareness changes what awareness perceives, and habits of widening experience are related to habits of seeing contradictory data with equanimity and embrace.

So this article can’t inspire you to alter your relationship to bias, but there is huge political significance in bias. Being in one or the other place is a political statement, and those that can be in two places at once are in a better position to be the manipulators of opinion.

Mind training is about broadening awareness towards the edges of the subliminal. It asks from the un-heightened of experience to go ahead and join in what is heightened enough to be conscious. It is about integrating. Making bigger wholes out of wholes. Including biases into bigger biases.

It takes quite a bit of effort, and requires quite a bit of re-adjustment.

It is a never ending process, goes nowhere in particular, yet.

You need over-arching values to participate in mind-training. Because it is hard work, you need a reason to do it. As you progress (and progress is meaningful and gradated, not flat) your values will alter and your reasons will change. There is a thousands of year history of these changing values, and the corresponding changing internal states.

No meta-physics are required to work hard towards altering and re-changing one’s world view. The difficult efforts seem to make life better, and seem to be worth it. That’s enough. Feeling love in your fourth chakra is more meaningful than having a lizard heart and not caring about others. Five years in college to be able to enjoy the meanings of rational scientific thought and literature and old paintings makes life more meaningful than being engulfed in tribal cults. Sex is better than torture. It takes training and work to enjoy life, and to be in a position to have spare good cheer.

Life changes us, and we feel we know better. Our old ignorance belongs to the baby that we grew out of.

But I advocate you to keep in your mind, that right now, you are making choices about your future; you are your own parent, deciding what class and what knowledge and what love your future self will be able to perceive. To even perceive.

People give off a mood to others, and people take on a mood for their actions. That mood is more important than career or house or country. That is is your career and your house and your country.  Can we choose ambiance?What is our ambiance when we fuck? Is it worthwhile and meaningful to look into that? Is it improvable? Important, in any possible way? Our ambiance when we butter a piece of toast. Our ambiance when we crap.

Some people can’t perceive love when they fuck.  It’s one thing not feel love each time, but another for habits to be so strong that love never enters in.

Is Zen a philosophy, an engaging poetics, an intriguing collection of narratives, or perhaps metaphysics? Or it it a practical approach to being, as authentically and accurately and enjoyably as possible? I don’t know why common sense seems so distant from academics and intellectuals. Love and lust and pleasure are as inherently important to momentary experience as is quantifiable sense data, and love and lust and pleasure affect what sense data we attend to. You can’t be dried up and disinterested and at the same time be engaged and present, and the latter is better. Common sense. Having an active sex life (and especially what % of our full being we let engage in our sex life) is one sign of being engaged, physically, in an enjoyable life. There are many signs of being embodied and engaged pleasurably. And it matters, what our actions are – they re-create us and create our ambiance. Anyone can at a glance tell how sensually and sexually engaged in the world a stranger is. How cheerful, how loving, how embracing, how capable of laughing. How playful.

How did I get from credit card companies to ambiance and mood? It’s about bias, and choosing bias. Not going with the default bias that affirms our identity. Not siding with either free will, or with social responsibility. Bias is what we use when we don’t have the time or mental resources to Grok something. It is a mental short-cut. It stops us from loving a situation enough to really know it. Black, or white. Feminism, or social roles. Free market, or socialism. Fashion, or freedom. Romance, or autonomy. Love, or science.

Cheerful playfulness and embodied sensuality have more benefits than a utilitarian approach to life. A sexy, cheerful life, is a life better lived, for one self, and for others. Cheerful sensual playfulness is not just and attitude and mood and vibe, it is an approach to data. A way to approach knowledge that does not depend upon bias. A way to face the unknown with a bit of bravery and a bit of creative joy de vivre. It is a cognitive skill set that enables embracing the seeming contradictions of life into a non-contradictory big-picture-whole. A whole that includes love as much as it includes impermanence, subjective as much as objective, relationship as much as autonomy.

That’s why I do my best to advocate what seems to matter to me to me.  Not merely inform, but to inspire others to learn the many ways to open hearts and practice all the various ways they know how to enjoy. My experience is that enjoying life means learning new habits, and learning new habits is like work at first, but the work has rewards, and can also be fun.