In response to Riv’s post that mentioned the quandary of what to respond when a girl says “I love you”, I came up with:
It’s interesting to play with past and possible future scenarios with images and words. I tend to not do that much, if at all. I prefer to be forced on the spot to be enmeshed in the moment, and I have great trust that the moment will produce an appropriate response.
However I also do put a great deal of contemplation and theoretical framework as supports for what could come out in the moment. Sort of like piano, again. The more compositions and musical theory you study, the more variety of spontaneous improvisations you’ll be capable of.
But I do hold as a strong value that improv is the whole point; not winning an appropriate response out of the girl. I mean, it could be winning the battle but losing the war, if every interaction is bogged down in left brained analysis. A big part of the fun is in letting the right brain do it’s thing; in trusting that it will be authentic and smart and open and honest and clever and real, and engage in a way that gives encouragement, fun, discipline, warmth, joy. Trust in the dreamer to be able to dream and go with him; he’s been there for you before, he’ll be there for you again.
I once tried to think this through in a blog post titled improv as the foundation of game.
I think there is really something to be said for improv. I was a student of the students of Trungpa Rinpoche, and one of his students was Alen Ginsberg. Trungpa R would instruct Ginsberg and many of his students to get up on stage in front of crowds and do spontaneous poetry. So Ginberg told us of this history as an introduction to a spontaneous poem. I was blown away. Not only by his ease and confidence, but by the quality of the poem.
I’ve spent time in poetry writing classes, and a few years as a hobbyist poet. It can take weeks to craft and edit a great poem.
Comedians also speak sometimes to how much extra spark you get, in the moment. It’s a real crucible for the very best to come out. And song writers talk of their session jams with literal reverance. There is something about the state of mind of improv, where you rely on the flow moment, in the moment, enmeshed in the very subtle responsive cues from your mind and music and voice the crowd. Waiting until the very last microsecond to respond to the very next microsecond.
It’s a totally different game than thinking “what should I have said or done”.
It’s a different state of being, and it’s the state of being itself that is the medium, which is the message.
J tells me loves me as if trying to ease a constant burning ache. Probably more than 100 times a day. Sometimes she asks me if I love her. I usually say nothing at all, rarely I’ll say don’t ask me that, and sometimes spontaneously and unexpected I’ll tell her that I love her. I never do it on demand, and I never “say it back”. That feels highly unnatural to me. Yes, she wants reassurance. No, I can’t possibly give it to her. She’s insecure, and that’s normal and natural, and she’ll just have to live with the pain of being in love. We all do, and it’s fine.
In other news, J has a former western boyfriend who has gone of the deep end and is stalking her. He told her family that they were already married, and the shock of it I’m told contributed to her grandmother having a stroke. Her grandmother is not able to speak now. The guy is claiming he’ll come to where she lives and do something nefarious. There might be violence.
In other news, random acts of violence from SE-Asians towards Westerners are still on the increase, and unfortunately this cultural disease seems to be spreading to new areas. The horror stories are bad. I’m of the opinion that the root cause is jealousy and cultural mate guarding. Westerners often hang cute young things on their arm, and are on the whole financially and otherwise better endowed, and locals boil under the collar until random acts of violence occur. The police will be of no help in these matters, and can actually make things worse.
The same old mantra is being repeated more and more, and it’s getting more and more blatant and in your face “where do you think you are?”. Try to just stand up for yourself against random abuse, and you could be on the wrong end of a group beating.
There is also growing mafia presence in some areas that is wiping out tourism. Heartbreaking to see. Crime and violence mixed with corruption and devastating racism. It’s horrific and sad.
Update: One could think of the Bali bombings through the lens of jealousy and cultural mate guarding. I recall being told that the Muslim bombers were against disco life, as it was decadently not about virginity and monogamy and sobriety. But there are plenty of targets in Indonesia where mostly only Indonesians get drunk and do drugs and fuck each other like rabbits. Was it a coincidence that it was the interlopers who got their heads and arms blown off?
Update: When I awoke I felt unsure about this post that I’d written the night before. Was I just trying to brag, or did I have something useful to say? I felt queasy about the idea of even hinting that playing fun games like “What would you do if” was somehow not optimal. Was I trying to advocate “just be yourself game”?
Then I reread it, and I think there is something in there. Somewhere. Something about improv is a subject worth looking deeper into.
I still feel queasy though, because the human mind is quite tricky; it’s more segmented than we usually realize. Language is tricky. The analytical mind is not exactly in the right hemisphere, and our minds aren’t exactly divided, yet it is fair to say that sometimes even the most brilliant analysis is still a small part of a bigger picture that our overall mind puts together, in the background, without our knowing effort. What would you do if is a great game to play, and helps with our future spontaneity. Looking directly at flow moments and spontaneity as a deliberate goal is quite interesting.