The Sensitive Terrorist

I was going through the security checkpoint at the Raleigh airport. Considering it was the holidays, it was pretty slow. Until, the slow drawed, slow moving security guard watching his favorite show on the X-Ray asked me to open my backpack.
Ugh, I thought.
“Is this your 4 ounces of Sensodyne toothpaste?”
“Um, yes it is.” I answered, slightly embarrassed by my sensitivity.
“Are you aware that any liquids or gels over three and a half ounces need to be in a plastic bag, or checked?”
“Um, well, I, um…Yes, I guess I was but…”
“I’m going to have to throw this in the trash.”

You’re going to confiscate my Sensodyne toothpaste? I’m mean, I kind of get the theory about using gels as explosive materials, and maybe I can excuse the level of ridiculousness that the TSA has taken this liquid witch hunt to, but…

“Hey Musharraf! Are you ready to take down capitalism in the name of Allah?!”
“Are you ready to give your life as a commitment to this cause?!”
“Yes! Absolutely! I’m in! But wait! Hold on a second, these sensitive teeth are killing me! I mean really, I’ve got to get a hold of some very gentle and delicate pain-relieving toothpaste that can help rebuild the enamel on my teeth over time. I realize I might be dead in a matter of days, but certainly I can go pain free in the mean time.”

Dream Journal, cont’d.

Music is a sheet of ice that extends across the ocean. Several people are chipping away with the back side of hammer to split and sever the ice. These are the remixers. Their clinking will travel across the ocean.
But then, the ice cracks and a huge hole opens up. I fall through the ice into an underwater river that is carrying me to the far east. The water is cold, but I’m not cold.
The flow carries me to China, where I am still underwater, but looking down upon a nativity scene. However, the lead character (Jesus?) has been replaced by a metal Ankh,
the horizontal crossbar*. This is the drama of the play. Who kidnapped Jesus and replaced him with this ornament wearing a robe?
Now, there is someone following me…
Suddenly, I have the urge to call Saul Williams. “Is your email still the same?” “I should call you.” I say to him, just after I call him.


*This is fascinating. After I wrote this, I had to do some research to figure out what this symbol is called. I found:

The ankh is a combination of two symbols, a circle, and a the
Tau cross. The circle represents perfection, the spiritual world or
Eternity. The cross represents Spirit incarnated or the Manifested
World. It’s the combination of the vertical line and the horizontal line.
The horizontal line is yin. Yin is the place where life can take place.
The vertical line is Yang, like a Solar Ray coming down. In order to
have life you have to have those two things, you have to have a womb,
Mother Earth, where life can take place and you have to have an impulse
of life.

The horizontal line is like the surface of the sea

the vertical line is like a lightening bolt. These two combine to form the
cross, or in the case of the ankh, the Tau, on which the circle sits.

Truly Timeless Art

Often, I hear the word “timeless” as a positive review of a piece of art. Most of the time, I think the meaning of this phrase is used incorrectly. For instance, let’s say we are talking about a recording of a song. Generally, by issuing the phrase “timeless” the reviewer is inferring that the recording itself could be played at any period in time and would have the same relevance – sonically, emotionally, politically, etc. “That Creedence song sounds as good today as it did 30 years ago! It’s timeless!”

That’s not what the phrase means to me. A truly “timeless” piece of art is one that puts YOU, the “experiencer”, in a space without time. There is nothing else but the moment you are in right now. It actually removes past and present and envelopes you in the moment of the piece as it unfolds.

Of course, time is taking place while you experience the art present itself, but the duration is at the mercy of the piece.

Those are the pieces of art that I’m drawn to. There’s nothing to intellectualize about the creation. Is it a good piece? Is it a bad piece? Do I like the singer? Is the protagonist brave enough? Is there too much red?

I am IN the work or I’m not. And I FEEL it. I EXPERIENCE it. There are no judgments during, if the piece is capturing me.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes you watch a film and as soon as you leave the theater, or perhaps the next day, you have so many questions? Well, why did he leave her? I wonder where the butler went? How did she know he would be there?

That’s because that silly, part of our mind that thinks it has all the answers, the part that is so insecure without it’s meddling, the part that can be so interruptive, has been quelled. Your deeper self’s thorough enjoyment of the piece has issued an involuntary “sshhhhhh…..”

I can tell that a piece of art is timeless by the reaction of my body. It actually slows down and is quieted. The belly relaxes, and creates a softness to absorb what’s surrounding me. I might be inspired and the creative part of me is spinning, but there is nothing hesitant or judgmental about the thought patterns. Only forward “yes”es. I’m immersed in the moment.

The next time you are listening to your favorite song, or reading a book, or watching a film, or standing with tired legs in front of the Raft of the Medusa after running around Paris all day – take a moment to feel into your body and notice how immersed you are.

Hopefully, if the art is for you, your experience will be similar to my friend T.D. Lind’s hopes, as he sings these encouraging words to his lover: “Let’s get lost.”

Follow @alexgibson on twitter.


A few projects I've been fortunate enough to work on.

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