A perplexed person stands before two doors. One door says HEAVEN. The other door says BOOKS ABOUT HEAVEN.
What makes us laugh, I suspect, is that all of us feel the pull to pick BOOKS ABOUT HEAVEN.
Are we that timid? Are our huevos that pocito?
When we're offered a chance at heaven, what diabolically craven force makes us want to back off--just for now, we promise ourselves--and choose instead heaven's pale reflection?" - Do the Work, by Steven Pressfield (free Kindle version available through May 20, 2011)
Having spent a week in Los Angeles in deep observation (far from my first visit in LA), I realized the town is set up in a rock-star-and-million-fans model for sheer survival's sake. In order to have enough reach to rake in the advertising dollars, which pays the bills, stories have rote mass market blockbuster hit appeal (code for "least common denominator"). Sure, I also met many indie folks, but that was the exception, not the rule. For instance, one indie transmedia/locative-cinema producer said, "I want to serve the story, not the P&L."
While walking in Venice one day, I came across this book, "One Buddha is Not Enough," named after a retreat in August 2009 to be led by Thich Nhất Hạnh:
"The book is dedicated to the idea that awakening is a collective process, and that we and our community are our own most important teachers."
In the perfect and oft ironic Way of the universe, the Infinite saw to it that Thay (as he is affectionately known by his students) was bedridden in a Boston hospital and could not attend the retreat in Estes Park. People were "heartbroken and angry," and feeling gipped--even though sixty of his closest monks still were in attendance. It is a testament to the capacity of the sangha to perceive the actual intent of a retreat entitled, "One Buddha is Not Enough," that only eight out of a thousand walked out.
Someone else must be the guru, someone else knows, someone else has access we don't, someone else is the expert, someone else is that Buddha-nature, the Infinite is out there--you know, out there in the Heavens, or anywhere... certainly not here, not now, not us. Heaven is for special people like Thay. We? We're not worthy. Old scripts re-written for contemporary times. We'll just take the book about Heaven, thank you.
Rick Carter, production designer for Avatar and Jurassic Park, at the UCLA symposium, Transmedia, Hollywood 2, told the story of his grandmother, born in 1882, laughing with her sorority sisters at the turn of the 20th century at the absurdity that anything heavier than air could fly. Guffaws at the gall of anyone to conceive of such silly scenarios.
Of course, his grandmother would eat her words as she lived long enough to see heavier-than-air ships land on the moon and stepped onto airplanes herself. Jules Verne had already introduced the conception of a flying ship made of metal into the public consciousness in his fiction. I believe Leonardo da Vinci may have preceded him. Verne's visioneering planted seeds that would spur inventors seventeen years later to build the prototype for the perplexing metallic sculpture I boarded to get myself to Los Angeles (and pay only $29 plus tax one-way!).
When Rick told that story, I instantly grokked that I was like Jules Verne, and never ever would I be the practical tinkerers like the Wright Brothers. Simple, really, in retrospect, yet have I spent so much of my lifetime berating myself for having fantastical ideas that I don't know how to implement on my own. So I plant seeds of possibility--they may or may not take hold in physical reality, but to each his own gifts.
Some other intriguing parts of Do the Work: (Btw, I don't completely buy into the idea of any ongoing war as even resisting Resistance reinforces a false sense of duality.)
"Next to Resistance, rational thought is the artist or entrepreneur's worst enemy.
Bad things happen when we employ rational thought, because rational thought comes from the ego.
Instead, we want to work from the Self, that is, from instinct and intuition, from the unconscious.
Homer began both The Iliad and The Odyssey with a prayer to the Muse. The Greeks' greatest poet understood that genius did not reside within his fallible, mortal self--but came to him instead from some source that he could neither command nor control, only invoke.
When an artist says, "Trust the soup," she means let go of the need to control (which we don't do anyway) and put your faith instead in the Source, the Mystery, the Quantum Soup.
The deepr the source we work from, the better our stuff will be--and the more transformative it will be for us and for those we share it with."
"Don't prepare. Begin.
Remember, our enemy is not lack of preparation; it's not the difficulty of the project or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account.
The enemy is Resistance."
"The creative act is primitive.
Babies are born in blood and chaos; stars and galaxies come into being amid the release of massive primordial cataclysms."
p.s. The current work that I'm resisting is facetiously code-named (just a working title) after Revelations 21, http://bit.ly/revel21
p.p.s. If you also gravitate toward the interactive and intimate model in lieu of a blockbuster rock-star model (even 1000 fans is too broad and "fans" way too fourth wall for me), you might be interested in this free online magazine by In Treehouses on reaching your 1000 True Fans.
ART CREDITS: Your handy-dandy Green Muse via Magpie's Nest so there is no excuse for "My Muse hasn't shown up yet"; according to this site, fictional characters Frank Reade Jr. and his daugher Kate Reade envisioned helicopter airships a few years before Jules Verne's "Albatross." I like it: Fiction begets more fiction begets 'real' airships.