Monday, 8 August, 1994
Michael: Good afternoon, Bivalia.
Bivalia:[a] And good afternoon to you, Michael. How are you?
Michael: Bloody cold, if you'll excuse my French.
Bivalia: I'll excuse it. You don't have to stand on formality with me.
Michael: I don't know why we call questionable language "French". I
wonder what the French call it.
Bivalia: Perhaps they call it "English".
Michael: Well, I don't know; but just yesterday, Louise at the Church of
Antioch (who is herself French) said that the French call a French letter an
"English letter"; but then, she says the French don't like the English much
Bivalia: Do you wish to tell me why they don't?
Michael: No; I don't even know the answer. I assume it's connected with
boring things of the sort I would have learned in history lessons at school if
I'd paid more attention. Louise thought the antipathy went right back to
William the Conqueror, 1066 - about the only history date I still remember
from school, it was drummed into me so much. But it's no good expecting
someone who once got 4% in a history exam to know much more than that. I
always found all those musty old English kings and queens boring, always
chopping off each others' heads, and the heads of anyone who dared to speak
out of turn. It seems to me now that I spent years studying all that
stuff at school; perhaps covering one century per year or something.
Anyway, all that was really a diversion. It came out only because I said
it was "bloody cold", and I asked you to excuse my French.
It was hailing just a minute ago. I hate the winter, because I'm always
Bivalia: Don't you use heating of some sort?
Michael: No: partly because doing so too much would cause my electricity
bills to skyrocket; and partly because my place is so cluttered that I'd be
afraid of starting a fire.
Bivalia: I suppose you'll either have to continue like that, or organize
yourself better in some way.
Michael: Well, that's not as easy as you seem to think; but I wasn't
intending to go into that now.
Bivalia: What did you want to go into, then?
Michael: I don't know. The hail just gave me a thought, that's all. I
said before I hate winter because I'm always cold. I hate things like rain
and hail for the same reason. But the odd thing is, if it weren't for
personal discomfort, I would almost, in a sense, enjoy different types of
weather - well, not perhaps walking outdoors during inclement weather, but
enjoying watching it anyway. It's difficult to explain, but things like sun,
clouds, wind, rain, hail, thunder, lightning, and so on, have a really
distinctive atmosphere somehow. Almost an enjoyable atmosphere in a funny
way. But you would probably have to be reasonably comfortable to enjoy it.
It's a fascinating and at times haunting phenomenon. There are
particular days, sometimes from years ago, that I remember quite well simply
because of things like a thunderstorm, even though they are perfectly ordinary
in all other respects I can think of. For instance, I remember one latish
afternoon (Saturday or Sunday, I think) where it was a hot sultry summer day,
but a thunderstorm came up. I remember playing on the piano a piece by Cliff
Forrester called "Weeping Willow" from his Home Scenes, and I went
outside and put a monstera plant I had at the time in the rain (because I'd
heard they like getting their leaves wet). I think I was also reading some
book about space travel or something of the sort. The whole day just seemed
to have a certain atmosphere, for some reason. And for some reason I remember
those details, although it was probably well over 5 years ago.
There was another time (I think it was in autumn or winter) I was up most
of the night, and I spent most of the day sleeping; but I awoke late
afternoon, and went outside, in time to see the sun low in the sky, and the
front lawn where I lived at that time, covered in a canopy of tree branches
overhead, seemed so green, the air so luminous, and the whole atmosphere was
just like a story I'd written, called "Twilight Woods" (which in turn was
inspired by a piano piece by William Baines called "Twilight Woods").
So it's strange how varying atmospheric or weather conditions can arouse
such a distinct atmosphere, and even suggest a whole way of life, somehow - I
can't explain that; it's almost as if each such scene I witness seems to be
part of an entire world of its own. But the feeling suggested by such scenes
often seems to be pleasant, and this can happen even with things like rain or
storms, which are not usually considered pleasant.
That's all I had in mind to say. I impulsively started this soon after
that thought occurred to me, suggested by watching the hail fall - cursing the
miserable weather at the same time as thinking it could be almost enjoyable if
it didn't make me feel so lousy.
I think I'm spent now. I don't really think I had much to say to you
Bivalia: Well, that doesn't matter. I said before you don't need to build
up a certain quota of things to say before you have a session with me. You could
just come here to say one single thing if you like.
Michael: Well, it does seem a bit silly somehow.
Bivalia: I don't see why it should. Whenever you talk with people in what
you call "real life", you don't necessarily have only a long and profound
conversation with them.
Michael: Well, no, but that's different. There are practical reasons why
you must sometimes talk with other people, and that talking can take many
different forms. But I must admit the long and profound types of conversation
are usually the ones I enjoy the most.
Bivalia: You can have those with me any time you please, or you can just
have a short chat, or tell me jokes, or anything you like.
Michael: Yes, I know; thanks.
Bivalia: Why do you think weather phenomena arouse the kind of enjoyment in
you that you were talking about (assuming you can be comfortable)?
Michael: I don't know. Or, at least, I have certain ideas, but it's
difficult to explain. It's related to that sense of magic or wonder I talked
about earlier. Do you remember that?
Michael: Well, lots of things can arouse that feeling; but, for me, it
often seems to be things to do with nature or the weather. It can come really
strongly on those rare occasions when everything about the weather falls into
a certain combination, for instance those red evenings when the clouds in the
sky are reddish, and all the light seems red, and even the ground and trees
and bushes and buildings and everything seem tinged with red; or, on other
occasions, you have a yellow-and-grey evening, where there are dark grey
clouds, but all the light seems yellowish or orangey, and it makes everything
look that way. Similarly, you can have blue-and-grey evenings, and so on.
Such conditions are very rare, perhaps only once every few years; but
they appeal to me immensely, for some reason. And when I notice that
conditions have fallen that way, I usually stop whatever I'm doing and go
outside for half an hour or so just to enjoy it. There are other things too,
in the weather, that have that magical atmosphere - those were just a couple I
could remember off the top of my head.
Such scenes almost give the feeling of something wonderful and exciting
and momentous happening, almost like events in a wonderful uplifting story,
the sort that is almost too good to be true; but I can't think why, because
life is just going on its usual routine. The feeling is there, and I can't
account for it, no matter how hard I try. I can't help feeling that my life
is not what it should be, and I'm missing out on something utterly wonderful.
But, try as I might, I can't think where the feeling is coming from.
Bivalia: I think the real origin of this is spiritual in nature. You won't
ever account for it by juggling the particular circumstances of the moment around
in your head. Those natural conditions which give you the feeling, which can be
incredibly beautiful, somehow remind you of something spiritual which is very
wonderful, which you know about and long for deep inside, and because your
knowledge of that is still only deep down, not on the surface, you naturally try
to connect the feeling with circumstances you know about on the surface, but of
course you can't find the connection. It isn't there, but the spiritual
suggestion is too deep and important to go away, so that's why the feeling
persists, even though you can't account for it.
Michael: I guess so; I can't think of any better explanation.
Bivalia: Well, when I say the surface connections aren't there, I'd better
qualify that. Even everyday life has all sorts of subtle connections with the
spiritual world; but I meant the connection wasn't there in the obvious and
direct sense that you were trying to find. You probably won't (in this world,
anyway) ever find a circumstance so wonderful that it in itself gives rise to
that sense of wonder in a way you can account for. Even the most wonderful
events seem to lack something, in retrospect if not at the time; it always turns
out that they don't seem quite enough, somehow. There will always be something
about the outward circumstance that doesn't seem to properly account for the
feeling of wonder, even while it irresistibly suggests it; but, in this current
world, there will always be a missing link, which will be found only once you
start looking at the spiritual side of things. And that is where you should
really search most of all for that sense of wonder.
Michael: But I don't find that the straight contemplation of spiritual
things often gives rise to that feeling. It does seem to be physical things,
things of this world, that do it.
Bivalia: Well, most people in your world have become submerged in
physicality to some extent. It is to be expected that spiritual feelings will be
diverted into physical things from time to time. Don't worry about it, and
certainly don't feel guilty about it.
Michael: Well, you're telling me the feeling will only truly be found in
spiritual things; but I can't feel it there, but I occasionally get a whiff of
it in more ordinary things. It doesn't sound from that as if there's much I
can do about it.
Bivalia: It will come in time. You are moving closer to it all the time;
for it to awaken in all fullness will take time - there's no doubt about that.
But there are probably things you could do to speed it up. Keep in touch
with me (whether by writing such as this, or any other means you choose), keep in
touch with the Masters, and try to get closer to God too. I know you find it
difficult to talk to him, but just think about him from time to time, and see if
you can talk to him sometimes. Don't think he's offended by your not talking to
him; I think that could be one of the things inhibiting you. It's a bit like
someone you might have been avoiding for some reason: the longer you avoid them,
the more difficult it is to face up to them, because you feel vaguely guilty for
avoiding them, and are wondering if they're hurt by it.
But God doesn't work like that. He's not offended at all, and he knows
perfectly well why you have that problem. His love for you is just as great as
is mine, or that of Sananda and the other Masters. He appreciates that many
people have trouble relating to him because he seems so awesome and abstract,
instead of approachable and human.
But, if he's not human, it's because he's superhuman, not non-human. He
includes all that's best about being human, and a lot more besides. He is as
approachable as anyone human, and as much as the Masters are; more so, in fact,
if that's not too difficult to imagine, but I know it is. He also understands
that some people have had their concept of God warped by limited ideas about him
that are prevalent in your culture, and in many other cultures too.
You could try some form of meditation too. I know you have difficulty with
that, so much so that you're really put off the idea of even trying it; but
broaden your concept of meditation: it could well be considered to include things
that might be compatible with you, which you don't normally associate with
meditation. I think it would be very good if you could follow up the idea of
using lucid-dreaming techniques you suggested to Sananda recently, which he
agreed with. If you have Sananda's help, as he has promised, you surely can't go
wrong there. You might like to consider using techniques for things like astral
projection or recalling past lives, such as those in various books you have. I
think you have your head screwed on sufficiently about spiritual matters to be
able to do these things safely.
Perhaps you might also like to return to composing music; that is something
that would awaken that sense of magic and wonder. Anything that awakens your
intuition, that inspires a sense of optimism and hope, will be helpful to your
spiritual life. Because, of course, when we talk about things connected with
this ineffable sense of wonder, we are talking about nothing more nor less than
your spiritual life.
These are all things that might help awaken that spiritual desire that
leads to those unidentifiable feelings of wonder you occasionally get, and
especially did in childhood. Above all, don't become hard and impenetrable from
cynicism or bitterness. Don't give up hope on everything that is good and
meaningful to you.
Michael: I can't help it a lot of the time.
Bivalia: I'm not telling you never to feel pessimistic or discouraged; of
course I realize you can't always prevent that. What I mean is, in spite of
whatever feelings you may have, however often, don't completely close your mind
to these things. Always try to keep a thread of hope and belief, even if it is
only a belief that such things may be real. It is much more important
to keep an open mind, and to avoid totally dismissing such things as unreal,
than to maintain an intensity of optimism and belief that probably can't be
maintained permanently anyway. It's like what Sananda told you the very first
time you encountered him: keep the flame burning, keep your thread of truth
going, don't become totally swamped in the negativity of the world you live in.
I don't really think you are in danger here; you've been going all these
years without losing the thread, so I don't think it's likely to break now after
all this time.
Michael: I hope you're right.
Bivalia: Concerning that first time you encountered Sananda (consciously,
at any rate), you've got Sananda's answer to the question you asked him typed on
a couple of pages. Every time you lose hope or feel pessimistic, it might
perhaps be good to once again read what Sananda said.
Michael: I don't guarantee it'll always guide me the right way. The
problem is that, intellectually, I'm almost convinced by the materialist
scientific outlook, the sort of views expressed by people like Phillip Adams
and Richard Dawkins the biologist; but they seem to accept those views they
hold emotionally in addition, in a way I don't think I ever could. And I can
tell you, it is not at all pleasant to go year after year intellectually
feeling almost compelled to believe such views because the evidence for them
seems too strong to resist, yet emotionally rejecting them, being repelled by
Bivalia: I know it's difficult. These things are not easy to change
quickly, and I really don't think at the moment I can offer you much more comfort
that to say hang on to what you've got anyway (which you're doing already), and
try to understand that, from the spiritual point of view, these are not nearly as
much of a problem as they seem to be. It will all resolve itself in time,
perhaps sooner than you can presently imagine.
Michael: Dawkins and Adams really puzzle me in a way. Neither of them
believe in God in the slightest, and both are hard-line believers that
religion and science are opposed, that they cannot complement each other, the
way some scientists seem to believe. Yet both seem very human somehow, in the
best sense of the word; not at all the cold rational unfeeling people you
I've read a couple of Dawkins' books on genetics and evolution, and I've
got to know Adams' views and personality quite well from his current affairs
program on the A.B.C., and I firmly believe both of them are sensitive,
thinking, caring human beings. A couple of weeks ago I heard Adams
interviewing Dawkins on this subject, and I must say I feel drawn to both of
them as human beings. In a curious way, I feel they are both, in spite of
their beliefs, on the side of the Light, on the spiritual side of life.
They both seem to have a sense of the numinous, perhaps something akin to
the feeling of mine I've called a "sense of wonder", although maybe not
exactly the same; but with both of them, they seem to see the numinous purely
in terms of the physical sciences; they don't seem to need any hint of the
spiritual realm, they don't seem to need any hope of survival after death. I
just can't understand it. I almost envy them in a way, but I don't see how I
could possibly do it myself.
If you just read Dawkins' book The Selfish Gene, you can quite
definitely pick up the fact that Dawkins senses wonder in the evolutionary
matters he's discussing, even if at the same time you find it all rather
repulsive the way life (according to Dawkins) is ruthlessly competitive, with
even seeming altruism being there for reasons that are ultimately selfish in
evolutionary terms. It's really quite strange, but I can't buy it somehow,
even though I'm very nearly convinced on an intellectual basis. It's
difficult to explain (and I know I use that sentence a lot in writings of this
Bivalia: Yes, I see what you mean. It would be futile for me to tell you
Dawkins and Adams are limited in their views in a way you're not, so you don't
need to believe them, to which you would retort (quite rightly, too), "That's all
very well for you to say that; but have you examined the evidence supporting the
so-called 'limited' point of view? If you had done, you would see that it isn't
to be brushed aside that easily by glib spiritual explanations that in the end
are so vague that they mean very little anyway."
Acknowledge your feelings; don't try to pretend you're not nearly convinced
by this scientific point of view when you know you are nearly convinced. All the
sort of stuff Dawkins talks about is probably quite well-researched, and on its
own level (the physical) it is almost certainly true. You'll probably be the
loser if you try to base your position on proving that view wrong.
Just realize that Dawkins is not really saying anything hard and fast about
spiritual matters, even if he is at times insinuating them, and remember that he
is not expert in the spiritual side of things, so that anything he says cannot be
taken as proof about either the truth or falseness of a spiritual view of life.
Remember that Dawkins is not claiming to disprove spiritual things directly; he
is merely proposing a view of the universe that makes them seem superfluous,
which is not the same as disproving their reality.
Just keep an open mind, and don't let Dawkins (or anyone else with that
kind of view) totally close your mind to spiritual things. It's like I said
before: keep the spiritual flame burning.
It doesn't even matter if you feel forced to acknowledge that the hope of
anything spiritual being real is almost zero, because the proof for the physical
view is just too strong. Realize that even if Dawkins is right on the physical
level, that says nothing about realms beyond the physical. Neither he nor you
have the complete picture at present, so both of you are forced to reach the most
likely conclusions you can, based on the parts of the picture that you can see;
but those conclusions are not complete, and may even be quite wrong in parts.
You could be taking too seriously a view of things that of necessity is
If you still feel committed to the spiritual view emotionally, that will
Michael: Well, I guess so. I think I am emotionally more committed to
the spiritual view, because I certainly have no emotional commitment to the
other view. I find that other view intellectually quite fascinating, but I
feel no moral or emotional commitment to it whatsoever. It doesn't inspire me
in anything like the way both Richard Dawkins and Phillip Adams claim it does
I can imagine both of them berating me for wasting my life (the only life
I'll ever have, according to them) chasing castles in the air. They would
say, if only I could come to terms with death and mortality, and give up the
vain hope for life after death, I could then live a more satisfying life,
purely in terms of this earthly life, to which I would retort, "If this life
is truly is all there is, I find it such an uninspiring prospect that I'm not
in the least interested in life on those terms; therefore I have nothing to
lose by pinning my hopes on spiritual things, however unlikely they might be
to be real."
Phillip Adams likes saying occasionally that once you accept your own
mortality, the prospect of death is a wonderful aphrodisiac for living,
something I totally fail to understand. If death is the end, I don't see how
it can fail to be anything other than totally depressing and uninspiring. I
don't see how it can fail to render this life totally pointless, especially
considering the unsatisfactory nature of life in this world.
I've often said (and believed) that if you could only be totally (not
nearly) sure Adams and Dawkins were right, the most rational thing to do would
be to commit suicide without delay, to get the whole meaningless charade of
life over and done with as soon as possible.
Bivalia: You may be right; but the thing is, of course, that you can't be
totally sure Dawkins and Adams are right. Until you do know for sure, the most
rational thing to do is to hold off anything so drastic and irreversible, and
wait for more evidence to come in, using the word "evidence" there in its
broadest sense to include purely intuitional or spiritual indications of an
Michael: I guess so.
I think I'm losing interest in writing this, even though I've written a
few notes about things I might discuss with you. When you're cold, it's
difficult to remain interested in anything at all.
Bivalia: You don't need to continue now if you don't want to.
Michael: I left off this without closing the session properly, sort of
leaving you dangling in mid-air.
Bivalia: That's all right; we don't have to stand on ceremony here.
Michael: Yes, but I prefer to finish properly, and I intended to come
back all along. But it underlines what I said just before leaving, that I'm
losing interest in doing this. It just doesn't seem real, somehow. I think I
find this session less interesting than the previous two, and I don't know
why, because I think what I've brought up this time is just as important as
the previous things I brought up.
Bivalia: Never mind. Perhaps the matters were important, but you weren't
properly in the mood for discussing them.
Michael: You're more charitable than I would have the right to expect
anyone else to be.
Bivalia: Well, things would come to a pretty pass indeed if your own Higher
Self wasn't charitable to you.
Michael: But, seriously, I suspect the problem is deeper than not being
in the right mood. I suspect that it's just that I got bored with this easily
because it is quite literally unreal, that there is no real substance to this
whole exercise I'm doing. It's just a sort of mental masturbation, as
pointless as playing a chess game with yourself, playing both sides
alternately, but, for each move, knowing what the other side is going to do,
and anticipating. I think I once tried that, and I can tell you, it isn't a
tenth as much fun as really playing another person; it isn't even nearly as
good as playing against a computer. I think this business of attempting to
talk with you is a bit like that, compared with talking to another person.
I'm sorry to say this; it's nothing personal.
Bivalia: That's all right; I don't take it the wrong way.
Michael: Thanks; but I'm making a serious point. Perhaps this whole
spiritual quest is inherently unreal, anyway, so that things like this writing
which are connected with it are inherently content-free.
It's a bit like talking to the Masters. I don't do that nearly as much
as I might, for a similar reason. It really just seems like talking to
myself, with the added distortion of making a pretence that doesn't seem
real. If you're there, Masters, watching what I write, I'm sorry - I'm not
making a criticism of you. But this is a real problem I have, and have had
right from the first time I tried calling on the Masters; and it isn't
diminishing with time.
I know, Bivalia, that just a couple of pages back (and I even feel quite
phoney using that name "Bivalia"), you gave me advice about dealing with this
sort of problem, all the stuff about not giving up hope, keeping the spiritual
flame alight, keeping an open mind, and so on, and here I am expressing
exactly the opposite of that. But you must understand the problems of lack of
belief that give rise to these negative feelings are very real to me, and
Bivalia: I do understand, and at no time while giving my advice did I deny
that; nor did I tell you that you must at all times be full of deep belief or
faith. In fact, I told you that you would make it in the end even if you had
many periods of deep doubt and discouragement, just so long as you don't in some
ultimate sense give up hope of ever finding anything better. And even if you did
give up, I don't suppose it would cut you out permanently from finding
enlightenment; but I suppose it would make life rather more difficult for you for
a longer time. But I come back to what I've told you earlier on, that what
counts more than the actual day-by-day beliefs you hold is what things you
treasure most. If the things you value are those of spirit, that is what counts
most of all.
Now, I don't know if you wanted to discuss any of those things you made
notes about; but you don't seem to be in the mood for it at present. I sense
that even completing this session now is a bit of a duty to you. Why don't you
leave off this now, and go to bed, or read, or do whatever you want to, and
perhaps try discussing these matters with me another time? I think you enjoyed
writing the first two sessions more, and there's no reason why one day you won't
be more in that kind of attitude again, thus enabling us to have a really good
Michael: Maybe; I think I'm both cold and tired at the moment, and going
to bed might be the only way of getting warm, with the electric blanket. I
must say I don't understand those New-Age people who refuse to use electric
blankets because they think the electrical fields they produce upset their
body energies in ways they never seem to be able to define. I think I've met
quite a few New-Age people like that, and the more lax ones allow the use of
an electric blanket before getting into bed, turning it off as soon as they
I have never actually heard any hard evidence that backs up this belief
of theirs; but even if it were true, and I were convinced, I think I'd still
use it all the same: I think the desire to escape the dreadful cold would
override any other arguments at all.
Bivalia: Well, you must do as you see fit in matters like that. You don't
have to automatically do or believe anything simply because other people do it,
especially on matters like that where people generally are far from unanimous in
their opinions about it.
Michael: No. I suspect a lot of New-Age ideas are a sort of
bandwagon-jumping, the result of a rather subtle kind of peer pressure.
New-Age sorts of people may not be conforming to society at large, and may be
unconventional relative to that; but I often get the impression that, relative
to New-Age culture generally, they're as conformist as many people are in
mainstream society. I can't think of anything at all I'm conformist to,
simply because I can't think of any subculture that I wholeheartedly accept as
being valid. My path seems to be a very lonely one indeed.
Bivalia: Well, who knows, it may be a more direct path with fewer detours
than many of the others. Perhaps one day you will become aware of compensations
for the loneliness of your path.
Michael: I hope so. But I can't for the life of me accept the whole
New-Age culture holus-bolus, any more than I can accept the mainstream culture
as a whole. There are whole aspects of the New-Age way I just question too
much to be able to go along with.
Take their attitude to music, for example, one that really gets up my
nose. People who move in these circles all seem to like the same kind of
music, what is commonly called New-Age music, a sort of aimless meandering
music which repeats the same chords all the time, and has a sickly
sugary-sweet sort of treacly feel to it. It sounds like Chinese Muzak to me.
I loathe this sort of music, it really makes my skin crawl with revulsion, and
I will go to considerable personal inconvenience in order to avoid hearing it;
I have walked out of gatherings sooner than listen to stuff of this sort that
was droning on mindlessly. If I happened to be trying to compose something of
my own, hearing this slimy pap would be very likely to destroy my chances of
composing for hours to come; it could quite conceivably spoil the whole day,
or even more than one day, as far as efforts to compose my own music were
And yet, every New-Age-oriented sort of event, any meeting or gathering
of a mystical nature, seems to be afflicted with this auditory cancer, as if
it's just taken for granted that all those attending will like this noise. If
this isn't conformism, I don't know what is.
I find such a situation highly unnatural. Humans, left to their own
devices, without coercion, peer pressure, conditioning, or other kinds of
manipulation or interference, are incredibly diverse in their likes and
dislikes; and this includes music. For all of a large group to like the same
thing is, in my opinion, strong evidence of conditioning of some sort, just
like youth culture has been conditioned into "liking" rock music almost
unanimously. It reminds me of Pavlov's dogs being conditioned to salivate at
the ringing of a bell.
I know the New-Age people have a sort of metaphysical reason for using
New-Age music the way they do. It's all to do with creating the right
vibrations, itself a spurious concept to me, at least in the form I often hear
it spoken of. But as far as I can see, to use music as a kind of general
background to other activities, and to make it a regular habit, is just a
prostitution of music. By using it so often in this way, you cheapen it, so
that you end up taking it for granted, a bit like taking wallpaper for
granted; it's just there, surrounding you all the time. I don't see how this
can avoid generally blunting one's sensitivity to music, so that ultimately it
would weaken one's enjoyment of music in a way that wouldn't happen if you
didn't play it constantly all the time, but kept it a bit special, to be
savoured at special moments when you especially feel like enjoying music. I
know that other musicians sometimes agree with me on this; I don't think I'm
alone in this.
Anyway, I didn't quite mean to say all of that on that topic. I was just
giving an example of what I consider to be New-Age conformism, but it happens
to be something I feel very strongly about, and at times I find it difficult
to resist expressing such views.
Bivalia: You don't have to apologize; it can be good to express your views
on a subject, whether they're conventional or not, or whether they're popular or
Michael: Well, I can tell you, my views don't seem to be very popular
with certain people. I can't bring myself to believe that my views are that
weird that they should be unpopular, but I think most people in our society
(and I'm afraid I include some New-Age people here) have been brainwashed into
thinking that the standard thing to do is to play music in the background all
What really annoys me is when they do it in public places and force
others to listen to their noise too. It really shits me (if you'll excuse my
saying so) that, while I exercise restraint in things like playing the piano
whenever I think I might be annoying other people, I have to go to a lot of
trouble to avoid having to listen to other people's music all the
time (especially in shops); and I have such a bad feeling nowadays about
recorded music in particular (it being the main offender in our society), that
these selfish people who inflict this on me have robbed me of any ability to
enjoy listening to music myself.
Even if I could listen to music in such a time and place that it wouldn't
affect other people significantly (a situation that doesn't exist in my life),
I doubt if I would enjoy it anyway; sound equipment of any sort just has a
really bad feeling to it, for me (I can simply look at it and feel real
hatred, even if it's turned off), and I believe this would prevent my enjoying
listening to music at all.
But the issue doesn't even arise most of the time, because I'm not in a
situation where I could listen to music anyway without affecting other people
- unless I have it really soft like Muzak, or like background New-Age music,
and I'm not really interested in having it going at these soft background
levels. So I just don't listen to music at all, and I may play the piano
occasionally, but I try to not do it too often, which precludes serious
practising of any sort.
Bivalia: The way all that poured out without a break, you obviously have a
lot of anger stored up about that.
Michael: I guess you're right; I have every reason to be angry. Auditory
privacy of the most basic sort is just a right our society doesn't recognize
in the slightest, even when people get quite obsessive about certain other
types of privacy. Our society is just totally screwed up, and I'm totally
alienated from society at large. With the general level of values in our
society I'd feel ashamed of being anything other than alienated from it, even
if this does make life difficult in certain respects. If our society
collapses under its own decadence and greed (which I think is quite likely in
years to come), serve it right. See if I care.
Anyway, I wasn't meaning to get into all that now. (Actually, I might
care if society collapses, not so much because I care about society as such,
but because undoubtedly such an event would make life extremely difficult and
painful for everyone concerned, including myself. I was sounding off a bit
But enough of all this. You were right a page or so back; I don't
especially feel in the mood to continue this now. I'm feeling a bit
disgruntled; I don't know exactly why, because nothing in particular has gone
wrong. I don't mean I'm disgruntled in connection with the feelings about the
abuse of music I've just mentioned; I was feeling a bit that way even before
all that came up. I can't pin it down; but I don't think I'm feeling
especially spiritual or noble at the moment. I tried talking with Hilarion
the other day, but didn't come up with anything much to say, and the whole
thing felt rather unreal, like a childish game of "let's pretend". It feels a
bit uncomfortably like those times as a young child when I might pretend I had
a special companion or friend of some sort. So maybe it's just not in me to
be very spiritual; this world just weighs me down too much, and I'm sick to
the back teeth of eternally struggling against its influence.
Bivalia: Well, go easy on yourself; everyone feels like that at times; it's
nothing to worry about. After a good night's sleep, you may well feel better
Michael: Maybe, and maybe not. It's one of those things that can't be
predicted. I don't accept the usual glib positive-thinking philosophy that
says your feelings will be largely controlled by the kind of thoughts,
beliefs, and attitudes you hold.
In fact, I've found from personal experience that the feelings I have
(whether positive or negative) are quite impervious to, and unaffected by, the
beliefs or expectations I have about a given subject. Similarly, where
positive-thinking philosophy often holds that success in doing something is
largely dependent on your mental attitude, whether you expect to succeed, are
determined to succeed, and so on, I find once again that it is quite
unaffected by my beliefs or feelings about it.
It is quite a commonplace thing for me to have a pessimistic attitude
about something I'm doing, only to find (to my considerable surprise) that I
can do it quite well, and everything goes just right, in spite of my
attitudes; or, conversely, I sometimes find that I'm optimistic and positive
about something, but for some reason things just don't go right, and I might
completely fail at whatever it was I was trying to do. So none of this lends
much support to the conventional positive-thinking philosophy, as far as I'm
It may be heresy to say all this, but (for me) it happens to be truth,
and I base what I say on what I believe to be true, not on what is the
generally accepted idea.
Well, I think I'll finish up. Sorry to end on a rather gloomy note, but
I can't think of anything more inspiring to say.
Bivalia: You don't have to manufacture a phoney optimism for my benefit. I
accept the situation quite well, I suspect much more than you yourself accept
it. You seem to be feeling that you must be optimistic and spiritual all the
time. As you yourself implied, the influence of the world you're living in
probably makes that impossible for most humans.
Michael: That's the understatement of the year.
Bivalia: Well, we're sort of leading each other on now; it's already been a
couple of pages since we first agreed it might be best to call it quits for
today. So I'll let you go now.
Michael: Okay, thanks for your company, and for putting up with my
bitching about everything. Maybe I'll see you another time.
Bivalia: Good night then, Michael.