written Nov 26 2008
Sometimes I just open a book and see where the page lands. It can be quite interesting. The book was Illusions by Richard Bach (stunning book…. a definite must in your library)
“Snap out of it. Wake up. It’s all illusions.”I was irked.
“Donald, there’s just a few minutes more and then we can talk all you want. But let me watch the movie, OK ?”He whispered intensely, dramatically. “Richard, why are you here ?”
“Look, I’m here because you asked me to come in here! ” I turned back and tried to watch the end.
“You didn’t have to come, you could have said no thank you.”
“I LIKE THE MOVIE…” A man in front turned to look at me for a second. “I like the move, Don; is there anything wrong with that ?”
“Nothing at all, ” he said, and didn’t say another word till it was over and we were walking again past the used-tractor lot and out into the dark toward the field and the airplanes. It would be raining, before long.
I thought about his odd behaviour in the theater. “You do everything for a reason, Don ?”
“Why the movie ? Why did you all of a sudden want to see Sundance?”
“You asked a question.””Yes. Do you have an answer ?””that is my answer. We went to the movie because you asked a question. The movie was the answer to the question.”He was laughing at me, I knew it.”What was my question?”There was a long pained silence. “Your question, Richard, was that even in your brilliant times you have never been able to figure out why we are here.”I remembered, “and the movie was my answer””Yes.””Oh””You don’t understand” he said.”No.”“That was a good movie,” he said, “but the world’s best movie is still an illusion, is it not ? The pictures aren’t even moving; they only appear to move. Changing light that seems to move across a flat screen set up in the dark ?”“Well, yes.: I was beginning to understand.“The other people, any people anywhere who go to any movie show, why are they there, when it is only an illusion ?”“Well it is entertainment,” I said“Fun. That’s right. One”“Could be educational.”“Good. It is always that. Learning. Two.”“Fantasy, escape.”“That’s fun, too. One.”“Technical reasons. To see how a film is made.”“Learning. Two”“Escape from boredom”“Escape. You said that.”“Social. To be with friends, “ I said.“Reason for going, but not for seeing the film. That’s fun anyway. One”Whatever I came up with fit his two fingers people see films for fun or for learning or for both together.“and a movie is like a lifetime, Don, is that right ?”“yes”“Then why would anybody choose a bad lifetime, a horror movie”“They not only come to the horror movie for fun, they know it is going to be a horror movie when they walk in,” he said“But why?…”“Do you like horror films ?”“No”“Do you ever see them ?”“No”“But some people spend a lot of money and time to see horror or soap-opera problems that to other people are dull and boring?…” He left the question for me to answer.“Yes”“You don’t have to see their films and they don’t have to see yours. That is called ;freedom;:“But why would anybody want to be horrified ? Or bored ?”“because they think they deserve it for horrifying somebody else, or they like the excitement of horrification, or that boring is the way they think films have to be. Can you believe that lots of people for reasons that are very sound to them enjoy believing that they are helpless in their own films ? No, you cant.”No, I can’t” I said“Until you understand that, you will wonder why some people are unhappy . They are unhappy because they have chosen to be unhappy, and, Richard, that is all right”“Hm““We are game-playing, fun-loving creatures, we are the otters of the universe. We cannot die, we cannot hurt ourselves any more than illusion son the screen can be hurt. But we can believe we’re hurt in whatever agonizing detail we want. We can believe we’re victims, killed and killing, shuddered around by good luck and bad luck”“Many lifetimes ?””How many movies have you seen >”“Oh.”“Films are about living on this planet, about living on other planets; anything that’s got space and time is all movie and all illusion,” he said, “but for a while we can learn a huge amount and have a lot of fun with our illusions can we not ?”“How far do you take this movie thing, Don ?”“How far do you want ? You saw a film tonight partly because I wanted to see it. Lots of people choose lifetimes because they enjoy doing things together. The actors in the film tonight have played together in other films – before or after depends on which film you’ve seen first, or you can see them at the same time on different screens. We buy tickets to these films, paying admission by agreeing to believe in the reality of space and the reality of time…Neither one is true, but anyone who doesn’t want to pay that price cannot appear on this planet, or in any space time system at all.”“Are there some people who don’t have any lifetimes at all in space time ?”“Are there some people who never go to movies ?”“I see. They get their learning in different ways?”“Right you are,” he said, pleased with me. “Space time is a fairly primitive school. But a lot of people stay with the illusion even if it is boring, and they don’t want the lights turned on early”“Who writes these movies, Don ?”“Isn’t it strange how much we know if only we ask ourselves instead of somebody else ? Who writes these movies, Richard ?”“We do, ” I said“Who acts ?“Us”“Who’s the cameraman, the projectionist, the theater manager, the ticket taker, the distributor, and who watches them all happen ? Who is free to walk out in the middle, any time, change the plot whenever, who is free to see the same film ove rand over again ?”“Let me guess,” I said. “Anybody who wants to”“is that enough freedom for you ?”he said“And that is why movies are so popular ? that we instinctively know they are a parallel of our own lifetimes“Maybe so…maybe not. Doesn’t matter much, does it ? What’s the projector ?””“Mind,” I said.”No, Imagination. It’s our imagination, no matter what you say”“What’s the film ?” he asked“Got me”“Whatever we give our consent to put into our imagination”“Maybe so Don”“You can hold a reel of film in your hands, ” he said. “Ant it’s all finished and complete – beginning, middle, end are all there that same second, the same millionths of a second. The film exists beyond the time that it records, and if you know what the movie is, you know generally what’s going to happen before you walk into the theater: there’s going to be battle sand excitement, winners and losers, romance, disaster; you know it is all going to be there. But in order to get caught up and swept away in it, in order to enjoy it to its most, you have to put it in a projector and let ig go through the lens, minute by minute…any illusion requires space and time to be experienced. So you pay your nickle and you get your ticket and you settle down and forget what’s going on outside the theater and the movie begins for you”“And nobody’s really hurt ? that’s just tomato sauce blood ?”“No, its blood all right,” he said. “But it might as well be tomato sauce for the effect I has on our real life”“And reality”“Reality is divinely indifferent Richard. A mother doesn’t care what part her child plays in his games ; one day bad-guy, next day good-guy. The Is doesn’t even know about our illusions and games. It only knows Itself and us in its likeness, perfect and finished”“I’m not sure I want ot be prefect and finished. Talk about boredom…”“Look at the sky,” he said, and it was such a quick subject change that I looked at the sky. There was some broken cirrus, way up high, the first bit of moonlight silvering the edges.“Pretty sky I said“It is a perfect sky?””“Well, it’s always a perfect sky, Don”“Are you telling me even though it’s changing every second, the sky is always a perfect sky ?””Gee, I’m smart. Yes!”“And the sea is always a perfect sea, and it’s always changing, too”, he said. “If perfection is stagnation, then heaven is a swamp! And the Is ain’t hardly no swamp cookie”