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Foreground Noise
Some Thoughts on the Soundtrack of Our Lives: 7/14/2023
© 2023 James LaFond
MAR/29/24
Many times people, writers have asked me, how I can write so much and have never experienced “writer’s block.”
Others, writers as well, have marveled that I must be a genius, for I have predicted things no one else saw and made historical deductions beyond the grasp of top academics, that I must have dropped out of high school due to boredom.
How can I be right about Xerxes’ million man army and the U.S. Army War College be wrong, if not for they being a well of mediocrity and me being some enlightened singularity?
The answer is, because I am a retard. I was unable to read until age 11, never passed or even completed a math quiz in my life. I dropped out of high school to get to work for the simple reason that I was failing, for the third year in a row to pass 9th grade. I tried. I cried. I quit.
Fast forward to my gimpy crutch trip to see ailing Rick. Some Deep State Bullshit headline about a Russian criminal toppling the Putin Regime was commented on by Rick, who felt compelled to take one of the two sides offered as an explanation. I told him that it was simple, bad theater. He said, “I don’t see it, but every time you see it and make a prediction, a week or a month or a year later I end up saying, ‘You’re right, you called it.’”
I said, “I’m always right about these things, because I am uninformed. You watch TV, the news, listen to podcasts and radio. The main thing is that the music embedded in TV, movies, News, youtube documentaries, plays, podcasts, radio, commercials, these are all mesmerism devices used to yoke the individual thinker to the emotive tides of the collective feeling, preventing, negating or erasing reason.”
I have noted that few people think or reason beyond using those capacities to justify their feelings. The entire fantastical multiverse of SHOULD stands upon the use of keen, fierce and even genius levels of human reason devoted to no other cause than justifying the emotional state of that “reasoning” being.
Freshly injured and even crippled, the first response of some few souls was to convince me finally that I must start seeking enlightened Nirvana through weed, magic mushrooms or some other drug. I use alcohol to pass out for a couple hours when in too much pain to sleep, or to reboot the brain from fixating on a just finished project and focusing on the next. It’s a flat commodity without interesting or insightful effects, a simple deadening of thought to ease a brain that winds 20 hours a day through curious corridors.
After not sleeping a month I started using a weak opiate for bedtime and really dislike the muddy lack of clarity that clouded the writing brain more so than did the raging pain.
As I gimped around and Rick worked on his motorcycle between smoking the weed that enabled him to eat, I noted, like at Megan’s and Mom’s places, that there was a comprehensive lack of peace: lights and TV, or music, or radio on in every room, no place to go without the mass mind spilling its tidal sludge into the audio field.
In great pain, in need of exercise and unable to take a seated position to write, I hobbled after Rick to the garage where “WDVE Pittsburgh, the radio station you grew up with” blared from the I-Heart network. 75% of the programming was commercials, not music. Rick even argued with some commercials, just as my friend Mister Gray does argue with you tube commercials.
Rick was using the music he grew up with to permit him to drown out all but the focus he needed for his wrenches and parts. He said, “Remember this song, Jim,” we used to listen to this in my basement?”
“No.”
He would then reel off the name, the band, the writer, the band history and I thought, “Wow, this is a pain killer for him, a teleportation back to a time in our youth when, though we did not trust the world, we would have never believed that America was 99% a lie.”
More loud, stupid commercials, then a song. I recalled how I had as a teen used music as a sound track to hitting the heavy bag, then in my 20s to keep my heart rate and rhythm up while I stocked groceries, and finally, from 2010 through 2017, how I listen to Nordic ambient music and some Audio Slave and Sound Garden over and over again to drown out the noise of my land lord in his office beneath me making deals over the phone.
Since 2018, I do writing and thinking in silence as much as possible, in the dark or dim light whenever I can. Beginning in 2011 I began making predictions and historical observations beyond the common ken, having escaped the blinding sound track of our contrived lives.
In much pain I sat in the garage as the heavy metal music rocked and used that noise to get into a rhythm of rolling the 2 inch PVC pipe over the knots in my thigh, to grind them out. Music, like drugs is a reliever of the soul-deep pain inflicted by hellish modernity. Look at a concert and see mass hypnosis, a state of sedate to irate hysteria that any ancient person would have equated with religious ecstacy and fervor. These temporary states of collective euphoria, banned during Covid, have returned in great demand, harnessing the damned up waters of the mass mind to extract cash in exchange for a brief tonic of belonging.
I live across the nation with many people. I do not live with anyone who does not, in short order, after the business of the day is done, exchange their own inner thoughts, for the noise of the world. When my best friends get drunk, they always go looking for the music they heard as a youth and replay that happy hopeful cadence.
People who have great difficulty writing and making art, despite this being their stated goal, often say to me, “This back ground music really helps. You should try it. It’s just background.”
Yet I do not partake but write in silence as their efforts are forever blocked.
Music was used in battle, war, parade and ritual, for the very reason that it establishes the emotional, tidal, social collective as the foreground and places the reasoning individual in the tiny background. For a poet, writer, sketch artist or novelist, to put on music or a podcast or the TV or a movie and declare that it is mere “background” music to ease him along his creative way, is identical to the soldier at Waterloo marching to his death to the cadence of fife and drum, declaring that the martial music, crackle of musketry and the roar of the cannonade are mere background noise to his heroic one-man effort, when in fact he himself is a mere note in that terrible song.
Listening to audio books, I have found, is quite difficult for many people. This is because, as I have used crutches to drag my body about these past 6 weeks, most of us have had music embedded into our every thought process through TV programming, movie sound tracks and even video game. The lone words of the audiobook require an exercise of the mind that the same words accompanied with images and music will not induce, causing an atrophy of the mind.
A man once said to me that we could not have civilization without music, and I agree. Music, like drugs, seems to be a coping mechanism for the alienation of civilization.
The background music brings us to the collective foreground. As I have discovered while being sorely hurt, being in the foreground, being the subject of inquiry and observation, does much to clutter, muddle and stifle thought.
I so welcome back the pondering silence, the painful clarity that permits this great puzzle of Dys to be plumbed far beneath the collective surface.
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Barry Bliss     Mar 31, 2024

Good one, James.
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