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Archive for April, 2014

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I awoke on Thursday, April 10, 2014 to a new post on one of my favorite blogs (Dancing with the Elephant by Dr. Willa Stillwater) entitled “Can a Mirror Reveal the Truth” which discusses (albeit in much more scientific terms) a point I wrote about back in September, 2010, when With a Child’s Heart was in its infancy and had not yet learned to walk, entitled Scared of the Moon. Reading Willa’s and Joie’s discussion of the predominant public perception of Michael Jackson and its causes brought my much earlier post to mind forcefully and later Conversations pertaining to concepts such as cultural subjective blindness (Installments #80 – September 22 through September 29, 2013 and #84 – January 31, 2014) and the human need to label and categorize its perceptions and experiences (Installment #51 – January 15 through January 22, 2012), reinforce and underpin the discussion I read this morning. In it the two hemispheres of the brain and their functions are introduced and explained. The right brain is intuitive, creative and the left brain analytical and judgmental.

In Installment #51, Michael says:

Does the naming of it make it more or less real? Or is the naming of it really just an excuse to judge yourself as more or less crazy … more or less in or out of touch with ‘reality?’ And, if so, define reality. What you are seeking is a way of judging what is a valid experience and what is an invalid experience. But isn’t any experience … no matter how far-farfetched, whimsical or incredible … a valid experience to the person experiencing it?

And

Your soul knows truth; it recognizes that it belongs in truth. It is comfortable there. It doesn’t question or label. It experiences.

…The mind needs to label these things … the spirit needs only to experience them. It’s only after the experience that the mind comes into play.

So, in the discussion I read this morning, I compare the soul to the right hemisphere of the brain (not in terms of location but rather in terms of function) and the mind to the left (with the same caveat.) The two hemispheres were designed to work in tandem, each contributing to the overall welfare and mental, spiritual and physical health of the human organism … in balance and working as one unit. However, that balance has become unbalanced, with the left brain subjugating the right in our culture on a worldwide basis so that the right brain activities of intuition, imagination and artistic expression are looked down upon in our prevailing worldview.

As a result, the right brain activities of imagination have, to the left-brain, analytically-oriented, patriarchal, yet predominant narrative, been marginalized and judged unworthy, childish, unproven and, therefore, less important. Intuition is considered inferior because there is no way to verify its existence within the accepted scientific method; yet, the human organism feels its effects very strongly … and discounts them and ignores them, in the main, to its own detriment.

Michael Jackson, like all artists, navigated within the field of right brain orientation. He was intuitive, imaginative, artistic, empathic to an extent seldom seen and rarely, if ever, experienced in our left brain dominant culture. Howard Bloom describes one of his first meetings with Michael:

As he took in the artwork, his knees began to buckle, his elbows bent, and all he could say was “ooohhh.” A soft orgasmic “ooohhh.” In that one syllable and in his body language, you could feel what he was seeing.

Do you know the poem by William Blake?

To see a world in a grain of sand

And a heaven in a wild flower

Hold infinity in the palm of your hand

And eternity in an hour

The intense ambition of that poem, the intense desire for wonder, was alive in Michael – more alive than anything of the sort I’d ever seen. Michael saw the infinite in an inch. As Michael opened the page further, inch by inch, his knees and his elbows bent even more and his “ooohhhs” his sounds of aesthetic orgasm, grew even more intense. Standing elbow to elbow and shoulder to shoulder with him, you could feel him discovering things in the brush and ink strokes that even the artist never saw. By the time he’d opened the full page, his body and voice expressed an ecstasy – an aesthetic epiphany. I’d never encountered anything like it. Michael felt the beauty of the page with every cell of his being.

…not one of them had the quality of wonder that came alive in Michael. He saw the wonder in everything. His quality of wonder was beyond anything most of us humans can conceive.

No, that quality of wonder cannot be qualified, quantified, weighed, measured … or even defined. It does not lend itself well to scientific method … or peer-reviewed journalistic stature … or easy categorization. It can only be felt … experienced … and, in this case, witnessed by one well-versed in such disciplines. And, yet, it is the penultimate description of the very embodiment of the right brain dominant , artistic and intuitive nature.  Mr. Bloom continues:

Look, above all things I’m a scientist. Science is my religion. It’s been my religion since I was ten years old. The first two rules of science are: 1) the truth at any price, including the price of your life; and 2) look at the things right under your nose as if you’ve never seen them before and then proceed from there. And that’s not just a rule of science. It’s a rule of art. And it’s a rule of life. Very few people know it. Even fewer people live it. But Michael was it, he incarnated it in every follicle of his being. (Emphasis added.)

…He believed he was given talents and wonders and astonishments seldom granted to us very fragile human beings. Because God had given him this enormous gift, he felt he owed the experience of wonder, astonishment, awe and Blake’s infinity to his fellow human beings … The need to give to others was alive in every breath he took every single day. Michael Jackson’s entire life was receiving and giving and the whole purpose of receiving was so he could give. He worked with every cell in his body to give the gift of that amazement, that astonishment to his fellow human beings.

In a perfect world, which our world is anything but, the ideal human being’s left brain analyzing and defining capacity would be augmented and informed by his right brain intuitive, imaginative and creative leaps of awe, wonder and faith – each developed and utilized to the same extent (sound like anyone we know?) However, instead of that perfect world, we live in one in which the left brain has exerted dominance over the right … and it stands to reason, any dominant force must fear that over which it exerts dominance in order for that dominance to be sustained. Is it too far-fetched to find layers of social commentary in Michael Jackson’s art? You decide.

Scared of the Moon (reprise originally posted September, 2010)

Alone she lays waiting
Surrounded by gloom
Invaded by shadows
Painting the room
The light from the window
Cuts through the air
And pins the child lying there
Scared of the moon

She pulls up the covers
And shivers in fright
She hides from the color
That rides on the night
The light through the window
That lights up the sky
And causes her mournful cry
Scared of the moon

There’s nothing wrong
Don’t be bothered they said
It’s just childish fantasies turning your head
No need to worry
It’s really too soon
But there she lies shivering
Scared of the moon

Scared of the moon
Scared of the moon
Scared of the moon
Scared of the moon

The years go by swiftly
And soon childhood ends
But life is still fearful
When evening descends
The fear of the child
Still intrudes the night
Returning on beams of light
Scared of the moon

The feeling of terror
She felt as a youth
Has turned from a fantasy
Into a truth
The moon is the enemy
Twisting her soul
And taking its fearful toll
Scared of the moon

But now there are others who sit in their room
And wait for the sunlight to brighten their gloom
Together they gather
Their lunacy shared
Not knowing just why they’re scared
Scared of the moon

Scared of the moon
Scared of the moon
Scared of the moon
Scared of the moon

 moonangel1

Michael Jackson sang this song during the Thriller era (1984) and it was released on The Ultimate Collection where it was listed as an unreleased demo. The liner notes refer to a book by the same title, but I haven’t been able to find that. For those Michael Jackson fans who have not treated themselves to The Ultimate Collection, may I recommend that you do so? It is a treasure trove of beautiful songs, including many of Michael Jackson’s biggest hits spanning his entire career as well as about ten songs that are shown as demos, which in this humble fan’s opinion are just as good as anything he ever released. Scared of the Moon is one of them.

Michael sings this song with deep emotion (one can hear the tears in his voice and in his nasal passages as he sings the fourth verse). After hearing it for the first time I wondered if it referred to something in his own life or in one of his family member’s lives about which he felt very strongly.

Today, as I was driving home from work, I listened to it again. I have an MP3 player upon which I have placed two hundred and forty-five songs ranging from Michael’s first hits as an effervescent, joyous member of the Jackson 5 through his last releases as a solo artist. Most of the time I have the MP3 player set to random play unless I have a particular need to hear a song because of events of the day or my heart just needs to hear a certain song. Most of the time random play serves them up in an order that suits me just fine, much of the time throwing in the song that I really needed during my half hour drive to or from work as a surprise, a gift from his heart to mine.

Tonight, Scared of the Moon was on the agenda. While the song was playing, I had an interesting insight. The moon has traditionally been a symbol for the female, intuitive, right-brained side of life. Intuition, artistic creativity, poesy, the divine feminine, empathic or psychic powers all fall under the aegis or authority of the moon, or right brain, in the symbolic sense. This is the yang in oriental philosophy.

Conversely, the material, logical, analytical side of the brain is considered the left brain. It is responsible for scientific inquiry, logical thinking, analytical thought, male dominance, patriarchal, I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it kind of thought. This is the yin in oriental philosophy.

Ideally, both hemispheres of the brain work in tandem to help us to navigate our lives. When one is damaged, the other takes over its duties because the two hemispheres have a channel of communication that flows between them. One of the theories used to explain epilepsy is that the channel of communication between the two hemispheres of the brain becomes disrupted, causing seizures. Most of us have a dominant hemisphere – one that we feel at home with more than the other. In some situations, damage or trauma can cause one hemisphere to become inactive or unable to function which causes brain pathology of various kinds.

Well, I suppose I won’t get too many disagreements if I state that Michael Jackson was very right-brain oriented or right-brain dominant. He was very artistic in many fields, empathic to the suffering of others, sensitive and extremely spiritually oriented. There is a theory being circulated since his demise that he experienced trauma as a youth (perhaps, as a result of one of the ‘spankings’ he received from his father) which made the left side of his brain inactive or unable to function, arresting his development at the eight or nine-year-old level and creating an actual physical handicap to his normal functioning in the adult world.

While I do not support this theory wholeheartedly, I do believe that Michael was right brain oriented to the exclusion of the left-brain functions that control many of life’s little challenges and, I believe, he was  comfortable in that sphere. But I also believe that he was a fully-functioning adult who preferred to see the world through the innocent eyes of a child because the sight was too painful to him any other way.

Now, it has been my experience that left-brain dominant people have a dislike bordering on horror of predominantly right-brain thinkers. They abhor illogical, feeling-based, empathic thought. They belittle their neighbors of the right-brain persuasion as idealists, wearing rose-colored glasses, unable to deal with the world of reality. It’s their way or the highway! We all know people like this. I’m married to one of them who is very religion-oriented and tells me frequently that I don’t see the world as it is (to which I usually reply, ‘Look at the world. Would you want to see it as it is?’) I, on the other hand, am a predominantly right-brain thinker. Although not artistic, I am sympathetic to suffering almost to the empathic level, sensitive to any kind of emotional disturbance, heart-centered and very spiritually  (as opposed to religious) oriented.

Here is an example of the differences between us. My husband’s favorite choice in movie viewing is war films and action films and horror films. After spending 59 days in Viet Nam, I would think he would have seen enough of war, but, apparently not. He has seen Tora, Tora, Tora every single time they have shown it on the History Channel, loves The Omen, The Predator, and Saving Private Ryan. I won’t watch such things because I believe that what we place and focus our attention on becomes our reality. There are two underlying thoughts which control our universe: Love and Fear. I will not pay good money to go into a darkened theater and immerse myself in fear (representing war, action, and horror movies) for two hours. My movie viewing includes Walt Disney (fortunately I am raising my eight-year-old granddaughter who also loves Walt Disney), love stories, and Michael Jackson. Needless to say, we don’t go to a lot of movies together.

Okay, so we’ve got two hemispheres of the brain, right and left, one of which views the other with horror and disdain often to the point of ridicule. Michael is right-brain dominant which is represented by the moon, the intuitive, the empathic, the psychic. Left-brain dominance is represented symbolically by the sun, the logical, the realistic, the analytical, scientific method.

The insight I had on my drive home in the car this evening (remember – that’s how this whole thing started) was Michael Jackson, a young man at the time the above song was recorded, was very intuitive. I would venture to say he was prescient. Although the scorn and ridicule of him hadn’t started in full earnest at the time the song was recorded – at least, not to the level it eventually became – he was drawing attention to the fear and abhorrence he would later suffer from the world he inhabited. The sun (left-brain dominant) in the song is scared of the moon and fear causes humans to be somewhat unthinking, unreasonable and downright cruel to the moon (right-brain dominant).

This would not be the only example of Michael Jackson’s prescience. I believe the timing of the release of the Dangerous album and, specifically, the song Will You Be There (with its emotional rap at the end) was another example of his premonition of what would eventually happen to him. Remember, the Dangerous album was released in 1991 but it was recorded between 1989 and 1990. The schedule for release of songs is usually set long before the album is released. The official release of the song Will You Be There and the movie Free Willy containing the song coincided very closely with the news of the first set of allegations against Michael in 1993. While the medialoid was tripping over its own feet in its attempts to beat their competitors to the most salacious headlines, Michael’s song was being played in movie theaters across this country along with the tearful rap at the end of it … “In our darkest hour, in my deepest despair, will you still care, will you be there? In my trials and my tribulations, through our doubts and frustrations, in my violence, in my turbulence, through my fears and my confessions, in my anguish and my pain, through my joy and my sorrow, in the promise of another tomorrow, I’ll never let you part. For you’re always … in my heart.” 

I believe in my heart that Michael had premonitions and placed the evidence of his foreknowledge in his art for all of us to interpret at our leisure after he was gone. Scared of the Moon is an early example of this prescience. He was explaining to us what was going to happen. He was answering his own … and our … question, “Why?”

 

 

 

 

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