The Doctor Is In

in Poetry

Dr. Wes

I Am Obsessed with Your Obsession


Lately I've been obsessed, and I'm starting to get obsessed about it. Not just my own obsessions but other peoples'. I've come to think that no one does anything without some obsession being involved. I think this is one of my symptoms: I think too much. Did you know there are pills specifically designed to prevent people from thinking too much? I'm taking one right now. I should probably take two.

1983-84 is still a little hazy for me. I couldn't believe it when I later learned you had all re-elected Reagan in my absence.

In ancient and/or precolonial times I'm told that they had a sure cure for the propensity to think too much. They'd let you at it. They'd let you live by yourself in a bare hut out in the wilderness for a good long time, all the wheels in your head spinning away about your own private world. Usually a fast or two would be thrown in. By the time you finished you'd be an acknowledged entry level expert on the spinning wheels, AKA gods, or anyway you'd be considered to have had a valuable enough experience with them to deserve some added respect. "What's up with Jim?" "Oh, he went to the spirit world and only half of him came back. Go ahead, ask him about your ancestors next time you see him."

Nowadays there is no such thing as "by yourself." There is no wilderness. There aren't even bare huts. Bare huts are specifically outlawed, on the grounds that they are "substandard housing."

Don't get me wrong. I'm all in favor of decent housing for everyone. I just think that "standard" doesn't always equate to "decent." Sometimes, when the need is for some distance between the tenant and the rest of humanity, a standard SRO is a thing of cruelty. It stunts the spiritual development. In those cases a bare hut in the wilderness would be the more decent. I'm saying, the need for Walden didn't die with Henry D. Thoreau. And I'm saying, it's a need we're talking about here, not a luxury. People's sanity is at stake.

That word "sanity" really means "clean" as in sanitary, i.e. clean in the head. What I'm talking about here is that it's impossible to stay clean in the head when you are exposed to the dirt of everybody else's head wherever you go and never have an opportunity to take a head shower.

Life in the modern world is as mentally and spiritually unsanitary as city life in the medieval world of Western Europe was physically unsanitary. It is as if we can't walk down a street without someone tossing their head-crap out their windows onto our heads. It's like, everywhere we go we're unable to take a step without stepping in someone else's head-crap. You can't even read your mail without other people's head-crap oozing out of it getting on your hands. Don't rub your eyes until you scrub down.

Some literalists think the solution is to limit the flow of ideas. The idea is that head-crap is made out of ideas so get rid of ideas and you won't have any head-crap floating around in stagnant puddles. This is like trying to solve a city's sewage problem by eliminating its food supply.

We need the free flow of ideas, but we also need time and space apart to process them, and some of us need more time and space than others, at various stages of our lives. The average eighteen year old, for example, needs maybe four years at 3000 miles, while the average 80 year old maybe could settle for a nap-time at two paces.

When I was in my mid-thirties I desperately needed two years, at least, and a minimum of a mile or so. Instead, all I got were offers of shelter space -- no more time alone than it takes to stir milk into coffee, no more space than the six inches between mats. Because the need could not be satisfied by the offer, I turned the offer down. The "choice" was really no choice. You can't choose to live without your spiritual needs any more than you can choose to live without food and water.

So I opted out of society for a year or so. 1983-84 is still a little hazy for me. I couldn't believe it when I later learned you had all re-elected Reagan in my absence.

© Dr. Wes Browning:
2129 Second Ave., Seattle, WA 98121 (206) 441-3247

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