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1887 97060 06/18/97 Copyright J. M. Cox 1997
The thoughtful world does endless battle with ghosts, goblins, and other
assorted, invented spooks — a man awakened to the reality of life does
battle with nothing…not counting his constant disregard for thought.
(I could have said “his constant suppression of thought,” but that tends to
prolong the illusion of a conflict that is unwinnable.)
“Whenever I fly into a new city, the first call I make is to The Disregard
Limo Service” — a solid tip from a wise traveler.
A Curt History
The first man to realize what is going on wrote a detailed description of
what he realized, but after reading it immediately realized it wouldn’t do,
so he then wrote a vague, allegorical description of what he realized, then
read it and realized it wouldn’t do either, so he then wrote this story I’m
reading to you now to explain it all.
How all you farmers can get more conscious:
Don’t wait for the milking machine to explain the nature of cows.
…And then if you want to really wake up:
Don’t look for the milking machine to explain the nature of itself.
(Which of course is the same as that of a cow…and yourself.)
To discover for yourself “the secret of life” is to see how “the trick’s
done,” and to see how the trick’s done is to finally realize that you have
And what a relief it be!
“Papa, why is it I sometimes feel so stupid?”
“‘Cause you think about it, boy!”
The instructor brought ’em all right up to the edge and said, “There’re two
ways to jump off a building: abruptly, or gradually.” “Who wants the
And everyone who raised their hand he kicked off.
The Unnoted Predictable Reality Of What Happens When Thought
Forces Logic To Work In The World Of The Mind
Having all your ducks in a row
assures that ultimately you will have
a row of dead ducks.
– – –
“We await the redeeming arrival of The Mystical Patriarch,” they said. Who
are those so distorted in their understanding as to expect to ever see the
sight of a carousel committing suicide?
Only thought can have it both ways — or just this way, or just that way, or
any way that it wants — and only those awakened to the nature of thought
can have life just as it is, right before their eyes with no mental
* * *
Figure This Out
You can’t insult a ghost, but you can those who believe in ghosts.
…A race of creatures walking on thin air.
Whenever this one man would punch himself with his left hand, his right one
would comfort him. This may sound strange, but everyone does it — it just
goes under another name.
You could hear the voice serenely singing, “Oh, I’m swimming in a sea of
And someone on shore yelled to them, “No, you’re not, you’re swimming in a
sea of thought.”
And from the waters the voice called back, “Then why do I feel this sorrow?”
“You still don’t get it, dear stroker, you don’t have a salt-water clue.”
How all of you logic lovers could be more alert:
Don’t tag after any cause that produces an effect, and don’t look for one
for any effect already present.
Trains continued to run through his house, but he learned to mostly overlook
“Hello there, I am Commander Overlook. But I’m not really, or else I would
not have identified myself to you as such, plus I would be too free to lower
myself to appear in a scene such as this. So! — just a simple “hello
there” will have to do. Hello there.”
“We await the appearance,” they said, “of The Mystical Engineer to move the
tunnel for us to someplace else.” Who be these people of such constricted
sight that they never expect to witness an unmoving flow of energy turn on
“Look, Papa, the moon is still, but its reflection in the lake bounces.”
On the stove sat a stew that sedentarily simmered, but many who passed it
disturbed it with their thoughts of food.
“Papa, what is a workable synonym for “stirred”…in our family?
The instructor called ’em all right up to the edge and said, “There’re two
ways to jump off a building: abruptly, or gradually.” “Who wants the
And one man asked, “How can you gradually jump off a building?”
“You can’t,” replied the instructor, “it’s just a test to identify all the
One man continually scanned the horizon for ships — never stopped! — but
constantly scanned, scanned, scanned.
(He wasn’t actually looking for ships, by the way, but for a way to awaken.
Shhh! but don’t tell.)
“Ships? — ships? — phooey, I spit on your stinking ships, should I ever
Say! — he really is looking for a way.
Only thought can beat up on itself —
forgive itself —
argue with itself —
agree with itself —
dance with itself, seduce itself, give birth to itself,
all within a split-second, and all beyond its own notice.
You almost want to say, “Hey, you gotta give thought credit,” until you
realize that thought doesn’t need any credit — thought already owns you,
The first man who said “I am what I think” put the rest of us in debt from
which only a few ever extract themselves.
You can get almost any old, routine nag to stop drinking water that’s foul,
but to get one to give up on a sparkling, bright brook is another matter
entirely — a matter left to those who would go past merely “thinking about”
freeing themselves from their thought-induced daze, and realize that they
must ultimately liberate their effort from the belief that there is a mental
effort that will free them from their mental captivity.
“My money in the fourth race is on Give It Up…also in the first, second,
The Plan, as perceived by many claim-to-be-travelers:
If you don’t know precisely where you’re going, make your map as complex as
…That way, as you stumble around to nowhere, during your many stops to
rest, you have something to do — continually reexamine your map while
cursing its inaccuracy.
“Are you lost?”
“Who is this?”
“Yes, yes, yes I am lost!…hello?…are you still there?…hello?”
On some days when one man would find certain conditions present, he’d think
of them as being useful in this approach:
“Feelin’ a little rough,
to get myself
up to snuff.”
If you wait for circumstances to “get just right,” for you to get just right,
your get-right day will never come.
In that thought is the source of all mortal problems, and in that thought’s
point of origin is always conditions, and in that conditions are always
changing, and in that, and in that, and in that, etc. (Don’t you see?)
“Lack of recognizing repetition.”
Life called up a guy (or the guy called up life, I forget which, anyway)
life called the guy and said, “Look, Bub, if I’d a’wanted you to remember
what each airport looks like, from one city to the next, that you go
through, I’d a’never hired you as a travlin’ salesman in the first place.”
And the man thought to himself, “Hah! the pudding’s on you — you didn’t
hire me in the first place.” “I didn’t come on board ’til we got to
[Knock, knock.] “Hello, Madam, could I interest you in encyclopedias that
will also do drapes?”
(“Could you define ‘normalcy’ again?”)
How all you lake lovers can move closer in on consciousness:
Don’t ski behind any boat already moving, and don’t crank up any boat that’s
What You Figure We’re Actually Talkin’ About Here?…
He said to the doctor, “I have ingrown toes.”
“You mean in-grown toenails,” he replied.
“No, I’ve cut out the middle man.”
…What’chu figure, huh? huh? huh? huh?
One Way Or The Other, What?
If you’re sick of the whole notion of freedom, and want to reenforce your
captivity, all you have to do is think about things.
He said to his furnace, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I’ll kill you if I
hear a peep.”
Many years later, as an old man was preparing to turn over the family
air conditioning business to his grandson, the lad asked him what the story
about the man and his furnace was intended to convey.
And the old man replied, “Well, if that’s the way you feel, we can just give
it to your sister.”
“‘Give it to your sister’! — is that a title just waiting for a Broadway
show to go with it, or what?
…Or even the name
for a crack train
on its way to Istanbul!”
How all of you gourmets could shake yourselves more awake:
Don’t eat any food that requires a Bromo afterward, and if your stomach is
presently at peace, don’t eat — period.
The teacher announced, “Today we’re going to have an exam, and any of you
who take it are idiots.”
And one student asked, “But how can you know that before we take it?”
“You’re a double one,” she replied.
Every time one man put a quarter in his left-hand pocket, twenty-five cents
would disappear from his right one.
After some years of this fruitlessness, he just took off his pants and said
to hell with it.
Look at it like this: A blind driver don’t need no collision insurance!
He don’t care where he’s going anyway.
…Get it? “I don’t know…was that the exam?”
One thinker thought, “I wonder if it’ll help if I think only about my body,
and never about thinking?”
(Did we already use the headline “One Way Or The Other”?)
The difference between eagles and slugs is that
neither of them are eagles,
but only the eagles know it.
A snail asked its mother, “How do you spell Falcon God?”
“We have an insufficient lack of letters to fulfill your inquiry,” she
(Hah, hah — the joke’s on him — snails can’t talk.)
“Papa, how long can a man long for the impossible before he realizes it?”
“Hey, look kid, I wasn’t born earlier this week. You can’t sucker me into
trick questions like that.”
Okay, in that case, forget the difference between eagles and slugs, and
ponder the one between having questions and believing there are answers…
well, in the difference commonly imagined by those with knowledge of
Tonight’s Fairy Tale
In a land of make-believe,
anything you can imagine
can find a home.
“So,” said a man, “that’s why every damn thing fits around here — yet
* * *
There is positive noise and negative noise…as long as you believe in
…A race of chicken inspectors, with no chickens to inspect, but with
enough creativity to not let that stand in their way.
There was once a band of warriors who called themselves Creativity, but who
turned out to be Too Much Spare Time Gone AWOL.
A man looked into an empty envelope and said, “Why have I always taken you
And life asked one man, “Can you say the alphabet backwards — real fast? —
and if so, go on out and play.” “You’re no longer sufficiently frightened
to stay indoors here with yourself.”
A man came to the cubicle of The Great Oracle, bringing with him this
“I have heard of The Mystical Way — exactly what is it?”
“Don’t think about it,” the voice from within replied.
“But I’m interested in it,” the man insisted.
“No,” said the voice, “that’s the answer to your question.
If you want to know how to treat animals, look at a cat.
If you want to know the proper way to deal with thought, look at a cat…or
a rat…or a dog or something, but don’t look to thought for assistance.
“Papa, what does ‘weenie breath’ mean?”
“That you’ve been sleeping in the wrong bed again.”
“Yeah, it sure is easy to kick around thought when you’re down-and-out.”
“Maybe, until you realize that it was thought that put you there.”
A man sat down with himself and said, “So, what shall we talk about?”
And replied, “Can I leave now?”
(God, wouldn’t you ‘ave loved to see the headline to that story, had it had
The instructor called ’em all right up to the edge and said, “There’re two
ways to jump off a building: abruptly, and gradually.” “Which way do you
And someone asked, “If they are both indeed possible, which one is best?”
And the instructor replied, “What kinda dumb-ass question is that?” “If you
go off the top of a building, you’re off it, whether we call it gradually,
abruptly, or cinnamon toast with jam. Damn! Where do all these lard heads
come from? …And what are they doin’ up this high anyway?”
One man tried so hard — and I mean SO HARD — to tie his bow tie that he
(What ‘chu reckon we’re really talkin’ about here? — you know it ain’t
A geographically clad man so mused, “My ability to be clearly alert is the
Suez Canal, and my instincts and thoughts are the Mediterranean and Red
“Help!” cried a voice, “I can’t breathe down here in this position.”
…Just like men — simply won’t do what would clearly cure the problem.
The two figures were poised at the starting line; the gun went off,
signaling the race to begin; one of the figures seemed to take off
immediately, while the other appeared to pause while considering something.
Note: The two figures mentioned were in fact one man.
Planning and running,
running and planning,
planning and planning,
running and running.
…Did I leave anyone out?
“Listen! — they’re calling me.”
“Just listen — they’re always calling me.”
“Just listen — they’re always calling, and
— just think! — I always listen.”
“Oh…(now I know ‘who’.)”
Most talk’s about talk — that’s it, nothing more.
Every day a man watched a certain train whiz by — in fact many times a day.
Then one day he tried to catch it, only to discover that it didn’t exist.
“How could I have been so stupid?” he thought, then realized better than to
answer that question lest his stupidity be increased. Woo woo!
The speaker so speaked: “Some say that having emotions is proof that you are
human, but I say it is proof of something else.”
And someone in the crowd called out, “Would you care to tell us what that
“I see no benefit in offering a potential cause for you people to feel bad.”
And most of the crowd then began to semi-audibly huff, grunt, and puff, and
shuffle around irritably where they stood, yet none insisted that the
speaker actually be more verbally specific in what he meant.
The passing ship said to the fog horn buoy, “No need to be so noisy, I know
where I am.”
“You’re about to sink!” replied the buoy.
“I knew that,” said the ship. “I told you that I knew where I was — that’s
right, I’m sinking, but I knew that.”
(And the bobbing warning system suddenly realized how much the ship
resembled a man.)
To begin to understand the nature of thought, you must start by
understanding what it is not.
The phone rang.
He answered it, “Hello?”
The voice asked, “Is that you?”
He cried out, “Oh my god — its’ me on the line!”
(“Hello?” inquired the voice…)
A passenger asked the passing conductor, “Does it cost any more to ride this
And the uniformed one replied, “You mean as opposed to not riding it?”
And the passenger said, “You mean that’s a possibility?”
And the ticket taker answered, “You’re not from around here, are you?”
And the passenger said, “No — how can you tell?”
And the conductor responded, “Because we’re not where you think we are.”
And the passenger leaned back in his seat — now content with the price of
Many years later, when he repeated this story to his grandson, the lad asked
him what it meant.
“Oh, nothing,” he replied, “and perhaps even less.”
(Kids nowadays! — nothing but think, think, think!)
All ducks know that the lake is a meaningless illusion, but the sound of
their own quacking does ’em in.
…Cows only conjured up the notion of radar out of frustration…
that and a fear of Chicago, and of having nothing to do on Sunday mornings.
According to ancient, mystical legend, one man once had this thought:
“What if part of the trick to being more conscious is to convince yourself
that you are so?
…Naw, that couldn’t be…could it?”
(That’s the great thing about legends, by their very name they announce
beforehand that you don’t have to take them as factual.
Phew! Thank god, eh what?)
A man stood before the cubicle of The Great Oracle and said, “No matter what
I ask, you always give me abrupt replies.”
“Oh, does this mean that you’re catching on?”
Your thought and your conditions produce your reality. This is the standard
equation — the one that results in a lifetime of confusion, frustration,
Welcome to Math 101 — you idiots!
A man asked life, “Would you care to fill us in on the details?”
And life replied, “You are the details.”
(“Ahhh,” thought the man upon later reflection, “that certainly explains a
The pack held a debate with its leader:
“How do you spell ‘leader’?”
“Charisma,” he replied.
“How do you spell ‘charisma’?” they asked.
“Blood letting,” he replied.
“And how do you spell ‘the rest of us’?” they asked.
“Blood lettees,” he replied.
(And some of the bewildered beests standing nearby wondered what the wolves
were really talking about.
[Ain’t it neat to be smarter than some old gnu and always know what it is
that we’re actually talking about?])
This planet’s very first mystical activity was set up as a school of tap
dance — the floor on which they practiced, you don’t wanna know about.
“Two-and-two are not four.”
“Yes they are.”
“But only in the land where you believe that they are.”
“Well, where else would you have us be?”
“Where else would you like to be?”
“You mean other than where two-and-two equals four all the time?”
“Something like that.”
“I can’t conceive of such a place.”
“So you accept that to mean that such a place can’t exist?”
“I find no way in which I can adequately respond to that.”
“Good — stay right there and you’re close to the place we’re talking
The stupidest thing possible for a man to say is that something exists or
A man called up life and said, “I’ve done the best I can, and now I want my
And life poured out, over the phone line, all the glue it had on hand.
To try and achieve enlightenment, one man took a reversed course, and cut
himself off at the brain stem and replaced his lower part with some other
creature. His LOWER part…just think about it! …(Replaced his lower
part! What a concept!)
“Papa, who lives the longest: a human or a lion?”
“But the encyclopedia says that a human does.”
“Humans just think they do.”
“What the hell does that mean? They either live longer or they don’t.
What’s what they think about it have to do with it?”
“You still don’t get it, kid; you still don’t get it, you punk.”
A man who thinks that there is something he still must learn will never
learn what it is.
From a strictly intellectual view, the challenge could be stated as the
difficulty of harmonizing your thoughts with the ever-changing circumstances
— to merge and reconcile them to such a degree that no distinction between
We all must die, but the dishonorable death is to drown inside of yourself.
“There can never be a conclusive point to anything that is said.”
“You mean regarding the world of the mind?”
“No — Sea World, dummy!”
How all of you people of action could slide closer to enlightenment:
Don’t do anything.
The noise of the engine room began to so bother one man that he just got out