Asbestos Head Chapter 4 - Present of All Presence

Doc Head
-Present of all Presence-

Doc Head holds post-graduate degrees in both psychology and philosophy.  In clinical work he finds philosophy to be more helpful and relevant because it is always looking forward pushing the progress of thought, whereas the majority of psychological research looks backwards trying to find explanations for behaviors.  As a result, instead of diagnosing behavioral abnormalities, he provides philosophical arguments against his patients and brings them face to face with their flaws.

Instead of tracing fear of commitment to childhood abandonment, attributing apathy to life-long depression, or otherwise trying to make explanations in rewind, he Socratically challenges their current, personal reasoning and rationale behind such issues and gives educated nudges in advantageous directions. His questions channel their thoughts through unexplored depths. Most people are never adequately challenged in their beliefs and judgments.  Simply spending time sitting down with an educated moral philosopher expands their personal understanding and gives conversation a new perspective, like the extrospection section of self-reflection.

Pin Head schedules an appointment and buys an hour of Asbestos Head's friend's clinical time.  He enters the office, sits down, and stares at Doc Head.  The good doctor says nothing and simply sits motionless smiling. 

"So what service exactly do you provide your patients?"

"I listen without judgment, then speak what rises to be spoken."

"Who says your non-judgmental speeches rising to be spoken are worth fifty an hour?"

"You do."

"It's like that.  Okay, then listen quickly because I want one hell of an insightful, non-judgmental speech out of you before the hour's up.  Here it is.  My main psychological problem has remained the same as long as I can remember, and no matter how many books I read, no matter how outwardly I educate myself, or introspectively I explore myself, one fundamental facet of existence continues to cloud my quartz-clear conscience."

"What is it?"


“About what?”

I don't know.”

“How does it feel?”

I can’t explain it.”

“Well, can you describe it?”

What’s the difference?”

“Explanations are rational, descriptions are perceptual.”

No man, I can’t describe it either.  It doesn’t even translate into language.”

“Then I can’t help you.”

What?  Why not?”

I can help you arrange the words, but actual comprehension - piecing together information, metaphorical meaning, reading subtle connotations, all internal connections and translations are up to you.  And I guarantee that’s where the confusion comes from.”

"There's no way that's it!  I've read more books than you've taken shits.  My internal monologue is like an after-party at the Royal Shakespeare Academy.  I've got the linguistic repratoir of a cyborg and you think my confusion comes from comprehension?  Regardless, the limitations of language aren't my only problem; it's perception too, dude!  My speaker barely projects 60 decibels and my mic can’t detect sounds over 20,000 hertz.  I’m deaf to infrasounds and ultrasounds, microwaves, and radiowaves.  I see 300 nanometers of a potentially infinite electro-magnetic spectrum.  I’m blind to x-rays, gamma rays, ultraviolet and infrared. Have you even seen infrared images?  We’re missing out on this beautiful crazy rainbow reality that’s just beyond Our perception.  I’m pissed off!  Dolphins have a hearing range seven times larger and can swim seven times faster than me.  Cheetah’s can run three times faster than I can. Ants can lift fifty times their weight, that’s like me carrying a couple cars. Birds can fly.  Chameleons can change their color and have tongues twice the length of their bodies - that’s awesome. Rabbits and parrots can see behind themselves without moving their heads.  Fleas can jump a hundred and fifty times their body length, which is like me jumping a football field.  What can We do?  Think?” 

“That’s exactly what We can do.  I think no one thing is important or interesting enough to attend to your whole life except your mind.”

“Of course you think that.  You know what your problem is?  Abstraction.  Originality.  You’ve read so many books by like-minded individuals, you’ve unfairly filtered the available information to enforce your own opinions.   All you psychologists sit back with an answer for everyone, offering emotional advice from a textbook with optional DSMIV diagnoses and prescriptions.  You people do studies, find behavioral norms by averaging out the population then label each deviation making everyone insane.”

“You’ll find my methodology a little different.”

“I could care less about your methodology . . .”

“You couldn’t care less.”

“What do you care?”

“I couldn’t care less.”

“Fine, you’re right.”

“Let me see how I can put this to you.  Most people's heads are so full of facts like stock figures, brand names, headlines, work schedules, sports stats, retail prices, presidents etc. they’re too tired to think of anything important.  But then some of those sleepy people wake up and realize the importance of ideas.  These people are generally a little bit hipper, happier than the others are, and infinitely more interesting.   Their thoughts come quickly and intermittently.  They either speak slowly or incredibly quickly, profound aposeopetic sentences like impromptu haiku.  I recognize you as one of these people and I think your confusion comes not from language nor perception nor lack of information or education, but instead from general disharmony with the present moment, a spiritual separation from the Now. 

Let me break it down for you.  Enlightenment is constant awareness and presence with all six senses.  Awareness is knowing that you're thinking every time you're thinking.  It's the ability to separate yourself from, and thus become the observer of, your thoughts and emotions.   Awareness is what is left over once the judging mind, past and future thought are eliminated.  Pin Head stares with a cocked eyebrow.  Doc explains the fundamental flaw of human cognition.

Thought is like a ticker-tape of information scrolling at the bottom of your experiential screen.  It contains memories, observations, to-do lists, other relevant information about your situations, and always prepares the next thing you say.  But often that feedback is negative, destructive, stressful, or just plain annoying, and people addicted to reading bad news off their ticker-tape must learn to shut it off.  If you have an idea, humorous or positive feedback or anything advantageous to your present experience, then allow yourself to think.  However, if your thoughts are frustrating, negative, repetitive or anytime you'd rather just relax and stop thinking, you need to be able to do that.  The problem is We can't just think about stopping thought and magically stop thinking.  That's where meditation steps in. 

Without practice, We can't keep focus off Our ticker-tapes for long so thought naturally comes and goes every few seconds.  Unfortunately, every time it comes back, it does so unconsciously and remains that way until you directly acknowledge the fact that you're thinking.  Most people allow their thinking to go unchecked and completely identify with every thought entering their head.   But your thoughts are not your own, they come of their own accord and do not define you as a person.  You can always stop thinking or change the way you think at any time.  True understanding and practice of this results in complete disidentification with thought.  Awareness.  Try it.  Just sit there and every time you think, say out loud, I'm thinking right Now, then stop thinking.  Just stop.  It will come back in a matter of seconds, but you'll become systematically self-aware, and this is the front door to enlightenment."

Pin Head rolls his eyes closed, purses his lips, and exhales through his nose.  "I'm thinking . . . I'm thinking . . . I'm thinking again . . . Again . . . Again . . . Again . . . This can't possibly help me.  It's more frustrating than just letting myself think, man."

"Is it frustrating?  Or do your thoughts about it frustrate you?  At first it's impossible to conquer thought's incessant nature, but soon the gaps on your ticker-tape will get longer and longer, the words scrolling across your screen will slowly become more positive and less intrusive, you'll experience long periods of thoughtless awareness and mindfulness, your memory will improve, your concentration will focus, all your other senses will heighten, your appreciation of every moment will intensify, and these frustrations will disappear."

"So you think if I'm stuck in traffic, late for work, I can just meditate that away?"

"Is traffic or waiting in a long line inherently frustrating?  Waiting is a negative future state of mind, but just being, just standing in a line or sitting in traffic is neither good nor bad.  Even if you have somewhere incredibly important to be, it's irrelevant and blaming other people won't help.  Thinking about how your plans for the day are being ruined with every unaccounted for second won't help.  Being at peace with what is at every moment is the only thing that helps.  Stop thinking.  Look around and find something to appreciate while you're stuck in traffic.  Intentionally stop or change your thought patterns instead of incessantly frustrating yourself with the same thoughts.  You have the power to appreciate every moment of your existence.  Some are more challenging than others, but the secret lies in always enjoying what you're doing, not always trying to do what you enjoy.

The Doc lights a large candle.  This is an ancient meditation and concentration technique that increases awareness and lengthens attention-span.  I'm going to dim the lights and I want you to focus on the flame for a minute.  Just be with the candle, watch the dance of the fire and smoke, smell the scented oils, and hear the slight coming and going of background sounds around you disguised as silence.  Now close your eyes and continue to envision the flicker of the flame in your mind's eye.  If thought enters, your mental flame extinguishes - open your eyes and try again."

Pin Head slams his hands on the armrests then points a finger at Doc.  "Hey!  I bought an hour of time to experiment on you, not the other way around.  Let's put that candle out and switch seats.  Now quick, what's the last thing you remember?”

“What I was just thinking before you said something.”

“Now what?”

“What I just said.”

“Now what?”

“The same thing.”

“No, it’s different.  Now what?”

“I'm starting to remember getting annoyed.”

“There it is.”


“Why are you annoyed?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean you're promoting these new-age nirvana techniques for a blissful existence but your ticker-tape can't even stay positive with me for more than a few seconds.”

“Well, maybe if you chose a more positive emotion than annoyance . . .”

“I didn’t choose it.  You did.  Asshole.”

“Alright, then We’ll go along with this.  What’s your problem with me?”

“Um.  I just really hate the general arrangement of features on your face.  Somewhere between their proportion and placement and my aesthetic edification, your facial structures and expressions upset me.  Sitting here I've even theorized into your quantum ugliness and feel really bad for your atoms, especially those outer-shelled electrons swirling ugly circles around your skin, longing to bond with any anion.”

“I see, and what else do you hate?”

“About you?”

“Not about me.”

“Lots of things. I hate how beautiful girls tend to be stupid. I hate how so many people live their lives like this ostentatious display for some unforgiving audience. I hate it when my leg cramps during an orgasm.  I hate it when people say, it’s always the last place you’d look.  Of course it is, why would you keep looking once you’d found it? I hate the word luncheon. I hate when rich people dicker.  I hate Bill Gates for the same reason I hate the Sultan of Brunei, and it’s got nothing to do with money.  I hate money.  And I hate the concept of ownership.  The very notion should seem childish, but powerful children in history have taught Us to strive for personal ownership, not communion.  I hate religious fanatics, missionaries, and anyone discontent in keeping their faith to themselves.   I hate radically uneven distributions of power among people and species.  We’re the only animals that breed and cultivate others for consumption. We’ve even chained down and genetically mutated species for meatier meat to eat.    I hate it when the underdog loses.  I hate that the winners write history.  I hate that scores are more important than plays of the week.  I hate sports fans, patriots, and all rally mentality among people united by coincidence.  I hate all forms of government, but think anarchy is limiting - I hate that.  I hate that inspiring, perplexing philosophical mysteries remain unexplored while human-created mini-mysteries make best-seller lists. I hate it when writers write about writing or that they’re writing and how difficult or transcendental that is.  I hate watching obese people eat sweets; I mean you know a lifetime of laziness and conviviality culminated to form this waste space shoveling sugar down its gullet by the bucketful.  I hate people that lie to make their lives easier.  I hate saying goodbye to people I’ll never see again.  I hate saying hello to people I see everyday.  I hate how technology perfectly coincides with warranty expirations.  I hate that We need visas, permits, passports, and other people’s permission to travel or live somewhere else.  I hate the persuasive power of logical fallacies.  I hate the gradual disappearance of the word thrice.  I hate when people forget the pleasure of the pursuit and settle for mediocrity.  And I hate all people who make generalizations.”

"I see.  Including yourself?"


"Just checking.  Let's stay with this train of thought but switch to love."


"What do you love?"

"Lots of things, man.  I love circles.  I love bathing in a hot tub with a glass of ice water.  I love fireplaces on cold nights and air-conditioning on hot days.  I love laughing so hard you make yourself cry or crying so hard you make yourself laugh.  I love perilous adventure and narrowly avoiding disaster.  I love losing track of time.  I love how there's no Truth, you can't prove to me otherwise, and the course of indecision is up to Us.  I love karma's intangible presence in all situations.  I love the variety of whimpers, moans, and screams that escape from lover's lips during those seconds of post-coital perfection.  I love it when you stand up too fast and black-out like a whip-it from God.  I love psychedelic drugs.  I love literature and the arts.  Heroic verse, epic poetry, forgotten philosophies - none of it's lost on me, I love that stuff.  I love singing and dancing when no one's watching or I'm too drunk to care.  I love being in the zone with sports."  Pin Head glances down at his watch.  "And I'd love to keep shooting shit with you but I've got a night-pass.  Truth be told I'm only really here as a messenger from Our friend Asbestos.  He's otherwise engaged with some female friend so he sent me to invite you to a religious gathering at the library on Sunday."  Doc Head raises an eyebrow.  "I don't know what it means either, he just said to be sure you'll be there."  The eyebrow lowers and Pin Head stands up to leave.

"Hey.  What's a night-pass?"

“Didn’t you know?  They just turned all subways into nightclubs.  The bums and businessmen were rubbing elbows anyway and one day they just started dancing - dancing, singing, drinking, bringing musical instruments and boom-boxes on board for impromptu parties.  So they replaced seats with swivel stools, dropped a few disco balls, installed neon strobe lasers, and added on a couple bar cars.  Today’s techno Tuesday, got hip-hop Wednesdays, non-stop 80s rock Thursdays, rapcore Fridays, weekend hard house blend and psychedelic trance Mondays.  I’m going right Now if you wanna come.”

“I think I’ll pass.”

“Your loss.”

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