Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Bee Keeper's Saint


Is there any real difference between me and anything else? Am I separate from the world? Do I stand apart from it?

Sometimes I believe that I do.

But I am more and more convinced that this feeling is a side-effect of my conscious mind. I am beginning to see my body as intertwined with the world around it, integrated and integral to the whole. I live my life just like a bee in a hive, dancing to the music of physics and biology, awash in a cascade of neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, electrical charges, a seething sea of physiological triggers and responses to data input from a sensory system designed to keep almost everything out because there is simply too much information for any biological system to utilize it all, and everything I do is automated, determined by the laws of physics and the limits of my own processing power, and my conscious experience of this is further circumscribed radically by the narrowing and winnowing of even the tiny trickle of information that penetrates the sensory organs, because, really, I can't pay conscious attention to how my liver processes toxins in my bloodstream, can't track consciously the state of every system, organ, tissue, and cell in my body, nor the numberless ways they interact, individually and systemically, so I am left a prisoner inside a tiny cell through which only a little light makes its way, and inside that cell I am also sitting inside an even smaller locked box which is my conscious experience of the world, and in that tiny box I don't get any raw data at all, but just a kind of cartoon show put on for my by my own brain, a show that is sufficient for me to have a sense of being alive and of interacting with an environment, but that is no more reflective of what's "really out there" than a child's drawing of a house, and of course it's no wonder that I am all the time making errors about the true nature of reality. I haven't the first clue. And I need my tiny cell, and the box I'm in inside of that, because if you dumped "me" into the raw data it wouldn't make any sense at all to me. It would be the same as nothingness, the ground of being.

It's important to remember that everything I feel and think and believe and experience and hope for or dread is, on a very real and tangible level, a fantasy, a trick played on me by my brain.

Isn't it?


Maybe it isn't.


But I can't shake this feeling that I am a bee in a hive. The same systems are at work in my body and the body of the bee. The exact same systems. The same physical laws rule us both. Our DNA is the same, just ordered a tiny bit differently. Maybe I have a richer interior life, but maybe not. Maybe it's the other way round. Like life in a hive, my life is ceaseless activity that seems mindless at one scale, makes sense on another scale, then goes back to mindless seeming on a yet larger scale.

My emotions are regulated by the same biochemical processes that drive respiration or reflex movement.


Maybe that means that the terrible things I feel and experience are not terrible in and of themselves.

Maybe the good ones, too.


But that's not my experience of them.

Nor can it be.


Good things are good. Terrible things are terrible.

I'm willing to live with this belief, even if it's wrong.





Blogger Ms. Moon said...

Oh, dear Tearful. I am willing to live with this same belief but sometimes it is comforting to think perhaps, otherwise. Or if not comforting, at least another possibility which makes things bearable.
Is the dark crimson, tender heart only a metaphor or is it more?
I gently untangled a bee from my porch screen this morning and let her outside to fly away and make love to the flowers. I wonder what her heart looked like.

10:04 AM  
Blogger LKD said...

The "true" nature of reality.


Maybe you only stand apart (in your own mind) from everything/everyone else in your awareness or false sense of awareness that you stand apart from everything/everyone else.

Isn't it strange to embrace the "reality" that happiness and love and depression and rage are all merely chemical reactions/responses?

Takes a little magic out of the magic. Kind of like seeing Oz behind the curtain pushing all those buttons and pulling all those gears.

I really only came here to say that Francesca Woodman would've loved your artwork.

I'm going to spray paint a halo on the wall then stand under it for a while. I want to know what it feels like to be saint. I want know what it feels like to be holy.

Or, maybe just wholly.

You have a beautiful mind, drone.

10:34 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Ms. Moon-

I feel just like that bee with its dark crimson, tender heart. Saved from one entanglement only to lose myself in another.

Maybe getting caught in a screen door and getting tangled up in the flowers, drowsy with pollen.....maybe they are the same.

I feel like a poor friend, but I'm awful glad for your company.



ps- what I left out was that your comment made me feel released, and loved, and blessed.

1:36 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...


If anyone knows what it feels like to be holy my money is on you. I like the idea of the spray paint halo, though.

Glad to see you here, as always.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Steph(anie) said...

I was watching a roly poly in the grass today, wondering who was happier, him or me. Him with his simple pursuit of food and shelter. Me with my freedom of choice and alleged awareness.

I didn't come up with much of anything. But I've always thought I would like to be the size of a bug.

8:20 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

It would be cool to be that small. Cool, but dangerous.

Thanks for coming by, Steph.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Petit fleur said...

I love this post but have nothing to add about the content, it stands on it's own.

However, I will say this, I am consistently blown away by how gracefully and fully you express your experience using your own unique style, voice, and images. You've created your own little world here and I'm glad you did.

PS Totally off point, but did you hear that Terry Gross interview with married couple that are retired CIA and wrote a book together? I thought of you when I heard them talking about Glocks. :-P Anyway, there last name is Bear.

6:46 PM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Hey, PF-

Thanks for the kind words. I'll check out the Terry Gross interview, how bad can spies and guns be?



5:33 PM  
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