Sunday, July 20, 2008

I don't care for the latest Radiohead release, In Rainbows, which leads me to wonder what Ramesh Balsekar would make of it. During our visit to his flat in Mumbai, I didn't get a chance to wander from the main room, but I assume somewhere on the premises is a computer with Internet access. One could also assume that Ramesh opted to either download the release from Radiohead's site, in which case one could wonder what amount, if any, Ramesh consented to pay for the music. Forty rupees? Four hundred? Or perhaps Ramesh is an active BitTorrent user, and simply downloaded the music for free from Pirate Bay or Demonoid.

My personal like or dislike of a Radiohead album is in the same vein as that Picasso anecdote, which I am doubtlessly misremembering. The painter is accosted by a woman at a party, a woman who insists to him that she neither understands nor cares much for Cubism. "But madam!" says Picasso. "It really doesn't matter!"

Does Ramesh have a preference either for or against the new Radiohead album? While he was listening to it, did he lean to his wife and say, "Aum Shiva, but Thom Yorke is one whiny bastard!" Or has he completely extinguished all patterns, imprints, habits, and other boundaries of the ego? As water ceases flowing from a tap, has that part of mind that produces preferences within Ramesh been completely shut off

Or does Ramesh's lack of preference either for or against the new Radiohead album mean that he still witnesses desire or its opposite as either arise — only he is not identified with them, as them? The thought arises, "I do not like the discordant, free-jazz pseudo-electronica of In Rainbows," that thought in turn observed by the single and expansive pinpoint of overwelming consciousness?

Perhaps a clue can be found in Consciousness Writes, in which Ramesh quotes Yang-Chu: 'Let the ear hear what it longs to hear [including In Rainbows].' When there is disassociation or dis-identification with whatever happens to the body-mind mechanism ... the prevailing tendencies of the body-mind are merely witnessed without any comparing or judging."