Sitting in economy, the flight was full with a Herr Booby sitting next to me for 5.5 hours of nose picking and skin biting just 18-24 inches from my head. About 45 years old and respectably dressed, I was surprised that after five hours, Herr Booby had any more skin available for biting from his fingers. But, for the last 30 minutes on the approach to Dulles, Herr Booby’s sickening skin chewing was undiminished in its vigour and application. He brushed detritus from his clothes several times.
Tuesday, 14th. June 2005
Hotel Adequate, Annapolis
(In response to online postings re: boobyism…)
The musician is only able to play music to the extent that the audience is able to listen. Alternatively, unless the audience and musician are engaged, it is unlikely that music can be born in our world. It is not compulsory for the audience to listen but, that being so, the professional musician’s capacity to discharge what is required of them is severely constrained.
A Four Quarters Maintainer does take notice of body and kinesthetic language, such as posture, as well as other behavioural cues. Gestural cues are particularly important; of a different quality, kind, and order to body language; and of key significance in detecting a possible arising difficulty ahead of time. Sometimes you can see it coming; other times, you can feel it coming; sometimes, you can sense it coming. The aim is: to know it’s coming.
Sometimes we know directly the intent of others, prior to manifestation. This is as if from nowhere, and mysterious. How, why, and where this happens is not easily discussed; particularly with any poster being snippy towards a person distressed by being placed in close proximity to someone unable to control their simple physical behaviours. Fortunately, the experience of direct knowing is more easily available experientially than by argument and persuasion.
One of the FQMs on this recent outing is a martial arts sensei who brought three of their students to act as FQMs under their supervision as an All Quarters Maintainer. A martial arts Master senses the intention of their opponent before intention moves to action. How is this possible? a reasonable person might ask. By acquiring mastery is one possible answer. How do we acquire mastery? the reasonable person might ask in return. Develop an ongoing practice over 25 years and ask the question again—the sensei might reply.
There are equivalent subtleties involved in performance, although I have met very few audients—on four continents over three decades—with whom I am able to discuss these. Discussion is more available between performers, accomplished artists, and/or someone with a developed craft/practice. A conversation with a student of martial arts is much easier than in many other fields: if their attention slips, they hit the mat (at least).
A fundamental element of a sound education addresses conduct in public spaces. Manners move to politeness and, in time, create a space within which courtesy can come to live. Simply put—good manners require of us that private acts are conducted in private places. This does not imply that public nose-pickers are bad people: it suggests they are poorly educated and/or ill-mannered—if they are in control of their behaviour. A booby is not.
A booby is locked into automatic behaviours of which they are often unaware. An un-listening audient is locked into a pattern of un-listening while simultaneously unaware of their lack of listening-presence.
The capacity to listen—to remain open to music we may not even like—for a period of (say) 45 minutes, requires maturity. More than that, an attention span of perhaps 90 minutes requires many years of practice. There is a quality of listening that supports the performance: it is tangible. But an Audient-Booby is pooped at ten minutes, grumpy at twenty, and shouting helpful comments at thirty—if they haven’t already walked out the door.
It is possible that Herr Booby was role-playing for all 5.5 hours of his twitching, picking, and biting; but my sense is that Herr Booby’s head was unaware of what his hands were doing. This hunch is based on a specific observation made in 1975 and many subsequently.
Perhaps Mr. Online Poster is undisturbed by the terror of boobyism. Boobyism is a state of being locked within mechanical patterns, beyond our awareness and beyond our capacity to direct. One effect of boobyism is—it gets in the way of our connecting with others. A second is—a booby lives close to the World of Accident. That makes being near a booby dangerous.
(Online comment…) A booby, after all, is a human being and only a booby part time.
Not quite. A booby is most likely both a human being and a booby full time. Boobyism is a behavioural manifestation of a personal state or station. But being a booby is not a proper condition for what we might hope of a human being: the capacity to be responsible for (at least) small acts of personal conduct.
Tuesday, 12th. July 2005
Broad Chalke, Wiltshire.