Ted (merovingian) wrote,

Now, I must admit I really don't know much about Zen Buddhism. I mean, I know the sort of things one might learn from American pop culture, but I suspect that it's about as similar to the real thing as Taco Bell might be to Mexican food.

That said, one thing I have heard is that something that some Zen practitioners suggest is that you stop what you're doing and listen to your surroundings.

I live in a big city, and all day today, I tried to hear the background sound of the city, and interpret what it might mean.

Here are my conclusions:

  • Most cities are built near a major waterway, usually a bay or a river. It makes sense. Cities have long places where travelers and merchants would gather. If you can hear the noise of the nearby water, maybe in waves or river-babble, that means that the city is happy with you.

  • If you hear kind of a mechanical wind, like a giant fan is blowing just out of sight, that's probably a sign of robots under the ground, breathing, waiting. They probably want to sell you something.

  • An unidentified high-pitched whine indicates that city-trolls are gathering in closed buildings nearby, complaining about how hard it is to find a good haberdasher these days.

  • If you hear children laughing in the distance, it probably means you're near a park. It also means you should go get a glass of water because you are probably thirsty and didn't realize it. I don't know how that works.

  • A loud noise, that sounds like it could be a gunshot or a tire popping or a backfire or someone using leftover fireworks, means that this particular part of the city is annoying and isn't getting enough attention and love from nearby neighborhoods. Contact your utility district and ask for a shift in the underground affection flows. They will pretend that they don't know what you mean.

  • If you hear the distant sound of automobiles, in rushing waves that you almost think are the ocean, that means that your city is at peace, balancing the Dionysian with the Apollonian. Or maybe that you're in a quiet area near a freeway. Maybe that's the same thing.

  • If you hear a cheering audience, go find out what the score is. Even if it's an opera or an outdoor play or something. The city always keeps score.

  • If you don't hear anything, it means that you've been in a sound studio all along. Find the hidden camera and advertise your friends' startup businesses.

What do you hear from the city?
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