Friday, March 16, 2012

"eye candy" mind

"Eye candy" is a wonderful term to describe the seductive attractiveness of an Internet web site. Yum! Yum! Yum! Who, in his right mind, does not love candy? Beautiful houses on lush lots ... call Joe, the construction guy. Beckoning, snow-capped peaks beyond the veldt ... join our African safari. Buffed to a mirror sheen ... buy a Jeep.

Eye candy is the sweetness that draws people in, opens them up to the possibilities of whatever more-serious and less-frivolous candy the site-meister hopes to impart.

Those with a solemn and superior bent may finger-point with scorn at the 'superficial' nature of eye candy. But I am too old to disdain lies as I used to. Doesn't everyone have an eye-candy function woven into their DNA? Don't I? And you bet I do: For most of my life, I have been ass-over-appetite in love with stories, almost any stories as long as they were good stories. Lying is not so much the problem. It's telling a good lie that requires some doing. And lord knows I have tried to tell good stories, offer seductive eye-candy, whether to myself or to others.

Lying is not really the problem, however much the religions and philosophies of the world may demur. Eye candy or mind candy is part of the human terrain. The problem lies in the determined willingness to ask, "Of what truth is this lie a function?" Religions and philosophies are caught between a rock and a hard place: There is no recourse but to lie when pointing out the deeper truth they hope to impart. Eye-candy specialists may use the word "paradox" to describe this phenomenon. But whatever it is called does not change the fact.

When they were little, I would sometimes read fairy tales to my kids. One of those tales (not well remembered) had to do with a family in which there were two little girls -- a Cinderella-esque child who was belittled and demeaned and made to do all the dirty chores and a spoiled-brat daughter who was cosseted and praised and nourished in her own conceited nature. A wicked-stepmother figure oversaw the family. One day, the abused girl was sent to get water from a well or spring of some sort. It was a hard trek. When the girl reached the watering hole, a raggedy old woman appeared and said she was thirsty. The girl offered her some water. Naturally, the old woman was some aspect of God or Magical Goodness or something and when the girl reached home, every time she opened her mouth to speak, jewels and gems would fall from her lips. The wicked-stepmother figure was delighted, and wanted more and more. She sent her self-involved daughter to the same watering hole. Predictably, the old woman showed up again and said she was thirsty. The egotistical girl spurned the old woman with uppity scorn. And when the girl reached home, every time she opened her mouth, spiders and snakes and other icky creatures appeared. I forget how the story came to an end, but there was some happily-ever-after punch line. The moral to the tale, I guess, was something like "don't judge a book by its cover" or "be kind to everyone, irrespective of appearances."

Jewels and gems. Snakes and spiders. Eye candy aplenty... inviting, repulsive, uplifting, demeaning ... the aspects are endless and as magical as a raggedy old woman. Is it true? Is it false? Is there a greater truth hidden within ... and if so, why is that truth not simply another version of falsehood ... or vice versa? Isn't it tiring in the end, parsing this, dissecting that, all in the eye-candy effort to find the truth of things? Wouldn't it be easier to relax? Lies are lies, it's true. Truth is true -- how's that for a lie? Moral relativism is as lazy as the various absolutes that proffer their eye-candy blandishments.

Relax. Things aren't so complicated. Of what truth is this a lie? Of what lie is this the truth?

I like good stories. Stories are like music that opens the mind's locked doors and let the spring breezes in.


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