Aisha Cashmere

My essays and observations.

When I listen to this playlist every morning and sing along, I feel much better about whatever the day may bring.

An Old Fashioned and devoured crab cake. I’m hardcore.

An Old Fashioned and devoured crab cake. I’m hardcore.

"It was so easy in the beginning
When you didn’t feel like running from your feelings like you are now
What happened? What do I remind you of?
Your past, your dreams
Or some part of yourself that you just can’t love?
I wish I could believe you
Or at least have the courage to leave you”

Jason’s been reading my diary…”I got lipstick stamps on my passport, think I need new one.”

All About “Her”

I watched “Her” a few weeks ago. These are my thoughts. I’m not writing this for people who haven’t seen the movie. This is for people who have.

A Distraction Won’t Heal Your Hurt

A key moment in the film is when Amy Adams’s character tells Joaquin Phoenix’s Ted that the reason she’s continuing a friendship with her AI computer is because she just wants joy in her life and she felt she deserved that much after the fresh hurt of a divorce.

Yes, as newly single folks, we do need to find joy outside of the things that made us happy in a relationship. Those things, though, can’t be a distraction that simply take you away from the pain of loss. You can’t ignore grief. The longer you ignore it, the harder it will punch you in the gut when you’re vulnerable again. This is something I know very well.

How we each deal with grief is very individual but acting like this new thing is the solution - this AI computer that just gets you and knows how to make you laugh when you feel sad, that won’t make it grief away. That’s not to say that dwelling on your depression is the route, either. As a great Buddhist* said, “There must be a middle-way.”

The film really showed that in a couple key scenes:
- When Samantha - the AI - says she feels great being unemcumbered by a mortal coil. Phoenix’s affront and disbelief is played perfectly. He’s starting to question this relationship. What does it mean to be with someone immortal? Can you have something real with something unreal?
- When Ted “meets” Alan Watts and learns that Samantha has been talking to others, he doesn’t confront her. He buries it. Clearly, his issues with hiding himself and keeping the status quo in a relationship hasn’t actually changed.

Which brings me to…

They Got Alan Watts All Wrong

Not to say that Watts is right about everything - he liked using psychedelics to induce spiritual enlightenment…it was also the 60’s. But that one scene he’s in when Samantha says, “We’re different from one moment to the next. It’s too painful to live in the past.” or something like that, I can’t be bothered to remember. Um, no, you deal with the pain. You don’t hold onto it. You don’t ignore it. You let pass through you. Watts never advocated blissing out to forget.

Watts also never really talked about romantic relationships. He talked more about the social acceptability of queer or alternative lifestyles. He didn’t really say (and correct me if I’m wrong Wattsians!) anything about having so much love for everything meaning you get to be polyamorous. If you’re not telling someone something because it will hurt them, you’re not being compassionate; you’re being selfish. Just as when Samantha admits to Ted after a very dramatic confrontation that she loves 600+ other people. Ouch.

When Watts talked about love, it was really in the context of religious zealotry: how others define the way you love. Sure, you may apply our prejudice homo sapien based relationships as a constraint on Robot Luv, but that really isn’t what Watts was talking about. He spoke of unconditional love. Love that comes not from a place of obligation, but from a place of freedom. You can listen to the whole two hour discussion on the "Spectrum of Love" here (I didn’t, but be my guest).

And the whole higher consciousness bullshit at the end there really made me roll my bloody eyes.

Read this: Buddhists don’t believe in a higher plane of consciousness. No drug, no drink, no guru, no sweat lodge will ever get you out of reality. This is reality. Those things are just smoke and mirror chemicals sending psychedelic signals to your brain.

Do Something For You

We all know the saying, “The way to get over someone is to get under someone else.” While it’s a lot of fun, it doesn’t actually help you process your feelings or make you feel whole again.

Samantha forced Ted to do something for himself: publish a book of his best letters. Yes, technically, she did it FOR him, but it was still HIS work…his life’s work.

This is really what rang true for me. Every time I’ve ever felt in a rut or stuck, I took a risk. Sometimes they were huge, sometimes they were small. But they all had one thing in common: it was something I made for myself. I never used anyone else to help me get past a problem. I got myself past a problem by stepping over the ledge to see where I would land.

Sending out a manuscript to a publisher is a substantial risk. It’s a risk not only to your ego - rejection hurts. But it’s a risk sharing a piece of yourself with the greater wide world. There’s a tie in somewhere between publishing your art and Samantha sharing her Robot Luv with every other AI on this planet. But I think that’s cheap and sloppy.

It’s more meaningful to say you took a risk for yourself when that risk involved letting others see you.

Random brain droppings:
- If this story were truly futuristic, everyone would be Latino or Asian.
- There should have been an animal cruelty disclaimer at the end of this film. Poor cats.
- Just say no to high-waisted pants.

*It was none other than Gautama Siddhartha himself.