I’ve had some interesting and encouraging comments to the fifteen or so posts so far, prompted by the impending release of The Beach Boys’ The Smile Sessions, on November 1st 2011. You can read all previous posts here.
There have been a few general words of appreciation, along the lines of ‘it saved MUCH time!‘. Are you sure? I’d assumed that this prolix series of digressions was becoming increasingly off-putting…thanks for the reassurances.
About this: ‘Fantastic post, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector don’t notice this’ – and have to say that I agree; the connections and clues have always been there, but it took a close reading to join the dots.
About this, ‘I must express my love for your kindness giving support to those people who have the need for help on the theme‘. Indeed. This theme recurs again and again, whether in ‘official’ versions of the Beach Boys saga (such as An American Family), or in unauthorised narratives like Summer Dreams. I intend to write more about this in a future post, with the two weeks I have left.
And another: ‘Your blog truly hits home concerning smoking‘. Interesting point, but I do think Brian Wilson’s use of hashish is something of a red herring – the other Beach Boys were probably far more guilty of allowing their drugged state to hinder their creative output (Smiley Smile being something of a ‘case-study’ in the detrimental effects of drugs upon 1960s pop music). However, a more recondite comment says ‘when it comes to black mold removal, a prime candidate is the basement.’ Is this a drugs reference I am missing?
Unsure why these are all going into my Spam folder, rather than to the posts they address – but it’s nice to have input from readers.
However, the most interesting submission so far has come via email, and as a response to this photograph, rather than the ‘question never known to exist’:
On Psycho-Cybernetics (A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life) by Maxwell Maltz, 1960.
One of Maltz’s key concepts in the book was the Theater of the Mind, or synthetic experience. Here is an example of how it works. There are three teams of basketball players. One team practices making free throws. The second team doesn’t practice. The third team sits on a bench and mentally practices making free throws. When the three teams are tested, the team that practiced out-scores the team that didn’t practice. However, the team that mentally practiced performs nearly as well as the team that actually practiced.
The book became extremely popular and influential throughout the 1960’s and was the starting place for many motivational speakers and writers who based their philosophies on Maltz work. The idea of ‘creative visualisation’ has become well known, even debased for commercial or personal gain, but the original book puts more emphasis on the idea that imagined or mediated experiences, especially music, movies, television and radio could produce the same effects as real experience, but have the advantage over real situations of being refined, targeted and lengthend on the one hand and replayed by users whenever they felt like it on the other: Feelings from fear to divine love available at the touch of a button thanks to cheap new consumer technologies such as stereos and TV sets in the home, and recording and television studios becoming sophisticated instruments in their own right for manufacturing these effects.
These ideas were expanded by McCluhan who developed Maltz’s ideas to the point where he famously argued that these constructed synthetic experiences were in fact identical, or even superior, to real experiences in terms of emotional, spiritual and psychological responses.
As [David] Cronenberg tells us through [Videodrome‘s] Professor O’Blivion, “The television screen is the retina of the mind’s eye. Therefore, the television screen is part of the physical structure of the brain. Therefore, whatever appears on the television screen emerges as raw experience for those who watch it. Therefore, television is reality, and reality is less than television.”
Smile, it could be argued, is not simply designed to induce a spiritual experience, it *is* such an experience, but in a purer, realer and more direct form than anthing the public might encounter in the so called ‘real world’.
Videodrome, in other words, is Smile’s evil brother, although they both have a common parent, being the book Brian is holding in your bookstore photograph.
Fascinating. Utterly fascinating. I’ve been thinking about music ‘designed to induce a spiritual experience’, but have yet to write about it. Curious coincidence. I was more interested in writing about Smile being not available, but this kind of preempts some later posts not yet written. I’ve mailed its author back, but have yet to receive any reply, other than the permission to reproduce the email. I’m hoping that they might have more insights to offer soon.