....the ZEN interpretation.. I Love To Say Dada.. Brian Wilson's biography contains some information about his third LSD trip.
'"The previous day I'd taken acid for the third and final time. After two bad experiences, this trip was the ultimate in LSD joyrides--everything it was supposed to be, four hours of enlightenment and spirituality."
"Now Al Jardine was in the car with me getting angrier every time I circled the block, which was up to twenty five times.
"Stop the car and let me out," he demanded.
"Not until you promise me you'll drop acid," I said. "It'll change your life!"
"I think you're full of shit," Al said. "I'm not not going to take LSD, and if you don't stop this goddam car right this second, I'm going to make you."
I pulled the car to the side. Al hopped out and slammed the door shut. I called him back. One more thought.
"Al," I asked, "do you believe in God?"
"You know what, Brian?" he said. "You're full of a lot of weird ideas. You better stop taking drugs."'
-Wouldn't It Be Nice, (pg.144.)
"Good Vibrations" was going to be the summation of my musical vision, a harmonic convergence of imagination and talent, production values and craft, songwriting and spirituality. I'd written it five months earlier and imagined the grand, Spectorlike production while on the LSD trip I'd described so enthusiastically for Al."
-Wouldn't It Be Nice, (pg.145.) The biography doesn't describe Brian's third LSD trip in great detail, however, from the above quotes one can deduce that it was an "ultimate" experience involving "enlightenment," "spirituality," and "God." Also, the elaborate production of "Good Vibrations" was foreseen during this trip. Brian's future musical direction was directly linked to the religious experience. "...Brian's trip happened to be a very outrageous one. It was a beautiful experience for him and yet being so naive and pure, I just don't think he was ready for it. And who knows if he ever would be?"
-Marilyn Wilson, Back To The Beach, (pg. 129.) An even better source of information regarding the contents of Brian's third LSD trip is the "Surfing Saints" article that appeared in the same issue of CHEETAH as Jules Siegel's famous article "Goodbye Surfing Hello God." The first line of "Surfing Saints" reads; "In the sun-tanned world of Bikini Beach improbable mystics are finding a new Ultimate Religious Experience" which is, interestingly enough, a synonym for "goodbye surfing hello God!" "Surfing Saints" is Brian's account of the "Ultimate Religious Experience," inspired by his third LSD trip. The song title "I Love To Say Dada" has the keyword first letters L, S and D in proper sequential order. The Blues Magoos' "Love Seems Doomed" and the movie THE TRIP's subheading, "A Lovely Sort Of Death," intentionally use this same technique to indicate the influence of LSD. The LSD experience may therefore be linked to "I Love To Say Dada." Interestingly, after removing the L, S, and D from "I Love To Say Dada" the two remaining first letters I and T form "it"--the word which Alan Watts used to describe the ultimate religious experience. "...this--the immediate, everyday, and present experience--is IT, the entire and ultimate point for the existence of a universe."
-Alan Watts, This Is It, (pg. 11.) '"Just "It"--as when we use the word to denote the superlative, or the exact point, or intense reality, or what we were always looking for. Not the neuter sense of the mere object, but something still more alive and far wider than the personal, and for which we use this simplest of words because we have no word for it."'
-Alan Watts, This Is It, (pg. 22.) '"The Mahayana does, however, have another term for reality which is perhaps rather more indicative than sunya, the void. This is the word tathata, which we translate as "suchness," "thusness," or "thatness." Similarly, the Buddhas are called Tathagatas--they who go, or come, thus."'
-Alan Watts, The Way Of Zen, (pg. 67.) The "Say Dada" part of the song title "I Love To Say Dada" may also tie in with the religious experience. Consider the following (keep in mind that a session work sheet notes the title as "LOVE TO SAY DA DA" with separated "DA"s); '"The Sanskrit word tat (our "that") is probably based on a child's first efforts at speech, when it points at something and says, "Ta" or "Da." Fathers flatter themselves by imagining that the child is calling them by name--"Dada" or "Daddy." But perhaps the child is just expressing its recognition of the world, and saying "That!" When we say just "That" or "Thus," we are pointing to the realm of nonverbal experience, to reality as we perceive it directly, for we are trying to indicate what we see or feel rather than what we think or say."'
-Alan Watts, The Way Of Zen, (pg. 67.) "You don't need words when you know. And if you don't know, man, don't expect anyone to tell you."
-Brian Wilson, "Surfing Saints," Look! Listen! VIBRATE SMILE!, (pg. 93.) '"Tathata therefore indicates the world just as it is, unscreened and undivided by the symbols and definitions of thought. It points to the concrete and actual as distinct from the abstract and conceptual. A Buddha is a Tathagata, a "thus-goer," because he is awakened to this primary, nonconceptual world which no words can convey, and does not confuse it with such ideas as being or non-being, good or bad, past or future, here or there, moving or still, permanent or impermanent."'
-Alan Watts, The Way Of Zen, (pg. 67.) The word "Love" is also in the song title. This is because "love" is part of the ultimate religious experience. "Surrounding and flowing from this insight is an emotional ecstasy, a sense of intense relief, freedom, and lightness, and often an unbearable love for the world..."
-Alan Watts, This Is It, (pg. 18.) The "Water Chant" also fits into the mix. The word "water" is repeated a number of times at the beginning of the chant. One version of the chant changes "water" into a "wa, wa, wa, wa" type of thing which is reminiscent of the "wa, wa" lyric of "I Love To Say Dada." The word "now" is also repeated yielding a "now, now, now, now, now..." backing vocal. This is related to the ultimate religious experience. "The central core of the experience seems to be the conviction, or insight, that the immediate now, whatever its nature, is the goal and fulfillment of all living."
-Alan Watts, This Is It, (pg. 18.) The "Surfing Saints" article, like the "Water Chant," ties "water" to the "now." "You get to understand that the surf is now. The eternal now, right?"
-Brian Wilson, "Surfing Saints," Look! Listen! VIBRATE SMILE!, (pg. 93.) "As used in Buddhism, the term dhyana comprises both recollectedness and samadhi, and can be best described as the state of unified or one-pointed awareness. On the one hand, it is one-pointed in the sense of being focused on the present, since to clear awareness there is neither past nor future, but just this one moment which Western mystics have called the Eternal Now."
-Alan Watts, The Way Of Zen, (pg. 55.) "I mean the ocean is yesterday--that's where the waves are coming from, from the past. The shore is tomorrow--where the waves are going to, where they die. Where they meet is where it gets rough, but that's where I want to be, riding the now."
-Brian Wilson, "Surfing Saints," Look! Listen! VIBRATE SMILE!, (pg. 93.) "Whereas it might be supposed that the practice of Zen is a means to the end of awakening, this is not so. For the practice of Zen is not the true practice so long as it has an end in view, and when it has no end in view it is awakening--the aimless, self sufficient life of the "eternal now."
-Alan Watts, The Way Of Zen, (pg. 154.) Brian's third LSD trip "ultimate religious experience" happened on a beach. "The thing you really look for is the moment of clear light. It's only happened to me once--early in the morning alone on the beach with the sun coming up very red. A moment of clear light."
-Brian Wilson, "Surfing Saints," Look! Listen! VIBRATE SMILE!, (pg. 98.) "Existence not only ceases to be a problem; the mind is so wonder-struck at the self-evident and self-sufficient fitness of things as they are, including what would ordinarily be thought the very worst, that it cannot find any word strong enough to express the perfection and beauty of the experience. Its clarity sometimes gives the sensation that the world has become transparent or luminous, and its simplicity the sensation that it is pervaded and ordered by a supreme intelligence."
-Alan Watts, This Is It, (pg. 18.) "Clarity--the disappearance of problems--suggests light, and in moments of such acute clarity there may be the physical sensation of light penetrating everything. To a theist this will naturally seem to be a glimpse of the presence of God..."
-Alan Watts, This Is It, (pg. 19.) "But clarity may also suggest transparency, or the sense that the world confronting us is no longer an obstacle and the body no longer a burden, and to a Buddhist this will just as naturally call to mind the doctrine of reality as the ungraspable, indefinable Void (sunyata)."
-Alan Watts, This Is It, (pg. 20.) Brian's beach experience is also tied to a spiritual "rebirth." "To come out of that kind of wave alive, is like being reborn."
-Brian Wilson, "Surfing Saints," Look! Listen! VIBRATE SMILE!, (pg. 96.) "Then the whole thing was there. I mean my whole life. Birth and death and rebirth. The whole thing. Even the beach was in it, a whole thing about the beach."
-Brian Wilson, "Goodbye Surfing Hello God," Look! Listen! VIBRATE SMILE!, (pg. 87.) '"So at the end of the night we went to the pool...The water was warm. Brian told me enthusiastically that it was heated to exactly 98.6, body temperature. "So if you get down in the water like this" (he demonstrated) "and stand up, it's like being born, like the feeling of being born."'
-Paul Williams, How Deep Is The Ocean?, (pg.14.) Brian's beach experience manifested itself into his sandbox and swimming pool "obsessions." "...swimming. A lot of swimming. It's physical; really Zen, right? The whole spiritual thing is very physical. Swimming really does it sometimes."
-Brian Wilson, "Goodbye Surfing Hello God," Look! Listen! VIBRATE SMILE!, (pg.91.) "Enlightenment," "spirituality," "God," "the now," "water," "the clear light," and "Zen" all seem be aspects of the same experience--Brian Wilson's third LSD trip. This experience seems very much linked to "I Love To Say Dada" and the "Water Chant." "Well, I'm proud of Cool, Cool Water because that was a divinely inspired song. I had just moved into a new house on Bellagio Road in Bel Air, in March of 1967, and the first day I moved in, there was a piano there, and I went to the piano and wrote Cool, Cool Water. I sat and wrote the gist of it, the basic song. It was finished much later of course."
-Brian Wilson to the late Timothy White The basic song AKA "I Love To Say Dada" was "divinely inspired" and the "Water Chant" fits in there as well; "...the meditative innocence of Cool, Cool Water, which incorporates a portion of the spooky, droned canticle of I Love To Say Dada from the shelved SMILE album."
-Timothy White This website has maintained that at the very heart of SMiLE is a yin-yang relationship, the opposites harmoniously reconciled. "As I have said, this sense of being the whole process is frequently experienced with LSD, and, for me, it has often arisen out of a strong feeling of the mutuality of opposites. Line and plane, concept and percept, solid and space, figure and ground, subject and object appear to be so completely correlative as to be convertible into each other."
-Alan Watts, This Is It, (pg. 150.) If Brian's new musical direction was directly linked to his third trip experience then, perhaps, SMiLE's presumed harmonious message can be found in "I Love To Say Dada." "...I'd written ("Cool, Cool Water") a couple of years earlier
as a Coca-Cola commercial..."
-Brian Wilson, Wouldn't It Be Nice, (pg. 192.) Perhaps the Coka-Cola commercial featuring the song "I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony)" reminded Brian of the harmony embracing "I Love To Say Dada."
The above is taken from Zen And Japanese Culture by D.T.Suzuki "Love, unity, harmony, and relationship therefore take precedence over war and division."
-Alan Watts, The Joyous Cosmology, (pg.50.) '"The art forms of the Western world arise from spiritual and philosophical traditions in which spirit is divided from nature, and comes down from heaven to work upon it as an intelligent energy upon an inert and recalcitrant stuff. Thus Malraux speaks always of the artist "conquering" his medium as our explorers and scientists also speak if conquering mountains or conquering space. To Chinese and Japanese ears these are grotesque expressions. For when you climb it is the mountain as much as your own legs which lifts you upwards, and when you paint it is the brush, ink, and paper which determine the result as much as your own hand."'
-Alan Watts, The Way Of Zen, (pgs. 174-175.) "Taoism, Confucianism, and Zen are expressions of a mentality which feels completely at home in this universe, and which sees man as in integral part of his environment. Human intelligence is not an imprisoned spirit from afar but an aspect of the whole intricately balanced organism of the natural world, whose principles were first explored in the Book Of Changes. Heaven and earth are alike members of this organism, and nature is as much our father as our mother, since the Tao by which it works is originally manifested in the yang and the yin--the male and female, positive and negative principles which, in dynamic balance, maintain the order in the world. The insight which lies at the root of Far Eastern culture is that opposites are relational and so fundamentally harmonious. Conflict is always comparatively superficial, for there can be no ultimate conflict when the pairs of opposites are mutually interdependent. Thus our stark divisions of spirit and nature, subject and object, good and evil, artist and medium are quite foreign to this culture."
-Alan Watts, The Way Of Zen, (pg. 175.) "In a universe whose fundamental principle is relativity rather than warfare there is no purpose because there is no victory to be won, no end to be attained. For every end, as the word itself shows, is and extreme, an opposite, and exists only in relation to its other end."
-Alan Watts, The Way Of Zen, (pg. 175.) Back to the The Elements page
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