....the ZEN interpretation..
I Love To Say Dada..
Brian Wilson's biography contains some
information about his third LSD trip.
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,
"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
-Wouldn't It Be Nice,
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.
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.
immediate, everyday, and present experience--is IT, the
entire and ultimate point for the existence of a universe."-Alan Watts, This Is It,
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.
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,
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);
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.
"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.)
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
-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.
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.
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.)
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.)
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,
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!,
"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
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."
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!,
"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
"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;
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
This website has maintained that at
the very heart of SMiLE is a yin-yang relationship, the opposites
"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
This Is It, (pg. 150.)
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."
("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
harmony, and relationship therefore take precedence over war and
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.)
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
-Alan Watts, The Way Of Zen, (pg. 175.)
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