Inside my chest is a vibe-detecting instrument, the naked pink tip. When I meet people this pink tip leans forward enquiringly, or it vibrates like a pleasantly electrocuted chicken, or it sways with melancholy happiness, or it shrinks away in horror, or it hardens resistingly preparing for battle, or it softens blendingly into yours. Although animal fear might put me on the back foot, or my interest in sex put me on the front, although I might not be paying attention, or I might be paying far too much attention; although, in short, I might be wrong; the pink tip never is.
The pink tip is a tiny wave upon the vast blossoming, blooming ocean of the moment. It doesn't just feel what is happening 'out there,' it is what is happening. Inside my body is the colour of this afternoon's light, the crisp ionised vibe of it, the nut-knuckled, honeysuckled, desert-zephyred, wet-moss, beading, fox-bellied, briney dewlap of it, and your shed-roof, pebble, porcelain, wet-rope, copper, cow-flank, mysterious mink-oiled and myrtle mood of it; become instantly ours.
When something particular needs to be picked out of the present, the pink tip pokes up into the brain and becomes the probe, which isolates an object, splits it from its opposite, judges it, names it, fits it into a system, expresses it, or writes a little sub-routine in the internal computer; called a habit, a system or a map. The probe knows where the jam is. The jam is in the fridge.
The probe is good for finding the jam, its no good for tasting it.
Many comics, actors and improvisers suffer agonies of self-doubt and fear before a show. Particularly the best ones. They ask themselves if it is going to be okay tonight, they wonder if they are really just kidding themselves, they feel fraudulent, and think about what they should say, what they should do on the stage.
The stage is the unimaginable anything-can-happen ocean-essence of life, while the probe is just a code-monkey. When the actor asks the probe about the stage, the pink tip sinks in desolation and the poor probe literally goes mental; saying things like 'you’ll fail,' 'you’re mad' or 'the jam is in the fridge.'
When the probe is cut off, one little part of it debating with another, I become delayed, confused and stuck; either stuck in, unable to think, make a decision or, in extreme cases, insanely unable perceive time or space at all, lost like a monkey on acid in a kaleidoscope of raw impression; or stuck out; compulsively thinking, wanting, worrying, concentrating, the restless turned-around telescope of my attention excluding what is happening which eludes me. You become increasingly 'the other,' an entity narrowly apprehended, to be 'understood' (an unpleasant experience as millions of young children, beautiful women, sensitive artists and fellow players who have been 'understood' can testify).
When the probe listens to the pink tip, I am said to be empathic. Empathy comes from the Greek for 'letting in feeling'. When the probe lets in what is happening, I responds aptly to it, with just the right word - or silence.