The Nothing Box

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rachMiel
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The Nothing Box

Post by rachMiel » Tue Apr 05, 2011 3:53 pm

Mark Gungor, a standup comedian pastor (!), does a funny/smart routine comparing men's brains and women's brains. If you haven't seen it, it's worth checking out:

Men's Brains vs. Women's Brains

At 3:35 he starts talking about The Nothing Box: a "box" men have in their brains, climbing inside of which turns them to blissful vegetables. (Think: Lying back in a plush armchair with TV tuned to whatever (sound optional) coupla beers in the belly semi-awake semi-asleep not a care in the world.) According to Gungor, men absolutely ADORE their Nothing Boxes, can't wait to spend time in them after a hard day at work, etc., while women don't even have Nothing Boxes.

I must admit to knowing the joy of vegging out in my Nothing Box. It is, quite simply: an exquisite experience. Not the bliss of presence or awareness ... rather of free-flowing oblivion.

Questions:

1. Do any of you enjoy your Nothing Boxes? (Come on, admit it!)

2. What kind of state is one in when in their Nothing Box? It's not exactly awake but not asleep, not presence but has a hint of it (calm, open, me-less (kinda)).

3. Are there "dangers" in Nothing Box'ing out? Is it a poor/lazy man's presence? Or pure escape (from responsibilities, the world, everything)?

4. Are women really Nothing Box-less? Or are their Nothing Boxes less developed/used than men's?

Would love to hear your takes.

Thanks!
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

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HandfullaMinerals
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Re: The Nothing Box

Post by HandfullaMinerals » Tue Apr 05, 2011 4:52 pm

1. Do any of you enjoy your Nothing Boxes? (Come on, admit it!)

I used to bea nothing box-er, used to drown out my mind in video games, internet, music, guitar, art, anything to forget myself. And in a way it was a nothing box thing going on. Even getting drunk until the only thing you're conscious of is recent events, not miserable events from years ago that caused lack of awareness and unconsciousness in first place.

2. What kind of state is one in when in their Nothing Box? It's not exactly awake but not asleep, not presence but has a hint of it (calm, open, me-less (kinda)).

for me, I would say no awareness, but maybe less unconsciousness. IT does help drown out the mind.

3. Are there "dangers" in Nothing Box'ing out? Is it a poor/lazy man's presence? Or pure escape (from responsibilities, the world, everything)?

Dangers? Sure, personal experience dictates that I was just avoiding this. And only spending time alone made me realise that where I would normally run of and immerse myself in meaningless activity, I was then aware that this constant nothing box craving was making me ignore something very wrong with this body-mind machinery. I recall, when it used to get to Thursday or Friday, there was a euphoria, adrenalin kicked in knowing that I'd soon be on my weapons of choice, alcohol, compulsive activity and entertainment to forget little old me.

4. Are women really Nothing Box-less? Or are their Nothing Boxes less developed/used than men's?

I would say less developed.
It is the ego which raises difficulties, creating obstacles and then suffers from the perplexity of apparent paradoxes. Find out who makes the enquiries and the Self will be found.

spikyface
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Re: The Nothing Box

Post by spikyface » Tue Apr 05, 2011 9:10 pm

1. Do any of you enjoy your Nothing Boxes? (Come on, admit it!)
Every night and most weekends

2. What kind of state is one in when in their Nothing Box? It's not exactly awake but not asleep, not presence but has a hint of it (calm, open, me-less (kinda)).
Far fewer thoughts arise, mostly just killing time and comfortable with it

3. Are there "dangers" in Nothing Box'ing out? Is it a poor/lazy man's presence? Or pure escape (from responsibilities, the world, everything)?
There are dangers in too much of anything, if you retreat completely into your nothing box then you've effectively given up on worldly life
But if you never retreat into it, you'll likely have a nervous breakdown or stress disorder from being on edge all the time

4. Are women really Nothing Box-less? Or are their Nothing Boxes less developed/used than men's?
Not qualified to answer (am lacking the appropriate female genetalia)
Do not take anyone as an authority on what you are. Ultimately all the answers lie within

snowheight
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Re: The Nothing Box

Post by snowheight » Tue Apr 05, 2011 10:47 pm

It's a form of insulation from pain in the form of demanding stimulus, and yeah, man is this one of my guilty pleasures, even now.

In a way it is no different than cloaking your family in the luxury of a big expensive house in a safe neighborhood or driving a big, expensive smooth-running car, or identifying closely with an extreme, simplified political or religious view which frees you from considering the ambiguous or embedding yourself so firmly and inextricably within the fabric of a successful business concern as to assure yourself employment and income for the foreseeable future or saving so much money that you don't have to worry about work for a good long time or immersing yourself in the beauty of art to blot out the ugliness of the world or surrounding yourself with people who think just like you or to which you otherwise have cultural affinity to avoid conflict or any number of the myriad ways in which we can insulate and thereby separate ourselves from chaos.

Funny thing 'though, no matter how high the fence or how thick the walls, the Universe will eventually come 'a callin'.
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.

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ashley72
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Re: The Nothing Box

Post by ashley72 » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:49 pm

Very interesting topic.

I reckon everyone has a nothing-box.

If you view it from brain waves state, it's more than likely a Theta wave state... Meditative or sub-conscious in texture.

Here's a good link about brain wave states if anyone is interested.

http://alpha-theta-brainwaves.com/theta-waves-3

Before I became aware of mindfulness... I used to repeat a lot of "safe" unconscious behaviours on a daily basis. For example, I used always go to the same sandwich shop, order the same sandwich and drink, try and sit in the same spot and read a paper etc. Very repetitive!

Nowadays, I mindfully change my routine often and try and enjoy many different experiences at lunchtime :)

Laramie
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Re: The Nothing Box

Post by Laramie » Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:26 am

HandfullaMinerals wrote:1. Do any of you enjoy your Nothing Boxes? (Come on, admit it!)

I used to bea nothing box-er, used to drown out my mind in video games, internet, music, guitar, art, anything to forget myself.
Handfulla Minerals: Did you really feel like playing your guitar and art were helping you forget yourself? I'm just curious because as someone who doesn't engage in those activities (and always wished I did), I would consider playing the guitar and creating art would be above thought and more creative. Like ET references going below thought (video games, internet, sometimes music) and then rising above thought. Or did playing guitar and creating art become mundane and robotic for you?

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HandfullaMinerals
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Re: The Nothing Box

Post by HandfullaMinerals » Wed Apr 06, 2011 12:01 pm

Laramie wrote:Handfulla Minerals: Did you really feel like playing your guitar and art were helping you forget yourself? I'm just curious because as someone who doesn't engage in those activities (and always wished I did), I would consider playing the guitar and creating art would be above thought and more creative. Like ET references going below thought (video games, internet, sometimes music) and then rising above thought. Or did playing guitar and creating art become mundane and robotic for you?
Before my glimpses, it was an interest that without realising, helped me be present and forget about my problems with college, parents, friends, etc. (nothing box mode) Also I recall that the emotional disturbance I feel when I am 'bored', was pretty strong in my late teens, so it patched over that too (more nothing box). But even so, it did help me bring some presence, all the while without realising what I was doing!

As far as robotic goes, yes it did become robotic to some degree. I played a few styles of music, stick to theory only slightly pushing my internal barriers of theory and scales, etc. I did think that the scales I used were made in ancient Greece or something and that I had to stick to convention (big mistake). Now I've tipped the scale in the opposite end. Before it was 99% ego noise, and less presence. Now it's like 20% ego noise, and the rest presence while playing.
It is the ego which raises difficulties, creating obstacles and then suffers from the perplexity of apparent paradoxes. Find out who makes the enquiries and the Self will be found.

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rachMiel
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Re: The Nothing Box

Post by rachMiel » Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:54 pm

I've been observing myself slip in and out of my Nothing Box and have learned a few things, some of which might resonate with you.

First, the term Nothing Box doesn't feel quite right to me, because it's not so much "nothing" that's going on when I'm in that state. It's more like ... "oblivion." So that's the term I'm using when I inquire into this: Why do I keep slipping into oblivion? What about this oblivion is so pleasurable? What are the pros/cons of spending time in oblivion? Etc.

What IS oblivion? Well, for me, it's a feeling of detachment from the world, a pleasant numbness. My mind is not trying to solve any problems, figure anything out, do anything at all. But that doesn't mean my mind is blank (which, again, is why the term Nothing Box doesn't work so well for me). It's filled with internal voices (an ongoing splintered narrative) and images and some pleasant/lite emotion (not passionate, because that would perturb the calmness). The totality of activity in my brain could be described as a drone, a rush of voices/images that drowns out the external world (like one of those machines that makes a waterfall sound so you can ignore ambient noise and sleep).

Is that at all what it's like for any of you guys?
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

fifi
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Re: The Nothing Box

Post by fifi » Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:12 pm

I got one!! round about 8;30pm every night, sometimes sunday mornings.... :D thing is it dosen't last as long as it used too though, as i am getting older, it has shrunk in size( :? how can a nothing box really shrink?)
@ RachMiel..all this time and I thought you was a girl :oops:

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rachMiel
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Re: The Nothing Box

Post by rachMiel » Wed Apr 06, 2011 4:33 pm

fifi wrote:@ RachMiel..all this time and I thought you was a girl :oops:
boy/girl ... what's the diff? ;-) i'm just rachMiel. (and i'm not even that.) :-)
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily ...

enigma
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Re: The Nothing Box

Post by enigma » Wed Apr 06, 2011 10:24 pm

In most cases thinking is really a pretty oppressive activity, and one of the reasons we enjoy sleep. I would say the 'nothing box' is the male solution to this oppressive thinking/deciding/problem solving. It's ultimately an escape (the same way 'being present' can become an escape) that doesn't alter the dynamics of thinkingness, but it's an escape from an activity that is usually far too dominant, so I'm not inclined to call it a problem. For some men, this escape can take the form of physical activity, drugs/alcohol, sex, or as mentioned above, listening to or playing music, or some other enjoyable creative hobby.

Thinking is also oppressive for women, though generally women aren't as obsessive about it. Also, women may tend to escape from thought into feeling, which is why, from the male perspective, women can be irrational in their emotions. Men are wary of moving toward feeling without the thinking to moderate it, while women often value feeling over thought so there is no real conflict associated with an 'irrational feeling'. This escape is not as effective for men, and so for men it becomes more like no-thought/no-feeling, or oblivion.

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HandfullaMinerals
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Re: The Nothing Box

Post by HandfullaMinerals » Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:22 am

enigma wrote:In most cases thinking is really a pretty oppressive activity, and one of the reasons we enjoy sleep. I would say the 'nothing box' is the male solution to this oppressive thinking/deciding/problem solving. It's ultimately an escape (the same way 'being present' can become an escape) that doesn't alter the dynamics of thinkingness, but it's an escape from an activity that is usually far too dominant, so I'm not inclined to call it a problem. For some men, this escape can take the form of physical activity, drugs/alcohol, sex, or as mentioned above, listening to or playing music, or some other enjoyable creative hobby.

Thinking is also oppressive for women, though generally women aren't as obsessive about it. Also, women may tend to escape from thought into feeling, which is why, from the male perspective, women can be irrational in their emotions. Men are wary of moving toward feeling without the thinking to moderate it, while women often value feeling over thought so there is no real conflict associated with an 'irrational feeling'. This escape is not as effective for men, and so for men it becomes more like no-thought/no-feeling, or oblivion.
I'm sorry, but are these not sweeping generalisations? I can give several examples where it's the exact opposite, what you've generalised about men applies to women, and what you've generalised about women can apply for men. It's a bit like saying yes, people in Italy are very expressive and show a lot of emotion, therefore they are all irrational and unconscious.
It is the ego which raises difficulties, creating obstacles and then suffers from the perplexity of apparent paradoxes. Find out who makes the enquiries and the Self will be found.

enigma
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Re: The Nothing Box

Post by enigma » Thu Apr 07, 2011 5:47 pm

Well, maybe you found offense and missed the disclaimers:
"In most cases"
"For some men"
"can take the form"
"generally"
"may tend to"
"can be irrational"
"women often value"

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HandfullaMinerals
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Re: The Nothing Box

Post by HandfullaMinerals » Fri Apr 08, 2011 11:11 am

enigma wrote:Well, maybe you found offense and missed the disclaimers:
"In most cases"
"For some men"
"can take the form"
"generally"
"may tend to"
"can be irrational"
"women often value"
I take back what I said. Sorry I just took offence because I took it personally as I mentioned my 'creative' hobbies. All acts are creation even destruction. But yes, again, sorry about that.
It is the ego which raises difficulties, creating obstacles and then suffers from the perplexity of apparent paradoxes. Find out who makes the enquiries and the Self will be found.

Quinn
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Re: The Nothing Box

Post by Quinn » Fri Apr 08, 2011 1:50 pm

S'Allright, HM. I had the same reflex kick in. I have spent a lot of years resisting generalizations about men vs women. As a female math-geek who tends to over-think things (and hates to clothes shop), it made me feel odd when I'd hear things like "women often value feeling over thought". Even with the disclaimer ("often"), it felt like others were trying to squeeze my round-peg-ness into a square hole. Added to the sense of separation I already had.

It was a good thing for me discover that no matter what kind of pressure society puts on us, how much of it we take in and believe (because resisting is only necessary when it's believed) is entirely up to us.

At the same time, I would love to see us (as a society) drop these pre-conceptions. This whole discussion could happen with no mention of groups of people that tend to go to the Nothing Box and those that don't. The men vs women part is really superfluous. Some people do and some don't.

So, yes, rachMiel, I've got lots of zone-out activities when my thinking-thinking-thinking mind gets overwhelming. They're slowly dropping away, but I don't know if they'll ever be gone. Is there a danger to it? Well, depression was one big Nothing Box, so I think it can go too far in terms of how life is lived. But I wouldn't call it a danger. It's a 'shutting down' as opposed to an 'opening up'. I would see it as more of a clue that we need to look deeper, go further.

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