Norm’s Normal Life; The Potty Training Era: Episode 17

January 16th, 2009

On my 65th birthday, someone asked how it felt to be 65, and I couldn’t think of anything like a concise answer. How could I summarize the current state of my existence? The more I thought about it, the more challenging it seemed, because it actually seemed to be asking, “How do you summarize 65 years of life?” Anything I might say would fall far short of covering all the experiences of those years, much less convey any sense of conclusion, of a rounded whole.

All our experiences are woven together in the brain to create a working model of the world and ourselves in it, but the limitations of conscious thought make it impossible to see the end result as a whole. Our current environment cues the brain to bring into consciousness those models which seem relevant in the present moment, and all the rest of our lives and memories disappear in quiescence. Conscious thought cannot encompass the entirety of our selves or our place in the world–that is not its evolved function–and so we are left with glimpses of patches of our limited reality.

It occurred to me that I might go through my memories, lay them all out, and see if they held together in any way; if there was some kind of all-encompassing coherence. This is the beginning of that exploration…

(Just click the full screen icon to see it… full screen!)

Norm’s Normal Life: The Potty Training Era from Norman Bearrentine on Vimeo.

Parent/Child Hostility, Human Relations, and More: Episode Thirteen

February 9th, 2008

My wife, Eve, listened to Episode Twelve, and suggested that there was a serious gap in my not talking about my hostility toward my mother and its effect on my not going to Hatcher’s funeral. In the interest of thoroughness, in this episode I talk about my relationship with my parents, possible roots of hostility, parent/child relationships in general, and human relations in general. If you have any interest in such things, perhaps you’ll find some alternative perspectives here for unraveling your own feelings in relationships.


Episode Thirteen.mp3

Death, Funerals, Family Relations, and World Peace: Bare Brains Episode Twelve

March 17th, 2007

My father died about a month ago, and I didn’t go to the funeral. I’m not depressed and I’m not grieving. My family is upset with me, and everyone in the area that knows my family thinks I’m a bad son. So I explain here why I didn’t go, which leads to some commentary on a book I read when I was 17 that changed my life, which leads to discussion of a source of many of the problems of humanity: identification with family, community, race, religion, and country. Sorry, kids–no sexual titillation this time–but, hey, we’re all going to die sooner or later–might as well get used to the idea.

You should not click on the link unless you are at least 18 years old.


Episode Twelve.mp3

Orgasm, Sexuality, and Attitudes: Bare Brains Episode Eleven

May 28th, 2006

The Lost Tapes series continues with Part Four, which begins with the subject of variations between women in their experience of orgasm in intercourse, how that affects their receptivity, and how men can understand these variations and accommodate them, both physically and emotionally. Male attitudes toward vibrators, oral sex, and women’s sexual fantasies are discussed, along with the limitations of concentration and consciousness. Real life examples are provided.

You should not click on the link unless you are at least 18 years old.


The Lost Tapes, Part 5.mp3

Love, Fear, Jealousy, and Envy: Bare Brains Episode Ten

May 24th, 2006

In Part Four of the Lost Tapes series, the first day of recording winds down with a discussion of bell curves in general, and in particular, the curve of human wierdness. It finally comes to an end with a list of the day’s drugs.

Part Four continues with the beginning of day two, which opens with the question of love and the art of cunnilingus, leading to the relationship between love, fear, jealousy, and envy, and strategies for dealing with these. The ultimate question is how to be happy given one’s assets and limitations, the unaccountability of taste, and the inevitability of behavioral conditioning in exclusive relationships.

You should not click on the link unless you are at least 18 years old.


The Lost Tapes, Part 4.mp3

Beauty, Joy, Physical Fitness, LSD, and More: Bare Brains Episode Nine

May 22nd, 2006

The Lost Tapes series continues with Part 3, in which the issue of beauty leads to a discussion of the joys of physical fitness, which leads to ideas about longevity and the accumulation of small increments of effort over time. Over time things change; flexibility is an asset, along with acceptance of the tenuous connection between our ideas and reality. Next up is the connection between the LSD experience and reality, with real-life examples, concluding with musings on the reality of fluctuating emotions.

You should not click on the link unless you are at least 18 years old.


The Lost Tapes, Part 3.mp3

Sex, Communication, Beauty, Physical Fitness, and Happiness: Bare Brains Episode Eight

May 18th, 2006

The Lost Tapes series continues with a story from the Sutro Bath House of the 1980’s, a coed facility whose motto was, “A Rainbow of Sexual Preferences.” This leads to the question of how to facilitate openness in communication, followed by a discussion of influences from my reading of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which included the idea of how to live a beautiful life. The subject of beauty segues into physical fitness and its effects on happiness, contrasted with the exercise of intellect.

You should not click on the link unless you are at least 18 years old.


The Lost Tapes, Part 2.mp3

Cunnilingus; Communication, Distractions, Attitudes, and Techniques: Bare Brains Episode Seven

May 18th, 2006

In Episode Two I played a tape that I had made in 1983, when I was 39. I had also made some tapes a couple of years earlier, in 1981, ostensibly about the art and science of cunnilingus. My thesis had been that one’s execution of the act reflected one’s entire philosophy and attitude toward life, so I had spent a lot of time talking about the kind of approach to life as a whole that was required.

I thought these tapes were lost years ago, but they surfaced a few months back, and in spite of the fact that I am barely recognizable as the same person, I found there was a lot in them that was still useful, some of which I had forgotten.

On the chance that someone else might find them useful—despite their antiquity—I decided to present them here, in all their raw, graphic, uncensored glory.

(In 1981 there was no World Wide Web, no ipods, and no podcasts. At the time, my thought was that these tapes would later be transcribed and printed, perhaps, so the audio quality only had to be good enough to be comprehensible. I used the cheapest cassette recorder and microphone I could find, and further abused the input by often recording at the beach, with waves crashing and various other background distractions. I have done my best to clean these up in Soundtrack Pro, with considerable improvement, but they are not studio quality. Also, I recorded on 90-minute cassettes—big mistake. The tapes seemed to have swelled; playing them back was a struggle.

I had—and have—no problem talking for 90 minutes at a stretch, but that makes for a huge file. I have tried to break them into manageable chunks, but the endings and beginnings may seem somewhat abrupt. It may be confusing unless you listen to them in order.)

You should not click on the link unless you are at least 18 years old.


The Lost Tapes, Part 1.mp3

The Choice Between Sex and Honesty, the Evolution of Self-Concepts, and More: Bare Brains Episode Six

March 21st, 2006

A Spanish movie, “The Sea Inside,” illustrates how a rigid idea of what life should be like can lead a person to seek death, and how one should have the right to end their life if they can’t find a preferable alternative to the way it is, given the nature of death.

Life will change for all of us, and we can be happy with the changes or not, with my own life as an example: sex, marriage, divorce, emotional pain, self-deception, honesty, freedom, companionship, determinism, the limits of consciousness–all come under discussion, with a tale of Upagupta thrown in for good measure.


Episode Six.mp3

Vertigo, Depression, Mental Fitness, and Acceptance of Change: Bare Brains Episode Five

March 20th, 2006

A case of vertigo results in a bout of depression, and a reassessment of the possibilities for developing mental muscle and psychological tone, based on my experience with physical fitness. Meditation in various forms is considered as a way to prepare for the inevitable deterioration of  our bodies; as a way to stay in touch with reality as it evolves, taking into account the limitations of human perception. Most important is getting in touch with the reality of the self, and undermining its illusory conceptions, resulting in a greater flexibility in our definition of the requirements for happiness.


Episode Five.mp3