Archive for Reality Bites

I <3 the Beast

Posted in Reality Bites, Relationships, Religion, sex, sex and violence, society with tags , , , , , , on March 25, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Why are parents so proud when their kid likes the same thing they do? Does it reinforce their egotism or does it fool them into thinking their loves are more righteous than those of others? Whenever my dad would catch me reading books as a kid, he’d say periodically that he was proud of me. He’d say that it was good that I was reading books. Okay, but why is reading or writing good? I ask in the ultimate sense. Because aren’t the things in life that we deem to be “good” just those things we happen to love? The things we think are good are the conclusions or experiences that we attach to for ourselves and as ourselves. It’s problematic though, because how much of what we experience and attach to actually has anything to do with free will? How much of it isn’t just emotional or samsaric brainwashing?

Another thing I thought about as a kid (this is turning out to be quite the autobiography!) was how society views its carnal passions and goals. You know, the crazy fact that everyone is not-so-secretly an animal in origin, but we like to think we’re more than animals. Men and women hang out together and act all formal, but then they go home later and behave like animals! Not that people should publicly do this, but every member of humanity is trapped upon the gradient of animal life to some degree. It’s not like the aggression of wall-street investors or business majors are much different from that of wolves and gangsters. They’re just wearing a different mask, playing by society’s rules and formalities, and appear more sophisticated. And maybe they are, since they fool (some of) us!

Surely I am not so base as to advocate that people just embrace their animal instincts, being violent or aggressive or giving into desires whenever they want. That would be kind of dumb because it would make us blind. That’s like, stuffing the eyes and ears and forgetting those senses exist.

And yet everyone does that! Seriously, our society profits off of this kind of thing! Funny how the message to the masses back in the day was, “shut up, do your work, don’t ask questions, don’t desire much” but now it’s “follow your nose to all the power, money and sex you can accumulate!”. The new ideal is stupid because it totally blinds people to everything but their own carnal drives.

At some point, society used to agree that power, money and sex were unwholesome life pursuits, but now that everyone in power loves those things and thinks they’re “good” and wants their kids to pursue them too (they want them to be just like Pops!). Ah, but I guess people have always done that, it’s just that at some points in prosperous nation’s timelines that the masses don’t publicly/openly venerate the concept of striving for power and sex. Uh-oh, now I’m making generalizations I’ve been known to criticize — talking about the existence of some ideal past civilization. Never happened!

Hence I am left to wonder: why do people get so emotionally attached to their animal drives, and why are we so afraid to give them up? The difference between humans and animals is that humans try to reason out some emotional or intellectual virtue (ha!) behind following these drives, and they thus believe they have some modicum of control over them too. But isn’t the only real control — real freedom — not giving into them? And how do we escape this conundrum of imprisonment?

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Posted in Monasticism, Reality Bites, Stayin' Alive, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , , , on February 26, 2008 by wizardsmoke

I hate doing stuff. I’m a chronically lazy person. Except when it comes to this. Or that. Or things that are not in the least bit lucrative. Interesting? It isn’t.

I’ve never been friends with anyone who naturally liked to make money. Or pursue women. I guess I distanced myself on purpose. Because, really, that stuff takes work, right? I just want to hang out and do nothing. That’s my problem with the ladies that have been in my life — I let them down because I never want to do anything!

Ah, Willie B, what did he say? “The busy bee has no time for misery”. True enough, but the busy bee also misses out on wonder, on wandering through the realms of imagination that make life worth living (or create life in the first place). Philosophy is stupid if you’re just out to discuss it, but if you really are down to wonder for the long term then…hey, you’re in the club.

That’s what I meant about men of letters. Who cares about being famous or rich or popular or attractive? Those things just happen. I can’t believe anyone pursues that stuff. For reals. As a certain wise older fellow once told me when I was in a psychedelic induced state a long time ago (FYI: it wasn’t that long ago), there are things in life you can and cannot control. If you can’t control it, don’t worry about it.

Ah, but people have such a hard time determining whether they’re in control. They suffer because they weren’t primed to be rich in this life — they weren’t given the stupid genetic disposition to be a sociopathic business lecher, but they just refuse to accept it. If you want it bad enough, I guess you could get born again into a situation that’s set up to suit your fancy. But look out! That next life might not be you, and you might have some serious karma accrued for the phantasm tollbooth!

This mysterious wise man also told me thus: all the stress in life tends to come from money and possessions. He had almost no possessions and never locked his door. He was also not argumentative or sarcastic like me (grrr…). It all seems pretty obvious, but then I remembered that all my life I’m always stressed out. Yes, even me! It’s true, I’m always looking for something else… Funny, since I never want to do anything, that I’d be looking for something to happen in life, right?

Just having a wallet with IDs, and a car and a computer and musical equipment and people you love. That is stressful! Augh! That’s why monks give it up. They die. They disappear, they are reborn. As monks, head shaven, name changed, they’re all equal inside the pen.

So…since you die in the end, and you don’t take anything with you to the next world except the stupid choices you made in life which left you unhappy — I think it’s more important to die without regrets. Live every moment to the fullest! Which doesn’t mean having sex while sipping champagne and reveling in your mansion, (okay, maybe it kinda does a little) it means to recognize that all the stuff you expect and look for in life is actually here right now.

I guess everyone does the money/sex/power angle because they already figured this out. I’m behind the ball, as usual.

*sigh*

The Degenerate Age

Posted in Buddhism, Christianity, Doom and Evil, Philosophy, Reality Bites, Religion, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 15, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Have you noticed that philosophers, stoics, hermits, religious folks, true artists and so on always decry their own society as being a degenerate one? There is always this claim that some societies of yore were ideal, superior, and their cultures were richer. If you look into the philosophical canon, you’ll see this tendency starts with Plato (or Socrates) and Confucius–whom point to the courts of the philosopher kings of antiquity as the ideal societies of humanity. This grim critique continues on through to folks like Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Heidegger–all of whom lament the impending industrial and capitalist drive thinning their European cultures and exponentially increasing the world population.

The spiritual movements of the late 19th century also saw this as important; the Blavatskys, Yeats and Crowleys of the world all used the gravitas and ethos of impending cultural, spiritual and environmental death to promote their works or groups. And even today, Buddhist lineages tell us we are living in the degenerate age, Christian fundamentalists insist the end of days are coming, and martial arts masters like Ueshiba and Hatsumi tell us we are living in “an era of blatancy” in which martial arts are more necessary than ever.

And honestly, you have to admit, that if you’re a remotely contemplative person, you have doubts about a positive future for mankind.

But why is that? Isn’t that really just some kind of personal spin? Some attachment that comes from a jaded search for purpose in one’s life, which relegates one to solitude? Because it seems to me, that in every single generation, there are a handful of individuals who lament the direction of the future; and instead of trying to harness its direction (a task which would take up all of one’s time for serious contemplation) they scorn the movement of mainstream culture and society.

To doubt society as a whole is easy; doubt is a potent altar to pray at. And even more so for anyone who studies liberal arts in colleges and so on. Those folks will find the main skills they’re learning are writing and how to critically analyze literature to form an argument. In other words, critical thinking. And critical thinking is certainly a helpful tool.

But a lot of people overdo it. A lot of people get attached to critical thought, or unknowingly enjoy it, hoard it, engross themselves in it. But it’s just a tool like anything else, and can easily overpower a person’s psyche. I’m not saying it’s bad to critically think things over, but it isn’t a recipe for any kind of happiness. And happiness isn’t a matter of being ignorant and blissful. It’s a matter of knowing what is worth critically analyzing, taming the mind and knowing when to stop analyzing things.

I think this is part of what makes people so damning of the society around them. Don’t get me wrong, I do think pop culture sucks and I actually think most new culture is boring or I can’t relate to it. And this is largely because everything is now a product being aimed at the lowest common denominator. But this is the direction of things. The blatancy society has built within its culture is due to humanity’s ignorant desires–the desperate search for power, stability and self-deification, the result of which is a rapidly approaching evolution into transhumanism. Everybody helped create and shared in this ignorance. After all, we’re all human too (for better or for worse).

Although society disappoints me, and I have trouble putting a whole lot of faith in other people, I am much more bothered by conditioned phenomena. Conditioned phenomena inherently sucks, and that’s why every modern era seems to be poor and shallow in comparison to some old zeitgeist; some past time and place which seems so romantic in the present.

Just for fun, here’s a little Kierkegaard (from Either/Or) on the subject:

Of all ridiculous things in the world what strikes me as the most ridiculous of all is being busy in the world, to be a man quick to his meals and quick to his work. So when, at the crucial moment, I see a fly settle on such a business man’s nose, or he is bespattered by a carriage which passes him by in even greater haste, or the drawbridge is raised, or a tile falls from the roof and strikes him dead, I laugh from the bottom of my heart. And who could help laughing? For what do they achieve, these busy botchers? Are they not like the housewife who, in confusion at the fire in her house, saved the fire-tongs? What else do they salvage from the great fire of life?

It’s not like I disagree with him: he’s right on the money. But I’m pretty convinced that unconditioned reality is where it’s at. So I don’t spend a whole lot of free time dwelling on how lousy conditioned reality is. It is a given, after all…

Shame Upon Thee!

Posted in Reality Bites, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , on February 3, 2008 by wizardsmoke

People tell me I’m a pretty antagonistic fellow. But I don’t see it that way at all. I’m just defending myself from the manipulations of others: their energies, their versions of truth. I’m arguing for my own story–to be original. I don’t like being manipulated. And when folks rub each other’s backs, waxing on about their common desires, it’s just slimy.

I don’t like to do the following with others:

  • Share serious sexual thoughts about women I see
  • Share serious sensual thoughts about food I see
  • Take pride in common agreements, or character judgments

Sound crazy? Well, you won’t catch me in a porno anytime soon, that’s for damn sure! I’m glad I couldn’t live with that kind of shame over my head/conscience.

Have you noticed how much importance some traditional cultures, like Japan, India or indigenous peoples can delegate to shame over physical pain? Sometimes physical pain needs to be swallowed to avoid shame.

‘Coz living in shame just plain sucks! It’s sometimes worse to live in shame than to live in physical pain. I mean, you don’t have to come back to a damaged body after this mortal coil, but your sick mindstream keeps on going, and going, and going…