We’re Awake, Now What?
Before I club the dead horse of economic exploitation and poor social design again, let’s all take a moment to relax, reflect, and consider what even matters. Sure the realities of our culture are very painful to address, but if you let those thoughts sit on your mind every moment of every day you will never experience those sweet, ecstatic bursts of “nothing else matters beyond this moment right now”. I struggle between the twin pillars of direct action for social justice and complete nihilistic surrender to the now. Each of us has to decide for ourselves if anything at all matters, and if so then what is it that matters. When I critique certain aspects of the status quo, people often ask what we should do about it. People are so conditioned to always be doing, but let’s delve into how to simply be.
When faced with difficult truths like the ever-evolving militarization of the police force, the inescapable invasions of privacy from the surveillance state, the wholesale corruption of paid-off politicians, and the replacement of truth with holographic social programming, how does one as an individual find peace of mind? Beyond these specific societal injustices, the human condition has this inherent absurdity that our physical bodies and all of our thoughts that we thought were serious matters all fall away in dissolution eventually. The Buddha came to understand this principle of impermanence of all things and proposed non-attachment as the path to peace of mind. Difficult truths can weigh us down and becoming attached to belief systems will similarly cloud our minds. Robert Anton Wilson said don’t believe anyone else’s b.s., where b.s. stood for belief system. On the other hand, if we are burning the same spaceship we are living on, shouldn’t we be worried enough to do something about it?
I wasn’t always an activist, and I still don’t like that label, but after learning a certain amount of truth I felt compelled to speak out about it. For a period of time I was protesting in public, attending meetings, and working collectively towards achievable goals. It felt great at times, and at times I felt like Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the hill and having it fall back downhill day after day. Trying to wake up others can exhaust you personally, and may feel futile, but as Camus said of Sisyphus, “the struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart”. The world may be too jacked to fix, but every action fractals outwards into everything else.
So whether the truth inspires us to do something or not, let’s not project our own belief systems onto others telling them what they need to do. If you choose to become vegan, don’t be the asshole condemning everyone else all the time. I have incorporated many changes in my life due to what I’ve learned, but those are the changes that work for me, not changes everyone should make. There isn’t a set list of actions one can do to attain enlightenment, and we should be weary once we start believing our way is the only path to enlightenment. Plenty of totally lost and morally bankrupt assholes make the same claim.
Does it all matter? Is there something to be done about it? Is it Sirius? Even if I am empowered to act, what should I do? Is it ok to tune out and succumb to lower desires? Can I sometimes watch Cake Boss or play Nintendo DS? Who am I to say what is good for you? These thoughts and others I will ponder as I light this bowl.