Freedom doesn’t mean wanton wasteful, lawless, screw-‘em-all behavior whenever you feel like it because Jesus and your drunken id said it was OK. It means being able to see the nature of that pool we all built together, to dive in deep, sink and spit and maybe sometimes nearly drown, and still come up laughing.
It is reported that the Buddha once delivered a sermon to his devoted monks that consisted entirely of the Holy One sitting in complete silence, holding up a flower. It is said that only one monk in the crowd got the message, and smiled.
Advancement tops advancement in an increasingly insane quest for new ways to tell each other we’re overwhelmed and lonely and seeking something to fill the Void, so I might as well just Twitter about the fact that I’m overwhelmed and lonely and sitting here drenched in ennui and jadedness and what-are-you-wearing.
Hurricanes of Yes are never blocked by the flimsy screen doors of But Why.
Whatever it is you think you’re so damn sure about is probably undermined by the fact that the universe thinks you are just the cutest thing for being all serious and certain and whatever.
Realize I do not have to stop and smell the roses all the time because goddammit I have a metaphorical rose right there under my karmic nose at all times, and I merely need to acknowledge it and appreciate it now and then and maybe get a nice little bud vase to put it in. And hell, maybe I don’t even like roses, and that’s perfectly OK, roses are totally overrated and overexposed anyway, right? Like vitamin water? Like Scarlett Johannsen? Like that guy from Maroon 5? Now orchids. There’s a flower for you. I mean, a good orchid makes your average rose look like a toothless hag at the prom, you know? Basically like comparing fine rum to a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck, am I right? No contest, really. Yes, gimme a suggestive, dangerous orchid any day over a lame, lumpy rose. But hang on – can you really stop and smell the orchids? Do they even have much of a scent? Besides, orchids are pretty sexual, yonic, pornographic, even. Sort’ve makes you want to do more than just smell them, you know what I mean? Wait, would they arrest you for that sort of thing? I bet they would. Bastards. Then again, as catchphrases go, I suppose “stop and hump the orchids” has a pretty lousy ring to it. Unpleasant bumper sticker, too. OK, so roses it is. They are sorta nice, to be honest. Beautiful, even. Sorry about what I said before. I was just being a shmuck. Hell, who doesn’t love a good bouquet of roses? No one, that’s who.
As in: “…I am now old enough and ‘wise’ enough and slightly alterna-curmudgeonly enough to see these [vintage porn] photos, to watch some of these classic raunchy clips wonder aloud to myself, wow and gosh and sweet Jesus with a leather riding crop, whatever happened to that kind of fun, sexy, enchanting porn?”
(From the latest Mark Morford)
To be honest, there really are some genuine upsides of a recession. We use less. We become more aware. We drive less, walk more, produce less crap we don’t actually need, churn out fewer pollutants, become highly attuned to waste and excess, dial into opportunity, travel locally, skip vacuous trends, become less fickle, appreciate bargain wines, breathe cleaner air, save, appreciate, savor.
You are, for some godforsaken reason, absolutely convinced all the way down to your most profound sense of what is divine and truthful in this strangled world that violence and bloodshed are rarely the answer, that the irrefutable spiritual laws of the universe confirm that like attracts like and even at a quantum level there is a profound pull toward a divine, benevolent dynamic equilibrium, and therefore constructing a malicious national policy of torture and surveillance and pre-emptive aggression merely shames the better nature of the human animal and invites a particularly violent energy into the national bloodstream and poisons the human heart as it creates nothing but more turmoil and unrest and hate in the world. Man, only an elitist jerk would tolerate a ridiculous run-on sentence like that.
Enough studies and enough serious medical journals bring alternative ideas like meditation to the fore and maybe, just maybe, we could nudge the culture away from mania and obsession and road rage and a zillion Prozac prescriptions as the only means of coping with the trudging maelstrom of daily existence. You think? It can’t hurt. Because the problem is that we as a culture are still very much trained, beaten, shaped from birth to never, ever, no matter what you do, calm the hell down and breathe more consciously and try to live more fully in the moment you are in…. Save it for the New Age Expo, hippie. Real men live in some neurotic/psychotic state of need and regret and wishful thinking, all undercut with a constant shiver of never-ending dread. Isn’t that right, Mr. President? But meditation, well, it abides none of that noise. It brings you into the here and now and plops you into the lap of stillness and reminds you that there is more to it all than mania and media and political moronism, that you have incredible power to change your own habits and tendencies and daily love quotients, that god often speaks in whispers and flutters and quiet little licks on your heart and only when you dial down your raging internal dialogue can you actually hear what the hell she’s trying to say.
Honey, it says right here in the Good Book that thou shalt not take my Mercedes and go for a joy ride to Vegas with your girlfriends for the spa weekend and leave me with the kids.” “What? Where the hell does it say that?” “Why, right here!” “You just wrote that with an orange Sharpie, just now!” “So? It’s my religion! And by the way, thou shalt now go make me a tuna sandwich. Naked.
Call it Carpe Diem Syndrome, in which we take the sweet and humble idea that, rather than constantly living in the future or the past, in achievement or in wealth, it might behoove your spirit instead to learn to celebrate and indulge in the moment you are in right now, and we take that idea and torque and maul and slap it into, well, a big shopping list of crap you need to accomplish in order to make your existence seem complete. It’s life as commodity, your soul on a credit card, experience as the pinnacle of meaning. God bless America.
…the troglodytic, Limbaugh/Coulter-grade sects of the party who, assuming Obama goes the distance, are already hugely terrified of the notion of a black liberal president, given how he’ll surely be a slippery slope straight to gay marriage and rampant lesbianism in schools and hourly shriekings to Allah as everyone’s forced to give up their guns and drive a hybrid moped to the tofu store.
As such, we risk perhaps the most vital and precious aspect of human understanding, our innate sense that everything is far, far more complicated and messy and juicy and fluidly interconnected, far more non-dissectible than we like to imagine, and in fact trying to dismember human experience into its drab components merely destroys the holistic integrity of the whole damnable circus.