Time for a New Religion, One that Looks a Lot Like Buddhism…

IMG_1559You can split the atom, you can go to the moon, you can build 100-story skyscrapers, or you can talk on iPhones, and still you’ve accomplished nothing—not really. Populate the earth with ten billion people and what have you got? Nine billion wretches living in makeshift trenches slurping Campbell soup with Saltine crackers, war surplus rations and Bimbo Bread…

But I get the feeling that the Buddhists already know that—have ALWAYS known that, in fact, just standing there watching, maybe cracking a little smile, though not much of one, and rolling with the punches as the Franks came and conquered and dictated terms to unwilling participants, the only refuge in temples and bedrooms and assorted cracks in the matrix-like display…

In Hollywood fashion, let’s cut to the chase. At this ‘mature’ stage in the lives of our state and our nation, our culture and our civilization, let’s be honest: We’ve overplayed our hand. We’re not immortal and we’re not immune. We’re not omnipotent and we’re not omniscient. We’re pretty clever, true, as species go, but not clever enough to know our limits, not clever enough to know our lot, all too willing to push things past the breaking point, all too willing to press our luck.

Yes, we’re smarter than the average chimp, but that isn’t saying much, now, is it? We’re not God, just smart enough to create the concept, then co-opt it, and imagine that just maybe it’s so. If we’re smart enough to create the concept of God, then we just might be it. But we’re not. We’re not Superman, and we’re not Batgirl, more like bat-sh*t crazy with a death-wish incarnate, going from continent to continent looking for intoxicants, end up looking and feeling little more than incontinent… homeless… down on our luck and hard up for a buck…

Have you ever been satisfied with your material possessions? Not me. The more I get, the more I want, a constantly shifting point of reference, a feeling of short-term ‘satisfaction’ that constantly wants more. My Asian step-son offers a perfect illustration: All Thais love spicy food, almost by definition. So he adds ground red pepper to his noodle soup, as is the custom. Yum—love that hot spicy flavor. Well, after a few minutes, it doesn’t taste ‘hot’ anymore, so he adds more, to get that rush of flavor again, and again, and again (of course, irony is that they don’t even drink the broth)…

And this is what we do with our toys, and our fashion, and our sports and our politicians: We take all we can swallow (‘full as a tick’ as we say down south), satiated, and then we come back for more. Can there be better proof of these excesses than our current love affairs with Donald Trump, iPhones, Tom Brady, cat videos, and—don’t get me started on cleavage! Cover up your genitals, please! Where that tradition comes from I’ll never know, or understand…

So this can be one of the corner-stones of our hypothetical perfect religion: avoidance of excess, i.e. everything in moderation, absolutely everything, no reason to limit our options just because we’re limiting our tolerance levels; that’s no good. Yes, maybe it’s time to articulate just exactly what my perfect religion would be like, in addition to including all the best parts of all previously existing religions. Yes, maybe it’s time; stay tuned…

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