Turning 62: Exhilaration, Frustration, Reconciliation and (Buddhist) Renunciation…

IMG_1559Goodbye cruel world! It’s been good to know you, sorta’ kinda’ maybe you know, all your skyscrapers and automobiles and dark satanic factories and epidemics to boot, competing in the World’s Cup of Cruelty and the World Series of Savagery. Have we really learned anything in our five thousand years of civility, our ten thousand years of settlement? Not much, I reckon; the only things that change are that the weapons get bigger: the guns get longer and the fuses get shorter….

You can have it, since there’s nothing here that I want, really, not much, anyway, just art culture religion and science. You can have the comforts, the comfort foods and the contrived conveniences (convenient contrivances?), be it hamburgers or highways—especially highways! Especially hamburgers ON highways—McD’s, Burger K’s, Dairy Q and Wendy’s! And you can have all the automobiles on them, too—self-mobile, indeed!

I can walk faster than the traffic moves through downtown LA at rush hour, whether it’s the 101, the 110, the 5 or the 10.  But what I mostly want is a more peaceful time and more polite space, the likes of which have never really existed, but which is the ultimate function of religion and culture to produce. Why else would religion exist: to create tribal gods to lead warring groups into battle, or something silly like that? Don’t answer.

We’re way past that now, and gods can be created or discarded at will to serve whatever purpose is deemed necessary, without recourse to the trial and error of history, but rather the trial and error of science, kill two birds with a stone that way, too.  But Science was long ago hijacked by the kings and queens of convenience, convincing us that what we really need is an easier life, machines to whisk us around the block, and blocks to define cities.

But the ultimate in misplaced models of convenience are all the push-button heating and cooling units, designed to keep us at one constant temperature, all our lives, as if that were desirable pleasurable or even possible. Riding the waves and troughs of temperature is one of life’s pleasures, delighting in the warmth of a summer’s breeze or the chill of a winter’s snow.

So here we sit in our cubicles of convenience, devoid of all beauty and all style, just a cool breeze blowing up our collective crack or a warm breeze in our facetious face, as if this were the fulfillment of all Biblical prophecy—the one perfect constant uniform temperature. I remember distinctly that one of my first realizations as an adult is how butt-ugly our American cities are, especially in comparison to the countryside where I grew up. But the people there are smarter, aren’t they, so why do they (we) choose this?

No, there’s nothing much in this world of stuff that interests me now, now that I know that sex is just one chemical calling out to another, carrying on the species secondary to the chemical satisfaction of covalent bonds fulfilled, since I care little or nothing for this world of automobiles and skyscrapers, tommy-guns and janitors in drums, air-conditioners and lame excuses. But I do care for the ingenuity that went into them. High-tech is the finest fruit of the industrial revelation (!) and the only part worth saving IMHO.

But I prefer Nature on its gentle side, with vast rolling plains and soaring peaks. I never climbed a craggy peak or scaled a sheer face or plumbed an ocean with tanks and best wishes, never wanted to never needed to never had to truth be told, just the picture of them there live and in 3-D is enuf for me, no daring of devils necessary.  Nature is finest for me in its sublime moments and subtle embraces.

My best friends are complete and total strangers, people without designs, not watching the clock or the bank balance on the ledger books of life.  I can’t die for your sins, of course, since I’m not qualified, but I can happily be the cage-free free-range canary in your coal mine, we the sensitive ones prone to choke before all the rest due to our lower tolerance for toxic environments and non-existent hazard pay—and all of a sudden everything starts to make sense.

It doesn’t have to be this way! The origin of suffering is craving, for what you don’t have.  The part that Plato never told us was already predicted by the Buddha!  A peace is coming over me now, and just in the nick of time. I’m going to a better place, with peaks and valleys of Spirit, I hope, and not the jagged sierras of consciousness; only time will tell. C U there, sooner or later!

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