Waiting for it: Electronic Buddha in the Electronic Forest Temple

img_0908I think it’s a bum rap, the false narrative about smart-phones and other tech, how we never talk to our neighbors any more—we never did! Unless they’re nice. And we still do, if there’s something to discuss. Should we regress to the day when stay-at-home wives have nothing better to do than chew the fat with the housewives’ club all day every day? Yes, I know it’s a real job, but still…

So why did no one ever make an issue of us reading news papers all the time, or listening to radio? No, they never did that until TV, couch potatoes and all that jazz, and that defines the line that divides our civilization from the initial inquisitive developmental mode to the current acquisitive ‘been there done that’ full-of-it mode, a civilization in decline, with red lights flashing…

But those smart-phones are a trade-off, and not an unhealthy one, either. When’s the last time someone with a newspaper blocked your view? No, those non-obtrusive smart-phones substitute for papers, radios, books, cameras, CD’s and magazines, doing all they ever did and more, mixed media and mixed messages…

No, back in the Golden Age of newspapers we never had to listen to anyone say, “Why don’t you put that paper down and go outside? There’s a whole world out there!” We knew that quite well, thank you, because that’s what the papers talked about. But we DID have to listen to our wives say, “Why don’t you put that paper down and talk to me?” Remember that, from the breakfast nook every morning? I remember it from television…

Now it seems like we only talk about ourselves, and that’s the big difference. The great failure of Western culture is to get beyond ourselves, our bodies, our minds full of facts and figures and pictures of ourselves in uncompromising positions, in love with ourselves and our bodies, “making love to our egos…”

It’s an arguable point as to whether our ‘progress’ and technology has advanced us an inch in all our centuries and millenniums of human existence, all our 100K years as homo sapiens sapiens, ‘wise man’, knowing knowing, self-conscious, something that the average four-legger presumably can’t do. So what have we got for all our efforts?

We’re fat, lazy, and nervously twitching while awaiting the rapture. This is our great contribution to the modern milieu: dance like nobody’s watching—brilliant. That’ll solve all the world’s problems. Orgasm is our modern paradigm, no more art, science or letters, just bliss. IMHO the West is so degenerate and morally bankrupt that we should just step aside while admitting that global warming is our fault and that we have not a clue how to stop it…

You can’t win in this world of fun fun fun, so there’s little use in trying—just kidding! Almost everything is worth trying, at least once. But the initial statement is true, and no Science will ever defeat the forces of nature that govern this world of physicality: (re) percussion and sound…

But technology is enticing, the idea that it could at least save us from ourselves, that somehow our lives could all make sense in the end, with technology as the icing on the cake, something not to consume in and of itself, but as a means and a bridge to better comprehend the world around us. Vindication of my most precious beliefs is found in travel, i.e. that people should have no fear of each other, only peace love and understanding…

But if I have to choose between Internet or Buddhism, then: you don’t want to know the answer. Fortunately I don’t have to choose, as those are extreme and inapplicable issues, at least in my mind, though not all Buddhists would agree. I have no desire for, nor intention to—retreat, for meditation or anything else. The more important question is whether my pending ordination is just a fling, a fad, an experience, a feather in my cap, a merit badge, or at worst—a cheap publicity stunt, to impress myself, if no one else…

If the latter were the case, then I’d be a real prick. So I’ve asked myself these things over and over, just in case I’m gold-bricking, or nit-picking, or otherwise being a prick, and no, this is no joke. The banks are bankrupt and the governments are ungovernable. The only way forward is with spirituality, but no retreat, with a little help from our friends, cooperation and compromise. We may not have an Electronic Forest Tradition of Buddhism yet, but we might be getting closer…

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