Wednesday, July 20, 2011
What I do and don't know about BS
As I stumble around the internet these days in that uh, bad mood - see last post - that mood I have an aversion to - I, of course, have an aversion to a lot of what I find. And mind you, I almost never find porn, since I somehow protected my computer against it. Furthermore, a lot of what I go to is Buddhist, often Zen, in orientation. Maybe that's exactly the problem. I expect more from us. Yes, that's me, having expectations. I should know we're all broken, though perfect.
My God, so many people have so many opinions! They know just how Someone ought to fix A Big Social Problem - you name one - education; homelessness; treatment of the "mentally ill;" obscene disparities in wealth, treatment of those who need some help to survive; rape and pillage of the environment . . . you know this list is endless. I'm not putting down people who work to change systems through legislation and protests and so on - social activists. I'm talking about people with opinions. It makes some of us feel good to express them, but - especially on the internet - does it count?
I don't mind so much when David Brooks or Paul Krugman do it on the editorial page - these are people with vast education and experience, and it is their job to give the President a way to think about the Big Socials (BS for short). I mean it, that's how I see it. I write to him too, once in a blue moon, to encourage the poor SOB to keep trying to keep this country from being totally ruined by the greed we were founded on. But I write to him. Seldom do I put my fevered opinions on the internet these days.
Here's what I think the answer to our BS is now: get on the Bodhissatva path, or develop Christ consciousness, or whatever your religion tells you to do. Or your heart. The Bodhissatva path happens to be what Buddhists do who have meditated enough, and feel it's time to hear the cries of the world and do their little bit to relieve suffering of the world. It can be the suffering of humans or factory-farmed chickens or trees or abandoned cats. Right here in our own world, living next door or waiting for a phone call from us there are people whose day could be brightened a little by a kind act. With all the illness I had as I recovered from my transplant, I have certainly been one of them, so I know that a little gift - a casserole or a phone call - can get you through another day.
Sickness, old age, death, and loss - these things are intrinsic to being a carbon-based life form with a brain. We are miserable in our house today waiting to see whether they can get Gini off the ventilator - this is her sixth day on it. We wonder whether that major heart attack affected her brain. This is blunt, and of course people don't talk that way.
There is no avoiding this kind of anxiety and loss if you are going to love people. I guess you could go live in a cave in the snow with no human contact. Some people prefer that to this mess. Myself, I stay vulnerable as much as I can stand. Then at bedtime I dive into my cave, fiction, if I can find a book or movie that catches my attention. Or sometimes anything will do. I like the world of some mystery novels, in which good and evil are clear-cut, and good is strong and ingenious and smart and persistent, and never caves in, and I know the right side will win, and justice will be done. If you know any fictions like that, let me know.