“That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he really is. Most people love you for who you pretend to be. To keep their love, you keep pretending – performing. You get to love your pretense. It’s true, we’re locked in an image, an act – and the sad thing is, people get so used to their image, they grow attached to their masks. They love their chains. They forget all about who they really are. And if you try to remind them, they hate you for it, they feel like you’re trying to steal their most precious possession.”
“The most loving parents and relatives commit murder with smiles on their faces. They force us to destroy the person we really are: a subtle kind of murder.”
“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there’d be peace.”
I can hear the ground vibrating, the faint rumbling in the distance, a few hundred yards away. I look up the hill, am I in the battle of Saratoga, are those the redcoats (the British)? A family member has just anointed me selfish, narrow-minded and absent of any human semblance of empathy. They’re coming, spears in hand, muskets slung over their shoulders, impending annihilation is descending, do I dive in the foxhole for cover? Do I pick up my musket? I can hear the rumbling of the cavalry of soldiers on horses as I wade into the dreamy unconsciousness that precedes my sleep. My heartbeat picks up speed and outruns my brain’s slow sleep mechanism that descends like sand seeping through a crack. I am up for another hour ruminating. Less than three years in my 20’s left. The thought reverberates, like sound waves ricocheting in my head like electrons in the Higgs-Boson collider, with the force of a rocket, I can’t escape it, I roll over onto my other side, onto my stomach, I pick up the LED screen of visual heroin that lies on my bedside table.
Why must I carry this guilt? Isn’t this in opposition to the Buddhist path of self-salvation? I can’t save anyone right? Fruitlessly busying myself with every person’s baggage will leave me drained and empty, right? I carry the perceived guilt, it is something I learned to carry. I learned to carry it. I can learn to not carry it. I can learn to not interpret the rudeness or closed-off demeanor of someone who is pain as a fault of mine. It isn’t about you Peter you selfish fuck! Most people I encounter are drowning in their own problems and are barely keeping their head above the stormy waters of their subconscious.
I create my meaning, my feelings, my reactions, I get the sense that in any given reaction, emotion in certain contexts, I am acting it out as if it is a dress rehearsal, or a a previously written script that now runs on a loop, or a broken record, almost, like a low hum, one drumbeat song that I have chosen to live my life by. The dance being one that has been rehearsed many times before. My emotions and reactions are so predictable because I am a creature of habit and repetition. I silently coerce that the other person operate in my safety zone of an acceptable level of emotions and politeness, euphemisms and lukewarm pussy-footing- that’s society and modern civilization in a nutshell for me: REPRESSION of our true natures. I see myself acting out the old script some days and I just laugh, like .. I was just doing that and it’s not me, it’s a pattern. I was pretending to be mad because somehow I thought that is an effective way to release tension or to give my life an illusion of significance. But significance and meaning is so arbitrary, the objects or things we attach to it?
I’m sick of the patterns but I haven’t had enough time to step into a more vast freedom, that is waiting, operating outside the confines of having a “polite” and “nice” personality and worldview. Terence Mckenna would say that in the psychedelic experience, there is an infinite “ocean of ideas” that can be mined from and we all have access to it. I hate the word ‘nice’ the non-committal, middle-of the road-ness of it, the cowardice that it denotes. Mckenna believed that imagination actually colors and creates sensory experience more than actual “reality” and that imagination, our ability to construct a reality in our minds in more powerful than any sense of an objective, external, consensus reality. I’d have to say I have given this serious consideration.
I’m hold a power to construct and create worlds in my head every day, I have divine energy in me, I feel it when I meditate, I have a small little branch of this vast ocean of unified consciousness, it is the same one that you have. Am I channeling my possession of this tiny portion of the mother spirit for good today? Am I serving the mother spirit today?? Or “A higher power of your understanding” as they say in AA. Or am I staying asleep to my power and your power? Oh, Peter, you’re so airy and hippie-ish, what is this BS you ramble on about? I gotta get back to looking at my bank account and looking for the hottest girl on the thousands that are on the dating apps because I know she’s the missing piece of the puzzle. I feel you man, because you are me, and I am you. I gotta break free of these chains, these expectations and demands of a civilized and repressed society, so I can channel my energy for good, and not be accountable to some corporation whose CEO just wants a bigger house in the hamptons . Is excess all that matters in this life? Call me crazy, hippie, call me mushy, call me whatever you have to…. because I gotta say what I have to say, gotta let the song in my heart come out and you do too, and I get the sense that the wife and the dog and the baby, its nice, but I know we yearn for something deeper, a connection even that I can’t get at, through the merry go round of momentary pleasure that is American culture.
I create my entire world. I create the illusion that anything outside my own self can impede my connection to the divine. I feel as if my perception and reactivity to other’s energies is enhanced, like the valve has been opened up more, allowing more in and allowing me to see other’s problems more clearly. Does my opinion have value? What gives it value? Is it the money I make, the amount of people that love me, the bank accounts of those surrounding me? Or is it the voice and intuition coming from within, in moments of silence and contemplation? Is that voice the only thing that matters and should determine my life path? Is earning the approval of that voice inside me and intuition the only thing that will ever matter? Does the content of that voice inform the fate of my soul and information about the evolution of human consciousness? Yes, it does Peter. So keep your mouth shut and sit in silence for at least one hour per day, or else stay immersed in the infinite distractions available at my fingertips and stay asleep to the inner guide.
I want to get to know that voice better, it usually turns out to have my best interests in mind. The problem about having opinions that are contrary to the mass cultural machine is that in order to have others understand and be open to you, you have to construct your language in terms that fit with their worldview and system, which has its laws and taboos, and limits. I think that it can give me a headache some days, trying to make sense of something with all these words systems, stress, work, time( the great human construct), and clocks, advertising, its a well functioning machine, this American society. The fuel that keeps the “American Dream” engine going is misery, power struggles, craving, striving, grasping, inadequacy.
What if I want to opt out? Inherent in a society of symbols is the ability to deceive, to misdirect, for different people to infer different meanings from different things. Society is built on reverence and striving to earn and gain approval from the ideals contained in idols: false symbols of status, of ego stroking, of a momentary pleasure that needs to be drank, slurped, consumed. We are supposed to believe that the economy can continue growing up into infinity, for eternity? We are supposed to believe that there aren’t losers for the bets that the wealthy trader and mortgage broker place each day? Is this like believing that I can weight train until I can bench press 500 pounds or 1000 pounds and my arms won’t snap in half?
The consumption machine wants to sap you of every last second of your life, Netflix yourself to death, tinder to death, Xbox to death, twitter, Facebook, Instagram to death. Its not so crazy really, in South Korea, China, deaths from video game addiction are not so rare really. Maybe the next few years we’ll see more gun violence, more depression, more suicide, more disease. All products of being a subservient consumer, being reduced down to nothing more than a number, by the dominating institutions of our society: corporations, who control the government, because money is more precious to these corporations than anyone’s quality of life.
If we (I) took a day away from my cellphone, TV, IPad, computer, a seeming eternity away, from the evolving door of pleasures, and titillation, the internet: the promise, that more, better, more abundance, funnier, sexier, more adventure, is coming to me , if you just click my link, and this link, this link, this product, and this photo….. That I have no other function on this earth, drawing breath as a means to keep the eyes in your head functioning so they can be fixed on the newest app, where neuroscientists are on the payroll, finding ways to reward, intermittently, to hit the dopamine sweet spot to keep these mammalian 3 pound organs hooked. To engage the egoic, lust filled, predator part of our brains. Until I have become the dog who got to the 4 platters of cookies and couldn’t stop and I’m throwing up and paralyzed by sickness.
I said in class the other day ” Society and culture is a machine of constant self-reinforcement of worship of idols through silent coercion, bullying and groupthink.” What prompted my overly big-picture philosophical spray of grandiose proclamation? It was the topic of father’s who don’t accept a son’s homosexuality. It is society that tells us what is an acceptable sexual preference. Why does the Dad really care other than it doesn’t fit into his worldview that was handed down to him from his society and culture? That he can’t tell his friends that his son has a good-looking or normal wife. We’re all the insecure girl who doesn’t know what dress to wear before the prom and tries on 10 different ones.
Who would be willing to participate in a week-long, or even day long boycott , of all social media, news- channels- TV, newspaper? Could we prove that we aren’t drug-addled media and technology junkies?? Do I crave the next story of political theater and mass shooting like I crave a hit of the crack pipe? Do we?
I’ll take the hunter gatherer lifestyle in a second over this nanny state. I would be open to the idea of eating raw, cold, dead fish, squirrels, being on the run for my life from other predators, if it means I can have inner peace, meaning, connection with others that isn’t some pre-ordained dance of manners, etiquette and brainwashing, people are so willing to believe what the media and the government says. MSNBC has opinions that are bought and paid for as much as Fox News, they are just more subtle about it. No one can be trusted. The all-powerful reach of corporations permeates and influences everything I touch and see on a day to day basis. What now am I left with to do? Move to a cabin in the woods and leave it all behind?