Cultural Manifesto for the Millennium Generation
“When great compassion and great wisdom are deep, and one makes the vow to deliver all beings to the other shore of enlightenment, then there are no obstacles in one’s path.
The power of one’s own practice is enough to win the ruler to the Way, and you may also see this as one of the blessings of worldly life. At such a time, you must penetrate to the truth and not be blind. The ignorant will take great delight, like foolish dogs gnawing on a dry bone. The wise will avoid this, just as ordinary people are revolted by excrement.”
–Dogen’s Shobogenzo (Keisei Sanshoku: “The Sounds of the Valley Streams, the Forms of the Mountains,” Francis Dojun Cook trans.)
“We stand on the shoulders of billions of genetic lifetimes to give us this perfect genetic body, this perfect genetic brain that it took thousands of years to evolve, so that we could have this conversation in the abstract. If we are here to be embodied in the greatest evolutionary machine there ever was, our body and our human brain, then we have deserved the right for ‘what ifs.’”
–Ramtha, What the Bleep Do We Know?!
“We laugh at what we call the folly of our ancestors, and their notions of destiny, and the malignant influences of the stars. For what will our children deride us? Perhaps for dreaming that friendship was a reality, and that constant love dwelt upon earth. I once believed that friendship was not a vain thing, and thought, with the antique sage, that one mind sometimes dwelt in two bodies. I dreamt, and woke to find that I had been dreaming!” The Miniature, J.Y. Akerman
“‘The mind of the ancient Buddhas’ should not be understood as something irrelevant to your experience, as some mind that exists from the beginningless past, for it is the mind that eats rice gruel or tastes other food in your ordinary, everyday life; it is the mind that is grass, the mind that is water. Buddha and making an effort like a Buddha, that is called ‘arousing the thought of enlightenment.’“
How to Raise an Ox, Dojun Cook trans.
The following is a catalog of personal wisdom, commemorating my 25th birthday. I’m sharing what I think is the fruitful wisdom of a quarter-century’s worth of experience, acquired from within my personal trajectory through space and time on Earth. It was an endeavor that sucked up two and a half weeks and was one of the most intense, concentrated projects of introspection ever freely undertaken. My ambition is for its survival through the ages within the digital archives of the Internet, so that it ends up a hologram display in a futuristic museum purveying recovered artifacts of Millennial American life. (Compete with me for the New Millennium museum exhibit and do your own “What I Know for Sure” list. What does everyone else knows for sure.) Read the rest of this entry »
“Millions long for immortality who don’t know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.”
If possible, spend many rainy-days in renewal. Undertake life-shattering-then-reassembling misadventures, where you end up wearing a trashbag, standing on a bulldozer, screaming into a sinkhole. If icy rainfall, mud, and intolerably soggy socks force you indoors, demonstrate gratitude for hatches-battened, snuggle-down days by welcoming the intrusion to simply unfold, quieting just enough to perceive your brain ticking, like car cooling off in the driveway post-commute. You are an organism; someday you will perish. But during springtime, every organism is in emergence. What are you emerging from? Growing towards?
Sleeping is giving in, no matter what the time is
Sleeping is giving in, so lift those heavy eyelids
Arcade Fire, Rebellion (Lies)
A “bucket list,” if you missed Morgan Freeman in the movie, is an inventory of all the stuff you’re set on accomplishing/experiencing within your lifetime. There isn’t a wrong way to initiate a bucket list. Concentrate on events, settings, journeys, feelings, or goals that would meaningfully exalt your existence; pursuits you would feel blessed to accomplish and worthy of experiencing. The process towards fulfilling the list is more ambiguous; some bucket-listers meander through their objectives intuitively, famous example being Elizabeth Gilbert. Others alter their entire lives in fulfilling their bucket lists, such as Timothy Ferriss, who’s built a minor self-help empire on dream-fulfilling lifestyle design. The Internet is rich with published bucket lists, often conjoined with narratives of accomplished bucket-listers. Sean Ogle‘s own bucket-list blog offers a meager but generous starting point.
So spend a rainy Spring day writing your list. Even if you throw it out Spring cleaning, it’ll itch like a burr on your subconscious–intuitively pushing you towards a realized interest or goal. The bucket list is not about maximizing freetime; it’s about experiencing the preciousness of life as it breathes, wrenches itself upwards, erupts. Under your feet, in the very mitochondria of your cells. Keep pace with it.
“In May 1968, the Situationist-inspired Paris riots set off ‘a chain reaction of refusal’ against consumer capitalism. First students, then workers, then professors, nurses, doctors, bus drivers and a piecemeal league of artists, anarchists, and Enrages took to the streets, erected barricades, fought with police, occupied offices, factories, dockyards, railway depots, theaters and university campuses, sang songs, issued manifestos, sprayed slogans like ‘Live Without Dead Time’ and ‘Down with the Spectacular-Commodity Culture’ all over Paris, and challenged the established order of their time in the most visceral way. The breadth of the dissent was remarkable. ‘Art students demanded the realization of art; music students called for “wild and ephemeral music”; footballers kicked out managers with the slogan “football to the football players”; gravediggers occupied cemeteries; doctors, nurses, and the interns at a psychiatric hospital organized in solidarity with the inmates.’ For a few weeks, millions of people who had worked their whole lives in offices and factories broke from their daily routines and… lived.” Culture Jam/Kalle Lasn
This is all the equivalent of enemy propaganda, rolling across the picket line–“Lay down, GI! Lay down, GI!” We saw it all through the 20th Century, and now in the 21st Century, it’s time to stand up and realize that we should NOT allow ourselves to be crammed into this rat maze. We should not SUBMIT to dehumanization. I don’t know about you, but I’m concerned with what’s happening in this world. I’m concerned with the structure. I’m concerned with the systems of control. Those that control my life, and those that seek to control it EVEN MORE. I want FREEDOM! That’s what I want, and that’s what YOU should want! It’s up to each and every one of us to turn loose of just some of the greed, the hatred, the envy, and yes, the insecurities, because that is the central mode of control: make us feel pathetic, small, so we’ll willingly give up our sovereignty, our liberty, our destiny. We have GOT to realize we’re being conditioned on a mass scale. Start challenging this corporate slave state! The 21st Century’s gonna be a new century! Not the century of slavery, not the century of lies and issues of no significance, of classism and statism, and all the rest of the modes of control… it’s gonna be the age of humankind, standing up for something PURE and something RIGHT! What a bunch of garbage–liberal, Democratic, conservative, Republican, it’s all there to control you, two sides of the same coin! Two management teams, bidding for control of the CEO job of Slavery Incorporated! The TRUTH is out there in front of you, but they lay out this buffet of LIES! I’m SICK of it, and I’M NOT GONNA TAKE A BITE OUT OF IT! DO YA GOT ME? Resistance is NOT futile, we’re gonna win this thing, humankind is too good, WE’RE NOT A BUNCH OF UNDERACHIEVERS, WE’RE GONNA STAND UP, AND WE’RE GONNA BE HUMAN BEINGS! WE’RE GONNA GET FIRED UP ABOUT THE REAL THINGS, THE THINGS THAT MATTER – CREATIVITY, AND THE *DYNAMIC* *HUMAN* *SPIRIT* THAT REFUSES TO *SUBMIT*. Well that’s it, that’s all I’ve got to say. It’s in your court now.”
Fav video source: Richard Linklater’s Waking Life
In the flurry of people-pleasing, food cravings, and fulfilling “Imminently Accomplished” to-do lists, we tend to get a little shleppy. Then the holidays’ routine-smashing mayhem drags us out of ruts and we realize (and feel) the neglect our bodies, households, and relationships. It’s 3 days into a fresh year; are you already in sweat pants, speed-chomping energy bars, and repressing a blob of dissatisfaction & anxiety welling up inside? Read the rest of this entry »
“People love advertising. They say they don’t, but they do. And I don’t mean that they like clever commercials or reading Lucky; I mean they like the idea of a Draper (a) whom they’ll never meet who (b) understands what they want and (c) views that wanting as important. It does not matter that this definition of import doesn’t extend beyond their ability to pay for things. A feeling is a feeling is a feeling.” Eating the Dinosaur, Chuck Klosterman
Last week, I got really sick.
Actually, two weeks ago, I got really sick. I missed a lot of work in order to suckle orange juice from a Scooby-Doo thermos and nap like a wheezy, 5-foot infant. In between episodes of unconsciousness, I re-read Chuck Klosterman essays and internally berated my lack of vigilance against immunity stressors. Throughout the ordeal, I was constantly re-imagining the financial bruising I was going to feel at the end of the month. Read the rest of this entry »