Jerky said: "Has there ever been a nation as conflicted when it comes to loving authoritarians but also having a nearly psychopathic "problem" with authority than the USA?"
I should probably pull back the curtain a little at this point, reveal a bit of my strategy. Or talk around it, at least. I don't want my ol' pal to totally misunderstand where I'm coming from.
You know when the Buddha says "life is suffering." I don't think he's being literal, I think he's trying to make a point. I'll let Alan Watts explain:
"[The "four truths of the noble ones" are...] a very skillful outline of the nature of Buddhism, and it's based on an old medical formula. In ancient India, as in almost all ancient cultures, every activity was ceremonialized. And when a physician came to pay his call he gave his diagnosis in a very ceremonial way. He made four pronouncements. The first pronouncement was the name of the disease. The second, the cause of the disease. The third, the curability of the disease. (Can it be cured? Yes or no.) And if it can be cured the fourth pronouncement is the giving of the prescription. And that's exactly the form of Gautama's summary of his doctrine.
He said, in other words, the first principle is that mankind - and indeed all forms of life - suffer from a disease which is called in Sanskrit "Duhkha." And the most general translation of that word is "suffering." Duhkha means suffering in all its forms: moral, physical, spiritual. But Western interpreters of Buddhism have sometimes represented him as saying that life is suffering, period. In other words of annunciating a highly pessimistic and world-hating doctrine. That to be alive is to suffer. And that in other words the amount of joy, of positive pleasure in life is after all so negligible that the game is not worth the candle.
Now if one studies the method of teaching of sages in ancient India, you have to realize that one of their fundamental pedagogical gambits is to arrive at the point of view they wish to inculcate by a zigzag method. When we walk, you know we put down maybe first the left foot, then we shift to the right foot, then the left foot, then the right foot. And in this way we go along, neither to the left nor to the right, but straight ahead. And you find too that in thought that the Human mind tends to go from position to position but it always, when it settles on any fixed position, we can always point out that that position is an extreme."
"So in other words, Buddhist doctrine that life is fundamentally Duhkha, or suffering, is an antithesis directed towards those people who believe that the object of life is to attain "Suhkha," or sweetness: pleasure."
I might say that the wholly illuminated ex-Prince is exaggerating, to get us back in balance. But you have to see Buddha as willing to talk tricky to see this. This really isn't so difficult to do, just take him off his pedestal.
So when I say "Fuck authority," ... See?
At the risk of being even more misunderstood, (or maybe that's the point now, trying to cover my tracks. Don't want to give away all my secrets) here's something I read last night, for the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. Celebration of the day when heaven assumed responsibility for the holy mother, or to put it differently, when the church was forced to accept Mary worship because of all the heretic feminine cultists cropping up everywhere. It was a political move. An "If you can't beat them, co-opt them" move.
From the Book of the Virgin Mary's Repose. Trans. by Stephen J. Shoemaker from the Syriac text published by William Wright in Contributions to the Apocryphal Literature of the New Testament (London: Williams and Norgate, 1865).
The episode below occurs as the Apostles are gathered together at the Virgin's tomb, where they await Christ's return to take his mother's body into heaven. The narrative reports a debate among the Apostles over the appropriate lifestyle for Christian believers, and the outcome is decided by Christ when he returns. Although the events are almost certainly fictional, they nevertheless are representative of the debates over the place of wealth and sexuality in the Christian life during the second and third centuries.
Then the Apostles agreed with what Paul said, for they were asking him to speak with them again, so that he would not press them, and they would not reveal to him the glorious mysteries that our Savior taught. [difficult passage, bad translation. The meaning is something like, "the apostles were yessing Paul to death, and kept him talking about trifling matters, so they wouldn't have to deal with his difficult questions"]
And again all the Apostles answered and said to Paul, “Our brother Paul, speak with us in words, because we are listening to you with delight. For our Lord has sent you to us to gladden us for these three days.” And Paul answered and said to Peter, “Since you were not willing to reveal the great things of Jesus to me, tell me, when you go forth, what will you preach and teach, so that I too will know how to teach with your doctrine.”
Peter said to him, “My brother Paul, this word that you have spoken is good. Since you have asked to know and hear what we are going to teach and preach to people, listen, and I will tell you. When I go forth to preach, I will say that anyone who does not fast all of his days will not see God.” Paul said to Peter, “Our father Peter, what is this word that you have spoken? For they will not hear your word, and they will arise and kill you, because they are wicked and unacquainted with God or fasting.” And again Paul turned to John and said to him, “Tell us your doctrine too, our father John, so that I too may teach and preach thus.”
John said to him, “When I go forth to teach and preach, I will say that anyone who is not a virgin all of his days will not be able to see God.” And Paul answered and said to John, “Our father John, what are these words to people who do not know God? For if people who worship stones and trees hear these things from you, they will throw us in prison and lock us up.” And again Paul turned to Andrew and said to him, “Our father Andrew, tell us what your opinion is too, so that I too may teach and preach [thus], lest perhaps Peter should think that he is great and a bishop, and John also be proud that he is a virgin, and because of these things they have spoken grand things.” And Andrew said to Paul, “When I go forth to preach, I will say that everyone who does not leave father and mother, and brothers and sisters, and children and houses, and everything that he has, and go forth after our Lord, he will not be able to see God.” And Paul said to Andrew, “Our father Andrew, the words of Peter and John are light compared with yours, for you have separated everyone from the earth in one moment. For who will hear your words at this time and place a heavy burden on himself?” And Peter and Andrew answered and said to Paul, “Paul, friend of our soul, tell us how you want us to go forth and preach.”
Paul said to them, “If you will listen to me, do these things, and let us think of things that they will be able to do, because they are new, and do not know the truth. Let us say these things to them: ‘Let every man take his wife,’ so that they will not commit adultery; and ‘let a woman take her husband, that she may not commit adultery.’ And let us establish one or two days [of fasting] in the week for them, and let us not be too hard on them, lest they become negligent and turn away. But if they fast today and are a little weary, they will persevere for the time and say, ‘Tomorrow we will not fast.’ And if they come to the time when they eat, and they find a poor person and give to him, they will say, ‘Why do we fast, if we do not give to the poor,’ and they will know God in their hearts. And let us also say to them, ‘Let the one who is weary fast until the sixth hour, and the one who is able, until the ninth, and the one who is still able, until evening.’ And when we have given them to drink as with milk, and we have turned them to us, then we will tell them the great and glorious things, words that will be useful to them.” Then all of the Apostles murmured, and would not agree with Paul’s words.
And as all of the Apostles were sitting in front of the entrance to Mary’s tomb, disputing Paul’s words, behold, our Lord Jesus Christ came from heaven with the angel Michael. And he sat among the Apostles as they were debating over Paul’s word. And Jesus answered and said, “Greetings Peter, the bishop, and greetings John, the virgin, you who are my heirs. Greetings Paul, the advisor of good things. Truly I say to you, Peter, that your advice was always destructive: yours and Andrew’s and John’s. But I say to you that you should receive that of Paul. For I see that the whole world will be caught in Paul’s net, and it will precede them. And then, after these things, your words will become known at the end of time.” And the Lord turned to Paul and said to him, “My brother Paul, do not be sad that the Apostles, your fellows, will not reveal the glorious mysteries to you. For to them I have revealed the things that are on earth; but I will teach you the things that are in heaven.
Basically, "Go easy on the dopes, for they know not what dopeyness they are on about." Tricks again. Teaching by trickery. This time by a Jew hippie who I doubt was an actual, historical figure. Gotta take him off the pedestal too, to see what the hell I'm on about.
So fuck authority.
Both his words and manner of speech seemed at first totally unfamiliar to me, and yet somehow they stirred memories - as an actor might be stirred by the forgotten lines of some role he had played far away and long ago.