Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Finding out new things is always fun. It's even more fun when what you find out will help you solve all sorts of other things going on in your life from one day to the next.

Take Zen Buddhism for example.

No, please take it - the hell away from me.

This peaceful little philosophy come religion to which half of the world's Asiatic populations adhere and which an increasingly diverse chunk of westerners are beginning to embrace is the latest form of moral bankruptcy making its presence felt on the best sellers lists at the expense of genuinely valuable works of fictional art and the odd interesting biography.

The central ethos of Buddhism is paradox. Paradoxes are interesting little intellectual talking points, but as bases for a philosophy or a religion, frankly, they suck. The most basic of paradoxes - which in my mind anyway - completely debunks the God myth, is the God vs Big Rock paradox. It goes like this:

If God is omnipotent, can he build a rock so big even he can't move it? Either way, God loses.

Buddhism is more fundamentally paradoxical than this. Buddhism, for anyone who has seen the Dalai Lama in the Mercedes commercial, tells us that all life is sacred, even the lives of insects. Love your friendly neighbourhood mosquito.

Pardon me, but fuck off.

Mr Locke's latest works have hit that primeval chord with me tonight, inspiring memories I Swamped years ago which irritated me then and irritate me no less today. (Click the Rageboy links over there on the right for more information.) I can't wrap my head around the concept that other bits of living matter on this planet should somehow mean as much or more than the humanity admonished by these charlatans to think exactly that in order to achieve a state of peaceful blissful enlightment.

If I want to achieve a state of peaceful, blissful enlightment, I'll read a volume of the encyclopedia when I'm having a shit.

As far as I'm concerned, humanity itself is the standard by which all values should be judged. Is it good for us? Yes? Then it's a good thing. Is it bad for us? Yes? Then it's a bad thing. Does it make one jot of difference to us one way or the other? No? Good, let's see if it's edible.

Obviously I'm not a fan of all this hokum. More fool you if you've been taken in by it.

I don't mind the idea of yoga insofar as sitting quietly and clearing one's head being a good thing, but any pseudo-scientific philosophical clap-trap that goes with it is what I reject out of hand. A basic concept like "empty your mind" is one thing, behaving like a cherry blossom is just fucked up.

There is a flipside to the Buddhist recipe for internal happiness, and that is to put yourself at the service of others and sacrifice any excess to the fat statue of The Man Who Laughs. (Victor Hugo, now there's an author.)

I don't hold with that bit of bullshit either. What's the point of working for the benefit of others when you should be teaching them to work for their own benefit by producing more than they consume? Don't create a race of co-dependents, create a race of self sufficient efficacious individuals who build bulwarks against the fickle hand of nature. Happiness is a by-product of personal security. Pride is a by-product of achievement.

This pseudo-self esteem built upon a rock of self denial and valuing the lives of insects above that of humans is the second biggest load of shite ever set to print. That sort of happiness is entirely dependent upon circumstances over which you have absolutely no control whatsoever. It's built on the faith that should you come a gutser, someone else will assuredly pick you up and put you back on your sandal shod feet, dust off your saffron robe and give you a hearty meal of boiled rice and lentil soup.

Fuck that. I'll have Whopper Double Beef with cheese, large fries and a Coke. I'll sit in an air conditioned plastic box to eat it then I'll walk out in my child-labor constructed Nikes and I'll do it all, safe in the knowledge that I'd rather live like an environmental vandal and be comfortable and smug than subject myself to the whims of the next tosspot who sets him or herself up as an authority on what's good for the human spirit.

My message to the Buddhists is quite simple, yet profound and conclusive: Fuck off and die.

1 comment:

Cham said...


Your blog should be a book, Rat. Thank you for cheering me up (in reality)...again.

Christ - I had misread 'omnipotent'...I had thought you had said "God is impotent". I started blushing and averting my eyes. Just the thought of "God" (any god) having sex is disturbing.


I think Buddhism is a hypocritical religion. Okay - I find a lot of religions hypocritical. Several of the ones that aren't -well, they're just full of fluffy-headed people whose biggest JOY is skipping.