Sunday, June 5, 2011


Everyone's got their own version of what is amazing, I imagine. From Charles Fort's frogs raining from the sky to the wonder of Fourth of July fireworks to the existence of God ... amazing!

But what sometimes amazes me more than anything is the willingness of human beings to take comfort in their agreements. For comfort or warmth or protection, I can see why people might bond and bind. From the Ku Klux Klan to nationalism to baseball fanaticism to religious persuasion, how nice to be comforted and warmed and protected. But to find a home in such agreements strikes me as amazing. Color me naive.

What is amazing to me is not so much that anyone might do such a thing as that they would not recognize and investigate the fact that whatever persuasion or group-hug they might espouse simply cannot be the whole story. And the fact that it cannot (empirically) be the whole story means that such people are constantly in doubt, constantly forced to reinforce the walls that threaten to crumble. It makes them, in short, unhappy even as they seek happiness.

Imagine -- just because you love or hate one thing or another and just because you can find others who agree with you does not, therefore, confer on the point of view a label that resembles "the truth."

Wouldn't it be more fun to look around and realize that although you agreed with this person or that, still it was not a matter of righteous importance or complete assurance? You're a Buddhist? Kool. Now look around and notice without a shudder that others are not; and notice without assurance that others are. It may be nice to agree, but agreement does not assure happiness any more than disagreement does. Uncertainty is such a hard way to live. Why not try a different tack?

It's more amazing than frogs or fish falling from the sky.


  1. Perhaps you also read a certain strident moderator's most recent diatribe on a certain internet forum? "THIS is Zen Buddhism. THAT is not", etc. So self-satisfied it's sickening.

  2. I've come to try and see such things this way. If someone feels strongly about something, they're on their way to dealing with it. It may take a while, but they're in the process we're all in... learning the many ways in which we are wrong.

  3. Charlie -- From your mouth to God's ear!