On Straw Dogs

Sometimes, I really don’t know what to say.

I like those times, at times; but most of the time, they’re just frustrating. They make me feel the frustrating kind of redundant. There’s redundancy in this paragraph, for christ’s sake.

Anywho, I’m at a loss. I’m too torn between the need to be righteously upset, completely frustrated, and overwhelmingly anxious. But I’m failing even at that. Because, you see, meditation makes you really good at detachment.

Detachment is a two edged sword, sometimes, for moral humans, such as myself.

I think there’s something obscenely wise in the way Lao-Tzu (my homeboy) treats sages, in his texts. He never says “Yo, sages are great, listen to them”; he never says “Sages have your best interests at heart”; he doesn’t even say “Sages are good”.

He’s just honest: sages are detached, and they are neither good, nor bad. They are. As a result, they come off as aloof, and/or dickbags, depending on your level of engagement with the world’s many kinds of steaming bullshit.

He is the old master for a reason. And now all I can think about is Dustin Hoffman murdering folk.

But since I’ve started meditating, my ability to be passionate – in certain ways – has diminished drastically. A propos of my desire to work towards the perfect process, and not the product, I don’t get angry like I feel I should at Social Justice issues. And no, it has nothing to do with the fact that I glow in the dark from being white.

I used to get unspeakably angry about the shit in the world. I used to recognize my contribution to the morass, even if it was, ultimately, a passive role. That’s the shitty thing about being a dominant subgroup of a stratified society, and also having empathy: you see how much your dominance fucks everything up. I would call it White Guilt, but that would require me to be ashamed of my whiteness.

Just so we’re clear, eh, I’m not proud of my heritage; but I don’t hate it.

And right now, that’s not the tenor I’m allowed to take. I cannot be, by the strictures of social outrage, indifferent to my race. I have to be actively acknowledging it; and I have to be outraged by it. I have to see how my very blue eyes, and my white skin have contributed to the systemic degradation of an entire group of people, and led to an existence of fear, anxiety, and otherness that one with any semblance of conscience would not wish on their worst enemy.

Again, eh, nah.

That milquetoast response can foment anger to such a degree, I have no conception of how to deal with it. Especially with my increasing detachment.

But what do I mean by detachment?

Well, I don’t really know. I still feel things — a lot of things — all the time. My darkness spans waves; my sorrow is as deep as the ocean; my joys are ecstatic, if simple. But I don’t get impacted it in quite the same way as I used to.

It makes me sad, distantly. Although, from a standpoint that I would call “Objective” (it isn’t), it is emotionally richer, and infinitely healthier.

But this newfound internal silence. This de-cluttering of the mental headroom; the shel silverstein cobwebs pulled off thread by thread have revealed something frustrating about my current situation.

I can’t fall into the anger that I know I need to. I can barely even condone it.

And to be clear: it’s necessary. It is the fire that surrounds the crucible that is the world right now. It will create glass of the future, from today’s coarse heady sand. But I can’t indulge in it.

Nor do I feel that I can celebrate my existence.

I only am.

I can’t pretend that I’m some sort of enlightened master. I’m too unfailingly human and contradictory to be something so spectacular and removed. But I understand why Lao-Tzu doesn’t herald a sage as a good person.

A sage does not watch good or bad; nor does he feel that good or bad strictly exist. I’m more or less a morally relative individual. It suits my fancy. The sage just sees the world turning, and moves along the river with it. There is no separation of good or bad.

And that’s hard to do. In fact, it’s harder than being outraged. It requires you acknowledge that somewhere, outside yourself, in the vastness of infinity, there is an indifference of such power, borne of the peaceful silence that sounds like the vacuum of space, that just. doesn’t. care.

That’s hard man.

I’ve had to reconcile that my heritage – though Jewish – is still fundamentally oppressive. I’ve had to reconcile that, even by the proxy of my whiteness, I’m not a good person. I’ve had to accept, under threat of social exclusion, and pariahhood, that I’m immoral, by dint of my unstated, uncreated role as me. And man, that sucks.

And even that cannot arouse the anger that it would in any normal person. In some distant way, I’m grateful to that.

Because honestly, the peace is powerful. It feels like a rock. It feels like a solid piece of my inside an ever-changing universe of infinite variation. It feels like I’m not alone. I feel one. I feel that I am the universe, and the universe is me.

It’s the least lonely feeling in the world.

It would be nice, though, if it didn’t require me to act like the loneliest person.


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