Sunday, May 31, 2020

Before some Zen teachers post some liberal stuff about the uprising...

I posted the following on Facebook the other day:

“Who is looting whom? Grabbing off the TV set? He doesn't really want the TV set. He's saying screw you. It's just judgment, by the way, on the value of the TV set. He doesn't want it. He wants to let you know he's there. The question I'm trying to raise is a very serious question. The mass media-television and all the major news agencies-endlessly use that word "looter." On television you always see black hands reaching in, you know. And so the American public concludes that these savages are trying to steal everything from us, And no one has seriously tried to get where the trouble is. After all, you're accusing a captive population who has been robbed of everything of looting. I think it's obscene.” - James Baldwin, 1968

Not much has changed. Police are still murdering African Americans and other PoC, not to mention people who are in mental distress. Invariably when these things happen the media - whether conservative or liberal - responds without actually trying to understand _why_ people respond this way. The conservatives and fascists agitate for violence against PoC in the uprising, and the liberals moralistically demand an end to the property damage and always put off until tomorrow any redress of grievances. Just as it has done in this very case. The comparison has been made in recent days to the fascists and their hangers-on in cosplay, who, with weapons displayed, were protesting shelter in place orders. The cosplayers are people who feel entitled to do what they want when they want to regardless of consequences to others. On the other hand, the people in the uprising just want to be free from senseless violence inflicted on them by the state.

Property is not human. People are not property.

You would think the abolition of slavery would have decided those last 2 sentences once and for all, but it’s clear that conservatives, fascists and liberals haven’t made the obvious conclusion.

Now, as a friend observed with the Covid-19 pandemic, people fall back into familiar patterns of thinking in response to traumatic events such as we've experienced this year.  So yes, on the right, it's "Release the hounds, Smithers" - pretty much literally.  On the liberal side it's "I condemn the violence." And yes, you can attribute the above to the "woke" side of things, but I don't like that characterization; like Suzuki Roshi's belief in Nothing, I think it's vitally important to not only see the property damage within the confluence (I think that's a better word than "context") of state sanctioned  gangs of thugs called police.  And I think it's important to have science inform public policy in terms of policing, just as it should be in public health.

But to say, frankly, some of the stuff that one teacher has written, well, watch for sanctimony.

This is not a time to be silent.

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

The Covid-19 Post

I haven't blogged here in a while, and I'm thinking it's a good idea to start up again.  I'd been not blogging so much because there was so many other things to do.

But I think I should say something about recent conditions.

I have been deepening my practice a great deal, but you know what?

It is frustrating certainly not to go to the gym, go to restaurants, etc.  I feel as though I am in a bomb shelter and it's nuclear fallout if I go out in public so much.  I've put a positive spin on this for a quite a while, but frankly, going into the 3rd month of this (as of next week), it is a bit fraying.

And I know that's there for a reason.  It's there because a lot of people have it way worse than I do.

And I can fall back on the practice.  But beyond that, it IS deeper than ever.

So despite it all, I continue.