The ramblings of an Eternal Student of Life
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Sunday, October 31, 2010
Personal Reflections ... Socrates Cafe ...

Here are two brief scenes from my life from last week.

  1. The Clear Mountain Zendo on a chilly, dark and wet morning at 6:30 AM. It was Thursday, and I got up at 3:45 am and couldn’t get back to sleep. So I got out of bed a half hour early and did some meditation at the zendo. The zendo was dark but the door was open. In the sitting area, two members of the sangha were sitting, and a lone candle was burning. I joined them for the next 20 minutes. At 7 am, as the sky struggled toward an uninspired dark grey dawn, we exchanged our greetings and headed out for our daily routines.
  2. At the Socrates Cafe meeting on Tuesday night, the topic was . . . rather forgettable. Something about whether there is a plan being the human race and our individual lives. But what was interesting was a little tirade one of the older members made about the evils of a quickly changing, increasingly technology-dependent world. Mr. Jimmy said that he would rather go and live the Native American life of old . . . before the Euro Americans came and spoiled everything. He would like to live in synch with nature, as he images they did; he would rather take his lumps with nature than with health insurance regulations and credit card payment rules and IRS forms and the constant shift of modern life. There was a lady who was of Native American descent there, and she applauded his sentiment.

    Personally, I think they are romanticizing an imagined past. No doubt there was much wisdom to the ways of the Native Americans, but they were not without violence, anger, war, ego, stupidity and obnoxious characters. Both Jimmy and his Native sympathizer were in their sixties; I wonder how many Native Americans reached that age say in the 1500’s. I myself feel that it’s a nice dream, but mostly a waste of time to imagine any sort of “going back”. I believe that we just have slog along in a complex and frustrating techno-capitalist world, and keep trying to sift out what matters from all of the garbage strewn about the modern social landscape (both literally and figuratively).

Oh well, let’s see what November brings (aside from increasingly cold, blustery weather).

◊   posted by Jim G @ 4:27 pm      

  1. Jim, I agree with you on this one. I wonder if Mr. Jimmy would be saying what he said if he had had a recent health problem that ended in a bill of over $138,000? I tell you, for all my often wishing I could just live a simple life myself, I certainly was very happy to have my health insurance when that bill came to my doorstep earlier this year.

    You are right about romaticizing the past. In fact, I don’t think we have to go as far back as Mr. Jimmy wanted to go. When I hear the Tea Party talking, I often wonder: Do we really want to return to the “good old days” of the 1950s, which a lot of them seem to want to do. I remember them vividly, and I just would not want to go through them again.

    It is true, though, that modernization brings with it a great deal of stress. But certainly what preceeded the 1950s was, to say the least, “stressful”–WW II, the atomic bomb, the rise of Hitler, Japan wreaking havoc on China and then on America, all the people killed in the war in the world, etc.

    You are certainly right: We just have to keep slogging along, trying to do our best–which is what people have always done, no matter what era they lived in. MCS

    Comment by Mary S. — October 31, 2010 @ 6:16 pm

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