Summer is over. It happens a bit later in South Florida than for everybody else. Before I move on in this entry, I should give everyone my public service announcement:

Matrix Revolution sucks.

Anyone can feel free to answer this question: Why do humans create nonsense? Why do they consume nonsense? Why do they construct their entire lives around nonsense? Why am I talking about “humans” like other sentient species on this intergalactic cesspool?

To answer the last question first, I use “humans” in the Buddhist sense that there are realities above and below our awareness existing simultaneously and as real as we understand real to be. Below humans are hungry ghosts, animals and Hell beings. Above humans are ashuras, devas and gods. Sometimes we can see into the proximate realities. We all know some hapless, blighted souls that in harmless and harmful ways aren’t but a few degrees above an animal. We can observe the violence of the animal world just by looking out the window. There’s probably some moth ready to die at the jaws of a lizard. In contrast, just about everyone has encountered an ashura at some point. These are beings with an uncanny good fortune in spiritual and material wealth. They are servants of devas and gods. To sum up this “weird” paragraph, reality is exponentially more complicated in Buddhism than in the cut-n-dry McReligion world of “mainstream” faith. This paragraph doesn’t really begin to describe it.

Back to the nonsense question. People create it, they consume it, they live it. Why? One of the higher goals of a Buddhist is to achieve an “empty” mind. Empty of desire. Empty of fantasy. Empty of expectation. Empty of useless information. Empty of anything that will impair judgment and distort reality. That includes drugs, alcohol and counter-productive relationships. Buddhism isn’t easy and makes the McReligions look liberal. At least Jesus drank wine, right?

To allay concerns of moral conservatism, I’ll point out that the central code of behavior in Buddhism is called the “Eight-Fold Path”, not the “Eight-Fold Commandments.” Wander off the path if you must. Karma is still keeping score.

I think that when times get tough, we create fantasies that allegedly get us through. When we get alarmed by how utterly boring life can be, we turn on the TV or radio. The “sets my mood” justification is the most popular rationalization in America. When we get fed up with how life is going, we create expectations to justify our anger and give us a struggle because we’re bored. When we get any combination of the above, we have two choices: let *everything* go or force happiness through drugs/alcohol/porn/[insert your personal addiction here].

Forced happiness, logically, isn’t really happiness and happiness in excess is as bad as depression in my book. Happiness comes from keeping expectations in line with reality no matter what the situation is. In the areas of money and sex, most people are vulnerable to being held hostage by their desires and fantasies. I know I am. That’s an indisputable fact. Money comes along and it deserves respect. I have no trouble here. Unfortunately, it’s the pussy that can throw me *way* off course and requires particular vigilance on making sure expectations and reality are squared.

Forced happiness is a nonrenewable resource. It usually costs money and destroys you, or at least permanently sets you back from where you could be with a clean mind, before you can do anything about it. It doesn’t have to be chemical. It can be anything–reading, travel, work. Whatever you let possess you.

All this is interesting but it provokes a question: Why bother? If happiness is going to be this damn difficult, what’s wrong with carrying vodka, snorting a rail or smoking a doob? The answer has two parts: True happiness doesn’t make you ugly and true happiness is free. It just takes practice.

If you think I’m overstating my happiness thesis, just flip to CNN. Combined [No carrier]

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