Nyet, Comrade Jerksky
This is my first post in ages, and I’m glad to be back. Sorry for the absence, but I haven’t been too articulate as of late. But Rico got his word back, and he’s happy about it!
Anyhoo, I’ve been speaking with a friend about “Zen-ing” out and going with the flow. I’m not very mellow in practice, though I try to be in principle. I’ve always found that a specifically Buddhist notion of detachment and/or eventual non-attachment a little too … I dunno. I am not interested in ignoring, let alone denying, my fundamental humanity — I’m as Klingon as I am Vulcan (sorry for that, but everything does relate to movies!). I’m not out to escape samsara, either.
Rather, I muddle through, hoping to learn from experience. But the key for me is to have a memory of the “selective” or “goldfish” variety. I mean that honestly. I also need to explain. If I find anything positive in a bad situation, I’ll hang onto it. But I forcibly eject the bad, and my jettisoning of the negative is often a total erasure….
Usually it’s the specifics, the details that vanish, whilst the overall tone and lesson are retained. I remember my dad was often a jerk, but by “redacting” the details of his jerkhood, I can consign that jerkdom, that jerkosity, to the very gulag where Stalin sent his proscribed functionaries: like the group photos in Pravda so clumsily air-brushed, with formerly essential Politburo members suddenly vanished as if they’d never existed, my memory has distinct and obvious doctored gaps which the vast proletariat of my consciousness just kind of ignores.
But of course, it is necessary for there to be, at some level, an aspect of me which is like a detached Western historian and East Block watcher, who studiously notes every movement of every apparatchik. That serves as the record of a life, and I suppose a life’s underlying text — aware but detached, providing a narrative arc or line-through or historian’s thematic account. When consulted in the proper frame of mind, it can teach the lessons of history so that I don’t repeat it. I can in turn tip my hat to the new constitution, take a bow for the new revolution … and get out my guitar and play, just like every goddamn day, knowing that I won’t be fooled too often.