Responsibility and Ownership

space-1999So here I am in London, England! I plan to spend today finding every record and cd shop this city has. I am particularly in search of Pre-Teen Symphonies by The Velvet Crush, the reissue of New River Head by The Bevis Frond, and Season 2 of Space:1999 on Blu Ray.

Yesterday in Hebden Bridge, I talked about how we are responsible for everything in the universe. This isn’t a metaphor. This is the way things are. That is perhaps the downside of things. It sounds very heavy. Impossible.

The upside is the reason we are responsible for everything. I am responsible for everything in the universe because I own the whole fucking place.

And not just me. You do too. And so does your Aunt Frida, and the guy down at the chippie, and your dog, and that fly in your window. And your window.

The trouble is most of us don’t understand this. You’ve got guys like Donald Trump who think they’re heavy shit because they think they own ~what?~ Trump Tower and a couple steakhouses or whatever he supposedly owns. Or Richard Branson who owns airlines and trains and mobile telephone companies.

On the other side you’ve got a guy living under the bridge around the corner from my apartment in Echo Park who’s been told he owns nothing but a cardboard box and a sweatshirt. Or all the folks in the middle just trying to get by whatever way they can.

What we all don’t realize is that everything is our possession. We have full ownership. And, of course, the converse is true. Everyone and everything in the vast universe owns and possesses us.

Once we can wrap our heads around this, things will be very different for the human species. But we have got a very long way to go.

Sometimes humans try to band together into groups in the hope that we can take on large scale problems that individuals cannot deal with alone. That’s admirable. But it appears to me that we ought to be very careful there.

I distrust organizations in general. This is just me saying what I think. Make of it whatever you want.

Anyhow, I’ve found that often an organization seems to take on a life of its own and has an agenda of its own that might be very different from what even the people who make up that organization really want. It’s fascinating how this happens. It’s as if the organization is a living entity with its own will. A big enough and powerful enough organization can smash even its own members and begin to act against their wishes and against their interests.

Let’s say an organization is formed to solve a specific social ill. What happens when this social ill starts getting solved? Does this become a threat to the organization? How will the organization react? Will it act in the interest of self-preservation rather than in the interest of what it set out to do? Will the organization actually try to preserve itself by creating more of the problems it was intended to solve?

I am asking this. I am not stating it. I’m asking questions. Questions like this feel important to me.

Then there’s the media. And by media I mean left-wing, right-wing, moderate, corporate, social, and all other types of media that exist today.

Independent and “alternative” media appears to me to be just as bad as corporate-controlled mass media. As far as I can see, all of it is driven by hits. By popularity. Hits are everything. It looks to me literally like a popularity contest. This applies to all ends of the spectrum. No one is exempt, as far as I can tell.

How do you get the most hits? Well, that’s easy. You excite people. And how do you excite people? By focusing on the issues that upset them the most. More upset equals more hits.

The faster a media outlet — including an “alternative” or independent one — can report the latest upsetting thing the better. Seconds count! There’s no time to investigate a story. You can get scooped faster than it takes you to do a simple Google search. Research is literally a waste of time in today’s media, especially in today’s independent and social media. Research can kill you in the current market.

The more upsetting the media can make the upsetting thing, the more hits they’re going to get. So it’s the media’s job to get me as upset as it possibly can.

The miracle of the current age is that I can now tailor-make my own upsetting experiences just the way I like them. There is a media outlet available that will provide exactly the kind of upset I personally crave the most. Praise be to Al Gore, Inventor of the Internet!

One step I have taken for myself, that you may choose to ignore, is that I refuse to provide cheap spectacle for the profit of those who wish to exploit me.

This makes my world a little bit smaller and easier to manage. Instead of allowing myself to be manipulated into getting my panties in a twist over things that I cannot personally control, I take a step back and see what needs doing in my own tiny corner of the universe.

This does not mean I no longer care about the big issues. I do care. A lot. Of course, I care. I own the whole fucking universe. How could I possibly not care? Are you kidding me?

But the Brad Warner part of the universe can only do so much. It can only speak to a certain number of people. It can only help in a certain number of things, a limited area. It’s kind of stupid, this Brad Warner thing, and it can’t seem to communicate very clearly no matter how hard it tries. You don’t understand any of what I’m saying, just to give one concrete example. This also puts hard limits on what it can do.

When trying to work beyond that area, the Brad Warner part of the universe can only raise its own blood pressure in a vain effort to try and control what Brad Warner can never hope to control. If, indeed, he can control anything at all. Which is questionable if not downright absurd. Shit. I don’t even know how the software that runs this stupid blog works!

I would never try to tell any other part of the universe, like you, for example, what it should do. What’s the point? It’s all just me looking at myself. And I know how I am. I don’t listen to anyone.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

September 27, 2016 – Wimbledon, London, England – Talk and Q&A

September 29-October 2, 2016 Helsinki, Finland, 4-Day Retreat

October 3, 2016 Turku, Finland, Talk about spirituality and popular culture

October 4-5, Stockholm, Sweden, Talk and 1-Day-Retreat

October 7, 2016 Berlin, Germany Zenlab

October 8-9, 2016 Berlin, Germany 2-Day Retreat

October 11, 2016 Wageningen, Netherlands 12:30pm Workshop at KenKon

October 11, 2016 Wageningen, Netherlands 8:00pm talk Wageningen University, Impulse Building, Ncounter room

October 12, 2016 Brussels, Belgium Talk

October 14, 2016 Munich, Germany, Lecture

October 15-16, 2016 Munich, Germany, 2-Day Retreat

October 18, 2016 Salzburg, Austria

October 23-28, 2016 Benediktushof Meditation Centrum (near Würzburg, Germany) 5-Day Retreat

November 11-13, 2016 Mt. Baldy, California (near Los Angeles) Three Day Retreat

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THERE IS NO GOD AND HE IS ALWAYS WITH YOU is now available as an audiobook from Audible.com as are Hardcore Zen and Sit Down and Shut Up!

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Check out my podcast with Pirooz Kalayeh, ONCE AGAIN ZEN!

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I’ve got a new book out now! Stay up to date on my live appearances and more by signing up for our mailing list on the contact page

ONGOING EVENTS

Every Monday at 7:30pm there’s zazen at Angel City Zen Center (NEW TIME, NEW PLACE!) 1407 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90026 Beginners only!

Every Saturday at 10:00 am there’s zazen at the Angel City Zen Center (NEW PLACE!) 1407 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA, 90026 Beginners only!

These on-going events happen every week even if I am away from Los Angeles. Plenty more info is available on the Dogen Sangha Los Angeles website, dsla.info

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