So Much Effort & Desire
Sometimes I feel like everybody wants to be dictator of the universe. Or at least dictator of their own perceptual well (including their mediated experiences). We can't all be dictators. And even dictators don't always get their way.
In early February 2003, only 37% of Americans felt their country was on the right track.
I've often felt like my country ran off the track completely as it reacted to 9/11/01. Sigh.
But ... another one of them Buddhist insights pumped into my head yesterday, while I experienced several hours of idle sitting at the H. Carl Moultrie I Courthouse here in the District of Columbia.
I'd been called for jury duty. My first time! Jury duty involves lots of idle sitting. Eventually I was excused because I claimed I would not be able to give a "fair and impartial" verdict in a criminal drug possession case. Of course not, I don't think drug possession, even with "intent to distribute", should be a felony. For some reason, allowing the law to chew up people's lives is considered "fair and impartial".
I brought a book about Scrabble called Word Freak. I was reading it slowly. I don't read as quickly as I used to ... I'm often distracted by my environment. My attitude toward books has changed ... I lick them slowly, tasting, savoring, allowing my mind to wander tangentially ... it's something special when I actually finish a book. Occasionally I read a fiction book that pulls me through all the way to the end.
I sat next to a fella who was reading one of them mainstream business-oriented magazines, the type I used to read, back when I subscribed to a lot of worldly magazines. He was reading an article about water supplies in different parts of the world. I suddenly felt, "Who Fucking Cares!" There's absolutely nothing I can do about water supplies in Tanzania.
I'm even feeling that way -- Who Fucking Cares! -- about many of the topics presented in the two Buddhist magazines I get. Some Buddhists seem afflicted by the same Perfect World Syndrome that afflicts both the Christian Right and the Progressive Left (and let's not forget the still-struggling Libertarian Party, and the quixotic Greens).
And, while reading LiveJournals I encounter so much boyfriend-related (or lack-of-boyfriend-related) angst. I guess if your life doesn't revolve around the Perfect World Syndrome then it must revolve around the Perfect Boyfriend Syndrome. Where do people get these ideas from, that there are perfect potential-boyfriends out there, somewhere, hiding?
People try so hard, to imagine their lives as models of perfection, and then to make their imaginations into a reality.
Even worse, they try so hard to make other people's lives into models of perfection.
I found some abandoned magazines in the juror's lounge. I took a break from my book to read an article about a blended family of two adults and four children, each of whom had his or her own computer. The parents had decided to purchase a computer for each child so they wouldn't fight with each other over computer use.
Heh, long ago my parents finally purchased a television for each child so we wouldn't fight with each other over television use. Before that, we tried living with an elaborate system in which each child was allowed to specify one hour of television viewing per day ... except that my older sisters ignored that rule when my parents weren't home, and forced us to watch icky shows like Starsky & Hutch.
I liked Wonder Woman.
Now I never watch television. I don't even own a television.
The article had a sidebar for parents -- Should I Control How My Children Use the Internet?
Apparently a large proportion of parents believe in setting rules about nearly everything their younger humans might want to do. A lot of parents use those filtering programs that try to keep "inappropriate" content away from children's eyes. A lot of parents set arbitrary time limits on computer usage, because they think "too much" time on the computer might be harmful.
People talk about Internet addiction ... and I've occasionally been concerned about my own level of computer usage ... but what we call a "computer" has changed a lot since the first PCs tumbled out of IBM. My computer is now my stereo, my television, my telephone, my post office, my library, and my publisher. Oh, and it plays games :-)
I feel like I can sense how people are programmed now. And most of them have no fucking clue that (1) they are programmed, or (2) they could shed their programming if they wanted to.
But people identify with their programming. People label themselves and then fight vigorously to maintain and retain those labels. Then they try to export those labels to loved ones, friends, and strangers. They wish the entire world would reprogram itself to be just like them.
Why is it so important to "know" what is "good" and what is "evil"? To fight for your own vision of how the world ought to be? It certainly creates a lot of melodrama.
'Tis a lot more interesting than sitting still all day at H. Carl Moultrie I Courthouse ;-)
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