Friday, January 10, 2014

Just Say No

Which means I'm turning into myself.  Cool!

It also means that the people I spend the most time with are turning into me.  Even cooler!

Some of the comments under the place on Facebook where a friend of mine found this atrocious meme are sensible -- other people besides me noticed that it would imply that I also have an effect on others, for example.  But those had their downside, for example: "But, if you become like the people you spend time with, who isn't to say, they become more like you. Maybe they can learn to live their lives drama free."  Which expresses a central assumption of this meme and others like it, that "you" never create "drama," only other people do.  In my experience and observation, that's not true.

Just in passing, another friend found a meme captioned with a saying attributed to the mystic Meister Eckhart, "If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough."  I can't find an actual source for it (though Oprah likes it), so I presume it's bogus.  But even if Eckhart said it, I disagree.  It expresses the worst abusive aspects of spirituality, where the Lord chastiseth and the devotee thanks him for the stripes.  At the very mildest, believers need to learn to say "No" to their gods.

Seeing what intelligent people consider spiritual wisdom is generally disheartening to me.  I remind myself that I don't know what they've been through -- heavy addictions, in some cases; chronic illnesses and pain, in others; abuse, in still others; and all of the above for yet others -- and what they find useful to ease their pain, but something still seems so wrong here.  In particular, I wonder how well these rabbit pellets of affirmation actually work.  Are people really happier, healthier, saner, after years of repeating these cliches to themselves?  I'm not persuaded.

Then I consider how lucky I've been, how good life has been to me so far.  But I can't ignore how unlucky many people have been.  Should I thank a deity for sparing me what it has inflicted on others?  Rather, I think I should upbraid it for its cruelty, callousness, sadism.  That, I'd say, would be one better prayer than "Thank you," if one must pray at all.