Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 05/03/2021

Demanding Much

I hadn’t heard of Christopher Lasch before I stumbled across the quote above but his work seems to speak to the particular stage of devolution which we’re currently living through. When I step back and consider it, it seems awfully strange to have grown up believing that I was entitled to everything my heart desired without even having to work for it.

It may very well be that this is the nature of all unenlightened beings: to desire without limits or reason. But, I would imagine that past cultures and civilizations did a better job of disabusing their children of these dangerous delusions than we do today. Still, it is bound to get worse before it gets better so there’s no use in lamenting.

So, what is the point of this? I’m not quite sure, really. Given the narcissistic tendencies of all of us and the fact that our contemporary society propagates and sustain itself by feeding into these impulses I have no hope that things will improve in the short term. People are too selfish and self-concerned to act overlong for the benefit of another. Hell, we can’t even convince people to wear a mask on the off chance that you may not sicken a stranger. And yet, for all of my talk I realize that I’m infected by the same defilements.

During my morning run I saw, time and again, that I immediately judged everyone upon whom I laid my eyes. This one is fast. He’s stupid. He’s slow. She’s got a nice butt. It was truly disturbing but, rather than trying to push these things away, I wanted to watch as they came up, linger and then were replaced by the next impression. I know that it takes years, lifetimes of devoted practice to eventually see through one’s latent defilements but the speed and strength of the torrent is awesome and terrifying.

How can I expect better of others when I am struggling to simply keep my head above the flood waters? At best, I can see where my mind of going wrong and sell not to act on these impulses but it is a struggle against the currents.


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