An Astoundingly Idiotic Species

Human beings “make” a novel (i.e., “new”) coronavirus, either through zoonotically hastening the crossover from animals (not likely, according to the current evidence, since no intermediate serological host-community has yet been located anywhere) or in a lab doing well-meaning gain-of-function research (more likely, given the highly advanced capabilities of this virus, at “birth” in the human realm), and then accidentally release it, then watch their lives devastated, and then spend trillions of dollars to contain this mistake they made, producing and wasting millions of tons of garbage for masks, swabs, protective gear that is used once only, and endless tubing and needles and other equipment that must be produced for hospitals to ventilate the lungs that the ingenious human beings themselves made sick in the first place, all of the gigatons of CO2 involved in producing the plastics that partially help to contain this thing they have created, the billions of dollars invested to produce, package, and deliver these vaccines, the billions and billions of syringes and vials that will be tossed away after just one use, and all of the production that has gone into producing them and keeping them sterile – – the entire dizzying madness of effort and resources expended to overcome a manifestly self-created harm — and human beings, with just a few weeks of moderation in the suffering, immediately clamor to gather together in large groups merely to watch 10 men kick a ball of air back and forth on a field, and re-inflame the whole exponential hall-of-mirrors knock-on through this insane super-spreading behavior, and all of the attenuating sufferings and burdens on healthcare workers and redoubled wasting of resources that naturally follow from that — gatherings which serve no purpose but elevating temporarily the viewers’ flickering neurochemical experiences for the 1-2 hours the “game” is played, driven harder by the pumping of consumeristic behavior, benefitting economically while it destroys ecologically, and producing just more of the exponential spread of this virus so much effort is invested in attempting to slow down, and hopefully to stop.

This news story in the BBC is a cosmic face-palm, if ever there was one. As if melting our own biosphere were not news enough — in real time — that there is something seriously wrong with the way we live with this fragile gift given us called “human life”.

When Zen Master Seung Sahn used to say, “Human beings have no meaning, no reason, and no choice,“ people used to think he was being unduly harsh. Actually, that entire teaching phrase was his way of expressing the cosmic absurdity of each one of us having come into the world without having made any sort of choice or determination on our own, simply compelled into this glorious dilemma of birth/aging/sickness/death —existence — through the actions of two people deciding for us, thereby causing each one of us to face a meat grinder gauntlet of experiences leading eventually to our own unpredictable (yet foreseeable) extinction. He was simply pointing to that fascinating yet uninterrogated joke of each of our arising into this life. But it has meanings that touch such matters as the situation we are involved in in this pandemic.

But he wasn’t waxing only darkly: The flipside to this teaching he expressed to us: “But if you practice meditation, and return to your True Nature, then your life has big meaning, big reason, and big choice to save all beings from suffering.“

The point is, we need to put some effort into looking inside. Creating and chasing after these meaningless, ephemeral spectacles – – especially on a mass scale – – are not only the symptoms of our mental disease; they are actually some of the causes of it never being addressed. It simply blows my mind to contemplate that, in this season where endless wildfires, drought, more intense tropical storms, and even a massive fire in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico — man-made fire in the middle of the fucking SEA, for Chrissakes! — the amount of greenhouse gas-trapping jet fuel expended into the upper reaches of the atmosphere for all of the people to move around in planes to attend these silly, nonsensical, meaningless neurochemistry-manipulating mass sports events would stagger the imagination.

As Dae Soen Sa Nim used to say, whenever a disciple had still not made efforts to correct a flaw in their practice which was preventing them from breaking some pattern, “Well, more suffering is necessary.” Indeed.

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