The Gateway Drug

Cannabis has been proven (not only by modern science, but by thousands of years of human history) to be an effective medicine for many things humanity is plagued with, pain being one of the main ones these days.

Yes, CBD is one of the compounds getting a lot of attention as something that is helping folks. But THC actually plays a very big part in pain relief as well. The problem is, it faces that bane of all middle aged children: A bad reputation!

It’s the compound in Mary Jane that gets you high man. It’s the part of the drug that got saddled with one of the worst parts of adolescence, a nickname. THC is the stuff in Dope that got it the memorable nickname “gateway drug”. And if any 12 year old can tell you, a bad reputation is harder to get rid of than booger on the tip of your finger.

The worst part is, it turns out THC wasn’t the real gateway drug. The real gateway drug it turns out, is and always has been, the pursuit and hoarding of wealth.

invisible

Chronic pain, headaches, muscular issues, and migraines from cervical damage, just plain suck.

If you’re a drug seeking individual, this kind of pain is like a winning lottery ticket. Willy Wonka meets Powerball.

But, if you’re just trying to stay sober, and do life in a clear and lucid manner, pain is a lifetime sentence in the sandals of Sisyphus.

unstable tower

day by day
drags on by
frozen in place
by violent tides
an unstable tower
of promises
skin color
disease
and hope
to heal
or die
but not suffer
after all
the poison is gone
people need love
the rest is loose
and transient
we end up
together

Bop Bop Bop – Bop Bop

I’m just going to put these thoughts down for my own purposes. Predictions for posterity, I guess.

When I run this stuff around in my head, I time-trip and visit each scenario as it plays out, including each possibility in the multiverse of choices that branch off from it. It’s exhausting. Anyway, when I run this stuff through in my head here is what I keep coming up with. (Yes, I keep… Meaning I have done this a few times. I’m in quarantine like everyone else, so I might as well time-travel.)

Pundits and talking heads keep saying Donald Trump is going to fade away once he is out of office. I don’t see it, I really don’t.

Here’s the problem -— Some of his followers think he is the great and powerful Q, and then a bunch of other ones that think that he was sent by God as wrecking ball to help clear out the unworthy. And, as we now know, Trump will do anything to stay out of jail.

When those things get tossed around together, they add up to “He’s not going to just slink off into obscurity”. I just don’t see it. Not him, maybe someone normal, but not him.

One Hand

Like a lot of people, I have been looking at a lot of heartbreaking videos. I just don’t understand that much hate. I really don’t.

I can understand a verbal explanation of it, sure. But I can’t wrap my heart around what it takes to twist your soul into so many knots that the only explanations you will accept anymore are based on the idea that everything around you is really a deception. A place where secret societies pull all the strings, and where everyone wants to make everything about you and your life irrelevant. A place where the hope you have is that if we can somehow just eliminate all of the physical differences we find objectionable in people, then we can some sort of Super Utopian Alpha society.

But that kind of hate doesn’t just go away once it gets what it wants. Things would just end up playing out like all of the nasty parts of American history, but in reverse and way worse. Once they got rid of the first (and darkest) layer of people, you know they would suddenly discover some other social group to degrade. Bullies just look for new victims. And then who knows… But, left-handed people may want to quietly remain on notice.

Personally, I could not, and do not want to live in a world like that. And like a lot of people, there doesn’t feel like much we can do right now. We voted already. And we can’t fight this with violence. That’s exactly what they want. But there is one thing we can do. And they’ll never see it coming.

The next time we see someone that you really don’t like right now, say something nice to them. Something that reminds them know that we are all still neighbors. Do it for no other reason than that it is in forgiving that we are forgiven.

Words matter right now

This isn’t over. This wasn’t a protest. This wasn’t a riot. This was, and still is a bloody coup attempt.

Wednesday’s attack on the nation’s capital was designed to negate the presidential election results, and disabled the current and the incoming government. People were purposely killed. Many law enforcement agents helped to enable the breach. Democratically, and currently sitting members of the House and Senate supported it, and engaged in disinformation tactics to further it. The President who initiated it is still in power for 11 more days. His VP refuses to invoke the 25th Amendment. The leader of the Senate is hinting that he would not be calling the Senate back in session for any sort of second impeachment. The siege of the Capitol Building that was very likely meant to remove specific people in the line of succession. And 99% of the people who stormed the seat of democracy are still free to plan, and to act.

I just drove by a gun store near my house here in NH, and the normally sparsely populated parking lot was packed. There is a longer line to get into the gun shop than there is at the grocery store down the street.

But, news outlets keep telling me that it was just a protest. And politicians tell me that these people are just trying to protect their toilet paper supply. I’m sure it’s fine, right?

Emptiness

One of the exercises that I found particularly helpful when discussing the concept of ’emptiness’ in Buddhism, was trying to figure out at what point a car is a car.

For example: We have a car in front of us…

If I remove the engine, and the leave the rest of the body, frame, etc., is that still a car?

What if I then take off all of the doors, is it still a car now?

Or how about if I took out all the wiring and stuff, is that still a car then?

You can see how the exercise goes. At some point the realization began to set in that all things are all composite. We ourselves, are not singular. And we really are not separate from other beings. We are all made of of countless other components, and those things themselves are made up of even smaller elements. You can follow this logic as far down as you like, ultimately splashing around in the quantum foam like are in a 50’s surf movie.

But what if applied this logic to other things? Like what happened yesterday at the capital.

At what point does a protest become a riot?

At what point does riot become sedition?

At what point does a sedition become an insurrection?

At what point does insurrection become civil war?

What I have discovered is that rarely are there clear lines showing separation in nature. We tend only to be able to identify things after a new form has become apparent to us. In Buddhism, I have found this very humbling. When it comes to public safety, things get very messy and dangerous very quickly.

Rigor Morals

I published the following post on November 5, 2016. I thought I would republish it today.

It’s clear that I have been unsually quiet over the last couple of weeks leading up to this election. While everyone else is doubling down with only days to go, I’ve done the opposite.

I’m fried. Burnt out. Frazzled.

I tend to think through things to see their logical end. When it comes to this election there are really only two possible outcomes since no third party candidate is even within shouting distance of being able to pretend they have a chance. And so, as everyone in the world has noted, there is going to be a President Clinton or a President Trump. Except that’s not the two outcomes I have been thinking about…

If Donald Trump loses, his supporters have hinted, or just plain came out and stated, that they will revolt. And since many of these same people are also armed and more than willing to use their weapons on someone who isn’t American-looking enough for them (or just give them the beat down anyway, as has been happening more and more lately), there is no reason not to take this threat extremely seriously.

Of course, if Donald Trump wins the same people have also made it just as clear that they will take the results as a mandate to get to right to work cleaning up the country and ridding it of anyone who doesn’t look, act, or sound American enough for them.

In other words, the same crap is going to happen regardless of who wins or loses. We are virtually guaranteed of increased violence against certain people based on their looks, their faith, the way they talk, and even what they think.

And so, what I have been musing on is not the election so much as the results. The political pundits have been honing their ability to divide people over the last few decades. The idea has always been to identify the differences between “us and them” and amplify it until people feel that the choice is no longer just political, but existential as well. The resulting divide has already harmed families and friendships, and caused irrevocable damage at the cost of a swing vote or two. But because these political operatives live their lives in this cesspool of divisiveness, they’ve forgotten that everyday people don’t. As a result, voters don’t see things as “just politics” anymore. What was once a “get out the vote effort”, has now become a road map for lasting civil strife in America.

I started this blog with far more noble intentions than bashing on an orange fascist. I wanted to explore the similarities that we all have, deep down. I wanted to unify, not divide. Instead, I too followed the same tainted partisan schisms, in an effort to somehow keep hate at bay. Only, you can’t stop hate, you can really only increase understanding. Understanding leads to familiarity, and with familiarity comes caring and concern. Until we can finally recognize that we are all humans seeking the same basic needs (clean air and water, food, clothing and shelter, as well as safety and security), then we will listen to the political static. We will follow the hyperbolic narrations that are designed to turn our neighbors into enemies, and politicians into saviors.

Unless we are willing to cross the street and shake hands with our political opponents, we are most assuredly heading into a dark period of our history. It will really all hinge on how many kind acts we can perform for one another, regardless of politics. If we can’t do that, then the election itself is meaningless. Hate has already won.