One man's thoughts while watching the Hare Krishnas.
What was more interesting to me than the lectures was watching the people watching their guru. There was that expression again, like a pack of chihuahuas wagging their tails trying to please their master. Obedience. Submission.
But I get it. Life is hard. The world is confusing. It’s all a big mess and then you die. People lie. Friends flake out. Nothing makes any sense.
You find ways to cope. You drown your sorrows in booze or smoke them away in a sinsemilla haze. Or you try to fuck your way to happiness. Or buy enough stuff to keep the gnawing fear of disease and death at bay for a little while. Or you try to numb yourself with meditation.
Because maybe there’s no fucking point anyway. Maybe even if you found The Answer, you wouldn’t like it because it wouldn’t comfort you. Maybe lies are better. Just live in a bleary fog of cheery falsehoods till you croak. At least you’ll be happier than the people who face the truth and find out it all sucks.
I really do have total sympathy for anyone who chooses that route. I’m not being sarcastic at all.
Recently a friend of mine asked me, “What’s so great about the truth?” It’s a damned good question. It stopped me in my tracks. I mean, what is so great about the truth? Does it even matter? I’m still gonna die even if I know what’s real. Why not at least be happy for the short time I’m here by believing in some comforting untruth? As the Rutles said, “Did you ever get the feeling that the truth is less revealing than a downright lie?”
But hiding your head in the sand has bigger consequences. Maybe not so much for the individual, but for the collective.
For example, I have a friend from high school who finds tremendous comfort in the belief that Jesus loves us all. Which is fine. Except his faith in Christ also leads him to believe that Global Warming is a hoax. His great grandchildren will suffer terribly for the lies that comforted him. But he’ll be gone by then, so that’s their problem.
To paraphrase Philip K. Dick, the truth is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away. We owe it to our friends and our descendants not to comfort ourselves with jolly fabrications.
Or, as a consequence of your beliefs, you listen to your guru and send
your children to a boarding school far from home and
do not give them age appropriate medical care.
Or become a burden to tax paying Americans because your guru is tax exempt
and we support him indirectly.