Daily Archives: December 21, 2006

Isn’t That Something?

Haunted by a hurricane that made it clear
who does and doesn’t matter;
you learn to keep your mouth shut, though the beer you’re drinking
tastes like muddy water;
You’re told just pretend that nothing’s changed
because illusions tend to shatter;
don’t make a clatter.
Suffer in silence.

Listening to a government that makes it plain
it has no truth worth telling;
You learn there’s not much difference whether it’s the left or right
that does the yelling.
You’re told to play along, to keep us strong,
’cause that’s the only dream worth selling;
No shadows need dispelling.
Believe the nonsense.

Reading about hate that doesn’t sleep, but seems to spring
from out of nowhere;
you learn to figure out who makes the rules, but says
they aren’t obliged to play fair;
You’re told your side is right, the side of might, thanks to a blessing
that you won’t share;
Nobody wins, but who cares?
You look good dying.

Watching for the stormclouds once again;
another war, another season.
you learn to test the wind, to judge the spin
and it’s end effect on reason.
You’re told to shut your mouth, that any doubt
is ample evidence of treason.
Silence is more pleasing;
there’s no point trying.

Haunted by a hurricane that made it clear
not many can be trusted;
you learn to seek the holy in the strangest places,
where the world is rusted;
You’re told, keep a low profile, watch your step,
or you might end up getting busted;
People would be disgusted.
Keep it in private.

Listening to a radio that makes it plain
it’s more than sound they’re pumping;
you learn to find your own songs, without caring
if your single isn’t jumping;
you’re told no one will listen, if it’s not the same old thing
the speaker’s thumping;
Now, isn’t that something?
Some kind of bullshit.

21 DEC 2006

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Dear Kleenex

As of late, there’s been a commercial advertising your products that runs a little something like this …

A man with a shaven head (not tonsured, but completely shaven), wearing maroon robes very similar in style to those worn by the Dalai Lama, is shown during his daily activities to be careful about not harming the natural world around him. He rights a beetle so it can go on its way. He checks his steps to make sure no creatures are harmed by his footfalls. And so on.

Then, he plucks a tissue from a Kleenex box and blows his nose. There is a voice-over reminding us all that Kleenex tissue kills millions of germs. Germs, of course, are living creatures too. This puts a very worried look on the man’s face. I say man, but quite obviously he is supposed to be some kind of monk, most likely a follower of an Eastern religion, particularly as he has been acting with a Jain-like level of non-violence, and even sports a set of japa beads, not a rosary.

But all is not lost, the voice over assures us, saying “Thank goodness for forgiveness. Thank goodness for Kleenex.”

However, there is a bit of a problem here. So far as I know, and I have been studying Eastern religions and the myriad of paths that preach non-violence and “do no harm”, none of the sects to which the monk might belong have what you might call a “Doctrine of Forgiveness”. That is, I believe, a Christian notion. Where paths preach non-violence and non-aggression, there is no forgiveness, regardless of how small or petty the infraction may seem. There is payment due. It is called Karma. It is also, in some strange circles, referred to as a law of physics: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. To coin a phrase, what comes around, goes around. If you truly believe in non-aggression and non-harm, you take personal responsibility for your every action, and do not seek (or expect) forgiveness. You expect a bill, and you are prepared to pay it. Even if it is mere, lowly germs who have given their lives to afford you better health, you are inclined to thank them for the sacrifice.

As one non-Christian practitioner who thinks that the beliefs of others should not be parodied out of ignorance, particularly to sell products, I think this oversight (and I’d like to think that’s all it is) is nothing to sneeze at. But it certainly has inclined me to purchase Puffs instead.

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