Marxism and Buddhism. The reason I bring this up is because of something in Be Here Now:
My partner was reading it and pointed out that it’s bullshit on an important level (if not every level). The reason hippies (I’ll read that as “anticapitalist agitators”) exist is because capitalism requires people to be oppressed. It hired police to achieve that oppression. The cause of all this lies in the violence inherent in capitalism. That’s what creates this duality, not bad vibes.
(That is, people don’t want to work 12-hour days building pyramids. People who object to building pyramids for pharaohs are Dass’s “hippies”–those whom the pharaoh then chooses to incentivize into keeping the “hippies” in order, those become the police. It’s not a damned thing about the laborer’s “vibe” that causes the cop to enter the scene. It’s a combination of the pharaoh’s realistic concern that his pyramid’s not gonna get built and the fact that he has the power/wealth to convince people to come use violence to see that it does. A society in which some have the power to require others to build pyramids for them–a class society–that’s the source of the police. Sure weren’t any fucking cops back in hunter-gatherer days, no matter how freaked out anyone got.)
There IS a connection between capitalism and the lack of mindful living on this planet. Capitalism alone, the stress of find-a-career-or-live-in-fear-of-starvation it generates in most people alone, that may not be enough to have made so many people living not-in-the-moment–but what is is the mass distraction machine we’ve built to deal with the pain of that fear and all the other pains that capitalism causes.
I was going back over old stuff I’d written and I think I pinpointed what I originally meant when I started talking about “art for art’s sake.” I think what I mean by the phrase is producing art with the hopes of material success; producing art with the hopes of oneself becoming “great” as a result; producing art that will be used to distract people and not to help educate them, to help them improve their lives. Art to be consumed where the consumption of it is an end in itself.
The title of this article and its explanation have been sticking with me. It seems like something we can build on:
“The human species must acknowledge that any future that allows us to retain our humanity will jettison capitalism, patriarchy and white supremacy – and be based on an ecological worldview.”