Monday, July 13, 2009

NEW SG ARTICLE: HUG IS THE DRUG

My new Suicide Girls article is up now. It's all about Amma. Or is it?

This will be my final article for Suicide Girls. The management there have succumbed to the pervasive Fear Of The Economy that's going around these days. I'm not really sure why so many management types think that cutting the services people pay for will make their companies more prosperous. It seems a little counter-intuitive to me. But SG has decided to cut all of their columnists. The lack of content in their newswire section may make it a little more difficult to convince the general public they're more than just a T&A website.

It's been wonderful to write for the site. And I'm really grateful to the folks there for letting me have a space to say what I wanted to say. My editors there have all been terrific. Helen Jupiter, who hired me, Erin Broadley who took over and finally Nicole Powers who looked like she was finally going to get the newswire back to where it once had been. I'm also thankful to Missy and Sean who made the whole thing possible. No one ever censored me there or told me what I could and could not say, which is more than I can say for some other publishers I've worked for in the past.

I'm currently trying to come up with a way to do the same thing I was doing for SG elsewhere. Much as it may seem otherwise, I really did put a lot of time, effort and energy into each of those articles. It was good to actually get paid for working so hard. Anyone who knows a place that may want to be the new home for my stuff, shoot me an e-mail at spoozilla@gmail.com.

63 comments:

Blake said...

First!

Rob said...

How 'bout writing for SFGate.com? You, Mark Morford... Perfect!

Patrick Smith said...

The problem is our economy is a negative sum game (big time over simplification, but that's not the point).
There's alway more hunger, more need and the money you have is worth less every day. It's almost designed to create scarcity.

Which leaves businesses in a situation where they're loosing the game even when they are doing everything right.

You put people in that situation, where there is no winning strategy, and they will stop being rational.

I mean, if they cut costs enough, they can make money without actually selling anything, right?

z said...

Sorry to hear that, Brad. Your column was the only thing that made me visit SG (nothing against teh boobies, just not my thing). Best of luck going forward and all that stuff.

z said...

Oh, and this:

"Our essential Oneness and our essential separation are manifestations of the same thing, which is neither oneness nor separation."

QFT.

Rick said...

Nothing lasts forever. It was a good gig.

Anonymous said...

"I'm not really sure why so many management types think that cutting the services people pay for will make their companies more prosperous. It seems a little counter-intuitive to me."

Umm.. I think they are keeping the services that people pay for.. Your column was free but they charged money to scope out all the girls.

Rick said...

The beginning of the article reminded me of the movie, A Christmas Story.

Anonymous said...

Brad, Here is an idea. Get together with the SG people and publish a book called the "The Collected Suicide Girls Columns." Put LizaRose on the cover in full lotus and you'll sell a bunch..

Anonymous said...

Well at least we may be treated to better quality pieces on this site now. Sorry to hear about your sg gig being lost. Maybe you could pose nude for Tricycle mag or something?

Anonymous said...

great article brad!

Lee said...

Damn. It's going to be a lot harder to justify my SuicideGirls membership to my girlfriend from now on.

In all seriousness though, I did sign up there after reading your column, and deciding there was enough other interesting and worthwhile content to justify the cost.

A fairly short sighted move on SuicideGirls part. Oh well... Nothing lasts.

Anonymous said...

Brad said:
"the events of September 11, 2001. A handful of people were able to cause a level of destruction and havoc that had previously taken the efforts of an entire nation."

*sigh*

Anonymous said...

Brad
Love the way you give us ' nuuggies' and rough up our wittle 'rambo and bambi' minds and send us on our way with improved posture

I read your stuff and can only say Thanks, I needed that!

Mysterion said...

Buy stock, pay a broker a commission. Sell stock, pay a broker a commission.

Customers, not stock, are a broker's assets. Stock is only the vehicle that carries the broker's shingle. Customers carry money.

Employees are looked upon as a liability and not an asset. Income is from "out there" while expenses are all line items. Cut all the line items and "it" becomes 100% profit - in theory. Nobody to answer phones, nobody to turn the crank of industry, nobody with an income to buy your stuff - oops, that last part doesn't quite work.

So running a business is a bit like sitting Zazen. One must balance production with sales.

And, one must employee as many people as the company can afford.

I have a friend who figures out that his multi-million dollar company is operating at peak performance when hiring ONE MORE employee will erase profit and reducing staff ONE MORE will hurt productivity and/or market share. For a couple of years after the .gone bust, the CEO went without pay and there was NO ROI for inverters. But the company survived.

The next few years are "just get by" years. Do not look for an economic recovery of any magnitude in 2009 or 2010 in CA. I doubt it will happen.

SLUMP in Japan

Anonymous said...

"the events of September 11, 2001. A handful of people were able to cause a level of destruction and havoc that had previously taken the efforts of an entire nation."

Really bad example. A proper investigation was never done. Whether you believe the theories or not, the public was given garbage for an explanation. Read the commission report. It's a sad joke. When someone parrots the official story it's really a sign of ignorance and lack of any desire for understanding; the television crowd.

Jinzang said...

Love, hate, and compassion are just words and you are free to use them any way you want. But the more traditional definition says that love is the wish that the loved person be happy. Hate is the wish that they should suffer. And compassion is the wish that their sufferings should be relieved. And in the more traditional view, love should be limitless, given to all regardless of how they feel about you. This attitude is expressed in the meditation on the four supreme abodes (brahma viharas).

Your more metaphysical interpretation of love and hate subsumes them under wisdom. That is, seeing things as they are not one or separate. And compassion becomes the activity of wisdom. Which is a problem, because the cultivation of love and compassion is left out of your practice, as it so often seems to happen in Zen. There's more to life than meditation and we spend more time off the cushion than on. In my view the cultivation of love and compassion is a way to make practice an all day affair.

Anonymous said...

His interpretation makes perfect sense to me. You can't go around loving and helping people all the time because of a spiritual ideal saying we are all one. You also have to focus on yourself which would be absolutely impossible if you only focused on the absolute (non-relative). He's using the terms love and hate pretty loosly here, to represent emptiness and form, or relative and absolute. So if you are going around only hugging and stuff you are stuck in the absolute, which in my experience leads to feeling like shit because you haven't focused on yourself enough. All things in moderation.

Anonymous said...

Anonymi 2:19 and 5:19pm

Thank you for keeping 9/11/01 events in the forefront...
But still, it only took a 'handful of people' no matter how you parse it--Ok, ok a really BIG handful, but still a small number relatively speaking.
How all those involved could keep their activities under wraps--well ask the 'handful of people involved in JFK's assassination.
such coups are regular events in history, and the rest of us live around them, live through them, live beside them, live in spite of them.

Part of the issue may very well be the imbalance of love and hate Brad touches on in his latest (and alas last) SG article: we love nationalism (ours) and hate others'.

When these two are balanced, at least in my limited experience of when it feels that that has happened for me, I end up doing 'the right thing' whether I 'like' or 'dislike' the person(s) involved. My behavior is without favoritism or prejudice.

I find Brad's take on this refreshing.
Feelings tend to sway our actions and those who tout 'facts' as the basis for action have found an end run around the stickiness of feelings.
The right thing to do is evident something beyond the feelings and the facts we might proffer as the 'reason' for doing it.

Mothra said...

50 years after Pearl Harbor, there are still unanswered questions and serious doubts.

Several times a year, I meet with a research group in the Henry C. Clausen Memorial library and debate stuff. He was one of those 'third eye' guys.

I still say it was Godzilla that did 9/11.

Anonymous said...

Hey you could always be a guest writer on treeleaf!

Hapi said...

hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

Really said...

Very enjoyable article, Brad. I do hope you find a home for your more regular, shorter pieces. You're writing well, imho.

BUT - referencing the good ol Grateful Dead as an example of escapist, fluffy loveliness, presented in an atmosphere contrived (that was the implication) to engender feelings of brotherhood and warmth...well, you went too far, bro.

Much of what the GD did was very 'challenging', often deliberately unpleasant. Remember, they were - in the early developmental days certainly - trying to communicate values and experiences found on acid trips; often very disturbing experiences, leading to much questioning and doubt. And generally misrepresented by (your) punk generation as naive love-peacism. I was there, and it was much more than a cartoon flower power hug-in.

I believe you when you say you don't hate the GD and their 'heads', or phish for that matter. Just don't go stereotyping em.

Mind you, I don't live in the USA, or indeed in so CA, where, if the stereotype in my head is to be trusted, elderly and not-so-elderly dope-ravaged dead-heads hug, bestow blessings and grin at anything that moves. So I kinda know what you mean ;-)

But, aside from the cultural baggage and drug-enhanced silliness that has accrued, what the GD achieved musically is one of the towering achievements of our so excellent western civilization. Honest. Don't knock it, or fail to understand it, unless you're prepared for a righteous backlash from outraged Deadheads. Some of us are mean. And we know where you live.

floating_abu said...

Jinzang said: the cultivation of love and compassion is left out of your practice, as it so often seems to happen in Zen.

As my teacher said, genuine Zen practice, which encompasses zazen - if practiced genuinely - cannot help but lead to compassion.

True love, true compassion. Words which are probably oft misused, misquoted, misunderstood - but it doesn't mean doesn't exist.

Thankyou, Jinzang, for your insights as always and if our Zen schools are not bringing up students in this way then I am sorry.

_/|\_

floating_abu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
floating_abu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
floating_abu said...

Brad: What we need is also hate?
No, it's not.

The nectar of Dharma, which is genuine love, dissolves the edge of hatred and separation. It is not an egoic state of bliss or non-functioning or imagined hippy love - it is grounded, it is real and it is human. To each instinct, we must open our eyes, but not follow. This is what is meant by not denying hate, but this is not being owned by hate, not being misled by ill-will - anymore. The genuine bliss of Dharma can only come from the real practice - not a faux practice. We must submit to every desire but not be subsumed by it. We must, as genkaku says, pay attention and take responsibility. Hatred is not the way of the Buddha.
Be aware yes, do not deny yes, but also -- do not be tricked.

The real ground of Dharma is compassion. The limitless of the Buddhas is true love for all beings.

Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why should there be balance between love and hate. Hate can only be based on fear and ingorance. So should we also have a balance between fear and courage, and balance betweem wisdom and ingorance.

I understand that by hate you mean separation, but I can't see how hate follows from separation. Can't you just say that there needs to be balance of separation and oneness?

Really said...

Floating and anon -
So you guys never hate? I'm not talking about what you'd like your wonderful perfect self to be, but how it actually is. You never have momentary states of revulsion, anger, resentment, hatred? If, like me, you do, then does it not make sense to accept it, understand it, rather than make efforts to eliminate it for all time?

If you're aiming to banish from yourself all traces of 'hate'and replace them with 'love' and 'compassion', well...good luck with that.

If you're a naturally placid kinda person, you won't experience too much hate - but you'll likely experience some. If you're a naturally excitable, reactive kinda person, you may quite often feel hatred towards things and others. But that people generally experience hate, as well as love can't be denied. It's one of them facts of life. It's how things are. the concepts "hate" and "love" are simply recognitions of aspects of the world we live in. Which is not to say that all is lost. It is possible to balance our actions. That is something we can do. We may even, after a while, feel less hate. But, to quote Floating, 'the real ground of dharma' is just this in front of us. All of it, not just the nice stuff.

Anonymous said...

hey brad,

here's your next assignment:

take some ayahuasca,
and report back.
good luck!

Anonymous said...

for Mothra...
"Day of Deceit"
by
Robert Stinnett

Anonymous said...

we are change

Thing 2 said...

>>"hate" and "love" are simply recognitions of aspects of the world we live in.

Hate and love are not aspects of the [real] world, they are aspects of thinking. In that regard they are false. No action "is" hate or "is" love.

'kay it may sound sappy, but perhaps people confuse "love" with "being in the flow of things without thinking".

I think if we stop making good and bad, love and hate, etc... by thinking, thinking, thinking, we can relax into "the flow of things without thinking" which is quite neutral but could be mistaken for "love" & "compassion" as people try to label it something.

Anonymous said...

hugs are nice

but

torture is wrong

although i'd pay good money to see
Jesse Ventura waterboard Dick Cheney

Anonymous said...

9/11?
It was the French!

Matthew Tripp said...

The wheel of Buddhist terms poster Velcro modular wall mural game. Doctoral dissertation for philosophy, title: The Interpenetration of Buddhist Practice and Classroom Teaching.

PARASITIC SPECIES INFESTATION alien robot telescope spaceship: audiobook first few tracks are good, PALE BLUE DOT as we transition to a knowledge based global society

as computing power increases exponentially and ubiquitous web enabled sensors allow for immersion in context relevant buddhist or ethics perspective, national broadband plan...

www.dharmaprinting.com augmented reality sociology subject index and table of contents Chinese military intelligence genius clones life energy word abacus sustainability transmission measurement context mapping twitter.com/globalcide is me Google for EXTINCTCULTURE please let me know what you think about this topic www.computer.org/pervasive (FOLDING@HOME and BIONIC software's, engineering 450 million new species to make deserts habitable or telepathic ecosystem maintenance) autodesk inventor prototyping software for genetics use the audio book list on audibles.com to build course of life coaching training young orphan people to be CIA certified ethical hackers download free at nowtorrents.com because if the current post world war 2 education system was meant to produce factory workers (not critical thinking curriculum video from best teacher nationally then teachers answer questions and do research while the kids watch, pause for Q+A, the videos podshifter software for iTunesU ) how much worse is this continuation of using the bible koran instead of critical mass ecosystem dynamics physics logistics?

google for flashcard database

subliminal education psychological profiling HDTV prenhall.com/dabbagh/

MIT OCW designing your life. The art of war flashcard deck, wikipedia article audio book the 48 laws of power... RAW stem cells movies: Eagle EYE, Minority Report, (gps and audio recording + all video survelance to DVR on web for all probation and parole ankle monitors, put more people on them and use software to monitor them, the probation or parolee pays for the ankle monitor and then gives it back to the probation office then the next probation pays for it again, thus buying another one) broadcom is makeing new version of these chips every two months now GPS + Bluetooth + WiFi + FM combo chip)
audio + video security DVR in juvinile prisons with audiobooks streaming leave the headphones you buy behind for the next inmate

lifehack.org/articles/productivity/the-ultimate-student-resource-list.html

selfmadescholar.com/b/self-education-resource-list

web 2.0 directories: ziipa.com and go2web20.net USE THE TAGS cloud, also lifehacker.com and lifehack.org SHARE 99ebooks.blogspot.com

youtube.com/homeproject

Thing 1 said...

And the Michael Barden ("Bardy") award for most cogent and well laid out arguement on Hardcore Zen goes to.........Matthew Tripp.

[applause]

Jinzang said...

'the real ground of dharma' is just this in front of us. All of it, not just the nice stuff.

If your face is dirty, you wash it, don't you? So if your pride, anger, and greed are making problems for other people, don't you think you should change that also? I don't get the Buddhism that just sits in the morning and then doesn't care how they act the rest of the day.

Jinzang said...

As my teacher said, genuine Zen practice, which encompasses zazen - if practiced genuinely - cannot help but lead to compassion.

Yes, but what about a little compassion right now? Should it have to wait on years of zazen?

PKB said...

"As my teacher said, genuine Zen practice, which encompasses zazen - if practiced genuinely - cannot help but lead to compassion"

My old teacher said that if your zazen doesn't lead to greater compassion (within a reasonable time) there is something wrong with your zazen. I dont' think he was just referring to posture or holding the correct dogma either.

I agree jinzang, there is always the danger that we can get the attitude that we must 'first' save ourselves before helping others. It's almost like just 'waiting' for enlightenment. As long as we make waiting / time / becoming it'll never become clear. As long as we focus on my self, my practice, my development it just prolongs delusion.

Anonymous said...

"Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance."
-- Albert Einstein

Anonymous said...

Love Vigilantes

Anonymous said...

I'm still wondering if the confederacy really attacked Fort Sumter or if the whole Civil War thing was just another plot by World Bankers, The Jews, The Illuminati, and the New World Order.

Anonymous said...

Just ask former FBI agent and
TIME Magazine Person of the Year
Coleen Rowley.

alan said...

My theory (sounds of pontifical throat clearing) is:

The Truthers are the real architects of 9/11 and are sending up a massive smokescreen by pretending to diligently "search" for the truth.

Oh the wheels of the train go round and round....

Paver said...

THE CREED (tm) of the PAVERS (traditional version)
--------------------------------------------------

We believe in a completely Paved Earth.

Earth is cursed with trees, shrubs, grass,
and scurrying creatures. With every breath
We act to right this terrible wrong.

We believe in The Plan (tm).

The Plan (tm) is the final word; it brings us
the knowledge of the twin pleasures:
Speed and Convenience.

We believe food should be enjoyed.

"Nutrition" is an aberration of human nature.
The juicy Burger and hearty Beer are Our sacrament.

We believe in the Depletion of scarce natural resources.

Some see the vessel as half full; others see it as
half-empty; We pour it out on the floor and laugh.

We believe in a sky roiling with Smog.

The color blue should appear nowhere but the paint
on Our HyperCars (tm).

Mysterion said...

Swami had NO IDEA Amma was a big happening - like Woodstock.

Has Swami known...

Really said...

Jinzang wrote:

"I don't get the Buddhism that just sits in the morning and then doesn't care how they act the rest of the day."

Where in what I wrote did you find anything remotely resembling a recommedation not to care about how one behaves?

The question is whether we can be 'nicer' or 'better' people by practicing techniques designed to repress/sublimate what we regard as unpleasant aspects of our selves. I don't think - and my experience of life and people bears it out - that such techniques work. I've known some folks who regard themselves as paragons of virtue and exemplars of Buddhist practice who are arrogant, ignorant, self-obsessed hypocrites. You may have met one or two yourself. Practicing methods of self-improvement, of any sort, guarantees nothing.

Perhaps your meditative practices do not involve repeating the meaningless mantra "I must love others. I must be a better person"; perhaps they're more subtle. Perhaps they work - but you would be the last person to make a reliable assessment of their success.

It's been my experience that just sitting for half an hour in the morning - yes, just sitting - allows our simpler, more intuitive, more balanced, more honest nature to come to the fore. And that's one of the best things we can do to increase the chances of acting in a balanced way in this life. That's not your view? Not your experience? Not your preferred method? Fine. You, like me, are very likely a pretty decent person, doing your best to live a healthy, happy, constructive, honest and harmless life, and largely succeeding, I'd venture to guess.

Perhaps that because there's not so much of a problem in the first place. Most of us, with or without religion/Buddhism/zazen/vipassana/whatever behave in a pretty responsible, 'compassionate', way to our fellows most of the time. It's a natural aspect of human behaviour. Whether for ultimately selfish survival motives or whether due to some divine essence, we often, naturally, do the appropriate thing in times of other's need - which doesn't always mean smothering them with "loving-kindness". Such platitudes might make us feel better, but are often worse than useless. Those of us who regularly act inappropriately, do so due to a complex nexus of factors psychological and physical. Meditation of one sort or another might help such people, but it's mute point: such people are hardly likely to take it up.

Really said...

...it's what you do, not what you ponder you might do when the opportunity to do arises.

floating_abu said...

jinzang said: Yes, but what about a little compassion right now? Should it have to wait on years of zazen?

Yes you are right.

Thankyou, jinzang.

floating_abu said...

jinzang said: I don't get the Buddhism that just sits in the morning and then doesn't care how they act the rest of the day.

nods.

OK.

_/|\_

Anonymous said...

@floating_abu and jinzang

Do you know anyone who "just sits in the morning and then doesn't care how they act the rest of the day"?

Have you encountered "the Buddhism that just sits in the morning and then doesn't care how they act the rest of the day"?

floating_abu said...

I don't get the Buddhism that just sits in the morning and then doesn't care how they act the rest of the day.

There is also practice, practice, practice. With genuine practice, the hard edges are gradually worn down. The most important then in this type of Zen practice is to continue.

floating_abu said...

Really @6.28am - I think if you find you read my post, most of what you say is not applicable to it. Thanks for your comments however.

Mr. Reee said...

I second the suggestion to try the SFGate.

But I tell ya, if you think the comments here are harsh, you will find yourself sorely tested over there.

Or maybe it's best seen as another opportunity for 'practice.'

Really said...

Hi floating_abu -

Yes, re-reading your post @5.12am, much of what I wrote @6.28am applies primarily to Jinzang's comments, not yours. However, noticing your susequent agreement and affirmation of J's pov, perhaps I was being remarkably prescient by addressing what I wrote to both of you ;-)

Really said...

Edit that ^^^

Turns out my post @6.28am was addressed to floating and anon...I meant to include Jinz...

As usual, mistake after mistake.

Val Killpack said...

This is in response to a tweet, but since I don't have an account there (and don't need to sign up for any more stuff right now)----
Why sudden twitter adds? Maybe this is part of it:
http://www.elephantjournal.com/2009/07/top-10-buddhist-twitter-peeps-you-should-follow-via-william-harryman/

Stephanie said...

I think it's interesting that Brad criticizes Amma's followers for so blindly and devotedly embracing what she says/teaches, when he has devoted so much time and energy to re-packaging his own teacher's ideas, like the importance of balancing love and hate.

That said, I think he's right. A simple way to look at "love" and "hate" is that "love" is affirmative where "hate" is destructive. If we wish to fully embody compassion, we must be capable of using our nurturing qualities as well as our destructive ones. Because if we give up our willingness to be destructive, it means we must be passive in the face of that which is harmful as well as that which is good. In my view, being idle in the face of cruelty or injustice, when there is something we could do to stop them, is as immoral as perpetrating them ourselves. In a way, it is even worse, we are living in what Sartre called "bad faith," trying to pretend we are not active beings capable of choice and action, hiding behind a philosophy of passivity that justifies our cowardice and/or apathy.

The trick is that in hate as well as love we must have wisdom. We must have clarity about what is good to affirm as well as what is good to destroy. For me, a good rule of thumb is that no human being deserves our hatred or destruction because human beings are complicated and all have a capacity for goodness. To destroy a person is to undoubtedly destroy something that had the capacity for good. But we can properly hate or destroy institutions and philosophies that spread ignorance and cruelty. We can attack ignorance through education, we can address the self-serving harmful behaviors of others by having a system of consequences in place for them. We must have some hate in us if we are to respond to certain events in the world with anything other than affirmation or passivity.

The problem is that it is difficult to know if our reasons for hating and the targets of our hate arise from our wisdom or our ignorance. We are endlessly capable of deceiving ourselves in these matters. In this sense, it is safer to stick with nothing but love and affirmation. But if we did not have the capacity to say "no," to stand against what in this world we hate, we would not become more civilized; we would become less so. Hiding behind veils of rhetoric, people who know better would stand idly by while people incapable of restraining their lesser natures of base animalism, intent on nothing but self-satisfaction, went on sprees of greed and destructiveness. The answer is not to destroy these people, but to destroy the possibilities they are attempting to realize for themselves.

Love and hugs are more pleasant and comfortable for us, more easy, than taking a stand and confronting what we dislike. My experience of the "love and light" types in the world is that the majority of them (though not all of them) are cowards and hypocrites who see themselves as better than the people on whom they must depend to perform the tasks which they see as beneath themselves. We can tell ourselves fairy-stories about how great the world would be if everyone was passive and peaceful, but the very nature of this planet is that we must be willing and able to match our destructiveness against the destructiveness of nature and other beings in order to survive.

Anonymous said...

You could write for Hustler.

Mr InQuiry said...

First! er :)

plaudertasche said...

In order to experience hate, you first must have experienced love for something.

Great article. Hope to read more from you somewhere else!

Sibyl said...

Quite worthwhile information, thanks so much for the post.