Friday, October 16, 2009

COMMENTS

I was taking a rare peak into the comments section of this blog the other day. Some commenter said:

"But is [Brad] a Zen teacher? Then he has an obligation to correct ignorant behavior on HIS blog."

Another commenter thought that was so astute, he repeated it. Then someone else summed up my philosophy on this blog very well. He said:

“To my knowledge, this blog has always been just like any other blog, Brad talks about whatever he fancies at the time. Sometimes he talks about Kiss' latest album, sometimes he posts an obituary for someone who affected his life, sometimes he blogs about upcoming book tour dates, and sometimes he even talks about Zen. But he has also made it clear that he believes the net is a totally inappropriate medium for the serious practice of Zen. He has never said that he is trying to establish a community, via the net. He always mentions that he sits zazen on most Saturdays at the Hill Street Center in Santa Monica, and that if you also want to practice, then you are welcome to come along. That is where he teaches, that is where he practices. This blog is NOT his forum for teaching, it is his medium for self-promotion, which as a writer, is absolutely necessary, if he wants to get his name out there. If you want to rant about your own perceptions of who Brad is, go ahead, but wouldn't that time be better spent on the zafu, looking at your own messed up selves, isn't that the whole idea?”

Wow. Someone out there actually gets what I'm doing here. That's so nice.

I've said this before and I'll say it again, I don't keep this blog as a way of teaching Zen. Zen cannot be taught via the Internet or on a blog. Same as you couldn't teach someone how to play basketball via the Internet or on a blog.

Sure you could teach a lot about basketball via the Internet, its history, its major players, statistics, descriptions of playing techniques. You could even put up some helpful videos or give advice to people who emailed questions. But you couldn't really teach basketball that way. You would need to be face-to-face in the same gymnasium. No two ways about it.

People imagine you could teach Zen via the Internet because they imagine that Zen is an intellectual philosophy, they imagine that the words are the philosophy. But they aren't, not anymore than the words in a blog about basketball are the real act of playing basketball.

I don't feel any obligation to correct ignorant behavior on the comments section of this blog. Frankly I just don't care all that much. I'm sorry if that seems callous. But it's true. It's not at all the same as being in a room with someone. Unless you're in a room full of people wearing paper bags over their heads so nobody will recognize them and big plexiglass shields around their bodies so nobody can kick their asses when they say something really hurtful.

I could go in and monitor the comments. But do you know how much time, effort and energy that would take? Shit. I have a life to live. I try to spend as little time each day in front of computers as possible. As a writer and as a guy who books his own speaking gigs I already have to spend a lot of time here. When I'm done at what I absolutely have to do at the computer for the day, believe me, I am done! Plus I deliberately got what has to be the worst Internet connection outside of the Central Congo. It's like the speed of the dial-up you had in 1995 -- with your sister on the other phone refusing to get off. So, no, I'm not gonna spend upwards of 20 minutes per comment to deal with some jack-ass pretending to be my ex-wife or some "Enlightened Being" who feels the need to denounce me.

I'm saying all this because I have now shut down the comments section. If someone wants to establish a forum elsewhere that people can use to comment on what they see here, please do so. I will even post a link to that forum at the end of each article I post. The only rule (for now, at least) would be that you cannot re-post my articles on that forum. And I won't be visiting that forum on anything like a regular basis, if at all.

Interested parties are urged to write me at spoozilla@gmail.com.