A few weeks ago, though I am normally straight-edge, I ate a marijuana brownie. It made me have a life crisis and brought to an overflow doubts that were always there simmering in me. The addiction expert, Gabor Mate, says that most do drugs to cope with the world, to self-medicate, to numb themselves, but most tribal cultures use it to heighten awareness. I was mountain biking with my friend in the woods, and I was freaking out, losing my mind, panicking, paranoid as the effects truly kicked in, but I realized eventually that no one else at the trail who passed by gave a shit. They were totally separate from me and I from them, they exchanged niceties but they didn't mean anything behind it. They were so self absorbed they could not notice my unbearable distress. Honestly if it was not for my friend I would not have been in a state to make it out of the woods. When he drove me home it really hit me. The brownie made me hyper aware of every heartbeat, every breath, every sensation. I came under a delusion that if I could will it hard enough, I could stop my heart and end my life. Then I realized that deep down inside me I never really wanted to live.
There is something profoundly wrong with our civilization and way of living, I think the best, concise summary can be found in the The Ascent of Humanity
by Charles Eisenstein. According to him we are living under a false notion that we are separate from nature, other human beings, that we need to conquer and ascent nature via science and technology for a better life. In a seminar
he says that most of us are living in constant, profound pain because of our false way of defining ourselves and leads us into a false relationship with our environment and other people.
Back to the car... I realized also in my state, that most the time people wear brave masks. If you feel mentally down or even suicidal like I was at that moment, you tend to put on false airs and act like everything is alright to deceive everyone around you that everyone is fine. I decided to hang up the mask and tell my friend outright in that car that I wanted to die, I wanted my heart to stop, and that I have never have wanted to live for a long time. In a state of lucidness alternating with delirium, I let everything pour out. Modern friends, especially of my generation are just people you share a superficial bond of mutual entertainment with and normally any meaningful topic is a transgression, a taboo. I told him, my brother, that friend and another friend via phone about actual inner thoughts without the usual false filters meant to portray that everything is ok or fear of judgement. If everyone else did the same the next day, our political, economic and military system would collapse, but it won't because the curtains are too heavy to move for most. For one, they haven't and won't even start the process of discovering there is such a curtain they always maintain to shield themselves and encapsulate the pain of living falsely in the world. People need to lie themselves and others to function and to situate themselves in our inhuman quagmire.
I told them how I never really felt a connection to anyone my whole life, never felt like I wanted to befriend or know anyone. Never met a girl I "wanted" as a girlfriend, either. People don't really connect to others in modern capitalistic societies, they tend to fake it, they interact over trivialities, they discuss openly the happenings of TV shows or sports teams, but they hide their inner pain, concern and wishes. Even that day, while I was in my room in my prescient delirium, my mom totally oblivious of my mental distress, started yelling because of the mud in the house, since I was so out of it I just stumbled into my room with muddy shoes. And I pointed out to them that was part of the reason I didn't want to live, even my own family doesn't really care about me in the way another type of family in a more healthy tribe would. My mom cares more about her concept of neatness and watching television 24/7 than understanding me. She just wants me to earn enough money and have a certain social status, because she is always nervous and has "survival anxiety" about money.
If you look at how society is set up, life has become a game of money. All everyone has to care about is their relationship to the corporation that pays them, this makes them feel they don't need other people, and also that they don't need to be a part of, or respect nature. They can be separate as long as they suck up to get the proper credentials for a social position that affords them enough money to procure the necessities for life. But this is a false, inhuman, unnatural way, it is a social invention of modern capitalist relations. When you don't have meaningful connection to your environment, to those around you, when you feel you have no purpose it wounds you profoundly. Eisenstein, points out that boredom is not something that existed before Western civilization's Industrial Civilization in the 18th Century. Pervasive boredom demonstrates that we are profoundly uneasy with being alone with our thoughts, that we are uncomfortable with ourselves, so when we are not occupied we are in distress. But in other societies people were just fine with doing "nothing" for hours, because they were at peace with themselves their concept of self, their community and their place in the world. I have ridden my bicycle for 20 miles on certain days and never seen a single kid out playing. This is what the capitalist money game has done to our sense of the world. Alot of the reason for this is because parents and kids themselves perceive the world as so uncaring and dangerous that going outside is uncomfortable. There will be no future for our society and way of life, perhaps thankfully, because there should not be a future for this false path.
According to Studs Terkel in his maverick book Working ...
most people spend their lives working jobs that are too small to encompass their souls. My whole life I have worked shitty jobs that pay too little even for an independent livelihood. I have spent some time trying to understand the social machinery, to find myself, to hide wounded in a corner from the world and none trying to play the career ladder game. I go out and I see vain people, so called friends, lamenting how they envy the rare rich person who drives by in a status symbol like a Ferrari and it wounds me. They have inhuman economic values and they envy those who make selfish pacts with corporations against the rest of society and nature itself, to their comparative reward. That is all our social system amounts to, the psychopaths who horde and deny other beings most are the most rewarded, and those who give away what little they have in the first place, are just forgotten when they have nothing left to give. Most don't ever want to see this, they hide in drugs, the entertainment complex in escapism to ignore the wounds this social order causes them.
I feel like a creature from another planet that does not belonged here and I don't think I want to ever belong to such a world as previous generations mostly, but also us, have built for ourselves. This refusal has become my identity and sense of self, thus life for me is a constant existential crisis after another, and not really something immanently livable.
My question is:
1) Is dharma alone enough to make life worth living even if you aren't content with anything about your life(what you do for money, your family, your living situation, the society you live in, your friends, your place in the world, etc.)?
Perhaps a better way way of putting it, is that dharma alone could do it for some people, but I don't think it would for me. In my delirium state I felt kind of like a Piraha or other Amazonian tribesmen ripped away and transfixed into our social nightmare. We take so much for granted and use too many chicaneries and false hooks to ground ourselves to a way of life we should destroy and try to uproot for a new way. We are supposed to be interconnected and inter-dependent with other people, with our environmental context, but money perverts that. Even the Dalai Lama laments that Buddhism has no answer for our social system and its problems, so he advocates to combine Marxism with Buddhism.