I ran across this quote yesterday and I stick on it like fly paper. The idea that we can do something that has no aim, purpose or meaning is contradictory to our way of mind in America. Our society is based on personal effort to achieve something pleasurable: fame, honor, respect, wealth, health…some IT. Basically, we are a society chasing some IT, since IT is a blank you can fill in.
The reason this is incomprehensible and illogical is that we can’t escape our belief in choice that must choose between either/or. Either you have no AIM—which is like being homeless, a useless drifter—or you have an AIM. It appears to us that you can’t do both simultaneously, so it is Sophie’s choice. One has to choose one, but you can’t choose both, so we escape the dilemma by discounted the Aimless choice.
Ironically, we still choose the discounted choice, the aimless choice by paying for it. This choice is called entertainment. While we choose entertainment to get something, we AIM at entertainment. What we get, however, is the state of having no AIM. We have pay for Zen and don’t even know it.
When we become engrossed in a movie or a book, or whatever, sports, war, TV, commercials, we are in an Aimless state of being. While in the space of entertainment, there is no seeking self chasing an IT. We ARE the entertainment. But when we take Aim at something, we are outside of that which we aim at. Our desire to hit the target is to possess the target and remove the pain of desiring the target.
Our materialistic consumer culture and economy creates this conditioned desire to attain…what…our true home or center or wholeness where we no longer desire ourselves, where we no longer feel in exile from our own experience.
We are our experience; our experience is us. But we perceive our experience of the world as being outside of us, either pleasant or unpleasant or neutral. We then chase the pleasurable or avoid the unpleasant or get bored with the neutral. In all cases our experience becomes an IT and we are the outside observer of it. The only time we have peace of mind, or no mind, is when we ARE our experience…and that’s what we call entertainment.
Our society sells it to us. Our consumer culture sells us our selves by first separating us from our selves and then selling it back to us. Isn’t that interesting?
There is nothing wrong with this. It is just the way things are. But we should be aware of it, and that’s Zen.