Saturday, January 26, 2013

I Don't Think of You

Scott Bradley

We in America have just had a close shave with a peculiar form of Social Darwinism in the form of a vice-presidential candidate named Ryan. He is a devotee of [Ayn] Rand who advocated an extreme capitalistic individualism in which the rise of the superior is the supreme value. (This makes him an "intellectual" — he has read some books and swallowed an ideology.) It is easy to see how those with the money and power (never realized fortuitously, but only and always because of their inherent superiority) might find succor therein. Ryan is also a Roman Catholic Christian; a good one, for we all know that Jesus said, "Fuck the poor, the humble, the abased, and down-trodden, for they are inferior and unworthy parasites who just want 'stuff'." (Ryan 3:16; see also Romney 8:12 and O’Reilly 9:6) Ryan in 2016!

In one of her books (I don’t remember which, nor do I remember the names of the protagonists), she has her Uberman, a great intellectual and creative genius (and no doubt incredibly well-endowed) respond to a question posed by a lesser being. The book is densely populated by such beings (Only his girlfriend (Rand?) is exempted.), but it should not be thought these are ordinary lesser beings. No, they are all exceptional — successful, respected, famous — only they are not fully realized rugged individualists like the Uberman. The question posed by his greatest critic was this: "What do you think of me?" The answer was this: "I don't think of you."

This brings me to the point of this post, if I can just remember what it is. (I lost it in the dark joy of sarcasm.) Oh yeah, now I remember that I have a nebulous idea of what this answer might teach us. Needless to say, this answer delivered a devastating blow to the ego of he who enquired, though it was not intended to do so (for that would require thinking about him). There is, of course, much of value in what Rand had to say — every extreme point of view has its kernels of truth. And I would suggest that that 'place' from which "I don't think of you" arose is one such kernel.

These could be the words of a sage. (I know, because I think of you.) But instead of arising out of extreme egoism, they would arise out of the exact opposite. Isn’t that amazing? The best circumstance, Zhuangzi tells us, is when we forget each other, and yet our forgetting is a way of caring for each other. It is letting each other grow without the imposition of our ideas of how that should take place. It is a recognition that things are best done when left undone; that things become done of themselves.

There is also the subjective experience of utter non-dependence. I don’t think of you because I don’t care what you think. I don’t care for ‘name’. I don’t care for ‘fame’. I don’t need to be somebody. I don’t even think of myself. I have ceased even to be a sage. I am no one. My value is de-linked from every dependency. I am unfixed and adrift in vastness. I am free and unfettered.

(I know this because I think of you.)

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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