27 May 2009

"What a long strange trip it's been."

So, you ask, how does one become a Buddhist Anarchist ? Well, that's a bit complicated. This picture is of yours truly, circa 1986 while I was in the Army. I'm squinting into the Georgia sun sitting on Fryar Drop Zone at Fort Benning, GA waiting for a helicopter to pick me up so that I can jump out of it. I grew up a typical middle class kid, joined the Army when I was 18 and served out my 4 year enlistment. After that, I went to college, got a job, went to graduate school, got another job and finally started my own business. Along the way I got married, had a son, got divorced, got married again and picked up a step-son in the process. The American Dream some might say.

Well, a strange thing happened on the way to Main Street USA.

Two partners in my business stole a considerable amount of money, well all of it to be exact, and in the course of a few months I lost all of my savings, investment, house, a car, faith in the system, faith in religion, faith in the human race...you get the picture. Over the course of two years I suffered terrible bouts of depression, rage, anger and thoughts of violent retribution. Only my re-introduction to Buddhism (Theravada School) which I first studied in college, kept me emotionally grounded enough to start yet another business and soldier on.

My transformation into an Anarchist was a longer process brought about by age and experience and a general sense of disgust with our political process and parties, the media and the unchecked capitalism that led to the banking collapse. In short, I have gone from a staunchly conservative Republican to an Anarchist that despises both mainstream parties equally, views the Christian Right with equal parts horror and alarm and sees our media created President for what he truly is. Anarchism was an easy jump for me because it fit neatly into my lifelong mistrust of government, concern over the erosion of rights in this country and a general feeling that at some point in our history, the United States veered widly off course from its founders original intentions.

Helping to push me into the Anarchist school was the process of lawsuits, lawyers and even arrest during the dissolution of my old business. Nothing like the metallic clink of a pair of handcuffs to feel the oppression of the State. No, I wasn't guilty and was in fact cleared of the charge. To me however, that experience burned a feeling of incredible helplessness when faced with the power of Leviathan. Although I in no way promote violence as resistance against the state, I hope that you will join me in non-violent acts of non-comformity against the powers that be.

Some of my friends, family members and fellow veterans may not agree with my beliefs but I hope that everyone can respect them. At least nobody can call me biased- I dislike Hannity AND Colmes.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Pete,

    It's really quite an adventure, this life, eh?, as they say in Canada. My boss at work is a libertarian in the strict Ayn Rand tradition, but he falls short of total atheism/anarchy. He gets depressed to think of the void that awaits. Your blog reminds me of other things I've read like Thoreau's Civil Disobedience, which I may just go back and re-read as I think about it. And Kafka's The Trial, which in many ways is scarier than Lovecraft's best.

    Glad you're soldiering on and I hope all of the garbage you've been dealt is balanced at least a little by some joy these days.