carpe bucko

love. bleah.

Love needs to go away.

Here in Pride Month, the day after Portland’s annual gasm of proud pridery, the message is loud and clear: Feel the love. All this support! all this love! Isn’t it wonderful?

Yes, it is; it is wonderful to see so many Oregonians getting over their fears and prejudices to support our glbtq family, friends, and neighbors. It’s wonderful that in our state, and many others (and now ever Botswana), we are ending institutionalized homophobia. Sexual orientation and identity are not fixed in genetic stone nor are they handed down by mythical dieties; they are concepts humans create, perpetuate, and protect.

Or destroy. Every idea, ideology, belief, prejudice, fear, hope, dream, ideal, goal – all are constructs of the human brain and nothing more. Without a belief in Absolute Truth, everything we do believe is something we create and then choose to believe (or accept with no reflection, which is a terrible waste of the human brain). There is nothing that commands us to hold hateful or fearful beliefs beyond some arbitrary set of rules that have no basis in the actual functioning of the universe beyond humans actively seeking to make one another miserable. Or dead.

This includes love. As a Christian, I was commanded to love others, which is a pretty dumb way to engender actual love. As an atheist, I don’t have that burden, of course; it’s my choice to love, to care, to hate, etc. But as an atheist following a dharma path (again, not a Buddhist, which is a religious affiliation), I find I am being told yet again to love others. 

The dharma path is a path of love for all living beings. Says who?

Says the Buddha? Well, first of all, the Buddha, to paraphrase Douglas Adams about the ineffable Zaphod Beebelbrox: “He’s just this guy, you know.” He wasn’t a god, never became a god; his consciousness ended centuries ago and that was that. I have no responsibility to whatever those who used his legacy to create a religion try to posit were his holy commands. I have only a responsibility to myself.

And myself takes the Buddha’s words seriously to make up my own damn mind about everything. 

I’ve been bothered by the “command” to be compassionate for some time. I’m not opposed to compassion; I think it’s a very good way to save the human race and end human suffering. But as a command? If the foundation for the dharma is the “Four Noble Truths”, I find no justification for compassion within that. The “Eightfold Path” invokes a compassionate approach to life, but there’s no rational justification for it. Just do it, as if compassion were a Nike product.

In the end, no one can command love or compassion as a moral necessity or absolute; all such concepts are mental constructs and nothing more. Compassion is a very good construct and far less destructive than hate, fear, or unthinking belief. But it is just a construct. It’s a good one because it has its roots on the need for humans to care for one another (we do not survive as loners); a life built on compassion is a life that is good to live and good to be around.

But it’s a life built on a choice to accept a certain idea and not in acquiescene to a universal absolute.

Which brings me back to Pride Month.

I am under no rule or law to love anyone else. If I want to hate the gays, I can hate the gays. Your belief system has no basis in my belief system, so I will hate or love or not give a damn as I choose. Of course, I don’t hate the gays – nor do I love them. I certainly don’t love them because they are gay; that would be just stupid. I need a better reason to love someone than some physical characteristic such as the nature of their own mental make-up.

Should I also love the straights for being straight?

Enough of “Oh the love!” It’s ridiculous and demeaning. It turns glbtq people into a spectacle (and some of them are quite spectacular indeed). Once a year we bring them out so we can ooh-and-aah, then it’s time to start getting ready for the rest of the summer. That ain’t love; that’s a petting zoo.

I have chosen to believe in justice and the decent treatment of all humans. I don’t care who or what they are; they are human, and every other identifier is a human-created label. These labels should serve to help us help one another but that’s about it. At some point, all these identifiers have to go away if the human race is going to survive. We only perpetuate the divisions by celebrating the differences in such an extreme way.

Seriously, if you are glbtq, do you want a “loving” parade or the ability to live without legal restrictions and social recriminations?

Do you want real freedom?

Or to be in a petting zoo for outsiders to “love”?

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