An Elemental Stoner Game Question
I was thinking about the whole concept of stoner games (of which Higher Thought is one of course).
I was sitting on a park bench last night, stoned, with my friend Dresden, and he asked me out of the blue: “Do you love yourself?”
Now that’s a stoner game question. A look-inside question. A perception question.
As far as I could tell, when I thought about it, I had to answer no. I had too much “nibbling at me” in my mind and heart to be feeling much self-love in that moment.
Dresden said, “Well, I love you even when you don’t love yourself.”
I appreciated that very much.
By and by, Dresden distilled his sentiment into more questions.
Can you love yourself even when you don’t love yourself?
Can you love yourself even if you’re not in love with yourself at the moment?
Not That We’re Competing
I spoke by phone to my buddy Mike in Florida this morning. He told me that, where he lives, some people don’t even wear masks in the grocery store. Restaurants are open, and people dine indoors without masks. People are just going about their lives as if all is normal.
I saw a CNN news clip today in which it was reported that Florida governor Ron DeSantis actually said that people in Florida are happier without COVID safety measures. Meanwhile Florida has recorded over one million COVID cases, and just shy of 19,000 COVID deaths.
Meanwhile, in my home state of Oregon, we’ve had nearly 80,000 cases and just under a thousand deaths.
Our population here is 4.29 million; Florida’s is 21.48 million. So Florida has five times as many residents as Oregon, 12 and a half times as many COVID cases, and about 19 times as many deaths.
Looking at that math, it’s safe to say that, per capita, Oregon is safer than Florida.
But What Do We Know, Really?
Mike believes in safety measures and he thinks DeSantis is an idiot. Nonetheless, when I told him that here in Portland many people are even wearing masks outside, and even in the park, he opined that he felt that was going a little too far, possibly even ridiculous.
I said I wasn’t sure. I didn’t know for certain what the safety parameters are outside. I’ve been a little loose with them myself. But my general impression was that, even outdoors, the rule of thumb is six feet of distance, and at least wear a mask if you get any closer.
He asked me where I got my information. I didn’t remember. I asked him where he got his. He didn’t remember. I said we should both research the science. He asked me where I’d look to get the authoritative word on this, and I didn’t know. Neither did he.
Good News or Bad?
I’m writing this on Thursday, December 3. Some restrictions were lifted in Portland today. Outdoor dining at restaurants is now permitted again. Yesterday, when I mentioned to Dresden that this was about to happen, he was elated.
I don’t know if it’s good or bad. I have mixed feelings.
I received a couple of hugs this past weekend, from two people who are not in my (very tiny) “pod.” They are both shorter than me, these friends. They both hugged me in such a way that their faces were pressed against my lower chest, and our heads were turned in opposite directions. It felt good. But is it safe? I don’t have the research at my fingertips.
Other Invisible Phenomena
The other night I checked my bank account online, to see if some payments (from a writing client) had been directly deposited yet. Then I executed a couple of small Paypal funds transfers.
A little later I went for a night walk in the park. I was struck by how much faith I invest in those bank account totals, those cyber bits and bytes being transferred and rearranged hither and yon. Are they real? Are those dollars and numbers and cyber tabulations actual things?
Surely not as real as the trees, right? But maybe so. Maybe, if consciousness is truly primary to matter, then thought is the foundation of substance, and computerized bank balances are made of the same essential stuff as tree roots. All one Source, yeah?
Or am I missing something here? How’s that for a stoner game question?
I watched all 46 minutes of Donald Trump’s Wednesday rant about the election “fraud.” When I look at Trump, when I hear him, I’m filled with disgust and revulsion. I want to look away, but a part of me feels I should watch, because he is so powerful, because tens of millions of people hang on his every word and trust him. I’m trying to see what they see. Maybe I should look away sooner though. Hearing Trump feels like I’m inhaling toxic fumes.
I have a hard time looking at Joe Biden too, for an entirely different reason. When I look at Biden, I see unbearable heartbreak in his face. Here is a man who lost two of his children, as well as a spouse when he was young. He is clearly a very feeling man, and he has endured emotional pain beyond anything I think I could cope with.
It may seem strange to say, but it’s similar to the feeling I have sometimes when I see homeless people huddled in the cold on the streets. I give them a dollar or two and then I look away, because I can’t stand to really feel their pain, their sadness. I actually feel that way about Biden too, quite often. Look at him closely some time and you’ll probably see it too – the pain and sadness.
Maybe it will be healthy for the country to get used to looking at a president who has been scoured by unfathomable heartbreak.
Beats the shit out of looking at the other guy.
How do you see it?
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