Sometimes people are assholes. Is this statement true? Yes. Can you absolutely know it's true? Can you give 3 examples where this is true? 1) When a family member tells me to stop smoking or get married. 2) When anyone tells me to do anything. 3) When I act like I have something to teach someone else.
I think those are good examples. I usually find someone to be an asshole, when they act like they know better than me, what is good for me. I would classify this as "asshole behavior." I am often an asshole. Sometimes I think I know what is best for someone else. I say it. Then I realize I don't really know. That is why I usually back my statements with the precursor that, "I really don't know. I'm just guessing and I could change my mind tomorrow."
I also do not offer advice unless it is solicited. If I ever offer advice without solicitation, then I feel like an asshole for opening my mouth. At the same time, sometimes I open my mouth without solicitation. Sometimes I have to speak my truth. This is usually when someone is overstepping their boundaries with me, or I feel a nagging feeling to say something about an event. Of course, I could question these instances and find that maybe I am not really upset, and that I'm just taking something personal or in such a manner that was not intended by the person who said it.
In either case, I would say acting like you know is a real "asshole move." Who knows? I only know that this is something that bothers me on occasion. I don't like people getting in my business when they aren't invited. At the same time, I have now come to recognize that people are people, and this is reality. People overstep their boundaries sometimes. They will say things like, "You should get married," and "People shouldn't smoke," or whatever other statement you could imagine that might push a person's buttons.
I ask myself if these statements are true in these situations. Should I stop smoking? Am I emotional? Should I get married? It is funny that I ask, but I usually do. I don't like to shy away from the truth. At the same time, I do recognize that this is not anyone's business but my own. In some shamanic circles, the word "should" is often taken as a curse, and the common response one might hear to "should anything" is "Fuck off!" This might be a bit extreme for some, but I have seen Zen Masters act as dismissive to these comments as well. In fact, we could look no further than Brad Warner's blog, Hardcore Zen, to see his open commentary on what makes someone an asshole, regardless of other people's opinions that "someone who is Buddhist would not act in such a manner."
Contrary to public opinion, the idea that those who call themselves "spiritual" or have some claim to a religious tradition must act in a "guru" or "non-affected manner," is horse dookie. Reality is that if someone is an asshole it doesn't take much juris-DIC-tion to lay the claim.
When I was younger, my father often encouraged me to respond to every situation with what he termed "PCD" or "Positive Communincation Dialogue." As a child, I liked the sentiment, but felt very confused when I entered the real world outside of my bubble where people did not behave in the same fashion, or when my father, himself, chastised or scolded me.
"What happened to PCD?" I would ask in my precocious, 7 year old whine. "Please say what you have to say positively."
This, of course, would only escalate the situation further, and, as a child, I had no framework that would identify this standard of behavior as something that was conceptual in nature and held no footing in the world of reality - where human beings are often mean, slander one another, and act outside the "PCD" I was taught.
As time moved on, I could see that acting in a "holier than thou" manner, was as assholish as being an asshole to begin with. I came to understand that people are people, and there is no prerequisite to wanting to be spiritual other than being real to oneself and being honest with the situations that are presented. In other words, for me to be what I am, I simply needed to be. I didn't have to put on an affected manner, choose my words carefully, or hold my opinion back if I didn't want to. I found, and am still finding, that the ultimate truth is that assholes are not assholes at all. They are much more colorful and fresh than you might think. They could even be called refreshing.
Just think about it. How often do you get a chance to see people being what they are, with the awareness that they are them, and you are you. It can be quite life transforming to see this. Suddenly, the boss at work who verbalizes himself in monotones and expects the company report in "three shakes" of a cliche, is suddenly just another character in your life. His expectation of you meeting his quota is not a personal vendetta, but simply a baton-passed corporate necessity to keep your company on the straight and narrow. If the situation creates an overdramatic amount of stress, then chances are you may be sensitive to the issue on that particular day, or maybe, just maybe, the corporate life is not really where you feel the most comfortable, and a change of occupation may be the "asshole!" under your breadth.
Who knows? That's just a story, like this whole post is a story. I have no concrete answers. I only have a line of thought that I can follow. Sometimes it leads to a nice little ending where people can say, "Ah, wasn't that a nice ending. Now I can call people assholes." Sometimes it's not as clear cut, and you might say, "So what's the point? Are people assholes or aren't they? Should I refrain from using that word?" Of course, this is the point where I laugh and pretend I am the Oracle from the Matrix, and offer you a cookie, just to say, "By the time you finish this, you'll feel right as rain."
Isn't that funny? Well, I doubt you will feel better or more justified to go in either direction based on this post. I have my gauge of what is right and wrong. You have yours. We can call everyone an asshole and see if that makes any difference. We can pick and choose who meet this category. We can even take a whiff and call it refreshing.
I don't know. For me, an asshole by any other name would smell as bad. I guess the difference between how I currently feel compared to how I began, is that I am aware that I can call people assholes, but that it doesn't really matter. I am me and will die with my own asshole, so what's the point? I have better things to do with my time. I am not going to second guess my truth with someone else's. I might call you an asshole. I might not even say a word. I might just be a submarine in the desert. People will call my ship, "Nautilus, the Sequel." I will use my periscope to view sand dunes. I will yell at my crew. I will say, "Down periscope!" "Up Periscope!" and "Pear is coke!"
I will hold you in my arms. I will make love like a gorilla. You will look at the hair on my chest and say, "Gorilla." I won't have to stand on the bed, or convince myself there are people running from me wildly with mass hysteria. I know that I am a bear. I know that I am not Godzilla. I can scratch myself. I can dig into a well. I can call myself a plumber. I can even support the War in Iraq. I can say things like, "No new taxes," and make my voice sound like the President, because I am good at imitating voices.
I can do all these things in my submarine. I can even die. Just like that. Then I will die. And I will say, "Just like that." And I will not go to heaven. I don't believe in heaven. I believe in the sands of Mars. I will write in my will, "Please put my ashes on the sands of Mars. Do not put me in the ocean or on some stupid cliff in the Adirondacks. I don't like those places. I only like being on the sands of Mars. Put me there. Just like that."
Of course, I don't even have to be buried. I could be evaporated like steam. That would be better for the environment. My dust particles might have some secret beneficial effect on the environment that will make Al Gore happy, and everyone who lives in trees will come out and say, "Thank you, we can taste your dust particles. They have given us hope in the trees. Thank you for dying."
It doesn't really matter. My ass is my ass. It doesn't want too much. Just toilet paper. Toilet paper and soap. Toilet paper, soap, and water. Water. I could talk more about water. I could talk about waves. I could talk about drowing.
I will drown in the sand. I will not take out my periscope. I will not say a word. I will be in my submarine. People will ask what happened, but no one will know. My submarine is too stealthy. My death is just as loud. Just like dust hitting the ground. Just like a screaming tornado. Just like two hands together. Just like fa-ish in a bowl. Just like fever. Julst like fishermen. Just like fists in my face. Just like ice cubes. Just like fire. Just like poof. Just like this.
Who would I be without the thought, "sometimes people are assholes?"
I would write about something else. I would write a story. I would go to bed. I would be more relaxed. I wouldn't categorize someone as one if I met them. I wouldn't get in their story at all. I would just do what I have to do. I would do the things I want to do. I would be happy. I would be relaxed. I wouldn't be stressed.
Turn it around.
Self: Sometimes I am an asshole. (Of course.)
Other: Sometimes you think I am an asshole. (Of course.)
Opposite: Sometimes people aren't assholes. (So true.)
Today I sat with my class. I talked in a soft voice. We smiled a lot. I thought to myself. They are full of kindness. They like my soft voice. That was a nice observation. I am going to sleep now. Bye.