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David Arthur Walters

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Exiled Florida
By David Arthur Walters
Last edited: Monday, September 27, 2004
Posted: Monday, September 27, 2004



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David Arthur Walters

• A Meaningful Life
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• Introduction To The Word God
• Boredom Can Kill
• The Great Hypocrisy of Office
• Universal Reasoning
• Spinoza's God
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Exile: to waste or devastate property; to ravage or impoverish a country; to ruin a person.


Tibet's exiled monarch brought some peace of mind to exiled Florida as anxious people were confronted with one whirlwind and flood after another. We use the word exile in its obsolete sense here, that of a land devastated People in the wake of the devastation bemoaned the loss of lives and property suffered, yet most were glad to be alive, perhaps to suffer yet another hurricane in short order.

The fame of the Dalai Lama preceded his descent on Southern Florida. He duly noted after his arrival that his plan was to show up, smile and show his teeth. Sometimes just being there for people, or doing the very least if not nothing at all, is the key to getting something done. Although the spiritual master did not tour the devastated zones, the presence of the compassionate Buddha incarnate or the reports thereof alleviated the suffering. After all, everyone suffers, for every self-conscious individual, like the exiled monarch, is alienated from the plenitude, is cast out or separated from the whole, hence is in exile. Having fallen into relative individuality and the conflicting independence of separate wills, spiritual exiles would return to the absolute identity or indifference symbolized by the self-complacent Dalai Lama, then all would be well.

We might relieve our suffering by denying the existence of the self, by possessing, as the Dalai Lama phrased it during his visit, "the wisdom that sees the non-existence of selfhood." His own person was venerated as the incarnation of the perfect person of Buddha although he preached the non-existence of selfhood. A Miami Herald reporter noted that some people prostrated themselves before him to demonstrate their respect for the teacher of such wisdom as well as respect for their own wisdom in recognizing such wisdom. Alas, absurdity plagues our prostrations as humility rises to new hypocritical heights. Persons who deny the existence of personal deity are personally idolized as if they were divine. Self-control is to goal of self-denial, the ultimate expression the will to power. Gaining the world is of no consequence if the self be lost.

But never mind, for it is easy to find fault with good things - nothing is perfect. Rather, only Nothing, which is beyond criticism, is perfect. No doubt certain degrees of self-renunciation or virtual suicide is good for civilization; yet, short of actual suicide, we find it impossible to get rid of the illusory, non-existent, stubborn self. Indeed, such an effort runs counter to the over-arching theme of the First World, presently presided over by the greatest superpower the world has ever known, upon whom an attack constitutes an attack on civilization itself. The pursuit of property and personal happiness is roundly extolled. The self is daily cultivated. Competitive individualism is the true religion whether or not it professes the much desired survival of the individual soul.

The individual would be absolutely powerful, would persist forever without resistance, but such an absolute power without resistance would be nothing. Now an apocryphal text has the crucified Jesus say, "Oh, my Power, why hast my Power forsaken me?" The power of the individual is limited by other individuals, hence the individual mirrors other individuals and is gradually transformed into a personal synthesis of individuality and society - into a 'person.' The absolute power craved by the frustrated individual is sometimes projected onto an almighty, personal god. If the self is really non-existent, as the Dalai Lama says, so is the projected god - never mind that the god or ideal might be a useful fiction. That is, neither the self or the deity exist except as a desired incarnation of selfish will. What exists, then, is the individual will, and that will is at the root of all suffering because, although it would be absolute if only it could, it is always relative because it is separate, hence it can never be satisfied.


In fine, to oversimply the relation with a false division: the partial is evil, the whole is good. Individual strife divides, universal love unites, and so on. We are exiles not from Tibet, Israel, Cuba and the like, which are collective forms of alienation; no, we are exiled from the One, the Origin, the All, the Whole and the like - disagreement over the appropriateness of the terms is yet another form of the divisiveness plaguing us since we fell from grace.

Of course the universal needs a symbol: a god, a Buddha, a monarch, a dalai lama, a dictator, and the like. The exiled monarch of Tibet came to South Florida with the traditional advice, to purge ourselves of the negative emotions of individual animosity, and to fulfill our ourselves with compassion and love. Once this objective is accomplished, once we have disarmed ourselves internally, world peace will of course be achieved. After we tear down the fences of individuality, we will then be, so to speak, at one with one another. Perhaps it is no small coincidence that the Dalai Lama appeared with the hurricanes, just before the Jewish Day of Atonement. Just as the hurricanes exiled or devastated the land that the community might be rebuilt, the Dalai Lama set about exiling or annihilating the self that we might be whole again.

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