Because I'm a Buddhist and a socialist, many people assume I'm a humanist, as they think Buddhism and socialism are both humanist. I think the opposite. The Buddhist understanding of interdependence precludes the arrogant view I call "human exceptionalism." And if socialism is only for humans then it's not socialism, because it's still class-based, with bosses and bossed, exploiters and exploited.
Although I have criticisms of the book, I like the subtitle of Timothy Morton's Humankind: Solidarity With Non-Human People. We need to see not just all clearly-sentient beings as people, but also rocks, walls, pens, machines, as people.
So much of what goes on in the mind is like computer programmes running in the background; close to sleep, I noticed that, behind the deliberate thinking I was doing, there was an unrelated dialogue, which I experienced the way we overhear a snippet of nearby conversation in a public space.
I only identified two lines:
"They were really the first Europeans."
"No, they really weren't."
There was no context that I was aware of.
chill autumn morning —
the t-shirt I pull on
is warm from the dryer
by Bart Lessard
The crack of gristle in my knees
Announces that I rise
A knackered pizzle shy a sneeze
Will do for second prize
Imagine you have an infection, and your doctor prescribes antibiotics. The pills have a strawberry-flavoured coating. You like the taste of strawberry, so you lick the coating off the pills, but you don’t swallow the medicine, so you don’t get well.
This is how it is when you isolate Buddhist meditation from Buddhism.
"Hunger. I have friends who speak of being poor as children. Some were. At least by our American standards of that word, “poor.” Most, however, were not. What they meant was that they didn’t have a lot of money. The circles I mostly move in are inhabited by the well educated and well fed. And this was true of their childhoods, as well. Some grew up working class, and that has its own wounds. But, I was brought up poor. And that’s a different thing."
I think "Can you tell me the time?" is code for initiating a drug deal around here. Either that, or the people in the street who ask me don't know how to check the time on their phones.
I'm in the cafe at Tesco, booting up my MacBook. An old woman walks over, stands next to my chair, and stares at the screen as it comes on. I smile at her. She looks at me, looks back at the screen, then walks away.