Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Cliché Crisis

Stephen Cox

I don’t know about you, but for me the worst thing about this year’s budget “crisis” was the gross overspending of clichés. No, I’m not crying wolf. I am not holding America hostage. Neither am I rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Nor am I gleefully informing my close friends and colleagues that their favorite proposals will be dead on arrival when they hit my desk. Hopefully, I am acting more responsibly than anyone in the nation’s capital. I hold no brief for revenue enhancements (i.e., taxes), or for throwing grandma under the bus. I consider myself the adult in the room. Nevertheless, I can’t claim that I cared very much about the budget emergency. I knew that I wouldn’t get what I wanted — even a small attempt to reform the federal government’s fiscal racket — so I couldn’t be disappointed by the spectacle that took place during the last week of July.

An older cliché informs us that actions speak louder than words. I deny it. Often words speak much louder than actions....
Let’s escape. Let’s refuse to cast ourselves as the faces of anything other than ourselves. Let’s be individuals....
Someone out there is counseling straightforward thieves and murderers to portray themselves as the compassionate Buddha. But why would you want to be the Buddha’s pen pal?....
Most clichés aren’t deployed to answer questions; they’re meant to anesthetize them.

It sounds good. Modesty is becoming. But one thinks of succeeding clichés, logically deduced from wanting only work and food: “It’s the economy, stupid.” “This election is about one thing: putting America back to work.” “They work all day long, many of them scraping by, just to put food on the table. And . . . they see leaders who can't seem to come together and do what it takes to make life just a little bit better for ordinary Americans. They are offended by that. And they should be.” That last remark is President Obama’s. The first remark is James Carville’s, back in the election of 1992. The one in the middle is sadly common at all times and everywhere, left, right, and center. Each remark suggests that ordinary Americans want only one thing — work and food. And that is why they vote the way they do. Consider this the received wisdom, the grand cliché. I’m offended by that. And ordinary Americans should be too.


  1. The author has written a cliche article! You silly man. Why does no one get it? The only thing we want is to be satisfied. We suffer because we are not full of the sense that things are the we way they should be, it's the human condition.

  2. We suffer because we are full of desires.

  3. 11:11 I hope that you really understand what that means. As I understand it desire is prime component of the mind without it we do not move forward, however the sense of dissatisfaction causes the disquiet that leads to suffering.

  4. Yes, desire is the cause of all suffering because desire is why we are never satisfied.

    Our separation from the One Life/God/Tao/Spirit/Creator is why we continue on endlessly seeking things. These things can take the form of religions, thinking, food, drugs, sex, music, and so forth.

    The more we multiply our desires the more we suffer. This is evident in the way people may get rich and famous, they become vampires. Somebody like a rock star can bang so many sluts, but they'll always need more.

    With addictions, no matter what kind, the person can act out the addiction/desire over and over, and will always need it. Until the person starts removing the habit(s) altogether then and only then will they start to get true satisfaction.

    People who are disciplined or mentally active can sit and be happy without needing anything "external" of themselves. People who are anxious, uneducated, or depressed need things to fill the emptiness.

    This is why so many religions have been invented, music is constantly evolving, new drugs are brought into society, groups and movements rise and fall, and people find extremes to make their separative identity (ego) feel important.

    It is the ego attempting to immortalize itself, which it never can, that introduces it to pain and isolation. Souls like this will have to continue living lives until the desires are removed. Souls that remove their habits move toward Whole Living, or merging with their greater self. Once they can become infinitely small, then they can disappear and unite with their infinite maker.

    The question is how much do you feel like getting rid of in a lifetime? You have eternity to leave the cycles of life and death, so nobody is demanding you drop everything at once.

    I don't know if I personally have the strength in me to sit and meditate on nothing for 6 or so more decades, I might wait myself before returning Home. I suppose a good portion of my karma has been erased in this life anyway.



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