Once a monk made a request of Joshu.
“I have just entered the monastery,” he said. “Please give me instructions, Master.”
Joshu said, “Have you had your breakfast?”
“Yes, I have,” replied the monk.
“Then,” said Joshu, “wash your bowls.”
The monk had an insight.- Traditional Zen Koan
Everyone thinks they’re smart. Everyone thinks they are a good person. Everyone is the hero of their story. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how stupid I am. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how evil I am. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how I am the villain of my story.
For most of my life, I’ve held on to reason to explain myself. The stupidity of this has dawned on me more. It’s easy to personalize everything. I’ve always done it. At various times, I have believed I am the maker of my fate, that my successes are my own, that I stand on my two feet, that If I just do the right thing, everything will work out, that my intelligence and reason will guide me.
Rubbish. Throw the baby out with the bathwater. Embrace your idiocy, your evil, your darkness. Embrace how truly fucked you are. How you have no fucking clue what you are doing. That every day is filled with fear. Reason will not save you. Other people will not save you. There are no answers. You cannot work out your life. Everything you read is a fraud, including this. There are millions of these articles on the internet. They are all worthless. Including this piece, I write now. Don’t listen to it. We’ve all mistaken the finger for the moon.
But vanity still plagues me. Temptations are everywhere. At any moment I can believe I know something again. At any moment, I may fall asleep and believe I actually know what’s going on. I am not cured. Secretly I still think I am smart. Secretly I believe that reason will save me. I have not learned my lesson.
What should you do? How the hell do I know? I am nobody. I am an idiot just like you. I used to know everything. I was learned. I was smart. I read books and I accomplished things. It’s laughable to me. But now I am dumb. Unreason is my life. All I want to do now is wash my bowl.