The Gratuitous Gratification of Wrath

Rob Brezsny owns my heart. [Even more so now that I’ve spelled his name correctly. Apologies.]

In the forward to Richard Grossinger’s book, The Bardo of Waking Life, Brezsny — creator of Free Will Astrology and author of Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia — writes:

For years, much of my creative work was stoked by my rage against the machine for its soulless crimes of injustice and greed and rapaciousness and cruelty.

But as the crazy wisdom of pronoia overtook me in the 1990s, I gradually weaned myself from the gratuitous gratification that wrath offered. Against the grain, I experimented with strategies for motivating myself through crafty joy and purified desire and the longing for freedom. I played with ideas that helped me shed the habit of seeing the worst in everything and everyone. In its place I built a new habit of looking for the best.

But I never formally renounced my affiliation with the religion of cynicism. I didn’t become a fundamentalist apostate preaching the doctrine of fanatical optimism. In the back of my wild heart, I knew I couldn’t thrive without at least a tincture of the ferocity and outrage that had driven so much of my earlier self-expression.

Even at the height of my infatuation with the beautiful truths that swarmed into me while writing Pronoia, I nurtured a relationship with the awful truths.

Rob Brezsny, The Honey & Vinegar Tasters

I share this excerpt with you because I find myself walking similar ground, poking at the beautiful and the awful with the same stick, and wondering what it means.  This morning, after reading Brezsny’s essay, I turned to Michael Klare, who writes of madness and delusion and oil addiction, and — aside from wishing he hadn’t ended his piece on a banal 12-step note — I’m nodding and saying, “Well, yes, that pretty much sums it up.”

In his recent book Beasts author Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson writes, “Humans are the only species that will act out fantasies putting themselves and others in danger out of pure paranoia.” Fantasies. Acting out. Murder, war, genocide, the annihilation of species and habitat, including our own.

Madness and delusion. I could poke at these, too (where is my stick?) tho I suspect they have already been well and thoroughly poked. What more is there to say?

Meanwhile, Pronoia: the antidote to paranoia. Having had my fill of Law of Attraction bullshit, I am uncomfortable with the idea that the world is conspiring to shower us with blessings. But I’m willing to suspend disbelief.

I suppose some of you will avoid Brezsny’s work because of his association with that woolly mumbo jumbo known as astrology. Understandable. Although to do so means you will miss out on a perspective that might ameliorate your own tendencies toward madness and delusion. Your call.

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