Stickman Readers' Submissions June 8th, 2019

Why Ride The Waves Is Worse Than Everyone He Hates

The one irreducible thing about life is suffering. Nothing makes us more human. In love, we can feel ourselves blissed out, living as if in a dream. But nothing brings us closer to the nature of existence than pain. Crank up the voltage high enough, and you’ve reached the height of mindfulness. No matter how hard you try, you will undeniably be stuck in the moment.

Some of us pay for play. Some never do. Some of us found love in Southeast Asia. Some hate. Some something in between.

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Some of us are young on the way to being old; some of us are old wondering where our youth has gone. Some of us have found ourselves smack dab in middle age, assuming futures that might or might not come. Some find peace in those points and processes; others live and die in fear and trembling.

But as much as binaries blot out the complexity of life, I have realized there are really only two types of people (on top of 10,000 clichés) in this world: those who love other people (generally and specifically) because we all suffer, and those who hate people because, like the ego-inflated monsters they are, they are only conscious of their own suffering, as relatively minor as it might be.

We’ve all come across people like Ride the Waves, prideful of that which we all inevitably lose (youth and good looks, if we ever had it), and entitled to things we never earned (birthrights in rich lands where education and opportunity are on offer regardless of our own efforts).

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But whether you are young or old, whether or not you pay for play, you should never let your patho-adolescent resentment and arrogance turn you into a monster. Which is to say, never, ever be like Ride the Waves.

If you make the moral choice to be a monger, the least you can do is see the women you sleep with within the full cultural and economic matrix from which they came.

Are you really surprised a girl born in a typhoid-infested shack dripping with dysentery who never received an education, possibly suffered sexual abuse, and is forced (or “chooses”) a life of prostitution might try to milk you for a few more dollars which deep down you know you can afford to pay?

Whether you’re from Chechnya or Chelsea, you’ve likely grown up on some variation of the Robin Hood story. She’s “stealing” for a higher cause. Perhaps your moment of indignation lasts that poor girl’s family a while.

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There is no center, no protagonist … it’s all about perspective. No one is beneath you as a person. But we all have different roles and different choices.  Count yourself lucky if you’re born into a life where a relatively rich man isn’t calling you a whore for asking for what amounts to a Western hour of minimum wage’s difference more for a few hours of intimacy.

Look, I’m not saying you should be taken advantage of, even as you are exploiting others. In truth l, we are all exploiting others (and to varying degrees, being exploited). Exploitation is at the heart of the global economy. If the Bhagavad Gita teaches us anything, it’s this — we are all party to the destruction of life.

And the minute you start getting cocky about your mostly unearned place in the global hierarchy, the moment you start resenting and denigrating the people whose station in life is to fulfill your desires, the moment your own transient youth, looks and health become points of pride and not gratefulness, you, my friend, have lost the fucking plot.

Every last one of us could have been born someone else. Hell, maybe the Buddhists are right — maybe the monger of this life is the demimondaine of next.

There is no joy without that realization, the one we all secretly know anyways — we’re not so special; we easily could have been born and raised to be the exact people we hate. And what is that hate really? The lie that we could never be that which we despise; the fear that deep down, we are that already, despite all of our relative advantages.

Stay humble people. You may be riding the wave for now. But just like the rest of us, one day you too are going under.

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