Somewhere along the line, we humans get confused about love. We want it to be special. Which means, we want more of it than other people get. We want more attention, more nurturing, more recognition than others.
This is impossible, though, because love is infinite and always-radiating from the divine and from the hearts of everyone. To “have more of it” would mean that it would have to be somehow finite in order to be able to be divided up into relative amounts.
But we’re confused. We think we can make the infinite small and limited. In this way we’re all fallen angels. Lucifer, the most famous fallen angel, fell from heaven because he made the same mistake. He wanted special love, special power from God. When God wouldn’t give it, Lucifer was like, “Well, I’d rather be king in hell than just a regular somebody in heaven. So screw this, I’m going to hell.”
And that’s what we’ve done to ourselves. We’ve made ourselves kings in hell. I don’t mean the hell of fire and brimstone. I mean the hell of self-rejection, alienation, separation. The hell of feeling limited and threatened.
Once we’re confused enough to think that love can be finite, and once this confusion has obscured for us the awareness that love is actually infinitely abundant and radiating at us all the time – we begin to think that we can use finite things in this world as a substitute for love-energy.
Pie. Coffee. Nicotine. Dopamine from sex. TV. Heroin. Alcohol. The rush of shopping. Gambling. On and on.
The thing about pie is that it’s not infinite. Pie is finite. In order for me to have more pie, someone indeed has to have less pie.
When I’m using pie as a substitute for love, my desire for pie becomes infinite. I want to grab up all the pie in the world and hoard it, because I can never get enough. Even if I have giant warehouses of pie, even if I have more pie than I could ever eat. Even if eating pie all the time is making me sick and diabetic and obese. I still have this demand for pie. Because I’m trying to get an infinite need met with a finite substance, and I’m confused.
Along the way I end up stealing pie from a whole lot of other people. They can just go hungry. Fuck them. I need pie.
This is the disease of addiction. It’s a fundamental confusion about finitiude and infinitude, and all of us are affected by it to some extent. Addiction comes from the Latin word for slavery. It’s an experience of being enslaved to the things of this world. There’s nothing wrong with pie, coffee, nicotine, dopamine from sex, TV, heroin, alcohol. They’re all innocent things that can be great medicine on some occasions. The trouble comes in when we try to use these things as substitutes for what we’re infinitely yearning for.
Our whole society is currently operating in this addicted mode. We’re addicted to money, power, oil. We’ve gone deep into debt to fuel our addiction. Rapacious addicts are the “leaders” of this society, because it’s a society dedicated to addiction.
Addiction can only thrive inside the lie of scarcity, which comes from being confused about love. When we’re in addiction, we believe there isn’t enough to go around. We need more. We need to grab it. The sad thing is that the natural world is abundant, and humans have the innate intelligence to wisely cultivate that abundance to satisfy the needs of everyone. Scarcity only actually arises when there’s addicts running around voraciously consuming way more of various substances than they actually need because they’ve confused that substance with love itself.
So right now things are tight in the economy. There doesn’t seem to be enough money to go around. Actually, though, there would be plenty of money to go around – except a handful of addicts are hoarding gigantic piles of it.
This is painful. It means we’ve all been harmed by addicts, just like a little old lady who gets her purse snatched by a junkie who also knocks her down onto the sidewalk. We’re bruised. We’ve been robbed.
Here’s the other thing though: we’re also all addicts ourselves. We have the same fundamental confusion within us as the people who are hoarding all the pie, power, oil, money, etc.
And since addiction is a spiritual confusion, an internal confusion, we can’t end it for those other people out there with the giant hoards. We might be able to heal ourselves and then serve as inspirations for others who also want to heal, but that’s it. That’s the limit of our ability to change people who aren’t us.
This is part of the reason why violence is completely useless to end our societal problems. Even if revolutionaries killed the “leaders” and billionaires and took their money and redistributed it tomorrow – by next week someone else would have started to hoard it. The problem is not with individuals or even corporations or countries.
The problem is with this spiritual illness, this virus, that afflicts us humans. As long as it’s afflicting one of us, we’re all affected by it. But we can only address it within our own selves.
So that’s what I’m interested in doing, and interested in helping you to do if you desire it. Ending the confusion, ending my useless attempts to try to meet my infinite desire with finite jollies. Seeking to go straight to the good stuff and give myself and others love instead.
That’s the love revival, and that’s what I’ll be talking about tomorrow night at Assemble on Penn Avenue at 7 pm: https://www.facebook.com/events/116973555116934/