(in the run up to the beta version of the Book of Greater and Lesser Omissions – several items that are more internal than informative are being temporarily parked here in full public view. Please excuse me.)
Urban life is trying. The rhythms, tempo and volume to which many of us subject ourselves is hardly healthy. The tricks we devise to survive are scarcely inventive — human wiring provides us few alternatives but to be full of ourselves. Nature makes us borderline social basket-cases.
Choosing to leave behind such a constellation of adaptive devices in favour of a renegotiated collective lifestyle isn’t done lightly. Leaving one’s core self behind is just not done; despite our best of intentions, we drag great mounds of our most unAppealing habits with us…
It was written in a format that doesn’t survive translation that the early unMoaners should receive an intricately devised cyclical wine ration that had them with one glass or two for three days a week, with a whole bottle every other Saturday, but with the interim days dry. None of this became unRule.
It is not a minority position that injudicious drinking habits depleted the integrity of the early unMonasterians. No matter how desirable, periodic emergence from our cloisters to partake in the pleasures of the local night life would not go unObserved. Intemperate levels of inhibition release combined with unMo standard levels of sleep deprivation depleted attention available to morning practice, intelligible meetings or Italiano lessons. The generosity of our guests descending upon us with their family’s liquid finest left us with unScenic mountains of recyclable glass.
Arriving back in town at the end of June*, to be greeted in town by the rumour of the unMo’s incarnation as a study centre in, at best, a mild form of debauchery, was beyond disconcerting. The ensuing meeting, held it seems under a cloud of adherent guilt, spontaneously decreed that henceforth the unMoaners should limit their intake of C2H6O to three days a week…
The speed with which this decision was subject to creative interpretation could make the staunchest of us unRuly. Our meeting being held on a Thursday, the immediate week in question held but three days as eligible candidates; (Sunday is inconveniently a floater on some calendar systems, and was therefore placed in zone libero.) Forgotten in the mix was an implied consumption cap. Quality failed to negotiate with quantity: granted but three days, one should best thoroughly explore the far side of sobriety flat out before the countdown of the new week beckoned. Needless to say, elements in the cultural calendar decreed that this proposed policy evaporate as soon as possible…
- Described by some as “The Stone Age” this apparent nadir in the unMonastery history reflects the rather incongruous, retrograde exploration of a social experiment whose results many thought were tabled years ago.
Cannabis has without doubt value in symptom reduction with ailments as variable as epilepsy and arthritis, but these are by and large ailments of our dotage. For able-bodied youth such indulgence seems incompatible with the unMonasterian ethic of ‘doing’. Anyone with extended practice in the collaborative arts (music and theatre come to mind) recognises that cannabis use, while amusing, is incompatible with teamwork: it invariably leads to off-tempo solos and a diminished sensitivity to the nuances of others. Whereas our monastic predecessors across the valley would have sought enlightenment via marathons of applied chanting, the chemical enhancement of a marihuana assisted meditation often contribute to minor logical gaps in best practice that leave one fascinated by ones own private universe and infatuated with shallow, flimsy invention. The social acquiescence to cannabis use among segments of local youth is also problematic. At times local contacts would drop by for a place they could smoke in peace; the unMo had not developed a coherent line and instead floated an immature interpretation of adapting to local practice that left us exposed.
The other culturally prevalent addictive drug of diminishing choice was also insidious in its successful incursion into the collective unMoaner bloodstream. Several resident unMonkers reported fretful backslides in the face of the available hardware in the unMonastery kitchen. Lacking a teapot, we improvised. None of the solutions at hand granted us anything close to a satisfying sensual ritual of tea drinking. Meanwhile, assailing ones nostrils from every street corner café were an assortment of coffee blends that pronounced themselves the Nectar of the Gods. The will just didn’t hold out. And while the quality was improved for us all, some people neglected to adjust the quantity. Many of us remained high-wired on superb caffeine from morning to night.