Philosophy Of Non-Drama
Waimea Canyon, Kauai
I was environment intoxicated when I wrote the below post, which
is a bit long and in need of editing. In future posts, however, I will reference
the non-drama philosophy discussed below,—and that’s why I’m adding
it to my postaday collection.
The Surging Waters Speak Only The Gospel
The river “rivered” while people “behaved.” The river “swelled” while
people “behaved dramatically.” The river flowed freely, while people
were situated and there was the rub. People got caught up in their own
dramas. In situations evincing need, greed, and hate, drama emerged.
Being human meant, on some level, — always being dramatic.
If something is good because God says it is good than what I am about
to say won’t work. But, if something is good or bad because Sammy Doeno
thinks it is (for whatever reason), than the practice of drama and non-drama,
I believe, has something important to tell us. At some critical level, drama
sends things askew as it disrupts harmony—just like when a river floods.
However, rivers don’t worry about flood consequences. Extreme drama
creates extreme disharmony. At some point, we are confronted by two alternatives:
“Do we pursue drama or non-drama? Is it equanimity we desire or high emotion?”
On a personal level, or on the larger stage of socioeconomic levels,
extreme drama tends toward the pathological. Pursuing that kind of
drama requires security measures to protect and insure the
accumulation of wealth (and the freedom to accumulate that wealth).
Pursuing that kind of drama is not wrong. We read about that kind of
drama in history textbooks. Violence and aggression are simply the
“way things are.” Now lets see what happens when instead of pursuing
drama, we pursue its opposite.
The interesting thing about non-drama is that it is not given as an
“absolute,” so the cliché “it is right because God says it is” never
comes into play. God cannot be used to justify “cultural dos and
don’ts.” Although “thou-shalt-not sanctions” may be perfectly
rational they still come from outside our experience, and, as such,
they compete with “thou-shalt-nots” from other cultures, which, to say
the least, wraps every “thou-shalt” in a cloud of skepticism. On the other
hand, ethical behavior follows naturally from the practice of non-drama,
and, best of all, the practice of non-drama is internally directed, it comes
to us through “free choice.”
The practice of non-drama creates honest people. Telling a lie
creates drama. Deliberately being wrong in the face of what is right
births conflict and conflict raises the level of drama. Of course
there are always the gray areas where a small lie may get you past
dramatic situations; for instance, take the “white lie” that is used to
avoid hurting somebody’s feelings. The “ought” here becomes,
“go with the flow, don’t get caught, run smooth,” a lesson taken directly
from the river. Behavior that is least dramatic is always determined
relative to the situation at hand, but such is the beauty of non-drama.
The aphorism, “Let your conscience be your guide,” and Shakespeare’s
Hamlet quote, “Be true to yourself, and you cannot be false to any other person,”
pretty much sums up both the means and the ends of the non-drama practice.
Conceptually, the practice of non-drama can be applied in many
different areas. I’m not advocating passive resistance. To be sure,
passive resistance can culminate in very dramatic ends. Non-drama has
to be digested by the individual and applied on an individual basis.
It’s not as if “right choices” will always be made, but at least
“mistakes,” when they are made, will fall within a consistent pattern
of error, and as such, the learning curve becomes much less dramatic.
“To let it be, to be calm, to just be”– each person must accommodate
these behaviors for himself/herself. Progress will be made through
self-illumination. Less dramatic behavior (by degrees) will be the
result. You can study the process of non-drama, take advice from
others who have practiced it, even imitate non-dramatic behavior, but,
ultimately, benefits follow only from practicing it honestly. Here is
a case in point of non-drama in practice. The miser very dramatically
hoards wealth, and in so doing moves away from tranquility and harmony.
Non-drama practice requires that a rich person sever his “attachment
to wealth,” but not become poor. His lifestyle would remain unchanged
(otherwise drama would result), but, no longer consumed by the need to
make more money (for himself at least), the exclusionary values of
privilege and class (the opposites of harmony and equanimity) would,
vis-à-vis the practice of non-drama, be transformed into more
inclusive values. The desire for consistency and inclusiveness would
overpower the desire for exclusivity and separateness; that is, if
non-drama was honestly practiced. I must reiterate, though, this
process would be very difficult (especially the part about the
redistribution of wealth).
This brings me to another interesting point, one that has bothered me
for a long time. If through the practice of non-drama, a miser’s
behavior can be reversed, then people can change, I mean really
change. For a long time now, I had convinced myself that the “puffed
up” remained “puffed up,” and there was no turning back for braggarts,
bullies, and warmongers, either. I have always believed that
disguising our demons is possible, but extinguishing them is not.
Sooner or later, they always reemerge and howl. But, real change is
allowed in the practice of non-drama. What changes is not the person;
it is the intensity of one’s character. At the “center” everything stops. The farther
removed we are from this “center,” the more dramatic our ego becomes.
A vain person, by practicing non-drama, moves toward the center.
Vanity cannot be turned into compassion, but at the “center,”
compassion and vanity become one.
We are already practicing drama and non-drama. Our knowledge lies in
the awareness of the two. Our freedom lies in choosing between the
two. Drama is not a bad thing; it is the only thing. It is “how we
live that matters.” We are continually integrating this “how” back into
our experience and proceeding from there. Some of us are not (and will
never be) ready to practice a life of non-drama, but for those that do
positive results will follow, both for the individual and society.