23 April 2008

Is Emo Influenced By Buddhism?

A Buddha has an emo makeover

“Believe nothing just because a so-called wise person said it. Believe nothing just because a belief is generally held. Believe nothing just because it is said in ancient books. Believe nothing just because it is said to be of divine origin. Believe nothing just because someone else believes it. Believe only what you yourself test and judge to be true.”
Buddha

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Some correlations between Buddhism and emo



In The chauvinist guide to feminism, part 2, I poked fun at emo. Emo, just like religion, is an easy target, but just because it is an easy target doesn't mean it shouldn't be stomped on once in a while. Stomping on homo-erotic fascinations such as these reinforces their respective persecution complexi. Once, the Romans fed Christians to lions, now we merely feed their pathologies.

Shannon Elizabeth
Shannon Elizabeth. Not emo. Not Buddhist. Just right.

I'd pick on Islam, but those guys don't know how to fly and I live in a tall building. I resolved to poke fun at something completely harmless and docile. From these hot topics, I chose Buddhism as the hot topic of the day.

No bugs were harmed during the writing of this post.

The Four Noble Truths


If you want to know more about this religion, try this 5 minute introduction to Buddhism. Buddhism is responsible for the cliché 'it's not a religion/car/pyramid scheme/hair removal product/bunch of bullshit, it's a way of life'.

Technically, Buddhism isn't a religion, because it is not about worshipping a god. It is about awakening to the real world and by awakening to the real world, Buddhists mean accepting the four noble truths. The four noble truths have nothing to do with Michael Moore or UFO sightings, they are:

  1. Life means suffering

  2. The origin of suffering is attachment

  3. The cessation of suffering is attainable

  4. There is a path to the cessation of suffering


Life means suffering?

Mr Self-Harm, the emo deity
This is Mr Self-harm, the emo deity. Mr Self-destruct? Thank you, Trent Reznor.

Life means suffering!


That does look like a statement that the one-eyed adolescents of gender defying cosmetic skills would cut into their thighs with a razor.

The origin of suffering is attachment


Attachment. Right. Attachment to some of these might point to the origin of suffering:

  • Myspace

  • Hair dye

  • Shitty punk bands. Actually, that's a tautology. You could just say punk bands

  • Eyeliner

  • Muppet fringes

  • Hair removal gone wrong

  • For a girl, chatting up a girl and getting a guy

  • For a guy, chatting up a guy and getting a girl

  • For a girl, chatting up a guy and getting a girl

  • For a guy, chatting up a girl and getting a girl. Well, this only causes suffering when you are emo


But most of all, attachment to those ridiculously tight trousers. You would have to be Jewish, with the circumcision done by an extremely drunk Rabbi who lost his contact lenses at a Bar Mitzvah earlier that day to fit into those.

That might explain the affinity to cutting. It might also explain why one would think that life is suffering. When someone takes a scalpel to your wabos, or anywhere near it, there is reason enough for a life of angst filled with depression.

The cessation of suffering is attainable


The bad news is, a foreskin can't grow back. And neither will your wabos. And neither will your hair once you start balding from too much dye. The good news is tears may be wiped away. Even when they leave deep grooves in your eyeliner.

Emo thinks the cessation of suffering comes with death. In practice, it usually comes after puberty.

There is a path to the cessation of suffering


To achieve a cessation of suffering, Buddhism prescribes the noble eightfold path. This path is meant to be a journey that leads to the gaining of wisdom, ethical conduct and mental development.
  1. Right View

  2. Right Intention

  3. Right Speech

  4. Right Action

  5. Right Livelihood

  6. Right Effort

  7. Right Mindfulness

  8. Right Concentration

This is were emo gets left behind. Emo does not seem to think there is a cessation of suffering during this lifetime.

Is emo influenced by Buddhism?


Both emo and Buddhism claim that life means suffering. I'm sure Paris Hilton has endured a life of immense hardship and unbelievable suffering.

Both emo and Buddhism claims that attachment is the origin of suffering. To Buddhism, it means attachment to mundane things like wealth and health insurance. To emo, it means attachment to the commercial nature of our society - to the mainstream, but in practice it means attachment to your gender.

Both emo and Buddhism see a cessation to suffering. To emo, the release of endorphins due to self-harm is the temporary cessation. To Buddhism, detachment is the cessation.

Finally, emo and Buddhism do not see eye to eye when it comes to the way to cease suffering. Emo and Buddhism just don't see one eye to epicanthic fold eyes when it comes to this crucial point.


Jane's Addiction, Perry Ferrell, Dave Navarro

Jane's Addiction, inventive and experimental drag queens from the eighties. Inventive means they didn't really write songs. Experimental means they took lots of drugs and messed around on instruments while high. Drugs. The ignoble onefold path to the cessation of suffering.

In conclusion, I would say there is a 75% correlation between the doctrine of Buddhism and emo. The other 25% of emo is just gay. You could argue that Jane's Addiction is responsible for emo, but I think it is more likely that Marilyn Manson or Trent Reznor caused emo, much to their dismay.

Since the Buddha encourages individualist thinking, and emo demands conforming to their look and way of life, I feel Buddhism "the way of life" deserves some credit as a valuable meme.

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2 comments:

Stanley said...

Interesting stuff, and funny too. I didnt know Shannon Elizabeth was Buddist. Richard Gear has some competition

Salima Hayek said...

Ha Emo! Great creative writing. And anything that mentions Shannon Elizabeth gets my attention.

Have you read "Zen and the Art of Pornography"? I hear it's a serious book despite the title - I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

Private property is theft, personal property is fine

That awkward moment when reality meets your ideology. Some anarcho-communist is having a fanny wobble because informal settlers got evicted ...