We will discuss Chaim Wigder’s text below. Chaim writes:
I would like to call for a Trash Community gathering to discuss these six articles, so that it can be clarified, critiqued, revised, expanded, and agreed upon. Is there any interest out there in the kind of project I outline here?
I. On Suffering
I’ve spent some weeks writing and re-writing what I intended as a kind of declaration for my vision of the Trash Community project. I’ve written a lot, most of which I’ve thrown in the figurative bin. What has been difficult about writing this kind of thing is that we are stuck here in a catch-22. The difficulty of figuring out what a Trash Community might look like lies in the fact that it is the Trash Community itself which was supposed to provide the direction for answering this question.
The Speculative Non-Buddhism project has been, in part, an attempt to slap the complacent smirk of idealism off the face of Western Buddhism. I would like the Trash Community to address the next step in this process: once we’ve become disillusioned enough to wipe the shit-eating grin of transcendence off our faces, how do we proceed? How do we stay committed to materialism; that is to say, to human existence, rather than the non-human existence always so cherished, but never attained, by capitalist spiritualism?
I propose that the Trash Community should be an exploration of the following fundamental question: How can we become less indifferent and oblivious to the suffering that exists all around us?
This is, of course, a question on which Buddhism has had a lot to say. But Buddhism has been mostly in the business of obscuring this question by transcendentalizing it—and it is here that I part ways with Buddhism, while retaining the right to make use of its conceptual arsenal.
Again, this simple question: How can we become less indifferent and oblivious to the suffering that exists all around us? It is so easy, so tempting, to take this question as the point of departure into idealism. And so, to be perfectly clear, I am speaking here of material suffering, which is the only kind of suffering there is. Therefore, I have no interest in wasting time discussing idealist answers to this question. The distinction between “spiritual” and “material” is hereby abolished. We are, first and foremost, creatures living in the Real. We are material creatures. What we call “spiritual,” what we so wish to delusionally think of as over and above the socio-material reality of human existence, is in fact what is most deeply human, which is to say the most deeply social and, hence, the most deeply material.
The attitude toward suffering employed by Western Buddhism is to assert that suffering is an illusion that must be “seen through” via meditative introspection. In the Trash Community, we will reject this absurd notion and assert the opposite: suffering is real; it is material, ideological, social; and it must be acted upon materially, ideologically, socially.
II. On Desire
What are the operational desires that motivate a practice community?