Why we need free speech

Even grumpy old Charles Bukowski couldn’t get angry at those who attacked free speech. Through mindfulness, we can learn to broaden our understanding and see that there are many ‘truths’.

Why we need free speech
photo credit: kasio69 via photopin cc

‘Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others. Their fear is only their inability to face what is real, and I can’t vent any anger against them. I only feel this appalling sadness. Somewhere, in their upbringing, they were shielded against the total facts of our existence. They were only taught to look one way when many ways exist.’

Charles Bukowski. Letter to journalist, Hans van den Broek after the book Tales of Ordinary Madness was removed from the public library in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. 1985. Source: Letters of Note. Available from: http://www.lettersofnote.com/2011/10/charles-bukowski-on-censorship.html [accessed on 11 January 2014].

‘Perhaps ultimately, spiritual simply means experiencing wholeness and interconnectedness directly, a seeing that individuality and the totality are interwoven, that nothing is separate or extraneous. If you see in this way, then everything becomes spiritual in its deepest sense. Doing science is spiritual. So is washing the dishes. It is the inner experience which counts. And you have to be there for it. All else is mere thinking.

At the same time, you have to be on the lookout for tendencies toward self-deception, deluded thinking, grandiosity, self-inflation, and impulses toward exploitation and cruelty directed at other beings. A lot of harm has come in all eras from people attached to one view of spiritual “truth.” And a lot more has come from people who hide behind the cloak of spirituality and are willing to harm others to feed their own appetites.

Moreover, our ideas of spirituality frequently ring with a slightly holier-than-thou resonance to the attuned ear. Narrow, literalist views of spirit often place it above the “gross,” “polluted,” “deluded” domain of body, mind, and matter. Falling into such views, people can use ideas of spirit to run from life.’

Jon Kabat-Zinn. Wherever you go, there you are.