In response to a letter:
Moved from DC, I’m liking Houston so far, having been here for almost two years now. I forgot all about Refuse to Fall. I knew those guys back when they were staying in Philly, briefly. I in fact helped fold the sleeves of that 7 inch in the original Equal Vision office there, when I first moved into the Philly temple. Anyway, I don’t remember them as being all that great of a band. One main reason: before they recorded that 7 inch in the studio, I was there when Ray Cappo sat down with them and “helped” them to reshape all the lyrics for those songs so that they would be more in line with Krishna consciousness, Shelter, and the Equal Vision label. That they allowed themselves to be manipulated like that, is not worthy of very much respect. (They are obviously not on the same level with bands such as Bad Brains, and I’m too old now to settle for much less these days.) Nor did it say much for Ray himself (then) or the spirit of the movement to impose like that, as they almost always did, and do now.
As I started to shift to anarchism and realized it was really more in line with the direction I wanted to go in life, Krishna consciousness as a movement and ideology made less sense. There are many other levels of consciousness and experience to dig into that are, in truth, not obliged to answer to Vaishnavism or any other doctrine. You speak of the fallen men and women in the movement, they are indeed a major disappointment. I choose not to identify with them and their crimes and their excuses.
You seem like a nice guy, so please don’t mistake this as an attack on you. But I do like to discuss, and I am surcharged with anger over the matter. I question anyone’s motive for implicating themselves in any religious movement or personal belief in the kind of Supreme Being that puts them in the place of willingly becoming a servant and indebted. This is something I think we as human beings have to rid ourselves of. So it is a matter of atheism, political atheism, and so on. You can always prop up God and say that well, He is the infallible one, and this is our reason for pushing in such and such direction…
Buddhism, on the otherhand, I find much more suitable, because in many cases it is not on a religious or superstitious level, but is the stuff of psychology. By means of openly questioning life and our “leaders” without having to answer to any institution or installed religious belief, we can come to a more relevant truth. Truth is not stagnant.
The Krishna involvement in the hardcore scene, I believe, has exposed some serious psychological weaknesses that need to be addressed. I really think if it weren’t for bands such as Cro-Mags, Shelter, 108, etc., kids would not be so occupied. “Practicing” from home is one thing, but when kids start moving into temples (as I have done), it’s another. Life is seized by the iron fist of the institution. I’ve seen grown men reduced to mice under the authority of teenage bhakta leaders. Does God want this? Does your Soul really want or need this?
If we are not idiots, we are free to enjoy sex, drugs, gambling, and alcohol without being swept up into addiction and slavery. For now, the body, mind, and spirit, are as one. Why, because I say so? YES. Prohibit sense gratification and you only cheat yourself. Not even the best devotee is denying his or herself of sense gratification, mental or physical. Minimized to the mental, there is then always the gratifier of self righteousness.
I say, fuck it. Let it all go. I say, be free.