I just wrote the longest-winded email to my very good friend Juli all about the Buddha and spiritual quests and all that sort of thing. And I think it’s high time I started writing my manifesto.
During my last seminar a week or two ago, a woman who just filed her Ph.D. dissertation gave us the good advice that one’s dissertation ought to be one’s manifesto. Which I think is pretty good advice, truth be told. And I think that my dissertation will, no doubt, have manifesto-like qualities. But I also know that the manifesto will be very specific. It’ll be about Buddhism in the academy. It’ll be about the way scholars go about studying Buddhism. It’ll be incendiary, no doubt, but it won’t really be my manifesto.
My manifesto’ll have to be bigger than that. It’ll have to address everything from Buddhism to how we talk about Buddhism to what Buddhists are (or should be) doing to politics to why it’s okay to listen to heavy metal every once in a while and why Star Wars is overrated (but not in the way you think it’s overrated). My manifesto will have to be huge. A huge arrogant tome that answers the question of life, the universe, and everything.
And it’ll change, of course. As soon as I write something, I’m sure I’ll change my mind. Make my points more nuanced. Abandon other altogether.
In some ways I think there’s a bit of manifesto writing going on already in here. I’ve written a rant or two (or three or four) that are pretty manifesto like in quality. And then of course there’s this. So maybe, as time goes on, this here site will be my manifesto. My small contribution to making people think differently about things they usually don’t think about at all. And in that way, maybe I’ll actually be making a difference. Shake things up a bit ’round here.
Things could use a good shaking.