Tom Robbin's memoir, Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life, is set for release next week.
Tony Vigorito: Alan Watts once wrote that we actually haven’t the answers to the most ordinary of questions, such as “What’s going on?” or “Where am I?” So let’s start with these allegedly mundane inquiries. What’s going on? And where are we?
Tom Robbins: Christians, and some Jews, claim we’re in the “end times,” but they’ve been saying this off and on for more than two thousand years. According to Hindu cosmology, we’re in the kali yuga, a dark period when the cow of history is balanced precariously on one leg, soon to topple. Then there are our friends in the counter culture who believed that last December 2012 we were in for a global cage-rattling which, once the dust settled, would usher in some great spiritual awakening. I hope they’re bearing up well under the disappointment.
Most of this apocalyptic noise appears to be just wishful thinking on the part of people who find life too messy and uncertain for comfort, let alone for serenity and mirth. The truth, from my perspective, is that the world, indeed, is ending -- and is also being reborn. It’s been doing that all day, every day, forever. Each time we exhale, the world ends; when we inhale, there can be, if we allow it, rebirth and spiritual renewal. It all transpires inside of us. In our consciousness, in our hearts. All the time.
Otherwise, ours is an old, old story with an interesting new wrinkle. Throughout most of our history, nothing -- not flood, famine, plague, or new weapons -- has endangered humanity one-tenth as much as the narcissistic ego, with its self-aggrandizing presumptions and its hell-hound spawn of fear and greed. The new wrinkle is that escalating advances in technology are nourishing the narcissistic ego the way chicken manure nourishes a rose bush, while exploding worldwide population is allowing its effects to multiply geometrically. Here’s an idea: let’s get over ourselves, reduce our carbon footprint, adopt an animal from a shelter, go buy a cherry pie, and fall in love with life.