I Don’t Give a Fuck! American Mantras to Free the Spirit
A Roadmap to Enlightenment for Godless Mystics
I Don’t Give a Fuck! American Mantras to Free the Spirit is a socio-spiritual satire which has chosen a humorous and often comical vehicle for taking the reader on an impelling trip toward the awakening of consciousness. It is a book that exposes the contradictions in which we live hypnotized by old patterns, as it provokes all types of traditions without fear of upsetting orthodoxies of any flavor or faction and never missing the chance to play with the ironies of the colorful “New Age” world. In fact, the author, comparing himself with the great visionaries of this “Age”, claims to be not just any old jerk, but a “special old jerk”, since he also channels a wise entity who speaks from another plane of reality: the “famous” Joe Cocozza, an irresistible fantasy character who embodies the paradoxical borderline wisdom of an outsider accustomed to living from day to day.
The book is divided into two parts: The Illness and The Medicine.
The first part answers the Mother of All Questions: “Why is humanity so fucked up?” How is it possible that we come into this world as ‘pure gold’, and a few years later we are all neurotics and crazies? Joe Cocozza, inevitably engaged in one of his many meaningless daily activities, offers us an answer, surprising for its brevity: Education. In fact, he imagines parents, teachers and the clergy as kinds of Upside-down Alchemists who manage to fulfill the desire of alchemists of every epoch, but in reverse, transforming gold into lead. “A sort of sorcerer,” explains Cocozza, “who is able to take innocent, trusting, pure, wholesome, noble, upright and peaceful beings and transforming them into neurotics, perverts, sadists, hypocrites, cowards and sick creatures, timid and filled with guilt, ambition, jealousy, envy, greed and violence. Isn’t it extraordinary?”
In this first part, as in the second, we find short stories that function as metaphors: “The True Story of the Commandments”, the “Encounter between Diogenes and Alexander the Great”, the story of “Eve and the Serpent”, of “the Monkeys”, “The Hindu Elephant”, “Women with Balls”, the “Italian Inventors of the Salad” and many more.
In the second part of the book, Joe Cocozza reveals to us the “Supreme Medicine” that can free humanity from the jaws of ignorance and prejudice: The American Mantras. By means of three typical street expressions this Virgil of modern times takes us on a voyage that, even though paradoxical, contains an authentic message for freeing the spirit.
The first American Mantra is: I Don’t Give a Fuck, the Mantra of Detachment. During infancy, as explained in the first part of the book, the process of education suffocates our true nature in order to destroy our uniqueness and transform us into a part of the mass phenomenon. It is because of this that human beings are in a constant state of tension between who they are and who they “should be”, disoriented and lost in a No Man’s Land where it is impossible to be at ease in the “grace of God”. Unfortunately, the realization of the truth can never be verified in a state of stress, but in a condition of absolute repose, because that which humans have always sought, they have always had; they just lost the capacity to see it. Hence, the importance of this first mantra. By chanting I Don’t Give a Fuck! I Don’t Give a Fuck! I Don’t Give a Fuck!… a delicious sensation of peace will descend around you and within you, permitting you to realize what you never lost and what has always awaited a return to the light.
The second American Mantra is the Mantra of Purification: Fuck It!! Here Joe Cocozza, uaing his highly refined poetry, shows us that to find the truth, to have contact with “God”, it is necessary to let go of everything you bring from your past: all the frustrations, the anger, traumas and pain … And what more entertaining way to purify oneself than chanting with religious passion: Fuck It!!! Fuck It!!! Fuck It!!! Fuck It All to Hell!!! “Our frustrations and our traumas”, Joe Cocozza yells at us, “are private things that our parents, children, colleagues and neighbors shouldn’t have to pay for. Your frustration must be discharged in the intimacy of a private meeting between you and God… Or else you can go meet with a religious group who get purified by telling one another to go fuck themselves”.
With the third mantra, Cocozza presents us with the pearl of American wisdom: the divine Mantra of Disidentification: It’s Not My Fucking Problem. Despite his blasphemous language, our guide initiates the reader into the secrets of the purest of meditations – the Vipassana – without ever naming it directly. With irrefutable arguments he explains that no one is born American, Mexican, Japanese, Catholic or Jew, or from the Dodgers, the Cincinnati Bearcats or the Mickey Mouse Club. All these identifications are merely the accidental result of the place and form in which you were programmed to become part of society and to which you are supposed to belong; it has nothing to do with you. “But if you live according to how you were programmed and not according to who you really are,” Joe Cocozza ruthlessly presses on, “you will end up living a life that isn’t yours! And if you live a life that isn’t yours, how can you possibly think you can fulfill your destiny and be happy, you numbskull?!” Hence, the importance of the American Mantra of Disidentification. Chanting with tireless devotion It’s Not My Problem, It’s Not My Problem, It’s Not My Fucking Problem, you will realize that all your problems are only the effect of an identification with someone you are not; therefore, they are not your fucking problem.
Reading I Don’t Give a Fuck! is an easy and entertaining ride. Each page surprises the reader, inducing reflection, subverting common sense… and, more than anything, is filled with laughter and even guffaws. It is a book that is uniquely able to dance between the profundity of the treatise and the warmth of the narrative, between the corrosiveness of a newspaper article and the softness of poetry.
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Cincinnati Bearcats or St. Louis Cardinals? The Opiate of Identification
The human being is always identifying with something. When someone asks you who you are, you usually say: my name is so-and-so, I’m American or Dutch, I’m an attorney or I work for the Social Security office, I’m Catholic or Jewish, I’m with the Cincinnati Bearcats or the St. Louis Cardinals... or other nonsense of this type. None of these definitions say anything about you because you weren’t born with them. We’ve already seen that. All these labels were placed on you arbitrarily by the “preeminent” Inverse Alchemists to distract you from your true being... or else you applied them to yourself alone as a reaction to the arrogance of those who would like to impose ideas on you that you consider stupid and primitive; or rather, instead of accepting the labels they would like to plaster on your forehead, at one point you said: “They want me to be yellow? Fuck’em! I will always be blue”. Naively believing to have earned your freedom with this. I am sorry to say to those who believe themselves rebels, that it isn’t enough to change one label for another in order to become free.
The problem is that as a result of your unconscious, you normally believe yourself to be Republican, Democrat, Romanian, barista, Shintoist... exposing yourself to ridicule in God’s eyes. “You are what God has created, not what society has made of you!” Joe Cocozza is yelling at you again, writhing in pain for having unwarily bitten into a mint popsicle. “How can you possibly think that God is so wretched as to make you into a Hindu, Muslim, Catholic or Jew?!” How can you not agree with him? A Catholic or a Hindu are limited phenomena, and God made you an unlimited phenomenon. But we’ll speak of this later... hoping icy brain-freeze, which has already paralyzed half his head, doesn’t make Joe Cocozza lose his train of thought.
Then, trusting that no one has further doubts about the fact that you are not American, Mexican, German, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Communist, botanist or contortionist, the same insistent old question raises its head: so, “who the Hell am I?”
As our teacher Joe Cocozza already explained with a masterful presentation in the last chapter, you are born as tabula rasa and as the years go by you are programmed to belong to one of the clubs. And given our feelings of belonging to a culture, to a philosophy, a system of beliefs, a football team or a religious team, it is quite casual and arbitrary, from the existential point of view no one fits into any of the definitions that are normally given to oneself.
So, it follows that when you say you are Canadian or Catholic, you’re talking b.s. You are not Canadian or Catholic, but rather, you believe yourself to be Canadian or Catholic.
This is the first raising of awareness necessary: to become aware of all the things you think you are, but aren’t. Unless you are aware that you are not all the things you think you are, your life is exposed to the danger of being sacrificed because of ideas that are simply ridiculous, finding yourself in the tragicomic situation of defending, with your naked sword, the honor of your country, of your ideas and of your religion, without even realizing that they are neither your country, nor your ideas, nor your religion.
An example. You are born pure and innocent and they make you believe you are American: they sing the majestic National Anthem to you; they tell you stories about Paul Revere, Marilyn Monroe and Custer’s Last Stand; they say that an American is this and that, that Americans are the greatest... And your dad believes he’s American and your mom believes she’s American, and your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, your cousins... everyone believes they are American. It’s inevitable that you also, finally, are convinced you’re American. Not just American: proudly American.
And one day, while you’re walking peacefully down the street all content with your iPhone in your hand, along comes a dumbass Frenchman who says that all Americans are assholes. You feel the blood beginning to boil in your veins and are instantly ready to kill to defend the name of all Americans: “Americans? Assholes?! But how can this fucking frog offend us like this? Now I’m going to educate this goddamn son of a bitch!” And you’re ready to beat the shit out of him Hollywood style, risking your physical integrity, legal consequences and anything else just to defend, at any cost, the ‘honor’ of your beloved America.
It seems to be perfectly normal if it weren’t for one small problem: “YOU AREN’T AMERICAN!!!” Joe Cocozza yells at you once again, yanking on his moustache in desperation. “What does it matter to you that a dumb Frenchman or a fucking Italian offends Americans? It’s not your problem!!!” And indeed, the problem belongs to those poor dudes that believe they are American, French or Italian, and get into feuds for no reason at all.
If you chant It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Fucking Problem!... you can easily achieve the serenity and detachment of a Buddha; open yourself a brew and enjoy watching the spectacle of Americans, Frenchmen, Spaniards and Italians all in brawls thinking they are something they aren’t. If it if weren’t so pitiful it would be pure comedy!
To chant It’s Not My Problem! can be a lot of fun because, before you are overcome with pity and compassion, you can enjoy the spectacle of all those poor bastards destroying their lives for no reason.
It’s like the story of the guy who fights in the street with a guy who doesn’t yield the right of way at an intersection. Harsh words fly immediately, and when the dude insults the family and calls him an asshole, the fracas begins: kicks, punches, head-slams, knees to the groin, elbow jabs and biting. The police arrive, they take them to the precinct, a doctor attends to them... and finally our hero, accompanied by an officer, returns to his wife, filthy, with a black eye, his head bandaged and an ear half torn off.
When his wife sees him she asks: “What happened?” “I got in a fight.” “But why did you get into all that?” “He insulted my family’s name! And he called me an asshole, too!!!” he answers with the pride of someone who has defended a just cause. “He called you an asshole? But, forgive me, how old are you? Some stupid wanker calls you an asshole, and you wind up in the hospital? Also, what does he know about you and your family? How can he know whether you are an asshole or not? Being your wife, I know very well that you are an asshole and
that you belong to a family of assholes. But he doesn’t know that!”
We live identifying with things such as pride in one’s own name, the family name, the Coat of Arms, the flag... reducing us to childish behavior that we see as something mature and intelligent. Obviously, living in a mediocre world, our models are mediocre, and this converts intelligent people into mediocre creatures.
One time, Buddha, passing through a village, came upon someone who began to insult him in a way that not even a Buddha could tolerate. But Buddha, who was more Buddha than a Buddha, stood there and listened to him: ten minutes, a half hour, an hour of fierce expletives that the aggressor gargled with drool coming from his mouth until he could find no new offensive expressions to use. At one point, Buddha looked at the lovely watch given to him by a disciple and he realized it was getting late, so he said:
“Forgive me if I interrupt, sir, but there are people waiting for me in the next village, and I don’t want to be late. If you don’t mind, let’s take a rest, and when I come back this way, you can calmly continue to insult me as you like, and what’s more, you will have time to prepare in comfort new ways to offend me.”
This is a man! This is a mature human being! The Buddha Doesn’t Give A Fuck! He knows that It’s Not His Problem! Buddha knew the American Mantras very well. And in fact, historians are researching this line of contact between Gautama Buddha and Joe Cocozza.
The practice of the American Mantra It’s Not My Problem! leads one to maturity.
So then, when you say that you are Doctor Gonzalez or attorney Pringle, that you are Muslim or Jehova’s Witness, Colombian, Republican, airplane, Philippine or washing machine, you give a definition that doesn’t explain who you are, but instead, only explains that type of conditioning to which you are a victim; it indicates what you identify with, what society has made you into, the social function you have in the world... To not beat around the bush, it denotes the way in which you have been screwed up.
All these labels say nothing about you. You are what God has created, not what society has made of you. God did not create Doctor Gonzalez, society created him.
But, as we’ve seen, you live according to these arbitrary identifications and not in consonance with your nature, with what you truly are. So how can you find happiness if you try to live according to something you are not?
Karl Marx said that religion is the opium of the people; Joe Cocozza says that identification is the opium of the spirit. It’s not exactly the same thing, but in the end, Joe and Karl aren’t all that far apart. The only difference is that one has a beard and the other a moustache. One speaks of religion and the other speaks of identification. But, ultimately, religion is nothing more than the most damaging of identifications, because it is like a drug of consciousness that keeps you from seeing things as they are.
So then, given that you are none of the things that you can imagine being, it is absurd to continue living your life trying to adapt yourself to that which your identifications impose upon you. If, for example, you understand that you have identified with the idea of being a Christian or a Jew, just because you inherited this religion from your family at an age in which you had no critical spirit, awareness or the possibility of choosing, what need do you have to still behave as a Christian or Jew?
It is here that this most beautiful Mantra can help you to live in an intelligent way, not being enslaved by ideologies that are not yours.
Each time you notice that your mind, like a broken record, induces you to robotically repeat with its monotonous voice that which you must do and say, don’t listen to it, but chant: It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Fucking Problem!... And instead of always saying the same things, always reacting in the same way and always acting in the same manner, a new horizon will open before you where, very slowly, the old ideas begin to disappear, once again leaving you fresh, alive, free and innocent, master of your life and of your actions.
In the same way, if you were educated as a Catholic and want to free yourself of the mental slavery that imposes behaviors on you in line with Catholic doctrine and not your intelligence, chant: It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Fucking Problem!... And you won’t give a fuck about all those doctrines! If, on Good Friday you want to eat a lovely lamb of God, go right ahead! Eat it even raw if you have the courage! Do you want to be foul- mouthed and rude? Go ahead! The worst that could happen is that people might avoid you! Do you want to fuck like a rabbit? Go right ahead! Enjoy yourself! Sooner or later you’ll get tired of all those plumbing operations in bed. Do you want to use a condom? “Use it, use it, please!!!” With all due respect to the Pope, even if he is the representative of God on earth, but about this subject, with millions of cases of AIDS in the world, he’s beastly wrong.
If you notice that you are feeling Brazilian or Swiss, it’s just the result of some conditioning that has nothing to do with your nature; you are free to let go of those patterns derived from these identifications. In this way the Swiss, if he likes, will be able to put on a beautiful beach wrap and spend the day dancing the samba, defrosting the icy Alps, and the Brazilian can take off his swim trunks, comb his hair – if he still can – and become neat and precise as a watch... Swiss.
Chanting the liberating American Mantra It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Fucking Problem!... you will finally be free of having to adapt yourself to family ideologies and traditions: if you want to celebrate the holidays, then celebrate; if not, chant all together: I Don’t Give a Fuck! Fuck It! ... and more than anything: It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Fucking Problem!... feeling free to do with your life as you wish, showing yourself to be truly spiritual. If you are a Communist, at any moment you can decide to possess properties without feeling guilty; and if you are a Capitalist you can decide to share what you have with others, trying out how it feels to be a Saint Francis. And if you are monogamous, you can change your mind and have eight women (if you can put up with them); if you have eight women, you can choose to be with only one, or free yourself even of her and found a new religion; you belong to God, and that’s it. God doesn’t expect anything of you; God accepts you as you are, adorned with the colorful crest that makes you unique.
The problem that you could encounter in learning the Mantra It’s Not My Problem! is that the mind is programmed to always propose the same ideas, and you are so used to believing it that you continue following the rules and patterns that you don’t believe any more without even realizing it.
It is here that the divine Mantra of Disidentification makes all the difference between living as a free human being, in line with the inscrutable will of God, and live as a poor devil, a victim of the tyranny of his conditioned mind, arranging his life according to what is said to him by the voices he believes are his own.
When the mind disguises itself as your Mom and tells you: “Those men are mean-ass bullies”, chant It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Fucking Problem!... and God’s light will appear to make clear to you that this is not your idea but His: this will restore your confidence and intelligence in order to relate, free of arbitrary opinions, to men who have created the reality around you for a long time. When your mind disguises itself as your Dad and tortures you by saying: “Life is hard; it is a sacrifice”, chant It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Fucking Problem!... and our dear God with his mischievous smile will indicate, with compassion, the light and funny side of life. When, during a romantic encounter your grandmother appears and says: “Be careful, don’t give it away the first time”, chant: It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Fucking Problem!... and our dear God will appear with His loving eyes and tell you: “Go on, give it up if you want... and use a condom!!! Jesus H. Christ! Don’t listen to the Pope!” If your mind disguises itself as your grammar school classmates who, finding you in the school restroom, make fun of you while drawing a heart on the wall with the name of a skinny, skinny girl with great big eyes with whom you have fallen in love, chant: It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Fucking Problem!... and God will play the fanfare of love so you are again able to express your feelings and commit yourself with body and soul to the one who has the honor of conquering your heart. When you see your mind raise a finger and, like a moralist dressed in black, tells you with a cavernous voice: “Don’t touch your weenie”, instead of listening to it or fighting with it and feeling guilty later, simply chant: It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Problem!... It’s Not My Fucking Problem!... and dear little God will take your hand and place it right there, telling you with His loving voice: “I gave you the hand and I gave you your weenie; touch it until you get callouses... or you become bored” ... and sooner or later everything gets boring. The Mantra It’s Not My Problem! is also called the “Luminous Mantra of Freedom”. Chanting it with devout perseverance will take you to beautiful space of healthy emptiness of mind where you will be able to at last affirm yourself free of the ideas and conditioning of the past, and engage reality in an authentic and intelligent way. No longer as a mass phenomenon, but with the pride of your individuality.