Actually, I’m not really much of a Buddhist; I’m more a lapsed Catholic with Buddhist aspirations. And I suppose that wishing I were a better Buddhist is probably antithetical. I would master non-attachment and acceptance, and let go of anger. If I were a better Buddhist.
Andy Puddicombe, the founder of Headspace, says, “The journey to acceptance is about discovering what we need to let go of, rather than what we need to start doing.
My first baby step to enlightenment would be to let go of Amazon.
I would stop liking and re-posting articles on Facebook that criticize Amazon’s lack of community involvement, the working conditions in their warehouses, and the sinister economics of their category-killing business model.
Master Hsing Yun says “Don’t get mad, don’t get even.”
No more obsessing that I’m watching e-books in their right hand, ignorant to the darker movements of their left hand. No more counting the number of Kindles versus books on airplanes. No more wearing my Occupy Amazon button.
I would let them drift from my consciousness. I would refer to them, similar to J K Rowling’s Voldemort, as the-company-that-must-not-be-named. Or maybe just “who?”
The DOJ action against the big six publishers? It confuses me to even think about it. Nancy Pearl’s whatever-it’s-called reprint series? I probably wouldn’t read them anyway. The print/e-book bestseller list in The New York Times with the nearby omnipresent Kindle ad? I mean, who can figure that out?
I would just accept that money drives the narrative, Amazon has the money, and so Amazon drives the narrative. And it wouldn’t bother me that Amazon manipulates sales data with the sneaky arrogance that Gaylord Perry had when he threw his spitball. The proposed three million square foot office complex they want to build in the middle of my hometown? No reason for me to go there.
That Amazon is twisting and squeezing the business from independent booksellers? That they financially encourage their customers to use bricks-and-mortar stores as their showroom? That they devalue books and flatten literature out to mere content? Well, that would be harder to let go.
Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche says “when you give in to aversion and anger, it’s as though, having decided to kill someone by throwing him in the river, you wrap your arms around his neck, jump into the water with him, and you both drown. In destroying your enemy, you destroy yourself as well.”
Makes sense to me.
Or it would, you know, if I were a better Buddhist.
George Carroll is an independent publishers’ representative for university and academic presses, an associate of Seagull Books of Kolkata, and an audiobook narrator. He’s also the soccer editor of Shelf Awareness, and he blogs at thecroakingraven.wordpress.com.