F**k It -The Ultimate Spiritual Way by John C. Parkin

Book Excerpt from

F**k It

The Ultimate Spiritual Way

 

by John C. Parkin

 

Why Saying Fuck It Is a Spiritual Act

When we say Fuck It to things that are really getting to us (the things that are mattering too much) we do carry out a spiritual act. Fuck It is the perfect Western expression of the Eastern spiritual ideas of letting go, giving up and relaxing our hold on things (attachments).

Of course, we could argue until the second coming (mmm, don’t you just love that expression?) about what ‘spiritual’ actually means. In a broad sense it’s usually defined as the non-material: in whatever non-shape or non-form. But even this doesn’t quite do it for me. I can get ‘spiritual’ feelings from the most material and everyday things. So let’s not go too mad on an actual definition – enough to say that we probably both get what we’re on about when we say ‘spiritual’. And – in my experience – whenever we relax deeply and let go, we open ourselves to the spiritual.

When you say Fuck It to anything you move from tension and attachment to release and freedom. All philosophies, all religions, all spiritual disciplines offer the same promise: freedom.

The problem is that it’s a very difficult promise to fulfil.

In fact, any philosophy that could fulfil that promise would be the ultimate philosophy … welcome to the philosophy of Fuck It.

The problem for most of us in the West – as stressed-out, uptight, anxious and controlling as we are – is that we need something with the balls of an expression like Fuck It to jerk us into a more relaxed state.

It also has the added advantage that it doesn’t involve any of the following:

  • Praying
  • Chanting
  • Meditating
  • Wearing sandals
  • Singing songs to acoustic guitars
  • Developing a belief that you’re right and everyone else is wrong
  • Killing people
  • Eating beans
  • Wearing orange
  • Stopping yourself doing things that you want to do
  • Rules
  • Pretending to be happy when you’re not
  • Saying Amen, unless you really want to.

Amen.

 

Why Fuck It Has Such a Charge

IT CONTAINS THE WORD ‘FUCK’

A book like this is controversial simply because it contains the word ‘Fuck’. Funny, really. First because the philosophy behind it is the truly anarchic thing, not the use of the word itself. But mainly because it takes a long time for a word to lose its power.

The word ‘Fuck’ is truly beautiful.

It’s beautiful because it’s slang for having sex. This in itself is cause for amusement, as its meaning has spread out. ’Fuck off’ is really ‘go and have sex’, which is not really an insult, more a good suggestion. ’Fuck you’ is really ‘sex with you’, which is certainly not an insult, more an invitation. ’Oh, fuck’ is really ‘oh, great sex,’ which, in your moment of frustration, is not a bad thing to be thinking about.

This one word has the power to shock.

And you can kind of understand it when it was rarely used: when it was hardly heard in most circles. But in the 1980s and 1990s it seeped and flowed into the language. It crossed class, race, age as the expletive of choice. Its malleability is awesome: so much so that it can be used as any part of speech. Look at this:

‘I thought, ”fuck me” (verb), the moment she fucking climbed (adverb) out of the fucking car (adjective), I just didn’t give a fuck (noun), I mean, like, fuck (conjunction), I had to fucking (adverb) fuck (verb) it (misogynistic use of the impersonal noun and just fucking rude).’

‘Fuck’ for some people becomes every other word in their sentences.

And the remarkable thing is that – even with this virus-like ability to spread – it’s kept a good deal of its power.

Sure, it’s now possible to put it on the front cover of a book in a way that wouldn’t have been possible 20 years ago. But it’s that single word that draws so much attention to the book.

IT’S ALL ABOUT ANARCHY

Saying Fuck It is like sticking two fingers up to the world of meaning, convention, authority, system, uniformity and order. And this is anarchy. Anarchy literally means ‘without a ruler’. And anarchists do propose a state free from rulers and leaders. But the wider meaning of ‘anarchy’ is the absence of any common standard, purpose or meaning.

And this is the key to the anarchistic heart of Fuck It. In life everything supports our relentless pursuit of meaning and the collection of numerous meanings. Even though meanings cause us pain, everything around us supports the process of collecting meaning.

In order to live harmoniously together we try to agree on standards, purposes and meanings.

So anything that threatens some of these collective meanings, the sacred cows of our semantic universes, is a great threat. Anarchism – the actual absence of meaning and purpose – is the greatest threat of all.

The narrower political connotation of anarchism – to overthrow the state – is nothing compared with the disruptive power of its true meaning: to overthrow a common perception of meaning and purpose. Anarchism in this sense is the most disruptive, radical philosophy that man could ever dream up.

When you say Fuck It, this is where you’re going: you’re tapping into a philosophy that scares the living daylights out of everyone.

So Fuck It is loaded with two types of explosive: the word ‘Fuck’ itself packs an impressive and offensive punch, and the phrase taps into the philosophy of pure anarchy.

And just before you get scared and stop reading and think, ’I’m not interested in anarchy’, here’s an interesting philosophical footnote hidden within the etymology of the word ‘anarchy’: Anarchos (yes, this is all Greek by the way) was a description often applied to God – to be ‘uncaused’ and ‘without beginning’ was considered to be divine.

This is a great moment. A moment when whole stadiums (or stadia if you know your Latin) of people should stand up and applaud and cheer. Here I am writing about Fuck It being The Ultimate Spiritual Way (which it is, by the way) and arguing that Fuck It is in essence true anarchism and I discover that God – GOD, no less – was referred to as Anarchos.

Holy Mother of Jesus, and Father as well, this is good news. Anyone would think there was a God guiding me through the presentation of His Ultimate Philosophy. But, hey, God, I’m sorry, the whole concept of You is one commonly held meaning-thing that we anarchically have to say Fuck It to.

Sorry, God.

 

The Effect of Saying Fuck It

Life Responds When You Say Fuck It to It

You’ve taken your two kids out for a Chinese. Flynn is five and Lizzie is seven. You are tired. The crispy duck is taking a while to arrive and the kids are getting restless. Flynn unfolds the starched serviette and puts it on his head and starts making ‘ooohhhh oooohhh’ noises, like he’s a ghost. Lizzie joins in before you’ve had chance to utter a word.

The ‘oohhhhhhs’ rapidly rise in volume and you ask them to stop it: ‘We’re in a restaurant and you’ll disturb other people.’ In fact, those other people are starting to get disturbed and are looking round.

Your initial pleas to stop it have no effect. Now you have several courses of action open to you:

  1. You get heavy and use whatever methods you normally employ to control your children (these could range from bribery, such as ’You won’t get an ice cream’ to the creation of fear, such as ’You wait until I get you home’ or ’I’ll tell your dad about this’).
  2. You don’t get heavy at all but get increasingly frustrated that your kids are not listening to you … this usually ends up in some outburst on your part.
  3. You give in and just go with it.

No. 1 works if your methods are good enough or you are scary enough. Well, it may work on this occasion. But kids are kids, and unless you make them very, very scared of you, they will constantly resist your attempts to control them.

No. 2 involves no serious attempt to control your kids, but no acceptance of them either. This is a hopeless place to be in and is the cause of the most stress.

No. 3 is the hardest and riskiest to do because it goes against everything that parents are told about discipline and boundaries.

But imagine this: you put your own serviette on your head and start ‘ooohhhing’ too. The kids love it and ‘oohhh’ back for a while. But you know what happens? They soon get bored and move on to something else that is – usually – quieter and less disturbing to other people. And those other people soon forget that they’ve been disturbed in the first place.

Child-rearing discourses aside, let’s look at a child as a metaphor for life.

Most of us – as we have discussed – try to control our lives to the smallest detail. We have very sophisticated methods for controlling life, in fact, just like the parent who used method No. 1.

You might well see some of these methods in action in your parents. Parents are past-masters at the trying-to-control-life game. Parents – usually with the aid of more monetary resources than they had when they were younger – try to eliminate all forms of discomfort from their lives. They set up comfortable routines, fill their houses with comforting ornaments and rugs to put on toilet seats, and talk about things that threaten no one, such as the best route to Cirencester or how to put up sheds. They eat comforting foods (creamy things, baked things, roasted things) and watch comforting television (the corner of the market almost entirely cornered by Alan Titchmarsh).

But as their methods get more and more sophisticated/desperate, life seems to bugger around with their plans to an even greater extent. The house gets broken into, pipes burst, they get ill and people start dying all over the place.

The controlled and ’comfortable’ life is not the path of wisdom or happiness I’m afraid. But neither is the half-baked attempt to control life with method No. 2.

No. 2 is a shit way to live. At least the controller has some vim, some direction. When you are trying to control but not quite sure, you are just knocked around on the stormy sea of life. You’re pissed off, but can’t quite be bothered enough to get up to do something about it.

This is the path to misery.

When we give in to life – when we say Fuck It at any level – we begin to ride on the wave of life. When you stick the serviette on your own head, a few things happen:

  • You actually enjoy yourself, because the game is a good one and you’ve stopped resisting it.
  • The kids love you for it and may even remember this for the rest of their lives – without the normal parental resistance to what they’re doing, they usually stop what they’re doing much sooner that you’d expect.

So, I’m sorry to be shoving you in and out of metaphors, especially when they’re close to home … but the same thing happens with life. When you give in to life, the same things happen:

  • You start enjoying yourself, because the game of life is a good one and you’ve stopped resisting it.
  • Life seems to love it when you stop resisting and starts coming your way more.
  • Life ebbs and flows very naturally of its own accord. If you hit something nasty, it’s soon replaced naturally by something lovely.

Of course, the second statement is the one that you might be wondering about the most. This is counter-intuitive. We are taught that, to get anything in life, we have to work hard and strive for it. We have to set goals and work towards them. We have to work out what matters to us and ruthlessly put those things first and try to nurture them. We believe that if we don’t really strive for things, then we won’t get them. But, possibly, the opposite is true.

If we find the courage to loosen our hold on things … to stop wanting things so much … to stop working so hard and striving so much … to give up some of the things that matter to us … something magical happens:

  • We naturally start getting what we originally wanted, but without the effort.

Now this is very zen and potentially very confusing: To get what you want you must give up wanting it.

But look at it like this: Any form of desire and striving involves some form of tension. When you let go of the desire, the tension goes. And the relaxation that replaces it tends to attract good things into your life.

Back to the child metaphor: When you give up wanting so much for your child – wanting them to be the top of class, the best at sport, go to the best university and get the best job – when you truly give these desires up and you just sit back and let your child be, the child feels absolute freedom.

And – funnily enough – in their sense of freedom they tend to excel in whatever they turn their attention to. So you get what you wanted, precisely through not wanting it. When you give up wanting everything to be just so, when you say Fuck It, life will be so grateful it will shower you with blessings.

If this doesn’t happen, please write to us at:

The University of Fuck It

La Collina Che Respira

Localita Girfalco

Via Ca’ Loreto, 3

61029 Urbino (PU)

Italia

– and we’ll give you your money back.

 

The Effect on Your Mind of Saying Fuck It

YOU NOTICE THE BEAUTY IN UNEXPECTED THINGS

Have you watched a young child playing? Or can you remember what was going on inside your head as a child? I’ve done both. I do the first regularly because I have young children. And the second because when I really relax I remember what it was like to be a child.

If I lie down and look up into a blue sky and listen to the sound of a distant aeroplane, it invariably brings up a memory from my childhood. Why? Because as we grow up we stop being fascinated by ordinary things. So when I do occasionally take pleasure simply in what’s around me, it reminds me of the last time I did that: when I was a child.

This is what children do. They live in the miracle of existence. Everything is new and fascinating. They can enjoy the wrapping as much as the present … a leaking tap as much as a beautiful lake … the smell of rain falling on dry concrete as much as the smell of baking bread.

There are no rules about what’s good or bad, what’s better than something else, or what’s worth it. There’s little discernment: there’s just things coming in … and most of them are fascinating.

As we grow up we learn how to discern, discriminate and filter out. And we tend to filter out the ordinary things in favour of the extraordinary and the unusual. In fact, much of the time we’re so lost in thoughts of the past or worries about the future that we don’t have much time for any kind of appreciation. But when we do ’appreciate’, it tends to be of the things that adults think are worth appreciating: tasty things, beautiful things, interesting things and expensive things.

At some point the feeling of wooden boards under our feet, the sound of a toilet flushing in a room upstairs, the feeling of wind against your face … these all disappear off the list of things that we should appreciate. Instead we spend lots of money to go on holiday, or go to the theatre or go out for a meal in order to flex our appreciation muscles.

When we say Fuck It to anything, then the meanings start to crumble. As the things that matter lose their meaning, then suddenly the world opens up again. Without the discrimination and discernment we learned as we were growing up, every single thing has the potential to be appreciated. Everything is beautiful.

If this happens all of a sudden it can be mind-blowing (almost literally). And this is what happens to a lot of people who have apparently ’awakened’. When you start seeing the beauty in absurd things, you know you are starting to lose your mind. Or at least the mind that has learned to see meaning in only a limited range of things.

See each moment as having infinite potential for beauty. We tend to drag all our judgements, conditioning and boundaries from the past into the present. And it squashes that moment into something very limited. If you leave some of those judgements behind and just see things as a young child might see them, you start to get a beautiful feeling. It’s a feeling of relief but mixed with some kind of longing, too. The longing rises up from a very deep part of you that remembers what it was like to see things like this all the time.

When we say Fuck It we turn the clock back. We unlearn meaning and smash the things that we have come to think mattered. We regress to a more natural state where things don’t mean much but they’re all just so bloody beautiful.

ANXIETY EVAPORATES OVER TIME

When anything that matters goes pear-shaped you feel anxious and stressed. In fact, simply the possibility of the things that matter going pear-shaped makes you feel anxious and stressed.

Given the vast range of things that matter to us, there’s a hell of a lot of potential for anxiety. And anxiety and stress will make you ill over time. So it’s worth trying to give them up and using the patches instead.

When you begin to say Fuck It to things, the anxiety vanishes. Late for work and stressed about it? Say Fuck It and the stress disappears immediately.

The more you say Fuck It, the more you’ll realize that most things don’t matter that much really. And your anxiety, over time, will evaporate.

Sure, you’ll still get anxious around some things. But that’s life. And anxiety in the right context can be a useful response. If you’re driving your car down a country road and you round a corner to find an elephant hurtling towards you, it’s helpful to feel a tad anxious. Your adrenaline will start to pump, which gives you all sorts of special powers and will help you deal with the imminent elephant threat effectively.

If the adrenaline is not enough and the only scenario is a good squashing by said elephant, then, by all means, say Fuck It before you go.

It may make your ride to heaven a little easier. This is, of course, belief-dependent, as the very use of the word ’Fuck’ might send you to hell in some belief systems.

YOUR VIEWS CHANGE AND BECOME LESS RIGID

I’ve always felt a little sorry for politicians. Well, someone has to, don’t they? They have to work out what they believe on every issue under the sun – which is hard enough in itself – but they then have to stick to it for the rest of their lives.

There’s room for a tiny bit of manoeuvre, of course, over a whole political lifetime. But very little. And rethinking is slammed as a ‘U-turn’.

Now, as long as I’m not putting other cars at risk, I’m all in favour of the U-turn. If you realize you’ve been going the wrong way, it’s much better to slam on the brakes and screech round onto the other carriageway like they do in American movies.

You never hear politicians say: ‘Look, I’ve actually sat down and thought about this properly, and I realize I’ve been a complete arse. I now think precisely the opposite to before. Sorry.’

Along with our relentless accumulation of meaning, we accumulate views on everything. And these tend to become more fixed as we get older. Views, of course, come in every shape and size, but they’re still views.

You may have views on big subjects: that no one should be allowed to starve, that persecution should not be tolerated, that nuclear powers should be disarmed. You may have views on small subjects: that Sue down the road should kick out Mick after that fling he had with Mandy, that the chippy down on the corner should bring back the battered Mars Bars, that that new weather girl on the local news shouldn’t wear such short skirts.

But they’re all still views. And all views are related to something that matters. When you start to say Fuck It and things begin to matter less, then you start to lose your love of views. Ultimately, if nothing mattered at all then you’d have no views at all. You’d have no position, no stance, no argument. You’d just react to things as they happened: completely freshly.

In the process of things mattering less, your views may change. They’ll certainly become less rigid.

People who start to say Fuck It turn from vegetarians to meat-eaters, from activists in a cause to passivists, from pacifists to apathists. And if I’ve made up a few words there for the sake of a point and a rhythm, hey, Fuck It.

I once held a view that English should be written correctly. That you shouldn’t start a sentence with ‘and’ or ‘but’, for example. But one day I said Fuck It. And now I’m starting every other sentence with such conjunctions, I’m using fucking fuck every other word, and I’m making up newly fancivist words.

I once had a prepared view on everything. This is a sad confession, but when politicians were asked questions on the radio or telly I’d imagine how I’d answer. These days, my only real view is out of my eyes, in this moment.

YOU LOSE THE PLOT

No, I don’t mean you’ll go potty. Though of course you might. And even if you don’t, it might appear to people around you that you have. But this is what I mean by losing the plot:

Let’s say your life is a film. The ‘plot’ of your life is something you have pretty well figured out at the moment (well, you think so anyway):

  • You have a good idea about how the main character (i.e. you) will act in given circumstances.
  • You know what’s gone before and you pretty much understand it.
  • You recognize, and understand, the setting of each scene.
  • You have pretty good ideas about what should happen in the rest of the play/film.
  • You have a very clear sense of a beginning, a middle and an end.

When you start to say Fuck It to things, everything softens and blurs. The film suddenly starts to look more like a French movie from the 1960s. Your French has gone so you can’t understand the dialogue, and the subtitles are slightly too small from where you’re sitting.

More specifically, this is what happens:

  • Given the rules that the main character (i.e. you) acts by are crumbling, it gets less and less easy to see what he or she will do in any given circumstance.
  • The meaning of what has happened to you becomes less clear and your past somehow seems less solid.
  • The setting of each scene suddenly becomes vast and full of possibilities, whereas before you were only seeing what you wanted to see.
  • You plan less and less; you may lose a sense of purpose and you see that your life could go in any (infinite) number of directions.
  • Your perception of time shifts and you realize that there is only really a middle: a present moment of existence.

 

To learn more about John C. Parkin and his books, visit: http://www.hayhouse.com/authorbio.php?id=491

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