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Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Is this a joke?

Read this interview with comedian Bill Maher.  Look at the pictures of his gorgeous home.  Scan through his description of his routines, needs, and interests.

Then read the last sentence of the interview.

Is he joking?

Posted by Hillel Levin on September 20, 2005 at 02:11 PM in Hillel Levin | Permalink


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Don't we all face the same disconnect between what we hope to acheive spiritually and where we actually are on that journey?

Yes, but the issue isn't whether he's struggling to give up the material possessions; the issue is whether he even realizes he is living a life of hyper-consumption. I don't care about his choices, but I enjoy irony (some call it hypocrisy, but I prefer calling it irony.) Thus, I get a good laugh when people who drive the nicest cars and live in the nicest homes they can afford wax about how spiritual they are. (The same can be said of a lot of Christians who make oodles of money and instead of donating the money, live in material excess. Or the Kantian unwilling to sacrifice creature comforts so that more of his disposable income can help the oppressed.)

Relatedly, how one can a live a life consistent with his values or religion while still practicing law raises a lot of interesting questions, and I hope those issues will be addressed sometime at PrawfsBlawg. E.g., it always amuses me to hear egalitarian clap-traps from people whose working lives are devoted to serving the wealthiest clientele. I always wonder: "If you care so much about the poor, why do you serve the rich, and indeed, help them oppress the poor?" Do we clock out of our values when we clock into work? Do we really possess these values if we're unwilling to sacrifice money to implement those values?

Posted by: Mike | Sep 20, 2005 5:20:57 PM

No, I don't think he was joking either. But I don't see what the big deal is. Don't we all face the same disconnect between what we hope to acheive spiritually and where we actually are on that journey? It's just that our spiritual hopes and realities aren't splashed out there for all to see, and I suspect most of us would lie if we were asked about if we ever did get the chance.

Posted by: Hague | Sep 20, 2005 5:03:18 PM

I don't think he was joking. I've met many people with millions of dollars of material possessions who nonetheless speak of their enlightenment and detachment from material things. Guys like Maher are the limo liberals of Buddhism.

Posted by: Mike | Sep 20, 2005 2:28:30 PM

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