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  • hardie karges 11:48 am on February 14, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apocalypse, , , , , , , ,   

    Buddhism and Self in an (Almost) post-Apocalyptic World… 

    Self-control requires no self, and not much control, either, really, just wise decisions. Which is convenient, since the last thing a Westerner—European or American—wants to hear about is control, something of a dirty word for the Aryan-descended high-steppes drifters.

    My compatriots tend to love their freedoms, even when they are deleterious to health, to an extent that others might, and do, find laughable, witness the current kerfuffles over life-saving masks in the middle of a pandemic. But limits are crucial to Buddhism, in sharp antithesis to the Christianity of eternal life and eternal resources. Oops! That’s another bad word–limit.

    Bottom line: It isn’t what you do that matters so much; it’s what you don’t do. And if that kept me away from Buddhism for many years, perceived as a passive response to active situations, now it attracts me to it. Because now it really is better to do nothing than run around like decapitated barn-fowl in search of answers to questions we never should have asked in the first place.

    So what do we do about global warming? Do nothing, i.e. instead of driving that car: do nothing. Instead of stoking that chimney of steel: do nothing. Instead of shooting that rocket to Mars: do nothing. Get it? So what if our lives revert to the same economic status of one hundred years ago, was that so bad? All we’ve gained since then is technology-based capitalism, not knowledge.

    One hundred years ago, Einstein’s general theory of relativity was proven and quantum mechanics was in progress. The only thing good that’s happened after all that is Internet, so we can keep that and get rid of all the self-driving cars and self-driven egos. Internet is almost the only worthwhile technology of the last century, that and health care, something still out of reach for many world citizens.

    Yet we are obsessed with economic growth as though that were the English term for God, and freedom as if that were our contribution to the Emptiness that underlies all stuff (which it may very well be). The problem is that quest for infinity when we have no true connection to it, except for our worship of it. So worship we can do, as long as we don’t fancy ourselves the master of it. We’re not.

    We are subject to freedom and must obey its dictates. Oops! There’s another dirty word, no, not dictate, but ‘obey.’ This is anathema to the West almost more than control or limits, but crucial to our place in the universe. It may very well be inhuman to dictate, but very human to obey, like the good children we should all strive to be. And it may be very inhuman to try to control others, but the essence of humanity to try to control ourselves.

    For then harsh words will not be spoken, and harsh actions will not be taken. Sound too simple? Yes, it is, and the most difficult thing for us to accomplish, we raised on the sound and fury of argument and debate. But accomplish it we must, if we are to survive another century. Purify your heart. Purify your mind. Prepare for the coming storm.

  • hardie karges 12:45 pm on December 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apocalypse, , , , , , , ,   

    Life and Buddhism at the Crossroads of Culture and the City… 

    Human selfishness is appalling, incompetence assumed, myopia even worse. So it’s no wonder our kids will inherit a Hell of our own making. Of course many people are quite proud of the world we’ve created, and with some justification, certainly, but the question we must ask ourselves is in which direction are we heading. So if you are in love with cars and buildings and highways and cities, then you should be quite happy. But much of our present world is based on white male privilege, of the Aryan upper class, so what would it look like as done by other tribal sources, and by the females who bare the burden of multiple births? Unfortunately that question is hard to answer, since it is typical now to copy the Western paradigm as if it were the only one available. So Chinese plans for the future look almost like a caricature of the Western model, Hong Kong extrapolated exponential, high rises up and down every street, with almost no one left in the state of nature. But that’s exactly what my perfect world would look like, if it were up to me, and if I had the decision to make, because nature is what we are, not concrete and steel, no matter how we feel, under the influence of elixirs and potions and untested notions, the children of experiment, left to our own devices, mostly electronic. But where are we then when the lights go out? Because they most certainly will, somehow some way, in some year, if not some day. And we should be prepared for that eventuality, with no time wasted in transition, not only because it is imminent, but because it is better. We are organic beings, not robots, and to deny our connection to the earth is not only futile, but misguided. If there is beauty in this world, then it comes from nature. If there is good in this world, then it comes from nature. And if there is any truth in this world, then it comes from Nature. And to Nature it should return, in a constant process of recycling, and returning to the source for refreshment. That doesn’t mean living in the wild, not necessarily. It means living in villages, without walls and without fears, no guns and no tears, preferably Buddhist. Villages are feminine and forgiving. Cities are masculine and unforgiving. The world has developed physically, but have we developed mentally and spiritually? That question remains to be answered…

    • Robert@69 10:12 pm on December 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      we have developed mentally – clearly technology is a product of our minds – as are religions, billionaires and 5G. Spiritually…ahhh that’s difficult to discern. Christianity, as preached currently in america appears to fulfil the notion of “making a pact with the devil” for power, with Trump. But that speaks more to ideology/mentality than to spirituality and I pray that recent events of rebellion from the base may lead to a “resurrection of Jesus,” in the sense that honest and practicing Christians begin waking up from the spell false prophets.

      Sorry, I ramble. I would hope too that our villages would orient around feminine energies – no guns and much metta and mudita. One of the sweet things about Buddhism as I understand it, is that no one knows quite where they are on the path but we know we are on a path of heart and the 3rd Noble truth reveals that indeed we can lesson our suffering, we do indeed love as we love ourselves, and experience greater spaciousness in our lives.

      • hardie karges 10:19 pm on December 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        You are welcome to ramble. Thank you for your comments. And I largely agree…

  • hardie karges 6:55 am on February 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apocalypse, ,   

    Religion and Apocalypse: You don’t have to be Christian… 

    img_1773…to see the ‘End of Days’ looming large like a ‘Construction Zone’ sign at the end of a long shady lane, subtitled ‘Bridge Under Construction: NO Entry’, and a bridge to the future is indeed what we need, because as it is, we’re about to drive off the edge of that bridge long before it’s finished and ready…

    This has all happened many times before and will likely happen again as the humans species and its duct-tape civilizations stumble forward on all fours, not in some cycle of re-births or rapture, but more like boredom, psychosis or rupture, human beings selling themselves into service as so many beasts of burden, bred for breeding and so much suffering…

    But what does it really mean? Jesus was not the only Doomsday Prophet approximately 2000 years ago. He was just the most successful one, and his small cult following eventually became religion—confession, redemption and fun fun fun. That can happen if you get enough ‘likes’, ‘follows’ and ‘shares’. But it’s a stretch of the imagination to assume that they were talking about the end of the species, or even worse—the planet…

    No, they were talking about cataclysmic changes to life as they knew it—the end of Jerusalem with the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. and the impending collapse of the Roman Empire, which it did, eventually, bit by bit. And now we’re at the end of another empire, the Euro-American one that has dominated the globe for the last 500 years. Before that time, c. 1492, I figure the world’s top cultures were more or less equal…

    And then another lesser eschatological event occurred in England with the conquest of Great Britain by William the Conqueror in 1076, destroying what Alfred the Great built, substitute Frenchified ‘north men’ for the Vandals in Rome who once took handles and ran, and once again we barbaric Germanics sank our own Titanic, especially notable because it includes the survey of holdings known as the ‘Domesday’ (Doomsday) Book, in reference to the Last Judgment…

    And now here we are again, another millennium later, staring into the abyss of our own self-destructive tendencies, after a solid 250-year-run, 1976-2016, of Anglo-American dominance. None dare call it bi-polar syndrome: schizophrenia, the white man’s disease! Homicidal tendencies from the world’s conquerors and rulers, and a death wish to boot! Good riddance…

    …because it’s based on consumption and greed, not happiness, or even love, or justice, or democracy, our overriding myth, and certainly not sustainability. That sounds like socialism, because it is, and much better than driving off the cliff in the name of capitalism. The economy has crashed before and will crash again, likely taking governments along with them, and lives, and the innocent smiles of children…

    The difference this time, is that, whereas Rome was one of many great powers, albeit the strongest, the others could take up the slack when it fell. This time we’re all connected, and any precipitous fall could take us all down together, and all that we’ve accomplished in the last 500 to 5000 years…

    If the fruit of the flower of our civilizations’ finest hour is to continue through the darkness to follow, it will likely be due to the efforts of hackers and slackers from the previous society’s fringes, connected by Internet and fueled from the sun, like raisins fallen from trees pre-ripened and pre-sweetened, recycling today’s excess detritus for many hundreds of years to come, before the production of new materials will be necessary…

    Last time the ‘darkness’ that ensued was mostly in the field of publishing—and the pursuit of knowledge. There were other more important things to do, like survive. They were mass migrations, as there likely will be again, and already are. But life went on, as it will again. Centralized subsidized power from a distance collapsed before, as it will likely do again, and power will revert to localized Big Shots, mafia men, as it already has in many villages in Mexico and elsewhere, where cartels have more resources than the central government…

    Will we ever learn our lesson? I don’t know. It seems like in the 70’s we had a clue as to where this was heading, and were dealing with it, by ‘slow-growth’ and ‘no-growth’ and back-to-nature movements, then we suddenly changed our minds when the Digital Revolution came along, that and Ronald Reagan and the excesses of Wall Street. Now all we have are DJT, conspiracy theories, crocodile tears and a pocket full of tissues…

    Maybe it’s not the time to rag on Western culture—Christianity, Capitalism, and Democracy—for causing the current problems, but I doubt that those paradigms are equipped to deal with the coming Dark Times, suffice to say. My own preference would be a Buddhist socialism, non-aggressive and self-sufficient, democracy optional. Until then we persevere. Note to Christians: I don’t think you’re supposed to actually wish for the rapture. I don’t think it’s supposed to be fun…



    • davekingsbury 3:59 pm on February 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Yeah and what about all the leisure these robots were going to bring us? Nice end-of-days piece, Hardie, cheered me up hardly at all! 😉

    • hardie karges 8:44 pm on February 13, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Oh, I forgot to add: robots optional. Riffing on Stephen Hawking: Dark Ages don’t have to be so dark. They’re only dark because we don’t know much about them. Print those blogs and put them in a safe place, Dave! Digital information will likely be lost, and history will only record that which can be accessed. Yeah, I thought the future would be cooler, too… (my favorite line from pop music last year)

  • hardie karges 12:20 am on October 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apocalypse, , , , ,   

    Religion 221: Less is More, Time for New Paradigms… 


    Christian church in Ethiopia

    If the Renaissance man was our hero of the 1500’s and the scientist our hero of the 1600’s, then Enlightened Man was the paradigm for the West in the 1700’s and the entrepreneur was the paradigm in the 1800’s. But then the paradigm in the later 1900’s took a dive and our new culture hero was the wild man, the playboy, the gangster, the rogue, the drug addict, the bad boy, the bad girl, the streetwalker, you get the idea: so what is the paradigm of the 2000’s? The hacker, maybe, or a terrorist? Sounds grim…

    Or maybe it’ll be a ‘gender-fluid’ ‘metro-sexual’, born and bred to do the exact opposite: never bear nor breed. Such dirty work is better left to specialized breeders and the truly old-fashioned who know how to do little else. LGBTQA’s have better things to do with their specialized hardware, especially now that non-traditional marriage has largely withstood court challenges. Now nothing is prohibited. That might help ease population pressures… (More …)

  • hardie karges 11:19 am on February 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apocalypse, , , revelations   

    Religion 491: Revelations Now… 

    You know, Billy: we blew it.”–Wyatt (Captain America) to Billy in the movie ‘Easy Rider’, c.1969

    You had one job”– popular ‘post’ on a popular ‘social media’ site in the pre-Collapse Late Anthropocentric Age, called ‘The Book of Faces’. Archaeologists and anthropologists are still trying to determine its significance.

    IMG_1559Those words from ‘Easy Rider’ have probably echoed through your head once every five or ten years if you ever saw the movie and/or happened to have grown up in the The 60’s, and though the meaning may have never been clear then, the meaning is certainly clear now. When all the epitaphs have been written on and all the stories have been told, about our Anthropocentric Age, the verdict is clear: we blew it. We had it all and we blew it. All we had to do was be stewards of the land, watching over and taking care with respect and foresight, and what did we do? We blew it, man…

    Cogito ergo sum was Rene’ Descartes proud take on the human condition. “I think, therefore I am.” In retrospect maybe it should have been: ‘I waste, therefore I am.’ For that is what defines us, our arrogance and our lack of foresight, our taste for blood and our terrible math. We were supposed to go forth and multiply, and instead we went forth and divided—oops! Now here we are wondering what went wrong while we shop for the latest app for our smart-phones and the latest fashion accessories for our hair, without so much as a second thought to any connection between our consumption and our condition… (More …)

  • hardie karges 12:47 pm on November 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apocalypse,   

    Sci-Fi Future 

    Remember when science fiction authors used to write about all the little gadgets and inventions we’d have at some point in the future, e.g. high-technology and space travel? Seems quaint now, doesn’t it? Now that we have those things, of course, they envision a dystopian future of bleakness and degradation, blackness and deprivation.

    Sci-fi authors are some pretty smart mofos, like Arthur C. Clarke, after all, who first theorized the geosynchronous orbits that allow our telecom satellites to follow us around in virtual orbit keeping us connected with one another in time if not in space.

    So are you still convinced that somehow we’ll magically dodge a bullet? Your time might be better spent learning some gardening skills, learning some languages, or polishing your hammer and sharpening your axe.

    Fortunately there are still people alive who know how to do sh*t, renaissance-style people whose main career goal was, “no office.” Hi. Enjoy your iPhones, enjoy your AirCon, enjoy the fruits of your official labors while they last, because they probably won’t…

  • hardie karges 9:46 am on November 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apocalypse, ,   

    Building the Perfect Religion: Balance, Humility, and–wait for it–Sex… 

    Okay, back to the work grind: creating the perfect religion. We’ve got work to do, and time is growing short. Some people say you can’t do that, cherry-pick the best of each religion, that you have to take them fully blown, as handed down, all or nothing. I call b*llsh*t. Ever heard of Protestantism? I smell the workings of religious corporatist monopolies whose major goal is to preserve themselves, not liberate you and me from the seminal sweat and tears of life on this planet and the fear and anxiety of life with no plan. Let’s cut to the chase scene: one man’s divine writ is another man’s working lunch.

    So let’s get started. Here’s what we’ve got so far:

    Building Blocks for the Perfect Religion:

    1. Balance: the first tenet previously noted as primary in my metaphysical system is balance, the middle path, avoidance of extremes, and most importantly, everything—ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING—in moderation, the emphasis on balance matched by the emphasis on diversity…
    2. Humility: second on my list, though not necessarily in importance, is humility, (not humiliation), either inflicted or received, simply a recognition that we are but small cogs in a very big picture and that our lives are infinitely better by finding our proper place within that system rather than trying to bully others and impose our will.

    Okay, now let’s get this next tough one out of the way, since it won’t get any easier: sex. I don’t know why none of the major religions deal with this directly, though it’s always implied: ‘right actions’, ‘thou shalt not commit adultery’, etc., but this is just beating around the bush, no pun intended. The fact is that our Western-oriented system of values puts sex right at the top, even when that is re-cast as ‘love’. It’s really still pretty much the same thing—passion. See the beautiful patterns in a leaf? That’s love. Baby’s smile? Love. What will be left when our civilization collapses? Same thing—love. Oh, boy… (More …)

    • davekingsbury 8:04 am on November 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Philip Larkin had a go at doing the same. I reckon yours would be more fun, though


      If I were called in
      To construct a religion
      I should make use of water.

      Going to church
      Would entail a fording
      To dry, different clothes;

      My liturgy would employ
      Images of sousing,
      A furious devout drench,

      And I should raise in the east
      A glass of water
      Where any-angled light
      Would congregate endlessly.

      From Philip Larkin’s The Whitsun Weddings, Faber & Faber Ltd, 1964. Reproduced without permission.

      • hardie karges 8:43 am on November 2, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        I like it. I like it a lot–metaphors with meaning. Poets rock, or used to, anyway, though I’ll admit to always having been more aware of Larkin than actually reading his stuff. Something sticks in my mind from him, though, will have to look for it. Thanks for your comments!

  • hardie karges 8:19 am on August 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apocalypse, , End of Days   

    Religio-Politics 101: Christian Death Wish–Apocalypse Soon? 

    The difference between me and the Christian Apocalyptics is that they want the End of Days; I don’t. Michelle Bachmann (remember her?) even actively encourages it, suggesting that the Iran nuclear deal would fit that business plan perfectly—great. And most mainstream Christians aren’t much better, they some of the world’s biggest consumers, they and their suburbs and Subarus and eight-lane freeways and store-bought freedoms, life measured by toys in the attic and needles for the addict…

    Of course what we have in common is that we both see the poop hitting the ventilator soon and life as we know it coming to an unceremonious end. Once again, though, they’re expecting some kind of rapture, while I’m looking for massive social disruptions and an economic crash that will… (wait for it)… likely solve the cause of the problem—eventually. By then, of course, it’ll be too late by some people’s reckoning and we’ll never get back to where we are today—good. Today sux… (More …)

  • hardie karges 9:31 am on April 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apocalypse, chess,   

    Religio-Politics 101: Winning the Endgame 

    The future for the planet ain’t so good, to be perfectly honest. If I were a fire-and-brimstone preacher, I’d probably say it’s God’s wrath punishing us for our many sins, trespasses and transgressions, and not forgiving those who trespass against us. That metaphor is powerful, and quite effective, but only if you believe in a war God, a God of wrath, and one that inspires great fear, the Judaic god that Christianity tried to soften for a kinder gentler soft Chuy future, with varying degrees of success.

    The issue is not who’s to blame for the current morass and malfeasance. The issue is how to survive in a world increasingly crowded and belligerent, hell-bent and money-broke. Liberalism is dead and conservatism is a joke. Democrats are deadbeat diehards and Republicans are a hoax. Everything is a caricature of itself now and politics are no exception. I always knew that the USA—and most of the world—was racist to the core, but I always thought that some civility would rule the day, not fear.

    Environmentalism is the only politics I care about these days, and I don’t mean a plastic bag here or a recycled paper plate there. I’m talking about survival of the species, something that everyone should at least give thought to IMHO, given the dire warnings for climate and food production by such entities no less than NASA, a visible face to a thoroughly-modern problem that was easier to ignore when proffered by some anonymous group like “97% of all scientists” or something anomalous like that.

    This is real and that is fact, insomuch as we are now officially victims of our own success, a few short generations ago double-digit-size families required to ensure survival of the family name, now those multiple filials threaten the demise of entire civilizations while family lineages take over entire cemeteries, resting in peace and lying in symmetry, rows and rows where poppies used to grow. Of course some nickel-and dime philosophers (not me, I charge two bits = $ .25) assume that all was well before religion, and that atheism is preferable, but you and I know better than that.

    ‘Innate ideas’ are few and far between, Descartes; ditto, Chomsky. Almost everything is learned. I’ve got a hunch that some of the knowledge is even transmitted across generations, but given the lack of evidence for any transfer particles, it’s probably better to hold my piece, out of fear of being labeled ‘LaMarckian’ and burned at the steak (yes, I know how to spell, just illustrating how evolution proceeds by brilliant mistake, by single-letter deletions and resource depletion.

    Do you want to be right or do you want to be alive? Make a choice; the dreadful freedom is yours. Awesome or awful? Terrifying or terrific? Perception is everything. Connotation is intuitive even where Meaning is explicit. You decide… the clock is ticking…

  • hardie karges 4:39 pm on October 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Apocalypse, , , fracking, suburbia   

    Apocalypso Now, Rise of the Machines: Mother (Earth) Frackers and Carmageddon 

    This is the Apocalypse. The natural world has been reduced to parking lots and asphalt, concrete and steel, all for the sake of consumption and convenience, gluttony and godlessness, the opportunity to play master, lord and creator of the universe, in a benzene-induced frenzied fantasy world of cosmic proportions, engineering gone viral, spreading the gospel of internal combustion and external… uh, combustion…

    The machines have taken over. We’re now working for them. It started off simply enough, just driving them around. Then they instructed us to build them an Interstate highway system, chopping our cities into bits and pieces in the process, and now they want us to tease the very last drop of oil out of the ground, too, no matter the cost. What will they demand next?

    Our cities are no longer livable, neighborhoods divided against themselves and separated by flyovers and exit ramps. We drive them wherever they want to go, and we give them prime parking space. We take them on cross-country tours. We even invented motels for them, an entire new genre of accommodation, proudly parked on the outskirts of town, proudly perched with parking-lot views, and far from those now-destroyed cities, mostly unlivable and unliving…

    The machines now have their own neighborhoods, suburbs, admiring the world they created, with shopping malls created just for them, and gas station temples devoted to them, collecting donations and dispensing favors, horsepower thrills without the horse, smell of ass gas replaced by the smell of earth gas, benzene for methane, Hollywood day for night, the interplay of opposites, fantasy for reality and infinity for mortality. It’s all good fun, of course, all part of the game, no harm no foul, until now…

    But fracking, i.e. hydraulic fracturing, “a well-stimulation” technique in which rock is fractured by a pressurized liquid” (Wikipedia), i.e. cracking our very Mother Earth’s crust just to extract the bit of oil that might (or might not) be inside? Now that’s sick. We’ll have Hell to pay for that, and Hell ain’t cheap.  Just don’t let the music stop…

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