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  • hardie karges 11:27 am on January 3, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , capitalism, , , , social   

    Buddhism is a Social Paradigm, too… 

    And it’s a vision of a better world, and that is much the reason I have sworn allegiance to it, for without that social component, the reasons are not nearly so compelling. Because if personal ‘salvation’ is the only desired result, then the methods are many, and the results are uncertain. Who’s to really say if the Buddhist methods of renunciation and meditation are truly better than the Christian methods of passion and forgiveness?

    One advocates a certain withdrawal from the affairs of the world, while the other advocates an ever-increasing involvement, to the point that I’m in yo’ mutha’ f*ckin’ face whether you like it or not, got it? So we disparage one as ‘life-denying’ while praising the other’s adherents as ‘full of life,’ without even the slightest acknowledgement that those ‘full-of-lifers’ are indeed usually the ones destroying the planet.

    The fact that that is not what they intend is superfluous. Intent is only the obsession of those same Christian courts that value remorse and contrition while selling those same guns that make all the forgiveness necessary. A simpler solution might simply be to get our gun jollies and joneses in video games and leave the acts of nature to Nature herself.

    And what’s right for a world of three billion people is not necessarily right for a world of eight billion, and that’s just the changes that have occurred in my lifetime. Should we simply wait with bated breath for each individual to make his peace with his Maker, so that the World can survive, or should responsible governments take it upon themselves to limit activities that threaten to aggravate pressures of over-population and global over-heating?

    Then the freedom-loving rabble will raise hackles at all the supposed shackles that they must endure, without even questioning whether these are freedoms FROM of freedoms TO, as though it’s all the same and freedoms of all sorts and types must by definition be unlimited. But this myth of no limits is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated. Buddhism can help with that.

    America teaches eternal life, endless resources, and unlimited freedoms, i.e. Christianity, Capitalism, and Democracy, all packaged and gift-wrapped in bright colorful ribbons and bows, as if nothing could be more natural or necessary, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth. Still the package played an important role in the development of human civilization.

    Does anyone really wish that we were stuck in year 1492 with no knowledge of the spectacles that were to come in the ensuing centuries? But how now do we rein in our wildest impulses for the good of the many for the good of the future? Thus the Western mind is better to create civilization, and the eastern mind is better to control it. If the current pandemic taught us nothing it taught us that.

    And the lesson can carry into other areas of social concern, beyond pandemics first, and global warming second, into the trickier and thornier issues of war and violence, and the existential abstractions of personal peace, love and understanding. First we extinguish the fires inside, and then we extinguish the fires outside…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 4:32 pm on January 6, 2021 Permalink | Reply

      Your final paragraph is a great summation of the problems we face which a Buddhist mindset would help solve. Happy New Year and may it be a beneficial one!

      • hardie karges 6:12 pm on January 6, 2021 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Dave, and a Happy New Year to you, too!

  • hardie karges 1:03 pm on December 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bet, , capitalism, , , epistemology, gambling, , , trifecta,   

    Buddhism 201: There are no Winners and Losers… 

    In the best negotiations and most serious debates, everybody should walk away happy. This is the secret to all good dealings, of course, but all too often forgotten, in the rush to seal deals, and replace stocks, and return to life as normal, on the battlefields of commerce and contentment, where the fruits of life are often commodities, and the rewards are consumption, a vaguely full sensation, quickly desiring something more or better, as if there is no balance.

    But balance there must be if happiness is truly our goal, and that is the open secret of the Middle Path, something so simple, and something so sublime, that it is easily overlooked in the rush to judgment and the customary division of spoils among victors. But did the losers really lose, and if so, then what exactly did they lose? And did the winners really win, and if so, then what exactly did they win?

    The short answer is that no one really knows, and so any bettor worth his chips knows that to cover your assets, you hedge your bets, and hopefully cover the spread in the process. Because not only do we never know whether we truly win or lose, but by even less will we know by how much.

    And that balancing act is more than smart business; it is an epistemological reality, if not necessarily a metaphysical one, which it may indeed very well be. And this is the beauty of agnosticism, which is often reduced in value by vague insinuations that it is avoiding a decision by refusing to take sides. But that is one of the fundamental facts of life and the world: absolute knowledge is simply unknowable.

    This becomes a tautology, of course, in the sense that we are claiming to know that unknowability, but that does not diminish its value, no, or at least not by much. We simply cut the conversation short to avoid endless reductions and descensions into a void. Don’t you wish everybody did?

    So Buddhism as a philosophy is fundamentally an open doctrine, even if Buddhism as a religion is saddled with karma, rebirth, and past lives as customary baggage, just as Christianity comes pre-packaged with democracy and capitalism, the trifecta of hedged bets within the trinity of no limits. And that is as much a myth as reincarnation and past lives, though it doesn’t catch so much flack for it by the simple trick of perception bias: we can’t see the forest we live in for all the trees that stand in the way.

    So we assume by instinct that there is an underlying fundamental reality, even if we are hard pressed to say exactly what it is. Somehow some way it simply is, as Nature is, sublime in its silence, commanding in its occasional outbursts. After all, if the lion and the lamb are raised together in the same crib, then any future violence is unlikely. Thus the dharma is simply an admonition to be like that, like nature. You’ll know it when you see it. Mindful silence is better than mindless chatter almost any day.

     
  • hardie karges 6:42 am on September 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: capitalism, , , , , , ,   

    Why is Buddhism so pessimistic? Because… 

    IMG_2290I don’t know: so maybe you’ll forego your pride, like a good Christian? I notice that the prouder one is, the more ‘optimistic’ that person also is, most likely assured that whatever good fortune has come to him as a result of superior skill and talent will surely repeat itself infinitely and indefinitely, since the world is a vast abundant field of untold and uncalculated riches, the sky is truly the limit, and YOU are the master of this world, right front and center—uh huh, yeah right…

    Doesn’t that make you feel good? I mean: doesn’t that just make you want to jump out of bed, slam down some breakfast, slide into your suit, cruise downtown, zoom up to the 52nd floor, then order your secretary around, just a little bit, not enough to cause her any lasting damage, much less any drop in office efficiency, just enough to let her know who’s boss, let her know who pays the bills, let her know who wears the pants, or not… (More …)

     
    • The godlike Robert 5:43 pm on September 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I think Buddhism promotes an alternative understanding of reality. The West sees man as separate and distinct from his environment. In fact the creation story depicts the event occurring instantaneously and conjured by God. And as a spontaneous invention man has no history of relationship to anything outside his skin; not the plants, animals or the earth.
      In this story man is an ego created by a supreme ego and both are aliens to this world. Buddhism demonstrates that the ego is an illusion. What is inside the skin is no different than what’s outside the skin because neither are in your control; do you beat your own heart or can you shine the sun? The conclusion to Buddhism is that the universe is a non linear organic totality and you are only a subset of it, and not even capable any independence from it and more than that you emerged from it and belong in it! There is no other place where you could be…you see?

      • hardie karges 9:35 pm on September 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, I certainly think that Buddhism offers an alternative to the Western paradigm, but that can–and does–go several different directions, operating on a level that can be used as religion, philosophy, psychology or simply technique, depending on the needs of the participant. I think Buddhism is best as an ongoing dialectic, without conclusions, something like a psycho-philosophical method, analogous to scientific method and the dialog between Theravada and Mahayana, hopefully achieving a higher synthesis. The hard part is moving past old narratives that no longer apply. Thanks for your comments!

        • The godlike Robert 12:43 am on September 24, 2018 Permalink

          As science, Taoism and Confuscanism are ongoing dialectics with no conclusions and are not religions!

  • hardie karges 7:06 am on January 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , capitalism, , , ,   

    Religion, Politics, Hope and a Prayer: Happy 2018, Good Riddance 2017… 

    img_1572

    The Golden Spires of Shwedagon Pagoda

    If you’re American, and you’re reading this, then 2017 has probably been a very tough year for you, as it has been for me, for this is the year in which we’ve seen our beloved country rocked to its foundations, for no particular reason, other than the general hatred, prejudice, rudeness, crudeness and bad judgment of our barely-elected President, by a distinct minority, due to the anomalies of our Electoral College system, in which our state lines themselves represent a form of gerrymandering that makes a mockery of democracy…

    But that’s not the real problem. The real problem is that as our world grows more crowded, our sensibilities seem to be growing harder and colder, with people feeling less and less toward each other, and governments even worse. The Fall of the (Berlin) Wall in 1989, and USSR in 1991 was supposed to usher in a new era of freedom and responsibility, and instead it has ushered in an era of unparalleled greed and hatred… (More …)

     
    • Terborn Zult 3:19 am on January 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      If “with Communism no longer around to keep Capitalism honest, then Capitalism no longer is (honest),” the question is: how come Buddhism, which has been around for much longer than so-called “communism” (in reality: just the first stages of socialism; and a pretty adulterated version of socialism, for that matter), has never managed to keep capitalism honest, not even for a few decades? If I had the choice, I would most certainly opt for the more efficient -ism….

      • hardie karges 3:46 am on January 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        I don’t think it’s ever tried, TBH, since it is not an economic system at all, two entirely different realms, truthfully, such that no matter how much I detest Trump, for instance, I would never suggest that Trump supporters can’t be Buddhists–some are, in fact. Theravada systems are extremely (non) self-oriented, in fact, such that the paradigm is that of a monk not only renounced, but cloistered, and entirely dependent on lay support. I’m moving more in the direction of Mahayana, if not entirely secular, which is much more world-oriented. There is no reason why socialism and Buddhism can’t occur together, really, which is my dream, and certainly much more inspiring, for me at least, than Soviet-style communism, and likely the reason it failed: hard-core materialism is just very inspiring for many, if not most, of us. Thx for your comment, Norbert, and happy new year…

    • RemedialEthics 10:23 pm on June 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on Site Title and commented:
      I stumbled upon this blog at the perfect time. It is now June 2018 and I am so disillusioned with the apathy and outright nastiness of my fellow Americans that I am looking at real estate in Mexico and somehow (thanks to more than a slight case of ADHD) I ended up here and have been peacefully absorbed by hopeful rather than hateful words for the first time in months.

  • hardie karges 7:22 am on December 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , capitalism, , ,   

    Buddhism in the End Times: Perfecting the Path of Imperfection… 

    IMG_2290Buddhism is the path of (ego) imperfection, the path of (ego) weakness, strength in numbers, especially zero, simultaneous voidness and infinity, emptiness implying that something is lacking, hopefully, that we are not hard cold single solitary free-standing proper nouns, but warm flexible adjectives, forever ready to be pressed into service to support the demands of solidity, wherever needed and as called for…

    Deepak and Eckhart and Pat and Jerry and all the other latter-day wannabe prophets and modern-day motivational messengers all have one thing in common: they’re fudging: the truth, that is. They all tell you that you can do whatever you want, as long as you never stop dreaming, as long as you never give up your passions, as long as you sacrifice all in the quest of fulfilling your vision, and that your potential is unlimited. Yeah, right… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 4:00 am on August 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , capitalism, , ,   

    Christianity is Killing Us; Buddhism (and socialism) can help… 

    IMG_2234By ‘Christianity’, of course, I mean the entire Christianity-Capitalism-Democracy (CCD) complex, aka ‘Military-Industrial-Consumer’, that will one day put this entire civilization on its knees, and begging for sweet mercy, if it hasn’t already, because of the fact that most people want their cars, and NOW, rather than some vague undefined future with or without cars, that may or may not drive themselves…

    Why people identify with their cars—and their guns—is slightly beyond my comprehension, but so it is, and must be dealt with, the genie long out of the bottle, and begging for food, if not mercy. That means oil, of course, the essence of Earth’s lower layers, and severely limited, if you believe the Western interpretation, or self-sustaining, but nasty, if you believe the Russian geologists, and ever-percolating upward from a nearly inexhaustible source (consider extra-terrestrial petroleum before laughing too hard)… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 4:38 pm on August 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      You seem to have all the bases covered here. I’ve saved it to re-read …

    • quantumpreceptor 2:10 pm on September 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Hardy, I love your blog it’s always good to read. Today I just have one comment. I am a Buddhist and my cup is full of possibilities, and in no way limited. But I do agree we need to learn how to live better, I believe doing no harm extends to our home our planet not just to other beings, this is the way forward. It is too hard to sell such a good idea as you have put forward with only a half full cup.

      QP

      • hardie karges 5:46 pm on September 21, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Full of possibilities, absolutely yes, empty of extraneous attachments hopefully…

  • hardie karges 5:37 am on October 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , capitalism, , ,   

    Religion 102: She’s Gotta’ Have It—Christianity, that is… 

    IMG_0379…stuff, that is, the more the better, piles and piles of it highly derived and thoroughly contrived, mostly useless adornments and bows of worship to the gods and goddesses of fashion, reflecting the finely manicured thumbnail status of our culture, whatever is trending; that’s most important, much more so than whatever came before and whatever will come after, pesky details best left to historians and our paid apologists…

    Yes, apparently Jesus died on the cross so that we could go shopping, among other things. Some of my favorite ‘other things’, by way of example, are the daredevil stunts that we Westerners have become famous for. How many people risk their lives each year climbing mountains that there are no reasons to climb, or reaching speeds that there are no reason to reach, or performing stunts just for the big screen, just for the sake of celebrity?

    (More …)

     
    • jodie 10:32 pm on October 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It would seem that the path you are on is as experientially biased as all religious, philosophical, or psychological endeavors ultimately are. If it suits you then ….. sit well…..

  • hardie karges 11:25 am on December 25, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: capitalism, ,   

    Merry Kerygma (Disgust for Dogma), I Am Furious (Mellow): Fugue State in 3 Parts… 

    (There comes) that feeling that you get when victimized by the wannabes, lackeys and lapdogs of late-era capitalism who feel their futures to be threatened, so busy themselves building bunkers and moats, walls and bridges; bankers salesmen agents middle-men and their sons and daughters working commissions tighten the screws holding back proletarians and progress, especially in America the most Communist of all countries…

    …a communism of the mind, brutalist structures strictures and constructions, multiple male-enhanced skyscraping erections, filling post-apocalyptic city centers long vacated for the necessities of parking, crumbling rusty dusty rotting hulks, beauty sacrificed to convenience, with female submission to financial straits and straighteners for the benefit of comfort; souls slathered with gadgets and gizmos and widgets and whatchamacallits; freedom falls flattest and fastest when and where the wallets are fattest, lives battered and fried, looking for existential catsup… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 3:46 pm on December 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Letting go of the preconceptions and mass deceptions … great line! This has inspired a new year resolution. 2016 will be the year I satirise the clichés we all live by …

  • hardie karges 1:07 pm on November 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , capitalism, ,   

    The Decline of Western Civilization: RIP Amerika, Christianity, Capitalism, Democracy, etc… 

    Well, we had a good run, we did, Western Civilization, that is, as first articulated by Greece and Rome, before taken up again by London and Paris some 1000 years later, then New York, Toronto and Sydney for the final roll-out. Democracy was our method, Christianity was our mantra and capitalism was our madness. It worked spectacularly, until now, until we’ve run out of resources and ideas. Now we’re put to the test: what’s next?

    Well, it doesn’t look good for the home team; seems capitalism is something of a pyramid scheme—works fine when you’re on top, with lots of resources and free time. Now other non-Westerners can play the game as well or better than us: first Japan, now China, with India, Brazil, and Russia hot on the horizon. Where does that leave us? Well, it should leave us defining the next era, beyond capitalism, beyond consumption, beyond die-hard democracy. But it’s not.

    We’re totally unequipped for what comes next, all of us Westerners, Amerika the least, screwing up the Mideast, sowing our dreams of democracy, and leaving nothing but chaos in the wake—enough, already. We Amerikans have nothing to teach the world about politics, least of all democracy. We can barely get a budget bill through Congress to pay our debts. Now we’re destroying the environment, while still pushing the political and economic agenda of growth growth growth. We’re sick. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 11:28 am on September 6, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , capitalism, ,   

    The Decline of Western Civilization (Part 2: Bankers, Barkers and Religion…) 

    Christian God

    Christian God

    But first my Sunday confession, Father: I’ve been called Communist and I’ve been called Jihadi. Liberals call me a Conservative. Conservatives call me a Liberal. It’s all true. I’m a contrary son-of-a-b*tch, known to act as the devil’s avocado, barely ripe, slippery when wet, but not merely for the sake of argument, I swear, but to try to reach some higher truth, later if not sooner, and for all our sakes, not just my own. When I lived in Berkeley I WAS conservative. When I lived in Mississippi I WAS liberal. Doctrines are there to be challenged, and dogma is there to be run over by karma…

    Now we all know how stupid are the tea-party wing of America’s Republican political party, but that doesn’t mean that Democrats are all geniuses (genii?). The difference between conservatives and liberals, or republicans and democrats, which basically defines the power relationships in the world, is basically the difference between the two types of people in the world: those who save their money—or resources—and those who don’t. Please note, Republicans, that I didn’t use the word ‘lazy’ and I don’t intend to, as I don’t think that is the fundamental issue. (More …)

     
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