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

    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 4:40 pm on August 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , changes, culture, , ,   

    Buddhism, Genetics and the Book of Ch-ch-ch-changes… 

    Meditation is the best medicine. Laughter is the best lozenge. Peace is the best pill. Imbibe at will. Chemical solutions are faulty; of that there is no doubt. And any material acquisitions can not be embedded genetically, for this generation or any future one, for oneself or any other, whether any sort of rebirth may magically exist or not. Environment may very well affect genetics, and genetics may very well affect environment, but that still doesn’t imply Lamarckian inheritance of acquired characteristics. Genetics is hard-wired, but that, too, is changeable, and often. Culture is fleeting, and that is nothing but change, environment, fashion, embedded in language and cast to the winds of history, for better or worse, a message in a bottle. Sabbe dhamma anicca = all phenomena are changing, right before our eyes, no matter whether truth or lies, because such distinctions don’t exist, only appearances. Genetics and language play FTSE with nature, as if it were something external, eternal and everlasting. But some things can stand the test of time, trials and tribulations, and a thousand other clichés specifically adopted as a shortcut to feeling, which language can only approximate, culture can only insinuate, and genetics can only suckle. Because true friendship, metta, is a rare and sacred thlng: beyond all the jokes, afta the lafta…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 2:50 pm on August 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I like the poetic turn your writing takes here – wondered if you’d thought about adopting poetic form. I was also interested in this:-

      Environment may very well affect genetics, and genetics may very well affect environment, but that still doesn’t imply Lamarckian inheritance of acquired characteristics. Genetics is hard-wired, but that, too, is changeable, and often. Culture is fleeting …

      Nevertheless, we haven’t evolved physically for a very long time, haven’t needed to, because culture clothes and dresses us. Perhaps evolution is cultural now. In which case, one could still say … whoops!

    • hardie karges 3:39 pm on August 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Genetics has exploded the last five years, check out haplogroups if you haven’t yet, especially y-DNA, currently re-writing prehistory. But most of our evolution these days is cultural; that’s true.

      By poetic form, you mean line breaks? Actually that has occurred to me also, so even laid this one out that way first, looked at it, then said ‘naah’. But I might do it next time, thanx to your input, definitely my current mode, good catharsis ( I think that’s the word I want, not sure) to my current MA thesis, which is straight essay, so need a break from it once a week or so. Thanx for your comments, always a pleasure…

  • hardie karges 10:35 am on May 20, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , culture, devotion, , , , , juju, , , woo-woo,   

    Got religion? Juju or woo-woo: take your pick… 

    IMG_0829Beyond all the fibs and fantasies, behind all the lies we tell ourselves, is the l-DNA we create for ourselves in language, a trail to our past and an arrow to our future, and pretty much the only thing we had before y-DNA and mt-DNA, revealed now to be something like a parallel universe to those more precise measurements, yet far more analogous to the largely hypothetical cultural tracks and traces, like c-DNA, full of long lonely nights and broken promises, frightened misgivings and belated thanksgivings…

    But the first thing we did in every case, and probably even before language, was to speculate on the nature of things, and try to create some meaning for it all, maybe even best articulated in fear, that which we fear being that which we worship, synonymous anonymous, or even better in groups to amplify the effect exponential… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 11:12 am on June 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , culture, ,   

    Religion 201: Lessons in Humility, Messages for Humanity… 

    Christian God

    Christian God

    “Man is the measure of all things.”  Protagoras (c.490-420 BCE) is the author of that statement, and—with all due respect—I’d say that’s the beginning of the end of us humans as spiritual animals, and the mark of our ascension to the status of corrupt malignant city-dwellers, masters of our own private little domains and little else.  On the one hand, it is a statement of the relativity of all perceptions—okay.  On the other hand, it is a statement of our ignorance and arrogance—ouch!

    We imagine that we are masters of the universe, creators of the cosmos, and lords of the lower two hundred—countries in the world, that is. This is nothing but human hubris, of course, and nothing could be further from the truth.  We live at the mercy of our machines, possessed by our possessions, in the thrall of our inventions and our inventiveness, in love with ourselves and our selfishness, enraptured by our images and our imaginations.  We wallow in our memories and our comforts and our conveniences.

    We Westerners admire ourselves, our successes, our ambitions, our madness, without even questioning the whys and wherefores of it.  We climb naked rock faces, while smiling all the time, oblivious to the danger, addicted to the climb, always looking for a faster computer and a more easily programmable car, pushing envelopes and shuffling papers, rejecting our traditions and annoying our neighbors.  Ego rules! Nobody wants to be the follower, everybody wants to be the Alpha male, while ending up the Alpha a$$hole. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:00 am on April 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , culture, , , ,   

    Buddha-Consciousness in a Pill: In Defense of ‘Low-T’… 

    IMG_1665

    Thai Buddhist Temple

    Is there anything more pathetic and disgusting than watching an old man trying to get it up just one more time, meter running, with multiple payment options? Enter Viagra, and sex tourism, and you name it: ‘Low T’ (testosterone), the male sex hormone, or absence thereof…

    It’s all about reproduction, or dying trying, in this life in this world, in this dimension, in this plane of existence, Boeing 747’s equipped with 1st-class cubicles with reclining seats just in case the mood strikes, at the moment of inspiration at the moment of conception…

    Welcome to Thailand, where ‘feed-us’ farming is the late-life equivalent of fetus-farming, for-hire breeding, artificial selection, putting guys out to pasture with hopefully one last biscuit in the oven, just to make things official, and put the young lady on an inheritance plan…

    Low-T? Guys need to take meds for ‘low-T’? That’s like spitting in the face of God, as if Viagra, Cialis, and that pharmacopia weren’t bad enuf, pumps and pills and multifarious cheap thrills in the back seat of cars too small now for proper breeding, need an early model Cadillac…

    It’s ironic that our major form of entertainment—sex—all around the world was never intended for entertainment at all, if we can correctly intuit the mind of God, but you gotta’ give it credit, maybe pandas should take a lesson and start chewing each others genitals instead of so much bamboo while they go happily extinct…

    It’s just a chemical! Without that chemical testosterone and its stiffening influence on the lower extremities, all of our stories and music and literature and art would amount to little, all the philosophies and religion and denominations and free sects… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:18 am on December 20, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: culture, ,   

    Music is the universal language, 

    capable of enjoyment regardless of whether one knows the language in question or not. Language is secondary to music, as it is to film. Writers don’t write music, and they don’t write screenplays. People ask me what I talk about with my wife as if the eastern reality must be incomprehensible to a westerner. You don’t have to read much Chomsky to realize that life is very similar regardless of the language(s) involved; and I’m a Sapirian. I do think that language influences one’s reality in the same way that a computer program or operating system or even your search engine influences your computing output. Certainly they’re both right. The fact that the geographically contiguous and culturally similar ‘Pueblo’ Indians speak not only different languages, but languages from four different language families only two of which are remotely related says something. The fact that their reality is (or at least WAS) far different from all other language phyla says something else. To describe as ‘human’ a creature without language is almost unthinkable.

     
  • hardie karges 5:48 am on December 16, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: culture, ,   

    Written language pulls together what spoken language splits apart. 

    For probably the first time in history languages are no longer dividing and multiplying and declaring independence at the same time that more and more nations are. Go figure. Dialects are disappearing under the onslaught of mass media and standardized education, in favor of a national standard language. A language is a dialect with a book and a sword. National languages are themselves in danger of disappearing in favor of international standards, once the national languages become deviant or pidginized to the point of incomprehensibility. Already French and Chinese movies offer subtitles in their own language. IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGE! This is understandable with mutually unintelligible Chinese dialects that share the same written language, but French has no convenient excuse. It’s just hard to understand in the vernacular, like subtitles for senile mumblers in documentaries.

     
  • hardie karges 7:26 am on December 13, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: culture, , ,   

    The French get so righteous about the spread of English 

    at the expense of French (maybe French is just more expensive), but they do the same with Dutch/Flemish and others. All of Belgium, and especially Brussels, used to be a political and linguistic entity with Holland to the north and its Germanic language. That all changed with Napoleon and the Flemish had to wait long and fight hard just to regain parity. Of course, long before that, all Franks were part of that same entity before they became ‘Romanized’ and proceeded to butcher Latin. Apparently not all of Charlemagne’s progeny were in agreement on that issue, as the domain became divided, and the French/Latin-speakers became a centralized nation long before the rump Holy Roman Empire of independent principalities became Germany. Whether the centralization of ancient Rome was somehow transmitted through the vestiges of its language while the Germans were stuck in the proud but ultimately feudal heritage of its own tribal past would be an interesting thesis. Whether the individualism and de-centralization of ancient nomadic Germany was the basis of capitalism and industry is another. Throughout the entire Germanic Europe to this day the dialects spoken are mutually intelligible from one village to the next, though the national standard dialects have become mutually unintelligible.

     
  • hardie karges 6:14 am on December 9, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: culture, ,   

    Language is one thing and races are another. 

    Races are historically geographic in nature, a genetic isolate in breeding, while language is a function of culture. The two phenomena parallel and overlap each other, but seldom form crisp clean lines equating a language/race on one side of the line to another on the other side. Sometimes it seems as though languages themselves are the conquering invaders, crossing borders and conquering new territory even when the number of people involved is almost insignificant. Latin America is probably the best example of this, where a mere handful of Spaniards subjugated millions of Native Americans with fear, cunning, superior weaponry, and germ warfare. Though decimated, the natives’ numbers rebounded with the help of an admixture of disease-resistant Spanish blood. Nevertheless, much of the culture was forever lost, and Spanish and Portuguese are by far the language of the majority. Interestingly, one of the surviving native languages, Guarani’, is a national language spoken mostly by non-Indians. Though shrouded in the mists of prehistory, something similar must have happened in India, where ethnic Iranians (Aryans) spread far more language than bloodlines over the sub-continent and over time, still expanding into the future, having left vestiges all over Southeast Asia. On the contrary, people very similar racially might speak totally unrelated languages, as in the Caucasus and Africa. There Hamitic-speaking Hausas reside far from their Semitic linguistic cousins and tend to be ruled by Hausa-speaking Fulanis, traditional herders who have their own language but use that of their subjects when acting as rulers. A similar situation exists in Ethiopia, where very dark-skinned people speak languages related to the very light-skinned people across the Red Sea. Sometimes it seems a people adopt a foreign language simply because it’s an improvement over their own. This, the Celts seem to have done repeatedly in the history of Europe. It could certainly be argued that they’ve sacrificed their culture in the process.

     
  • hardie karges 4:56 pm on December 8, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: culture, ,   

    By my linguistic and culinary comparisons, 

    I’d estimate that Thais and Viets diverged from a common source probably about three thousand years ago, coincidentally about the time that Han Chinese began emigrating southward in heavy numbers. Austronesian Proto-Malays probably diverged from that same common source about four to five thousand years ago before sailing the seas and settling islands as far away as Madagascar and Hawaii and New Zealand. Very few traces remain of that distant association, if indeed the theory is correct, but as they say, “What goes around comes around,” and Malays and Thais were destined to meet once again in the Isthmus of Kra along their current national borders. Thai curries probably come from this association. Most words in common between Thai and Malay result from the common pre-Muslim flirtation with India and Sanskrit. After their conversion to Islam, Malays even became re-established in Southeast Asia as an inter-bred race with their long-lost Cham brethren in Cambodia, also Austronesian and supposedly the original link between the Tai and Malay languages. This happened after their once-proud culture was nearly annihilated by the land-hungry Vietnamese at about the same time that Columbus was discovering America. Whether they remained on the mainland or came back is uncertain, but their aboriginal cousins are heavily intermixed with aboriginal Khmers in the central Vietnamese highlands, they also presumably a product of that original southern Chinese proto-race.

     
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