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

    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 12:36 am on September 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , jealousy, relativity, , success   

    Special Relativity in a World that looks just like us… 

    Never begrudge anyone their success. In a perfect world their success is your success, and we can all go forward together. Of course this is not a perfect world, but the more we work at it, the more that we can approximate that goal. Spurious social goals of equality and free food for the asking are not only not realistic, but not even desirable, the idea that there exists some sort of equality by jealousy and some sort of bounteous government in place of a bounteous God. But both beliefs are bound to fail, ultimately, that faith in a higher power where such does not exist, at least not in any capacity to bestow favors on the underlings which prop them up, with towering posts of fire-hardened belief, topped with monuments to their sacred erections. Belief carries power in the womb of its sword, details left to imagination. Nothing is too priceless to be left to its word, and the breezes whisper soft incantations. We project ourselves outward on to all empty fields, filling in blanks with our prejudices. We rarely turn inward to question those ills, too content with ourselves as judge and creator. Thus all is relative, multiplication and division merely inverse points of view of the same basic equation, reconfirming mental formations and current status updates. One person’s curse is another person’s blessing, and one person’s sin is another person’s merit. And thus it is with the concept of Buddhist renunciation in a modern materialistic world where merit is typically measured in dollars and cents. Some people take vows of poverty, chastity and homelessness, while others bemoan those same fates…

     
  • hardie karges 6:20 am on September 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , reductios, relativity, , ,   

    America, Buddhism, Logic and Einstein’s Equivalence Principle… 

    img_0953You know the American dream, the whole world does: two-story house and a two-car garage, two kids in the breakfast nook and the neighbor’s kids coming over later, God’s little acre in a sanctified suburb, full ownership and bulging bank accounts, stay-at-home mom and a rising-star dad, with a bachelor’s degree in business and a lotta’ backyard gossip, Saturday at the zoo and Sunday barbecue, PTA meetings and postman’s daily greetings, fried chicken and crispy French fries, milk shakes and apple pies…

    Also known as the Australian dream or Kiwi if you prefer, but only a quarter-acre there and the fries just might be pies, so be careful what you eat, otherwise just the same, with a down-under accent, big goofy grins on the chinny-chin-chins, a weekend in the outback, a maid in the kitchen, a promise of deliverance, and the assurance of no limits: neither sky nor sand nor seacoast nor sex, all-you-can-eat in a never-ending buffet of consumer goods, entertainment, sensations, but mostly money… (More …)

     
    • quantumpreceptor 12:33 am on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Hardie with avoidance you certainly have the Theravadan view well encapsulated. Why else should one take 300 vows and live separately from many others but to avoid all that is potentially disturbing. In Mahayana and Vajrayana these so called disturbing emotions are actually the fuel for the fire that drives practice further and faster. There are several ways to see this is there not?

      QP

      • hardie karges 1:18 am on October 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Hi again QP: Absolutely. Yes, I love the Thai Forest Tradition, but see it best as the first step along the path, gotta’ re-enter the world at some point in order to save it, which is the highest goal IMHO. Mahayana is a bit fractured right now, though, so can’t help but think that there must be a new paradigm evolving, to account for all the world changes of the last 1000 years, which Buddhism mostly hasn’t answered yet. I don’t know that Secular Buddhism is the answer, but I definitely think it’s part of the discussion. Most religions abhor uncertainty, but I think the capacity for a true dialectic is one of Buddhism’s strengths, fingers crossed. Thanks for your comments…

  • hardie karges 10:54 am on January 5, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: memory, relativity, ,   

    special relativity of travel 

    Time travel is the best kind.  You don’t have to move a muscle or start an engine.  You just flip the pages of memory and sit back and enjoy as images pass by on the projection screen of your mind’s eye.  There’s only one drawback; it involves getting old.  So, as with most of life itself, it all works out in the long run; the less you’re able to travel in space, the more you’re able to travel in time.  Don’t laugh at that old guy with spit dribbling down his chin; he’s trucking in his mind.  This world is science fiction, the fractal edge of the universe in the process of expansion, chaos meeting the void, waves crashing on the beach, the fragile border area between existence and non-existence.  This is Interzone, the international zone, the chaotic border where languages fall flat and desires become erect.   Modern standard Pidgin English is the lingua franca according to the fashions of the day, Chinese language torture, the tongue of half-baked smiles and crocodile tears.  This is science fiction; this is World War III; this is reality.  Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and have no idea where I am.  I search an empty mind for the most recent memory, any memory, anything.  What’s a computer without an operating system?  Insert boot disk.  Finally a reference point emerges and the rest can be extrapolated.  Sometimes I wonder if a different memory had popped up, then maybe the entire extrapolated world would be different.  Is history constantly shifting its point of reference?  IS there such a thing as objective reality?

     
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