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  • hardie karges 1:03 pm on September 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , violence, Virtual Reality   

    Buddhism and the Balancing Act of Excellence… 

    Violence solves nothing. It only creates more violence. We all know it, yet still we do it, reveling in our passions and bathing all awash in our emotions unapologetic, for this is what we are taught from day one, in the wild wild west, to be passionate about what we do, and anything less is ‘middling…’

    Yet middling is part and parcel of Buddhism and its Middle Path, the avoidance of excess and its extremes, in favor of the boredom of ‘middle-ness.’ From this viewpoint happiness is as often as not the avoidance of sadness, and bliss might very well be suspect for its dalliance with extreme emotion…

    Does this attitude build great cities? Does this attitude conquer continents, and send rockets to the moon? No it probably doesn’t, and we are probably better off because of it. Because neither does it commit genocides, enslave peoples, or cause global warming, and it can produce great art…

    Has your life really improved with the invention of Roombas to Hoover your floors? Do you really need four hundred channels of mediocre programming on the idiot box to satisfy your palate? And before you point out to me that I seem to be championing mediocrity as the Middle Way between lack and excess, I wish to point out that excellence is not a threat to anyone’s existence in the same way that luxury and self-starvation are, which is the original inspiration to the Buddha’s awakening…

    The Middle Path itself is nothing if not excellent. Do you think that it is easy finding that meandering sweet spot between extremes? It’s not. It’s an exquisite, but not excruciating, balancing act. And balance is crucial to the equation. Is it even possible for an equation to not be balanced? Of course not…

    Yet our lives in the 21st century are far from being balanced. We worship the gods of technological salvation, but we are never saved. We are only further addicted to our own existential cravings. Now I love science, and technology, i.e. applied science, but I don’t really need a self-driving car. I need a city that doesn’t’ require automobiles…

    Internet is sublime, and Virtual Reality is transcendent, but what else do we need? Interstellar exploration is wonderful, but you don’t need rockets for that, just better telescopes. Our cities are sh*t-stained pits and our lives wallow in the mire, accordingly. Nature, and dharma, can, and should be, a refuge, on a good day. Cities and technology? Meh, not so much…

     
  • hardie karges 9:29 am on July 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , violence   

    American Exceptionalism, Violence, and Racism: Time for some soul-searching… 

    Image result for american flagWe Americans like to pretend that we’re better than everyone else, and that we need to teach the rest of the world how to behave themselves, but we tend to make fools of ourselves in the process, exposing our hypocrisy to the world, only to become the object of ridicule. We lecture the rest of the world on democracy, when many times our own elections barely reach ten percent of the electorate—as if voting were the only manifestation of democracy in the first place…

    Then there are all the guns, and violence, home-grown terrorism, and what-have-you, something we Americans know very well, as our country writes a new chapter daily in the American Book of the Dead. It seemed an abstract squabble over constitutional minutiae among paisanos until the terrorists all of a sudden have become ‘the enemy within’. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 12:10 pm on June 18, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cars, , , violence   

    R.I.P. Amerika… “of wounds self-inflicted” 

    Image result for gun picPro-gun lobbyists in the USA like to say: If guns are illegal, then only the criminals will have them.  I say: If guns are legal, then everyone will have to have one.  Who’s right?  Blame it on the fences, or lack thereof.  Why bother when you can just buy a gun, and use it like a laser-pointing fence? We’re victims of our rural British-Irish background beyond the Pale, beyond the gates of civilized society…

    Likewise if cars are the norm, then ditto…  If everyone has one, then so do you—have to have one, that is.  In an automobile society, everyone has to have one, and the rest is history, global warming and Lindbergh barn-storming… God forgive us; we are a simple people…

     
  • hardie karges 4:01 pm on June 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , violence   

    What Sells? What’s New? Sex and Violence… 

    Remember back in the 60’s and 70’s when good citizens used to rail against sex and violence on American TV? Fast forward fifty years and the only thing that’s changed is that the TV must share turf with Internet, while the sex and violence have increased many-fold to the point that we’re inured to it. Remember when we used to rail against police brutality? Unfortunately liberalism is pretty much dead, and that’s not such a good thing…

     
  • hardie karges 9:25 am on October 8, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , machismo, violence   

    Violence play in the background 

    of every encounter between people without pigment, only one step removed from the jungle from which we escaped on to the broad open plains of the future, complete with battle-axes, beer, and long cold nights with heifers. Sounds like home. Violence is abstracted into games and contests, competition and capitalism. For the people of color who stayed back in the ‘hood’, the violence is open, not merely alluded to. The jungle lives on and life is nasty, mean, brutish, and short. Humans maintain their close relations with their close relatives and the price of bush meat is cheap. The Middle East lightens up a little, but not much. Religion takes over where instinct leaves off, and women bear the brunt of the burden, propping up the overweight egos of hunters who can no longer hunt, and caravan raiders with no more caravans. Asia prefers the hierarchy of suppression. You kiss up and you beat down. Everybody knows their place whether they like it or not. Elaborate rituals back-fill the logic of repression, but the end-result is the same: you gotta’ serve somebody.

     
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