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  • hardie karges 11:14 am on May 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Losing Religion, Learning Language: Contagion of Kindness Needed ASAP, pls… 

    IMG_0387We become so inured to modern violence that we assume it’s natural, the general air of belligerence and the general lack of politeness.  And that’s right I reckon—it IS natural, or WAS, anyway—in the beginning.  Imagine what it would be like it we hadn’t been inoculated by religion at birth, that vaccination by cultural collusion and linguistic license, immigrant immersion and religious righteousness.

    We need a booster shot now, more than ever, we so far from God, and so close to Mexico, conveniently close to sacrificial lambs, artificial limbs and easy scapegoats for our worst trespasses and most hideous transgressions, things we should’ve said and things we should’ve done, too late now to start over, so must settle for walls and bridges, duct-tape solutions and anti-retroviral cocktails…

    If you’re American, then the degree to which you’re awash in violence is a serious impediment to (y)our spiritual well-being. I don’t mean that you yourself have done anything necessarily wrong, except maybe being born in the wrong place.  Jesus Christ once said that a camel could go through the eye of a needle easier than a rich man could find his way to Heaven. And he was right, I’d say, though modern-era capitalists try to quickly change the narrative, something about ‘trespasses’… (More …)

     
    • k 11:27 am on May 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      interesting. my ideas may be simpler, may be more difficult, to get back to the garden. until then i will not let the city discourage me or anyone else from a community garden and am starting work on the third guerrilla garden, that’s all i know to do that is right, grow peace, grow flowers, grow herbs, maybe give someone besides myself happiness. enjoy the temple.

      • hardie karges 12:30 pm on May 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I strongly believe in community gardens, hope to see one hanging off every skyscraper within my lifetime…

    • davekingsbury 1:22 pm on May 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Terrific, Hardie, spot on with the language analysis – we’re much deeper enmeshed than we like to think in our free societies. Stephen Pinker reckons humanity is less violent than it was but I suspect the violence is still there though mutated into political and economic aggression. Your antidotes drawn from Buddhist philosophy are perfect and shot through with nice touches of self-deprecation. I’m going to reblog this because I’d like it to be read. Only ever done that once before and that was yours too!

      • hardie karges 1:52 pm on May 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you thank you thank you, I’ve read ‘Language Instinct’ by Pinker, liked it, even if I don’t always agree with it…

    • davekingsbury 1:33 pm on May 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on a nomad in cyberspace and commented:
      This is the second post by this guy I’ve reblogged and I’ve only ever reblogged two posts! I love his directness and honesty and, well, I’m jealous because I didn’t write it. I couldn’t, of course, because I’m not American. What he says has resonance in the UK too. And as they say, what happens in the USA today happens here tomorrow!

    • hardie karges 7:52 pm on May 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      :-)

  • hardie karges 3:48 pm on April 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Prince, SNL   

    The Year the Music Died: Bowie and Prince Forever, Kantner Lost in the Frey… 

    If there’s anything sadder than the deaths of our pop music heroes, it’s our attachment to them in the first place.  If we are truly such a brilliant species to have created such popular paeans to ordinary pleasures, then we are truly pathetic to imagine that this is the be-all and end-all of our short little existences.  But we are MTV kids, back from when MTV actually meant something, not just our own absurd realities exposed ad nauseam on TV.

    Funny, I don’t remember all the bobby-soxers mourning Frank Sinatra for months on end, or even Elvis or Lennon, for that matter, all hugely popular, so maybe all this weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth is cause and/or effect of our modern Warholian ‘social’ (anti-social?) media culture, in which everyone is famous for fifteen minutes—in their own minds, at least, and those of anybody willing to ‘like’, ‘follow’ or ‘share’ them.  Modern progress: now we are all teeny-boppers, slaves to fashion and followers of fallen idols.

    For better or worse, the era of pop-culture heroes is likely drawing to a close—with the possible exception of… I don’t know whom.  I just don’t see any icons on the horizon in the new generation, and I think that is because there are none.  But that doesn’t mean that we’re past all that—pop-culture and whatnot—just the opposite!  Everybody wants to be a star now, or at least an entertainer!  And with so much competition, no one can raise head and shoulders above the heap.

    Many ‘millennials’ in hope of stardom would rather live with Mom and Dad all their lives than go out and get a job as a plumber, or a welder, or a carpenter with designs, though burger-flipping does seem to be gaining in popularity as the yearly take approaches $30K (and the price of a burger hits $10), and it requires no great expenditure or investment of intellect or effort.

    So music stars today make do with much more limited horizons than the stars of yesteryear, but possibly with more control of their careers and more realistic schedules, actually playing gigs, not just ‘recording artists’ in studios.  But if our historical worship of pop culture is genuinely notable, then these latest manifestations of grief are truly over the top and beyond belief.  So this is probably a good thing, the end of an era of pop-hero-worship.

    After all, we don’t love Prince so much as we love ourselves, our memories, our friends and possessions, our comfort food, intimately tied up with our memory of where we were the first time we heard ‘Purple Rain’ or some other such nonsense, aka ego ejaculation (I made that up, as preferable to mental you-know what).  In this view, Prince or Bowie serve mainly to reinforce how we already see ourselves, notwithstanding their own notable skills at entertainment.

    Alas and alack, most are poor role models, anyway, with lifestyles and habits that are hardly sustainable, self-consuming and full of drugs and sex and dysfunctional families, so it’s not too surprising that many die before their time, age twenty-seven being especially popular for overdoses and suicides, squeezing out rhythms and rhymes with the help of chemicals and auto-tuning, the lives of pop heroes but chem-trails across the sky, small lives emblazoned in big letters.  Unfortunately this is no substitute for skill and creativity.

    So who will the next round of heroes contain: Kanye guess?  It’s Beyonce belief, but I’m Justin asking, so hopefully I don’t make you Gaga.  I reiterate: that era is over, and for that I celebrate.  Frankly I don’t need any heroes to worship any more than I need a DJ to tell me what to listen to.  Exploration is half the fun, no?  No?  I rarely listen to dino-rock and I don’t eat KFC.  The future is green and bright, and I like my artists that way, too.  Bring it ASAP, and keep it fresh.  Prince made a conscious decision to be a social and fashion icon, not merely an entertainer and musician, and for that we remember him.  R.I.P….

     
  • hardie karges 9:03 am on April 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bahai, , ,   

    Hinduism, Islam and Baha’i: Castes and Classes and Rose-Colored Glasses… 

    IMG_1289

    Hindu Temple in Sri Lanka

    I tend to concentrate on Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism as the world’s three major religious offerings, though that system follows no formal logic, especially since by actual numbers of adherents, Hinduism would be number three.  Rather it seems to reflect their current positions in terms of relative importance, especially in articulating clearly defined philosophical and religious positions.  But I should add that personally I wouldn’t really want Hinduism anyway, for a number of reasons.

    For one thing: they apparently don’t want me, notwithstanding all the many light-skinned ‘Hare Krishnas’ out there showing devotion to Gods that their parents never heard of. The signs dotting temples around India are clear: ‘Hindus only’. Ouch. The only other religion where I’ve experienced that is Islam. They asked me to leave the mosque in KL, Malaysia, when I was just sitting there quietly—like everybody else. Double ouch. I wasn’t asked about my religious affiliation.

    But this is not too surprising, considering that Hinduism is mostly a national religion, the Indian religion, with all that that entails, i.e. few outside adherents, except in the neighboring states, especially Nepal, and far-fetched Bali, where they took it really seriously a millennium or two ago, and never gave it up. That once occurred all over SE Asia, notably the Khmer empire, hence to be largely supplanted by Buddhism, and to a lesser extent Islam and Christianity. (More …)

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

    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 3:14 pm on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Austin, Nanci Griffith, Tecumseh Valley, Texas, Townes Van Zandt   

    Dearly Departed Townes Van Zandt and the DNA of Music… 

    Can anyone confirm that the original recording of this song on the 1968 LP ‘For the Sake of the Song’ has our heroine Caroline ‘walking down the road’ and not ‘whoring on the streets’? These guys in the comment section don’t believe me, but I remember the lyrics clearly even though I haven’t spun the LP in decades–can’t, since I have no record player, and the LP is in Thailand adorning a bookshelf! I bought it in the bargain rack for $.49 (or was it $.99?) in the Walgreen store of the original Jackson Mall out on Hwy. 49, one of my prouder purchases, as I spun the grooves off over time.

    So imagine my surprise while staying in Austin in 1976 that not only was the ‘Late Great TVZ’ alive and well, but he was the house band at some coffee-house on the UT campus that I was too lazy to navigate, had to content myself with Paul Ray and the Cobras at the nearby Hole in the Wall, featuring a young unknown guitarist named SRV, trying to show support for new emerging talent, you never know who might be the next Clapton…

     
    • kc 8:03 pm on April 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      google it?

      • hardie karges 10:43 am on April 16, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Probably too obscure for that, maybe just pick up the original in Thailand this summer, take it from there…

  • hardie karges 7:38 am on April 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Religion 499: Renunciation, and the Three Stages of Hindu Life… 

    IMG_1289

    Hindu Temple in Sri Lanka

    …which are actually four, but who’s counting (?), and I think it’s time to do a little historical trim, which coincides very well with my own three religious stages of life—Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist—corresponding to youth, prime, and maturity; i.e. dignity–and discipline, love–and family, wisdom–and renunciation; at something like 20-25 years each. The Hindu ‘ashrama’ stages of life are student (brahmacharya), householder (grihastha), retirement (vanaprastha) and renunciation (sannyasa).

    Now obviously those stages can’t occupy the full prescribed twenty-four years each (who retires at forty-eight, anyway?), so I’d propose combining the retirement and renunciation phases. I’m not sure I much know the difference anyway, though most cultures wouldn’t acknowledge ‘renunciation’ as a goal, in any case.

    But the Hindu trick is that the final sannyasa renunciation phase can occur anytime, relieving Indians of the burden of living to be 96-100 years just to fit the paradigm.  So a student brahmacharya can go straight into the sannyasa phase at the ripe old age of twenty-four-ish, completely foregoing the career and head-of-family phase, opting instead for a life of moksha (no, that’s not a Jewish circumciser), i.e. spiritual liberation. (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 9:27 am on April 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Your hinterland of learning, compassion and personal realisation is on show here, as usual. I like the way this plays with time, gently interrogating traditional beliefs to create something new and original. Not heard that Alan Watts saying before, really fits my situation at the moment! Don’t renounce blogging just yet, please!

    • kc 7:30 am on April 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      really only briefly read this, but like lou reed said “music is my god”, in fact lou is playing now, thru an ipod, thru a blu tooth speaker, it’s a punk speaker but lou sounds good however you can get him. some younger friends of mine, starting to lose parents, partners and such are now into patti smith….another group, the self sustainability faction, they are learning to make kombucha. it is always remakable to me how people my age or just a few years younger have not a clue, about so much, esp that which, for me, was experienced many years ago.Should I turn them onto mochi? Ok, Peter Tosh playing now. back to god/dog.

  • hardie karges 9:21 am on April 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: gender, identity, LGBT, LGBTQA   

    Bathroom Gender Wars: Wisdom of Sulaiman Needed Urgently… 

    Am I the only one for whom the current pee-pee and poo-poo gender identity controversy between Amerikan LGBTQA’s and the rest of the un-alphabetized world seems silly and trivial? I mean: does it really matter where we drop our loads and relieve our burdens? Apparently it does. Okay, so I’ve got an idea for a solution—actually two solutions, one for Amerika and one for the rest of the civilized world.

    From now on, for most of the civilized world, there will be no more men’s and women’s restrooms. Everybody will pee and poop in a common room, divided by stalls, urinals optional though perhaps discouraged, stalls perhaps extended down closer to the floor to discourage any surreptitious ‘youfies’, with optional chicken-wire over the top (joking). Sound good? No? That’s because you’re Amerikan.

    In Amerika everybody will get their own private crapper, public restrooms like chock-a-block tenement rookeries, with locking doors, ultimate privacy, no peek-a-boo freebie holes-in-the-wall and definitely no empty space beneath. Think: handicapped. Yes, we are all handicapped now, aren’t we, reduced in capabilities, divided from ourselves as well as others, by walls and bridges and the need to pee? Welkom in Amerika!

     
  • hardie karges 9:03 am on April 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Religion Meet Politics, Soul Meet Body: Buddhism as the Perfect Socialism…. 

    IMG_1663

    Room with a view in Thailand’s temple city of Phetchaburi…

    I’ve always been struck by the existence of what I call ‘village communism’, that primordial system around the world which keeps people more or less equal by virtue of jealousy, tradition, goodwill or convenience. It has nothing to do with democracy BTW, not unsurprisingly, which, despite all the advance hype, pretty much promotes just the opposite—vast inequalities… and vast loneliness, every man for himself. You are mostly alone in this capitalist democratic world, like it or not…

    So in the traditional societies, with cities just one step up from the village, the old guild divisions still remain, with certain sections devoted to a certain craft or specialty. Now I can’t say with certainty why that is, but the result is that everyone stays at more or less the same level, copying each others’ products, and keeping a good eye on each others’ customers. Ever heard the old adage: “location location location”? This is similar to a central market even when there is none (though that is likely the origin): so no one has the advantage of location, not really, not much.  They’re all more or less equal…

    IMG_1674

    Temples everywhere in Thailand

    The ultimate in village socialism, though, of course, is family, in which the family unit is not just a spatial unit occupying certain locations of varying importance, but a spiritual unit, too, a multi-generational anchor that occupies both time and space, and firmly, too. Ever played the Asian chess-like game ‘Go’? It’s like that, occupying space and time bit by bit in an ever-increasing complexity that provides an anchor like a tree’s roots, no reinforcing rods necessary. In Asia they love their blood ties, spouse optional. In the West we love our sometimes dubious choices made in the heat of passion…

    I always thought that socialism and communism were much more appropriate to Asia than Europe for this very reason, that the societies there were so much more inter-twined and sharing to begin with, starting with the family. From there it’s a short hop to uniting those families by religion, or politics, or both. This is especially appropriate now that families are so much smaller than they used to be, down from a dozen to a few per generation, within the last one or two rounds, generally speaking, at least in the case of Thailand, with which I am most familiar. So what does this have to do with Buddhism?

    IMG_1665

    Temple in Phetchaburi, Thailand

    Buddhism is perfect for this role, with its de-emphasis on the individual. The West, America especially, is sick with individualism, which, if carried to its logical extreme, gives you something like Election 2016, with its air of despair and its climate of hate, culture gone to the dogs, with any and all civility singularly lacking. In the future—tomorrow—true sharing will be a necessity, not just the pseudo-sharing of an Uber ride or a VRBO stay. That’s not sharing: that’s vanity, driver at your fingertips and somebody else’s house at your disposal. True sharing utilizes public transportation—and hostels…

    A true socialism is an economy of sharing, by definition, and requires near-equality, and no poverty. That can’t work in societies with vast incomes and vast income differentials. Within tightly-knit societies that is less likely, since class systems function by means of class divisions. You can’t maintain an equality with people from whom you are divided. Tightly-knit societies advance together—or not…

    The old industrial model of socialism is outmoded and outdated. We need updated politics and religion for the digital age—and the future. The great monotheistic religions have a Book. Buddhism has thousands. We can create what we need, and we need it now more than ever. The separation between church and state is an illusory pipe dream, and probably ill-advised at that…

    The trick is for the predominant belief system to be inclusive enough to accommodate all sorts of individual and group tastes and predilections. Labor and management should not be at odds with each other in the perfect system, nor should sects or sexes. The true city of God would allow many paths to meet uptown at the temple to pray, and many jobs downtown at the office to work—for similar pay…

     
    • kaptonok 11:49 am on April 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      In Bankok population fourteen million souls one million live in poverty. It is a world center of finance and business.
      So what you might call western ways are prevalent in Thialands biggest city.
      Do not be deceived by apperances quite recently Buddhist monks have been found to be suffering from obesity a western purge.
      Human nature all over the globe is the same it may hide under different labels or dress itself in the thin veneer of religion but basically it has not changed.
      What sort of communism have we got in China? Why its capitalist communism dressed in the old clothes of Marxism.

      • hardie karges 1:20 pm on April 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Only one million in poverty in Krung Thep? Maybe more, I’d guess. But when I refer to Western and Eastern ways, I’m referring to traditional distinctions. Obviously those break down as the world gets smaller and more crowded. Thailand up-country is very different from BKK. And yes, I definitely don’t consider modern China as the model for socialism, nor would Marx, I don’t believe. Thanx for your comment, very accurate…:-)

    • davekingsbury 8:48 am on April 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      As always, hugely inclusive … posts like this help me focus on the creative synthesis we need to overcome our vast problems … I’d come up with a secular religion, if it wasn’t a weird oxymoron!

  • hardie karges 2:13 pm on March 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 70's, FoxFire   

    The 70’s took ‘it’ back to the woods… 

    (continued from previous)

    cabin cropThank God.  I didn’t know there could be life without riots.  I didn’t know there could be life without political assassinations.  I didn’t know there could be life without scenes of war on TV.  ‘Back to nature’ sounded really good, as if I’d been on the verge of a nervous breakdown or something the whole time at the ripe old age of twenty-two.  We were the late 20th century cabin-dwellers.  We were the FoxFire generation, looking for our roots in root cellars, attics, and storage sheds.  We wanted the past not the future, evolution not revolution.  We wanted little to do with cities, wars, hard rock, or hard drugs.  We wanted real folk, bluegrass, and cosmic cowboys.  We wanted our ganja as much as ever, maybe more, but no excess acid for a weak stomach, thank you, and for God’s sake, heroes and not heroin.

    We didn’t really want jobs, but there weren’t any extra real jobs available for us baby-boomers anyway, so it didn’t really matter.  We wanted arts and crafts; we wanted to do carpentry; we wanted to plant crops and raise goats.  We wanted to go skinny-dipping at midnight in lakes formed by flooded limestone quarries.  We wanted to go to Mexico.  So that’s what we did.  We ‘went native’ in every way possible.  We ate health food and dressed in native costume and spoke Spanish.  We held on to our youth as long as we could.  That’s what it was all about, really, a country coming of age, finding itself in the morass of circumstance.  Back then I never had much of a grip on anything but my d*ck anyway.  Fortunately youth can cover a multitude of sins.  By definition old age is ugly and youth is beautiful.  You try to hang on to it as long as you can.

    (to be continued)

     
    • davekingsbury 2:19 pm on March 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      We’re not the old people I knew in my youth, who were much more inflexible, so something good came out of the counterculture. Your post takes me back to gentler times …

      • hardie karges 3:21 pm on March 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Think you’re right, less of a ‘generation gap’ now, find I’ve got quite a bit in common with millennials, not least of which is car-optional culture, positive sign for Amerika…

  • hardie karges 10:36 am on March 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Nixon, , , socialism,   

    You think 2016 is violent? This is nothing. The peace-loving 60’s were violent… 

    me @Jorge'sThe 60’s took ‘it’ to the streets.  We were young; we were hip.  We knew more than ‘they’ did.  ‘They’ were over-30, therefore suspect of collusion with ‘the man’, ‘pigs’, ‘whitey’, Nixon.  That’s the name that came to be associated with the forces of repression more than any other.  He just looked the part.  The ‘movement’ had its anti-Christ.  It all started innocently enough in the early 60’s with racial integration and affluence.  Here was the strongest country in the world, lecturing the rest of the world on the evils of repressive Communism and Socialism, maintaining a system of apartheid that contradicted its own stated goals and ideals.  This was a country once the symbol of freedom in the world, bathed in the fire of revolution, playing FTSE with some of the most repressive regimes the world has ever seen, i.e. Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, etc.  The symbolism was not to be lost on everyone, certainly not on New York ‘beatniks’ and intellectuals inspired by folk music and high on the ideal of equality.  The US was affluent now; there was money to spare, and therefore money to share.

    JFK was like Mao lighting the fire, inspiring scads of Red Guard freedom rider intellectuals to go down South and show those rednecks what democracy was all about.  Notwithstanding the hypocrisy of northern milk-fed liberals pretending to teach a lesson to their lessers after the New York Draft riots of 1863 and race riots in many Northern cities in the years during and following WWI, still surely the time had come for a change.  Well, give them an inch and they’ll take a mile, of course.  No sooner had the Voting Rights Act been passed in 1965 than the situation got worse than ever, and the word ‘riot’ entered the common vernacular.  But something even bigger was brewing.  A little insignificant country in Southeast Asia was airing its dirty laundry in public and causing a lot of upset nerves to the rest of the world in the process.  Vietnam will do that to you. Cảm ơn bạn. Không có gì.

     (to be continued)

     

     
    • davekingsbury 7:40 am on March 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Timely reminder … you guys had the draft, which must have made things more intense … but so many social advances came out of that era.

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