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  • hardie karges 6:53 am on July 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Technology in Context: the Digital Fields of Abraham… 

    IMG_0453We are attached to our devices, which is a great source of angst and consternation to some, but really is it any different from yesterday? Yesterday we either went to work or stayed at home, worked on our papers or talked on our phones, listened to our radios or watched TV, played with our toys or played with our selves…

    Now we can do all that with only one ‘little helper’, the digital device of our choice, live on the big screen or right in our hands, everything except our food and our shelter and our transportation and our offspring, i.e. more than half of all our activities, now available in one convenient place. Is this a bad thing?

    Is our digital field of vision any different from our field of rice, or wheat, or corn? That used to occupy at least half of our waking lives, and frequent long walks to land that hadn’t yet been wasted nor spent, in ever-increasing radii outward in search of fallow fertile ground, a search that continues to this day where land is free and labor is cheap, an equation in which infinities play no part. These are the new fields of Abraham… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 4:30 pm on July 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Religion 222: Being and Nothingness, Atheism and Anthropomorphism—Putting a Smile on God’s Face… 

    “Given that Being, Consciousness and Life are synonymous, presence means consciousness realizing itself or Life achieving self-consciousness…” – Eckhart Tolle

    Huh? What? Anthropomorphism in the New Age is pretty much just as bad as what preceded it. We all know the atheist caricature of religion as consisting primarily of “an imaginary friend,” and the best arguments for atheism always centered for me around what were clear instances of assuming God to be some person or persona with desires and wishes and sufferings and blisses, and threats to be dealt with accordingly—obviously b*llsh*t.

    Michelangelo’s grey-haired patriarch with stolid gaze and fierce expression pretty much defined the look. The bad news is that the various ‘New Age’ manifestations of modern religion and ad hoc versions of Hinduism and Buddhism, fashioned more to modern Western tastes than traditional Asian scripts and scriptures, are not much better. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:42 pm on July 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Black Lives Matter, BLM, Bureau of Land Management   

    BLM Matters… 

    I just woke up from a really long nap and wonder what is all the hubbub over BLM? Since when does anyone get so worked up over the the Bureau of Land Management? What, did someone take over one of the branch offices or something, pissing and moaning over grazing fees? Now there’s an absurd thought. Or maybe the GOP will give all federal lands back to the states, so no more problem. Ha! Think I’ll go back to sleep…

     
  • hardie karges 7:38 am on July 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Osho, Rajneesh   

    Religion 111: God, Money, and the Paradigm Sh**t… 

    IMG_0379Is there an inverse proportion between spirituality and material wealth? Duh. How do you spell t-a-u-t-o-l-o-g-y? Let me repeat that again for you, one more time (ha!): “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”—Jesus H. Christ

    Truer words have ne’er been spoke, neither by the righteous, wannabes nor the wicked. It is simply an existential fact. Modern Christians with their consumerist fetishes and bulging waistlines try to explain it away, but trying to keep the weight off is another story. First they try to evade the issue, arguing over whether JC meant that you need humility or divine intervention (sound of throat clearing rhetorically), then give up, bragging about “My congregation’s experiment in using market values to grow our mission.” Rubbish.

    “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”–Luke 16:13. Is that clear enough for you yet? The two concepts, spirituality and money, are not only at odds with each other, but are in fact exact opposites. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 8:41 am on July 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Ego and the Good Book: Haha, Sad, Love, Wow, and Angry, oh my! 

    like

    Like Me, Baby…

    Haven’t you heard? Life is a popularity contest or that’s what it seems like to me, measured by likes, follows, shares and the results from the latest click-bait from the latest click-mills; whoever has the most likes, follows and shares pretty much wins, when all is said and done, and all the races have been run.

    You get 1 point per like, 3 points per follow, and 5 points per share, or something like that, I’m not so sure, so I’ll have to talk to my accountant.  Whoever gets the most points by the time they die will win, of course.  What irony!  You have to die to win!  And to the victor go the spoils!

    Just kidding! So all you click-bait entrepreneurs, please note: my jaw drops for nothing and I’m not easily impressed. But wait, hold the freakin’ presses! We’ve just received the latest news from above. Facebook is now about more than just casually ‘liking’. Now there are ‘reactions’: Like, Follow, Share, plus Love, Haha, Sad, Wow, and Angry!

    That should be worth a few billion on the balance sheet. You still can’t ‘dislike’, though, of course, as that would unleash a horde of furies, but at least we can now nuance the subtleties of a certain displeasure without angering the powers that be… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:31 am on July 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , computer, logic, , mind,   

    Philosophy of Mind: Thought or No-thought? 

    IMG_1184

    Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka

    I’ll have to admit that it bothers me somewhat the extent to which Eckhart Tolle goes to demonize the process of thought. Is this not who and what we are, for better or worse? “All thought is judgment.” Really? But he’s definitely got a point about our non-stop narratives (not to be confused with truth or reality) and the resultant mental noise and ego-defenses inherent to such a system.

    His is basically a metaphysics of meditation, if not in so many words, i.e. (mostly) without the Buddhism. And that, of course, is the challenge, in assuming that the mental state achieved in meditation can somehow be maintained every minute of every day of your life. Is that even possible? Maybe so. But I’d like to suggest a slight detour to that conclusion.

    I’ve been reading some Buddhist texts recently that allude to something that probably translates best as the ‘true original mind’ or ‘pristine mind’, as that state to be desired, sought after and accomplished, and hence to be the model for our short shrill suffering-filled existences. Okay, good enough so far, but: what does this ‘true original mind’ consist of and how does it function? That’s the issue to be determined. In other words: Did thought begin with language? (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:18 pm on June 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Brexit, , Lexit, , UK   

    Brexit Through the Gift Shop, Lexit thru the Green Lane (‘Nothing to Declare’)… 

    The Union Flag: a red cross over combined red and white saltires, all with white borders, over a dark blue background.“Bernie Sanders on Brexit: The World Economy is not Working for Everybody” (minor HuffPo headline from the day after the Brexit vote). Get it? Got it. Bernie is a ‘Leaver’, albeit for different reasons than Boris and Nigel; or at least he’s not a clear-cut ‘Remainer’, not even as much as Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, who held his nose and shut his samosa-slot, and meekly supported the ‘Remain’ bloc, only after forty years of protesting the EU and only after his own rise to power. Damn by feint (!) praise, perhaps?

    Yes, there was also a leftist ‘Lexit’ (‘Left Leave’) vote, with the same goal as Brexit, just another reason and another season for getting there. This is the difference between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, and ultimately the reason I couldn’t support Bernie, even though his ideals are closer to mine than Hillary’s. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:44 am on June 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Religion and Identity; Sex and Spirituality; Penises and Breasts… 

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    Christian church in Ethiopia

    Now I have no problem with the LGBTQ community in general and would like to think I could even qualify as the ‘A’ in ‘ally’, not ‘alley’, that sometimes puts the pickle on that little alphabetic sandwich, attached by wooden toothpick and a little smile to last a little while, even though I don’t deliberately seek gays out, though seem to usually have one or two as friends, BUT…

    …that doesn’t mean that I buy the entire narrative, especially the ‘born this way’ rap which was once de rigueur back in the days of last-line don’t-attack-the-victim defense, very quaint and old-fashioned charming now that ‘gender fluidity’ is all the rage, and there is increasingly little to be ashamed of in the first place, so no reason to claim DNA as a defense, if there is no offense, and given the lack of any proof of a ‘gay gene’ any more than a ‘basketball gene’ or even a ‘black gene’, really…

    …given that pigment genes tend to mix, somehow, much less a ‘backpacker gene’, but what concerns me is the identity with sexuality—any sexuality—in the first place. Is this all we’ve accomplished in the last ten thousand years, to come to blows (no pun) over who gets access to whose genitals, and by what means and for what purpose? I guess so. Strike one for civilization, i.e. city-fication.

    We were better off in the wild, where queer was queer, and that was that, no big deal and nothing to fear. Now we’re forced to draw the lines of decency, circling the wagons, dotting ‘I’s and crossing ‘T’s, consulting the prophets and taking a loss.  What a waste of time, and what a loss of dignity, that we’re so busy greasing the wheels (pun) of our lower chakras, that we have no time for the larger questions with the trickier answers, enigmas all wrapped up in riddles and garnished with mysteries left to lightly ferment… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:22 am on June 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Hegel, , , Marx,   

    The Dark Side Dialectic of Religion, Culture and Politics… 

    isis

    ISIL wages war in the Mideast

    We cringe with horror at the antics of ISIL, but they’re very similar to those employed by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR aka ‘Russia’) before them, that previous political entity with objectives almost exactly the opposite. The fact that the USSR crashed almost simultaneously with the rise of fundamentalist Islam is almost too coincidental to be ignored—almost.

    It’s almost like there IS indeed a dialectic of history—thesis, antithesis, synthesis—as theorized by Hegel, regardless of whether it ultimately has anything to do with the means of production, as theorized by Marx. In this scenario, something at least has to be offered up as an alternative to the dominant capitalist-consumerist system, or whatever system happens to be on top at any given time.

    In this view, therefore, there is no one specific dialectic going on at any one given time, but more of a random one—something anything. Sounds a lot like evolution, doesn’t it? Yes, it does, but more like a cultural evolution, a dialectic of ideas, as theorized by Hegel, in which we seem to be subconsciously struggling toward something else–always. Or is it a function of language itself? (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 9:35 am on June 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Now,   

    Religion 232: Eckhart Tolle, Now-ness, Spirituality, and Identity… 

    As you probably already know, thanks to the patronage of Oprah Winfrey and others, Eckhart Tolle has been called “the most spiritually influential person in the world.”  So I was all ready to diss and dismiss him as a charlatan and pop-schlock marketeer, just because he had the temerity to title his obra maestra “The Power of Now”, such now-ness easily classified as ‘cliché’ even, or especially, within high Buddhist circles, if not just by the wannabes, academics and literary hacks like myself…

    Then I decided to actually read his stuff, albeit en espanol, El Poder de Ahora, the work in translation, though he apparently speaks Spanish himself (the English-language e-version is back-ordered for streaming at my library).  Now I haven’t thoroughly absorbed the book yet, but Eckhart Tolle just may be on to something here, something very important, the basis of our identity—or lack thereof…

    Cut to the chase, if you haven’t already: Tolle sees our identifying with our own thought processes as the source of all of our problems.  Wow!  Now I’m not exactly sure yet what he would have us identify with instead, but the effect is palpable, nonetheless. Apparently Tolle would have us identify with ‘consciousness’, albeit one without thought…  (More …)

     
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