Buddhism 101, a Logarithm Grape-fruit: Sci-Fi and Religion, vices and verses…

People are desperate; people are starving; people line boulevards scrounging for crumbs and morsels; the homeless drift through the streets of nameless cities like zombies on life support, more and more keep coming and coming, without end middle or beginning, living in the moment like animals in search of pleasure and pasture; office workers adjust their ties and tie up their arms in expectation of junk, mail arriving from the four corners of the earth in bits and bytes, accounts payable and receivable in silver and slivers of pie-charts and Boolean logic…

People perform sex acts on web-cams for pennies and tips, putting themselves into strange postures for the amusement of raucous crowds on opposite sides of interactive cameras, audiences and performers trading places in the name of mutual mastering and slaving—things once illegal: baiting, goading, pleading and ultimately pleasuring each other in temporary transitory sensations, tripping the light fantastic, skipping the light fandango; while people hurl insults at each other in Internet chat rooms; such is modern life in the Western lands and the cities of red nights…

The irony, of course, is that by most barometers, life has never been better. Most people are not really hungry, not for food, anyway, our bellies fed to overflowing with recipes from a million noted chefs de cuisine and chiefs of kitchens, obesity now the second-leading cause of death after suicide (coming soon) and our throats and minds awash in liquors and brews extracted from plants gathered from far and wide and infused with spirits from the country’s best chemists.

The pharmacies are full, with the best drugs from the best laboratories in Europe, America, and Asia, designed to rid us of any unpleasant symptoms—dis-ease—and make us forget that which ails us, physically and mentally. Even the homeless people have the biggest Big Macs and Big Gulps from McDonald’s and Circles K, and teenagers all sport the latest smart-phones, designed to make our lives easier than anything ever previously imagined, except in the farthest-fetched science fiction novels from yesteryear, the science fiction genre itself now in decline simply because the present itself is so unimaginable.

But something is wrong. Our high-tech present has not spawned satisfaction, but only more unfulfilled desires. These apparatuses from Heaven only serve to separate us from lowly Nature, the very nature that created us and sustains us and gives our lives meaning. Ah, meaning, there’s the crux of the problem! As human beings with dialog and dialectic, bi-polar minds and dichotomous existences, meaning is our mission and our malady. And they call ‘bi-polarity’ a disease! If so, then it is the disease of humanity, the malady of reason and rationality, logic and logarithms.

Wannabe scientists laugh at religion while wannabe prophets laugh at science… and nothing could be further from the truth, either of them both. Life is a journey through minefields and vineyards, treaties and tractatuses, all designed to make our suffering more bearable, and make our pleasure more meaningful. Religion, philosophy, science, and art were all created by the finest minds our species has to offer, and all should be held up for view with equal measures of respect and reserve. This is the stuff of biological life, asking questions which have no answers, chasing dreams which have no sleep.

Only the Middle Path makes sense, the Buddhist middle path, mixed with equal measures of Christian love and Muslim determination, all designed to give meaning to the minefields and wine to the vineyards. The past is a novel with multiple endings, depending on interpretation. The future is pure mathematical probability.

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