Updates from March, 2015 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • hardie karges 10:04 am on March 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: body, , , Death Cab for Cutie, , She and Him, , Zooey Deschanel   

    Religion Meets Politics; Body Meets Soul: Capitalism is the Past; Buddhism is the Future… 

    Huh? What? Is this guy illiterate? Why is he comparing apples and oranges while alluding to bananas under the influence of ananas (pineapples), knowing all the while that the only fruit that can cure his disease are cherries and sometimes cranberries? (Orange you glad I didn’t venture into tropical fruits whose names are only known through vague inference and oblique reference and bad translations like jack-fruits and custard apples and the alligator pears of a previous era?)

    Surely this is the greatest travesty of language competence since half-decent actress Zooey Deschanel and that other guy with a letter for a first name decided to call their musical duo ‘She and Him’, knowing all the while that one pronoun was nominative and the other accusative, without even considering the political implications of a feminine subject getting all on-top transitive and doing it to a masculine object, sure payback’s a b*tch, a batch of contradictions, but really his guitar-playing’s not half-bad and her only musical background is the title role in a season of ‘Death Cab for Cutie’ and the best line she ever had in a movie was “Penis!” in that flick with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. But I digress.

    I mean, you can’t just inter-mix religion and politics for Sunday entertainment, now, can you, despite or because of the fact that it’s prohibited? Can you? “Never talk religion and politics” is an adage as old as America itself and the mixing of the two is an affront to the separation of Church and State that lies at the heart of our dysfunctional system of government, isn’t it? Why, yes; dysfunctional, that is…

    Everything’s different now. Everything is a caricature of itself, and nothing is sacred anymore. Our Western and American values are up for grabs and subject to reinterpretation. Our freedoms have degenerated into licentiousness, and our liberties have lost their licenses. Our paradigms have shifted and our grounds have been re-sifted. Religion has nothing to do with church anymore and politics has nothing to do with government. Work is not all about money anymore and life is all about quality and not quantity. The merger of politics and religion does not signal theocracy. It signals maturity.

    Capitalism must die, pool sharks notwithstanding. Its continuation threatens the planet and society. It doesn’t have to end overnight, but the sooner the better: no more booms and crashes, no more zooms and clashes. I’m not talking about free enterprise, mind you. That’s different. That’s sacred. Capitalism is a perversion of it, most likely originated in the extension of credit, and the various packaging and re-packing that comes and goes with that.

    If that makes me a Communist, then so be it. I prefer ‘Buddhist’; yes, that’s no typo. It’s no accident that some of the most successful Communist countries had a prior history of Buddhism. Even today the line is blurred—in China, Vietnam, Laos, Burma and elsewhere. But I’m not talking about totalitarian dictatorships. I’m talking about shared spaces and shared societies, not shares of common stock. The only common stock I care about is DNA handed down in re-stacked decks, hands shuffled and re-shuffled for hybrid vigor and species survival.

    If religions must go through the phases of Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism (in no certain order) as lives must go through the phases of youth, middle age and ‘seniority’ = discipline, love and wisdom, then so, too, must societies go through the political phases of dictatorship, democracy and socialism both in their political and economic applications (‘apps’ for short). But the order is not ordered and the ‘roll-out’ is confusing. Silly phases must be gone through (passive voice intentional) and ch-ch-changes must occur in fields and screens of red, blue and green. Stay tuned…

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  • hardie karges 10:13 am on March 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    #Religion #Politics #Economics, Oh My! the Lure of the Inevitable… 

    Screen Shot 2013-03-24 At 6.29.27 PmWhy do guys—and girls—join groups like ISIL and Boko Haram and Al-Shabab? I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that it is much the same reason that a generation ago they (we) were joining the Weathermen, the Red Guards, Charles Manson and God-knows-who-all? He ain’t telling…

    For one thing we all want to be on the right side of history, correct? So there’s that. But more than that I think we want to create the right side of history, i.e. get it right, for once and for all. Call me an incurable romantic and unbridled idealist, but I truly think that many, if not most of us, truly want to make the world a better place and are searching hard for the best means of going about that in some rational coherent truthful and esthetically pleasing way, and unwilling to accept the lure of racism and hatred and the reductio ad absurdum that “might makes right.” It doesn’t.

    Of course the players have changed much since the pseudo-communistic stylings of our 60’s and 70’s Western forebears as inspired by Marx, Lenin and Che on a good day. Now many of those revolutionaries are silent, if not silenced, and their grandsons and granddaughters gorge themselves on iPhone chat and buzz-feed just like any other normal healthy youngsters, the previous knee-jerk rejection of our own affluence now nothing more than a shallow reflection of our youthful inclination for school-taught idealism and the exuberance of hedonism on the installment plan, enjoy now pay later…

    In dog years, those were our college days, civilization’s that is, twenty-one and counting, young and full of it, ready to bend worlds and wills to our liking, and assuming that nothing could be easier. Disaffected Western youth ruled the moment as only one particular group in any given zeitgeist can. It was ‘our time.’ Subsequent computer revolutionaries and keyboard warriors can make similar claim to some effect. The former were building on political foundations laid down a half-century before while the latter were building on Industrial Revolutionary foundations laid down a century before, the modern dialectic.

    But religion is part of this political/economic dialectic, too, so call it a trialectic if you will, no tied scores. The Christian West still gets it up for a good fight over abortion, but the main religious movement these days is with the Islamic jihadis. And while I don’t think they actually fit the prescribed mold of “rational coherent truthful and esthetically pleasing,” still I do think they honestly believe they’re doing the right thing, not inherently evil as commonly portrayed. Couldn’t you say the same the same things about drone strikes? Palestine? Fracking?  They do.  For better or worse, they own the political zeitgeist. It’s ‘their time’…. or so they feel…

    The rewards of this material existence are many but shallow—smart-phones Apple watches and Google cars only give so much pleasure before boredom and rot set in. There is as much pleasure in the smile of a child or in helping a friend than there are in all of the gadgets in Best Buy or Target. And you can wear it on your wrist or on your eyes, and still you only have children’s toys to keep you warm at night (though the technology it represents may indeed be profound, life-changing and earth-shattering).

    I’m not the only one who knows this. Thus people revert to the love of their pets as human relations become belligerent and sour, as the rise of Petco in the strip malls proceeds apace. And jihadis try to save souls while bending the world to fit their ends, in the rough wilderness, just like a generation of Cuban barbudos before them. Ironically there just may be common cause between freedom-loving Westerners and caliphate-loving jihadis.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Jihadis are not the ones destroying the planet by enviro-cide. Westerners are, and as soon as we admit that, and deal with it, then healing can proceed apace. Until we stop demonizing them, and see the equality of error in our own ways, then we are doomed to live and die by the sword. If a just peace can be accomplished, then we can proceed with the larger task: saving the species. Best good start is for someone to articulate a future without cars. Garden cities, anyone?

    And don’t fall into the hubristic trap of denial. A Mideast jobs program will not cure all ills any more than imposing our ‘freedoms’ upon them. They don’t love our freedoms. They’re disgusted by them, as are many Westerners, too, or were, at least. Drunkenness? Murder? Pornography? Prostitution? No, thanks. How about if I put some high-tech into those future garden cities? Hmm, looking better now, isn’t it? Tech is enviro-friendly. Stay tuned…

     
  • hardie karges 8:48 am on March 15, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Religion 101: DNA as a Crown of Thorns—God Genes, Gay Genes, Devils in Blue Jeans 

    crown of thorns

    crown of thorns

    There has long been scuttlebutt about some so-called ‘God Gene’… but none has ever been found. And there has long been scuttlebutt about some so-called ‘Gay Gene’… but none has ever been found. Now there is even talk of a ‘travel gene’ predisposing us travelers to lengthy peregrinations and various unnamed (unmentionable?) and unrequited desires. So what? Why does it matter? Why bother even asking the question? Thus the debate rages, long after Calvin, long after Hobbes (no, not the cartoon characters; where do you think they came from BTW?).

    Free will vs. determinism is one of the major debates of the post-classical pre-modern Christian religio-philosophic phase, long after St. Augustine incorporated Plato into the mix, and St. Thomas added Aristotle. This is closely contemporaneous with the Western philosophical tradition’s division into two opposing camps: the British Empiricists and the Continental Rationalists. For those of you unschooled in that history, that was a preference for either experience or rationality as the basis of knowledge.

    And it was no passive intellectual preference, the roots of it likely going back to Gothic pragmatic feudalism in the decentralized European countryside after the downfall of Roman hierarchical imperial cities, and continuing in the sprawling US/UK suburban piecemeal planning vs. centralized European cities to this day. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 8:50 am on March 8, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Religion 101: God as Superhero, & a Case of Species Exceptionalism to go, please… 

    American Exceptionalism? Meh, I’ll pass on that, sounds like a weak concept from the get-go, the definition of ‘American’ subject to the shifting southwestern sands of borders and politics and vaguely articulated definitions… to say nothing of the continents from which we ALL came: Asia, Europe, and Africa. But ‘species exceptionalism’? I’ll buy that. We are certainly exceptional, for better or worse, all contradictions considered…

    We are the love monkeys, we are the hate monkeys, we are the smart monkeys, we are the stupid monkeys, we are the happy monkeys, we are the sad monkeys, we are the f*ck monkeys, we are the abstinence monkeys, we are the drunk monkeys, we are the abstinence monkeys, we are the drug monkeys, we are the sober monkeys, we are the music monkeys, we are the sober monkeys, etc…

    Cut the DNA deck, re-shuffle, and the results would likely never be the same—humanity. Re-arrange the continents and it would’ve all been different. Out of nowhere comes a butterfly to flutter by and there goes the neighborhood—pure chaos. Cue Mandelbrot. This is something routinely overlooked in almost all discussions of extra-terrestrial life: the odds of intelligent life on THIS planet are infinitesimally small, yet—here we are. Cue Darwin. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 8:56 am on March 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , eye for an eye, Hammurabi, , , lex talionis   

    Religion 101: Revenge is not sweet, not like turning the other cheek…. 

    An eye for an eye; a tooth for a tooth,” is probably the most misunderstood phrase in all human history, its modern implications suggesting—no, NECESSITATING—revenge, at any and all costs. We modern Westerners especially like to accuse Islamic cultures of this, suggesting that they are violent from the get-go, and obsessed with revenge. Now I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to find it in the Qur’an, considering that it is already present in the prior two editions of the Great Abrahamic Monotheistic Trilogy: the Torah (Old Testament) and the New Testament…

    This doctrine of vendetta is probably better expressed by the Spanish ‘sangre se paga con sangre’: “blood is re-paid with blood”. Yuk. That is truly a sad commentary coming from what was once the heartland of the Christian diaspora, leaving little doubt as to its intents, blood suggestive of life itself, with little subtlety or nuance as to what the actual loss is, and the extent to which someone has suffered damage. This is blood feud, ethnic cleansing, to the victor belong the spoils. ‘Spoils’, indeed. Under this system of escalating violence, all will surely be lost, later if not sooner…

    That is EXACTLY what the law of ‘Eye for an eye’ was originally intended to prevent, as first enunciated by Hammurabi in ancient Babylonia. Actually the best translation would be “ONLY an eye for an eye, and ONLY a tooth for a tooth.” I had this explained to me long ago, and assumed that it would soon become de rigueur in the marketplace of ideas, but no, the concept is still bandied about as the Muslim approach to eventual world brutalization and domination. True, the ‘jihadis‘ don’t help by cutting off the hands of thieves, but that is something entirely different, and truly barbaric… (More …)

     
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