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  • hardie karges 10:51 am on January 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Buddha, evolutionary psychology, , , silence   

    Buddhism and the Power of Silence… 

    Many of the world’s problems might vanish if certain people could only learn the power of silence, blessed emptiness. And by silence, of course, I mean self-silence, to the extent that ‘self’ refers to something largely indefinable, but we all know what to do with it, and in this case, as in many cases, the thing to do is simply STFU. Because we are indoctrinated in the arts of debate from childhood here in the Europe-descended West, and so imagine that this is the natural way to be, chomping at the bit, and foaming at the mouth, all for a chance to assert our rights to pre-eminence, and if we’re lucky, maybe even monopolize the deep end of the gene pool. But to pretend that this is normal is where the hubris and the ultimate fraud come to play, simply because violence and arrogance are choices, just as is silence, and ultimately rewarded by behavior, of others, in that everyone has a right to decide whether the behavior they witness is conducive to their cooperation, or not, and so the ultimate submission to power, or not. But the only way to ‘speak truth to power’ is to have other options than reliance upon that source of power for any perceived benefits, whether real or simply imagined, and ultimately the spread of genes, which will heavily determine whether this behavior is repeated indefinitely and infinitely into the distant future, or not. And this is where evolutionary psychology kicks in, because these patterns become ingrained across the generations, and will continue to haunt us far beyond the present circumstances of power’s abuse, whenever and wherever it perceives there to be a vacuum, and thus an opportunity. For ‘Type-A’ male behavior may exist across the range of species, but only humans, and chimpanzees, actually go to war over it. For all others it’s simply the gratification of the urge to merge, and the will for thrill, as the also-rans look on in envy. Human consciousness is capable of changing all that, though, the self-correcting addendum to the will to warfare, an instinct for survival, and the ability to see futures where no clear paths yet exist. And that is the path of silence, now that we have run amok for so many years now, stuffing ourselves on so many unearned rewards, far beyond what is necessary to survive and reproduce. So we over-produced, and now it comes back to haunt us, when the main causes of death are obesity and suicide. We need to relearn how to simply survive. Buddha to his credit discovered this some 2500 years ago, from the twilight’s first gleamings, as the age of cities took hold, and the potential for disaster became obvious. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There is another way, the path of non-aggression, and non-cooperation with tyrants. Our silence is our ultimate act of freedom. Whether Homo Sapiens will be a successful species is uncertain still, yet anybody’s guess, and everybody’s choice…

     
    • Tim 3:29 am on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      It is the 70th anniversary of George Orwell … there is some interesting discussions on the disillusionment he had in his engagement with the International Brigade during the Spanish Civil War. The obsession with not only leftist doctrine but ‘my leftist doctrine’ saw multiple fault lines run through the opposition to the rise of fascism. I find myself withdrawing from political activism for the same reasons … finding my radical voice lost in so many contemporary provisos and caveats … but is silence the answer? But I think that you do not refer to this sort of silence? Perhaps the silence is a listening silence … one that tries to understand, through listening intently, from whence the provisos and caveats emerge … and why.

      • hardie karges 5:02 am on January 20, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Yes it’s a bit of a conundrum, how to maintain a noble silence when the world is clamoring for details and opinions, especially when one’s own well-being is being threatened in the process, whether real or imagined. So there is no absolute mandate for it, but I do believe that it is best in many situations, not least of all meditation…

  • hardie karges 11:42 am on January 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: arrogance, Buddha, , , , Paradise, paradox,   

    Paradox in Paradise, the Buddha’s Suffering as Our Own… 

    Life is sometimes too easy. Without struggle there is no need for kindness. Thus we confront a Buddhist paradox, every day, in a world at least partly defined by its suffering, and the need to mitigate that suffering, so that we can survive, without falling into the trap of false flattery and the lure of luxury. Because if the suffering is a matter of opinion and the appropriate means of measure, the imperfection is rife. There may be a perfect world somewhere, of which this is but a poor manifestation, admittedly, but not this reflected world itself, which at times resembles a cheap carnival sideshow. But this is the only world that we truly experience on an ordinary day, so this is the hand we play. And that is okay. If this material world is all we ever know, then so be it. And let the imperfections speak for themselves. Because every imperfection is an opportunity for improvement, in life as in genetics, in which natural mutations provide the raw material for evolution. So if nothing ever changes, then there’s no chance for it to get better, and perfection is just hubris, the arrogance of species, this human species, full of itself and full of its self-importance, which is only partially justified. The human species IS important, but not always for the reasons that we think. It is not important because it is ABOVE the rest of the animal kingdom. It is important, because it is OF the rest of the animal kingdom, in an unbroken chain of Becoming, of which we humans are probably on top, that is true, but which is no reason for celebration, and certainly no reason for arrogance, for we were once only poor struggling mammals, looking for strength and succor. Thus the flip-side of freedom is always responsibility, and that is our lot in life. Always treat people better than they treat you, and the world becomes a nicer place…

     
  • hardie karges 7:06 am on December 8, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Buddha, ,   

    The Bodhisattva and the Butterfly: Living in the Material World… 

    The frst rule of life in the material world is that you have to actually be somewhere, in a place, almost all the time, which seems self-evident, I suppose, but sometimes problematic, all the same. I mean: you can’t just scan your own personal barcode on to some digital format and send yourself off to the cloud somewhere. In fact, I suppose this defines the conundrum of existence, where to be and what to do, and how to do it, and with whom. For this is, on the micro individual level, what has been described on a macro social level, as the ‘tyranny of democracy’, so on the individual level something like the ‘horror of free will’, i.e. decisions decisions. So the most obvious thing to do is find your true love, get hitched, and then start making babies, simple–or not so simple. Because what happens when your true love goes south, or those beautiful babies start foaming at the mouth, or the planet gets so full of little poopers that the poop piles up, and the rivers won’t flow no mo’ and the sun won’t shine, and even if it did, it would no longer find any field of flowers to illuminate? So we are the first species to ask these questions, few of which have concrete answers, so we try to console ourselves that the fact of asking will somehow be some compensation, despite all evidence to the contrary, filed in reams of papers and stacks of floppy disks which no longer work and only take up space, while we wait for the next newest technology to come and save us in the nick of time before the door shuts in our faces and the bells no longer chime. But it seems the kid was just having some late teen depression, so normal enough considering the urge to merge and the need to breed. Will there still be meaning to life when population pressures dictate that we need to find other hobbies besides reproduction? These are the challenges we face for the future, if there is to be a future, full of furniture and breakfast nooks and a 2-car garage, regardless of whether anything is parked there or not. So we have to invent reasons for the season, and myths for our bliss, and content ourselves with intransitive verbs, even when we all crave something to truly transit, preferably glory, in mind if not body. I will be at peace when this world is at peace, and if that’s not so much of a concern of Theravada Buddhism, then I’ll forgive them for that, because it’s right in line with Mahayana, the big machine, so that seems right for this era of history, Theravada at home and Mahayana out in the world, C U there…

     
  • hardie karges 3:10 am on November 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddha, , , ,   

    Life as a Singularity, and the Vicissitudes of Intent… 

    You can have family. You can have friends. You can have money. You can have plans. But U R still alone. And that’s not so bad. After all, that should be the most obvious thing in life, now, shouldn’t it? That here you are, amidst a sea of anonymity, and that it is futile to seek unanimity. But the reality is just the opposite, that once a child is torn from its mother’s breast, that the existential longing for inclusion begins, the desire for warmth and succor, all for free, all for the taking, with no effort involved and with no questions asked. But this is a boy’s dream, because the mother must make many orders of effort, and every drop of life’s rich milky nutrient comes with the price tag of commitment, paid in the currency of consumption, by installments, with no other credit plans available. And so a baby cries, right on cue, when it doesn’t get what it wants, and the existential dilemmas begin: What do I have to do to get that feeling of warmth and succor that felt so good for that one brief moment, way back when way back where in that crib of communion, before the terror of aloneness set in? Because nobody felt good on arrival, virtually DOA, we all came into this world kicking and screaming, and looking for something we don’t have–NOW! And such is life, the constant searching and craving for something other, in order to make oneself whole again. So it’s a logical conundrum, a teleological surd, a square peg in a round hole, or vice versa, mutatis mutandis, such that no one is allowed any peace for pensivity, without the arduous addition of intent. Intent is the human master stroke, assembly not required, just an act of the will and the acceptance of consequences. And no one can help with that, because mother is long gone now and there is no other except the one that you create within yourself in her image and likeness, if that helps the transition. And now you are free. And I am free. So light a candle for the Buddha. I accept my own limitations. I reject those placed upon me by others…

     
  • hardie karges 2:01 am on October 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddha, Dada, , , ,   

    Emptiness and Form, and the Power of Zero… 

    I need to see the emptiness, so that I can hear the silence. That’s the latter-day Buddhist approach to life, as exemplified by the Mahayanist doctrine of ‘shunyata’, emptiness, zero-ness, more concerned with the bowl’s field of probabilities than the stuff that you might want to cram in it, the world as potential more than present, form over content, and quite content with that, foregone the shopping trips to outlet stores and brand-name malls, fulfilled by conscious lack and voluntary homelessness, just add a dose of Zen-like Dadaesque do-si-do and lose the logic, and now you’ve got something unique and special, a glimpse of eternity in a spoonful of sugar, infinity in a grain of sand. But this is the advanced course for meditation masters and others of like bent, experts at the short-circuit of logic and aficionados of thoughtless realms, archeologists of the paleo-consciousness, prime and pristine, pure as driven snow and just as hard to find, in the vast clutter of derived drivel in the garbage heaps of mind. But basic Buddhism is much easier, the ABC’s of rightness and righteousness, and the mitigation of suffering. You can forego the quantum leaps in favor of baby steps, and maintain a wry little grin all the while, keeping eyes on the forward path, and never get lost in a crooked smile. The path is the path, and there is no better way. Do the right thing, even if it hurts, even if there is no immediate benefit. Do the right thing just because it’s the right thing. End all craving and suffering will be mitigated. That is the Buddha’s message…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 3:24 pm on October 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Great phrase which conveys the continuing relevance of the message – ‘foregone the shopping trips to outlet stores and brand-name malls’, One thinks of the hungry ghost …

  • hardie karges 7:07 am on September 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddha, , Chicago Manual of Style, Don Juan, , , , subconscious   

    The Enemy Within Is Still My Friend–Language… 

    There is too much talk, opinions comments narratives predictions screams shouts expletives yada yada, but not enough: silence, blessed silence. And this is symptomatic of the problems in our modern world, form over content, not that there is much good here and now, or not, or that there are things wrong here and now, or not, but that there is simply too much, here and now, of everything, particularly the medium itself, language and its facilitators, vowels consonants dots and strokes, verbs nouns subjects and predicates, adjectives adverbs prepositions and objects both direct and indirect, indicating questioning exclaiming enjoining and subjoining, actively or passively, conditionally or hypothetically, all pointing to the obvious conclusion, that our most brilliant invention is now working against us, for reasons unknown, and perhaps best unexplained, that once language gets in the vast unprotected subconscious mind, such as it is, that it will erect walls and barriers with doors and windows, in an attempt to create order out of disorder, paleo-consciousness, sweet blessed disorder, prime and pristine, and unpolluted by language, such that the real danger in our lives is obscured in the process–eat or be eaten, escape the cold or freeze, and take care of those who take care of you. Language only cares about itself, happy endings and the dictates of the Chicago Manual of Style. That is all well and good, or bad, but non-essential to the business of life and possibly its greatest obstacle to happiness. That is why we meditate, is it not–to stop the internal dialogue, at least for a few minutes? Don Juan the eagle’s shaman said it best, if not first (that’s the Buddha and his buddies), and the most adept among us can sustain it for hours, floating unattached in the ether, or stuck inside a long dark hole. Choose your best metaphor, because it will surely fail. The most important things in life are beyond language. This world and this life have great beauty, but ugliness, too. Best to not get too attached to either…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 3:28 pm on October 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Words never enough, of course, though I admire your determination to get behind them. Helpful writings for sure!

  • hardie karges 6:33 am on September 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddha, , Mitochondrial Eve, , Shakespeare, , Y-DNA Adam   

    The Rest is Silence… 

    There are no evil people, by DNA, only babes badly bred, by society. And yet the slurs continue, from the highest levels of government, that we are endangered by those of lesser stuff and stature, made of mud and sh*t, all the color of dirt, and not the shiniest of shiny pure white incandescent lightness, we Europeans finely bred on white bread and potatoes, not to be confused with the lesser belly-gobs of noodles and rice and corn and millet from the sh*t-stained countries of Africa and Third-World elsewhere, notwithstanding the fact that we all trace our lineages to there, Africa, both male and female, to opposite sides of that continent, Adam and Eve, by DNA, too bad they never met, as they might’ve even liked each other, you never know, stranger things happen, that Mom and Dad actually get along, and it’ll come in handy, too, any friendship and good feeling to be found along the way, as we hobble handicapped and hampered to our next social challenge, how to deal with the ramifications of our own successes, such that we are now overwhelmed by the very things which sustain us and which were once so hard to find: ground provisions and year-round sustenance, healthy offspring and shelters from the cold, now too numerous to mention. And the words multiply exponential, only adding to the suffering, adding to the pain: opinions comments narratives predictions screams shouts expletives yada yada, still not enough when what we really need now is silence, blessed silence. That’s what Shakespeare said. That’s what the Buddha said…

     
  • hardie karges 5:41 pm on August 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Buddha, , , past, , ,   

    Self-Styled Bodhisattva Vow to Save the Species 

    I won’t bother to look for bliss.
    I’ll content myself in the mitigation of
    suffering and in the effort to help others.
    For that is a path forward, no matter
    how many twists and turns must be navigated,
    no matter how winding the cliched and storied path.
    This is a one-stop shop, for all we know,
    so it is wise and prescient of us to gather
    rosebuds while we may, lest they be unavailable
    tomorrow, for lack of stock in house, or merely
    the wrong season for searching.
    Sci-fi scientists look in the farthest most remote
    atmospheres for life and red herrings, myths
    to live by and fantasies to smoke, magic dragons to puff.
    But that is all for an imaginary tomorrow, cowering
    in fear of a fictionalized past that has sworn
    revenge on the far-fetched future.
    Such are the menu options for consciousness,
    three dimensions three tenses three personal
    pronouns and a pocket full of tissues.
    The choices are ours, to run and hide
    or to stand and fight, with possibly a third
    option still grooming on the side.
    Regardless of the ultimate method and final
    forage for fruit, though, just remember that we
    should all be civil, and polite, and seek our highest
    common denominators, not sink to our lowest…

     
  • hardie karges 7:50 pm on June 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddha, , , William of Ockham   

    Mindfulness and Consciousness, splitting hairs with Occam’s razor… 

    Consciousness itself is neither good nor bad. It depends on what you do with it. The word itself is neutral, and so is the activity, no matter that mindfulness has taken on an air of otherworldliness. It is synonymous with consciousness, or awareness. nothing more or less. That is ‘sati’, stripped of all its excess Buddha baggage and allowed to be free, like a child without a care in the world, just like the Buddha intended. Let the adults worry about the subtle nuances of higher hermeneutics and advanced metaphysics, zeitgeists and weltanschauungs, windowless monads and digital nomads. To just be is an accomplishment in itself. To do no harm is even better. Enlightenment is invisible if you look too hard. Everything is clearer if you use a softer focus. Concentration doesn’t have to be so hard. At some point the only thing I ask of life is that it be simple…

     
    • quantumpreceptor 12:11 am on June 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      It is sad but we somehow have to take the word mindfulness back away from those weekend courses and certificate slinging puffs who sell it for 99$ a month. Know what I mean?

      QP

    • hardie karges 5:53 am on June 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      yep

  • hardie karges 10:39 pm on June 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddha, , , ,   

    Freud and the Buddha, ego and self… 

    Life is too short to waste time in pathetic displays of ego, though many of our so-called leaders offer litle guidance in that regard. And ego is one of the traditional pet peeves of Buddhism, though I doubt that the Buddha or anyone else in his time could really conceive of it the way we do in our post-Freudian world. Even if the discipline of psychology has largely been transformed from the science of the mind to the science of behavior, his tripartite division of ‘the mind’ into the three paradigms of id, ego and superego still linger in the consciousness of those of us who studied him, though such distinctions may now seem quaint, fanciful and downright misleading in our post-rational era of particles, genomes and information bits and bytes. But that classical era of psychology shines a light on the Buddhist role of psychology as analogy and metaphor, with many such ‘mental formations’ as self, soul, permanence and eternity serving as linguistic conveniences where no such observable entities may truly exist. But if it feels good, then we do it, and even the Buddha was sympathetic to such machinations and intellectual short-cuts if the results are beneficial to society and the individual in perpetual limbo and looking for a path forward where such is a trail with few markings. We spend half our lives being born and half our lives dying, gathering moments for memories all along the way, and looking for signposts to mark our progress…

     
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