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  • hardie karges 6:08 pm on December 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Europe,   

    Religion Imitates Art: Christian Self-Love and Buddhist Non-Self… 

    img_0953“Man is the measure of all things”…and there began our downfall, this from the Greek Sophist Protagoras and his very sophisticated argument that we human beings are the only thing that matters in this world, our silly views and opinions superior to all others, of course, by virtue of our virtue, and in spite of our spite, the pathological needs of humanity, a sort of radical solipsistic relativism…

    This argument only works with a strong belief and need for self, arguably the origin of consciousness, i.e. self-consciousness, and any further extrapolations indicative of the direction our culture has taken since then, hence our pathological need for democracy, free enterprise, a TV in every room and a car in every garage, every aspect an extension of, and ultimate belief in ourselves, each one of us totally different, supposedly, with or without the bar-code, identified by fingerprints and the DNA from random salivations and assorted misgivings… (More …)

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    • davekingsbury 3:05 pm on December 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      It doesn’t take a genius to realize that there is a higher consciousness than self-consciousness, or that there are higher needs than selfish ones…absolutely, the opposite is a horror story!

  • hardie karges 6:18 pm on June 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Brexit, Europe, 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 12:06 pm on July 7, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Europe, Greece,   

    Greece on the installment Plan… 

    So I guess Greece figures that Europe needs them more than they need Europe–interesting theory; hope that works out for them…

     
  • hardie karges 3:56 pm on June 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Europe, , , movies   

    European Films: Good, Bad, and Ugly 

    I’m happy to report that Europe is full of lousy films. I feel like this is a real breakthrough, considering all the really good films they used to make, back in the day of Truffaut, Godard, Bunuel, Bergman, Antonioni, and of course Fellini.  Where would Woody Allen be today without them?  Don’t answer that. 

    This new mediocrity might not have been obvious from the generally favorable reviews of the European films I review here. That comes from my major flaw as a critic: I don’t like to criticize. I could be wrong, after all. So I tend to review movies that I like. I’ve noticed that most film reviewers like to trash the films they review, while most music reviewers tend to be supportive. Hmmm, I wonder what that means, when most films are corporate-sponsored mega-budget monsters, while many musicians struggle to eat; but I digress… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 5:17 pm on April 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Europe, ,   

    Happy Easter, Passable Passover: Jesus as Shaman… 

    Christian church in Ethiopia

    Christian church in Ethiopia

    Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. ….

    That one line is enough to seal Jesus’s claim to fame as a prophet for me, even as much or more than the commandment of all commandments to “love your neighbor as yourself”, because it speaks to the heart of belief, and belief systems, which, of course, are at the very heart of religion, all religions. It even foresees the current degenerate state of ‘celebrity sickness’ that consumes the West in which everyone pursues his fifteen minutes of Warholian fame, and for which nothing else will suffice.

    When pilots crash planes and kill passengers just so they will be remembered, then we have a problem. When school-kids murder classmates for the same reason, then it’s obvious that the disease attacks at an early age. We chastise and castigate Muslim fundamentalists for their misplaced martyrdom, but offer no such cultural indictments upon our own celebrity-sick suicides, manipulative marketing techniques nor the ubiquitous hero-worship that populates social media to the gills. The desire for celebrity is the desire to be worshiped, the height of egotism.

    Jesus could foresee all that as easily as he could see that he himself would find scarce acceptance where people knew him as Joseph the carpenter’s son. He could see that people would become bored with Rome and seek knowledge in gurus and mahatmas and eventually even the parables of a mysterious carpenter’s son, but that his own family would never see that in him. Such is the price of enlightenment; it is selective.

    Jesus is possibly the greatest religious figure of all time, but he was a lousy religion-builder. That’s why we don’t sit around reading his great writings. He didn’t write. Buddha, Muhammad, Lao-tse and Confucius did much better at systems-building. That’s not Jesus’s failure, though, if he never intended such. What we study as Christian doctrine is as much Plato and Aristotle as Jesus. I think Jesus’s mission was to remind us of what we were about to forget as nomadic tribespeople as what we were about to learn as civilized city-folk, something he could see clearly while gazing upon Rome from Palestine.

    Jesus was a shaman, a Jewish one. Everything he did was shamanic, the communion with spirits and the performance of miracles. This was a rare commodity around the beginning of the Common Era, but it may have been much more common much earlier. Jesus could have intuited much of that, if not picked it up outright from one of many nomadic people still unassimilated at the time.

    Little or nothing is known of Jesus’s missing eighteen years, during which time it is imagined that he hang with the Essenes, Sadducees, or Pharisees, or even ventured as far afield as India to receive enlightenment; anything but the likely truth that he drove nails: all the better to appreciate the irony of having them driven into him a few short years later (and possibly developing some resentment against the conquering Romans).

    Easter is all about Jesus’s resurrection, his supposed return to life after death, every bit as miraculous as his supposed virgin birth; veracity optional. His magic act depended as much on suspension of disbelief as it did on physical transformation. That’s what shamans do. So do doctors, as in placebo effect. His healings are proof of his divinity for us otherwise-rational pharma-weary Westerners, whereas Christians of different backgrounds might find a different emphasis. His teachings pretty much boil down to one word: love. Duh.

    Now that’s revolutionary, but hardly a system of religion. Buddhist may have been a Buddhist and Muhammad was probably a Muslim, but Jesus was never a Christian. That’s the attraction, the call of the wilderness in us Europeans who scarcely even existed as a definitive group in Jesus’s times, Christianity and Europe coming into being together, in some sort of symbiotic relationship, developing a creed much different from that more aboriginal style still to be found today in Ethiopia, Armenia, and yes, even Palestine. Jesus is the wild crazy guy inside us, speaking in that still small voice. Now there’s food for thought. Happy Easter.

     
  • hardie karges 4:15 am on December 19, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Europe, ,   

    I always thought rock & roll was an English language phenomenon, 

    as if all the joy and love, all the fear and angst, all the excitement and transcendence, all the sturm und drang, were somehow hard-wired into the language, directly related to the German structure/Romanticized content of the language. Let’s face it, for whatever the reason, the Continent doesn’t produce much great rock-and-roll. Sure there’s Bjork and Nina Hagen, and the occasional stray genius like Manu Chao, but mostly we’re talking the mediocrity of Abba or Ace of Base and for you really hard-rockers, we’ve got Scorpions. For those of you who refuse to get professional help, we’ve got Swedish Death Metal. This hardly compares with the hundreds of bands blasting out basements and lofts in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, and Australia. Why the Continent never developed a pop-cultural rock & roll edge to rival the English-speaking world could be speculated upon endlessly, but that’s not the point. The point is that great R & R is possible in other languages, and not just half-breed and ‘fusion’ groups, as Carabao in Thailand and Mana’ in Mexico amply prove. The reasons behind the anomaly probably lie more in the given socio-politico-economic realities than in the aptitude of the language. Europe is a museum, just too expensive and rigidified to experiment. They almost missed the Industrial revolution before; now they’re missing the Entertainment one also. Computers and Internet are but the tip of the iceberg. When it’s all over, you won’t know what’s real and what’s entertainment.

     
  • hardie karges 6:51 am on July 7, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Europe   

    America itself has seen better days. 

    It’s lonely at the top, pretending to know what’s best for everybody else when you can’t even solve your own problems, pretending you’re on the side of history when you haven’t even read the book. It’s lonely at the top, bullying the rest of the world into submission for their own good, whether they like it or not. I want my revolution back. I want the moral upper hand. I want to carry the flag of peace, love, and understanding through the streets demanding justice. I want to solve the world’s problems and still maintain the standard of living to which I’ve become accustomed. Europeans have got the best of all possible worlds right now- high standard of living, cheap Slavic labor, and potentially the world’s most powerful single government, if and when they decide to commit. Let the US fuck up first; there’s no hurry. I guess they deserve it, after all they’ve been through. It’s hard being the world leader. Nobody appreciates it; everybody resents it. But it seems like somebody’s got to take the lead, and I can’t say who I’d rather have, except maybe Europe. I fear the US is falling behind Europe intellectually. Country people may be the nicest people in the world, but that doesn’t mean they’re the smartest. Now that Europe has finally and unequivocally thrown off the yoke of the Church and the Party, they’re the standard bearer for liberal democracy, while the US increasingly looks like a frumpy old housewife and her grumpy old redneck husband. Processing kids through school, pass or fail, does not set new standards of excellence. Society pays for it in the long run. Urbanity does not guarantee intellectual achievement any more than rural life prevents it. It’s a matter of intent and discipline. There’s no shortcut to intellect; you gotta’ do the work.

     
  • hardie karges 12:06 pm on July 4, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Europe   

    € vs $ 

    The world takes perverse pleasure poking through America’s underwear, digging through the trash, looking for anything incriminating- blood, shit, pee stains, bank statements, whatever it takes to prove what they’ve always known, i.e. ‘it’ll never work’, or maybe ‘they’re stupid’. Forget the fact that America invents the world, regardless of who ends up being the monkey on the production line screwing things up and bolting them down. Forget the fact that, by virtue of her leadership role, America has to take responsibility for nearly everything that happens in the world, whether she had any role in it or not. Forget the fact that things have probably never been better, materially at least, in the world, and that the life we live is virtually identical with what used to be called ‘the American Dream’. Now that Western Europe no longer needs the protection of America against the big bad Russians and the gray spectral cloud of world Communism, they feel free to insult us ad nauseum ad infinitum, disregarding the fact that we ARE them, genetically and culturally, though presumably the black sheep, in their opinion, I guess. Perhaps it’s a feature of human nature to disparage what is close in character but distant in geography. I hope they DO unite and assume world leadership. Let them fuck up again, as they used to do so well.

     
  • hardie karges 3:26 pm on April 19, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Europe,   

    EURO SHUFFLE 

    Europe has multiplied and divided until there’s no cards left to shuffle, so time to deal. If Europe can indeed unite, they’ll be pulling off the greatest political turnaround in history, from World Wars to world government with a stroke of the pen and a shrug of the shoulders. The fruits of capitalism can overcome a multitude of sins, but it’s first come first served. The guy who owns the stadium definitely has the home court advantage. India is like Europe without the money, so an easy target for cheap shots. Is there something in Indo-European language that lends itself to divisiveness, individuality, and caste systems? Loosely divided into two major races and more strictly divided into two major religions, India has as many languages derived from Sanskrit as Europe has from Latin, and ends up relying on English to get by. Ditto for Europe. Go fig.

     
  • hardie karges 12:52 pm on April 18, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Europe,   

    MONDAY MORNING COMMUNISTS 

    It’s a good time to be a Communist, now that it’s totally discredited and can be re-discussed without mention of the Soviet Union. The Soviets never had a clue as to what they were doing, but Marx definitely did. He might have even been half right. Societies have come a long way over the last five thousand years in terms of human rights and physical wellbeing. Even Chomsky will admit that. The problem is that there is no guarantee of further improvement. Slavery only became eradicated when it became clear that there were better ways to reduce people into draft animals; i.e. cram them into cities. Communism is great at distributing wealth; it’s not so good at creating it. Europe did better with their social democracies, a multi-level system that allowed for individual initiative while still providing a vast umbrella and safety-net for everyone in society. That kept the Communists at bay, but put Europe at a competitive disadvantage with a resurgent US and UK, and a rising Asia, where labor unions are weak or non-existent. Though paralyzing labor strikes seem to have diminished sharply in the last twenty years simultaneous with the death of Communism, all is not well. Too many people in the US are either filthy rich or filthy poor, falling through the cracks, mitigated only by the vastness of the country and the fact that there are plenty of places to fall. Europe is more egalitarian; it has to be. Europe is probably the next best hope for mankind.

     
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