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  • hardie karges 6:20 am on March 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , children, , kids, philosophy   

    Tao Futures: Philosophy and Religion, Buddha and Politics… 

    img_1661Predestination is, or at least WAS, the Holy Grail of all religion, primitive religion, false religion, to have it all figured out, planned out, whether past lives or Heaven and Hell, the threat of future punishment to keep you in line at the present, but the Buddhist belief in past lives creates life not proactive, but retroactive. Ditto Christianity with heaven and Hell. That’s the social function of religion, keeping us in line…

    This derives from the time when religion was expected to explain everything, a job largely accomplished by Science now. And each religion had different explanations, of course. The curse of all traditional religion lies in trying to make amends with all others, not to mention Science and Tech. It’s a hopeless task. If karma is a thief in the night trying to steal your future and all your presents, then Hell is where you go to serve your sentence and repay your debts—supposedly… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 5:16 pm on December 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , philosophy,   

    Philosophy and Physics: Conundrums and Continuums… 

    img_1034The conundrum of existence is that consciousness inhabits flesh, some how some way, or that flesh possesses consciousness, if viewed from the opposite perspective, inside out upside down, impossible to say which came first, or whether they came simultaneously like all the best sex, though the material paradigm always takes precedence in the material world…

    If I told you that the obvious answer to the conundrum of existence is to blow your brains out—immediately—then you’d naturally assume I’m suicidal or worse, manic depressive or maniac oppressive, some schizo or combo, all of the above, and I’d say I’m the same as you, just not your installment plan, one drink one smoke at the time, until death do us part… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:34 am on October 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , philosophy   

    Religion 210: Messiah Complex, God Simple… 

    img_0996I’ve seen fad religions and therapies come and go over the last forty years, alternative this and consciousness that, each one the newest and the latest and the most mystical and the most scientific, flooding in like water over the spillway, dripping on to ice and going nowhere fast, few of them any better than what was already here, but people want the novelty factor, apparently, so that’s that. And where are they all now? Scientology is the only survivor…

    But before Scientology there was EST and Eckankar and Rolfing and Polarity, Don Juan and Tensegrity, Transcendental Meditation and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. And before that there were Tarot cards and Aleister Crowley, Annie Besant and Theosophy, Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science, the one I was brought up in, and now trending downward. And even before that there were Sufis and Kabalists, Rosicrucians and hashishins, Albigensians and Gnostics and Manicheans and Mahayana Buddhists, the only group that really ‘made it’… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 5:50 am on September 18, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , philosophy   

    Rainy Day Religion #24 and #42: Windowless Monads and Digitless Nomads… 

    IMG_0738So this is what it’s like, I guess, to die so alone so far from home with no crib for a bed no greatest hits from the Grateful Dead, just four walls and two sheets and an extra pillow might work I guess in a pinch in a delirious state of mind where a thing anything soft and curvy might satisfy the existential need to put hard things in soft places, beats the current rage of scurvy and influenza, dengue and consumption ravaging my body with its heartless tentacles eating my soul and leaving me alone dying trying…

    so this is how it all ends, does it (?), under the weather under the gun under anything but the godforsaken sun, out there somewhere the brilliant fiery orb symbol of our existence and our insistence at certainty in the face of things that could only be described by the word God if indeed it is a real word, not just some feel-good mechanism manufactured by the conspiracy know-it-alls and designed for immediate consumption… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 12:48 pm on September 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      A really alternative perspective … makes me wonder how things are with you. Hope this is an imaginative excursion into the miracle of life …

      • hardie karges 7:31 am on September 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        That’s exactly what is is/was; sorry for slow response, been off at Buddhist boot camp…

  • hardie karges 8:42 am on August 12, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , optimism, pessimism, philosophy   

    Thought for the Day: Is the Cup Half-Full or Half-Empty? 

    That is the question we’re so often asked, to determine our ultimate predisposition toward optimism or pessimism, as if there were no third option, or suitable middle ground. I’d probably say that the question is irrelevant, since we’re lucky to have a cup with which to play, and a table upon which to lay it. That is the difference between the manifested and unmanifested aspects of reality…

    You ask me to judge the cup by its content, with no mention of the quality of the content, but only the quantity. Of what would I be drinking here? Is it good for me or bad? But still I’m more interested in the cup itself, regardless. That cup might represent the known world, and its content the seven seas, the sea of possibilities. The table upon which it lies would then define the universe, the realm of mathematical probabilities…

    The space in which the table exists is another unknown dimension, accessible only by intuition and the calculi of logic and proportion. We know it must be good, though, because it’s bigger than us, and we are part of it, and thus we aspire to it, as befits anything in its position as superior to us. Moral of the story: there is more to life than silly syllogisms—and don’t ask stupid questions…

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

    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 …)

     
  • hardie karges 8:58 am on May 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: philosophy, prayer,   

    Religion 313: Simple Prayer for a Tortured Earth 

    IMG_1190

    Buddhism in Sri Lanka

    I’m not here to diss or dismiss anyone’s faith nor fantasy—quite the contrary, in fact: I hope to be part of a conversation in which all viewpoints are reconciled, and the human league is improved in its capacity for survival upon an earth grown weary from wars and wickedness, tired of mayhem and mudslinging…

    This is in fact the prime role of religion—to make you feel better in situations beyond your control, to make things feel better without taking up arms in dispute.  That religions are sometimes used as battle flags is unfortunate, of course, but hopefully only a paradigm shift away from the pages of history…

    Rome was only ultimately saved by church and religion, and I doubt that Washington will fare any better, and this is as it should be, faith in something bigger something better assuming its rightful place in the pantheon of our thoughts and highest common denominators, rather than recourse to rifles as we sink to our lowest…

    Like religion, the function of prayer is to make you feel better about whatever outcome should arise, since there is no greater truth than that we really know little or nothing about anything and control even less.  To recognize that no matter how hard you pray, the outcome is reliant mostly upon other factors is so obvious that it should be self-evident—but it’s not… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 8:47 am on May 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , philosophy, ,   

    Religion 202, Physics 101: Spirituality and Light… 

    IMG_1184

    Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka

    Many religions, especially the New Age-y kind, use light as a prime metaphor, imagining this light and imagining that light as it assumes shape and form in your mind’s eye.  My ‘white light of spirit’ is not imaginary, though, even if still a bit metaphorical. That light for me is exactly the same light that any good physicist refers to, the equivalent of electricity and magnetism and one of physics’ four prime forces, together with gravity, the strong (nuclear) force and the weak (interactive) force.

    For the uninitiated, that weak force is: the fundamental force that acts between leptons and is involved in the decay of hadrons. The weak nuclear force is responsible for nuclear beta decay (by changing the flavor of quarks) and for neutrino absorption and emission…

    Got it?  And the strong force is: the force that holds particles together in the atomic nucleus and the force that holds quarks together in elementary particles.

    Simple, right?  These last and latest forces derive from quantum mechanics, and the study of smaller-than-microscopic realities that are probably best described as mathematical, i.e. the theory works, even if it doesn’t make (common) sense.  But then, neither do gravity and electromagnetism (light).  We’re just more accustomed to them, and they are available to us on a macroscopic level.  (More …)

     
    • peaceof8 10:15 am on May 15, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      That was very thought provoking. I will for sure be noodling around in my mind DNA vs souls/ancestors/inner child. It makes me want to give reincarnation a second look, based on science and maybe a little whoop-t-do in the family tree. Interesting! I like your pragmatic approach to spirituality.

  • hardie karges 8:35 am on March 20, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , mythology, philosophy,   

    Religion, Philosophy, Mythology: Land of 1000 Dances, God of 1000 Faces… 

    IMG_1289

    Hindu Temple in Sri Lanka

    Joseph Campbell got it backwards, you know, with his emphasis on the ‘Hero with 1000 Faces’, as if the hero were really the important actor on this world stage, he with his light-saber or Bowie knife, long bow or trebuchet. They were mostly just movable actors on a movable stage, and not so smart for the most part, simply acting on hunches best articulated by others. The important aspect were the ideals they represented, the gods they served, and the food supplies they secured, for this was what would advance their respective societies.

    The problem with Campbell’s analysis is that he is largely describing a literary device, not the world of real people in which heroes are definitely hard to find and much more nuanced in the roles they play, few in fact going through the formal stages that Campbell describes. In the real world, gods are more important for that very reason: they ARE literary devices, custom-built to serve a mythological purpose. Heroes are expendable. Gods are not. The fact that Hollywood might not even know the difference speaks volumes.

    The epiphany, of course, is that heroes—and gods—can, are, and should be made to order to fit the circumstances and needs of their particular flock. Thus violent Europeans get a god of love while overly possessive Orientals get a god of non-attachment and hyper-sexed Middle Easterners get a god of strict prohibitions. Still it seems that there should be a higher common denominator than this and that there could and should be a higher level of spirituality to unite them all. A bicameral legislature of divinity, perhaps? Sounds good to me… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 9:35 am on March 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , New Age, philosophy   

    Religion 102: Toward a New Spiritual Discipline 

    We’re a degenerate society, America, that is, profane and impolite, licentious and unlicensed, democratic and debauched. We’ve lost our way as a society, a nation, and a culture, for what reasons being debatable.  What’s worse: having made our deal with the Devil we now dismiss those religions that haven’t, as though our degenerate society is somehow superior.  We’re drunken, drug-addled, sex-craving, and proud of it! This is how we measure our manliness, and increasingly: our womanliness…

    Starlets repeatedly score fashionista points for how much skin they’re willing to show, as if titillation were talent. Paragons of virtue we are no longer. Is this the best we can do as a race of people? Much of this is in the name of ‘freedom’, of course, which is understandable, given our traditions, but some of it also tries to pass for spirituality, which I object to. Early Christians used to torture themselves mercilessly to show their love of Jesus and God, you know, quite the opposite of nude selfies at the Grand Canyon… (More …)

     
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