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  • hardie karges 4:25 pm on December 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , religion,   

    Waiting for it: Electronic Buddha in the Electronic Forest Temple 

    img_0908I think it’s a bum rap, the false narrative about smart-phones and other tech, how we never talk to our neighbors any more—we never did! Unless they’re nice. And we still do, if there’s something to discuss. Should we regress to the day when stay-at-home wives have nothing better to do than chew the fat with the housewives’ club all day every day? Yes, I know it’s a real job, but still…

    So why did no one ever make an issue of us reading news papers all the time, or listening to radio? No, they never did that until TV, couch potatoes and all that jazz, and that defines the line that divides our civilization from the initial inquisitive developmental mode to the current acquisitive ‘been there done that’ full-of-it mode, a civilization in decline, with red lights flashing… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 4:01 pm on December 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      A damning indictment as well as indicating the seeds of renewal, taking in a sharp comparison of then and now and asking big questions for the future. As EM Forster said, Only Connect …

  • hardie karges 6:26 pm on November 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , religion,   

    Religion and Politics, part 1: R.I.P. Amerika, Drowning in Democracy and Conspiracy… 

    img_0996When I got on the plane a week or so ago in Thailand, bound for Amerika, I had a feeling of impending doom that I couldn’t explain, so I begged my wife Tang not to go, assuming that it was about personal doom, and my instinct was to protect her. Now that I know what that feeling was really all about, at least I can rest easier for those I care about. What I can’t do is rest easier about the fate of the USA…

    America is now a Third World country, uneducated and proud. Welcome to Thailand and the tyranny of the majority, who just love a populist peddling pathos . We used to vote for our hopes, now we vote for our fears. We vote for the candidate who appeals to our lowest common denominators, not our highest. We build walls, not bridges. The ideas that inspire us now close doors, not open them. But the Big Winner here was not Donald Trump… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:14 am on September 4, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Existence, Freud, , religion   

    Buddhism, Existenz, Ego and the Three-Body Problem… 

    IMG_0712The ultimate conundrum of life is that we didn’t ask to be born. The ultimate responsibility is that we not dare to risk death, either. For that we never know the reason why, but simply that it—life—is given, and things given must be accepted in the spirit with which they are given, not without question, but definitely without fail…

    Yet we do risk death, deliberately, repeatedly and with great flair, and often for no good reason. Up until less than a hundred years ago, as hard as it is to believe, people wanted to go to war, to fight, to kill, and this was the high point in many a young man’s life—or death! We look at the past with a mixture of wonder and agony at all the gratuitous violence and senseless destruction without realizing that the key to that phenomenon is right within us—and largely curable… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:31 am on July 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , mind, religion   

    Philosophy of Mind: Thought or No-thought? 

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    Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka

    I’ll have to admit that it bothers me somewhat the extent to which Eckhart Tolle goes to demonize the process of thought. Is this not who and what we are, for better or worse? “All thought is judgment.” Really? But he’s definitely got a point about our non-stop narratives (not to be confused with truth or reality) and the resultant mental noise and ego-defenses inherent to such a system.

    His is basically a metaphysics of meditation, if not in so many words, i.e. (mostly) without the Buddhism. And that, of course, is the challenge, in assuming that the mental state achieved in meditation can somehow be maintained every minute of every day of your life. Is that even possible? Maybe so. But I’d like to suggest a slight detour to that conclusion.

    I’ve been reading some Buddhist texts recently that allude to something that probably translates best as the ‘true original mind’ or ‘pristine mind’, as that state to be desired, sought after and accomplished, and hence to be the model for our short shrill suffering-filled existences. Okay, good enough so far, but: what does this ‘true original mind’ consist of and how does it function? That’s the issue to be determined. In other words: Did thought begin with language? (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:23 pm on June 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , religion   

    Religion, Linguistics and Politics: the Muslim Problem is an Aryan Problem… 

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    The ugliest church in the world: Kabul, Afghanistan

    When you think of Islam, you generally think of the Mideast, and all things Arab.  Yet more than half of the total Muslim population lies to the east of the Shatt al-Arab, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and that line that separates Iraq from Iran, Arab from Aryan, them from us.  Huh?  Aryan?  Us? What gives?

    Yes it’s probably no accident that the most problematic of Muslims are our own not-so-distant relatives.  You’ve heard of the Beverly Hillbillies, right?  But what about the Kandahar Killbillies?  Yes, it’s true: one of the peskiest terrorist problems in the world comes from our own relatives from the same original ‘hood out back on the steppes, on a different stairway to a different Heaven, even if exactly the same Semitic god… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 9:20 am on June 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      The opposite to labelling and stereotyping … pro-evolutionary, you might say, showing how language is a wordhoard that art can use to reconstruct old ways of looking.

      • hardie karges 9:25 am on June 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        According to prominent micro-biologist, language and DNA function almost exactly the same, in terms of evolution: “no reason why they should, but they do…”

  • hardie karges 11:12 am on June 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , religion   

    Religion 201: Lessons in Humility, Messages for Humanity… 

    Christian God

    Christian God

    “Man is the measure of all things.”  Protagoras (c.490-420 BCE) is the author of that statement, and—with all due respect—I’d say that’s the beginning of the end of us humans as spiritual animals, and the mark of our ascension to the status of corrupt malignant city-dwellers, masters of our own private little domains and little else.  On the one hand, it is a statement of the relativity of all perceptions—okay.  On the other hand, it is a statement of our ignorance and arrogance—ouch!

    We imagine that we are masters of the universe, creators of the cosmos, and lords of the lower two hundred—countries in the world, that is. This is nothing but human hubris, of course, and nothing could be further from the truth.  We live at the mercy of our machines, possessed by our possessions, in the thrall of our inventions and our inventiveness, in love with ourselves and our selfishness, enraptured by our images and our imaginations.  We wallow in our memories and our comforts and our conveniences.

    We Westerners admire ourselves, our successes, our ambitions, our madness, without even questioning the whys and wherefores of it.  We climb naked rock faces, while smiling all the time, oblivious to the danger, addicted to the climb, always looking for a faster computer and a more easily programmable car, pushing envelopes and shuffling papers, rejecting our traditions and annoying our neighbors.  Ego rules! Nobody wants to be the follower, everybody wants to be the Alpha male, while ending up the Alpha a$$hole. (More …)

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

    Religion 313: Simple Prayer for a Tortured Earth 

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    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 7:00 am on April 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , religion, ,   

    Buddha-Consciousness in a Pill: In Defense of ‘Low-T’… 

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    Thai Buddhist Temple

    Is there anything more pathetic and disgusting than watching an old man trying to get it up just one more time, meter running, with multiple payment options? Enter Viagra, and sex tourism, and you name it: ‘Low T’ (testosterone), the male sex hormone, or absence thereof…

    It’s all about reproduction, or dying trying, in this life in this world, in this dimension, in this plane of existence, Boeing 747’s equipped with 1st-class cubicles with reclining seats just in case the mood strikes, at the moment of inspiration at the moment of conception…

    Welcome to Thailand, where ‘feed-us’ farming is the late-life equivalent of fetus-farming, for-hire breeding, artificial selection, putting guys out to pasture with hopefully one last biscuit in the oven, just to make things official, and put the young lady on an inheritance plan…

    Low-T? Guys need to take meds for ‘low-T’? That’s like spitting in the face of God, as if Viagra, Cialis, and that pharmacopia weren’t bad enuf, pumps and pills and multifarious cheap thrills in the back seat of cars too small now for proper breeding, need an early model Cadillac…

    It’s ironic that our major form of entertainment—sex—all around the world was never intended for entertainment at all, if we can correctly intuit the mind of God, but you gotta’ give it credit, maybe pandas should take a lesson and start chewing each others genitals instead of so much bamboo while they go happily extinct…

    It’s just a chemical! Without that chemical testosterone and its stiffening influence on the lower extremities, all of our stories and music and literature and art would amount to little, all the philosophies and religion and denominations and free sects… (More …)

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

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

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    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 11:27 am on March 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: atheism, , , religion   

    Religion, Atheism, Buddhism, Christianity and fear… 

    Atheists are adamant about denying the existence of God, without making it clear exactly ofIMG_0387 what they are denying the existence. I get the feeling that denial is the important act. They seem to not be able to get past the fact that our God and gods are created by us ourselves, first person plural possessive reflexive. Does that make them any less real or efficacious? I mean: I don’t think anyone really believes that there is a Superman sitting up there on a cloud somewhere sipping espresso, do they? Okay, so never mind, the important thing is how you live your life…

    …and definitions of God have long been shifting, subject to a sliding scale of current events, and ultimately are secondary to their utility in our lives. My own suspicion—totally unprovable—is that gods have their origin aboriginally in the deaths of powerful leaders and family members. Where did they go? What just happened? So where did we come from, anyway? Just like early Texan settlers felt the need to “Remember the Alamo!” others must have long felt the need, or desire, to remember their ancestors. Ancestor worship seems to confirm this. From there it’s a short hop to postulated deities… (More …)

     
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