Posts Tagged ‘buddha’

ODD SHOTS and IDLE PENSEES #3 reprise

August 9, 2011

Light at the End of the Tunnel

MOTHER’S ADVICE and HUMAN BEHAVIOR:

Mom’s Advice:  “Use Clorox to get rid of the DNA evidence.  Burn the barn.” – Some CSI-type crime show.

G.W. Bush’s recent efforts to rewrite his history remind me of Ramses the Great (pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe).  He is called “great” because he managed to live longer than any other pharaoh and used the time to build more monuments to himself than all his predecessors and successors combined.  He had a factory that just turned out busts of his head so that he could knock the heads off other pharaohs’ statues and put his in their place.  He advertised himself shamelessly: painting and carving the story of the Battle of Kadesh on every wall and pillar in sight.  Kadesh was not even a draw and Rameses quickly signed a peace treaty with the victorious Hittite King, and went back to Egypt.  He nearly got himself killed and almost lost his army due to his egotistical rash actions as an inexperienced military leader, but he declared victory from near defeat, and covered up the fact that he came precious close to losing the farm – not just for himself, but for the whole kingdom of Egypt.  And that’s why G.W. Bush’s recent rewrite of his history reminds me of Ramses the Great, pharaoh of the biblical exodus, if you believe.  G.W. became president of the United States by the skin of his teeth and the lies on his lips: the same way Ramses II became “Great.”  – 11/04.

“Did Benjamin Franklin give up when the Germans shot down his kite?” – T. J. Detweiler pep talk, Recess.

(more…)

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MY STORY BEGINS reprise

July 24, 2011

MY STORY BEGINS

My story begins where the Old Testament ends.  It does not pick up with the New Testament – that painful detour for so many who entered its twisting maze to become helplessly lost. We tend to forget that the reader, not the character in the story, is the one being educated about the nature of the divine.  The best that can be said of the Old Testament is that it kept god god, and did not try to make a man out of him; and, more importantly, all men became gods when Job did his ju-jitsu. Practically, the Story of Job is liberating revolutionary dynamite.

God shows growth and development throughout the compendium called the Holy Bible.  He starts off as an insane and dysfunctional parent, up to and including infanticide en mass, but “mellows” by the time of Jesus (“You bleed for them, kid, and we’ll call it good this time”). However, in the Story of Job – essentially the end of the original First Five books – God lets the Devil torment Job, mainly for reasons of vanity, and exposes His own “feet of clay.”

“I bet ya ten bucks I can shake this guy,” Satan says.

“You’re on!” God replies.

Job, however, refuses to forsake his faith in the face of overwhelming personal bodily and mental torture, including the loss of his entire family.

Since God created man in his own image, allowing Satan to do violence to Job, without giving Job relief or reason, makes God complicit in evil.

Job has shown God his true self (which is man’s function): man is in God’s image and God is both good and evil. As man sees himself in God, God sees himself in man.

God finally feels guilty enough to declare Job right and almost admits Himself wrong (Big Guy has real responsibility issues). He admits and fixes His mischief (close enough). This is the end of God’s growth into a mature deity.

It is the end of Man’s growth into maturity too; from here on out, for good or evil, he is able to be a free self-directing agent.

Worried learned men wanted to leave Job out of the Bible; their “Jobs” were on the line.
“Down with equality!” They cried. “The Invisible Cloud Being (ICB) rules; we’ll tell you what he wants you to do! You can’t be fully responsible for yourselves!”

Viewed in Job, God and man cancel each other out and merge as one. One can see why the learned men wanted Job out of town as fast as humanly possible. It was a real career-ender for them. But the story got in anyway. Probably because Job “took a licking and kept on ticking,” like a good old American-built Timex watch.

Ever since then, this whole business has been called a “Mystery of the Bible.” And, small wonder.

BUTTERFLY BUD

BUTTERFLY BUD

A Bit More About Adult Responsibility:

When Buddhists recognize the human being, or other in one another, they similarly acknowledge that everyone is under the authority of their own individual adult responsibility for their own thoughts and actions.

Christians, however, seem content as perpetual children, forever dutiful to a paternal authority, oddly manifested in an Invisible Cloud Being (ICB) – as fantastic as Santa Claus, or any other unproven fantasy figure – who, in this mythology, had adulterous sexual relations with an earthly teenaged virgin.  Christian desire for god is not nonsense, but their invention is a surrogate, crutch and dangerous doppelganger for the real deal.  It is the cop-out of every irresponsible dependent Christian soul.  It is also a handy tool that makes it easier for the unscrupulous to take advantage of the gullible and foolish, and even move them to fiendish deeds in the name of the deity.

The world will not improve while great numbers believe in an Invisible Cloud Being; it’s too easy to pass the buck, alibi, excuse, or harm others in the Big Poobah’s name.  Yet, if the act is one’s own, by will or grace, who is finally to fully praise or blame?  Does this argue that man is divine and divorced from the rest of creation?  Such a disconnect is a purely self-destructive insanity.  Like it or not, we are biologically nailed to this earth. Christians, and other religionists, seeking to escape life for imagined perfection in an impossible airborne Disneyland are a survival liability for the rest of us.

“Let us cross ovah the rivah and rest undah the shade of the great oak tree.”

One must be specific and particular, scientific and rational when addressing this volatile subject, because all religions are fundamentally intolerant and flawed.  My own prejudice is obvious in the few paragraphs above. However, Buddhism (for those who do not know) is not a religion, but a methodology for successful living; Buddha recommended shopping around if his tools didn’t fit the job, and asked his followers not to make him a god, which many of them obviously ignored.  Yet, somehow Buddhism admits the mystery without trying to explain it, remains open to new information and the next scientific revelation, and answers questions with more questions.  Other religious systems seem primarily fixed and inflexible, imposing absurd limits on the infinite, and providing definite answers to inherently ambiguous questions about inherently unknowable things.

It is, therefore, advisable IMO to be knowledgeable about all religions, and to select tools from each as they may best fulfill a specific need.  Critics say that this relativistic approach to philosophy and religion defies their true wisdom, which is intrinsic and whole, to be specifically and fully obeyed. One has to spend a lifetime proving only one point, which eliminates making a discovery that may be better, or being able to avoid a false conclusion before having wasted one’s entire life upon it.

Perfectly good lives are wasted with trivia, nonsense, and utterly worthless self-hobbling concepts, such as, sin, guilt, heaven, and hell.

  • The ancient Sumerians had no concept of guilt or sin, yet managed to build the world’s first true high civilization.
  • Ancient Greeks: To sin = “to miss the mark” – can be high or low.  Sin is not living up to, or being who you are.

People allow themselves to be kept in check with threats of eternal fire and damnation after death!  As soon believe on Santa’s list of good and bad boys and girls, and lumps of coal in your Christmas stocking; or rabbits hiding eggs at Easter time – he is risen, have an egg.  What kind of garbled mash is that?

Those sure of eternal life, are usually obsessed with and afraid of death.  One had better have a pretty good alternative at hand to mollify the despairing crowd, bemoaning their fallen faith, if they ever decide their emperor has no clothes, and god vanishes in a single weak puff of doubt.  Without faith, they might invent something truly harmful and ridiculous as a substitute.

Self-deception is apparently a core human behavior – I would now say gene; its use permits all sorts of mindless or mad adventures.  Self-deception enables otherwise perfectly decent people to burn disbelievers at the stake, or to bring guns to a town hall meeting; or to sit on the end of a big bullet and get fired at the Moon!  Self-deception allows us to feel perfectly safe when we are in fact balanced on a knife’s edge above a raging inferno – and no, not hell, something real, like Mona Loa.

Did you know, Amen, Amun, or Amon was the chief god of Egypt in the New Kingdom?  The Hebrews (Habiru) took his name into the desert with them in the Exodus.  They literally call on the Great God of the Pharaohs at the end of all their prayers when they intone “Amen.”  And so do Christians and Moslems.  The three great religions unwittingly – for the most part – believe in the same god and pronounce His name every day: Yahweh-Jehovah, Jesus and Allah are tribal manifestations of the one great god: AMUN.

 Pharaoh and the Lion Goddess

Pharaoh and the Lion Goddess

ALL OF A KEY

Alice said:

“There was a lad in there with a great polished shield of tin or brass, reflecting the yellow-white Egyptian sun back into the tomb recesses so that the paintings were clearly visible in all their profound beauty.  There’s a sadness about it, for their discovery and exhibition are destroying them.  They were intended as funerary decoration to be shut from sun and air and water for the rest of eternity, not to be displayed like some Messrs. Barnum & Bailey amusement.  The academics from all over the world are exposing their fragility to the rough outside world and the great legacy of ancient Egypt is crumbling to sand.  I think that those academics are searching as much for themselves as for the remnants of an ancient past.  Who and how and what and why mean nothing really except for context.  These modern grave robbers are trying to discover how they – the searchers – are somehow more profound, more intelligent, more advanced than the ancient people they are studying.  How arrogant it sounds when some fifty-year-old archaeologist marvels over the similarities of modern and ancient man!  It is a burlesque of the young judging the old – the foolish criticizing the wise.  In the end, it isn’t our technology, which defines our humanity; it is our relation to life and death.  In that, the ancient Egyptians were far ahead of the majority of we modern fools.”

ANCIENT WISDOM

Later, the Renaissance considered a life unencumbered by revealed religion.

ohmmmm

I MET JESUS

I met Jesus walking down the road with Buddha the other day.  They were discussing the oddity that, by eschewing things of the world, and accepting and giving unto Caesar that which is his, one re-arrives at a destination that is also a point of departure called acceptance or rejection.  It’s an endless loop, coming from nowhere and going nowhere; and, the leader is the guy who can be seen going by on the merry-go-round at any particular moment.  Nothing is fixed, and nothing ever changes; or, to put it another way, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

   Philosophy will do that to one, and that’s why I was so delighted, because any argument that begins and ends in chaos, with a lot of confusion, bafflement, and befuddlement in between is bound to be as fraught with opportunity as with risk, and holds as much potential good, as it does evil.  Having said so, they looked at me and said loudly and in unison,

“Go away!”

AGE OF REASON

“That which is now called natural philosophy, embracing the whole circle of science, of which astronomy occupies the chief place, is the study of the works of God, and of the power and wisdom of God in his works, and is the true theology.

“As to the theology that is now studied in its place, it is the study of human opinions and of human fancies concerning God.  It is not the study of God himself in the works that he has made, but in the writings that man has made; and it is not among the least of the mischiefs that man has made; and it is not among the least of mischiefs that the Christian system has done to the world, that it has abandoned the original and beautiful system of theology, like a beautiful innocent, to distress and reproach, to make room for the hag of superstition.”  – Tom Paine, Age of Reason, p. 37

Stephen Hawkings

ODD SHOTS and IDLE PENSEES #5

May 18, 2011
Gene Kelley danced past Joe's in "Singing in the Rain."
Gene Kelley danced past Joe’s in “Singing in the Rain.”

OLD BLACK MAGIC:

“Separateness is a useful illusion.”  – The Big Kahuna.

Separateness is a youthful illusion.  Jl.

“God, the original Tony Soprano.” – church sign, Simpsons.

The ancient Sumerians had no concept of guilt or sin.  Later, the Renaissance considered a life unencumbered by revealed religionReligionists study “The Book” in preference to studying themselves; they put enormous energy into it, which if applied to the exploration of self, might produce a more fulfilling result.

Monotheism is the flip side of intolerance.” – TV Travel Channel on sacred sites, explaining Amarna, Egypt.

Note: In the typical Christian, Moslem, Jewish life, Life is a pain.  One must suffer and hopefully endure until the bitter pill of death is administered.  Within that pain is the typically human drive to pursue happiness.  Happiness is fleeting, of course, but its pursuit keeps us busy, which alleviates the pain, and the fear we have of death.  Pursuing happiness is an attempt to overcome and/or keep the pain at bay as long as humanly possible; but it is just a pastime after all, not a destination.

“[When I die] all these moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain.” – Rutger Hauer, Bladerunner.

INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIORS:

“What is it like to feel a stranger?” – – PBS question.  Senator Craig?

I wrote: “Ryan’s wagon was parked by the curb with its tailgate down.”  Spell check gave me: “The curb with its tailgate down parked Ryan’s wagon.”  Typed: “Ryan’s tailgate was parked with its wagon down at the curb.”  Speel check not trubled.  Glow figger.

Monte Markham as the voice of Plutarch.” – credit, Cleopatra, A&E Classroom. Get central casting!  He doesn’t even sound like Plutarch.

She boasted she could shoot and manage a horse as well as a man.  (Duck, guys!).

“There’s never been ANYTHING like it.” – Shaq, for Icy Hot.

We have different views of art.  He draws a stick.  I struggle for “stickness.”  8/97

Creative people routinely demonstrate how to get from here to there.  10/97

Q: “Just when are you coming down to earth, young man?”  A: “When it’s all over, I hope.” – Fred Astaire, The Sky’s the Limit.

“No doesn’t mean no.  It means you gotta cut a corner, work harder, and beat the system.”  – Baloo, Disney’s Tailspin, 1/94.  Walt Disney, always a powerful force for strong evangelistic coporatist morality.

“We want to talk about reducing nuclear weapons, particularly the kind that kill people.” – Casper Weinberger, Nixon’s Secretary of Defense, CBS News.

Mr. Begin has offered to let each member of the PLO to leave Lebanon carrying an arm.”  Dianne Sawyer, 6/30/82.  But leave the other arm and both legs behind.

“On a farm with no watch dog, the fox rules the roost.” – Ancient Sumerian proverb.

“NEVAH GO THIRSTY AGAIN!”

“Don’t drink alone, Scarlet.  People always find out, and it ruins the reputation.” – Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), Gone With the Wind.

DAMN LIBERAL CONSERVATIVES:

Against “tax and spend bleeding heart liberal socialist democrats,” place “rob, rape, and ruin selfish warmongering radical conservative republicans.”

Said of the Congress:  “They have to find a way to institutionalize the existing situation, so they don’t have to fix it.”

“It’s the lie you tell yourself that matters.” – Inspector Morse, ’95.

“No sensible man would allow himself to be sent to war to defend a politician.” – Minister, The Dreyfus Affair.

Q:  Why do we serve the systemA:  Because it’s comforting in its routines and, like any abused child, we’d rather keep the horror we’ve got than deal with fear of the unknown and the uncertainty of change.

Our national debate has become timid.  The Neville Brothers sing, “You can tell the truth, as long as you don’t tell too much.” So what can one do about it?  Here’s a starter list:

  • Stick up for your rights – your own integrity matters more than loyalty to a negative cause.
  • Stimulate sympathy – there are social and political reasons for what we do. The social reasons create the greatest measure of self-identification and response.
  • Speak only from factlisten, especially when you don’t agree.
  • Use a variety of sources of information; try to understand the other view.
  • Act. Do something positive everyday.

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves.”

LAST COMMENT:

Pain is an itch we can’t scratch.  All life is pain in the Buddhistic sense.  Its temporal fleeting nature is a constant bitter sweetness, forever a tear on the edge of beauty, a sigh on the cusp of grief.  We only get it for a moment, and sitting in silence, alone, we can feel its presence somewhere, always within, always informing, if we will it so.

Peace and Love,  brothers and sisters.  Keep on keepin’ on, and don’t forget to salute the Man in the Moon!

JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER:

Published on Tuesday, July 28, 2009 by The Guardian/UK

Human Activity Is Driving Earth’s ‘Sixth Great Extinction Event’.  Population growth, pollution, and invasive species are having a disastrous effect on species in the southern hemisphere, a major review by conservationists warns, by Ian Sample.  Earth is experiencing its “sixth great extinction event” with disease and human activity taking a devastating toll on vulnerable species, according to a major review by conservationists.

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/07/28-11

Stonewall

DRUNK CALLS and COVER-UPS

May 19, 2010

DON’T DRUNK-DIAL the Tea Party or FreedomWorks, D.C. Douglas Video 

http://www.commondreams.org/

GOP Running Out Clock on Wall Street Reform
http://act.commondreams.org/go/683?akid=62.63000.-_katv&t=8

Criminals and Cover-ups

Daydreams.

Holder Harbors Siegelman Frame-up Culprit.

[Background: Don Eugene Siegelman (born February 24, 1946) is an American Democratic Party politician who held numerous offices in Alabama. He was the 51st Governor of Alabama for one term from 1999 to 2003. Siegelman is the only person in the history of Alabama to be elected to serve in all four of the top statewide elected offices: Secretary of State, Attorney General, 26th Lieutenant Governor and Governor. He served in Alabama politics for 26 years.

After the expiration of his governorship, two of Alabama’s United States Attorneys began a criminal investigation against him on accusations of corruption while in office. Indictments came in 2004 and again in 2005, and in 2006 he was convicted on corruption charges. There has been an ongoing controversy due to counteraccusations that his prosecution was intentionally wrongful, engineered by presidential advisor Karl Rove and officials of the U.S. Department of Justice to gain political advantage. National news media have published investigations into this claim and at least 50 U.S. legislators and officials have publicly expressed their skepticism over Siegelman’s prosecution. The treatment of Siegelman pending his sentencing was so harsh that it prompted an intervention by 44 former Attorneys General of various states.]

Scott Horton, Legal Affairs writer for Harper’s Magazine, exposes further misconduct in the Siegelman case quoting one member of the prosecution as saying that he would not come forward to expose government misconduct because:

–“you don’t understand, these people would kill me if they have to to keep the lid on this.” And Main Justice? “They’d be happy to learn that I was dead.”

Horton says the person responsible for subverting justice is David Margolas, Deputy Attorney General and the right hand man to Eric Holder. (Who is David Margolas? See Scott Horton’s speech below, 4th page, 3rd full paragraph.)

Please read this article and Horton’s speech linked in The Legal Schnauzer. It is chilling!

INSIDER ON SIEGELMAN PROSECUTION TEAM FEARS FOR HIS LIFE

A member of the team that prosecuted former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman says he witnessed rampant misconduct in the case but is afraid to come forward out of fear for his life.

Scott Horton, legal-affairs contributor for Harper’s Magazine, made the revelation in a speech last week to the Rotary Club of New York and the American Constitution Society

Horton says that one Justice Department whistleblower–Tamarah Grimes, of Montgomery–had come forward about misconduct in the Siegelman prosecution and wound up losing her job. A second, unnamed whistleblower fears a similar fate, or worse, if he comes forward.

Horton says he has interviewed both prosecution insiders, and they corroborate statements by key witness Nick Bailey that he was heavily coached and threatened with being outed as a homosexual. Says Horton.

As I note, two members of the prosecution team were appalled by the misconduct that drove the case against Siegelman. One of them filed internal complaints inside the Justice Department. The result? Her name is Tamara Grimes. She was persecuted, hounded, and finally dismissed from her position–in direct violation of the federal whistleblower protection statute.

And what about the second member of the team?

(He) tells me he will not step forward because he knows he would face the same fate. He even indicated the fear of a mob type–“you don’t understand, these people would kill me if they have to to keep the lid on this.” And Main Justice? “They’d be happy to learn that I was dead.”

Horton goes on to summarize the Justice Department’s disgraceful handling of the Siegelman case:

So today, even though the Siegelman case has been torn to shreds in the public and 104 state attorneys general, led by Grant Woods, the national co-chair of the McCain for President campaign, have formally complained about the Justice Department’s gross and abusive handling the case, the Justice Department admits no wrong. It’s even issued a series of brazenly false public statements in an attempt to cover its tracks.

The Siegelman prosecution hardly is an isolated instance of abuse. Horton discusses other justice-related matters, and the full speech can be viewed here. May 17, 2010 by Huffington Post

NOT SO SAD SACHS

Just Say, "Yes!"

Goldman Sachs Publicly Backs Financial ReformWhile Dispatching Army of Lobbyists.  Amid Attempts to Rein in Wall Street, Persuaders Safeguard Bank’s Interests. by Adele Hampton.

For all of Goldman Sachs’ professed support for an overhaul of financial regulations, the megabank hasn’t exactly withdrawn its army of lobbyists. Far from wearing out its welcome, the firm is busier than ever safeguarding its interests while a Wall Street crackdown takes shape in Washington.

Goldman has an unrivaled and influential network of lobbyists, including about 50 people with close ties to Congress and past White Houses, a Huffington Post Investigative Fund analysis of lobbying and campaign records shows. The lobbyists are challenging reforms aimed at Goldman’s profit centers, including the trading of complex contracts known as derivatives. The Senate this week will continue debating proposed regulations of derivatives, which are blamed for fueling the financial crisis.

Perceptions of Goldman’s role in the crisis, along with a civil fraud case brought against the bank last month by the Securities and Exchange Commission, have already spurred predictions of a less dominant future. But all is not lost for Goldman, which still stands out as perhaps the most influential of the nation’s top six banks — a remarkable feat given a crowded field of well-connected institutions.

Goldman’s more immediate concern, meanwhile, is the SEC’s accusations of fraud and potential criminal charges that could ensue from that case.

In response to the commission’s accusations, Goldman is beefing up its legal team. The megabank is projected to hire Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, a prominent corporate law firm, according to a Financial Times report. An SEC spokesman said he could not comment if Goldman, after hearing about the civil fraud investigation, dispatched lobbyists to dissuade the commission from pursuing the case.

Staff Reporter Ben Protess contributed to this report READ MORE: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/05/17-4

We really need the immediate suppression and re-education of all Big Guys, and re-distribution of property and money.  Old banks to be required to hand over all of their assets and accounts to new community banks and credit unions; old bankers to fold their tents and look for honest and modest human employment.  The entire Health Insurance Industry should be closed down and put out to pasture – some nice place such as Angola.

Have you ever seen such bluster and fuss?

MY STORY BEGINS

April 27, 2010

MY STORY BEGINS

My story begins where the Old Testament ends.  It does not pick up with the New Testament – that painful detour for so many who entered its twisting maze to become helplessly lost. We tend to forget that the reader, not the character in the story, is the one being educated about the nature of the divine.  The best that can be said of the rest of the Old Testament is that it kept god god, and did not try to make a man out of him; however, all men became gods when Job did his ju-jitsu. Practically, the Story of Job is liberating revolutionary dynamite.

God shows growth and development throughout the compendium called the Holy Bible.  He starts off as an insane and dysfunctional parent, up to and including infanticide en mass, but “mellows” by the time of Jesus (“You bleed for them, kid, and we’ll call it good this time”). However, in the Story of Job – essentially the end of the original First Five books – God lets the Devil torment Job, mainly for reasons of vanity, and exposes His own “feet of clay.”

“I bet ya ten bucks I can shake this guy,” Satan says.

“You’re on!” God replies.

Job, however, refuses to forsake his faith in the face of overwhelming personal bodily and mental torture, including the loss of his entire family.

Since God created man in his own image, allowing Satan to do violence to Job, without giving Job relief or reason, makes God complicit in evil.

Job has shown God his true self (which is man’s function): man is in God’s image and God is both good and evil. As man sees himself in God, God sees himself in man.

God finally feels guilty enough to declare Job right and almost admits Himself wrong (Big Guy has real responsibility issues). He admits and fixes His mischief (close enough). This is the end of God’s growth into a mature deity.

It is the end of Man’s growth into maturity too; from here on out, for good or evil, he is able to be a free self-directing agent.

Worried learned men wanted to leave Job out of the Bible; their “Jobs” were on the line.
“Down with equality!” They cried. “The Invisible Cloud Being (ICB) rules; we’ll tell you what he wants you to do! You can’t be fully responsible for yourselves!”

Viewed in Job, God and man cancel each other out and merge as one. One can see why the learned men wanted Job out of town as fast as humanly possible. It was a real career-ender for them. But the story got in anyway. Probably because Job “took a licking and kept on ticking,” like a good old American-built Timex watch.

Ever since then, this whole business has been called a “Mystery of the Bible.” And, small wonder.

BUTTERFLY BUD

BUTTERFLY BUD

A Bit More About Adult Responsibility:

When Buddhists recognize the human being, or other in one another, they similarly acknowledge that everyone is under the authority of their own individual adult responsibility for their own thoughts and actions.

Christians, however, seem content as perpetual children, forever dutiful to a paternal authority, oddly manifested in an Invisible Cloud Being (ICB) – as fantastic as Santa Claus, or any other unproven fantasy figure – who, in this mythology, had adulterous sexual relations with an earthly teenaged virgin.  Christian desire for god is not nonsense, but their invention is a surrogate, crutch and dangerous doppelganger for the real deal.  It is the cop-out of every irresponsible dependent Christian soul.  It is also a handy tool that makes it easier for the unscrupulous to take advantage of the gullible and foolish, and even move them to fiendish deeds in the name of the deity.

The world will not improve while great numbers believe in an Invisible Cloud Being; it’s too easy to pass the buck, alibi, excuse, or harm others in the Big Poobah’s name.  Yet, if the act is one’s own, by will or grace, who is finally to fully praise or blame?  Does this argue that man is divine and divorced from the rest of creation?  Such a disconnect is a purely self-destructive insanity.  Like it or not, we are biologically nailed to this earth. Christians, and other religionists, seeking to escape life for imagined perfection in an impossible airborne Disneyland are a survival liability for the rest of us.

“Let us cross ovah the rivah and rest undah the shade of the great oak tree.”

One must be specific and particular, scientific and rational when addressing this volatile subject, because all religions are fundamentally intolerant and flawed.  My own prejudice is obvious in the few paragraphs above. However, Buddhism (for those who do not know) is not a religion, but a methodology for successful living; Buddha recommended shopping around if his tools didn’t fit the job, and asked his followers not to make him a god, which many of them obviously ignored.  Yet, somehow Buddhism admits the mystery without trying to explain it, remains open to new information and the next scientific revelation, and answers questions with more questions.  Other religious systems seem primarily fixed and inflexible, imposing absurd limits on the infinite, and providing definite answers to inherently ambiguous questions about inherently unknowable things.

It is, therefore, advisable IMO to be knowledgeable about all religions, and to select tools from each as they may best fulfill a specific need.  Critics say that this relativistic approach to philosophy and religion defies their true wisdom, which is intrinsic and whole, to be specifically and fully obeyed. One has to spend a lifetime proving only one point, which eliminates making a discovery that may be better, or being able to avoid a false conclusion before having wasted one’s entire life upon it.

Perfectly good lives are wasted with trivia, nonsense, and utterly worthless self-hobbling concepts, such as, sin, guilt, heaven, and hell.

  • The ancient Sumerians had no concept of guilt or sin, yet managed to build the world’s first true high civilization.
  • Ancient Greeks: To sin = “to miss the mark” – can be high or low.  Sin is not living up to, or being who you are.

People allow themselves to be kept in check with threats of eternal fire and damnation after death!  As soon believe on Santa’s list of good and bad boys and girls, and lumps of coal in your Christmas stocking; or rabbits hiding eggs at Easter time – he is risen, have an egg.  What kind of garbled mash is that?

Those sure of eternal life, are usually obsessed with and afraid of death.  One had better have a pretty good alternative at hand to mollify the despairing crowd, bemoaning their fallen faith, if they ever decide their emperor has no clothes, and god vanishes in a single weak puff of doubt.  Without faith, they might invent something truly harmful and ridiculous as a substitute.

Self-deception is apparently a core human behavior – I would now say gene; its use permits all sorts of mindless or mad adventures.  Self-deception enables otherwise perfectly decent people to burn disbelievers at the stake, or to bring guns to a town hall meeting; or to sit on the end of a big bullet and get fired at the Moon!  Self-deception allows us to feel perfectly safe when we are in fact balanced on a knife’s edge above a raging inferno – and no, not hell, something real, like Mona Loa.

Did you know, Amen, Amun, or Amon was the chief god of Egypt in the New Kingdom?  The Hebrews (Habiru) took his name into the desert with them in the Exodus.  They literally call on the Great God of the Pharaohs at the end of all their prayers when they intone “Amen.”  And so do Christians and Moslems.  The three great religions unwittingly – for the most part – believe in the same god and pronounce His name every day: Yahweh-Jehovah, Jesus and Allah are tribal manifestations of the one great god: AMUN.

 Pharaoh and the Lion Goddess

Pharaoh and the Lion Goddess

ALL OF A KEY

Alice said:

“There was a lad in there with a great polished shield of tin or brass, reflecting the yellow-white Egyptian sun back into the tomb recesses so that the paintings were clearly visible in all their profound beauty.  There’s a sadness about it, for their discovery and exhibition are destroying them.  They were intended as funerary decoration to be shut from sun and air and water for the rest of eternity, not to be displayed like some Messrs. Barnum & Bailey amusement.  The academics from all over the world are exposing their fragility to the rough outside world and the great legacy of ancient Egypt is crumbling to sand.  I think that those academics are searching as much for themselves as for the remnants of an ancient past.  Who and how and what and why mean nothing really except for context.  These modern grave robbers are trying to discover how they – the searchers – are somehow more profound, more intelligent, more advanced than the ancient people they are studying.  How arrogant it sounds when some fifty-year-old archaeologist marvels over the similarities of modern and ancient man!  It is a burlesque of the young judging the old – the foolish criticizing the wise.  In the end, it isn’t our technology, which defines our humanity; it is our relation to life and death.  In that, the ancient Egyptians were far ahead of the majority of we modern fools.”

ANCIENT WISDOM

Later, the Renaissance considered a life unencumbered by revealed religion.

ohmmmm

I MET JESUS

I met Jesus walking down the road with Buddha the other day.  They were discussing the oddity that, by eschewing things of the world, and accepting and giving unto Caesar that which is his, one re-arrives at a destination that is also a point of departure called acceptance or rejection.  It’s an endless loop, coming from nowhere and going nowhere; and, the leader is the guy who can be seen going by on the merry-go-round at any particular moment.  Nothing is fixed, and nothing ever changes; or, to put it another way, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

   Philosophy will do that to one, and that’s why I was so delighted, because any argument that begins and ends in chaos, with a lot of confusion, bafflement, and befuddlement in between is bound to be as fraught with opportunity as with risk, and holds as much potential good, as it does evil.  Having said so, they looked at me and said loudly and in unison,

“Go away!”

AGE OF REASON

“That which is now called natural philosophy, embracing the whole circle of science, of which astronomy occupies the chief place, is the study of the works of God, and of the power and wisdom of God in his works, and is the true theology.

“As to the theology that is now studied in its place, it is the study of human opinions and of human fancies concerning God.  It is not the study of God himself in the works that he has made, but in the writings that man has made; and it is not among the least of the mischiefs that man has made; and it is not among the least of mischiefs that the Christian system has done to the world, that it has abandoned the original and beautiful system of theology, like a beautiful innocent, to distress and reproach, to make room for the hag of superstition.”  – Tom Paine, Age of Reason, p. 37

Stephen Hawkings

IT AIN’T OVER

December 16, 2009

Citizen Paine

VIDEO: Howard Dean Tells Dems to Kill Senate Health-Care Bill by AlterNet Staff, AlterNet.

With no public option and no Medicare buy-in, the Senate bill is not worth voting for, the former DNC chairman tells “Countdown.” Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean would rather see no health-care bill than a bad one. So he tells MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell.

Are Americans a Broken People? Why We’ve Stopped Fighting Back Against the Forces of Oppression By Bruce E. Levine, AlterNet.

A psychologist asks: Have consumerism, suburbanization and a malevolent corporate-government partnership so beaten us down that we no longer have the will to save ourselves?

Can people become so broken that truths of how they are being screwed do not “set them free” but instead further demoralize them? Has such demoralization happened in the United States? Do some totalitarians actually want us to hear how we have been screwed because they know that humiliating passivity in the face of obvious oppression will demoralize us even further? What forces have created a demoralized, passive, discouraged U.S. population? Can anything be done to turn this around?

Yes. It is called the “abuse syndrome.” Abusive pimps, spouses, bosses, corporations, and governments stay in control [by shoving] lies, emotional and physical abuses, and injustices in their victims’ faces, and when victims are afraid to exit from these relationships, they get weaker.

Does knowing the truth of their abuse set people free [from] abuse syndromes?

No. The truth of their passive submission to humiliating oppression is more than embarrassing; it can feel shameful — and there is nothing more painful. It is not likely that the truth of humiliating oppression [will] energize constructive actions.

Has such demoralization happened in the U.S.?

In the United States, 47 million people are without health insurance, many millions more are underinsured or a job layoff away from losing coverage. Despite the sellout by their elected officials to the insurance industry, there is no outpouring of millions of U.S. citizens protesting this betrayal.  And, the majority of Americans oppose U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the taxpayer bailout of the financial industry, yet only a handful has protested.

[In] the 2000 U.S. presidential election the Florida Supreme Court’s order for a recount of the disputed Florida vote was overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court in a politicized 5-4 decision.  Justice John Paul Stevens remarked: “…the identity of the [loser] of this year’s presidential election…is perfectly clear. It is the nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.” Even this provoked few demonstrators.

When people become broken, they cannot act on truths of injustice. Furthermore, …truths about how they have been victimized can lead to shame about [allowing] it, …[and make them] even more psychologically broken.

U.S. citizens do not actively protest obvious injustices [because]…they feel helpless to effect change. The more we don’t act, the weaker we get [and]… move to shut-down mode and escape strategies such as depression, substance abuse, …which further keep us from acting. This is the vicious cycle of all abuse syndromes.

Do some totalitarians actually want us to hear how we have been screwed because they know that humiliating passivity in the face of obvious oppression will demoralize us even further?

Maybe.

Shortly before the 2000 U.S. presidential election, George W. Bush [joked] to a wealthy group, “What a crowd tonight: the haves and the haves-more. Some people call you the elite; I call you my base.” Yet, …citizens who had come to despise Bush and his arrogance remained passive in the face of the 2000 non-democratic presidential elections.  Perhaps the “political genius” of the Bush-Cheney regime was in their full realization that Americans were so broken that the regime could get away with damn near anything… [Even slamming] a boot on their faces.

What forces have created a demoralized, passive, discouraged U.S. population?

The U.S. government-corporate partnership has used its share of guns and terror to break Native Americans, labor union organizers, and other dissidents and activists. But today, most U.S. citizens are broken by financial fears.

The U.S. population is increasingly broken by the social isolation created by corporate-governmental policies. A 2006 American Sociological Review study (“Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks over Two Decades”) reported that, in 2004, 25 percent of Americans did not have a single confidant. Social connectedness is disappearing in virtually every aspect of U.S. life. There has been a significant decrease in face-to-face contact with neighbors and friends due to suburbanization, commuting, electronic entertainment, time and money pressures and other variables created by governmental-corporate policies. Union and other ways that people support each other to resist oppression also decreased.

We are also broken by a corporate-government partnership that has [taken] control [of] basic necessities of life, including our food supply. We are broken by socializing institutions that alienate us from our basic humanity. A few examples:

Schools and Universities: Do most schools teach young people to be action-oriented — or to be passive? Do most schools teach young people that they can affect their surroundings — or not to bother? Do schools provide examples of democratic institutions — or examples of authoritarian ones?  School is nothing less than a miniature society: what young people experience in schools is the chief means of creating our future society. Kids learn to comply with authorities for which they often have no respect, and to regurgitate material they often find meaningless. These are great ways of breaking someone.

Mental Health Institutions: Aldous Huxley predicted today’s pharmaceutical society “[I]t seems to me perfectly in the cards,” he said, “that there will be within the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude.”  Today, increasing numbers of people in the U.S. who do not comply with authority are being diagnosed with mental illnesses and medicated with psychiatric drugs that make them less pained about their boredom, resentments, and other negative emotions, thus rendering them more compliant and manageable.

Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is an increasingly popular diagnosis for children and teenagers [who] “often actively defy or refuse to comply with adult requests or rules,” and “often argue with adults.” A more common reaction to oppressive authorities is passive defiance – e.g., attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Virtually all children diagnosed with ADHD will pay attention to activities that they actually enjoy or have chosen. The “disease” goes away when ADHD-labeled kids are having a good time and in control.

When human beings feel too terrified and broken, they may stage a “passive-aggressive revolution” by getting depressed, staying drunk, and not doing anything — one reason why the Soviet empire crumbled. But, diseasing or medicalizing rebellion and drug “treatments” even weaken this power.

Television: In Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television (1978), Jerry Mander compiled a list of the “Eight Ideal Conditions for the Flowering of Autocracy,” claiming that television helps create all eight conditions for breaking a population.

(1)   Occupies people so that they don’t know themselves — and what a human being is;

(2)   Separates people from one another;

(3)   Creates sensory deprivation;

(4)   Occupies the mind and fills the brain with prearranged experience and thought;

(5)   Encourages drug use to dampen dissatisfaction (while TV itself produces a drug-like effect, this was compounded in 1997 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration relaxing the rules of prescription-drug advertising);

(6)   Centralizes knowledge and information;

(7)   Eliminates or “museumize” other cultures to eliminate comparisons; and

(8)   Redefines happiness and the meaning of life.

Commercialism of Damn Near Everything: Gross commercialization of spirituality, music, and cinema deadens their capacity to energize rebellion. So now, damn near everything – not just religion – is an “opiate of the masses.”

The primary societal role of U.S. citizens is no longer “citizen” but “consumer.” Citizens know that buying and selling within community strengthens that community and that this strengthens democracy, consumers care only about the best deal. Citizens understand that dependency on an impersonal creditor is a kind of slavery, consumers get excited with credit cards with a temporarily low APR.

Consumerism breaks people by devaluing human connectedness, socializing self-absorption, obliterating self-reliance, alienating people from normal human emotional reactions, and by selling the idea that purchased products — not themselves and their community — are their salvation.

Can anything be done to turn this around?

When people get caught up in humiliating abuse syndromes, more truths about their oppressive humiliations don’t set them free. What sets them free is morale.

What gives people morale? Encouragement. Small victories. Models of courageous behaviors. Anything that helps them break the vicious cycle of pain, shut down, immobilization, shame over immobilization, more pain, and more shut down.

The last people to turn to are mental health professionals. Specifically required talents are a fearlessness around image, spontaneity, and definitely anti-authoritarianism, which are not traits medical or graduate schools encourage.

If you want to feel hopeless, there are a lot of things you could feel hopeless about. If you act on that assumption, then you’re guaranteeing that’ll happen. If you act on the assumption that things can change, maybe they will. The only rational choice, given those alternatives, is to forget pessimism.

A major component of the craft of maintaining morale is not taking the advertised reality too seriously.

An elitist assumption is that people don’t change because they are either ignorant of their problems or ignorant of solutions. An elitist who has never been broken by his or her circumstances does not know that people who have become demoralized do not need analyses and pontifications. They need a shot of morale.  READ MORE:

http://www.alternet.org/politics/144529/are_americans_a_broken_people_why_we%27ve_stopped_fighting_back_against_the_forces_of_oppression

SPECIAL BONUS: A Global Philosophy for Successful Living in Eight Aphorisms.

From the BUDDHA: Go forth in joyful participation in the sorrows of the world.

From JOSEPH CAMPBELL: Follow your bliss.

From CHRISTIAN TRADITION: Practice the Golden Rule.

From GHANDI: Act. “Without action there is no result. You may not see the result in your lifetime, but if you do not act, there will be no result at all.”

From JACQUES COUSTEAU: Hope for the best. “I hope for the best, although I can’t say why.”

From TOM PAINE: Use Common Sense. “Reason is the most reliable path to the truth.”

From his holiness the 14th DALI LAMA: “If you want the best idea of how the world was created, don’t pick the best mythology, consult the best science.”

—————————
From FatLemon: “Keep on keepin’ on, and don’t forget to salute the man in the moon.”

LAST THOUGHT:  Don’t get mad, get even.  Fight harder.  Take back the Democratic Party and elect Progressives to all offices in the land.  Continue to fight the oppressive fascist powers.  Bill Hart stood for courtesy, courage, and justice.

Odd Shots and Idle Pensees #1

June 30, 2009
Magic Mountains - Resurrection Machines

Magic Mountains – Resurrection Machines

The FIRST OCCASIONAL INSTALLMENT of THISSES and THATS collected over the years:

548 Primrose Lane – Robocop’s home address before all the bad stuff went down.

“The more you drive, the less intelligent you are.” – Mechanic, Repo Man.

“We should not be ashamed to acknowledge truth from whatever source it come to us.  Even if it is brought to us by former generations and foreign peoples.  For him who seeks the truth there is nothing of higher value than the truth itself.” – al-Kindi, c.801-66

“Take Memoprove and forget memory problems!” – real T.V. ad. Blanks your mind?

Interesting (real) Historical Horse Manure:

Twenty-six handpicked men were selected from the 16th U.S. Cavalry to find John Wilkes Booth (Abraham Lincoln’s assassin), among whom was Boston Corbett, a religious zealot and military fanatic who had castrated himself for visiting prostitutes!  Edwin Stanton had ordered Booth be taken alive.  Corbett, of course, killed him. What’s wrong with this picture?

“Even I, Lucas, have heard the legend of a man fish!” – Lucas, Creature from the Black Lagoon.

“Ninety percent of things without backbones come alive in the darkness.” – no, not neoconservative republicans, starfish echinoids.  Ocean dwellers.

Ancient Greeks: To sin = “to miss the mark” – can be high or low.  Sin is not living up to, or being who you are.

Dead, uncorrupted saints make good listeners.

In ancient China they didn’t think of history as the past, but now, and in the future too, so it all blurred or blended in one unending flow, beginning, middle, and end.  In the West history is neatly compartmented with dividing lines between epochs and eras.  The Chinese View had us live in the stream as part of the stream; the Western Way allows us to cut off the past from relevance in our present, and as an influence on our future.  We can forget time in a sense and float in a bubble, separate from time and space, in it, but not of it.  The Western view, in this, as in religion and everything else in life, divorces us from connection to the rest of Creation and instead makes us little gods, capable of managing and directing our own fate, of manipulating the universe to our exclusive human ends – even if it kills us.  Conclusion: the Western Way is a confusion of our actual stature in the universe, and hazardous to our health. Modern China is definitely finding that out.

Note: Feeling loss of identity?  Eager to believe in something, anything?  You’re prime fodder for cults.

Edward Gibbon writes that it’s less difficult to invent a fictitious story than to support a practical fraud.  It is the character of falsehood to be loose and inconsistent.  The most incredible parts of the legend are smoothed and softened by minions or apologists.  Religion depends upon credulity and craftiness, which insensibly corrode the vital principles of virtue and veracity.  The useful prejudice, which has obtained the sanction of time and opinion produces the effect of truth.  People in the heat of religious faction are apt to despise the profane virtues of sincerity and moderation.

I oppose all –isms.  Isms polarize people and imperil the world.  I prefer democracy, which cannot be made into an –ism.  How could it be when one universal idea admits all ideas?  I realize that that makes democracy inherently messy, but I prefer its disorder over the violence, persecution, and oppression of any of its alternatives – all of which, are –isms.

“It’s hotter than a Fox News weather skank.” – Ned Flanders (!), Simpsons.

“God, the original Tony Soprano.” – church sign, Simpsons.

Parzival by Wolfram Von Eisenbach, 13th century C.E.  Much ado about fabrics, flags, one’s place at the table, head-busting by foolish men for foolish ladies, and the romantic search for the fabulous grail – the holiest snipe hunt for the silliest prize: the Americas-Stanley-Wimbledon cup of immortality available only for unblemished boobery.

He’d paid his debt to joy, his life was but a dying.” – Wolfram Eisenbach, Parzival.

Dey vas dese two crummy kids – rotten dey vas – runnin’ aboud nekkid, und fornicatin’.  Dey vent und eat all der fruit offen der tree, und dere vas gonna be no pie!  Der girl – hoo-vay – she vas a stinker dat tink she know ever thang, und snippet der papa.  Sonny vas joost a big putz, und it vas too much vor der ault papa.  Hoo-vay, dey godda go, vat’s da big loss?  Nuttin’!   Und der papa Yah-vey said, “Ged da fugg out mine garden!” Und, dat vas just da vay it vas.  Dey is outen de platz.  Phooie!

“Ve ver in der bunker, und der fuehrer vas goin’ nutsy, und ve used to call him der Nutsy Nazi.” – imagined dialog for End the Third Reich Already History Channel Show.

“They have to find a way to institutionalize the existing situation so they don’t have to fix it.” – insight on too many political debates.

People, books, and things come into our lives for a reason.  It’s up to us to figure out why.

And it came to pass that someone passed gas, and all were offended.

“There’s never been anything like it.” – Shaq, speaking for Icy Hot.

Pain is an itch we can’t scratch.  All life is pain in the Buddhistic sense.  Its temporal fleeting nature is a constant bitter sweetness, forever a tear on the edge of beauty, a sigh on the cusp of grief.  We only get it for a moment, and sitting in silence, alone, we can feel its presence somewhere, always within, always informing, if we will it so.

The prissy spellcheck: I typed “bullcrap,” it wanted me to use: “bull rap,” “bullyrag,” or “fulcra.”  I don’t see how “fulcra” can even remotely echo or apply, unless used to fling the bullcrap.

Nietzsche:

“The philosopher can attain to truth by his reason and can live by it, but not all human beings are philosophers and able to grasp the truth directly.  Most can attain to it only through symbols.”

the Galleries:Fine Art: JLegry Gallery

http://www.zazzle.com/jlegry

Humor, Sci-Fi, Fantasy: FatLemon Gallery

http://www.zazzle.com/FatLemon

VINTAGE and COLLECTIBLES, including POLITICAL MEMORABILIA: TheAttic Gallery

http://www.zazzle.com/TheAttic