Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Trump as "soulless coward"

Not only does the over-prescribing of antibiotics tend to lessen the beneficial effects of those antibiotics (some call it a crisis), but there has yet to be invented an antibiotic that will effectively mitigate plain old stupidity. Nor is education an adequate measure of the rising tide of just plain stupidity and its solution: Plenty of the best-educated minds seem to be affected by a better-camouflaged-but-nonetheless-rampant stupidity. Is there a pill for that? I don't know, but the rise of stupidity can get under my skin. On the other hand....
Gregg Popovich has called President Donald Trump “a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others” in response to Trump’s comment Monday that former President Barack Obama and other commanders in chief “didn’t make calls” to families of fallen soldiers....
San Antonio Spurs [basketball] coach
Popovich has been an outspoken critic of Trump, but tells The Nation magazine that Trump’s comments Monday were “beyond the pale” and “as low as it gets.” He calls Trump “a pathological liar in the White House, unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office and the whole world knows it.”
Stupidity, however, is not daunted by even the most atomic criticism.
A 325-pound (150-kilogram) Florida woman is charged with killing her 9-year-old cousin by sitting on the child as punishment [while the parents looked on].
Veronica Green Posey, 64, was arrested and charged with homicide and cruelty toward a child, The Pensacola News Journal reported. The Escambia County Sheriff's Office report identified Posey as the girl's cousin.
Paramedics and deputies responded to the family's Pensacola home following a 911 call Saturday. Posey told deputies she sat on Dericka Lindsay as discipline "for being out of control."
A female comic whose name I've forgotten once proposed assisting in the return of a direct assault on stupidity by using the question, "what the fuck's the matter with you?!" It won't act as an antibiotic balm, but it feels somehow appropriate as it rolls off the tongue.

Stupidity is just so damned tiring after a while. And when you throw into the equation the fact that stupidity can and does cause death, well, compassion can take a holiday: "What the fuck's the matter with you?!"

Yes, I know: Explosions and epithets don't penetrate the cladding of the sociopath so everyone bends over backwards analyzing and soliloquizing about the poor, benighted creatures of this earth. Oh, if only they had gone to Harvard of Stanford! But then, the antidote loses its clout.

A "soulless coward." Mad dogs need to be put down. 


  1. It's as if they're stuck in that adolescent mind set that whatever pops into their head must be true. It makes a case for zazen as a curative. It makes a case for growing up.

  2. Worth repeating:
    Trump is “a pathological liar in the White House, unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office and the whole world knows it.”


    Olcharlie, I’m not at all sure that the practice of zazen should ever be consider a “cure all.” If you want to use a medical metaphor it’s a “tonic.”

    I don’t know if you are familiar with the history of any of the modern Zen Teachers but, assuming they were trained properly and practiced / practice zazen regularly and sincerely, nevertheless they still were / are pretty messed up people.

    For some specific example I refer you to one of Genkaku’s teachers, Eido Shimano, also to Joshu Sasaki, Dennis Merzel, & Richard Baker, but there are others. Enough to advise caution with any so called zen teacher in any community. And that’s not to say not to check oneself as well. I have seen / read about similar problems in other “spiritual” communities as well.

    Zazen did not / has not saved these men from serious flaws including the the regular and continued abuse of power and position.

    Note 1: While Genkaku uses the word “stupidity” and you use the word “maturity,” I’m not sure either word truly captures the sociopathology involved that results in the abuses of power, the manipulation, sexual misconduct, pathological lying, etc., etc.

    Note 2: Given the prevelance of problems across the spiritual spectrum, I do wonder if the training models used have been adequate to prepare individuals to become “teachers.” I have read that attempts are being made to address the issues.

    Note 3. I am not particularly familiar with the current status of those aforementioned teachers still alive and whether time, reflection, therapy and continued effort has truly transformed them.

  3. Andy -- I think one of the central problems among those you allude to is the unbridled notion/hope/wish that "enlightenment," by whatever yardstick, is some sort of erase-all-flaws status. "Oh boy -- I'm fucked up now, but you just wait till I'm enlightened!!!!!" It's hard enough to apply this yardstick to me, but when applied to others, the sparks can fly: What...a... fuck-up!"

    Perhaps you remember the old Zen tale of the monastic monk whose understanding was one day confirmed by the abbot. Word of this big bingo got out and the other monks gathered round to congratulate their confrere. As they patted him on the back, one asked, "So, tell us what it's like! Are all your problems resolved?" And the monk replied, "Nope. Same old problems."

    In my view, the precepts on which so many Buddhists can put so much emphasis are NOT indicators of anything that could actually be achieved. Rather, they are simple reminders of what anyone might be wise to TRY to achieve.

    Same old problems.

  4. Genkaku, you are correct.

    I think the problem: the idea that “something” — devotional prayer, charity, selfless service, meditation, whatever — will result in some permanent state in which there is no suffering and there is peace and joy is fairly ingrained in many traditions.

    Look at this verse recited daily in one form or another by many Buddhists:

    “Sentient brings are innumerable, I vow to save them all.
    Delusions are inexhaustible, I vow to extinguish them all.
    Dharma teachings are immeasurable, I vow to master them all.
    The Buddha's way is endless, I vow to follow it.”

    Implicit is an assumption of an profound existential cure-all, Salvation in some sense. Anecdotes like the one you mentioned, no matter how true, be damned because the of more seemingly fundamental teaching.* Clarifications like in the Heart Sutra are lost in the apparent contradictions.

    Now Zen students in particular should regularly be exposed to teachings such as Case 2 of the Mumonkan, Hyukujo’s Fox, fairly regularly, but I suppose it doesn’t necessarily sink in even in those alledged fit to teach.

    * I am of the opinion that there may be some extremely deep and profound awakening from which flows both the salvation optimism of Complete Enlightenment _and_ the simple self awareness of “Nope. Same old problems.” It may be that such awakening alludes many but particularly those pushing others to teach ahead of their understanding and those willing to teach without profound understanding but instead simply embellishing book learning and the teachings of “the teacher.”