Saturday, November 17, 2018

babbling and bumbling

Flummoxed like a newly-landed fish on a dock -- my mind returns again and again to the previous post about the Mexican townspeople who burned a couple of men because the crowd believed the pair had been responsible for the kidnapping of local children ... but no one checked to see if the information was/were true ... which it wasn't. I simply cannot find a way out of the maelstrom of confusion that wraps around me and denies some facile entry point.

It simply eludes my every effort. It is horror without edges. Democracy and mob rule. We're right because we say we're right ... but we're wrong. Laudable intentions gone awry ... yet not really awry: The horror was there all along. Each time I come near this flaming story, it laughs at me and burns my face off.

I had been leery of group-think -- the downside of the sociability of human beings -- but here was something that proved the point I was making. And yet I didn't want to be right. I wanted to be wrong and the goodness of good intentions to be unsullied. And it wasn't unsullied.

As ever, I was not so much afraid of being wrong. I was afraid to be right. Being right felt so lonely.

All those ballyhooed majorities beset by a very dark shadow. The MeToo movement. The priestly pedophiles. Those wounded by arrogance ... they deserved support and their tormentors deserved excoriation to a degree that disallowed finding out the facts: A pox on all their houses! Let the politicians be swept from office based on evidence that was so long ago in the making. Did they deserve it? I wouldn't be surprised, but did anyone check -- I mean really check?

The story of the burning men put me face-to-face with a renewed recognition that this shit and the reaction to it was all mine. What I did with it was mine ... and lord knows I didn't want it. How much nicer if the intentions of the group of accusers were easy-peasy correct. I too like to go shoulder to shoulder with those whose agreement I might lay claim to.

Oh well. Take your medicine. I think I'll watch a little unassailably agreeable TV. This too shall pass .... but at the moment it flops on the dock, dying and calling out in that death. Is there an app for all this confusion? I am responsible and at the moment I am no match for it. How much nicer to find a cozy throng in which to put my faith.

Forget this post.



  1. I see a sad and terrifying perfect storm, Adam, not just confusion. Democracy has - by and large and in effect - continuously denied poor people of individual wholeness and collective unity and empathy, polarising them both individually and collectively into two camps, through the promotion of two-part ideologies, one enemy of the other, the side most commonly promoting unity - but also class struggle - being constantly demonized, turning people schizophrenic and often brother against brother, father against son, friend against friend, promoting primitive competitiveness, righteousness and half-baked rash judgements. Divide and conquer. "The Emperor's New Clothes" are burning and, with them, innocent lives. That's partly how I see that image you posted. I could write a lot more, but - like you - I'll watch a movie instead. Have a good Sunday tomorrow.

  2. People will come together and cooperate, sometimes to burn the witch, sometimes to stack sandbags against a flood.

    1. I'm more of a science person who doesn't believe in superstition and witchcraft, olcharlie. Ilusionism, mind manipulation and withholding knowledge, on the other hand, seems more and more to be a very old and dangerous craft. Ever read about Mayavada, what some call the self-defeating philosophy? Maybe I am wrong, but it seems to me fhat messing with people's minds hoping to control them and perhaps avoid a tragedy is what got us where we are now, with those two men burned to a horrible death, their family grieving, probably some of their executors suffering with a heavy heart and consciousness for the rest of their lives, after waking up from their stupor and realising their mistake, and an entire world marching towards collapse, if we are to take scientists warnings seriously. Maybe everyone should come together to avoid that instead, but I just cannot see how persisting on the same path of lies can do just that. Lord help us... I've tried my best.

  3. I fear our instincts are stronger than our intellect. As trump would say, "so sad". I've got the crud here, no fever, but the voice is gone, sore throat, drowning in phlegm, etc.

    1. "I fear our instincts are stronger than our intellect." - Judging by the farse democracy has been turned to, hard to disagree.

    2. Best ever video on democracy, in my eyes:

    3. Actually, this is the complete one:

  4. First off, I want to give thanks to the BBC article upon which the original post and this subsequent post is based.

    The BBC article goes far beyond reporting the cruelty of the people in a Mexican Village.

    Next I want to commend the community’s police force.
    “According to state authorities, five people have now been charged with instigating the crime and four more with carrying out the murder. Martinez, who broadcast the livestream, Castelan, who called for petrol, and the man identified as Manuel, who rang the bells, were among the five. But the remaining two alleged instigators, and the four suspects charged with the murder were on the run, police said.”
    I hope the additional suspects are caught and all involved brought to trial and justice. I hope the BBC follows up on this particular incident.

    As to the rest of the 100 people who accepted the rumors as true, without questioning, without critical thought, without faith in their community’s police force and justice system, what can be done? It’s an old, horrible problem. Education can erode at this kind of problem; not just in schools, but in churches, in news opinion pieces, even incorporated into the popular arts: TV, song, etc.

    Needless to say, the negative sentiments reported in Mexico and other countries are clearly present in America as well. Unfortunately this country’s president has been exploiting, even inflaming those negative sentiments.

    Solutions to dealing with misinformation is clearly lacking in this country.

    1. "Solutions to dealing with misinformation is clearly lacking in this country." It's pretty much a global issue, I feel.

      If people don't question is because they were and are not trained to question, instead being dumbed down by educational systems that are mostly designed to deliver unquestionable truths that should be memorized and produce workers, not critical thinkers or citizens. This is a crisis of consciousness, of wholeness and of critical reasoning.

      Education to produce intelligent and questioning citizens doesn't appear to be desired, since these are harder to manipulate. It's poison though. It's messing with our natural and healthy mental state, which is inquisitive, like all children are, and so should always remain.

      Mix this social engineering messing with people's minds with economic and social frustration and anger on the rise, with politics emphasizing division, plus fake news and technology to widely distribute them and you get a recipe for disaster.

      Should it surprise anyone then that, amidst all the chaos, confusion and anger people are voting in authoritarian candidates all over the world? I remember saying I could see how this would happen, over 10 years ago, when those of us here were writing in e-sangha. Now it's happening.

    2. Being human, living in a biological body, prone to vices and primitive instincts and behaviours, already poses enough challenges to individual and social life. Dumb people down, cripple their minds with all sorts of biological and psychological trash, and the challenge to social life grows exponentially. In Europe, democratic politicians have been continuously lying to people, making false promises, stealing public wealth and enriching the ranks of the ruling classes, backed by manipulative media, while doing too little to reform educational systems and promote critical thinking, leaving the vast majority of the lower classes in stupor, misery and/or further in debt. And now that the fools are getting angry and voting in authoritarians, the very same democrats moan about their rise and are surprised with situations like these? Got to have patience... A lot of patience.

  5. Still thinking about the Mexican mob murders and the thoughts and feelings resulting in those murders.

    Certainly, there are many ways to deal with the lies resulting in anger and death.

    At the risk of being self serving and overly obvious, the origins of this blog had to do in some part with the author’s relation to Zen Buddhism. It bears his Dharma Name.

    Despite the foibles of any given practitioner, practice leader or even the collective faults of a given local sangha, Zen Buddhism has much to contribute towards avoiding situations such as those murders.

    First, even at its most basic level, Buddhist teachings can be seen warning against being enflamed by unexamined assertions. Buddhism’s overall solution to “”Dukkha,” the essential unsatisfactoriness of life is“The Eightfold Path.” The first aspect of the path is “Right Views.”

    Similar assertions can be said for most forms of Buddhism and the more Spiritual Schools of Yoga (based on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, or other such teachings).

    Second, over time as one practices Zazen, mediation, the result is a calmer, clearer and more concentrated mind. A mental state usually more able to deal reasonably with whatever comes. Also, the with extended practice calmer and clear mental state puts one more in touch with both one’s instincts and with one’s intuition.

    Still, I believe direct education is need in dealing with rumors in general and how information on social media need not be true. Also local communities are responsible to be proacyptive in establishing or restoring confidence in law enforcement and the justice system.

    1. Andy, meditation practice may help you and me or whoever practices it but until we have an educational and social system that nurtures that, it's a fairy tale to think that my isolated individual practice will make a significant difference. Have you ever watched the documentary "Doing time, doing vipassana"? Have western powers shown even mild interested in doing something similar in prisons, let alone in schools? No. Our governments continuously show no interest in promoting conscious individuals or strong local comunities. The sense of "local community" is pretty much lost these days. People are working 40+ hours a week to survive and hardly get enough time and energy for themselves or even their own families, never mind to stregthen local community ties. That's why, more and more, I feel the only way forward is getting out of the system, maybe joining an isolated community and forgeting society at large. I see very little point meditating on a sinking boat, surrounded by a dumbed down and angry mob. Just yesterday I was reading about one, where everyone starts their day meditating and then work together for the community, up to 20 hours a week. That, to me, sound sane. Modern society doesn't.

    2. Tiago,

      Sorry your life isn’t currently going well.

      You may think that spiritual practice belongs at the top of human accomplishment as in the Self Actualization category of Maslow’s Hierarchy but I have always disagreed. It has never been true historically, and has never made sense practically.

      To me meditation is like exercise. Plenty of excuses not to do it, but it’s still necessary.

      Regarding meditation in prisons, it seems to be more common than not.

      The most current article I could quickly find is

      Do an internet search on “Meditation in Prison” for a long list of research and practical endeavors.
      I have personally met with a few meditators who have had it in them to bring meditation to various NY prisons.

      Rev. Kobutsu Malone of was involved with prison work. He has done some writing on Prison Chapliancy.

    3. Andy, "my" life doesn't go well when I see, all around me, thousands if not millions of lives not going well and whole societies in unrest. My life was going reasonably well, but over the last years I've seen decay all around me and life getting progressively more difficult to many people. In the last 18 months I heard of 3 suicides in my social circle. In my 44 years of life, I remember only one before those. In Brazil, suicides are on the rise, especially amongst young people. Over the last 6 years there have been crisis upon crisis, while strikes and demonstrations have become a common feature. Violent crime is also on the rise, we had record numbers last year. Criminals are killing people even without resistance. They beat up those who haven't got values to hand over. Life has become worthless. Back in southern Europe, especially, much is the same. People are loosing jobs, with teachers, health professionals, security forces and trash collectors protesting, feeling their lives have become too costly and difficult. I lost count of how many people have told me they lost their jobs. Those who have a job can barely pay their bills. Buying a house is often not a choice or means a debt for life, with credit now being extended to 50 years. Renting is overly expensive, often costing more than the average wage. Elderly are being evicted of their long-term homes to give room for higher rents. Schools and nurseries are shutting down, leaving parents with no option. Public hospitals lack equipment. One school that rose more than 1.000 places on the national ranks was shut down. Rising numbers of children are being treated with anxioulytics due to a range of mental health issues which, in my view, are likely and partly due to the cocktail of potent neurotoxins used in vaccines. Drug and alcohol abuse is on the rise. The rich are getting richer, the poor are getting poorer. Everyone is born into (public) debt bondage, which is a form of slavery. Modern western societies are becoming a modern version of feudal societies. Only before many poor people often had a piece of land, where at least they could grow their food naturally, while today affordable food is full with pesticides and toxins, while being taxed as luxury items. Wars continue to displace millions, now arriving at european shores and causing more unrest. Our environment continues to be ravaged. Climate change compromises crops. Forests are replaced with eucalyptus plantations. Fires burn. Fisheries are being depleted. Coral reefs are dying. Scientists are warning us that we're heading to the 6th mass extinction of species all over the planet. So, the way I see it, it's not just "my" life that isn't going well. It's "our" life, our social life and our planet life that appears to be in utter decay, right in front of our eyes, despite all the technological advancements. Yes, there may be pockets of positive change, I do acknowledge that. But small and isolated initiatives feel very little medicine for so much decay. Or do you think all these crisis all over are all lies propagated by the media?

    4. I really just don't see any point in persisting in a way of life that seems to head on to collective suicide.

      My biggest regret today is to have persisted on this path, because others have told me "don't worry, meditate, be positive, everything will be alright", when my intuition has been telling me this for nearly 20 years now.

      As Krishnamurti said "It's not a sign of health to be adjusted to a sick society". My intuition responded "yes.

      I should have trusted myself more and not the fools around me. Better late than never.

    5. You say "You may think that spiritual practice belongs at the top of human accomplishment as in the Self Actualization category of Maslow’s Hierarchy but I have always disagreed." Spiritual practice shouldn't be a top achievement, I agree. It should be the very foundation of our lifes. It isn't. I don't remember how early I began practising. I was probably around 10 years old. It didn't involve any "spiritual dogmas". Just closing my eyes, counting breaths from 1 to 10, in repeat. Simple as that.

  6. Editing error: The paragraph begin with the words “Similar assertion” should come just above the last paragraph.