Sunday, January 18, 2015
6952 Some science-minded rationalists today are pushing consilience, which you can look up. The basic idea is nothing more than commonsense and philosophically rather trivial. There is, however, a sinister intent. By pushing unity they are implicitly attacking belief in the gods, who are always capricious, willful, lawless and a present danger to a well-ordered society. They kill without remorse or reason. And rape and lay waste and lie about lazily. Insouciant disunity. That's why the Enlightenment so hated religion.
If the gods exist then the nice dream of unity goes through the wall, like Jesus. Those guys pushing consilience descend from a long line of protectors of mankind. How to deal with the gods. Gamboling goat-boys. Satyrs. Zarathustra. Beauty is a difficult child. Very difficult. But man is sinister.
6951 Nagarjuna is an absolute nihilist and he is the great master of Madhyamaka Buddhism. He is so beloved that right here in Kathmandu you can find Nagarjuna motorcycle repair shops, beauty parlors, photocopy centers, etc.. I love that guy. Most know nothing of his philosophy and if they do, probably because they are scholars, they insist vehemently that he is definitely not a nihilist. Why the strong insistence? It’s because they have been bamboozled by science. They want to prove that Buddhist meditation is scientifically grounded. Scientism! Which of course means they have zero appreciation for literary beauty. Nihilism is poetry. It is the background full of repetition. It is that that is always right outside your ken. It is the threatening and the alluring and the … nothing at all. So seductive. You thought he said something, but he said nothing. Science will never understand. Science thinks he just didn’t say anything. And that Nagarjuna simply misunderstood the nature of hard-deaded proof. Poof. Vanishing decoration on the ice cream cake of being.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
6950 Buddhist philosophers make a big deal out of saying that difference doesn’t exist. That is to say, difference as a thing doesn’t exist. Nor, therefore, sameness. To a philosophically-minded person that really is a big deal. Everybody else just blinks and moves on.
Consider that blue is different from red. That a boy is different from a bicycle. That joy is different from sadness. Is that difference, in each case, a thing? If so, then blue is different from the thing that is blue is different from red. And yet it is not different in the same way the yellow is different from blue is different from red. We needn’t worry about those who have moved on and have no idea why I am saying all this.
Difference piles up. And sameness. But perhaps we are here speaking Wittgenstein’s unspeakable. Whatever, it seems I spoke it right easily. But maybe into the emptiness whence all listeners have vanished.
Is such talk of difference and sameness the sound of one hand clapping? A koan? Is this the not-two-ism of Advaita?
I jump right in and say that difference and sameness exist as simple things and they are different from such complexities as a boy is different from a bycycle, though also the same. Perhaps you should read Plato’s Parmenides. A lovely entanglement.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
6949 The Calvinist hatred of any pagan sacrifice that attempts to deal with the Other has become simple denial of the existence of the Other. What is this Other? It is anything outside human control, anything not subject to human law. That may be the gods, angels and demons or it may be Nature. Calvinist deniers change the first into psychological diseases and the second it brings under humanly constructed scientific laws. Even engineering. He denies the very existence of the Other. Nature be damned! No deals, no compromise, simple denial.
Of course, the Calvinist world becomes bleak. Pure mathematics, nothing more. And all formula are extensionally defined by other formula extensionally defined in complex loops extensionally defined, nothing more, nothing floating in a Platonic Heaven. Götterdämmerung. Pagan idolatry must be eradicated! No deals, no compromise, simple denial. Incipit regnum terroris. The Sannyasin wins.
6948 There are two types of sacrifice: a killing for the sake of greater attachment to the world and a giving up for the sake of detachment. The second are the Sannyasin, those who abandon, throw down, the killing. They are most prominent in the world as Calvinists, the ones who hate all that sensual pagan idolatry. They are the strait-laced, serious, no-nonsense banker type, the very bourgeois. But things aren’t quite as they seem. All that hating of sensual idolatry becomes hatred of idolators and they must be wiped from the face of the earth. And thus a very subtle Reign of Terror begins.
Those idolators who practice ritual killing are not loving the gods by joyfully wallowing in destruction and terror, but trying to isolate, move that joy in horror, that hunger, into a temenos, a cut off place, where the gods can romp. Thus man can find a safe place outside that special place, away from the killing and the terror. And he can safely, calmly enjoy the fruits of this lush world. The lawlessness of the gods is to be feared and banished to another place.
One group wants to isolate the gods and the other wants to deny them existence altogether. Both fear the terror of the divine Other.
Monday, January 12, 2015
6847 Let’s suppose that not only boys exist, but also the Form of Boy. That is an excess that will drive an Occamist crazy. He will immediately get out his razor. Why the doubling? If nothing else, because it is the essence of elegance. But let’s suppose that that maybe superfluous Form does exist.
That Form, riding so serenely above the well-ordered world, is a god. The divine has returned. The boy and the boyness of the boy. The trouble starts.
The Vedas contain the world. Everything in the world is mirrored there. An allegory of relation for relation. The world is complex, the Vedas are a complexity to match. It’s too much. There is always an urge to lop off the excess. To throw it down and walk away. Many have. They always embrace science and engineering instead—technology. But the forms of technology are the same heavy repeating of the world in code. Nothing has changed. One cannot walk away.
And along come the paradoxes of the set that contains itself. The Aleph repeating and repeating and climbing higher and higher. There’s no end to it. The urge to lop off the doubling remains. Many have tried. The doubling always starts again somewhere else. The Vedas say that the mind is like two birds sitting on the same branch. One watches the other perform. The mind is ever reflexive. A doubling.
In this world the Vedic sacrifice is performed. And that too must be reflected in the Vedas. They must contain themselves. In the Ramayana one reads of the Ramayana being written. The world is a story that narrates its own existence. One cannot get away from the doubling. The trouble always starts. The Boy is ever looking at himself in the mirror. The mirror mirrors the mirror. The Mirror mirroring. The urge to lop off the head of this ouboros is strong. Many have tried.
The Boy with jangling antinomies encircling his slender waist walks in. You’ve got trouble. Capricious, incorrigible, arbitrary. Many have tried to corral him in a temple. Maybe. A killing. Sacrifice. Divine anathema. Divinity is chaos.
Thursday, January 1, 2015
6946 Do the gods exist? I have always said, Yes. Nonetheless, here in Hinduland I must once again clarify myself. There are generally speaking three types of believers around about. One contains the somewhat educated fundamentalists who chant the Vedas at you and tell you fantastic stories of real world supernatural appearances. They are much the same as Christian fundamentalists. They are one with those who are into Fantastic Tales. Hanging right on the edge of certainty/uncertainty. They insist they have scientific proof and you could probably even find it on Youtube. The possibility makes one’s skin crawl. And that right there is the attractiveness of that point of view. Religion is gothic literature right here among the eastern aryans.
The second type contains those into meditation who tell you that the gods aren’t a part of the material world - which doesn’t exist anyway - but are psychological aids to help you focus your mind. All talk of the gods vanishes once you reach Brahma Consciousness. Before that, though, they are useful tools for helping you unleash yourself from this present illusion.
The third type are just the ordinary people who believe, sort of, because their grandparents did and any way a few prayers might help them traverse this sea of desire and misery. The nighttime is scary and death comes quickly. And then there is that upcoming school leaving exam. You believe because otherwise you are alone. Especially when your family demands money from you. This is the most general type and we all belong to it.
I have read and thought too much to be of the third type, except when I’m walking home late at night. As for the second, I hate psychologism and I have fought it forever. The first type is only popular with those who are into horror movies and conspiracy theories, which is a lot, but not me.
Yes, the gods exist. And they are as ever-present as any universal Form. One simply has to learn to sublate all the thick noise skin of the everyday to see them. Like a surgeon you have to peel away so many layers of fat just to get at the organ you want to examine. Hopefully it won’t be like an onion and nothing will be there after all is sublated. In the subway of your mind late at night.
In other words get rid of that modern philosophy that says that all things exist only in relation to all other things, a great interconnectedness. Learn to reduce, simplify and minimalize. Clear away the madding crowd and the gods will be right there staring at you. After death in the clearing where he waits.