Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Thoughts on technology and the evolution of political, cultural, social and religious forms (Part 5)

Marshall McLuhan’s tetrad: enhancement, obsolescence, retrieval and reversal, provides a way to explore the effects of new developments or new technologies.

Enhancement is the extension of an ability in time, space, strength, speed, agility or other quality. A telescope enhances vision across large distances while a microscope enhances vision of  very small objects. Enhancement always leads to imbalance because as one sense or ability is enhanced, less attention flows to other senses. McLuhan’s term for this phenomenon was auto-anaesthesia. When you talk on a telephone, for instance, your attention is focused on the sense of hearing. You have no physical sense of the other person and you are less aware of your own body. When you read a book, attention is focused through the sense of sight and you lose touch with your body. The book makes it possible to create an imagined world, a world of stories and ideas in which the body does not participate.

Obsolescence means that one way of relating or communicating is replaced by another. The older way of doing things doesn’t disappear completely. Instead, its relative  importance, position or role changes and usually becomes highly specialized. Some people still drive a horse and buggy even though most use a car. The horse and buggy are retained by particular communities or become specialized for purposes such as entertainment, sulky racing, for example. Film is still used by some photographers who are looking for particular effects, but the vast majority of photographs today are taken with cell phones.

Retrieval involves bringing back the experience of an older technology or an older way of relating or interacting. Facebook, for instance, brings back the experience of living in a small town; everybody knows everything about you. You cannot keep anything secret. Even as one moves forward with technology, the past returns in a different form.

Reversal is the principle that any development creates its own negation. The car, for instance, gives rise to gridlock. Email gives rise to miscommunication, especially if you write anything humorous. The advent of the car led to decades of experiments with freeways until it became clear that building freeways does not eliminate gridlock. Traffic just increases to the point that the same degree of gridlock occurs. In many cases, reversal reveals the limits and problems associated with growth in use of new developments.

The changes that take place with the advent of new developments or technologies are complex, partly because all four of McLuhan’s effects take place simultaneously, and partly because individuals, societies and environments interact with new developments in unpredictable ways. Cultural values, social norms and even geography all play a part. For example, gunpowder was invented in China, but it was in the highly competitive environment of Europe that it was put to military use.

To be continued...

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Thoughts on technology and the evolution of political, cultural, social and religious forms (Part 4)

Part 3

Benedict Anderson in Imagined Communities notes that the great religions (Buddhism, Christianity, etc.) began their decline in influence at exactly the same time that nationalism and the modern scientific paradigm began to gain influence. He also notes that books led to the standardization of knowledge and the creation of a world of the imagination in which people could live by themselves. These developments led to the formation of nation states, the concept of citizenship and equal rights, and the modern educational system.

William Bernstein in Masters of the World speculates about the interaction between new technologies and the interpretation of spiritual experience:
…the temporal and geographic connection between the alphabet and monotheism in Egypt-Palestine during the middle of the second millennium [before the Common Era] may be more than coincidence. What might tie them together? The notion of a disembodied, formless, all-seeing, and ever-present supreme being requires a far more abstract frame of mind than that needed for the older plethora of anthropomorphized beings who oversaw the heavenly bodies, the crops, fertility, and the seas. Alphabetic writing requires the same high degree of abstraction and may have provided a literate priestly caste with the intellectual tools necessary to imagine a belief system overseen by a single disembodied deity. Whatever the reason, Judaism and the West acquired their God and their Book.
Along these lines, it is possible to consider a relationship between the use of zero as a place holder in Indian mathematics and the emptiness of all experience as formulated in Mahayana Buddhism.

Such speculation raises the question of what political, cultural and social structures and religious forms might evolve from the ubiquitous, ever-present yet disembodied connections and simulations that have arisen from digital technologies.

To be continued.....

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Thoughts on technology and the evolution of political, cultural, social and religious forms (Part 3)

Part 2

Daniel Dennett proposed in Darwin’s Dangerous Idea that variation, selection and heredity necessarily give rise to evolution; the emergence of order and structure without a guiding intelligence. Long before Dennett published this insight, McLuhan saw modern education, democracy and the nation state as products of evolution brought about by the development of two technologies: the phonetic alphabet and the printing press. The phonetic alphabet enabled large numbers of people to become literate. The printing press made possible large numbers of copies of books and other writings. The two together made it possible to standardize knowledge in large populations and create imagined communities of people who took in their information from common sources —newspapers, periodicals, journals and books.

In Understanding Media, McLuhan wrote:
The availability of cheap writing materials affected power in the Mediterranean. The Romans depended on papyrus from Egypt. When the supply was cut off by the Muslims, they lost control of the Mediterranean. Parchment was too expensive and the influence of Byzantium was limited. Only when paper was imported from China did learning revive, and the result was the Renaissance and eventually printing.
Technological innovations change the way people interact and the changes are not always welcome. Socrates, as Plato presents him in Phaedrus, expresses reservations about the technology of writing, saying that writing:
…is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.
Similar concerns have been voiced about the book, about newspapers, as well as the telephone, the computer and many other inventions.

Part 4

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Thoughts on technology and the evolution of political, cultural, social and religious forms (Part 2)

Part 1

Marshall McLuhan also realized that each new medium creates enables a new way of retaining the past. More and more of the past is present in people’s lives, stored in museums, books, libraries, and now social networks, YouTube, email archives, etc. The result is that we live more and more with the past, if not in the past. People grow up in a bubble of self-chosen interests, friends, news sources and music. As Jared Lanier observes in You Are Not a Gadget, the evolution of music has changed in a fundamental way: up to the point that the internet became widespread, each decade had its own distinct music, Ragtime, Jazz, Swing, Rock and Roll, Disco, Hip-hop, Rap, etc., but the music of the last two decades has no clearly defining sound. Much of it consists of the reworking and recombining of music from earlier eras.

The magnification of the role of the past in modern society is in stark contrast to the role the past played in traditional societies. In traditional societies, the past was revered. The overarching view was that one realized one’s highest potential as a human being by emulating examples from the past, whether Christ, Mohammed, or Buddha. In today’s world, the past is to be transcended and one realizes one’s highest potential through exploration and individuation.

Each person’s past is now a scattered mass of fragments, an ever present but fractured mirror in which he or she is reflected. Few take the time to assemble the fragments into a narrative, and even if they do, the narrative itself depends on what is selected and emphasized, and that, again, is influenced by the medium in which the narrative is presented. Because the past is always present, a creative urge arises for a future that is open to new possibilities and free from the constraints of the past. Ironically, the extent to which the past endures in the present makes such transcendence more and more difficult.

Part 3

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Thoughts on technology and the evolution of political, cultural, social and religious forms (Part I)

New technologies create new forms of communication and new media. Language, writing, the phonetic alphabet, the printing press, the telegraph and telephone, film, radio, television, fax, email, cell phones, the internet in general and now social networks and robots, all make different forms of communication possible and have led, or are leading, to significant social, cultural and political changes.

Marshall McLuhan pointed out that "the medium changes the message." Consider presenting the traditional account of Buddha Shakyamuni encountering old age, illness and death up to his awakening. Imagine this story presented as a novel, a short story, a film,  an opera, a television series, a monologue, a play, a graphic novel, a YouTube video or as a tweet. Each medium emphasizes certain elements and downplays others, and the result is a different message in each case.

Each new medium  also creates a new form of interaction. For example, writing enabled personal and cultural histories to be retained without reliance on human memory. With the invention of paper, they could be retained indefinitely. With the invention of printing, they could be distributed widely and become part of the cultural heritage. The new form of interaction often arises in unexpected and unforeseen ways, such as the immediate distribution of photos and videos through cell phones or the tracking of new trends by hashtags in Twitter.

These new uses lead to different kinds of relationships and new forms of intimacy and solitude, as Sherry Turkle describes in Alone Together. They also lead to new social forms. For instance, the telephone enables people to talk with each other even though they are physically separate. Because, communication is limited to voice, body language and other nuances are limited or eliminated by the medium. Thus, people who communicate by telephone may have a very different relationship compared to when they are conversing in person. Email, of course, takes disembodied communication a step further: mass emails are possible and communication in widespread communities is easy. Email and texting also change the way phones are used. One is now more likely to set up a phone meeting via email than call someone out of the blue.

Part 2

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Prayer and meditation

Traditionally, prayer and meditation go together, but in many Western forms of meditation practice, there is little, if any connection, between the two.
Prayer is a way to give emotional expression to your deepest yearnings and aspirations. The two reinforce each other. Prayer raises emotional energy and strengthens intention. Meditation brings attention and focus to prayer.
You may not be able to connect emotionally with the forms of expression in traditional prayers. Confusion about emotions further complicates matters. Reactive emotions or afflictive emotions have a bad rap in Buddhist practice and many people feel they should avoid emotions altogether in their practice. This is more than unfortunate because the power of practice comes through our emotional connection with it.
Meditation devoid of emotion is pretty flat and doesn't go very far. 
In place of the ritual prayers (e.g., refuge, bodhicitta, prayers to the lineage, etc.), try taking a few minutes before you start meditation and feel, in your heart, your own spiritual yearnings. Feel what leads you to practice, even if you can't put it in words. Just feel it in your heart. Don't be concerned about goal-seeking or wanting to achieve something. We all do, at some level, or we wouldn't practice.
Or, if it comes more naturally, touch the faith or devotion you feel to your teacher, or to your practice. Feel how important your teacher or your practice is to you.
In either case, when you touch the depth of feeling in your heart, you may be surprised at how deep or how strong it is. Rest with the feeling, not analyzing it, or trying to understand it. Just let it be there and let yourself feel it.
Then turn to your meditation.
That's all.

Creative Commons LicenseThis article by Ken McLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Alone in Anger

When people get angry and lose their temper, it’s always because they’re feeling completely alone at that point. Not only are they feeling completely alone, they’re usually feeling rejected and they are also feeling weaker than what they’re opposing. I tried that one out with a group of CEOs once. They really didn’t like it. But by the end of our discussion they were beginning to say “Oh, yeah.” We never get angry at something we feel stronger than. We only get angry at something we feel weaker than. It’s the old bullfrog approach. You know, we puff ourselves up, try to threaten or intimidate. But that intensity of feeling masks, obscures, distracts—whatever word you want to use—from the feeling of aloneness or rejection.

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Thursday, 22 August 2013

Relating from awareness

How do you know when you are relating from awareness? 

You take joy in her company without being possessive. You are open to him but you are not engulfing. You understand who he is, without judgment. You stand by her when she is pain, with
out taking control. 

With those you are close to, no matter how much time has passed, you pick up right where you left off. 

Love and friendship are about now, not then. More...

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Saturday, 17 August 2013

Thoughts on money

Increasingly, money has become the only medium for exchange between people in our culture. The human part of us resists this as we feel that there is more than simply financial value in our interactions. But money is now used to determine the value of time, the value of any material article, the value of culture, the value of social programs, etc. It is this seeming willingness to measure every aspect of life in money that indicates the true extent to which we have engaged this collective thought. More...

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Saturday, 10 August 2013

Control is an illusion

Reactions plunge us into confusion, and we, quite literally, don't know what we are doing or why we are doing it.

There isn't an on-off switch for confusion, but there are degrees.

Perhaps you think that meditation practice will give you the ability to control your reactions?

Even in reading this note, you don't know what is going to happen moment to moment. You don't know what the next sentence will say. Nor do you know how you will react to it. It may make you cry. It may make you laugh. It may leave you confused.

Control is an illusion.

What happens when a colleague teases you in front of your coworkers? Right now, imagine that happening. Are you able to control the reactions in your body as you imagine everyone laughing at you? What would happen in the actual situation. Are you able to control what emotions arise? Are you able to control the thoughts, the stories, that start to run?

What happens when an attractive woman or man approaches you and places a hand on your arm? What happens when a person you admire greatly compliments you or asks you for your opinion? What happens when you see a homeless person sleeping in an alley on a cold rainy night? What happens when he asks you for change?

Reactions just happen. Everyone in every culture reacts the same way to certain stimuli. Many of these reactions are biologically conditioned. Current research on micro-expressions reveals that facial expressions across cultures are remarkably consistent. What is different is the duration of the expression, which is measured in microseconds. You don't control the actual reaction.

If you are practiced, when reactions arise you don't act on them. You don't fall into confusion, and you are able to decide what to do on the merits of the moment.

How does this work?

Ordinarily, a reaction, say anger, comes up and it takes you over. In other words, you fall into confusion right away. You don't even notice it coming. You are suddenly yelling or seething or stomping out of the room.

When you have practiced a bit, that same reaction comes up, you recognize you are reacting, but it keeps running. Your head may be above water, but you are still deep enough in confusion to be swept along by the current.

When you have practiced a bit more, when that reaction comes up, you recognize it, you can even stay in the experience of your body tensing, but you don't know what to do or say. You don't express your anger, but you feel a bit stupid, tongue-tied as it were. You aren't completely lost, but the confusion of anger still trips you up.

After you have practiced quite a bit, when anger comes up, you recognize it, experience it and are able to respond, rather than react. You don't fall into confusion because it isn't there.

What do you control here -- the reaction, the recognition, not being able to respond, or being able to respond? You don't control any of those! But the confusion has dissolved.

What dissolves confusion is the momentum and energy that have built up through your practice; it is your path that dissolves confusion, not you.

We practice, not to be able to control reactions, but to create other possibilities in our lives.

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Monday, 29 July 2013

Let practice become a path

Practice becomes a path when practice itself is no longer an issue. You just do it. It's a way you have found that brings a certain quality into your life.

Practice becomes a path when you understand that you cannot control what happens in your life and you cannot control your reactions to what happens.

Practice becomes a path when you know that all you can do is put in place a process that opens possibilities, possibilities other than the tyranny of reactivity and conditioning.

Practice becomes a path when you accept the direction that life offers you in each moment. 

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Tuesday, 23 July 2013

There are different approaches in different traditions because people have different capabilities. Some can just sit and drop into awareness and that's their form of practice. Others, by developing such emotions as loving-kindness or compassion or devotion, are able to drop into awareness and rest there. Most of us have to work with how we experience the world, and train ourselves--and often the training is long and rigorous--to let go of thinking.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Mindfulness is remembering

We’re going to have to retire the word mindfulness. It’s been hopelessly corrupted in English. Its fundamental meaning is to remember, to remember where you are and what you are doing. 

From: Money and Value

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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The price of clarity

At every stage of practice a price has to be paid for clarity. The price is the loss of an illusion.

From: Wake Up To Your Life (pg 264, Track 111)

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Thursday, 11 July 2013

Samsara and nirvana

Whenever you find yourself struggling in life you are experiencing  samsara. And I really want to underline this. A lot of people think of samsara as life in the city and of nirvana as life in nature. No. Wherever you’re struggling, that’s samsara.
By contrast, you've experienced situations, interactions where things flowed extremely easily with absolutely no sense of struggle. You don’t feel separate from things or have a really strong sense of "I." You’re just there. That's nirvana.
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Monday, 8 July 2013

Touch the awareness that is always present

Touch the awareness that is always present, even in the worst of times. We carry stories about who we are and stories about who others are and, in the moment of interaction, we regard the stories as facts, as how things are. They aren’t facts. They are only ideas and projections arising in the moment. They distract us from what we are actually experiencing. To stop the projections, we drop the stories about who we are, who they are, how we are meant to be, or how they are meant to be. We drop everything and open to what we actually experience, the play of physical and sensory sensations, emotions and feelings, and thoughts and ideas. We open to the whole ball of wax, the whole mess, until we can rest in the clear empty awareness in which the whole mess arises. It’s there. It’s always there, just as silence is present in sound, and space is present in form. When we touch it, we know what to do and how to do it.

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Saturday, 6 July 2013

Tradition and your teacher

A tradition begins only when someone does something that is not traditional. In other words, a tradition begins with an innovation. It is not a tradition at that point. It is just somebody doing something different. It becomes a tradition when others pick it up. The "first follower" plays a crucial but often unnoticed role. 

Sometimes the worth of the innovation is immediately apparent and people follow it readily. Sometimes it's not and it quickly dies out, only to be rediscovered again, and again, and...

A tradition is heavily influenced by what happens when the innovation first appears. If met with ridicule, it carries the energy of shame and rebellion. If met with violent opposition, it carries the energy of anger and violence. Thus, a tradition, from the beginning, carries the seeds that corrupt it.

When you talk about a tradition, it's usually a sign that its time has passed. When you talk about preserving a tradition, you have already conceded that it is dead.

What is a tradition?

angkor wat Is it a way of doing things, ritual, ceremonies, etc.? Is it a way of life? Is it a way of thinking? Is it a way of practice? Is it a body of teaching? Is it a mode of interpretation?

A way of doing things may look like a way of life, but be just a way of doing things. Don't go by appearances.

Tradition and lineage are not the same. Both pass something from one generation to the next, but they do so in different ways.

A lineage consists of specific individuals, each learning from the previous, a supposedly unbroken line back to the source. The hidden message is that what was once discovered cannot be discovered again and must be transmitted.

A tradition is more like a culture, an agreement about a certain set of behaviors and interactions.

Traditions are products of their circumstances. They arise when circumstances require a change. When circumstances change again, a tradition splits. One is based on one or more adaptations to the new circumstances. The other is based on one or  more ways of ignoring the new circumstances. Both claim to be preserving the tradition.

They are both wrong. The tradition is dead, and new ones have emerged, whatever they call themselves.

To follow a tradition is to participate in a culture. To study with someone who has been traditionally trained is a different matter.

A traditionally trained person usually has a well rounded training, and has learned, directly or indirectly, how different aspects of the training interact with each other and how to approach training and learning in a balanced way.

He or she may have that skill and understanding but still not be able to explain it to you.

On the other hand, people who are traditionally trained may only be able to mimic they were trained.

You can usually tell by the way they respond to unexpected or challenging questions. Do they become alive, awake, curious, thoughtful? Or do they just parrot what they have learned?

Do they have a sense of humor?

A person without traditional training, e.g., someone who has had a spontaneous experience of awakening, the training may be effective, but it is often incomplete and unbalanced. It has met only a limited range of contingencies. Yet it may be more vital and relevant to your life.

Traditional/not traditional -- this may not be the best way to look for a teacher.

The person with whom you study has to embody what you yourself are seeking.

At first you may not be able to tell that this is the case and you may have to rely on references, reputation, etc., i.e., tradition. But sooner or later you, yourself, have to see that he or she embodies those qualities. If you don't, or can't, then you must ask if this is the right person.

Is this person teaching you a tradition, or is he or she teaching you how to be awake? Again, this can be difficult to discern at first and you have to give it time.

How much time?

How much do you have?

This is not about progress in any linear sense. It's about creating new possibilities. It's not about following a tradition per se. It's about experiencing life in a different way. It's not about conforming to a set of behaviors or expectations. It's about discovering wakefulness and cultivating it in your life.  


If anyone spends almost the whole day in reading...he gradually loses the capacity for thinking... This is the case with many learned persons; they have read themselves stupid. -- Arthur Schopenhauer

Friday, 5 July 2013

Faith and Belief

There are two very different ways to meet what arises in experience.

One is to interpret what arises according to our conditioning. This is a self-reinforcing dynamic and results in a closed system in which everything is explained, the mystery of life is banished, and no new ideas, perspectives, or approaches to life can enter. This I call belief.

The other is to open to whatever arises, to allow the reactions and stories of our conditioning to arise but not be swallowed by them, to open to the possibility of not knowing, and thus making a place in our experience not only for the mystery of life, but for new ideas and approaches. The willingness to meet experience this way I call faith.

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Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Blame Game

Blame is refreshing, because it is so unambiguously a reaction. You don't have to think or wonder about it. As soon as you see you are running the blame game, you know you are in reaction.

Stop right there. What's happening?
Clearly, things didn't turn out the way you expected or wanted. You are frustrated and disappointed, and you can't tolerate those feelings. You don't want to feel this way.
You have a story about what happened, but that story is immediately suspect because in it, you are the hero. You use logic and reason, the opinions of others, support from friends or colleagues, to bolster your story. You are right!
But remember, when it comes to blame, reason is a weapon you use when you do not want to acknowledge your anger.
Or, depending on your predilections, you turn it around. You still have a story and you still have a privileged role, but this time, you are wrong. It's all your fault.    

To counter this pattern, the first instruction is to lay all your problems, everything that is wrong in your life, at the doorstep of one pattern: wanting things to be different from what they are. Blame is a wonderful reminder here of how deeply you want the world to conform to your expectations.
The second instruction is to meet whatever arises. Don't avoid it, internally or externally. When things turn out differently, meet that situation, not the one you wanted or expected.
One last point. Blame is a form of mind killing. It reduces the complexities of a situation down to one emotionally charged point. It blinds you to the role of other factors. It provokes reactions that lead people to act against their interests.
Thus, when the blame game is running, stop. Stop right there. Step out of your story. Step out of your judgments. Step out of your obsession with who's right and who's wrong. Step out of your racing mind.
Take a breath and meet the world you are in.  
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Waking up is hard to do

To wake up is hard. We must first realize that we are asleep. Next, we need to identify what keeps us asleep, start to take it apart, and keep working at dismantling it until it no longer functions. As soon as we make an effort to wake up, we start opening up to how things are. We experience what we have suppressed or avoided and what we have ignored or overlooked. When that happens, the reactive patterns that have run our lives, kept us in confusion, distorted our feelings, and caused us to ignore what is right in front of us are triggered. They rise up strongly to undermine the attention that is bringing us into a deeper relationship with what we are and what we experience. When we can see those patterns and everything that is constructed out of them as the movement of mind and nothing else, we begin to wake up.

From: Wake Up To Your Life (book | audiobook)

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Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Learn how to be in what you're experiencing now

To look back and try to feel what you were feeling in the past is really stepping out of the present. In the case of trauma, what happened in the past has sometimes a very significant effect on what is experienced now. So put the attention and the effort into what you are experiencing now, which will likely include all the results of any trauma. That way you stay in the present. Because you can’t go back. You can only learn how to be in what you're experiencing now. 

When we do this--when we're completely in the experience of now--things that weren't experienced in the past but are still somewhere within us may arise in experience. And that’s where we experience the release. But we work from our present experience, not trying to recover the past, so to speak. 

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Monday, 1 July 2013

As we grow older

Unattended, our expectations and ways of acting become more and more rigid as we grow older. And this is one of the reasons why meditation practice is probably a good thing to do, because regular practice of meditation changes our relationship with that solidification process. We keep letting go of  our ideas about how things should be and what we want--that's what we actually do while we're meditating. And this allows us more flexibility and openness in our lives.

Sunday, 30 June 2013

What is life?

We ordinarily think of life as family, friends, career, things we find interesting to do, and so forth. That’s what we think life is. It’s what we are taught life is. But that isn’t what life actually is.

Life consists of precisely what we experience. 

What do we actually experience? We experience sensations: color, shape, sound, taste, smell, texture, touch; thought and feelings. So we have all the sensory sensations, and then we have thoughts and feelings. Emotions if you wish. That’s what life actually consists of.

From:  Mahayana Mind Training 3

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Saturday, 29 June 2013

Another view of tradition

A tradition is an accumulation through time of inspired works, created by people who do not have tradition on their minds. If they have anything on their minds, it is their own uniqueness: the ways they do not fit in, not the ways they do.
— Clive James

In Buddhism (and elsewhere), much is made of preserving tradition. I've long felt that there was  problem with this notion, namely, the things one tends to preserve are dead, perhaps to be eaten later, or only to be viewed in a jar of formaldehyde, or after being subjected to a process that preserves form, shape, and perhaps color but certainly not the thing itself.

This quotation, from Clive James' book Cultural Amnesia, is a delightful reminder that tradition is only a concept applied to a certain phenomenon. The phenomenon itself is created by people doing "untraditional" things — writing, painting, or teaching in ways that generate new energy, new responses, new possibilities.

Recently, an old colleague of mine called to describe how a group of people at a center had asked him to translate a text for their practice, and then had turned around and changed some of the words and phrasings in his translation to more "traditional" vocabulary. The translator here has long and deep experience and has come to understand how the "traditional" vocabulary leads people astray or limits their understanding of their practice (not just the text, but their practice). Against stupidity, even the gods struggle in vain.

In our culture, we try new things, find what works, and discard what doesn't. We go down wrong paths, we get into trouble, but we learn, through experimentation and innovation. When they limit themselves only to what is tried and true, most people in this culture grow restless and impatient, unless they die of stasis and boredom first.

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Friday, 28 June 2013

Passivity and Freedom

Passivity is insidious. It kills your mind (your attention, your intention, and your will) without you knowing it. Internal patterns of reaction (as well as families and institutions) use various mechanisms to keep you asleep. Here, for instance, are six:

Marginalization: The belief system makes ideas, perspectives, or insights that threaten it seem unimportant.

Framing: The belief system frames your thinking so that nothing that threatens the system can be thought.

Seduction: The belief system presents a picture of a world that seems to fulfill your dreams.

Alignment: The belief system tells you that in order to exist, be happy, or have influence, you have to conform to the belief system.

Reduction: The belief system freezes you by reducing complex situations to a single emotionally charged issue.

Polarization:The belief system limits your ability to choose by presenting issues only in terms of right and wrong, this or that.

Freedom is being awake, and being awake means not being passive with the tendencies that kill attention, intention, or will. What you experience is your life. To be free, meet experience directly, know it completely, and act without hesitation.

From:  The Warrior's Solution

Creative Commons LicenseThis article by Ken McLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

How do you recognize a reactive pattern?

How do you recognize a reactive pattern? Well, one of the features is that they're mechanical in nature. What's one of the characteristics of a mechanical system? No variation. It just runs one way. So, one way to identify a reactive pattern is, "Must be this way, can't be that way. Must have this, can't have that." Any time you have that going on in you, chances are you're running a reactive pattern.

We run into this all the time, and and we have many ways of saying, "It has to be this way." An example is, "Conversations have to be peaceful, can't have conflict". Or for other people, "Conversations can't be peaceful, have to have conflict." This is the same reactive pattern running in a different direction.

So any time you run into that kind of inflexibility you 're dealing with a reactive pattern.

Source: Awakening from Belief

Creative Commons LicenseThis article by Ken McLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License