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Open Thread: May 2021

As a very little boy I learned of my patron saint's story: Child Saint Dominic Savio intervened between two warring families (Think of "Romeo and Juliet") and brought them to sensible dialogue.
That touched me. Our soon to be Prime Minister had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for having organized UN military forces to intervene in the "Suez Crisis". I was just very young, but that made sense. What I couldn't explain to myself? why France was inserting itself to violently re-impose colonialism in Indo-China, after WWII. (As a French Canadian, that came home to me. Also, I was born 5MAY1954. Dien Bien Phu surrened 2 days after my birth.) Fore-shadowing the ghastly war to come.

Hungary ... Soviet tanks rolling in to crush democracy. 
Chile ... no assistance in overthrowing the mafia regime, but an invasion to crush the new administration, which effectly put that people's history into the Soviet sphere.

1960s ... murderous in every way.

I turned to Canadian military as a way of turning away from bourgeois society and culture. (My thinking was simply this: perhaps our society would be less bloody-minded if we effectively interdicted Soviet  assets to drive them back.)

I didn't tangle with consumerism and the abuse of Freudian psychiatry. Above my pay grade!
I did tangle with "culture wars" ... as far back as 1970s.
All I could think of was how everyone around me, schoolyard and later, always indulged or at least ignored bullies and other villains.

"Malicious" might be rare. (Trump, however charismatic, is just a gifty psychopath. Nothing mystical here.) But "malilgnance" is not. Sick cultures produce sick individuals.

Bodhisattva aspiration is never other than simply sensible!


Complexity and the Search for Leverage

Too short / too abrupt / cryptic ... or, too long winded / TL;DR / pompous and arrogant.
Something I brought to the table in context of "cognitive interview" with Law and Psychology ... criminology: 5 people responding to an event, at least 8 different stories.

Perhaps this sets the tone:
In the wisdom tradtion I try to follow, "bliss itself can become an obsactle".
We each and every one of us strive to be happy. Isn't it sensible to aim for that by trying to be free from the distortions of fear and pain?

I'm sure the view from Mt Everest is quite wonderful. But I make no plans of taking myself to Base Camp!

/me recalls Marpa's advice to Milarepa: "Wonderful vision. Now, go back and just sit."
/me also recalls Chuang Tzu's answer to the Emperor's messenger. "Here, have some tea!"

Complexity and the Search for Leverage

In contrast to "Do the most good", which I see alongside "Compassion" and "Loving Kindness", I see clearly the two wisdom traditions I have leaned into: Zen, the Soto School of Dogen Kigen (aka Dogen Zenji) and the Vajrayana of Karma Kagyu. (More precisely, the Mahayana on which those practices rest.)
What I see, rather than the high virtues of heroism, is a simpler set:
First, "Cease from evil" ... only then "Do good" and only ultimately "Do good for others".
And then, in the tradition of prajna/upaya  and bodhisattva aspiration: solidarity/empathy.

So much easier to markety glory and fame! so much better to adopt the practicality of reasonable humility.

--Karma Chöpal (Ben Tremblay, from FB)

Addendum: "Don't be lucid and ironic. People will turn that against you, saying 'You see? I told you he wasn't a nice person!'"

p.s. "Aim to explain"? you mean rather than explore and inquire? lecture, rather and discourse? how tragically revealing ...

Complexity and the Search for Leverage

Doesn't complexity have its "roots" in reality? as one aspect of phenomenal world? of actuality and factual experience? rather than growing up out of a set of conceptualized abstractions?

I refer, of course, to Varella, Matura et al ... "self-organization" and such. Autopoesis, nae?
And, of course, Mandelbrot ... the fractal nature of reality ...

#Lateral - Came across this in my bookmarks: