I was gratified to be able to answer promptly, and I did. I said I didn’t know.
Mark Twain (via devilduck)
(Reblogged from devilduck)
Free-market societies produce unjust and very stupid societies. I don’t believe that the production and consumption of things can be the meaning of human life. All great religions and philosophies say that human beings are more than producers and consumers. We cannot reduce our lives to economics. If a society without social justice is not a good society, a society without poetry is a society without dreams, without words, and most importantly, without that bridge between one person and another that poetry is. We are different from the other animals because we can talk, and the supreme form of language is poetry. If society abolishes poetry it commits spiritual suicide.
Barbara Smuts, … an American bioanthropologist who went to Tanzania to investigate baboons in the wild for her doctoral research … is told as a scientific investigator of non-human primates to keep her distance, so that her presence would not influence the behavior of the research subjects that she was studying. Distance is the condition of objectivity. Smuts talks about the fact that this advice was a complete disaster for her research, that she found herself unable to do any observations since the baboons were constantly attentive to what she was doing. She finally realized that this was because Smuts was behaving so strangely to them, they just could not get over her. She was being a bad social subject in their circles. The only way to carry on and to do research objectively was to be responsible; that is, that objectivity, a theme that feminist science studies has been emphasizing all along, is the fact that objectivity is a matter of responsibility and not a matter of distancing at all. What ultimately did work was that she learned to be completely responsive to the non-human primates, and in that way she became a good baboon citizen.
Treat everyone you meet like God in drag.
Ram Dass (via devilduck)
(Reblogged from devilduck)
It is my image that I want to multiply, but not out of narcissism or megalomania, as could all too easily be believed: on the contrary, I want to conceal, in the midst of so many illusory ghosts of myself, the true me, who makes them move…
Italo Calvino, If On a Winter’s Night, A Traveller
I find for myself that my first thought is never my best thought. My first thought is always someone else’s; it’s always what I’ve already heard about the subject, always the conventional wisdom. It’s only by concentrating, sticking to the question, being patient, letting all the parts of my mind come into play, that I arrive at an original idea. By giving my brain a chance to make associations, draw connections, take me by surprise. And often even that idea doesn’t turn out to be very good. I need time to think about it, too, to make mistakes and recognize them, to make false starts and correct them, to outlast my impulses, to defeat my desire to declare the job done and move on to the next thing.
(Reblogged from benkudria)
The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.
Noam Chomsky (via spiritofumunthu)

(Source: goodreads.com)

(Reblogged from neon0561)
I am inevitably asked at this point in my argument just what exactly it is that I am proposing that people do. What would I put in capitalism’s place? In reply, I am always tempted to quote Voltaire’s response to the complaint that he had nothing to put in the place of the Christianity he criticized. “What!” he said, “A ferocious beast has sucked the blood of my family; I tell you to get rid of that beast, and you ask me, what shall we put in its place!”
(Reblogged from readmorewikipedia)
A general uprising, as we see it, should be nebulous and elusive; its resistance should never materialize as a concrete body, otherwise the enemy can direct sufficient force at its core, crush it, and take many prisoners. When that happens, the people will lose heart and, believing that the issue has been decided and further efforts would be useless….On the other hand, there must be some concentration at certain points: the fog must thicken and form a dark and menacing cloud out of which a bolt of lightning will may strike at any time.
Carl von Clausewitz, On War

As I observe and understand meditation in the great Buddhist traditions of Asia, I think it is for the most part admirable and beneficial. In societies where formal education was rare, meditation could take its place in developing capacities such as concentration and awareness of others and oneself….But I have misgivings about the modern cult of meditation in the West, which is also spreading to Asia. I agree with the Buddha’s teaching that sound ethics are a prerequisite for success in meditation; and sound ethics are based on unselfishness.

Meditation in the West today, as I see it, is usually part of an essentially solitary pursuit of happiness. Learning to meditate on an (often misconceived) idea that one has no self is a self-centered activity that I think is likely to be self-defeating. Why not use the time to go and be kind and helpful to someone? I think it is relevant that traditionally meditation was always taught in a monastic setting, mostly to monastics; it was not an interlude in a daily life in the world.

In taking this critical view of meditation, I believe I am merely reformulating the Buddha’s Second Noble Truth, that the origin of suffering is craving or desire, which can also be expressed as self-centeredness.

Richard Gombrich, historian of early Buddhism

In his interview with Tricycle, Gombrich challenges misconceptions about the Buddha, describes the influence of the philosophy of Karl Popper on his methodology, and expresses his critical view of meditation as practiced in the West. Read the interview in its entirety here.

(Reblogged from tricycle-tumbles)
(Reblogged from jcud)

Excerpt from For All Mankind with Brian Eno’s original score.

There was another thing I heartily disbelieved in—work. Work, it seemed to me even at the threshold of life, is an activity reserved for the dullard. It is the very opposite of creation, which is play, and which just because it has no raison d’être other than itself is the supreme motivating power in life.
Henry Miller, The Rosy Crucifixion Part 1