Twenty years ago today
Bookshop and bakery
On camden harbor
Staying that way
For thirteen years
Staying that way
For thirteen years
Boris Johnson does not show up to the Commons; he is busy, presumably. But watch how the Tories are realigning. They can do this post-truth politics, where you say one thing and mean another; where you stab someone in the front as you do the old-boy handshake; where you are accountable to the few, not the many, and you don’t really pretend otherwise. There is a political agility here – some call it “Trumpism”, some psychosis – but recognise it if you want to understand it. It is unencumbered by “truth”, “authenticity” and “beliefs”, which is why the bloodletting over Jeremy Corbyn’s “leadership” is ever more sad.
The left is still talking in a series of binaries that no longer apply and are no longer helpful. The referendum was, of course, the false binary that bust them. In or out of Europe. You couldn’t be a little bit in, as most now seem to want. It was always destined to be a protest against the life-sucking effects of globalisation. It has unleashed horrendous racism. To say we choose, somehow, between race and class is just dumb. All of this is intertwined and remains in play.
Now, to see Labour re-enacting some Blair/Brown war a zillion years later is another totally dysfunctional binary. Most Labour MPs are on a spectrum. Most people are and, if we cannot move beyond that, we are, as children, forced to choose between warring parents for ever. The bile flows, the differences are irreconcilable, so we turn on ourselves with another false choice: the morally pure but unelectable against those who have committed vile sins of compromise.
This is a crisis of all representative democracy – What is it? Who represents us? How is this achieved? – and it is being acted out in a gestalt psychodrama by Labour. In public. Who has a say? Corbyn and his cadre of public school revolutionaries who speak for the members, or the MPs, some of them elected by actual voters? Are the internal party rules more important than external reality? Beam me up, Scotty. Lost in this equation are the Labour voters, more than nine million of them the last time I looked. I guess Labour is doing post-truth after all.
(--from, The bloodletting over Jeremy Corbyn is sad – the left is stuck in old binaries, by Suzanne Moore. The Guardian, 29June2016)
Strive always to preserve freedom of spirit, so that you need do nothing with the view of pleasing the world, and that no fear of displeasing it will have power to shake your good resolutions.
(-- Venerable Louis de Blois, 1506-1566)
About the cup, there was nothing in it for me. It took the poem. Wiped away a tear. Never said a word. Very French. I drove away wondering if it would notice how moved it would be when it rained.
Nah, I figured, it was all about agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships. She (there, I admit it) was ... done with my lips, holding her, done with black pickups.
Our morning snacking was over. I'd looked into her ... and felt an emptiness only Wednesday could reflect back.
About that, I had to finally come to terms with something nobody should have to face in the hours before noon, namely, I'd had no cereal, just coffee and -- (donut ask me to go on) -- this town is in my rear view.You never know when poetry will distinguish or disappoint. Yves Bonnefoy's poem about Ceres, especially the final stanza, does not disappoint.
Apparently, this is Ben Lerner’s problem too. In his new book, The Hatred of Poetry, the poet, novelist, and MacArthur “genius” argues that if you love poetry’s promise of transcendence, you must also hate poems for their failure to keep up their end of the bargain. “Poetry,” Lerner writes, “arises from the desire to get beyond the finite and the historical—the human world of violence and difference—and to reach the transcendent or divine.” The only problem? Poems are ultimately human rather than divine in character. “As soon as you move from that impulse to the actual poem,” he continues, “the song of the infinite is compromised by the finitude of its terms. In a dream your verses can defeat time… but when you wake… you’re back in the human world with its inflexible laws and logic.”
(--from, What's the Matter With Poetry?, by Ken Chen, The New Republic, 23June2016)It is hard to tell anymore where words come from or go; whether they create what we call reality or merely try to describe what we'd like to think of as a factual verifiable world.
This discovery of Christ is never genuine if it is nothing but a flight from ourselves. On the contrary, it cannot be an escape. It must be a fulfillment. I cannot discover God in myself and myself in Him unless I have the courage to face myself exactly as I am, with all my limitations, and to accept others as they are, with all their limitations. The religious answer is not religious if it is not fully real. Evasion is the answer of superstition.
This matter of “salvation” is, when seen intuitively, a very simple thing. But when we analyze it, it turns into a complex tangle of paradoxes. We become ourselves by dying to ourselves. We gain only what we give up, and if we give up everything we gain everything. We cannot find ourselves within ourselves, but only in others, yet at the same time before we can go out to others we must first find ourselves. We must forget ourselves in order to truly become conscious of who we are. The best way to love ourselves it to love others, yet we cannot love others unless we love ourselves since it is written, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” But if we love ourselves in the wrong way, we become incapable of loving anybody else. And indeed, when we love ourselves wrongly we hate ourselves; if we hate ourselves we cannot help hating others. Yet there is a sense in which we must hate others and leave them in order to find God. Jesus said: “If any man come to me and hate not his father and his mother … yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciples” (Luke 14:26). As for this “finding” of God, we cannot even look for Him unless we have already found Him, and we cannot find Him unless he has first found us. We cannot begin to seek Him without a special gift of His grace, yet if we wait for grace to move us, before beginning to seek Him, we will probably never begin.
The only effective answer to the problem of salvation must therefore be to reach out to embrace both extremes of a contradiction at the same time. Hence that answer must be supernatural.
(--pp.12-13, Thomas Merton, in, No Man is an Island, 1955) http://creedalchristian.blogspot.com/2008/06/thomas-merton-on-salvation.htmlThe dictionary has supernatural as "(of a manifestation or event) attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature." (apple dictionary)
I believe that we are lost here in America, but I believe we shall be found. And this belief, which mounts now to the catharsis of knowledge and conviction, is for me -- and I think for all of us -- not only our own hope, but America's everlasting, living dream.
(--from, You Can’t Go Home Again, by Thomas Wolfe) https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/w/wolfe/thomas/you-cant-go-home-again/chapter48.html
Perl’s findings, published in the scientific journal The Lancet Neurology, may represent the key to a medical mystery first glimpsed a century ago in the trenches of World War I. It was first known as shell shock, then combat fatigue and finally PTSD, and in each case, it was almost universally understood as a psychic rather than a physical affliction. Only in the past decade or so did an elite group of neurologists, physicists and senior officers begin pushing back at a military leadership that had long told recruits with these wounds to “deal with it,” fed them pills and sent them back into battle.
If Perl’s discovery is confirmed by other scientists — and if one of blast’s short-term signatures is indeed a pattern of scarring in the brain — then the implications for the military and for society at large could be vast. Much of what has passed for emotional trauma may be reinterpreted, and many veterans may step forward to demand recognition of an injury that cannot be definitively diagnosed until after death. There will be calls for more research, for drug trials, for better helmets and for expanded veteran care. But these palliatives are unlikely to erase the crude message that lurks, unavoidable, behind Perl’s discovery: Modern warfare destroys your brain.
(--from, What if PTSD Is More Physical Than Psychological? By ROBERT F. WORTH, Jun 10, 2016, NYTimes)
Tea and Rice, by Zen Master Dogen
When you ride in a boat and watch the shore, you might assume that the shore is moving. But when you keep your eyes closely on the boat, you can see that the boat moves. Similarly, if you examine myriad things with a confused body and mind, you might suppose that your mind and essence are permanent. When you practice intimately and return to where you are, it will be clear that nothing at all has unchanging self.
--To study the way of enlightenment is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of enlightenment remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.
–If you attain unsurpassable, complete enlightenment, all sentient beings also attain it. The reason is that all sentient beings are aspects of enlightenment.
–Great enlightenment right at this moment is not self, not other.
–If you speak of “achieving enlightenment,” you may think that you don’t usually have enlightenment. If you say, “Enlightenment comes,” you may wonder where it comes from. If you say, “I have become enlightened,” you may suppose that enlightenment has a beginning.
–Great enlightenment is the tea and rice of daily activity.
♦From The Essential Dogen: Writings of the Great Zen Master, edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi and Peter Levitt © 2013. Reprinted with permission of Shambhala Publications.
http://tricycle.org/magazine/tea-and-rice-2/?utm_source=Tricycle&utm_campaign=8947c1f89e-Daily_Dharma_June_11_201606_11_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1641abe55e-8947c1f89e-307306085Here we are.
Eriugena's theology centers on the notion of an infinite, incomprehensible, transcendent God --"the immovable self-identical one" -- whose freely willed theophanies (divine manifestations) alone can be apprehended by created intellects such as angels and human beings.
Natura is defined as universitas rerum, the 'totality of all things' that are (ea quae sunt) and are not (ea quae non sunt).
(--Dermot Moran, Johannes Scottus Eriugena, in The History of Western Philosophy of Relinion, ed. by Oppy & Trakakis, c.2009)
Something I have come to understand slowly over my lifetime is that nature, earth, the world—whatever you call it—is not simply something I am on but something I am. It is not outside of me: it is me, and I am it. There is no outside.
(—Paul Kingsnorth, "The Witness")
The Incarnation announces the radical particularity of each individual and the radical particularity of the things in the world, and that the metaphysical cause of that condition of things is the birth and death and resurrection of Christ who, while being the universal God, took it upon himself to become a radical particular. This fact instigates, progressively, our transformation from being mere copies of eternal paradigms to being fully existent identities. Radical particularity applies universally: it delivers to all particulars their status as particulars; it imparts to each thing the condition of its identity, granting to it what in the past it only had as it were on loan from its eternal original. And yet the Incarnation is able to become a universal cause by becoming a particular fact. What for Platonic thought, for instance, belonged to a realm of atemporal forms or ideas, has entered history. The forms are in the world as the schemata for the things of the world, fully existing only as those things.
I’ve begun to think of my visits to prison these twenty seven years as a succession of three hour sentences I serve with a bevy of cellmates with whom I meet in enclosed rooms and open areas to discuss terms, negotiating for release.(--from, History and “The Thinking Now Occurring” by Charles Stein) http://www.charlessteinpoet.com/prose/unpublished-texts/history-and-the-thinking-now-occurring/
Radical Particularity Outside of the West
Humanity did not have to wait for the Christian epoch to attend and appreciate particular existence, however the course of Western thought appears, at least in one major stream of its history, to have been determined by the need to shake off the Platonic hypostatization of a realm of ideal forms supervenient upon concrete experience. Zen Buddhism, the Taoist tradition deriving from Chuang Tzu, the Dzogchen tradition in Tibetan Buddhism, and countless examples from animist peoples all give ample evidence of an anchoring of Being in the radically particular that, in terms of precise practice, far exceeds anything propounded in this regard in the West. From the perspective of these practices as spiritual perspectives, the radical particularism of the Thinking Now Occurring appears a bit like too little too late.These traditions offer many and varied forms of practice geared to explore what there is every reason to view as ontological possibilities unknown in the West. (Much of Buddhist thought, of course, abrogates ontological speculation as such.
In general, it does not seek to deny or affirm the existence of objects or the truth of concepts but seeks rather to transform our relation to that ground in our sentience from which ontological concern arises. But that does not imply the irrelevance of Buddhist experience and practice to our ontological concerns.) The cartoon version of Buddhist, Taoist, and Hindu traditions as involving the subsumption of the individual by a supra- or sub-venient continuum, begs the question of the value and nature of the ontological territory these practices open. One does not know what the Buddhist means by his nirvana without undergoing the initiation that reveals it. Gautama Buddha, for instance, refused to answer questions which to us would be essentially ontological ones, including whether there exists an individual entity that survives from birth to birth and which undergoes enlightenment—presumably because he understood that the nature of existence as experienced once the enlightenment process has been undergone is no longer what it was experienced to be prior to this. We need to be as wise as a Buddha in this respect and not exclude from our polyontology the ontological perspectives that these practices quite plausibly might open. Many of the essential practices the Buddhist practitioner masters involve a radical attention to the minute particulars of sensory and mental experience, so that experiential regions which for the Western thinker are matters of speculation, for the Buddhist are open in depth to empirical exploration. In this regard, the attention to the concrete, and in that sense the historical, is far more advanced in the East than it is in the West in spite of the fact that Buddhism does not take a full-blown interest in what we call history. What we think of as history in the sense of a running narrative of the concrete appears to the Buddhist as the run-away elaboration of mental construction.
(--from, History and “The Thinking Now Occurring” by Charles Stein) http://www.charlessteinpoet.com/prose/unpublished-texts/history-and-the-thinking-now-occurring/Friday’s bid was full of good-time.