Saturday, January 14, 2023

from an- ‘without’ + arkhos ‘chief, ruler’.

 There's another way of seeing it. The crass animosity of republicans for democrats, illiberals for liberals, right wing for left wing.

Anarchy must be considered. 

anarchy ˈanərkē | 

noun a state of disorder due to absence or nonrecognition of authorityhe must ensure public order in a country threatened with anarchy• absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual, regarded as a political idealORIGIN mid 16th century: via medieval Latin from Greek anarkhia, from anarkhos, from an- without + arkhos chief, ruler.  (apple dictionary)

Republicans have done the math. They seem to know their skillset is not governance, not compassion for the people, not the advancement of services and opportunity for middle or lower income citizens. Those skills and interests, they calculate, are associated more with Democrat-led governance.

So, their thinking goes, tear down government. Strip the agencies and departments set up to provide services and a closer form of equality of power and financial resources. Prove to the populace that their opposite political party is only interested in liberal self-serving, power, wealth, and socialistic inclinations.

The meanness, the rousing of menacing hostility, ad hominem attacks, attempts to flay rights and respect, and their carelessness in protecting the dignity of individuals with needs -- are calculated strategies to diminish healthy hope and community support one for another.

There is a preference for no government/governance. Individual wealth is a privilege that takes precedence over shared contributions to the common good. And if there is a large and unreflective assemblage of religious fundamentalists looking for a hitching post to tie their sale-able beliefs, all well and good.

Add in the itch for a simpatico authoritarian demagogue whose personal moral character has never matured, and you have a convenient marriage of sociopathy and simplistic thinking masquerading as a legitimate alternative to representative democracy. 2016 was the ribbon cutting for carnival derangement.

But let's give the devil his due. The "people" are a dangerous and unpredictable force in the life of a democracy. Majority rule is a precarious predation of mob rule. There are, the thinking goes, some who know better than the hoi polloi, and, noblesse oblige, should lift the burden of self-determination from the thin shoulders of those uninitiated into a highly specific, if chaotic, ideology.

There are, some say, legitimate reasons to strip freedoms from individuals and groups and give authority to corporations instead of people, authoritarian commanders rather than misguided individuals, hierarchy rather than the ordinary citizen.

In 2023 there is a precarious hold on sanity and civility. Some say pay no attention to the news. They're right, of course. The less you know, the happier you might be. But to know less is different from the "don't know" mind. The latter is, conceivably, a more difficult way of making one's way through the turmoil.

I don't know -- not really -- whether democracy (as conceived) is a better option to anarchistic authoritarianism. I don't know, down deep, whether Republicans really want the disintegration of the structures of representative governance. And I don't know whether, as some insist, both political parties and philosophies are corrupt and narcissistically intent on feeding their own ambitions.

If I knew less I'd say let's break out the booze and have a ball; if that's all there is, let's keep dancing. Its a tolorable position to adopt. 

But I don't know. The cultivation of which suggests keeping on, eyes open, mind alert, heart ready, and feet shod to engage and encounter what is taking place, as it is taking place, with equanimity and compassionate readiness.

It always seemed simplistic -- the rejoinder to love even those you do not like. There's a lot, these days, I do not like -- and a whole lot of folks jabbering cruelty and nonsense from positions of responsibility that I definitely do not like.

As for that other word, that other way of being-in-the-world, (go ahead, say it) -- "love" -- well . . . I don't know . . .

I'll have to sit a while with that invitation. 

Still, I'm glad there's been an invitation.

which way


No reason

To think


Do it

Any way

Friday, January 13, 2023


 Capuchin Friar

Sent December card addressed

“Mono’s” to mailbox,

(“monastics of no other”) —

His laughter across the miles

behind rain, more rain

 If today is last

Hear this, no regret, no hope —

Coming or going

this is so

We’ve misunderstood the metaphor. Religion appropriated it and we looked away to other interests. 

If we apply the template, the process progression in a wider swath, we come to see a new dynamic of spiritual/psychological life applicable to ordinary life and everyday experience.

Religion, in this manner, re-enters its home ground — where earth and cosmos serve particular manifestations of energetic life transmuting itself into Itself.

In 1946, Tanabe Hajime (1885–1962), the recently retired chair of the Depart- ment of Philosophy at Kyōto Imperial University, published Philosophy as Meta- noetics (Zangedō to shite no tetsugaku), a work that is often read as marking a significant transformation in Tanabe’s thought.2 In his uncharacteristically personal preface to Metanoetics, Tanabe explains that this transformation was spurred by his experiences in the last years of the Pacific War, when, confront- ed by the suffering he witnessed around him and his inability as a philosopher to bring his expertise to bare on the situation, he was thrown into a painful process of self-reflection and self-critique. From this personal experience, Tanabe began to question the limits of philosophy and turned to the theories of self-negation and repentance found in the True Pure Land school of Buddhism (Jōdo shinshū). Influenced by the teachings of the Japanese Buddhist monk Shinran (1173–1263), Tanabe conceived his personal experience and the ostensible crisis of philosophy more generally through metanoia (μετάνοια; zange), understood as a circular process of self-negation, repentance, conversion, and resurrection. For Tanabe, metanoia would serve not only as a new model for philosophy—where philosophy became metanoetics (μετανόησίς; zangedō), a continual process of philosophy’s self-negation and resurrection—but more immediately, would illuminate a path for Japan’s national repentance and reconstruction in the wake of war and defeat. The resulting 1946 text, Philosophy as Metanoetics, was not a discourse on religious conversion, or a new philosophy of religion, but a call for the complete rethinking of philosophy from a religiously inflected perspective. Ultimately, Tanabe hoped to push reason to the limits of its own antinomies and, through a process of negation-and- resurrection, reformulate the philosophical enterprise as a critical practice of what he called “absolute critique” (zettai hihan).

 Metanoetics is thus a bold and complicated text. It has been read as a philosophical treatise, as religious philosophy, and as an expression of the general discourse of national repentance (i.e., ichioku sōzange) circulating in Japan after its surrender in 1945.3 When Metanoetics is compared to Tanabe’s earlier writings—in particular, to his “logic of species” (shu no ronri) developed in the 1930s—Metanoetics appears to mark a major shift in his thought.4 For example, in the conventional literature, Tanabe’s earlier logic of species is recognized as a thoroughly political project, emerging from his concern with the historical reproduction of ethnonational units and their constitutive irrationality.5 In contrast, Metanoetics appears to be, as James Heisig has claimed, a “supremely nonpolitical book” since it is a “call...for a religious change of heart, not for a reform of social institutions.”6

(Tanabe Hajime as Storyteller, Or, Reading Philosophy as Metanoetics as Narrative, by Max Ward. In Confronting Capital and Empire of Rethinking Kyoto School Philosophy Edited by Viren Murthy, Fabian Schäfer, Max Ward, 2017),

Changing one’s mind, in particularity, is isomorphic to changing Mind in absolute analysis.

It is often wondered what affect, if any, the individual (so small) has upon the collective (so large). In times like ours, when antipathy and arrogance threaten the well-being of so many, we begin to despair the absence of cooperation, harmony, and creativity in both political arena and personal milieu. 

When any one mind sees the whole, the whole is seen through and through.

Each person, each practitioner, (in a word) ‘saves’ the world from fragmentation and divisive intolerance.

How do we know this is so?

We don’t know.

But, in fact, this is so,

Critical entirety is ushered into Itself by each individual becoming itself/themselves.

It only takes practice.

Take it!

Thursday, January 12, 2023

living (a)lone together, (a)part and with (an)other

 several inquiries

about meetingbrook's

daily schedule

I respond

we're gone 

idiorrhythmic *

between buddhist zen

and christian contemplative



apart from Tuesday

Friday, and Sunday  

evening zoom practice

we are on our own

to practice according

to each one's rhythm

the chapel/zendo

is open to all

at any time, unheated

the bookshed is

open to all 

at any time, gas heater

hermits come and go

keep to cell

love the alone

as we traverse

what is solitary

with (in) us

...   ...   ...

* Idiorrhythmic monasticism is a form of monastic life in Christianity.[1]

It was the original form of monastic life in Christianity, as exemplified by St. Anthony of Egypt (c. 250–355) and is the opposite of cenobitic monasticism in that instead of communal ownership, the monk lives alone, often in isolation. Philosophically it consisted of a hermit's total withdrawal from society, usually in the desert, and the constant practice of mental prayer.[2] The word idiorrhythmic comes from two Greek words, idios for "particular" and rhythmos for "rule", so the word can be translated as meaning "following one's own devices".[3]

It was first developed by St. Anthony of Egypt (c. 250–355) and was practised at Mount Athos, Greece until 1992.[4].   


 Monasticism (from Ancient Greek μοναχός, monakhos, from μόνος, monos, 'alone'), also referred to as monachism, or monkhood, is a religious way of life in which one renounces worldly pursuits to devote oneself fully to spiritual work. Monastic life plays an important role in many Christian churches, especially in the Catholic and Orthodox traditions as well as in other faiths such as Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism.[1] In other religions monasticism is criticized and not practiced, as in Islam and Zoroastrianism, or plays a marginal role, as in modern Judaism. Many monastics live in abbeys, convents, monasteries or priories to separate themselves from the secular world, unless they are in mendicant or missionary orders.


as january plods on

 the Bible

on windowsill

in bathroom

does not see

winter outside

it's the winter

inside me

that keeps

its covers


the longing to light up drab landscapes

 It’s like watching torrential rains, devastating floods, mud rock slides. Or blast snow cyclones crippling highways and side streets — both causing destruction and death, altering landscape, shutting down movement.

You can watch, but cannot stop. The cleanup will be slow and disrupting. 

I think the core driver of politics across the Western democracies is this: In society after society, highly educated professionals have formed a Brahmin class. The top of the ladder go to competitive colleges, marry each other, send their kids to elite schools and live in the same neighborhoods. This class dominates the media, the academy, Hollywood, tech and the corporate sector. 

Many people on the middle and bottom have risen up to say, we don’t want to be ruled by those guys. To hell with their economic, cultural and political power. We’ll vote for anybody who can smash their machine. The Republican Party is the party of this protest movement.

(—David Brooks in, The Party’s Over for Us. Where Do We Go Now? Jan. 11, 2023, nytimes with Bret Stephens)

For some, the sledgehammer is more reliable than the blueprint or plane-saw and attaching joists.

The hidden anarchist in me claps hands and stamps feet.

The secret monk in me entertains the no lasting kingdom trope.

The political fool in me thinks it should be a confluence of dialogue and compromise.

The reclusive poet in me wonders where the red cardinals showing up yesterday at feeder have been these many months.

When aesthetic sensibility returns, long missed, and lights up drab landscapes, we will remember what authentic faces look like.

not just descriptive, but imperative encouraging invitation

Standing in dooryard

Night meditation with dog

He drops, rolls in snow

Looking toward mountain rise, sign

Crossing cabin planks — ‘open’

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

“t” as core connective home

 To study truth is to

Study God. To study God is to see

What is there as here

Collapsing here/t/here, finding

“t” as core connective  — home

throwing thought to side of road

 Experience first

Then, if you want to construct

A theory, do so —

Then drop it, returning to

Stark experience

see where the clouds rise

 The zen teacher said, 

“Don’t die within a phrase.” No —

Instead, “Realize 

the heart of Being.” Seeing,

we don’t get so caught in words

is, most intimate

 Ritual is structured silence. Sitting on cushion. Walking in silence. Bowing to the holy presence of tree, person, departed, or scurrying animal. The sangha of creation. God as what is appearing before us.

The ceremony of attention, without thought or calculation, with simple allowing, there and here, as is, in its own light.

When I was a boy, bicycling out of yard and driveway onto bay ridge avenue to 20th avenue, to 61st street, to iron rung fence that held my schwinn upright, climbing wooden stairs to sacristy.

The ritual of serving at 6:30am mass at St A’s.

Every step of the setting out, approaching, attending, serving, wondering, the mere awe of it!

I am still making the turns onto 21st avenue, onto 62nd street, surplice folded over handlebars. The earliness of it.

The ritual.


In every step I take to chapel/zendo.

Even when nowhere near the Bay Parkway small wooden church or the Ragged Mountain cabin.

Even then, there,

Mind and body, body/mind, holds space and time, space/time, near and intimate.

I don’t know how it is we exist throughout the complexity of duration and location.

But as the zen master says, of meandering endlessly, not-knowing is most intimate. 

Or . . .

Where our feet take us.

Monday, January 09, 2023

no further to fall

 When the rug is pulled 

and you are left unstanding —

find the floor — dwell there


 I asked God to help me understand stupidity in political leadership and self-serving celebrity posturing.

God said, no, there’s no understanding stupid.

i enjoy our conversations.

Sunday, January 08, 2023

resume writing résumé

 A day is coming when stupidity will no longer be rewarded.

On that day I will turn in my resignation and forfeit my riches.

Having long been stupid, I’ll have to find a new job.

Shall we look together?

still, life

It seems meaningless 

to say faith without belief —

like standing mid air 

ground far below cosmos far 

away, Paco, gone, smashed, car