Thursday, July 28, 2005

Larry's Moody

Larry's moods, so dependent on things
When things are working right
Larry's mood is light
When things are working wrong
Larry's face is long

Monday, July 25, 2005

Saturday, July 23, 2005

64 parts to a moment

(64 parts to a moment +
64 parts to a moment +
64 parts to a moment +
64 parts to a moment) =
a moment

A Serendipity

I had a delivery to York University today. To the Physical Resources building. Now, it's been nearly 30 years since I lived at the main campus. Another life. Another Larry. Seems like a dream now.

Anyway, I had no idea where this building might be. But I knew the main entrance on Keele St. So I drove south on Keele looking for the sign. I saw a sign come up quickly and turned fast so's not to miss it. Turned out not to be the main entrance. Shit, just a side road. Now where'm I gonna go?

I drove down the road a space to find a place to turn around. And there, on the right, was a sign reading "Physical Resources". Bingo! Wrong turn. Right road.

Now this is a huge sprawling building...the physical plant way back there, out-buildings all around. How to find the right place to go? I walked in the first door. No sign. No indication that this was the main entrance to the building. And inside, nothing but two long hallways with doors on either side. It'll take forever to find the right one, #1045. You know universities. The arrangement of rooms is not guaranteed to be logical or intuitive.

But then I look to the left, and there it is! The room I'm looking for. Right there.

I delivered that package from Guelph to North York in just over an hour. Sometimes all the threads come together to make a pin-stripe suit.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Two Stories from Geshe Kalsang

These stuck with me, although he really only mentioned them in passing:

1. In the course of teaching Point 1 of the Seven Point Mind Training, which says, "First, train in the preliminaries," he told us this story. One of the preliminaries is basically to learn the proper sitting position for meditation. The vajra posture, or full lotus...This is the posture you see the Buddha sitting in. But, Geshe Kalsang said, we should notice that all the representations of the future Buddha, Maitreya, show him sitting in a chair with both feet on the ground. (I think this is called the Royal posture.) But anyway, he laughed and said, "Maybe he knows something about the West..."

This is significant, really. It may be that the next wave of Buddhist practitioners will be Westerners. The Chinese forced the Tibetans out of their isolation, and now the Tibetans are spreading the Dharma to a West starved for spiritual knowledge. Everybody has trouble with that meditation posture though...

2. While teaching part of Point 2, which says "Meditate on the great kindness of all" he recounted a story of his childhood. Geshe Kalsang is a refugee, as are all of the Tibetans in India and around the world. When he arrived in India with his family, they were in a camp. In this camp were bunk beds, he said. Not only double bunks, but some triple. And he said he remembers clearly that stamped on the side of the beds was the word CARE. To him, this was a symbol of immense generosity, that people from the other side of the world "cared" enough to send beds and other supplies, to come and work, just to help poor refugees from a snowbound land. Part of his teaching that everything we have comes through the generosity of others.

Letter to the Editor

Here's the unedited version of a netter to the leditor published today in the Lunchbucket Liar, the local newspaper:


Dear Editor:

Here's a suggestion for cutting back on our consumption of electricity
to avoid the possibility of selective blackouts.

Currently, all electricity providers have the capability of cutting
power to individual homes of those who fail to pay their bills. My
list of people who have not paid their bills, metaphorically speaking,
includes:
1. the boards of directors and senior management of Hydro
One and OPG;
2. the government and members of the Ontario legislature;
3. the IESO (or whatever the heck it's called these days).

They have failed to pay their bills to the citizens of this province through mismanagement, poor service and political incompetence. They have lacked the foresight to provide this province with a rational conservation policy, alternative energy policy, or plan for the production necessary to meet entirely foreseeable increases in demand.

So, why don't we just cut the electricity to all their homes? Perhaps that will wake them up to their true responsibilities, other than simply trying to convince ordinary people they are hydro hogs.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Adventures in Modern Recording

I did some recording for a children's songwriter tonight. Four songs. Another two to go. Maybe three. An exercise in leaving one's ego at the door.

One of the songs was a ballad. I used a rich, mellow sound for the tune. Practising it the last couple of days, I had worked out a short phrase that repeated throughout the song. The rest was a bit of an improvisation. I was quite pleased with the effect. Pleased with myself. Of the four songs, this was the one I liked the most, as I had worked it out in my head.

The boss wasn't quite as impressed. After the first take, he came over to me and asked for something different. Nothing to do but give him what he wanted and let go of the little phrase that had pleased me so much. That take is still there, but I doubt that he'll use much of it.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Wizard of Oz as Buddha

If I only had a brain.
If I only had a heart.
If I only had the noive.
(What makes a muskrat guard his musk?
Courage!)

Popeye's I is in his yams.
And popping out of spinach cans.
DoveTaler's I's in her eye.
And I saw a licence plate today that said
"Izdaby"

OK...
Scarecrow is wisdom
Tin Man compassion
Cowardly Lion...joyful perseverance?
All bodhisattvas.
Glinda a dakini...powerful female with a hint of mischief
Wicked witch a wrathful deity
Dorothy? Spiritual seeker...
Wizard of Oz...master of illusion...
demonstrator of emptiness...the magician not
fooled by his own magic

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Notes on Emptiness #8

Here's one:

Descartes thinks, therefore he is.
But thought is not continuous.
It only seems so.
Thought comes.
Then it goes.
This one...Next one...
Is Descartes in between?

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Notes on Emptiness #7

Interesting that I should use the analogy of projections on the screen. Geshe Kalsang, who is teaching us the Seven Points of Mind Training this weekend, used exactly the same example. This is a line of thought used in the Mind Only School. Nothing exists except as projections of our mind. He reminded us that when you go to a movie, you watch the images on the screen, you get so involved, you feel the emotions...But they are only images projected on a screen. There is actually nothing on the screen itself! After all, it's only the play of light.

The Madhyamika-Prasangika school is more subtle than this. Things do exist, in a conventional way. We agree to their existence. Was it Berkeley who kicked the stone and said, "Feels real enough to me..."? Something is there. We feel it, we hear it, we smell it, we taste it...We label it. ie. give it a name. It's just not there in the way we think it is.

In what way is it there, then? Ah, that's the 64k question. The answer lies in the extended analytical meditation you are supposed to do, always questioning your perception of phenomena. The primary phenomenon to question is your self. Your concept of "I".

A "simple" question to start with. When you think of "I", where is it, exactly?

Notes on Emptiness #6

Thinking this morning of those optical illusion drawings. Like the one that switches from a young Parisian women wearing a feathered hat to an old hag with a wart on her nose. Or the one that switches from two faces to a vase or chalice.

These are good illustrations of emptiness. What you see depends on your focus. Foreground and background are interchangeable, but reveal different pictures according to how you focus. The two aspects of the illusion are separate pictures but are also indivisible. The young woman cannot exist without the old. They are simultaneously a whole and individual parts. The parts that make up the hag are essential to the existence of the young woman and vice versa.

If I remember right, most people see the young woman first and after a time are able to see the hag. One feels a certain sense of wonder and delight when the transformation occurs. And after that, you can never look at that image without seeing both. I imagine this is the same sense of wonder one feels when a genuine realization of emptiness occurs.

We spend our whole lives looking at the foreground, never even realizing there is a background. If once we can shift our perspective enough to see the background, to bring it up front, our view of the world must change forever.

Now, take one step farther back and see yourself as the observer of the image. Another step in the exploration of emptiness. Because, really, the picture is meaningless without an observer. And the observer does not exist without something to observe. Thus, the two are separate but indivisible. Individual but united. Both one and not one. Interdependent. Empty.

Here, the observer (me) is the foreground. The picture is the background. All the activity is going on in me, the foreground, and being projected onto the background. Like looking out the window of my eyes and seeing the world pass by like a film on a screen. What if the screen suddenly comes to the fore? How different things would look!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Taking Vows

I witnessed a friend take barma rabjung vows tonight...the preliminary vows to becoming a monk in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

The other night I took the Bodhisattva vows.

That felt like a serious commitment to me. And it is. But this...there is a visible, palpable difference. A tangible sign of commitment in this lifetime. Although he is not yet a fully-ordained monk, he now has the robes of a monk. He has the serious precept vows...vows which I have promised myself and taken to heart as best I can, but not in a formal way as he did tonight. I admire him for his courage. But I fear for his stamina.

Lama Phuntsok, who transmitted the vows, talked about the significance of taking them. They are not something you put on or take off, depending on how you feel. They are not something you can keep by default, as in, "Oh, I forgot to steal for a whole year!" He said taking the vows was like saying, "All right, from this moment I begin the conscious work of becoming a good person."

When I took refuge, Sonam Rinpoche said, "Now you are guaranteed to achieve enlightenment...but you must work for it." Tonight Lama Phuntsok said, "When you take vows you understand that no one is responsible for your enlightenment but you." And of course, the Buddha said no one can give you liberation or enlightenment. He was only the finger pointing at the moon.

A Question...or two

Is there a special hell reserved for suicide bombers?

I'm going to have to look up Dante...see which circle of hell holds those who kill in the name of God.

And what does God really think of those who presume to know what God is thinking?

And really...what was he thinking? Or she? Or it?

Or was he thinking at all? In the middle of my God complex, when I thought I was omnipotent and untouchable somehow, my mother said to me, "Larry! What were you thinking?" And my only response was, "I guess I wasn't thinking..."

Would God be that sheepish?

PS. My acronym for God: SHI: She/He/It

And if you're a Taoist, you know God really is SHI. God seeks out the low, the quiet...there you find the Tao...

Notes on Emptiness #5

Self is glue that keeps our parts together...
also flypaper in which we get stuck...

Monday, July 11, 2005

A Response for DoveTaler

DoveTaler posted this comment about my possible epitaph: Do you really believe it - this re-birth stuff? Or do you think of it as a student - interesting proposition.... intellectually fascinating...

The short answer is yes. I really do believe it and not just as an interesting proposition.

Even before I began the study of Buddhism seriously, I considered this a strong possibility. Not that I have memories of previous lives, but I always wondered where certain aspects of my personality came from. Out of thin air? Mere intellectual curiosity? Where did my fascination with revolutions, especially the Russian revolution, come from? My almost automatic opposition to authority? My musical talent? My precocious literacy?

For years I have been interested in Freemasonry...(this came out of a single reference in War and Peace when I was 12 years old for heaven's sake)...and the Knights Templar...and all the Holy Grail legendry. And then Penny, my partner, has an affinity with the Languedoc, which was a central locale for Templar activities and certain Gnostic Christian movements. How to explain these odd circumstances?

As a youngster I was fascinated by the American Civil War. I even had dreams about it. In which I was simultaneously a Rebel footsoldier and a dashing behatted, grey-gloved lieutenant in the Confederate cavalry.

The Mayan civilization has also held a certain fascination for me. I have been in Mexico twice in my life. Both times I've made special trips, unaccompanied because no one else was interested, to the Mayan ruins.

You can say it's because I'm attracted to history. And so I am. But not just any history. I'm not especially interested in the history of the Inuit, for example. No, these are specific places and times. Why? I don't know, except to think that maybe, just maybe I was there.

You can say it's just a curious mind, but I ask, what drives that curious mind. When you look at them, they are bizarre things to be pursuing. After all, in front of my nose is beer, sex, food, TV, sports, politics, all the diversions a modern western society can conjure up. That's what most people pay attention to, isn't it? But nooo...I have to dick around with the most abstruse subjects.

So. (As Veronica would say.)

So. Then I met the Dharma. Now, I'm a wide thinker, but maybe not a very deep one. But if you follow the Buddhist logic of mind to its end, you see that there is no end. Or rather, I should say, if you try to trace the path of your mind to its very beginning, you see there is no beginning. The Buddhist logic says nothing occurs without a cause. And furthermore, the cause must be of the same variety. (That's not the right word, but I can't think of it just now.) In other words, an orange can't be the cause of a thought. The only thing that can cause thought is a previous thought.

So. When you get to what you think was your first thought after conception...what caused it? What preceded it? It must have been a thought. It could not have come from out of nowhere. In other words, there was thought before conception. If so, it must have been with a different body. Basically, the mind is beginningless and endless. Only the wrapping changes.

This makes complete sense to me, so yes I believe the rebirth thing. It explains to me why I might be so interested in all that goofy stuff. Karma makes sense then. Cause and effect make sense. Life makes sense, or at least holds out the possibility of making sense, if you spread it out over more than one. Life becomes fair when you look at it this way. I mean, why should I be here suffocating in luxury with millions of others living in horrifying poverty and degradation...if there's only one shot at this life thing? Why are some criminals rich and successful while honest hardworking people eat dirt? To me, that makes no sense. That makes the universe seem a capricious, even malevolent thing. I think it would mean that Nietzche was right.

This way, everybody gets a shot. More than one. We have all eternity to get it right.

I could say more, I guess, but it comes down to this: the universe never wastes anything. It's one immense recycling plant. Six billion minds being used like throwaway lighters? How wasteful.

Or one more thing which always impressed me: the Dalai Lama has said there is evidence that rebirth occurs, but no definitive evidence that it does not occur.

Hmm.

Sidebar Links

All right, just so there's no confusion....(Ha! when has there ever not been confusion?)....the link that says "World's Worst Buddhist" is a real link. It belongs to my good friend Sen. Macon Sirius Bacon, a venerable Dixiecrat of good patrician lineage who simply can't keep the y'all out of his drawl....

Well...no...but go there, you'll find out.

One Possible Epitaph

Friday, July 08, 2005

Fooling with the Mental Blog

I think now I have discovered two ways to add links to this bloginous mass of html. You'll notice a links section in the sidebar. Current links are default thingies copied and pasted into my template. Eventually I'll get around to putting my own real ones in. (Those links do work...I'm just not particularly interested in them...)

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Way of the Buddha Pt. 3

Why’m I thinking about this right now? Because tonight I am going to Toronto to take teachings on and receive the Bodhisattva vows. I’ve taken these vows before with HHDL in the course of Kalachakra. But somehow, and incredibly I might add, this seemed almost a “by the way” thing. Tonight is a formal taking of the vows.

The Bodhisattva vow seems a serious thing to me. A vow for all eternity really. A vow to be a practitioner. A vow to torment a perfectionist.

For those not sure, the Bodhisattva vow is essentially to lead the numberless sentient beings to enlightenment (in the most efficient way possible for each individual sentient being) no matter how long it takes. Ie. to keep returning to the world until the world is emptied of unenlightened ones. By the way, numberless is a Buddhist synonym for infinite. So we’re talking about a fairly long time here, I guess. The Bodhisattva agrees to forgo his/her own final nirvana until all are enlightened.

A tough choice for one whose predominant theme in life seems to be escape.

The Bodhisattva vow is a commitment to achieve the union of compassion and wisdom (as Buddhists understand these terms) and then act for the benefit of all sentient beings. The perfect amalgam of student and practitioner. He/she accomplishes this through the practice of the Six Perfections…the first of which is Giving or Generosity. There’s a one or two hundred page section of the Flower Ornament Scripture (Avatamsaka Sutra) which describes the myriad ways in which Bodhisattvas practise giving.

Me, I give down-and-outers under the Spadina bridge a toony. It’s a start.

PS. But the Puritans, or whoever, weren't too far wrong when they said Charity begins at home. And this too, is a tough hoe to row. I think when Jesus told us to turn the other cheek, he meant be kindest to the ones who annoy you the most...starting with yourself.

Digg! diigo it

The Way of the Buddha Pt. 2

The Buddha practised
Fine-tuning the fingers of enlightenment
I play with ham hands
On the bones of self

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Bush Is Serving Up the Cold War Warmed Over

I don't want to bore you too much, but this op-ed piece in the LA Times really bought my eye. Eventually I'll get off the political stuff and write some moody poetry or something....OK?

Robert Scheer
July 5, 2005

The "war on terror" is turning out to be nothing more than a recycled formulation of the dangerously dumb "domino theory." Listen to the way President Bush justifies the deepening quagmire of Iraq: "Defeat them abroad before they attack us at home." If we didn't defeat communism in Vietnam, or even tiny Grenada, went the hoary defense of bloody proxy wars and covert brutality in the latter stages of the Cold War, San Diego might be the next to go Red.

Now, the new version of this simplistic concept seems to say, "If we don't occupy a Muslim country, inciting terrorists to attack us in Baghdad, we'll suffer more terror attacks at home." The opposite is the case. Invading Iraq has, like the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan before, proved to be a massive recruiting tool for Muslim extremists everywhere. Even the embattled CIA, which the White House is struggling to neuter as a semi-objective voice on foreign affairs, recently declared the Iraq occupation to be a boon to terrorists.

Yet the president stumbles on, demanding that we support his Iraq adventure lest we sully the memory of the victims of Sept. 11, 2001. "We fight today because terrorists want to attack our country and kill our citizens, and Iraq is where they are making their stand," said Bush last week. Actually, no. We fight in Iraq today because Bush listened to a band of right-wing intellectual poseurs who argued America could create a reverse domino effect, turning the Middle East into a land of pliable free-market, pro-Western "democracies" through a crude use of military force. This is rather like claiming a well-placed stick of dynamite can turn a redwood forest into a neighborhood of charming Victorians.

Furthermore, it is not Bush and his band of neocons who are fighting — and dying — for the Iraq domino, but rather raw 19-year-old recruits, hardworking career military officers and impoverished or unlucky Iraqis. And foreign terrorists linked to Al Qaeda are in Iraq because it is a field of opportunity, not because it is their last stand.

For four years the White House has framed the war on terror as an open-ended global battle against a monolithic enemy on many fronts, rather than employing a modern counterterrorism model that sees terrorism as a deadly pathology that grows out of religious or ethnic rage and must be isolated and excised.

From the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, Bush has systematically sought to parlay the public's shock over a singular, if devastating, terrorist assault by a small coterie of extremists into what amounted to a call for World War III against a supposed "axis of evil." But these countries — Iran, Iraq and North Korea — shared only a clear hostility to the United States, rather than any real alliance or ties to 9/11 itself.

In the process, Bush has justified an enormous military buildup, spent tens of billions of dollars in Iraq, reorganized the federal government, driven the nation's budget far into the red and assaulted the civil liberties of Americans and people around the world, all without bothering to seriously examine the origins of the 9/11 attacks or compose a coherent strategy to prevent similar ones in the future. Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden remains at large, as do his financial and political backers in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.

But why has the White House pursued this nonsensical approach over the loud objections of the country's most experienced counterterrorism and Islamic experts? Because it allows the administration all the political benefits the Cold War afforded its predecessors: political capital, pork-barrel defense contracts and a grandiose sense of purpose.

And because the war on terror has no standard of victory, it can never end — thus neatly replacing the Cold War as a black-and-white, us-against-them worldview that generations of American (and Soviet) politicians found so useful for keeping the plebes in line. It's a one-size-fits-all bludgeon.

The terrible, unspoken truth of the war on terror is that the tragedy of 9/11 has been exploited as a political opportunity by George W. Bush, Halliburton, the Pentagon and the other pillars of what President Eisenhower dubbed the "military-industrial complex" in his final speech as president.

The former general who led us in World War II warned of the dangers of an unbridled militarism. "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex," said Eisenhower, a Republican, in 1961. "The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes."

Consider yourself warned.

PS. I have to copy and paste these things, rather than put links, because they only keep these articles on their website for 2 weeks or so. Then you have to pay for them.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Way of the Buddha

Over and over I am reminded that the Buddha taught a path, a way. He didn’t build some edifice for us to stand in and marvel at. The heart of Buddhism is practice. Therefore, the right question is always, just as with Jesus Christ, “What would the Buddha do?”

And over and over I come to the conclusion that I am a good student of Buddhism, but not a very good practitioner.

Digg! diigo it

Support Our Troops!

That’s what I’ve been seeing more and more on the backs of cars with Ontario license plates. You know, those crossed yellow ribbons, many with a US flag emblazoned on them.

What’s up with that? So much for the repeated sentiment in Canadian media that Canadians are becoming increasingly anti-American. Apparently, a whole raft of Ontario citizens think they are Americans!

And what the hell does it mean…support our troops? You mean those poor Canadian suckers over in Afghanistan? Well…OK.

And what the hell does it mean…support our troops? Support the troops in their undoubted desire to get the hell out of that mess in Iraq? Well…OK.

But this is a different message than the one I’ve been seeing on the backs of transport trucks…something like “Support our troops whenever they go. No aid or comfort to the enemy. No way.” What enemy? Whose enemy?

For the US to fight terrorism, that’s one thing. But to invade Afghanistan as the heart of Terror-land is another thing entirely. Especially when they are unable to capture, or even locate, the presumed ringleader of international terrorism after 4 years! Same goes for Iraq. As late as last week, Donald Rumsfeld was still repeating that long-discredited claim that Iraq and Al-Qaeda were related. Something tells me that neither the defeat of terrorists, nor truth, nor justice, are exactly what the US administration is after.

Whether there were good reasons to invade either of these countries and bring about regime change is a whole different discussion. These were not the reasons that brought about the current state of war.

No, the poor deluded Ontario-Americans with yellow ribbons tied around their necks have been sold a phoney enemy.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Oh man, you gotta read this!

I copied this from NY Times:


July 2, 2005
Taking the Prostitution Pledge

Since 2003, the Bush administration has required foreign groups fighting AIDS overseas to pledge their opposition to prostitution and sex trafficking before they get money from Washington. Last month, the administration expanded the requirement to American groups. On its face, this law seems innocuous. Who supports prostitution?

But in countries like India, controlling AIDS among prostitutes and their clients is the key to keeping the disease from exploding into the general population. So some very effective programs are built around trying to make sure that prostitutes and their customers use condoms. The groups who run these programs try to gain the trust of prostitutes by providing them with health care and teaching them about safe sex. They argue that being forced to state their opposition to prostitution would limit their ability to do that. Brazil turned down a $40 million grant from the United States because it did not want to imperil successful programs.

The Bush administration and some of its supporters disagree. They argue that anything that makes life more tolerable for prostitutes encourages prostitution. That would include organizing sex workers in India to stand up to abusive clients, or helping Bangladeshi prostitutes get shoes so they can leave the brothel to visit a health clinic. Initially, the Justice Department ruled that the prostitution pledge could not be required of American groups because the American Constitution guarantees the right to free speech. The administration's turnabout would seem vulnerable to a constitutional challenge.

The new anti-prostitution requirement may have a hidden purpose: to take away the right of American groups working on family planning overseas to counsel abortions. On his first day in office, President Bush signed a reinstatement of President Ronald Reagan's policy blocking American funds for overseas family-planning groups that so much as mention abortion. Both restrictions are the work of Representative Christopher Smith, a New Jersey Republican. The abortion gag rule has never applied to American groups, for the same First Amendment reasons that the prostitution pledge did not. But the decision to strip Americans of their First Amendment right to speak as they please on prostitution opens the way to an attempt to keep them silent on abortion, too.

Moral Relativism

The problem plaguing the Bush administration and its supporters...Republicans, evangelist Christians, deep social conservatives...is that they are trying to straddle the highway of morality and they've got both feet in the ditch. On the one side, domestically, they're pushing moral absolutes...Texas hangman's justice, the so-called sacredness of life (Terri Schiavo), anti-abortion, anti-gay...there must be more but I can't think of it right now. And on the other side, mostly international, they're sinking in the moral quagmire of war in Iraq, war on terrorism, neglect of Africa, politics of oil, politics of the Middle East, war on the liberties of their own citizens.

These are the same people. It's a disgrace to let Terri Schiavo die, but not such a big deal for millions of Africans to die of AIDs. Gay marriage is an abomination, but bombination of children in Baghdad is OK.

It's impossible to square this circle. What is absolute about morality? Murder is wrong. But state murder is OK? Even the Buddha, in a previous incarnation, killed in order to prevent the death of 500 others. The key was in his knowledge, his motivation, and the acceptance of the consequences. What Republican has that much insight?

Saturday, July 02, 2005

My Way or the Highway (to Hell)


I've been reading Henry Miller again. Sexus at the moment. Read it many years ago, but I'm recycling. What an odd juxtaposition of philosophy and pornography. He must be the first writer to put the words "cunt" and "Lao Tzu" on the same page. No wonder he got himself into so much trouble.

Which brings to mind the erotica seminar at the recent CanWrite conference...I couldn't stay for the whole thing, or even most of it. But I did have one observation. All the panelists were women. Why is that? Women write erotica and men write pornography?

At least I was able to hear that we've all gotten past the "throbbing member" and "heaving bosom" stage. Apparently. On the other hand, I did happen to overhear the panelists discussing (before the session started) how hard it was to read out loud in public words like "nipples" and "blow job".

But that's not really what I meant to write about. Here's a quote from the "First American Publication" of Sexus, the Black Cat paperback, which must have employed amateur or semi-literate typesetters or lazy proofreaders...either that or they were so preoccupied looking for the sexy bits they forgot to pay attention to integrity of the manuscript...Anyway, p. 270 of the paperback:

The world has not to be put in order: the world is order incarnate. It is for us to put ourselves in unison with this order, to know what is the world order in contradistinction to the wishful-thinking orders which we seek to impose on one another.
I don't know enough about Miller's life to know whether he really believed this or not. Seems to me anyone with a modicum of wisdom eventually learns this. But knowing and practising are two different things. And don't I know that...?

Knowing and practising...What Miller says here has actually been percolating in my brain for a couple of months. I think it's mostly what is wrong with the world today. We're beset by fanatics everywhere who insist on having everyone do things the way they would like to see them done. Nobody wants to mind their own business anymore. We're all too busy minding everyone else's business. And so we go from a concept of government (for example) in which people freely band together in order to promote the common weal, the greatest good for the greatest number, to a seriously anal nanny-state which has the temerity to say "You'd better start eating fruits and vegetables instead of french fries or we might have to exclude you from any sort of health care..."! ie. we don't like your lifestyle, therefore, we're going to make it illegal. I begin to understand what the Michigan Militia is on about....

OK. So maybe I really am an anarchist at heart. And why I was so attracted at the tender age of 15 to Marx's idea of the withering of the state.

Yep, everybody wants things ordered to suit themselves. And so they begin to meddle. There should be a 12 Step program for compulsive meddlers. Probably every politician alive could be a member. You know, one of the slogans is Live and Let Live...

Of course, if you're a Buddhist, you maybe realize that this is a congenital condition. You take what is and organize it by means of the senses and sense consciousnesses...you organize it to suit yourself. You perceive it this way and no longer see what is. Rather, you see an interpretation of what is. One step removed from reality.

Ah, but knowing and practising...Here's what I want to get at...see, the next step, of which I have been egregiously guilty in recent months, is that what we do next is take our interpretation of what is and try to order that to suit ourselves. By now we're twice removed from reality! How many times have I set rules about the way things should be? And nobody seems to be listening! And when you come up against the intractability of reality, the invariable tendency of reality to be precisely what it is, all the way down to coffee grounds on the kitchen counter...the utter impossibility of lining up all the condiments in a perfect row just because you say so...what happens? You get angry. Thus is born the meddler! The self-righteous arranger. The warmonger. The dictator. The abuser.

How does that saying go? "If you want serenity, resign as manager of the universe."

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