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存亡 [Dec. 11th, 2013|05:46 pm]

I'm writing this here because my mother is likely to eventually read this. I might as well out myself. Sorry to freak the rest of you guys out, you don't have to read this. Fair warning.

Life starts at birth, and with birth, there is always death.

So in order to exist (存) there will always be dissolution (亡).

There is a "something" that is not a something that has never been born, so does not exist. Having never been born, it can never die. It is not an "it". It is not an object. Yet "it's" "presence" is in each person, each sentient being, each molecule, each atom, each material thing, however big or small.

This is Witness, that which experiences all sensations, emotions, thoughts, and form. Who is this Witness? No one knows. No one can know. Any answer to that question is merely more form, an attempt to experience "Who?" and "Why?" but nothing more, and will in time, also pass. This Witness that never existed is Reality in the way real things could never be.

People speak about "beliefs" and people speak about respecting other people's beliefs. Beliefs are forms that also come and go. You are not your beliefs, and neither am I. Beliefs, even the respecting of other people's beliefs, are a form of separation, a way to mask Witness. Respecting beliefs is a subtle form of fundamental ignorance.

There are souls. Souls do not unexist any more than humans do not unexist. Souls are not "Witness". Souls are not immortal, though they generally have greater longevity than human lifespans. There is a journey of that soul. Souls are reborn into bodies. Souls grow and evolve. Your souls will survive your disincarnation. And eventually, each soul will eventually pass on too.

There is Karma, and karmic winds. A lot of people don't "believe in karma". They generally speak of karma to speak of blame, rewards, and punishment. There is no Authority keeping a ledger; it's more like Bitcoins, the "ledger" such as it were, recorded among souls as feelings of owing and being owed. Intent and feelings are more solid than solid things. So it is not enough to be impeccable in deeds; it is being impeccable in intent and feelings that matters, even when you have no control over the feelings that arise within you. Aggressors don't like hearing this. Neither do victims. This is not an impossible task, merely extremely challenging.

You can never be perfect in your practice of impeccable intent, and that is why it is called practice. Being practical means to put your ideals into practice.

There is meaning, and that meaning is what each of us creates.

There is nowhere to go. There is no "transcending". There is no escaping. There is simply this.

And if you want freedom: accept the dream you've created, practice impeccable intent, and let it go when it is time.

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"All is welcomed here" [Jun. 11th, 2013|01:18 pm]

This is a song I heard this past weekend, lyrics by Deva Premal & Miten.

Broken hearts and broken wings,
Bring it all, bring everything.
And bring the song you fear to sing,
All is welcomed here.

Even if you broke your vow
a thousand times
Come anyhow.
We're stepping into the power of now,
And all is welcomed here.

See the father and the son,
Reunited here they come,
Dancing to the sacred drum,
They know they're welcomed here.

I see the shaman and
the mighty priest,
See the beauty and the beast,
Singing, "I have been released,
and I am welcomed here."

I stand alone at the gateless gate,
too drunk on love to hesitate,
To the winds I cast my fate,
and the remnants of my fear.

I took a deep breath and I leapt,
And I awoke as if I'd never slept,
Tears of gratitude I wept,
I was welcomed here.

So bring your laughter
and bring your tears,
Your busy lives and your careers,
And bring the pain you've carried for years,
All is welcomed here.

Freedom is not so far away,
And there's only once price
we have to pay,
Live our dreams till they fade away,
And let them go.

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Magnetically suppressing certain kinds of moral judgements [Dec. 15th, 2010|08:11 am]
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Maybe some of you have already seen this:
Lead researcher Dr Liane Young said: "You think of morality as being a really high-level behaviour.

"To be able to apply a magnetic field to a specific brain region and change people's moral judgments is really astonishing."

The key area of the brain is a knot of nerve cells known as the right temporo-parietal junction (RTPJ).


After receiving a 500 millisecond magnetic pulse to the scalp, the volunteers delivered verdicts based on outcome rather than moral principle.


Previous work has shown the RTPJ to be highly active when people think about the thoughts and beliefs of others. ( Read More )
Philosophy, I would like you to meet Biology.

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Words [Aug. 25th, 2010|01:02 am]
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Brent Weeks' latest novel has this vivid description I'm am going to steal. "Flailers", people who, unable to perceive subtle distinctions, apply Will to cover a multitude of flaws.

Hey, it works.

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Objective, Subjective [May. 24th, 2010|02:06 pm]

I went to Auburn over the weekend to help my dad move some things and visited with some friends. We got talking about Robert M. Pirsig's notion of arete, and a friend brought up this story (my retelling):

Two friends, Oscar and Sam were arguing about the nature of reality as usual. Oscar thought that reality could be objectively measured and quantified, a yardstick that works for everything. There were observable absolutes. Sam, on the other hand, thought reality was only subjectively experienced, that it was all based on individual perception. Everything is relative. They had been arguing for years, each failing to persuade the other. One day, while drinking a little too much, they decided to take it up to the Old Man and have him settle the argument once and for all.

The Old Man was getting on his years and likes his sleep. He woke up cranky and was a bit miffed that Oscar and Sam would ask him to arbitrate such a trivial matter. Nevertheless, he heard them out. Oscar stepped up first. He brought forth his arguments, laid them out logically, and impressed even himself to the clarity of his argument. Reality is measurable, and it is by nature objective. Sam then stepped up, and waxed eloquent with sheer passion and beauty. It is all in how you see it. Reality is experienced, and it is by nature subjective.

After Oscar and Sam wound down, they looked at the Old Man expectantly. Rolling his eyes, the Old Man picked up a rock and threw it at Sam's head. Sam dropped, clutching his head in pain.

Before Oscar could think of anything to say, the Old Man pointed to Oscar and said, "Come back when you can tell me how Sam feels. Now both of you, get out and don't bother me while I'm getting some quality time. Shoo."

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My Angreal [Apr. 26th, 2010|11:34 pm]

For those rare folks who are Jordan fans *and* know this story, I carry this around and introduce it as the "angreal" that I got from JordanCon 2010"

Read more...Collapse )

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Random, "arete" [Mar. 3rd, 2010|05:31 pm]

You can tell when an artist makes big motions,
and his skill when they are small,
but sometimes I wonder what happened
to those I can't see at all?

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RAQ [Feb. 7th, 2010|11:57 am]
All ye martial arts folks:

What are some of the Rarely Asked Questions you wish you could have asked when you first started training?

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MMO [Jan. 31st, 2010|10:34 am]

I knew I should not have gotten myself addicted to an MMO.

I've been playing one on and off for the past couple months. Having dug around, I found out how this game, "Kingory" has been compared with "Evony". People who played Kingory have also compared it, saying it was better than Evony, so I dismissed it.

It didn't really sink in until I read that article again:

It wasn't just a game that was near clone, but several others like it. Since Nov, I've been seeing a ton of ads for this on (yeah, yeah). It stuck out this time though because it was after hearing about the break-in at Google earlier this month.

The game is set up to be mindlessly addictive, precisely in the way described here:

You can short-circuit it by paying money. At first, I thought that this was a still a legit way of making money and designing games ... but not when I put two and two together. Flash, after all, is probably the most widely accessible VM aside from Javascript, and far more consistent. If this was a part of a deliberate strategy, it is brilliant. It doesn't just make hordes of unwitting computers into zombies, it turns their users into zombies too.

I wasn't the only one who thought of this connection though: While the top half is not really news, the bottom half speculates on the use of these in-browser games for this kind of espionage. One reader had actually found evidence of scanning and processing done by the Evony client -- in his firewall logs, the browser caches, and in the flash code. Judging by how similar Kingory is to Evony, I wouldn't be surprised if there was more.

Ah well. True or not, I admit, this was more of an excuse to abandon the game more than anything.

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Fortune Cookie: Weapons of Mass Education [Dec. 24th, 2009|08:13 am]
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From the beginning, there was purpose behind forced schooling, purpose which had nothing to do with what parents, kids, or communities wanted. Instead, this grand purpose was forged out of what a highly centralized corporate economy and system of finance bent on internationalizing itself was thought to need; that, and what a strong, centralized political state needed, too. School was looked upon from the first decade of the twentieth century as a branch of industry and a tool of governance. For a considerable time, probably provoked by a climate of official anger and contempt directed against immigrants in the greatest displacement of people in history, social managers of schooling were remarkably candid about what they were doing. In a speech he gave before businessmen prior to the First World War, Woodrow Wilson made this unabashed disclosure:
We want one class to have a liberal education. We want another class, a very much larger class of necessity, to forgo the privilege of a liberal education and fit themselves to perform specific difficult manual tasks.
By 1917, the major administrative jobs in American schooling were under the control of a group referred to in the press of that day as "the Education Trust." The first meeting of this trust included representatives of Rockefeller, Carnegie, Harvard, Stanford, the University of Chicago, and the National Education Association. The chief end, wrote Benjamin Kidd, the British evolutionist, in 1918, was to "impose on the young the ideal of subordination."

At first, the primary target was the tradition of independent livelihoods in America. Unless Yankee entrepreneurialism could be extinquished, at least among the common population, the immense capital investments that mass production industry required for equipment weren’t conceivably justifiable. Students were to learn to think of themselves as employees competing for the favor of management. Not as Franklin or Edison had once regarded themselves, as self-determined, free agents.

Only by a massive psychological campaign could the menace of overproduction in America be contained. That’s what important men and academics called it. The ability of Americans to think as independent producers had to be curtailed. Certain writings of Alexander Inglis carry a hint of schooling’s role in this ultimately successful project to curb the tendency of little people to compete with big companies. From 1880 to 1930, overproduction became a controlling metaphor among the managerial classes, and this idea would have a profound influence on the development of mass schooling. Gatto, John Taylor, Underground History of American Education
I dug this up while I was discussing parts of this book with someone. The history here is a very interesting contrast to another book I'm reading in parallel, The Rise and Fall of Great Powers. The primary thesis being that economic power goes hand-in-hand with military power, relative to the nation's peers. Certainly, without the industrial-education machine grinding out employees, there would not have been enough industrialization to produce the economic growth that underpins American military power today. Whether that is a good or a bad thing is entirely a different discussion ... as is whether our Information-Network Age was an illusion or will it fundamentally shift global power structures and educational machines ...

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