For the context of the following comments please click on the hyperlinks above them.
(Note: I was going to skip logging the following dialogue. There have been too many of this particular bent lately, and I feel a poverty of spirit creeping into my voice. A hardness and sterility that does not really suit my sentiments. This seems to be the effect of a resonance with the type of individual I’ve engaged with. Fortunately, someone reminded me of an earlier post that rings much more lively and reflects more joy. Please consider reading “The Winding Path – 077” before or after this. For my sake if not for your own. Thanks.)
AramMcLean commenting on a post by Harry H. McCall – “I’ve thought this about the Dalai Lama for some time. Tired of people spreading his bumper sticker ‘wisdom’ without actually thinking it through. Nice to see an exposé of ‘His Holiness’ put down so eloquently.”
I followed you to this site. And so, will say hi. But this post is right up there with something by Rush Limbaugh. Hence my comment above.
The trouble with having a political cause is that you end up obscuring the truth to further it.
I understand your story (i.e. emergence from fundamentalism to an “enlightened” atheism.), but the extreme nature of that journey leaves a legacy of resentment. This will skew things. And hampers mature wisdom if you let it.
AramMcLean – “Your comment here speaks volumes more about you than me. And your comment on the Dalai Lama only further convinces me that you are a follower of the Báb.”
If you wish so then it must be so.
I apologize for my presumption.
AramMcLean – “No need to apologize nor do I wish for anything to be so. As far as religious belief goes, one could do a lot worse than the Bahá’í Faith. Which is not to say that you are a follower, only that you espoused a very similar outlook in your recent comments over at Godless in Dixie.”
Similarities of view are inevitable after a certain level of refinement. I’m not very familiar with Bahá’í . Checked it out in the 70’s but gravitated to Yoga/Vedanta/Zen/Sufism/Lao Tse. The more coherent the non-dual expression the better. Now I just wing it.
“Your aside on here about wisdom did get me thinking, however. Exactly at what point, according to you, should a ‘wise’ person stop resenting a way of life that is mutually inclusive to perpetuating child abuse?”
Resentment probably isn’t as useful as vigilant oversight on the part of the community in question. A quality that will wax and wane with the ambient integrity. One always hopes for the best.
AramMcLean – “…, how does one know when something is being refined? Perhaps looking towards the unity of all things as the answer is instead muddying the waters, as maybe some viewpoints are just plainly wrong.”
It’s not, and the proof is abundant. Not the least being, seeing politics for what it is. The less entranced by egoism and tribalism and fundamentalism, the better. In my opinion and experience.
But we digress. The writer of this blog needs your help, to the degree that his bias blinds him, and the sentiments of his readers reward his distortions.
I once “debated” these same points with a gaggle of young Chinese students who were protesting outside of a two day teaching session led by the Dalai Lama. They were very intently spouting the same accusations of rape and slavery as Mr. McCall. You could sense the heavy presence of their handlers during the whole thing. And of course, “Tibet is actually part of China anyway”, and so he is a usurper and traitor in his role as secular leader. And just what value there might be in him as a “Spiritual” leader, they certainly didn’t have a clue.
(continuing reply to AramMcLean)
I think I missed your point about “some viewpoints” being “just plainly wrong”.
Yes, we all still have a responsibility to stand up to absurdity, malice, aggressive stupidity, etc.
For me, the process of understanding that I have advocated, is the means to that end.
By it’s realization, my share in the conundrum is less binding. Less blinding.
Emphasising universal nature over personal nature to whatever degree possible, within the context of ones life: Is Yoga. Some choose this way, others don’t. There isn’t really any difference. But only the Yogi actually knows it.
AramMcLean – “Stating something has proof does not make it so. I do agree with your second point, however, regarding tribalism etc. All hang-ups from our early evolution, so necessary to our survival for so long, so detrimental to our ongoing survival now.
As for the Dalai Lama, I do not agree, His bumper sticker wisdom is about as deep as a puddle. The history of Tibet’s ruling class is not a myth. Yes, China is also a cesspool of corruption. But being the lesser of two evils does not make Tibetan Buddhism right.”
If I find the waters clearer, it is sufficient “proof”. How else should one proceed?
“Yes, China is also a cesspool of corruption. But being the lesser of two evils does not make Tibetan Buddhism right.”
I’m not talking about “right”. And anyway, by your own statement; in the realm of human affairs, just what is the chance of something being “right”?
You must admit that we are a mixed bag. A chaotic aggregate of agendas and neglected potential.
AramMcLean – “I agree with your last line, not with your first. Your definition of proof means that you and I are going to hell because certain Christians find the waters clearer when they think that way (for example). Still, I get the impression we’re on close opposite sides of a very similar point. Having the self-awareness to realize just how lacking in self-awareness we are is the first tiny step towards being true.”
Not sure why the conceptualizations of “certain Christians” about hell, or even God, would affect my experience. Other than in the form of conversational stimulus.
Just as your experience is is not likely to be dependent on mine.
(note: I like the word “God”, but you don’t need to use it just to please me. The word doesn’t change anything.)
AramMcLean – “I only just now saw your ‘continuing reply’ to me from earlier. Your comment there clarifies what I was becoming inclined to think you were getting at. And as such my point about proof doesn’t make sense in this context. The danger with your outlook here, however, is that it can so easily lead to an arrogance and certainty in one’s chosen way of interpreting the world, contradicted by the erroneous idea that all humans have something positive to offer. Sadly this just isn’t the case. The fact that we are essentially talking apes makes us illogical by definition. And your ongoing defense of the Dalai Lama betrays a lack of nuance to your rose-coloured interpretation of the actual facts.”
Your early fundamentalist conditioning is raising it’s head. Those limits will have to be acknowledged at some point. They are still in play.
Please consider that you have missed something in the translation.
Anyway, in general, I’ve got your drift. And obviously can’t do more with it, as things stand.
There is no need for me to defend the Dalai Lama. I just don’t like propaganda any more than rigid and self serving dogma. Especially this level of malicious obfuscation.
There is way too much of it piling up in the world. And these “talking ape” friends of yours are shovelling it as fast as they can.
Perhaps some meditation on “arrogance and certainty” would be a good thing.
AramMcLean – “Certainly I can appreciate your point of view. The difference is that I don’t see this as propaganda. I see it as historical fact. If someone was against the way Pol Pot chose to run his country, would you accuse them of propaganda as well? After all, Pol Pot knew the ways of Cambodian life better than us.
I have enjoyed chatting with you, in any case. As I said before, I think we are more aligned than not. One mistake you continue to make, however, is this ongoing idea that you can use what I’ve briefly mentioned about my past as cannon fodder against me. We don’t actually know each other, remember. For a better idea of what my evolving outlook is becoming, you could do worse than reading the article (below). It’s not my exact interpretation of the world (how could it be), but it certainly captures the gist.
A controversial position I stand by, however, is that not all human animals are capable of arriving at even the first step in true self-awareness. (At least not yet.) We so easily recognize that some dogs are dumber than others, some guinea pigs are more clever than others, yet we refuse to admit that some human beings are simply less aware than others. This individualism-based naive concept is a dangerous mistake. It’s a blatant lie that anyone can become President, for example, and a major reason why the States, for example, is currently mired in such a state of social decay.
Anyway, I’m off for a jog. The winters in Hamburg are getting warmer every year. If this carbon output keeps up, everything we’re discussing here may well be a moot point in not too many decades to come.”
It’s not called Saṃsāra for nothing.
AramMcLean – “Ah yes. Finally your beliefs come into focus and the crux of the issue is reached.
But here you commit the same fallacy all major religions do. You start with a conclusion and work your backwards. I can completely understand how one arrives at a final ‘big’ idea such as Saṃsāra, but unfortunately this doesn’t make it true. Nobody can honestly know if this life is all, or one of many to come. (Even with the help of ayahuasca.)
In my life I don’t ever expect to come to any concrete conclusions regarding the true nature of existence. There is no END to enlightenment. Only change is a constant.
I can see now where our main division stems from. On the same path, yet so far apart.
So be it.
Have yourself a Merry Christmas, Happy Saturnalia, or whatever you want to call it.
It’s been a pleasure.”
No need to consider reincarnation at all.
The primary characteristic of Saṃsāra is the “fog” of maya.
If you want to get serious then get serious. There is too much grasping and smug comparison going on for real progress.
You guys don’t get to reinvent this stuff. It has been here all along. Reality is what it is. We approach it.
Yes, let’s wrap it up until another time.
AramMcLean – “Just to clarify, I am not part of any ‘guys’. I am just me.
I make no smug comparison nor grasping. Rather I fight being overwhelmed with frustrated despair having seen how vast the ‘foggy’ majority on this planet really is. I’m doing my best to find the most productive way to co-exist in the midst of such constant mindlessness debating/fighting about what is truth and what is real.
On a positive note, it is getting easier to tune out the noise.
I’m sure our paths will cross again.
AramMcLean responding Harry H. McCall – (note: McCall is the author of the original post and I’ve not included my discussion with him. You’re welcome to check it out but I’m not inclined to recommend it.)
Harry H. McCall – “Indeed, you seem to have been educated beyond your intelligence.” (note: He is informing me about this condition.)
AramMcLean – “Hilarious!”
Yes it has a ring to it. But really?
He plays to my ego in an effort to incite similar posturing.
How does this help?
AramMcLean – “The turn of phrase made me laugh, regardless of the truth or not of it in your personal case.
I have to say though, having taken a few days to think our conversation through, and having taken a look at some of your other Disqus comments as well as your webpage, it seems to me that you are stuck in a sort of purgatory of fence sitting. You extol a kind of circular thinking where any form of constructive criticism is ultimately considered grim and rude. You admit that some things are wrong, but then fail to reveal any sort of awareness that wrong things so often come about due to strict ideological ways of thinking. It seems to me that you want to have your cake and eat it too (in the classical sense of the idiom as, after all, what would be the point of having a cake if you didn’t eat it). You may think your way is pure tolerance. But unfortunately this sort of outlook can very quickly and easily morph into the proverbial ‘good man who does nothing’.
Food for thought, perhaps.”
“You admit that some things are wrong, but then fail to reveal any sort of awareness that wrong things so often come about due to strict ideological ways of thinking.”
What do you think we have been talking about?
And as for “doing nothing”. That is an opinion about the value of what I do. From my perspective it is important. Regardless.
You see it as a “purgatory of fence sitting”.
That is politics talking. From where I “sit”, politics without the intermediary of transcendent wisdom, is a problem. A dead end. We don’t agree on this. But there you have it.
More specifically to this blog; I have reacted to a thuggish and dishonest style. Period. There is already plenty of it in the world. And so, my invocation of Rush Limbaugh. (My apologise to him if he is actually bursting with an integrity that I just can’t see.)