Monthly Archives: March 2017

Eagleton and Value-judgement 

We are memories. Some memories stay with you more than others. That is just how life works. 

I had read Terry Eagleton’s book Literary Theory during my postgraduate years. The one takeaway message from it I got was that nothing is value-judgement free. Not only did Eagleton explain this clearly but he also showed what his position was without hiding it as some others often do. Postmodernism is about being transparent about your values, and about being honest to yourself about these values. For Eagleton, his position is a socialist one, that we should be doing things for the greater good of all. But he is honest about the fact that it is a position and it has flaws like anything else. 

Unlike Eagleton, Francis Fukuyama held that Communism was wrong and that the collapse of the Soviet Union is proof of this. For Fukuyama, capitalism must be right because of its continuation. From Eagleton’s standpoint neither are correct. Both are a flawed as each other. But nonetheless we must take a position because that is all we can do. 

Not too long ago at the start of the Twentieth-century we still believed that it is possible to be objective. And still today some (not not many) continue to believe so. The difference is that now people are unashamedly taking subjective positions which are clearly flawed and selfish and that is all “thanks” to Postmodernism. For better or worse everything can be taken out of context and appropriated for its own end. And it is still the duty of Postmodernism to point this out

The Necessary Angel

Wallace Stevens has a collection of essays called The Necessary Angel. I have always liked the title. I personally do not believe in angels (I am Buddhist) but I do believe in the need for angels and such. To be human is to use the imagination. I am all for the imagination (it is only when angels interfere with the our lives of many that I see a problem).

God is a metaphor. What I mean by this is that Christians use God to present their beliefs. And as a Buddhist I use Buddha and Bodhisattvas to present mine (Buddha is a metaphor). It is not a question which is correct but that what is exactly being presented that is important. We need to put our ideas in some kind of concrete way (we have no choice) and no better is it to personify our ideas and concepts.

God/Word/Saussure

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (St John, Ch. 1, v. 1)

Perhaps this is the genius of the writer of these words. God is language. End of story.

But if we take Saussure to his word then words are just a system of difference. We can conclude that God is what everything else it is not. The word God must be empty, must be a container holding meaning only inasmuch as it is a concept, never to fully have presence, eternally is God marked with absence.

spring

the period after winter when farm machinery are said to “spring back to life.

vr

virtual reality
is nowhere near to be
virtually real

only noumena
& phenomena
will allow that

what is real
is your existence
but neither do you

bring reality
closer nor put it
any further away

switch

switch it on
where 2 can tango –
spice up lives

offer something
not virtual
limit my time

so that 1
can be real again
switch it off

Eliminate Racial Discrimination

Today is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The theme this year is racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration. So much in America is towards racial profiling. Hatred had again “ducked under the covers” become hidden from sight. The swing in attitude is knee-jerk-like to Post-Obama America.

Let us remember those who have been targeted in racism, think of why society moves towards incitement, why we have the political and economic migration that is occurring in Europe, Africa and elsewhere.

Why watching the development of Toyosu is important

Yesterday, it was reported in television again that survey of the groundwater under the yet-to-be-open Toyosu Fishmarket has found the level of the carcinogen benzene to be 100 times above safe levels.

Japan has always prided itself on the environment and cleanliness. It is a part of of its culture in the form of Shintoism. But since industrialisation it has had pollution issues come up time and again. The peak and benchmark is the Minamata Incident where mercury poisoning had caused health problems. Also the problems from the Fukushima nuclear incident from the Tohoku Earthquake which has effects beyond Japan is still with us.

So to build a fish market on top of a toxic dump seems incredible. But that is what they had done. Where the blame and responsibility lies has still to determined. But it is likely that the then the Governor of Tokyo will have to answer some questions. So far he has deflected all criticism away from himself, as a “good” politician does. 

sustainable economics

What economists think is possible but environmentalists know is not.

 

Philosophy must be questioned

It is rather strange (or rather not) that philosophy spends so little time question itself. We need a “Thomas S Kuhn of Philosophy”, someone to put a spotlight on the problems and habits of philosophy.

Shakyamuni (The Buddha)

The distant relative of 1980s pop sensation Chaka Khan.

Non-religious Buddhism

There is something comforting about Buddhism as a religion without gods to worship. And Buddhism is better than philosophy because it has application rather than being a theoretical thing. Philosophy does not have much of a system to deal with how to live. 

So when I sit down and meditate or think about Buddha I look at it as embodying the ideals of the teaching (call it philosophy if you will). You can say then Buddha is the only philosopher who gave us a course in living

Why I am an atheist but not against religion

As a person who looks at language for a living and have come to believe all of what we know and believe comes from a combination of experience, thought and language

Not matter where we look cultures have religion. We, as human being, like to make religion, as much as we like to make language or literature. We are different to other animals in our ability to do so in such a way. 

So I cannot be “against” religion, or language or literature. It is inherent in us to make religion, language, literature and the such. 

What I do have believe, though, is that we also have the same capacity to “see through” the need for religion, language, literature, etc. For whatever reason we have religion, language, literature, etc, we have to learn to deal with it as reasoned but critical beings in a physical universe. 

My three reasons for taking up meditation

There are at least three good reasons to take up meditation. These are my three. Possibly others are more important but I think these three are at the top (or near the top) of many people’s  list.

1. It is a good habit
Undoubtedly we form habits. These habits could be loose ones or they could be tight ones. Either way time marches on. If you are going to form habits they might as well be good habits. Meditating on a daily basis at a regular time is not better habit.

2. Awareness of the body and mind 
One thing we least have is an awareness of the body, moreover an awareness of the mind. Meditation brings about a high awareness of both. In meditation we focus on breathing and concentration to bring about mindfulness. To know the body is also to know the mind.

3. Control of the body and mind
By having an awareness of the body and mind we have can have control of the body and mind. You cannot control what you are not aware of.


What are your reasons for taking up meditation? Please leave a comment below for I would love to hear your opinions.