Category Archives: other

All posts that do not belong in the categories of buddhism or sustainability goes in here. Please check tags for more details about what the post is about.

The Book of Warren (The Unauthorised Revised Version)

In the beginning was a “big bang”. No one is sure how it happened but it happened about 14 billion years ago (in Earth time, that is). All the material in the universe came from this event. The material in the form of dust slowly gathered to form galaxies, suns, planets and satellites through attraction. The planet we call Earth was formed about 4 billion years ago, a little after the formation of the Sun, the star which gives us the energy for our survival, around which we revolve. Life on Earth began around 1 billion years ago in the form of simple cells. Our species – Homo – is perhaps one to two million years old. Civilisation in the form of societies and writing came about perhaps 20,000 years ago. Recognisable society is perhaps 7,000 years old. We know these things because we are smart.

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Value

The value of a thing is its contrast to all other things.

Valuable artworks are perhaps a good example of this. What makes the art of Da Vinci valuable is not only its craftsmanship but also its rarity. If I remember correctly less than two dozen works are in existence. For these two reasons his works fetch a premium.

But also how much work is required to produce something will affect the value as well. Something which can be manufactured quickly will mean many are available. So the ubiquity of it brings the value down. And demand too will be dictated by the perceived value of something will also change its value.

Value is a complex and changing thing.

Modernism

Modernist movements believed their own movement could replace all others, that there was no question of their perfection, and no question of their progress.

Postmodernism, on the other hand, believed they owed their existence to Modernism, that perfection was impossible, and they were no better than or worse than the Modernism that came before them.

While Modernism believed it was internally consistent and readily self-definable, Postmodernism saw itself as play and a system of difference.

hospital ward

the smell of dying
and death overflows
into the hallways
fills the rooms

they wait seemingly
in silence resigned
to the inevitable
carers indifferent
to it all and
visitors numbed

but life
must make way
for new life
in its march
to the song
of evolution
to the harmony
of survival

wedding ring

well worn
and
worn well

the band
has kept its shine
over the years

scratches here
and there perhaps
from ‘08 and ‘14

but as cliches go
the ring
is unbroken

like the promise
we had made
all those years ago

What should we believe in?

Perhaps you are wondering how I can be a Buddhist and not believe in a god. According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English religion is defined as “a belief in one or more gods”. Few would argue with this definition.

I said few.

There are thousands of religions out there. If Justine religion does not include a god or gods within it, then, the definition fails. And Buddhism is one such religion. (Another is Jainism.)

Buddhism is atypical of religions in that it rejects the worship of gods. Buddha is not a god and had never said he was. It should be noted it was those who came afterwards that added the gods, perhaps incorporating aspects of the local culture.

But far from rejecting existence of a god or gods it is, in my opinion, far healthier to accept the concept of a god or gods as part of what it means to be human.

The insistence of existence

I am a Buddhist. But I do not believe in the existence of gods. I do, however, believe in the existence of their concepts. They are the stories in our minds to help us understand and make sense of the world we live in, to relate to things and each other as people and animals.

All concepts help us to communicate and think. We are good at making concepts (though we are not the only creatures to be able to do so).

Given our time, our knowledge and our understanding I think it is time we had moved on, after being held back for so long by the insistence of existence.