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Comments by bob

On “Theo-Anthropology and the Essence of Christianity

@ Scott Miller:

Any valid comparison depends of specificity of what's being compared.

Vajrayana= crazy wisdom. This is incorrect. Crazy wisdom is a tradition within vajrayana. It can refer to either a general style of teaching or a very specific system within the tradition.

As for the rest of vajrayana being more rational based - that's just crazy. All forms of Tibetan Buddhism start with some version of a graded curriculuum before starting with various forms of tantric practices.

Many Tibetan meditational figures derive from Hindu gods and goddesses.

On “Shouting FIRE in a crowded world

I saw Elizabeth Warren on Morning Joe this am and she presented the consumer protection agency partly as a measure to help fix the broken credit market's inability to properly price its products.

Since consumers can't figure out how much a credit card costs, they can't make rational decisions about which to use.

Xie seems to assume that mere info processing power will result in more accurate pricing. Part of the problem is that at least financial services don't want to properly price their products. I wonder if he sees a role for govt here.

On “Theo-Anthropology and the Essence of Christianity

@ CK MacLeod:

I wrote the last comment without reading your last one.

So we don’t have to solve this one once and for all today! In fact, let’s not…

Couldn't agree more. I'm done.

Just one question...when reading about Hegel's broad idea of the State to include various civic asscociations, do Hegalians ever break out into chants of "All power to the Rotarys!"?


@ CK MacLeod:

I have focussed most of my my Buddhist comments on Emptiness related ideas. The other pole is referred to ususally as Mind or Buddha Nature.

The presentations can differ enormously because the experience is ineffable.

The Buddhist concept of space is not so much negative thingness defined by the things around it, as either the absence of obstacles (much like the State) or the potentiality for phenonomen.

Mind is like space.

In that way it both is eternal and unchanging, but not a thing at all.

Mind is unobstucted awareness, or the potential for awareness.

In this way it is also a continency since it depends on some form of contingent pheonomen and specific thought to manifest. So it is in this way empty of inherent existence just like the objects of thought (other phenonomen) are.


I agree with Scott that "transcendence" does not apply to Buddhism. Enlightenment is a metaphoical uncovering of something that is already there. Buddha Nature is the potentiality for Enlightenment. Traditionally one metaphor is a great treasure buried beneath the house of a destitute person who does not know it's there.


@ Scott Miller:

The reason the Dharma does not change is because the content of thought is irrelevant. So yes, the content can change, but so what?

Awareness without the fabrication of the self. How can that change?

Probably a barrier to a discussion between us is how to specifidcally understand some of the terms we might use. As I said in my The Wall conversation with Colin, I use therms as the Gelupa school does.

At this level, even slight differences of terminolgy can lead us astray.


Buddhism uses philosophy to ready the mind for the nonconceptual, but does not see itself as that.

The illusion I refer to is the illusion the self has of itself as existing as an independent, non-contingent entity. So it is illusion like a dream is understod when we wake up, or if one is capapble of lucid dreaming. It is delusion if we understand ourselves to truly exist, but have n awareness it could be otherwise.

Non-self is misunderstod as nullification. It is the mode of independent existence that is negated, not existence as such.

"Buddhism" as a religion is understood (or should be) by Buddhists as a historical contingency (just like everything else).

"Christianizing" seems a word that cause more problems than it solves at this historical juncture.

A big difference in Buddhism and Hegel is the engine of realization. Buddhism sees the contribution of the State to simply not be an obstacle- much like living in in place in which one won't be eaten by wild animals.

By locating realization completely in the subjective experience (one school is called Mind Only) the historical contingencies are thought to be eliminated. The mind to mind transmission from teacher to student becomes central.


To the Buddhist, universality is also a ilusion/delusion.

All of it, conceptualization, metaphor is useful as a tool, traditionally, as a boat useful to cross the river, but then to be discarded.

"Being human means coming to understand one’s individuality" vs non-self.

The idea of non-self uses the same reasoning of interdependence to arrive at the oposite conclusion.



@ CK MacLeod:

There’s no positive aspect of the life of the individual human being that doesn’t bring him into relationship with others, doesn’t reproduce that relationship within him, doesn’t have him finding himself in others. Moreover, all of these seemingly separate relationships exist simultaneously and imply and co-determine each other. Individuality is the constant movement between them, not any kind of static, absolute separation.

This co-determination of the universal and the particular, the interdependence and inter-penetration of self and others would seem to be similar and possibly identical to ideas in Buddhism.

Inter-being in the words of Tich Nhat Hahn and Tibetan Budhism co-dependent origination and the deep ecology movement flowing from Heidegger seem superficially similar, but, if I'm understanding you correctly, quite different.

With these, individuality is in fact an illusion (if functional) or a delusion (if not). I'm guessing this difference is what you referred to in your characterization of Buddhism as a "one-sided universality".

I need to break this discussion into pieces, so I'll pause here. Doses this seem accurate to you?


@ CK MacLeod:

How about this:

Having created (the idea of) God, a being whose dignity rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with Man, Man has simulataneoulsy, created the idea of separteness, of individuality. But it is an incomplete individualty since it contains the idea of communion, of transcendence.

But man's true task is to truly understand his individuality, not to transcend it.


The history of the Christian World, therefore, is the history of the progressive realization of that ideal State, in which Man will finally be “satisfied” by realizing himself as Individuality... In other words, he must eliminate the Christian idea of transcendence.

Having created man, a being whose dignity "rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God" (Vatican Council II) God has created the individuality of each person from other people and from God. Having done that, God as omnipotent being dies (man has free will beyond God's power), leaving man the task of truly understanding his individuality, not transcending it. Only by this process is God resurrected in the being of each individual person.

How close is that?

On “Shouting FIRE in a crowded world

@ CK MacLeod:

The White Collars have been increasingly proletated (?) for at least 20 years. The thought just occured to me that the symbolic beginning of this could be Reagan breaking the air traffic controller's strike.

Anyway...the other commodification at work here is that of the cultures of the developing world participating in Xie's dynamic.

I've dipped my toe in Ardono, so dare I say, in their being sucked into the univeral fungibility of culture for the culture industry?

At any rate, we can expect an increase in fundamentalism in these places as a result.


Xie idendifies 2 mechanisms for all this: output measurment of service sector activity and collapsing communication costs. Of these, I think output measurement is the more significant.

Progress in IT cuts two channels for decreasing white collar inefficiency. First, output measurement becomes possible. For example, the progress of a doctor's patients can be tracked at little cost. Data on every doctor's efficiency and effectiveness could be available to each patient and hospital. Other professionals such as accountants, lawyers and bankers could be subjected to the same measurements.

Much of the changes in the health care system we have seen from the days of home doctor's visits is a result of this process. It is occurring in the other professions as well. The probelm is not now with the information processing, but with the central problem of how to to weigh the various factors involved.

The factors tend to be in a dynamic relation with each other and with the measurement system. Cost efficiency and patient/client positive outcome are frequently and maybe fundamentally at odds.


@ Scott Miller:

Scott, I was supporting Colin's point. The archeological record shows a lot of conflict in that transition.


@ CK MacLeod:

I know you were. But as you show, there's a relevance too. I suspect those whacky paleo's were more like us than we would like to think, whatever their level of IT.


The invention of agriculture might be a candidate for peaceful transition, but more recent archeological evidence points to a lower life expectancy, more disease and violent deaths for centuries after.

Certainly the Sumerians and Egyptians greatly expanded their territories when they aquired agriculture before their neighbors.


The leapfrogging phenonomen is possibly one of the necessary (but not sufficient) conditions for these kind of fundamental economic transitions.

Political dysfunction of the more developed world (at whatever historical stage) allows the seed of the process to start, and then quickens its maturation. It also.I think, raises the level of conflict.

On “Among the things about which I have no time to care

The starting point should be the people not the label.

What are the characteristics of people who describe themselves as, say conservative? rather that starting with the word conservative and noticing that the people who describe themselves that way are say, wasteful.

Conservatives actually use more energy, need more space and resources to feel comfortable. They like to move things around. That is one reason they tend to live in less densely populated areas.

Liberals are more comfortable in more densely populated areas and require less energy space and resources to feel at ease.

What conservatives conserve is the purity of the in group rather than resources.

On “Martin Peretz: “Muslim life is cheap, and I mean it.”

@ CK MacLeod:

The intesity of this kind of rhetoric is, I think, pretty proportional to the intensity of perceived threat. Certainly many are cynically using it to advance careers. But a lot of people feel their in group is very threatened. And they identify their in group with the country as a whole. This is where it gets dangerous.


My in-group right or wrong is difficult to rise above. More so when we perceive the in-group threatened or actively under attack. Additionally, we tend to over value what's right in front of us rather than what's down the road.

Commenting on an earlier post I used the phrase "blood and soil". Because the US includes so many "bloods" it's hard to apply the phrase. But it still works if only to exclude certain "bloods" even if those included is left vague.

On “Flamesem & Japesem (Operation American Freedom)

@ Scott Miller:

Clarification on the "conversaton with myself" part...

The @ Scott Miller: is clickable and takes you to the comment being comented on.

On # 65 it takes you to #55. Honestly I had skimmed over the intervening comments.


@ Scott Miller:

So, yes, I knew I was having a conversation with myself at a certain point


I wasn't referring to that, altho I see the confusion.

Again, with the critique about something already put on the table as if it hadn’t been

Don't really know what that refers to, and really, don't really care.

As for doing better...Embedded in that are a whole raft of assumptions and judgements that I can only guess at, only imagine.

You seem to think, want, imagine (insert appropriate verb) me to be someone I don't recognize. Cut it out and we'll be fine.


@ Scott Miller:


Let me stipulate: I know jack about quantum physics. (I alluded to that in my characterization of my discussion of it as "clumsy".) So I reported on an observation I had made (perhaps clumsily).

Somewhat off topic? OK.

I was not trying to be contentious.

If I might make an observation: This response of yours strikes me as you having a conversation with yourself when you think you're having one with me.

You seem to be asserting a similiar phenonomen going the other way. Maybe so. It's a quandry.

As for defending a belief in "the macro world's supremecy" - way off target if it's directed at me.


@ Scott Miller:

One of the striking things about quantum physics as a social phenonomen is that so many different viewpoints find validation in it.

On this blog, Strangelet found validation for Islam, Colin for Hegelialism, and I, in a clumsy way, for Buddhism. Additionally over the years I've seen it used to validate atheism, Taoism, Christianity and free market economics (can't cite sources for most of these).

Hinduism and shamanism seem like likely candidates for the phenonomen as well. In fact, I can't think of any ism that couldn't make a case if they really tried.

But as Colin alludes to, we live in a macro world. Or at least I do. Or at least, I think I do....

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