Crazy Wisdom:a Bad Romance?

images Psychotic or Spiritual? is a post on Jiryu Mark Rutschman-Byler’s blog No Zen in the West. Some time ago I reviewed some excerpts of his book Two Shores of Zen. The post on Jiryu’s blog concerns a paper written by Hondo David Rutschman  called “Lo, I Will Be With You”: Conceptual Problems in Distinguishing Psychotic and Spiritual Experience.

These writings bring up hugely important points regarding the intersection of Buddhism and conventional psychology as well as the perception of events involved in meditation and Buddhist practice.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time it will be somewhat evident that I’m no fan of trying to mix conventional and particularly clinical psychology, the scholarly discipline and practice with Buddhist practice. Oil and water in my view.(here and here for example) (see also comments to this post for additional points) Some of the points about this uneasy mix I’ve been trying to clarify-which is why I’ve written so much about it as I’ve worked my way through the tangle, but upon reading the two above-mentioned pieces something clicked into place that does clarify the main reason why this mix is a Bad Romance.

Discussion of the meaning and relevance of spiritual experiences goes back a long way. One book that I encountered as an undergraduate was William James’ Varieties of Religious Experience. [available free online in HTML or as a downloadable text] The article above also references this work.  In that book William James discussed some of the manifestations of religious experiences such as raptures, trances and the like in the context of some well known religious figures such as Joan of Arc and some of the other Christian saints as well as mystics from other traditions. Apparently lots of people felt that religious experiencers were a little eccentric if not crazy. In time though, just like in shamanic traditions, these situations became incorporated and explained and even further, accepted by the religious contexts in which they occurred.

Secular, scientific culture does not accept the “differently consciousness-ed” individual quite so well. Deviations from an amorphous, as-yet-to-be-defined norm are treated as maladies or problems to be corrected, whether they are problematic to individuals or not. Unfortunately if they are not problematic to the individuals initially, they will soon be made problematic by social ostracization and pathologization of the different conscious state. A socially enforce “normal” is inflicted one way or another. I wonder if this is why folks get so bent out of shape when the topic of awakening comes up…”Ohh don’t talk about that” Try walking into a psychiatrist’s office and say you’ve had a kensho type experience-you’ll most likely leave with a handful of prescriptions for anti-psychotic pills.

Western psychology knows very little about the human mind. Neurologists haven’t even worked out the majority of the mechanics yet never mind the function of those mechanics and their interactions with each other, with genetics, with environment or with socio-cultural situations.  I say this as someone who studied psychology as part of the larger field known as ethnopsychiatry, (example of applied theory here) [which is generally subsumed under medical anthropology]  for 7 years in pursuit of a PhD.  What became evident to me during that time was that psychology is mainly guesswork.

[I wrote a paper one time with the basic theme “Psychology is not a Science” . This was not very well received by some of my professors. It summarized my general attitude at the time and contained some rather elegant reasoning.  That was pretty much the beginning of the end of my formal studies. I was a –“gasp”– non-believer. That’ll put the scarlet letter to all your academic endeavors pretty quickly. I re-applied about 10 years later to try to salvage some of that coursework into some kind of advanced degree but did not get accepted. Academia is a very small world with a long memory. ]

On that note, of what the psychologists, neurologists, social theorists etal know, here is a quote from recent areas of research examining the intersection of biology, neurology, culture, particularly visual  and technological culture and environment. Franciso J. Varela and Evan Thompson are two philosophers of science whose thesis has been quoted in The Neurobiopolitics of Global Consciousness by Warren Neidich who is an artist, theorist and trained biologist.

The nervous system, the body and the environment are highly structured dynamical systems, coupled to each other on multiple levels. Because they are so thoroughly enmeshed – biologically, ecologically and socially – brain, body and environment
seem better conceived of as mutually embedding systems than as externally and internally located to produce (via emergence as upwards causation) global organism-environment processes, which in turn may affect (via downward causation) their constituent elements. (p.10)

Neidich continues in that paper to outline the multi-directional and multi-dimensional influences of both culture and biology. The notion of the discrete mental action–self-arising, self-contained is rapidly losing ground in theoretical circles. Could this signal the death of the ego as we have known it? I hope so.  Seems like a few in the weighty academic realm  are on the verge of glimpsing some of what Buddha’s students have been going on about for millenia.  Better late than never I suppose.

The author ends with an interesting hypothesis along with a warning. [for the phil. nerds in the crowd-emphasis mine]

I would also hypothesize that there exists an envelope of possible formulas of output from the brain, a kind of virtual potential in the Deleuzian sense. As intensive culture evolves into more complex formations, it produces new dispositions that, when selected and coded by the brain, unlock that potential.
The brain is a becoming machine. The paradigms of neural plasticity and neural Darwinism provide the crucial frame for its continual renewal – but also perhaps for its eventual subjugation. (p. 13)

“Virtual potential” could perhaps also take the name Buddha nature?!  By subjugation the author is talking about co-opting the mental sphere particularly by culturally exploitative forces such as advertising. I would not buy into the notion of brain as machine, currently or developing, since the author himself distinguishes 3 interactive entities which he labels brain, mind, world, the latter indicating society/culture, but I’ll leave that alone for the moment.  [My question would revolve around what the term “mind” signifies, so I have to read more of this author’s work] I would take some issue with the apparent necessity of “intensive culture” or the “cultured brain” being the “intensive brain” [in the article]  in terms of complex formations to increase the probability of accessing that virtual potential and posit that a redefinition of intensive in terms of concentrative effort aka meditation could also unlock that virtual potential. [This is an important distinction which I want to take up again in another nerdy post some time. ]

Psychology as it stands has some utilitarian value in maintaining social order as well as seating people comfortably within a delusional niche but the level of theory involved is so woefully superficial that it takes real effort to ignore the gaping holes and believe it enough to put it into practice. Visit or volunteer at a local hospital’s psychiatric ward and you’ll see exactly what I mean. Instead of physical restraints chemical restraints are used. And there’s still no clue about how to deal with the person underneath all that restraint. The neurologists are slicing and dicing with the MRIs and CAT scans, finding more anomalies than commonalities, yet in many instances cannot say what came first, the physical anomaly or the othered conscious state nor why. And they also cannot posit what is to be done about it should the person find that othered state distressing. In other words there is no cure because no one can even agree on the nature of the disease.

imageThe only kluge-y solution is to try to make people behave “normally” that is like everybody else by whatever means are available. Only everyone else doesn’t behave uniformly if you really pay attention. There is only an ideal of normalcy, not an actual normalcy.

Uniformity. How horrific. How unnatural. No two things in nature are exactly alike ever. Not even identical twins. Even a clone has a tiny degree of genetic replicative fading. [Dontcha watch Star Trek?]

There is a tension between the Buddhist objective and the psychological objective. The transitoriness and instability and illusoriness of the ego and the reification and even solidification of egoic processes may be tied to the same starting point but they proceed in opposite directions

insubstantiality of ego <———0———> solidification of ego (ego stability)

[This is also why much post-modern psychoanalytically based philosophy (DeLeuze, Foucault, Batielle etc.) is somewhat contrary to Buddhist philosophy though it does explain much of ego-based social process. And perhaps this also explains some of Zizek’s antagonism towards what he views Buddhism to be.]

So to pacify ego or to see through it’s insubstantiality is the question for those who label themselves Buddhist-based psychologists.

I am not against the relief of psychological suffering. Nor am I against some of the primitive methods currently in use. I am very much against ECT though even done under anesthetic as it’s just barbaric. Much of the current thinking places people into a perpetual patient role even when they get better. Many people with mental illnesses can get better. Many people with othered consciousness do not even view themselves as “sick” . Temple Grandin is one example, there are many more.  And it often unnecessarily places people into that role even if they are not “sick” but are having adjustment difficulties to life changes or grief or other “normal” experiences.

There is just so much more work to be done in the field of human consciousness yet the surety of the doctor who talks at a patient for five minutes while scribbling out another prescription is laughable. But don’t tell them that. It’ll spoil their ego trip and they’ll have to write prescriptions for themselves. Oh yeah, quite a few of them already do that. (here, here, here, here)

The inclusion of a few Buddhist methods or theories into conventional psychology does little to relieve suffering on the meta levels. What is required is some real “crazy wisdom”.

Here is part of Chogyam Trungpa’s discussion about crazy wisdom:

Crazy wisdom in Tibetan is yeshe chölwa. Yeshe means “wisdom,” and chölwa, literally, is “gone wild.” The closest translation for chölwa that we could come up with is “crazy,” which creates some further understanding. In this case “crazy” goes along with “wisdom”; the two words work together well. So it is craziness gone wise rather than wisdom gone crazy. So from that point of view, craziness is related with wisdom.

The notion of wisdom here is very touchy, and we will have to get into the technical aspect of the whole thing. Wisdom is jnana in Sanskrit and yeshe in Tibetan. Yeshe refers to perception or to enlightenment, which exists eternally. Ye means “primordial”; she means “knowing,” knowing primordially, knowing already. The idea is that you haven’t suddenly acquired knowledge. It isn’t that somebody has just told you something. Knowledge already exists; it is here and we are beginning to tune into that situation. Such a thing actually does exist already. Wisdom isn’t purely manufactured by scholars and scientists and books.

So the notion of enlightenment is the same as that of wisdom.

The entire teaching is Crazy Wisdom Untamed and unconditioned enlightenment. That is crazy wisdom. That is the human “virtual potential”.

Image notes

The little guys in the images are from Vodaphone ads in India-they are called Zoozoos-they do have personalities and are a little more distinctive in the actual ads

Musical Interlude

Lady Gaga-Bad Romance

White Riot

In this blog post I want to delve into the heart of identity politics. There is a lot of aversion towards this topic so that’s a primo reason to dive right in.

The most common Pali word translated as “equanimity” is upekkha, meaning “to look over.” It refers to the equanimity that arises from the power of observation, the ability to see without being caught by what we see…

Upekkha can also refer to the ease that comes from seeing a bigger picture. Colloquially, in India the word was sometimes used to mean “to see with patience.” We might understand this as “seeing with understanding.”

The second word often translated as equanimity is tatramajjhattata, a compound made of simple Pali words. Tatra, meaning “there,” sometimes refers to “all these things.” Majjha means “middle,” and tata means “to stand or to pose.” Put together, the word becomes “to stand in the middle of all this.” As a form of equanimity, “being in the middle” refers to balance, to remaining centered in the middle of whatever is happening. This balance comes from inner strength or stability. The strong presence of inner calm, well-being, confidence, vitality, or integrity can keep us upright, like a ballast keeps a ship upright in strong winds. As inner strength develops, equanimity follows.

Equanimity adapted from a talk by Gil Fronsdal

The Glenn Beck thing. He seems to be a real put upon dude. Not only is he a POC, poor, living in a 3rd world country, female, of a minority faith, homeless, non-English speakinghaving a history of oppression, dealt with colonialism, physically challenged, mentally challengedliving in an impoverished area of the country, lacking access to education, speaking with an accent unusual for TV personalities, an immigrant, without documentation, a refugee, homosexual, trans-gendered, elderly, of compromised health status, living in a alternative family arrangement, illiterate, without a voice heard in his culture of birtha victim of torture, living with a mental illness, a victim of systemic discrimination, suffering from the effects of living through a war, a target for genocide, ….c’mon I’m really trying to get at what this fellow’s issue is all about.

The best thing I can come up with in his case is narcissism. Somehow to acknowledge the truth about other’s suffering, not necessarily at his behest, but within the system at large, which he rabidly supports, is too much for him to bear. His personal suffering, as manufactured as it is for dramatic effect, is so great that every effort must be made to appease that, rather than address issues as they affect all people not only one particular segment to the exclusion of others. One man’s discomfort-for-pay (and bonus tears) becomes more pivotal than every other issue.

Narcissism is but one expression of privilege. It says let’s jump all over any comment made about the privileged status that imbues suffering in the lives of others and cry victim at the top of our lungs just so we drown everybody else out. And it seems to work for the Glenn Becks of the world.

Instead of checking out the situation, asking questions, listening to the answers, discovering how deep the rabbit hole goes,  it becomes all about me, me, me. The Oppression Olympics fires up it’s torch again. Though what category of oppression Glenn Beck is competing in is still a mystery.

As a bit of an aside, now that the event is over, there was a quote on The Mahablog which went:

If I may, with apologies to Joni Mitchell:

By the time we got to Beckstock,
We were eighty thousand strong,
and everywhere was the sound
of white resentment.
And I dreamed I saw a Mama Grizzly
Throwing word salad at the sky
And Glenn Beck began to cry,
What a presentment!

We are white folk, we are entitled,
And we’ve got to get them folks
back out of the garden.

[For some slightly understated scathe (the noun from the adjective scathing) check out Christopher Hitchen’s piece White Fright:Glenn Beck’s rally was large, vague, moist, and undirected—the Waterworld of white self-pity and for some serious scathe check One Lump Or Two? from Howard Kunstler’s Clusterfuck Nation blog. The last one is for those who consider what I write to be over the top. Not even close.]

In GlennBeckistan, a term coined by Sen. Robert Byrd, a small group, who maintain the status quo, at the behest of huge corporate interests play upon the fear and paranoia of economically disenfranchised white people by scapegoating other marginalized groups. This divide and conquer strategy has been used for decades, if not centuries, by the powerful to maintain and consolidate their ultra-privileged condition.

As long as economically and socially disenfranchised whites are reminded of the “otherness” of various minorities, whether they be religious minorities, ethnic minorities or other groups, the division remains. And that division is one that can be manipulated in order to control and direct populations into serving the interests of the ruling classes. Because, disenfranchised white person, you are not the ruling class, nor are you a friend of the ruling class, you are their pawns as long as the divisions between all disenfranchised people are held to. This is true in all circumstances including those divisions within “Western” Buddhism. In that case it is a simple reflection of the current socio-cultural milieu in which Buddhism is growing in the “West” . There is a much larger picture than “East vs West”  “Asians vs converts” , “superstition vs science” or whatever the various factions choose for labels.

obamwhitslavdemo

The general and larger source of paranoia among whites is that they will somehow be subjected to the conditions of those who have been or are currently dealing with oppression and disenfranchisement. They may lose the freedom to operate with relative impunity. This is an interestingly paradoxical recognition of the situation that is faced by many, while at the same time an expression of fear that continues to accentuate the divided nature of those who are economically oppressed.

The fear is that whites will in fact become a minority and further that they will lose the privileged status that has been gained through centuries of genocide and colonialism. The truth is that whites are already a minority in the world and have been for a long time. Better get used to it.

But it goes deeper than that.

Here is a post that gets right to some of the issues. In poor people aren’t supposed to want nice things. the author, Monchel Pridget,  discusses the stigma that is involved with simply being an economic minority. She states:

Your job, Poor Person, is to get as far away from the have-nots as possible in thought and deed and investment. Otherwise, you will tip people off to the fact you are or have been poor. They are only supposed to suspect that you have been poor when you approach the dais to give a motivating speech, or when you are filling out an application to fund more education for yourself, or when you have fallen upon dire straits but grow accustomed to those circumstances with aplomb.

This point of avoiding the taint of economic stigma (which goes hand in hand with all the other stigmas of various minorities) goes right to the heart of much of the panic-mongering rhetoric heard in the various forms of media today.

The carrot of joining the elites is held out, which apparently removes the stigma of those with a more humble economic history, yet how many actually reach that magic plateau? And realistically what are the chances of that happening? In terms of probability, one would be more likely to get hit by lightning on the same day as they won the lottery sooner than being introduced as a member of the global elite.

The further one distances themselves from “obvious” minorities the closer one gets to the global elites or so much of the thinking goes. However that is a fallacy.

If socio-economically disadvantaged whites can continue to be fooled by the rhetoric of the elites,  can be convinced to believe a piece of the pie can actually be theirs and if more can be persuaded to join those cadres, the larger the buffer between the elites and those they *need* to keep in disadvantaged positions in order to bolster their own privilege and security globally. The white middle and lower classes are simply the expendable pawns to protect the kingdoms of the obscenely wealthy and exploitatively powerful.

This all very much rides on the acceptance of status quo consumerism and buying into delusions of might makes right, meaning economic might, as well as personal identification with ideals espoused by the elites via various media.

Joan Walsh at Salon.com recently wrote:

The forces of great wealth will use everything in their power to prevent fundamental change in this country, and one of their favorite tactics has always been “divide and conquer,” propping up charlatans like Beck to distract people from the rate at which they’re widening the gap between rich and poor.

One of the ways to maintain this buffer force between the elites and the disenfranchised is to sensitize the white middle and lower class populations to believe that they are as disenfranchised or even more disenfranchised than those who are facing much greater obstacles to equality. Methods of doing this include scapegoating, attaching blame, exemplifying and magnifying minor incidents into larger distortions, stereotyping etc.

It’s about having a population feeling psychologically insecure and defensive so that whenever an event occurs among the disenfranchised minorities it becomes an example which fulfils the stereotypes. These stereotypes include such things as “the angry black person”, “the terrorist Muslim”, “the sly, inscrutable Asian” and so on.

So for example when a person of color writes on their blog the phrase “clueless white guy” there is much hue and cry among the “victims” of the phrase, expressed in numerous venues, even though the phrase is descriptive of the author’s opinion combined with a factual statement. There are accusations of racism against whites as well as a whole lot of insensitivity to the author’s predicament. Few attempt to engage the material as it  and many, in other forums, simply dismissed the author, his argument as well as those of us who attempted to understand the viewpoint. Again it became me,me,me. That episode, among many others brings up an interesting question.

Are Minorities and Disenfranchised People Discriminatory?

A person discriminates when he/she make a distinction, whether intentional or not, based on a characteristic or perceived characteristic that has the effect of imposing burdens, obligations or disadvantages on an individual or group of individuals not imposed on others or which withholds or limits access to opportunities, benefits and advantages available to others.

definition from Zinn and Brethuor, The Law of Human Rights in Canada: Practice and Procedure, (Canada Law Books) at p.1-2,3 (Insert October 2005)

Discrimination is not merely about making distinctions. It is about making distinctions for a specific purpose. That purpose is based on maintaining relative power relations in a larger scenario. Many of these discriminatory distinctions depend upon stereotypes.

Stereotypes work differently depending upon where one finds themselves upon the spectrum relative to power. At one end of the spectrum the use of stereotypes, including those embodied in racial epithets, assists in preserving a privileged distinction from others. At the other end of the spectrum such usages related to emotions arising from powerlessness relative to the target of the stereotype. In the latter case they become challenges to perceived power.

The use of racial epithets have different motivations depending upon who is using them, their target and larger social considerations. Intent is the basis of karmic relations. It is also the basis for most democratic expressions of justice. And intent needs to be discerned before judgments are made about the level of racism, or if indeed racism or discriminatory speech is even involved at all.

In the “clueless white guy” example one might substitute the word “Jew” or “black”  or other words, however this does not take into account the context nor the power relationship of the comment. It is based on the assumption that the author is in a position of racial power such that he may have the ability to unfairly impose burdens, obligations or disadvantages upon the described individual or his group. That is simply not the case since the author is of Asian parentage and does, by his own descriptions suffer the effects of discrimination on that basis. And if one looks honestly at the history of Buddhist scholarship it has primarily been “clueless white guys” doing the interpretation of cultures they neither fully understand nor belong to. The same is true in many other academic disciplines. This has included everything from making outrightly racist statements to the indignity of having foreigners speak for cultures they have little relationship with. [See Intellectuals & Power: A conversation between Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze in which “the indignity of speaking for others” is thoroughly discussed]

Again it is the power of the interpreter, using his own language and cultural framework to tell others how they think and what that thinking means without actually investigating or acknowledging how they think. It is very arrogant.

Without ascertaining intent, in fact with having intent assigned by others “You’re a racist against whites” it fully illustrates and compounds the very thing that the complainant is discussing.

A racially charged epithet has different meanings depending upon context, as Dr. Laura found out recently.

Interestingly it was this same Dr. Laura who brought up the topic of “oversensitivity” and projected it upon her minority radio listeners.  Her own privileged oversensitivity completely took over, above and beyond that of the woman who was calling her requesting assistance in dealing with racial epithets directed her way.

That is what privilege does. It makes “my issue”, “my sensitivity” move straight to the front of the line and dismisses the concerns of others. It assigns interpretation, intent and meaning without consultations and makes decisions for others based on those assumptions.

When a person in a position of privilege uses a racial epithet it carries a great deal more weight than when the non-privileged person uses similar language. It comes from a position of power, with centuries of baggage, and serves as a reminder of that power relationship.  It is used essentially to keep “them” in their place.

Now some of the complaint which Dr. Laura had was that minority folks use the same words with each other. This is different because it is within a peer-to-peer relationship. There is equal power or powerlessness in the conversational exchange. No one gets the advantage by using such terminology.  It becomes a power-neutral phrase.

When a racial epithet is uttered by someone in a relatively less powerful position towards one in a more powerful position it’s intent may well be hurtful. But it’s effect, in the larger picture is somewhat negligible because that person is not in a position, sociologically, to effect burdens or to deny advantage to the target of the slur nor to reinforce existing burdens or disadvantages.

In the latter case, one’s feelings might be hurt, but one’s social position is not in any way threatened or negatively reinforced. The damage is superficial unless one is ignorant of their own privilege and has become “oversensitized” to believe the delusion that some amount of momentary personal discomfort is equivalent to the disenfranchisement that visible minorities continuously face. It is not.

The “Oppression Olympics” is a game for suckers who either buy into the agenda of the elites, magnify their own amount of economic disenfranchisement to a delusional level, or are simply narcissists.

There’s two kinds of discrimination.

Direct Discrimination

When most people think of discrimination, they think of direct discrimination, which is the most obvious form. Direct discrimination occurs when, for example, an employer advertises a job and limits applications to “men only” or “whites only”.

from “What is Discrimination?” Canadian Housing Equality Rights Resources

There was recently an ad placed on a Canadian real estate website that conveyed the following:

Calgary residents are shocked after a home listing on a Calgary website stated the owners will sell to a “white buyer” only, in a “highly rated white community.” …
The listing also promised a private backyard that won’t have “colored people peaking” in.

from Metro News

Aside from the bad spelling (it’s peeking not peaking, and in Canada generally it’s coloured not colored-the colonial spelling hangover-though in this case perhaps both are apt), this ad provoked a flurry of controversy in Canada about the overtly racist statements made by the home-owner. It was promptly removed and various human rights tribunals are investigating the matter.

Much direct discriminatory activity is now socially condemned, as the situation with the ad illustrates. Even the Republicans have requested to the Tea Party activists, “everybody ought to ratchet back just a little bit.”. But much that is systemic is not socially condemned. Unfortunately the systemic variety is very insidious. In some places it can even become the social norm without people even realizing that they are enacting this kind of behavior.  Just like much of our cultural learning, it ceases to be conscious enactment. This is of particular importance to those on the Buddhist path. We are trying to wake up, trying to see things as they are, not as our unconscious conditioned behavior and learning dictates.

Constructive or Adverse Effect Discrimination

Constructive discrimination or adverse effect discrimination is a subtler and arguably more widespread form of discrimination. Constructive discrimination refers to rules, policies or practices that may not be intentionally or obviously discriminatory, but which have a discriminatory effect on persons protected by human rights legislation.

For example, an employer who requires that all employees must work on Saturday constructively discriminates against those employees who, for religious reasons, cannot work on Saturdays. In this case, the rule applies equally to everyone, but only those with particular religious observances are negatively affected.

from “What is Discrimination?” Canadian Housing Equality Rights Resources

In this case such discriminatory activities may not be intentional at all. They are based on the perspective of the person in power who is enacting such activities. They are based on the assumption that all who will be affected by such directives are cool with that.

These and similar assumptions are where the “blind spot” lies. They are the product of cultural learning.  Assumptions are very dangerous. They lead to blind trust, unthinking responses and even worse, actions based on ignorance.

There is a viewpoint that identity politics in relation to minorities has the express purpose to dis-empower the powerful and hold sway over them. In effect a reversal of current situations. What is often not realized is that the upliftment of minorities to a position of equality, not a position of dominance, which is not what is generally being sought, is to the benefit of society as a whole, that is towards the greater good.

And the Greater Good is one phrase that gets a lot of play in the media. In addition to this agenda being pushed by conservative pundits it also gets a lot of play in both liberal-progressive and Buddhist circles. It is the position that states we are “post-racial”, “post-feminist”,  all humans without differences, “colorblind”, all Buddhas or Bodhisattvas already, etc. What it does is pay lip service to an unrealized ideal and then sweeps the matter under the rug because of the discomfort it causes to deal with the reality of unequal relations between individuals and groups.

The Greater Good or Special Interests?

In a a recent article All Politics Is Identity Politics:We can’t forget that ideology is shaped by personal experience Anne Friedman wrote:

Calls to reject identity and adopt a “greater good” approach never make clear who defines that greater good. Who decides which issues have to wait and which are of utmost importance?…

The common good is a laudable goal, but asking progressives to subsume their identities and interests is not the way to achieve it. Allowing people to organize based on their identities and deeply held beliefs is just smart politics. Those groups can — and do — work together to craft policies and organizing strategies that lift all members of the coalition, not just those who are white, heterosexual, economically advantaged, and male…

Critiques of identity politics fail to acknowledge that people join social-justice and political groups because they actually do want to look beyond themselves and make our country a better place….

Most political acts — even those done under the auspices of “special interests” like immigrant rights, abortion rights, or racial justice — are done in service of a greater good…

Identity groups are made up of people who want to be part of something bigger, people who recognize personal injustices and want to channel their indignation into a greater quest for a better country…

Those who wish to castigate activists, particularly those who advocate for identity groups, might stop and question the motives of the activists themselves. Why would someone work towards the betterment of the life situations of groups or persons to whom they have no familial, social or racial ties? Occasionally it might be a subversive way to express their privilege and massage their ego, though those kinds of activists burn out pretty quickly. Could it perhaps have something to do with fairness, justice and compassion?

Where the racist expressions of discrimination are rampant, not only overtly but in covertly culturally-coded ways as well, one walks into a bit of a mine field. Hence the aversion for delving deeply into such subjects. People who take an activist stance on the matter need to deal with that. As do others who would comment on such issues. Without appropriate reflection and analysis the problem becomes exacerbated by people acting from conditioned responses rather than responding to the actual situation.

Here is one such example. There is a question that has been under discussion for quite a few years. It’s a bit of a tangent but sometimes it is the kind of thing that comes up in activist and leftist circles. In general it gets expressed as “Those people (racists) are crazy.” This kind of expression does nothing to alleviate the situation and in turn seeks to discriminate, based upon the stigma of mental illness, against those who have inculcated racist ideology from their cultures. It rests upon an assumption that the “crazy” are somewhat “other” and that to label racists as such is to demean them. Therefore it concomitantly marks another group as inferior by implication.

Should racism be classified as a mental illness?

That’s something that has been under consideration with the new updates in the DSM V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association). The specific position of racism would be possibly covered under the category of “Pathological Bias” (Bigotry as Mental Illness Or Just Another Norm-New York Times)

A pathological bias is a point of view that is held to with such insistence that it reaches delusional proportions and begins to inform every aspect of a person’s life. It is a type of possibly psychotic delusion. In many of categories of mental illness there is a delusionary component. So on those grounds alone, dissecting out some delusions because of racist content leads to a very slippery slope wherein people end up becoming unjustifiably multiply labeled and possibly treated for erroneous mental health statuses.

For those interested here is a series of articles  and letters from The American Psychiatric Association’s on-line publication Psychiatric Services

Racism: A Mental Illness? by Carl Bell, M.D (Psychiatr Serv, Dec 2004; 55: 1343.)

Letter to the Editor on Racism: A Mental Illness? by Daniel Chinedu Okoro, M.D. (Psychiatr Serv, Feb 2005; 56: 220.)

Letter to the Editor on Racism: A Mental Illness? by Carl Bell, M.D. (Psychiatr Serv, Feb 2005; 56: 220 – 221. )

Letter to the Editor on Racism: A Mental Illness? by Robert L. Leon M. D. (Psychiatr Serv, Jun 2005; 56: 753. )

Robert L. Leon states in his letter listed above:

It would involve psychiatry’s taking a hard look at pathology in the society as a whole. Are racism and other forms of so-called cultural beliefs that harm others psychopathology? Is psychiatry prepared to confront this question? Maybe it is time that we did.

Including racism as a mental illness or even as a symptom of a mental illness would too often excuse the racist, ignore the institutionalization of the racist practice as well as the role of socio-cultural learning and deny the systemic nature of it. When a practice is culturally embedded it is well beyond individual psychopathy. It has become normal. And “normal” according to Buddhist philosophy is the realm of Samsara.

In Buddhist philosophy it has been posited that delusion is the state in which we all live on a day to day basis. This has been taken up brilliantly by Buddhist teachers Alan Wallace as well as Clarke Scott, both of whom make use of the psychological term “Obsessive-Compulsive Delusional Disorder” to describe the non-awakened  Samsaric viewpoint. In the following video Clarke Scott outlines what this means in terms of cognitive psychology and Buddhist philosophy for those who want the in depth explanation.

http://vimeo.com/14373748

One quote  from the video that explains a couple of facets of the OCDD aka non-awakened state that have direct bearing on our general experience of ourselves, others and the world in which we all live [emphasis mine]:

Now in Alan Wallace’s book Contemplative Science, he describes cognitive-deficit as
“characterized by the failure to perceive what is present in the five fields of sensory experience and in the mind. While it’s opposite, cognitive hyper-activity, sets in when we conflate our conceptual projections with the perceptual experience. That is we fail to distinguish between perceived realities and superimposed assumptions and fantasies.”

Another part of that video is the section about dispositional narrative. That applies directly to who we are and who we think we are. It is the story we tell ourselves about ourselves. By implication it is also tied up with stories we tell ourselves about others. We do not, in conventional terms, define ourselves without relationship to others.

This is where we get into inter-relatedness, self-definition, our place in the world, perceived threats to self and those we use to define ourselves and all the attendant emotions, including fear, paranoia, hatred, insecurity.

Consider the fluidity of the dispositional narrative or rather the distorted story we carry which is fed by the societies and culture that surrounds us. Where nothing is sure, the power of narrative carries the day.

If someone we perceive as powerful, utters a statement it is more likely to be perceived as true than if some random stranger utters it. Hence we attach to those statements, make them part of our own story and act from that position. This is the foundation of delusion.

And this is also part of the mechanism of learned racism as well as other discriminatory behavior.

What About Differential Power?

Let’s not bring up privilege here. Let’s talk about differential social power or lack thereof instead.

It is well and good to talk about the ideals of “We are the World” or “One Nation…” or “United We Stand” or “All People are the Same” and other expressions of solidarity. It would be very nice if that actually existed…somewhere…in the world. But it doesn’t. Anywhere.

We have a United Nations, which is fairly powerless. We have treaties, organizations of states and agreements, most of which relate to the exchange of goods. There are such things as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which most countries are signatories. However as a non-binding effort it’s barely worth the paper it’s written on. It is a statement of ideals, which if inconvenient, are often set aside.

What needs to be acknowledged and examined, not only in geo-political realms but in day to day interpersonal relations is the fact of differential power relationships.

If we are going to truly overcome differences first they must be recognized. The injustices arising from discriminations of all types need to be addressed and conscious effort made to adjust attitudes to preclude continuance of such practices. This is wholesale culture change, not piecemeal efforts. But it does start with individuals facing reality.

Racism, Classism and Social Power

…how is it that people whose interests are not being served can strictly support the existing power structure by demanding a piece of the action? Perhaps, this is because in terms of investments, whether economic or unconscious, interest is not the final answer; there are investments of desire that function in a more profound and diffuse manner than our interests dictate.

Gilles Deleuze in Intellectuals & Power: A conversation between Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze

The power of desire, of grasping, of imagination, of believing in delusions all serve to manifest social injustice. Desire can subsume the reality of our own best interests.

The desire to be identified with, and hopefully obtain “a piece of the action” held by the global elites is a powerful draw. When the manufacture of threats instills fear on top of that desire and the heady religious notions of guilt, repentance, spiritual in-groups and demonized out-groups additionally become bound to the ideational cluster there are many levers that can be struck in order to direct large populations towards delusional actions.

Racism is one of the handy weapons or levers to maintain social power. It thrives on fear of the “other”. It thrives on fear of losing what we have. It thrives on maintaining a tie between familiarity and good, as well as equating  strangeness to badness. [see video 21st century enlightenment for more on that] It thrives on artificial notions of purity. It thrives on the development of delusional levels of fear and paranoia. It thrives on panic.

There can be no effective social change, no effective reconciliations, no effective negotiations, no effective communication until these ideational clusters are unscrambled within each one of us.

Normal fear protects us; abnormal fear paralyses us. Normal fear motivates us to improve our individual and collective welfare; abnormal fear constantly poisons and distorts our inner lives. Our problem is not to be rid of fear but, rather to harness and master it.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Links on Culture, Racism and Psychology

‘Pathological bias’ being considered for DSM-V: some fear that inclusion may provide an excuse for people charged with engaging in racist behavior by Robert Finn (Clinical Psychiatry News) This article includes a draft of the proposed criteria for Pathological Bias

Racial Bias in Psychiatric Diagnosis by Alisha Ali, PhD from the Association of Women in Psychology

Should Racism Be Classified as a Mental Illness? by Tiaja Ellis

Should Racism Be Classified as a Mental Illness? a general overview of the idea and it’s many facets

Social Class and Classism in Psychiatric Diagnosis by Heather E. Bullock, PhD and Shirley V. Truong, MA from the Association of Women in Psychology

Links on Equanimity

Equanimity by C. M. Tan

Upekkha from Wikipedia -with further links

Musical Accompaniment- The Clash – White Riot

Yes this song is ironic, like much of the music by The Clash and many other viewpoints coming out of the first wave of Punk.

chorus

White riot – I wanna riot
White riot – a riot of my own
White riot – I wanna riot
White riot – a riot of my own

Black man gotta lot a problems
But they don’t mind throwing a brick
White people go to school
Where they teach you how to be thick
An’ everybody’s doing
Just what they’re told to
An’ nobody wants
To go to jail!

chorus

All the power’s in the hands
Of people rich enough to buy it
While we walk the street
Too chicken to even try it
Everybody’s doing
Just what they’re told to
Nobody wants
To go to jail!

chorus

Are you taking over
or are you taking orders?
Are you going backwards
Or are you going forwards?

chorus

Musical Finale- Bob Marley- Redemption Song

Old pirates, yes, they rob I
Sold I to the merchant ships
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit
But my hand was made strong
By the hand of the almighty
We forward in this generation
Triumphantly
Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
‘Cause all I ever have
Redemption songs
Redemption songs
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds
Have no fear for atomic energy
‘Cause none of them can stop the time
How long shall they kill our prophets
While we stand aside and look? Ooh
Some say it’s just a part of it
We’ve got to fulfill the book
Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
‘Cause all I ever have
Redemption songs
Redemption songs
Redemption songs
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our mind
Woh, have no fear for atomic energy
‘Cause none of them-a can-a stop-a the time
How long shall they kill our prophets
While we stand aside and look?
Yes, some say it’s just a part of it
We’ve got to fulfill the book
Won’t you help to sing
These songs of freedom?
‘Cause all I ever had
Redemption songs
All I ever had
Redemption songs
These songs of freedom
Songs of freedom

Genetic Diversity:a Green Heritage

I don’t usually write too much on ecology, green, etc. as there’s plenty available elsewhere. Some of it interesting and useful and some of it is a redressed consumerism.The consumerism issue is one that was written about in the post Right Lifestyle a while back.

Today though I ran into a post that brought up some interesting issues. Nutritional Value of Fruits & Veggies dwindling which appeared on elephant journal. I commented there but want to expand on those ideas.

amaranth crop at taluka

[photo: Amaranth crop ripening in Taluka village in the remote Indian Himalayas]

Seed banks are being set up at rates that can’t keep up with the extinction of plant species. Seed banks collect diverse kinds of seeds in case disease, disaster or extinction befalls specific types of plants. Since uniformity in farmed species has become the norm many heritage plants including grains like amaranth and spelt, as well as many varieties of vegetables are not grown on any kind of scale except by hobbyists or in remote areas. Seed banks are expensive to operate because the plant material has to be kept in conditions with proper humidity and temperature or it spoils.

All this does not bode well if disease strikes a particular cash crop.

Consider the example of bananas. When farmers start cash cropping bananas they tend to plant only that “perfect” banana that the foreign markets want. The local varieties, with all their various tastes and textures begin to vanish. One of the main problems with this is that if a plant disease strikes the cash crop it will wipe them out. Other varieties may be naturally resistant to such disease. In 2001 the main varieties of bananas were stuck with a fungal disease called Panama wilt. This was a global problem brought on weather patterns that occurred at the time.

There are banana species that are resistant to this however they are not so “pretty” as the Chiquita or similar brands and are only grown in small quantities for local use.

Do you know how may types of tomatoes exist? Around 7500. But if everyone is eating only the mass produced supermarket varieties there is no incentive for farmers to plant other types. The same is true with mangos which have over 2500 varieties, as well as oranges, lettuce, cabbage, onions and many others.

In the Andes, for example, some 3,000 potato varieties are in use, and in Java, some home gardens have more than 600 plant varieties!

Did you know that about 96% of the commercial vegetable varieties available in 1903 are now extinct, and that today, 90% of our food comes from just 25 plant and 8 animal species? This situation presents potential risks for global food security and nutrition.

from Tasty And Funky, Heirloom Vegetables Also Enhance Genetic Biodiversity

It is no wonder then with limited variety, genetically modified, chemically fed food sources that vitamins, minerals, protein and trace elements are missing from so many diets.

There are some solutions. By going for the advertised or most common brand of any sort of vegetable it is endangering the entire food supply, ruining the nutritional value of food and encouraging corporate profiteering. . So consider buying/planting/eating some of the lesser known varieties.

These diverse and interesting varieties are heritage or heirloom vegetables.

Typically, heirlooms have adapted over time to whatever climate and soil they have grown in. Due to their genetics, they are often resistant to local pests, diseases, and extremes of weather.[1] 

from Heirloom plant (Wikipedia)

This is important because many of the Genetically Modified varieties of vegetables created by the multi-national corporations are bred specifically for the purposes of being resistant to pests and diseases as well as to curtail natural seeding. The latter is to enable the corporations to patent and sell seeds to plants that no longer give viable seed for the farmer to continue growing. Heritage varieties do seed naturally so crops can be planted in perpetuity. This means with heritage seeds, plants can be grown from the seeds of the vegetables you or the farmer produce. No need to continue to buy more seed from corporations. It is sustainable. As well heritage seeds help to maintain the genetic diversity of plants. .

Some say GM foods are contributing to genetic diversity. The problem is when you rapidly accelerate or modify one part of the ecosystem it unbalances the entire system. In natural evolution and diversification of species changes are incremental not whole sale. The rest of the ecosystem has the opportunity to adjust to the changes.   Consider the situation of bees in North America as an example.

Open pollination, such as is required for heritage crops, is facilitated by insects, particularly bees as well as wind, birds and other animals. Bees are not only wasted on GM crops, which don’t require such pollination, GM crops are not suitable for bee food.  Bee colony collapses have increased dramatically with the introduction of GM food sources. We have to consider the results of rapid food modifications.

The magazine truthout has reprinted an article from the German magazine Der Spiegel on the effects of GM crops on bee populations. In the US many bee colonies are dying. One possible reason is

…the fact that genetically modified, insect-resistant plants are now used in 40 percent of cornfields in the United States could be playing a role.

from Are GM Crops Killing Bees?

The whole article is worth a read.

So we have choices to make. The cheap, uniform, relatively juiceless and tasteless supermarket tomato or the rich colorful tasty heritage tomatoes.

image

The Usual Supermarket Tomato

VS

image image 

Heritage and Heirloom Tomatoes

Uniformity is fine for…manufacturing I guess, but not for food.

A Breakfast Recipe for Heritage Tomatoes

Cut some tomatoes in half along the middle. Sprinkle with finely chopped hot green chilies, tiny amounts of salt and turmeric, then a little Demerara (natural brown) sugar. Saute slowly face down in a little butter until sugar dissolves and tomato is hot and juicy. Serve on warm toast slices in the same way one does with poached eggs. You can also use a couple of steamed spinach leaves instead of toast. I guess that would be the Florentine version.

Links with Additional Information

Global Food Crisis from Science Alert Australia. A collection of articles on food issues around the world.

Banana: Africa’s untapped gold mine  from The Times of Zambia. Discussion of cash cropping bananas, banana diseases as well as a lot of advice on how to grow bananas should you feel inclined to do that

Biodiversity big list of articles and links related to biodiversity on Wikipedia

Heritage, Heirloom and Traditional Breeds from Sustainable Table. An interesting read with some astounding figures. Also talks about heritage meat sources as opposed to current market types. Good sources and links listed at the bottom of the article as well.

Death of the Bees: GMO Crops and the Decline of Bee Colonies in North America from globalresearch.ca An article that discusses GMO protein modifications as a possible source for the bee deaths and a possible reason for increases in colon cancer in humans.  Includes a lot of reference links.

Addendum:

Genetic diversity is important in humans too.

Hyper-Time

Watching Nicholas Carr: Is Google Making Us Stupid? discovered via a post on Integral Options Cafe was an hour well spent.

The video with an interview of Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains done by Peter Norvig, Google’s director of research and author of the well known text Artificial Intelligence-a modern approach (strangely, I have a copy of this from years back, not that I studied such subjects but it’s an interest).

There were a lot of issues discussed but one that really caught my attention was a brief discussion about what the invention and codification and measurement of time has wrought upon many societies.

We don’t eat or sleep when we want to or when it is necessary but by the clock. Same with work. The point was made in the video that we work because it is time to work not because there is work that has to be done at that time. Our activities are slotted into artificial allotments which have little relation to actual necessity.

This is also related to some of the concepts discussed in the book I just reviewed in the last post Stepping Out of Self-deception particularly those of horizontal and vertical time.

Conventional Time

Time is a way of measuring change.

Clocked time is an artificial layer of measurement that veils and distorts human time perception. Human time is the way the body and mind actually perceive change. It encompasses the human daily rhythms, life changes and governs the lifespan. It is a part of natural time, that is time as it occurs in nature which is related to seasons and annual changes.  Natural time is part of what might be called geological or earth time. That is change as it relates to the planet. This in turn is part of universal time. That is time in its broadest context-the universe. [I don’t know what is beyond that-kalpas maybe.]

One might diagram it thusly:

|

|

*

/**\
|
/tech time\
|
/    clock time   \
|
/     human time     \
|
/        natural time        \
|
/          geological time          \
|
/               universal time               \

Linear (Horizontal) time =  <_____>  or the X axis and Momentary (Vertical) time  the Y axis

Each of these is actually embedded within the previous one. And the intervals get smaller. Perhaps even on some kind of logarithmic scale. Shades of Zeno’s paradox here. (“In his arguments, he manages to show that the universe can neither be continuous (infinitely divisible) nor discrete (discontinuous, that is made up of finite,indivisible parts).”)

In the last century we, meaning our species, have begun moving to even smaller time scales, both related to technology.  We’re talking about nano-seconds.  I call this technological time.

These are minute time scales that humans cannot experience directly or really fathom. Something like ultra-sonic sound. It is beyond our natural capacities but nonetheless measurable with technology developed by our intellectual capacities.

Technologies in every context continue to be developed in order to extend both our understanding and our sensory capacities. And these time technologies are having an effect on people.

Hyper-Time

When we get beyond tech time we get into hyper-time. That is trying to fold time up in order to warp, grow, expand and supercede it. Hyper-time would be the point in the pyramid diagram above. It would be where time inverts upon itself, reverses, expands. It would be where time is timeless.

I’m not talking about some kind of quantum mystery but the social and psychological aspects of this drive to supercede time, to reach towards infinity if taken to the extreme. Lo, and verily I sayest unto ye, perhaps the religious aspects as well.

In the social realm this is becoming more obvious. And technology as well as new methodologies of productivity and efficiency are being developed to attempt to bring about this enfolding of our time.

Multi-tasking is one of the hallmarks of hyper time.  We take several tasks, each which on it’s own would require a certain amount of time to complete and layer them upon each other and attempt to complete them simultaneously in a single measure of time.

While uni-tasking or mono-tasking, that is doing one thing at a time, there are gaps in the task completion process. Taking a moment to stop and consider the next sentence while writing a blog post or relaxing and stretching the shoulders when we are moving furniture have been taken up as “non-productive” and as moments which need to be filled with some additional activity. Even driving a car isn’t enough to hold attention for some,  so people watch videos, talk on the phone, eat breakfast, text and apply makeup.

All tasks take on the same level of attention and priority. They are homogenized into “activity” or “doing” which somehow is deemed as valuable unto itself. As long as one is doing something there is validation. And the more layers of doing that can be piled up, the more important or valuable or needed or noticeable or exemplary we can feel about ourselves. It’s like the Protestant work ethic on meth.

And meth ingestion is often accompanied by a lot of frantic activity which has little purpose except in the mind of the one doing it.  Consider what happens when one takes meth:

Methamphetamine has high potential for addiction, activating the psychological reward system by increasing levels of dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain.

Psychological effects can include euphoria, anxiety, increased libido, alertness, concentration, energy, self-esteem, self-confidence, sociability, irritability, aggression, psychosomatic disorders, psychomotor agitation, hubris, excessive feelings of power and invincibility, repetitive and obsessive behaviors, paranoia

In many ways by attempting to hyper-time our lives we are striving to gain some of the positive effects such as increased self-esteem, a sense of power and to demonstrate a superior ability to cope, while attempting to avoid the more negative effects. And it can become an addictive lifestyle.

However if we break it down we notice that most of the gains are in our own minds. The satisfaction is very short term.  The psychological reward system craves again quickly. We have foregone the pleasure of taking life as it comes, ignored our own limits and the next day are back where we started.

It is a very myopic view.  The high level of specific focus prevents awareness from fully unfolding. It prevents the experience of natural time and human self, rather like looking through a microscope prevents us from seeing the surroundings and our context.

It is a distorted way to attempt to cope with the present without actually experiencing the present. We think only about what must be completed for the future and everything we’ve left undone in the past.

A lot is lost with that kind of distorted view. We don’t see or acknowledge the effects on ourselves, those closest to us or our surroundings. To step back from it is scary because there is a huge investment in terms of time, attention, effort and ego. We identify ourselves with that frenetic stream and lose the ability to navigate within it.

Everything has to be now. But the now in that instance is a false perception. There are many individual and social assumptions supporting that perception. Urgency and priority are set by those assumptions. It is unlikely that our company will fold if a document is a day late. It is unlikely that our child will starve if we take 10 more minutes to drive home mindfully as opposed to frantically. It is unlikely our vacation drive to the lake will be ruined if we leave an hour later. And if we think these things are true then there is some question about reality perception that may require addressing.

Attempting to cram an infinity into a moment is clinging on to a time scale that is both illusory and finite.

Timelessness is Effortless

In our practice when we talk about now, it isn’t really only now. It is all time. It is timelessness. What is required is not a more efficient method or some additional time-saving tools, but a shift in perception to make that available.

The moment may be all there is but in that moment everything is available. If one is fully present. Being preoccupied (pre-occupied) with other things does not leave space for that to evince.

This may be one of the reasons, in our hyper-timed cultures, that Buddhism and it’s time-consuming methodology is being subjected to a lot of quick fixes. By stripping out texts, huge chunks of doctrines, rituals and anything else that might take time away from the endeavor of chasing the infinite it may be reasoned that we can accelerate the process.

Becoming, the cycle of rebirth, twelve links of causation (pratitya-samutpada), Twelve Nidanas, interdependence, Karma, birth, aging, death-however you want to state it, the whole shebang of suffering is intertwined with the perception of time in a horizontal mode.  This does not mean that the measurement of conventional time is not useful and does not convey the fact of change but that the individual’s perception when clinging to that axis is inextricably bound up with the changes. With shifts in perception there is a cessation of being wrapped up in the chase of time. One neither runs towards an imaginary future nor runs from an irretrievable past. There is room for planning and there is room for memory but they are not driving forces that compel thought, behavior and perception.

“Now from the remainderless fading & cessation of that very ignorance comes the cessation of fabrications. From the cessation of fabrications comes the cessation of consciousness. From the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form. From the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of the six sense media. From the cessation of the six sense media comes the cessation of contact. From the cessation of contact comes the cessation of feeling. From the cessation of feeling comes the cessation of craving. From the cessation of craving comes the cessation of clinging/sustenance. From the cessation of clinging/sustenance comes the cessation of becoming. From the cessation of becoming comes the cessation of birth. From the cessation of birth, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair all cease. Such is the cessation of this entire mass of stress & suffering.”

Paticca-samuppada-vibhanga Sutta: Analysis of Dependent Co-arising

SN 12.2 PTS: S ii 2 CDB i 534

Conventional notions of the self as well as desire, aversion and greed depend greatly upon the horizontal time context. We want to become something, we see something that we think will make us happy in the future and must have it, we use the past to re-enact and reinforce maladaptive behavioral patterns rather than respond appropriately in the moment, we have habits and conditioning.

We are both entwined in and fearful of the passage of time. The more we try to outrun it however, by hyper-timing the more entangled and bound up we become.

“He directly knows Unbinding as Unbinding. Directly knowing Unbinding as Unbinding, he does not conceive things about Unbinding, does not conceive things in Unbinding, does not conceive things coming out of Unbinding, does not conceive Unbinding as ‘mine,’ does not delight in Unbinding. Why is that? Because he has known that delight is the root of suffering & stress, that from coming-into-being there is birth, and that for what has come into being there is aging & death. Therefore, with the total ending, fading away, cessation, letting go, relinquishment of craving, the Tathagata has totally awakened to the unexcelled right self-awakening, I tell you.”

Mulapariyaya Sutta: The Root Sequence

MN 1

PTS: M i 1

Here’s a related article on the Harvard Business Review called How (and Why) to Stop Multitasking and a related video on PBS called Frontline:Digital Nation which discusses distraction, multitasking, net relationships and a host of other related topics.

To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question… [Prufrock]

Here is an excellent piece called Being in Real Time by Dainin Katagiri Roshi

*******************

[Did I say Hyper-Time? I meant Hammer Time!]

Get Up and Dance!

Break It Down!