02-27-06 2:34More Intoxicants

Continuing the discussion of Buddhism and Intoxicants...

I find the basic five precepts are enough to keep one out of most trouble.

I'm not a legalist buddhist, so I see them as sage advice about real trouble, not rules to be followed just because they are rules, or because I took some vow.

avoid harming
avoid taking sans permission
play nice with sex
be forthright
don't get whacked out on stuff

Simple, straightforward - and each of those is pure trouble if you cross 'em.

Bradley: where does it say, "don't get whacked out on stuff"
i'm sorry...but ya'll are sounding......how can i say it.....dumb

Sorry I was giving my personal rendition. Here is the original if you need it more high brow:

The Five Precepts:

1. Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
2. Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.
3. Kamesu micchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct.
4. Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.
5. Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.

Actually I find if you trace back the actual pali, "don't get whacked out on stuff" is a better translation. They aren't actually talking about just intoxicating drinks and drugs, they are talking about anything which leads you to carelessness. Intoxicating drinks and drugs are just real obvious problem areas.

Better?

Atali: Thank you. This was great but I liked your vernacular description of the precepts too.

Sushila: My understanding, as I asked my guru for clarification at one time, is not to partake in anything that hinders my perception, awareness or consciousness; and to, above all else, support the growth of awareness not only within myself, but all sentient beings.

So I guess watching TV is right out.

Sushila: It is few and far between to find an individual who suffers *no* side-effects whatsoever from partaking in intoxicants-

Alas that is true of every aspect of life, hence the first noble truth.

Sushila: - there are almost always effects nonetheless.

There are effects to everything, hence the law of karma.

Sushila: So how can you know what's abuse?

Wrong, improper or over-use to the point of harm.
Harm is the key to unlocking the limit of many things.
For example sexual misconduct is deliniated by harm.

Sushila: Are you aware of subtleties enough to truly know?

Yes.


02-23-06 1:23What is?

Loki: I say, there is no "source" nor "underlying reality".

That is nice to say, but how is it that you know that, if there is no "source" or "underlying reality?"

Loki: That is an illusion resulting from human will to construct patterns when there are little or none.

That is the kicker. Illusions result from. They are a misperception and/or misunderstanding of what is real, but that doesn't mean that nothing is real. It only means your preceptions and understandings are off.

Loki: Does no one else really see that "truth" is just another flavor of "perception"?

We each form our own perceptions of truth, but that doesn't mean there is nothing that we are perceiving.

Loki: What's 'True' changes every few seconds, and never matches up from person to person.

Reality is dynamic, but it still is. Our perspectives and preceptions vary, but there is still a there, there.

Again, a "fake" is still something real. It just isn't what you thought it was.

If there wasn't anything behind it, there would not be anything to be fake and there wouldn't be any one being fooled.

Because you are deluded, you and it are real.

Steve: I like that line Swarm, good work.

Loki: You claim there's no cogent evidence to support the assertion that there is no "source" or "underlying reality?"

You missed my point. I'm not making a claim, I am exposing an inherant contradiction in your claim that there is no "source" or "underlying reality", namely if this is that case how is it you are able to make your claim at all? Knowledge is knowledge of and it requires a substrate. If you claims there is no substrate then there is no you to be making the claim and nothing to be making the claim about, nay there is not even the claim itself.

But since the silence is broken, there is that and it's called reality.

Loki: I say, Show Me!

You already show yourself.

Loki: We're supposed to believe that there is some concrete "it" somewhere - that no one can see or know reliably or repeatably?

You seem to see it and know it reliably enough to post. That seems good enough to me.

Loki: Yet - "nothing" exists ... or does it?

You are confusing the symbol "nothing" which does exist with the concept it represents.
Does nothing exist? There is no way to know because there is no way to perceive it.

Loki: Why isn't "nothing" an acceptable form of "truth"?

Truth is just a valid statement of fact. "Nothing" is not a statement per se, so it has no truth.
I suppose you could make a mystic claim. Nothing! Then there would be a matter which could be apprehended and the truth of it determined. Of course that kind of thing usually implies its opposite: All! and they imply Each! ...and then it's turtles all the way down.

Loki: Why not?

Because you are too noisy to be nothing.

Loki: Experience is illusion.

Illusion is still something.

Loki: All I need to resolve this for myself, so far, is to admit that "truth" is "nothing" covered by "illusion" - or "glamour" if you like that better.

You can't cover nothing and covering is itself something.

Loki: OK OK I admit the world exists: just not "truth".

You must be using some weird new age/religious meaning of the word. You should use "Truth."

Later...

Loki: If you want to know what I mean, buy a dictionary, sheesh.

truth 1. Conformity to fact or actuality.
fact 1. Knowledge or information based on real occurrences
nothing 1. Something that has no existence.

- From dictionary.com

Loki: There's only so far I'm willing to dumb-down.

Ha!

Loki: I agree wholeheartedly that something exists. I just deny that what it is is "TRUE".

I never said what it is is "TRUE." I said what it is, is matter-energy / space-time (MEST). What I said is *that* it is, is the fundimental basis of truth. Truth is not a substance, it is a statement of fact.

Loki: It might be "so" - but nothing is "TRUE".

You could even say it is this and thus if you want to get Heideggerian or zen.
Nothing is neither true nor false. It also does not exist. It is null.

Loki: "Truth" is like "God"

I thought you were wanting to go religious on me. Truth is not like god since it can be verified and I have no real use for TRUTH which might or might not be like god depending on who is doing the defining.

Loki: I deny only that there is ultimate Truth.

I thought so. Ultimate Truth has nothing to do with actual truth, nor is it or any other "ultimate" anything I care to bother with.
I am interested with actual reality.

Loki: Energy, matter, and swarm consciousness are all aspects of reality that the human mind has patterned and named.

No, they are not. MEST, in which human consciousness is a pattern, predates the pattern of human consciousness and the naming of MEST is of consequence only to that human cosciousness. The symbol is not the thing and it has no effective connection to the thing (which is again why verification is needed).

Loki: You can't prove your assertion "Truth exists."

At no point have I said "truth exists," that is your strawman and has nothing to do with my point.

What I have been saying is that reality exists and reality is in fact the defacto standard for what existing means.

Facts are data about that reality and a true statement conforms to fact.

Loki: Then TRUTH is merely FACT?

I know I have you when you start getting all CAPy like that.
It is not "merely" fact, it conforms to fact. Didn't you sat you had a dictionary?
There is a correspondence between the statement's claims and that actual facts concerning reality such that what is claimed to be true can be verified as true.

That "verified" is very important. What cannot be actually verified cannot fully claim to be the truth. At best it is agreed upon as acceptably true. For example it was accepted for a long time that dinosaurs and birds were related, but now they have dinosaur meat and feathers which allow them to make verifiably true statements about how they were related and now we know that for all intents and purposes, birds are flying dinosaurs.

Loki: In other words, it's a semantic construct, with no actual existence independent from consciousness.

Truth is the tying of a statement to reality through observation and verification.
The statement is an artifact of consciousness.

Loki: I'm getting that you more or less view consciousness as Truth, then?

Not at all. I don't hold anything as Truth. As far as I can tell big T Truth is just marketing hype for the religious, although some secularists misappropriate it for reality itself. However while that can be fun, it doesn't really add anything over "reality is" and it drags along a lot of religious baggage.

Loki: Awesome though here we go: You said, "If I make a true statement like: 'Standing under that pile driver unprotected while it is working will kill a person.' It is possible to verify my statement to whatever degree of statisfaction you require."

Such a statement can be shown to be mere opinion in a heartbeat. Truth is totally subjective, in this instance. Excellent example of how the usual game is to equate "truth" with "everyone knows".

No it cannot. The best you can do is quibble over the language. However the language is just a wrapper. The fact of the danger is real and the truth of the statement is unequivicable. Play whatever clever semantic games you care to. When you are willing to walk under the pile driver, then I will at least believe you speak from conviction. When you survive I will happily admit my statement was in error.

But no one who is sane, no matter what their background or perspective is willing to walk under that pile driver no matter what semantic games you seek to play and no one who does walk under it will live to prove the statement untrue.

Actual truth doesn't care about semantics.

Loki: Oooookay. I'm sorry I insulted you.

Don't start lying too.

Loki: Thought you'd be thicker skinned, but I understand. It's hard to have one's long-held and cherished religious beliefs poked at - isn't it?

You don't understand or you would not try to get another jab in like that.

Loki: ...and they can be factual but still false.

You can have the form of a fact, easily - look at all the god talk.
But to actually be a fact, it must relate directly to reality.
Something which is false does not so relate, which is why it is false and why it is not a fact.

Later...

Loki: I contend nothing more nor less than "Consciousness = Reality".

That's nice, but none of the available evidence seems to support the claim.

Consciousness plays with the results of your perception of reality, but that's it.

Loki: To refute it, one would have the tools to either call me "solipsist"...

No one is a solipsist in anything but theory. Reality deselects real solipsists from the gene pool PDQ.

Loki: ...or (as I see it) realize that I'm making a very simple statement which doesn't include any evaluation of Truth.

Or you are just enamoured with an enticing bit of nonsense.

Loki: Because there is (to my knowledge) no language for describing Truth or Reality that doesn't rely 100% on consciousness - I can't really accept the assertion that there is an "underlying Truth" - unless one can be made known to me.

English works just fine for most applications of discussing the truth and truth doesn't rely 100% on consciousness, it relies 100% on reality. You rely on your consciousness to perceive its veracity, but that is not the same thing at all.

As for making it known, take a bat and apply it vigorously to your head. Attempt to verify that your consciousness = reality. Repeat until the actual nature of real versus what you think is real becomes apparent.

Finally you are heavily inconsistant here. If consciousness=reality then what is your objection to relying 100% on consciousness/reality? You are reducing everything down to just consciousness so of course everything is based on it, there is nothing else left to base anything on.

Loki: I am actually earnestly trying to articulate what I really actually think.

The earnestly part was definately lacking, but you seem to be getting better.

Loki: I'm stating my naturalistic viewpoint as well as I fumblingly can.

Your position seems counter-naturalistic.

Loki: In other words, 'consciously modeled'. I am willing to accept a definition of Truth as "Consciously Consensually Modeled Reality".

I'm afraid I couldn't care less about Truth.

"Consciously Consensually Modeled" sounds like pure mumbo jumbo.

Loki: I don't have to work to see it. It's there.

Yep, exactly. Reality is manifestly existant.
Understanding what it is you see is another story though.

Loki: But I don't believe in it the way I believe in my sadness, or my elation.

Actually I find I may not know my exact emotional state far more often than I doubt the chair under my butt.

Loki: Those states - while you'll never be able to know if they are real - are the only "truths" I have to go on.

Actually I can know if they are real without too much effort these days. Just pop you in an MRI and look at the state of your brain and instantly know if it is elation or sadness.

Also they are not the only truths you have to go on; they are just the only ones you think safe to admit to.

Loki: I've never experienced an underlying truth.

You are still pretending truth is a thing despite my repeatedly telling you I don't support that position.

Loki: I have no idea what you mean here.

Obtuse, as in purposefully trying to be stupid as a pedantic ploy.

Loki: I really mean what I say...

That is nice, but it makes for poor dialog if that is all you can do.

Loki: I say that you actually have not convinced me of any underlying reality that is entire and abjectly True in any sense other than imaginarily.

Why should I attempt to convince you of something manifestly obvious to you already?
Again you are misusing the term true and ignoring what I have already explained to try and get me to play your game. I've no real interest in abject, object, obsolute or any other kind of True. Proving reality is a meaningless request. Reality is manifestly evident. There is no proof greater that that.

Claims about reality and statements employing those claims are what can be true or not and they are verified against reality.

You will never be convinced that reality is entirely and abjectly True in any sense by me because that claim (reality is entirely and abjectly True) has no meaning as presented since "True" in its big "T" sense is either a meaningless religious term or circular (reality is entirely and abjectly Real).

Later...

Loki: Interesting. U robot?

You will have to be far more explicit if I'm to get what it is you mean by this. As it stands all your clever wit is just going over my head.

Loki: This is the first valid reply you've made to me so far.

Well, I'm glad we are getting somewhere; however, this does not ellucidate your comment at all.

I am familiar with the classic "world as illusion"-spiritual-monist position and I reject it for the reasons I've outlined. If your position is just that, then I suppose there isn't much more to say. I'm also familiar with the classical questions concerning the reliablility of perception. I understand the question but feel they only require one to find means of reasonable verification rather than rejecting perception outright simply because it carries no godly impramatur of veracity. I am pragmatic about these things. As long as my perceptions are reasonably accurate and I understand the limits of that accuracy, that is sufficient for my purposes and I am willing to accept the validity of what they report, just as you do even if you don't like to admit it.

Loki: My position is that I reject assertion of the existence objective truth.

What does that have to do with me or my position?

I never said anything about objective truth. Truth is a quality which certain statements about reality can be verifide to have.

Reality is objective because it is. That means in part that I can observe it and come to agreement with others about those observations and my consciousness does't directly alter its constitution, i.e. it is independent from my consciousness.

I can't show you anything that doesn't "refer to consciousness" because "I," "showing," "you," and this medium all "refer to consciousness." But so what? I can't show you anything that doesn't "refer to MEST" Either for the exact same reason. That everything is inter related doesn't imply that it is all the same by any streach of the imagination. The evidence that consciousness is a relatively new phenomena is overwhelming, and obviously the universe got along just fine without it.

Loki: Then relax.

My sweety will happily verify that I'm about the most relaxed person there is. If I get any more relaxed, I'm liable to go comotose.

Loki: It's a simple posit: "objective reality is imaginary" is one way to say it, "nothing is true" is another.

These two are not by any stretch the same. "Objective reality is imaginary" is by definition and by ordinary experience, false. "Nothing is true" is ambiguous. If you mean that things, as things, are not true, I agree. Things are existant. They can be used to verify the truth of a statement but they are not statements per se and therefore have no truth value, per se. It would be far more accurate to say things are the standard by which truth is measured.

Loki: I said, "Does no one else really see that "truth" is just another flavor of "perception"?" and MC said:

MC: I agree. Truth, as articulated by any individual, is based on that individual perception. Whether or not there is an ultimate "that is" is irrelevant, in some ways, because we already filter "that is" through our individual lenses. "

So, someone understood my point immediately after I made it. If my posit has nothing to do with your rebuttal of my posit - then....? Uh?

Perhaps I was unclear. I understand that point, and catagorically reject it as nonsense.

Truth is not just another flavor of perception since it is not a thing to be perceived. Even if it were, the fact that something is "filtered" doesn't negate its existence. And if you or MC think that it is irrelevant as to whether or not "that is," I strongly suggest testing your theory at low speeds and not on the freeway.

I think that you will find "that is" is extremely relevant and in fact that is exactly how your body acts no matter what you mouth is claiming to the contrary and as they say: actions speak louder than words.

Loki: I don't believe in an 'objective reality' without some proof, which, as far as I can tell, is not currently possible to arrive at or tender without recourse to imagination. Pardon.

Forgiven.

What you are asking for shows a profound misunderstanding of what objective reality actually is.

The "objective" in objective reality means it is what is not a matter of belief or imagination. If you have to believe or imagine then what you are dealing with is *subjective* reality.

The "reality" part of objective reality means that it is beyond either proof or disproof because it is manifestly evident. That is why reality is the standard by which the rational acts of proof and truth are measured for validity. (And before you go on about scientists proving things, they aren't proving reality. They are proving that they actually *know* something about reality.)

Rational matters are decided by proof. However, matters of objective reality are decided through observation and demonstration. To demonstrate that you can make pudding, you don't write a dissertation, you actually make some pudding and observe if it comes out. As they say: the proof is in the pudding.

One of the horrors of the third riech was they proved without a doubt that even true solipsists, i.e. catatonics, will acknowledge reality - if it knocks hard enough. They were put in ovens and baked alive. They all broke from their catatonic trance and called for aid before dying. :~(

So, no proof. No imagination. No belief. That is subjective reality, not objective reality. But you obviously know that in practice or we wouldn't be talking.

Loki: Oh, please. This is some kind of salient proof of something?

Prove it. Prove anything exists outside thought.

Here are some words you really need to understand better:

proof: The evidence or argument that compels the mind to accept *an*assertion* as *true.*
manifest: Clearly apparent to the sight or understanding; obvious.
evident: Easily seen or understood; obvious.
existent: 1. Having life or being; existing.
2. Occurring or present at the moment; current.
objective 1. Of or having to do with a material object.
2. Having actual existence or reality.
3. a) Uninfluenced by emotions or personal prejudices
b) Based on observable phenomena; presented factually
reality 1. The quality or state of being actual or true.
2. One, such as a person, an entity, or an event, that is actual
3. The totality of all things possessing actuality, existence, or essence.
4. That which exists objectively and in fact: Your observations do not seem to be about reality.

Object reality is manifestly evident as being existent and as such it is beyond any need for proof for the mind grasps it directly.

Any proof I could offer would be superfluous to merely opening up your eyes and looking.

You are trying to claim that because you apprehend it via thought, that objective reality can't be credited as being what it is, that some how apprehending it via thought means it is just thought and thought is all there is.

That is absurd and you don't really go through life pretending that all your sense data is naught but imaginings and thoughts. If I throw a punch you recognize it for what it is, an external threat, and act accordingly. You don't know what is here at my house and if you wanted to know you wouldn't just imagine what is here, you would come here and look.

Observation and demonstration. Looking and ducking, not imagining and proving.

What Is proven are arguments and assertions. How do you prove them true? By showing they match object reality. Otherwise all you can do is find out if the arguments and assertions are consistent and valid, but you can't proove they are true with out a standard and that standard is object reality.

I've no need to prove your hand exists. No series of arguements means anything for such a question because it already sits at the end of your arm.

Your asking me to try and prove it for you is just absurd. Look at your hand. Voila! Its proven. For my next trick, look around you. Voila! Object reality is proven.

Now its your turn, lets see you prove: Can you not simply admit that neither you nor anyone else can prove a damn thing?

Oops! It can't by definition be proven can it? It goes poof! in a cloud of self-contradiction because it is denying the very means by which it could be proven. I guess all you can actually do is doubt that I or any one else can prove anything.

If you doubt everything and are honest, you must eventually doubt your doubt as well and you end up in a cloud of unknowing. In doubting your doubt you weaken all its previous arguments and exist the realm of absolute uncertainty. From that point there is noting left to doubt and no doubt to doubt it with so all that is left is to establish what is reasonable certainty and the most reasonable certainty is to accept as given that which is manifestly evident as existent.

That is what Descartes' cogito was actually about. His self was what he found left as manifestly evident as existent when his doubt imploded because like most rationalists and idealists, he was all wrapped up inside his head. But object reality is just as manifestly evident as existent as self is. Observe inward or observe outward but eventually all knowledge is based in observation and observation is of what is outside of thought and unknown to thought.

"Proof" of any object is the object itself. I.e. if you observe the object you can reasonably assert that you know it exists.

Note you are not proving it exists because it already exists independent of and prior to your observation and any proof you might develop. You are only proving that you can reasonably assert that you know it exists because you observe it.

Your "consciousness = reality" kick is just an attempt to reinstate ignorance as god and I'm not buying it. At every turn your very claims are self defeating or absurd.

Sure I use thoughts to apprehend reality through my perceptions. So what?

You can't even attack them as being less than fully valid without reference to object reality to establish a standard of comparison and even if they are less than fully accurate, that doesn't make them not solely and fully encompassing.

It really would be far more honest of you to just say "this is what I believe on blind faith because it comforts me" and leave it like that as the god'ers do.

I would have thought your stint as an atheist would have served you better than this.


02-23-06 12:23Nothing

Dean: What is nothing? From what we know from science right now is nothing is almost all of the known universe. The space between quarks is vast and this space does interconnect with everything. There is no break between nothing. It is one consistent and steady nothing. Nothing is what is.

You are confusing space with nothing.


02-22-06 12:21Taras, White & Green

Jeannie: Hello,

I've been feeling a very strong connection to the energy of the Taras, especially green and white.

I wonder if there is a name or a process for converting the suffering that we see to compassion. Also who is Red Tara? Thank you so much for any information.

Please send me posts to my tribe inbox so I will be sure to see them.

Jeannie

Reply:

Jeannie: I wonder if there is a name or a process for converting the suffering that we see to compassion.

Yes it is called buddhism and I would suggest getting the eightfold path down as a starting place.

All that Tara stuff is a nice distraction, but it isn't anything important.

Jeannie: Please send me posts to my tribe inbox so I will be sure to see them.

So we need to do your research for you, but you can't be bothered to even come back and read your own thread?

The "energy" of the Taras is not going to help yet.

There is no magic to buddhism nor are there supernatural aids or agents. The Taras are just metaphors.

You have to turn suffering into compassion yourself by being moral - choosing to do what is right and not do what is wrong (sila); by paying attention and learning to focus that attention via meditation (samadhi); and finally by learning from your mistakes, gaining experience, loving the truth and applying it to become wise (pranna). I.e. the eightfold path.

Jeannie: I'm deepening my practice, have been doing inner work for many many years...

It shows. I too have been doing inner work for years, well actually decades now.

Jeannie: I was looking for support...experiences...asking if there is a practice to help me to process new awareness on my part....tara is a symbol of compassion....symbol....

I am giving you support and am happy to share my experiences.

Buddhism is not a grab bag and there are a good number of hucksters out there. If you just want some one to please you, they will happily do it.

But if you want to deepen your practice you can't escape needing a solid foundation of understanding on what it is all about or the esoteric stuff is going to be just more empty gestures. The four noble truths are the begining and the eight fold path is the basis for everything else and the five precepts will keep you safe while you figure things out. If those are unclear, nothing else matters.

Tara is nothing more or less than then four noble truths, eight fold path, five precepts and the consequences of following them or crossing them done up in metaphoric form for teaching to illiterate peasants. The end of suffering and the generation of compassion is the result the four noble truths and eight fold path. It all ties together and it all revolves around morality, attention and focus, and wisdom. Tara's fun but she's empty if you don't have the meaning she points to.

Jeannie: If you don't have something nice to say...please keep it to yourself.

I don't think you fully appreciate how nice I am being. I've laid bare all of buddhism and laid its distillation before you on a silver platter. I have let you know that disrespect for this forum is not tolerated in a way that got your attention and yet was relatively painless.

If you do nothing more than what I have said here, you will be a buddha - awake and free, able to make a difference in the suffering of others and full of compassion for their plight.

What more do you want?


02-21-06 11:31Unconditional, Dude

Continuing the discussion about unconditional love...

Shmendrick: Really, look at how much wiggle room you actually have, to have such an unusually flexible and seemingly watered-down version of what unconditional love is supposed to be.

I couldn't care less about what it should be, I only care about what it is. Yes, it is dynamic because I and my sweety are flexible and we make it fit our needs. If you think its watered down you must have been not reading anything I ever post about us and frankly I would suggest taking notes because it just don't get any better and you sound like you could use a love like this.

Shmendrick: Fine, I still say it's impossible.

Impossible in love is what doesn't happen no matter how you try, but you've still got to try or you never find out what is possible.

It's pretty tough trying to eff what is ineffable, so I can sympathize if it sounds a bit ragged at your end, but you are very right about needing to get on with your life. You made a hard call and you made the right call. I'm dead serious. Set her down and do not run your life based on your psycho ex-girlfriend. She is not the norm. There are a lot of really great people out there and you happen to be one of them.

Shmendrick: Or at least it's impossible for me personally.

I think you grossly underestimate your capacity.

Shmendrick: We may argue about how to define love, but by gosh we all know what unconditional means right? Unconditional means unconditional, period. Boundaries and limits to love in it's perpetuity are not open to interpretation.

unconditional
adj 1: not conditional; "unconditional surrender" 2: not modified or restricted by reservations; "a categorical denial"; "a flat refusal" 3: not contingent; not determined or influenced by someone or something else

I don't know about this "in it's perpetuity" stuff, but it sounds like bull. I accept my sweety's love as she offers it, but I'm not god or superman. I'm just not overtly imposing conditions and I am willing to address any unintentional ones. I have no reservations and my love of her is not contingent on any artificial requirements. Now, maybe that isn't unconditional enough, but it will do till I see something better.

Shmendrick: But as the discussion continues, you continue to re-define the definition of it to accommodate every hole.

That is what it sounds like when you have to explain something you normally just do. We don't have this written out in a script you know and it doesn't come up often. People who know us just look at us and smile. They don't have to ask questions.

For example it was just in this dialogue that I formally considered the difference between conditions for existence and unconditional continuance. I knew that what people claim they feel for "humanity" or "god" had always struck me as bogus somehow, but now I know why: hypothetical people cannot interrelate to create real love and I much prefer real love to any hypothetical love.

Shmendrick: If you have boundaries you have conditions.

Walk in to a room. You have boundaries, but what are your conditions?

Shmendrick: This is a reasonable line of basic human socialized behavior that comes down to a basis of "love me like I want or else".

I am very unreasonable when it comes to the depth of my love and if you have half a brain you will be too.

Shmendrick:
Love me with out hitting me or else I will leave.
Love me without lying to me or stealing from me or else I will leave
Love me without cheating on me or else I will leave
Love me without molesting my kid or I will leave
Love me without breaking furniture and coking up or I will leave

Well, I gave her permission to hit me, in fact I told her once or twice to give me a good one.
I gave her permission to lie if she wants to (and cheat) and she has full access to everything I own (including passwords) and permission to use it as she see fit. I'm not sure what stealing from me would entail.
We have also discussed the circumstances under which we would like the other to end each other's life and she has permission to do so as she sees fit.
I do not have the authority to give permission for any another's molestation and we both take protecting our children very seriously, but she has asked me to molest her a time or two.
We break furniture as we see fit, I just broke some as a matter of fact.
She's an adult and can make up her own mind about what drugs she cares to try. She's already tried the worst two there are: alcohol and tobacco, got hooked really bad, figured out that it sucked, kicked it and hasn't looked back. No "12 step," no "rehab," no "therapy," she just made up her mind and quit. I have every confidence in her wisdom from those experiences and her ability to extricate herself. If she feels the need, I'll support her decision.

You are right, this is a lot more clear cut. Got any more?

Shmendrick: As far as the whole arrogance and not personal sharing bit...I thought I was too bright for sharing, too, and...

I have no use for your excuses for yourself. I know what is a bright person and I am; and I have the life history to back it up.

Neither am I fooled by your apologist's stance for pretence of mediocrity. A person may camouflage their writing with this and that, but you cannot express ideas beyond your capacity for thought. Over the course of our conversations I am left with no doubt that you are a very intelligent person so save the false modesty for some schmoe who doesn't know better.

You should read more carefully. I didn't say anything about no "personal sharing." I said: "I don't talk about my emotions and experiences like some one whose been through therapy because I've never felt the need for therapy." If that isn't good enough for you, piss off.

Shmendrick: I thought I was Mr Brighter than everyone...

Bright doesn't necessarily mean "brighter than."

Shmendrick: I was misunderstood, as you are apparently misunderstood much.

I am not "misunderstood" nor do I have many misunderstandings with those I know or converse with. I am quite clear and explicit about myself and my positions. You may disagree, not like me or what I say, even think me an arrogant and pedantic asshole, but that is not a misunderstanding. In fact I am so clear and straightforward that even those who vehemently disagree with a particular position I hold usually come to respect my integrity. There are a number of such people on my friends list, because in addition to being an arrogant and pedantic asshole, I also care very deeply about the people I come in contact with.

If you have troubles with being misunderstood, I recommend correcting the problem. I find being as concise as possible helps. For pratice I like Chinese and Japanese poetry, particualrly Ch'an and Zen poetry. Writing it forces an elegant economy of words.

Shmendrick: Entering into a relationship might mean having to hurt someone.

Yes. Entering into a real relationship means having to hurt the one you love. Don't even bother with someone who holds grudges because they will just pile them up year after year until the love is dead and all that is left is hate.

Love hurts and it hurts worse that it would without the love. But its just pain. Lots of extremely worthwhile activities hurt: sports, helping the sick or dying, giving birth, telling a friend they are being stupid, holding your sick child.

Life is pain. Love hurts. But it isn't just pain and it doesn't only hurt and what comes from the pain and hurt is worth the effort.

Shmendrick: ...as much as I hurt from having to reject someone else.

No wonder you have problems with love. You don't have to reject any one and people worth knowing won't reject you. If some one rejects you, thank your lucky stars you got off so light and send her a thank you "bouquette," seriously. Every one with a lick of sense knows how tough it is and how often it doesn't work out. The majority of the times I have parted friends by mutual agreement that it just wasn't working. No harm. No foul.

Shmendrick: And yes, I do need to get over that fear because I have let it stop me from being a part of life, and that does need to stop.

This may seem weird, but run with me. I don't "get over fears." I find I can just ignore them and they don't bother me. I still get scared but being scared isn't a big deal and usually I'm too busy to notice much. For example hieghts give me the willies, but I was a paratrooper, have done a fair amount of rapelling (including where you have no equipment but a rope, throw it over your shoulder and under your crotch and wall over the edge face first and then just walk on down), rock climbing and mountain climbing. I *still* get the willies on hieghts, but so what?

Crowds gave me the willies, but after performing for a while I found I it was just the thought of crowds that gave me the willies. Its the same for all my fears and it frees up a lot of soul searching for other topics. Again life is just too short to spend it getting over fears.

Shmendrick: In this your discussion may have helped me...

Thanks, but I think it is your discussion which helped you.

Shmendrick: ... but I don't think you scored.

This isn't about me scoring. I scored eight years ago and every day since. I don't need to now and if by unseen circumstance I do need to, I know how.


02-20-06 10:20Dead

Oliver: How do you know when a relationship is dead?

When is a person dead?

You can revive either if you get there in time and they aren't too broken. But when either one is cold, stiff and has stopped moving, it's dead.


02-19-06 9:19How to Love

Shmendrick: You define love differently than I do.

Love is what I do with, feel towards and accept from my sweety and those others I develop a loving relationship with. If that seems "circular" that is because it is a continuing and dynamic process, a dialectic which continues to unfold and develop over time.

No static definition can really capture it since it really is the experience and history of creating this love.

Since it is truly ours, we shape it to please us in spite of the protests others might have about what it should be.

Shmendrick: How I define love makes unconditional love impossible and foolhardy and how you define it makes it possible.

Who said it wasn't impossible and foolhardly.

I'm just saying it is less impossible than you think and it doesn't matter if you take a few knocks on the way.

No one can do the impossible, but you don't ***know*** it is impossible until you try and in trying you often learn the unexpected.

It may be foolish to try knowing that you will fail, by it can be a wise foolishness.

Shmendrick: I don't define a generalized, hippy trippy good will towards people, involving little emotional investment at all, as love.

I think you will notice that I have been saying that "hippy trippy" diatribes, or even religious boasting of agape, while nice, have no real meaning as love. They are a nice indication of inclination at best. Love is doing the dirty work of really living with and knowing another person.

Shmendrick: I can see how people believe they have a capacity for loving unconditionally.... at least until it fails them when they run into someone who requires more out of them than that... that's when they, like me and anyone else, become more selective.

I disagree. What you describe sounds like equivocating over settling for what is safe.

Neither love, life nor liberty are safe. But these are things which are worth the risk and for which compromise for the illusion of safety is unacceptable.

Shmendrick: I'm just not going to waste my energy on people who I find to be a waste of it.

Nor am I asking you to. Not every person is able to have a worthwhile relationship with every other. All relationships have a beginning and an end and knowing when it is no longer worth pursuing further is important.

I am talking about taking off the blinders and kid gloves.

A lot of people say "once bitten, twice shy."

I say "a faint heart never won a fair hand."

Shmendrick: But this kind of love MUST be given CONDITIONALLY.

What is given conditionally is not given, it is traded or bought.
What is given unconditionally is a true gift. No strings attached.
My love is a gift, not a commodity.

Shmendrick: Your condition was that you trusted them because you took time to let trust build and see if they were worthy of loving.

Ah, but I didn't and I don't.

My trust is about me and how I choose to live.

When I give my trust it is a true gift. I am saying its ok if something happens, even if it is your fault and I take it on the chin.
I'm saying I'm willing to trust your judgements and your interest in my interests.
If it doesn't work out for us then we can leave off without recriminations on my part.

I don't have time for what you outline.

I met my sweety at a rave we were both working at. I was in town to DJ just for that event and a mutual friend introduced us. We went back to her place, love at first sight, we agreed to have her come out to live with me two states away that night.

We would not be together if I had followed what you outlined. Sure it was a risk, all I had was my first impression and the recommendation of a friend. But I have excellent friends and an intuition that I can trust.

And so do you.

Relationship risks are *emotional* risks. They are not *physical* risks. They may be unpleasant, but they are not generally dangerous.

Even physical risks can be worth it, they just demand an exercise of actual caution to insure they are properly mitigated.

But a failed relationship is just unpleasant; you can suck it up and drive on.

A successful relationship is one of the high points of a person's life.

This is one case where the reward clearly outweighs the risk, particularly since you get better as you practice.

Shmendrick: Which means that you had conditions after all.

You should not confuse the conditions required for the existence of love with conditions imposed for the continuation of love.

Unconditional love is the lack of conditions imposed for the continuation of love. "Imposed" and "continuation" are key aspects here.

If I don't know you, you chose not to love, you die, the earth falls in to the sun, I suffer massive brain damage, these are conditions which effect the existence of love. I do not have control over them. I don't impose them on our relationship.

Don't date other guys, look a certain way, approve of my pecadillos, marry me, do this, don't do that, these are conditions for the continuation of love. I do have control over them. I can choose to impose them, or not impose them on our relationship.

Unconditional love is presented as the ideal of no imposed conditions, but I'm a pragmatist and a realist, not an idealist. If conditions creep in, and they do, then we know that we can defeat them together as we choose to.

Shmendrick: You can't just give love out everywhere until you are burned out and have nothing left.

I find the more I love, the more love I have to give. My experience is that burning out is usually from giving more than you really wanted and not from giving what you really wish to.

Shmendrick: And if people don't love you as much as you love them...

No one loves you just as much. First, love ebbs and flows and these are not synchronized between people. Second, no one is a fit judge of the quantity or quality of love. It is too close and too personal. One is too involved and the act of judging itself interferes.

Approach it functionally. Are you giving? Are you getting? Is there open communication? Then that is the best one could hope for.

Shmendrick: Don't expect me to buy into that Zen crap, it's a front that only really flies in moments of places like burningman. When people get old enough they see it's just a front.

So don't make it a front. I'm not talking about bout hypotheticals or just at burningman or "other people."

I'm talking about how I personally work and what I personally do.

And it doesn't always "work out."

My first wife was also love at first sight but after eleven years we came to a point of no longer caring to live together or continue the relationship. It hurt, but I got over it. I learned something about what kind of person I can love, but which I can't live with for the long term and now I'm in a better relationship than ever.

Shmendrick: In innocence we think we can give so much more than we can, we think any problem can be tackled, and that love is always strong and a wonderful feeling.

You are too old for that Swarm.

We all start out innocent and ignorant. As we live and learn and get burned we lose that innocence and ignorance, and it hurts, so we replace it with defenses to protect us such as cynicism, pessimism, and apathy.

But those aren't any fun. The sharp pain becomes a dull ache. That simple joyful innocence is something wonderful and it is sorely missed.

Then one day you wake up and realize that while it hurt getting burned, you survived and you learned. You aren't ignorant anymore and you are tougher than you thought. You give up your defenses and choose innocence, knowing the potential cost and knowing the you can make wise choices and take your lumps when you have to.

You are right, I am too old for the innocent ignorance of youth. My innocence is not an accident of being young nor is it a front to manipulate others.

It is the mature innocence that comes from experience and a modicum of wisdom and it is something pretty wonderful, again.

My unconditional love is the real deal.

Shmendrick: What if you loved someone and it didn't work out? You'd have to let them go.

The freedom to go is part of the lack of imposed conditions and in the end, all that has a begining, has an end.


02-18-06 9:00Buddhism and Intoxicants

Changeling: I've seen two versions of this Precept, one that says "Refrain from using intoxicants" and one that says, "Refrain from abusing intoxicants." The first version sounds like a commandment, while the second sounds to me more like advice. Do you have an opinion about the interpretation of this precept?

Like many people, the buddha was a single issue guy - end suffering. Everything he suggests has this end in mind. If you can look at what you are doing and know how it relates to your own or another's suffering, then you know whether to avoid it or not.

But like everything, such insight takes practice so there have evolved structures which help one practice (the eight fold path for example) and help one avoid major sources of what generally leads to suffering (the five precepts).

Since the buddha claimed no supernatural or special authority, nothing he says carries more than its own value as sage advice and guidence. This doesn't mean there is no fallout if a precept is broken. It just means that the fallout is from the actions themselves being poor choices, and not from any deity or supernatural force being angry or crossed.

In other words, if you harm someone the problem isn't that you broke a precept. The problem is that you harmed someone.

Intoxicants, and in particular what is mainly meant here, booze, are very difficult to use wisely so like all the precepts, this one errs on the side of caution.

But obviously, given the widespread use of intoxicants such as tea in buddhism, and the lack of prohibitions against medicines, this is not seen as a blanket prohibition even by those who believe in a stricter interpretation of the precepts.

The bottom line is that at some point you have to decide for yourself what is your middle path, what causes you suffering, what has reasonable uses and what by its nature should be avoided or most carefully regulated. The final goal is to realize that you are a light unto yourself and you can make these choices wisely.

But you will not stray too far into harm or suffering if you follow the precepts while you learn to make wise choices for yourself.


02-16-06 2:34Time

Chaz: What time is it?

Now.




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