Friday, December 31, 2010


"The Truth does not make people free. Facts do not change attitudes. If the guru is dogmatic, all that he evokes in his pilgrims/disciples is their stubbornly resistant insistence on clinging to those unfortunate beliefs that at least provide the security of known misery, rather than openness to the risk of the unknown or the untried. That is why that Renaissance Magus, Paracelsus, warned that the guru should avoid simply revealing "the naked truth. He should use images, allegories, figures, wondrous speech, or other hidden, roundabout ways".

The earliest form in which the guru appeared was that of the shaman, who arose in the hunting and gathering societies of the Paleolithic era (and among their contemporary Eskimo and Indian progeny). Before the advent of God and His priests in the more stable agricultural societies of the Neolithic era, the shaman acted as the spiritual leader to the nomadic, Stone Age hunting band.

Such a guru starts out on his own tortured pilgrimage as a deeply troubled, misfit youth. In mastering his personal afflictions, he gradually comes to the position of being able to help others on their spiritual trips. Unlike the later priests who were ceremonially trained in ritual acts and verbatim incantations, the shaman has been inspired by the visions that arise during his own pilgrimage.

The power of his growing self-awareness and the spontaneity of his improvisations fit the hunters' need for daring and imagination (just as the priests' ritual intonements and predetermined social proscriptions fit the planters' needs for stability achieved by the sacrifice of the individual to the greater good of the group)."

Page 13, "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!" by Sheldon B.Kopp

The cultural definition of insanity

"I once witnessed an ironically enlightening instance of the cultural definition of insanity, and of the power politics of psychiatric social control. At the time when I was on the staff of a New Jersey State Mental Hospital, a strange man appeared on a street corner in Trenton, wearing a long white sheet and quietly muttering "gibberish". His very presence threatened the certitude of sanity of the community at large. Fortunately, for the sheeted man's own good, a policeman was called by the some saner citizen. So it was that this poor man was able to be brought under the protective lock-and-key of his local Asylum.

His efforts to explain his strange behaviour were offered in vain, since it was clear that he was a loony, or to be more scientific, he was diagnosed into that catch-all garbage can of a syndrome known as Schizophrenia, Chronic Undifferentiated Type.

...Fortunately, for the white-sheeted, gibberish-muttering patient in question, the hospital Visitors' Day began the very next morning. Evidently he had called home and made his plight known. That morning twenty other people wearing white sheets arrived at the hospital. Equally strangely clad, they were also equivalently incomprehensible to the psychiatric staff. It turned out that these men and women were all members of the same small rural church sect, a religious group who defined their identity in part by clothing themselves in the purity of white cloth, and by being divinely inspired to talk in tongues.

...The patient was released that afternoon. One such man is a lunatic. Twenty constitute an acceptable and sane community."

Page 94, 'If you meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him', by Sheldon B.Kopp


"...The Buddha's enlightenment is the most important single moment in Oriental mythology, a counterpart of the Crucifixion of the West. The Buddha beneath the Tree of Enlightenment (the Bo Tree) and Christ on Holy Rood (the Tree of Redemption) are analogous figures, incorporating an archetypal World Savior, World Tree motif, which is of immemorial antiquity.

...The point is that Buddhahood, Enlightenment, cannot be communicated, but only the way to Enlightenment. This doctrine of the incommunicability of the Truth which is beyond names and forms is basic to the great Oriental, as well as to the Platonic, traditions.

Whereas the truths of science are communicable, being demonstrable hypotheses rationally founded on observable facts - ritual, mythology, and metaphysics are but guides to the brink of a transcendent illumination, the final step to which must be taken by each in his own silent experience.

Hence one of the Sanskrit terms for sage is muni, "the silent one." Sakyamuni (one of the titles of Gautama Buddha) means "the silent one or sage (muni) of the Sakya clan." Though he is the founder of a widely taught religion, the ultimate core of his doctrine remains concealed, necessarily, in silence."

Page 25, 'The Hero with a Thousand Faces' , the seminal work of comparative mythology by Joseph Campbell

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

And ghastly thro’ the drizzling rain....

"In Memoriam A.H.H. is a poem by the English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson, completed in 1849. It is a requiem for the poet's Cambridge friend Arthur Henry Hallam, who died suddenly of a cerebral haemorrhage in Vienna in 1833....."

Ending of the poem:


Dark house, by which once more I stand
Here in the long unlovely street,
Doors, where my heart was used to beat
So quickly, waiting for a hand,

A hand that can be clasp’d no more–
Behold me, for I cannot sleep,
And like a guilty thing I creep
At earliest morning to the door.

He is not here; but far away
The noise of life begins again,
And ghastly thro’ the drizzling rain
On the bald street breaks the blank day.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

And the loneliness...

From John Steinbeck's "Cannery Row" -

"...Only one brave and beautiful boy of ten named Andy from Salinas ever crossed the old Chinaman. Andy was visiting in Monterey and he saw the old man and knew he must shout at him if only to keep his self-respect, but even Andy, brave as he was, felt the little cloud of fear. Andy watched him go by evening after evening while his duty and his terror wrestled. And then one evening Andy braced himself and marched behind the old man singing in a shrill falsetto, "Ching-Chong Chinaman sitting on a rail - 'Long came a white man an' chopped off his tail".

The old man stopped and turned. Andy stopped. The deep-brown eyes looked at Andy and the thin corded lips moved. What happened then Andy was never able either to explain or to forget. For the eyes spread out until there was no Chinaman. And then it was one eye - one huge brown eye as big as a church door. Andy looked through the shiny transparent brown door and through it he saw a lonely countryside, flat for miles but ending against a row of fantastic mountains shaped like cows' and dogs' heads and tents and mushrooms. There was low coarse grass on the plain and here and there a little mound. And a small animal like a woodchuck sat on each mound.

And the loneliness - the desolate cold aloneness of the landscape made Andy whimper because there wasn't anybody at all in the world and he was left. Andy shut his eyes so he wouldn't have to see it any more and when he opened them, he was in Cannery Row and the old Chinaman was just flap-flapping between Western Biological and the Hediondo Cannery. Andy was the only boy who ever did that and he never did it again."

Page 20.

Monday, December 13, 2010



Akon (born Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Puru Nacka Badara Akon Thiam), is a Senegalese-American R&B singer-songwriter, rapper, record producer, and businessman.


Right Now:

We don't care:

Thursday, December 9, 2010


A novel for winter. 'Depths', by Swedish author Henning Mankell.

Lars Tobiasson-Svartman, measurer of ocean depths, charting the seas around the Swedish archipelago with a sounding lead and rope, on a secret mission for the Swedish navy, 1914, the days before sonar.

Autumn. The arrival of winter. Frozen seas. Fog. Islands connected by ice. The holes through which the sea breathes. The silence.

Ostergotland. Norrkoping. Valdermarsvik. Graholmarna. Krakmaro. Hokbadan. Halsskar. A journey across distances. And into madness.

"His earliest memories were to do with measurements. Between himself and his mother, his mother and his father, between the floor and the ceiling, between sorrow and joy. His whole life was made up of distances, measuring, abbreviating or extending them. He was a solitary person constantly seeking new distances to estimate or measure.

Measuring distances was a sort of ritual, his personal means of reining in the movements of time and space.

From the start, from as far back as he could remember, solitude had been like his own skin."

Image from Google Earth.


Harry: The things I thought were real
are shadows,
and the real
Are what I thought were private shadows.
O that awful privacy of the insane mind!

'The Family Reunion'

The past

Lucy to Charlie Brown on the baseball field: "I am sorry I missed that easy fly ball, Captain. I suddenly remembered all the ones I had missed earlier, and the past got into my eyes."


In your grandfather's house in the village, there was this small room near the kitchen where fruits were kept to ripen. Mangoes carefully laid in baskets full of hay. Jackfruits kept standing up in the corners so as not to rot. Banana bunches hung from rafters all over the room so that you had to make your way among them to reach the shelves on the walls. All windows closed, little air coming in through the gaps in the old four-paned wooden windows. The thick smell of ripening that hung so still and full of knowing that you felt guilty for having opened the door and trespassed into a private space.

As a child you would stand there quietly with eyes closed hoping to hear the sleeping fruits breathe. And sometimes a lizard would chirp suddenly from one of the wooden rafters of the ceiling startling you out of your intense listening. A space of quiet waiting, of gradual ripening, a space speaking of maturity and readiness that cannot be forced, of sourness that will change to sweetness, of hardness that will change to softness; but all in its time.

Now when you are surrounded by this haste for experience, this frenzy for acceleration, this dark room sometimes passes in front of your mind's eye, and disappears again, leaving behind the smell of ripe mangoes and changeless truths....

Sunday, December 5, 2010


"Anyway, I keep picturing these little kids playing some game in this big field or rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean, except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them.

That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy."

'Catcher in the Rye', J.D Salinger

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