I see that you practice the rhetorical strategy of first misrepresenting what I say, then proving you are ever so much cleverer than I am because you can find a flaw in your own invention. (Tom Pepper)
What has become of Speculative Non-Buddhism? Mr. Pepper (alias Gabe Syme, alias Bill S.), has summarized it in his usual succinct way. Speculative Non-Buddhism has become a game of twisting and turning words, taking out of context and ignoring the development of arguments, confusing or intentionally misinterpreting meaning – all the while its proper and actual task has long been lost or hasn’t been achieved to any relevant scope ever. In short, the discussion degenerated into flamewars while Françoise Laruelle went missing early on. The non of non-buddhism, which is the anti-decisional non of non-philosophy, has never been developed beyond an intuition.
I have recently visited the largest Polish internet x-buddhist forum, as I do from time to time to assess a general mood of this still fringe, virtual community subsisting in my dear Catholic Poland. There, in the header, spread across the whole page, I read the following message taken from one of the essays by Bhikkhu Bodhi:
If we trace external conflicts back to their source, we will find that they originate not in wealth, position or possessions, but in the mind itself.
Well, there we are, I thought, another fine example of x-buddhist rhetorics that rhymes so well with the general message of neoliberal hegemony, namely: blame the victim. It is you, you, and you, and your miserable minds that are the real source of all the external conflicts and misfortune, not some wealth, position or possessions.
The last thread once again developed in un-anticipated directions. Be it as it may, it is a rhizome-like structure and that’s good – but only when we somehow take with us some results and if we don’t always come back to the same questions.
Sadly the latter is the case. I think the reason is very much the unorganized, loose structure this SNB-blogging thing has and that there seems to be no one asking questions like 1) what is it that interests me really in this project, why do I come back reading and maybe commenting; and 2) what kind of commitment, if at all, would help to develop this further in the directions which are motivated and to some extent determined by the interests in the first question?
Can meditation have something in common with video gaming? It appears that it can. And that something what brings together those two seemingly distant spheres of human activity is an increase in gray matter. Yes, just have a look at the results of studies published last year in Molecular Psychiatry and compare them with some of the conclusions presented by the authors of the article entitled “Mind of the Meditator” that has just appeared in the latest issue of Scientific American. For all those of you who, with some understandable reluctance, abandoned your Nintendos in favor of thickening your brain tissue and honing your concentration skills through practice of meditation, this could be surprisingly welcome news. It seems that now you can safely skip those grueling hours of sitting practice and simply return to grow your grey matter with your old pal, Super Mario.
But before you happily dust off your consoles and plunge into the game, let’s look at Mind of the Meditator from a slightly broader and critical perspective. Promise, it won’t be long.
Civilization and the Stories we tell Ourselves.
I’ve been reading recently over at the Dark mountain project. For a number of reasons. Weariness with the same old inanities churned out by politicians — sustainable business, sustainable agriculture, the “management” of climate change — at best, fiddling while Rome burns, more often cynicism of the worst sort. I think a lot lately about the relation between the body, nature, ecology, and the way such a discourse might dovetail with a critique of capitalism and the opportunist embrace of environmentalism by liberal political parties, capitalist entrepreneurs, and marketing strategists out to create and exploit niche markets. Not to mention the buying and selling of carbon quotas by western governments, intent on business as usual despite impending catastrophe. Same old story and one structured on an unquestioned anthropocentric discourse that looks to me increasingly bankrupt.
By Labelling as heresy all views of which it disapproved the Church successfully passed off its orthodoxy as a unique scale for weighing the true meaning of words, beings, and things. It nevertheless felt inadequate and disarmed in the face of certain attitudes that it deemed “meaningless and demented”. With some unease the Inquisition attached the words “free spirit” and “madness” to men and women who renounced all spiritual and temporal authority, seeking no more than to live in accordance with their desires……. Raoul Vaneigem: The Movement of the Free Spirit.
This post addresses points about meditation Matthias and Tomek brought up in a recent comment tread. My thoughts were further stimulated by Tomeks video links and related printed material and by Matthias’s list of points on meditation. (links below). The following is structured on a series of questions (the section headings) to emphasize the exploratory nature of the content and its provisional character.