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January 31, 2011

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“If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know.” Louis Armstrong

In a simiar vein if you have to ask "What is it all about" you'll never know.

Baggini is a cool-headed writer and I like his book "Do they think you're stupid?", but here ("What is it all about") he is on thin ice because the ego is the biggest "no brainer" that exists and it's (egos) complementary baggage of "self-interest", which is needed to sustain its being, is simply a bitch to bear if you have ever felt the liberated essence of simply being.

William, I find it difficult to believe that a human being (despite the name) can simply "be." We have a natural instinct for survival, for reproduction, for eating and drinking, for socializing with other members of our species.

All these manifestations of self-interest, or self-gratification, seemingly are impossible to eliminate. And as Baggini says, why would we want to get rid of them? They're part of living. Death, like he said, is the ultimate absence of ego.

The middle way is a lessening of self-centeredness, while recognizing that this inclination also is a manifestation of self-interest, because it makes us feel better. We're part of a whole that is human culture and society, as well as the marvelous natural world. We aren't powerless, but neither are we entirely self-willed.

The goal of the ancient Jain mendicants? To cross over the stream, liberation of the soul--- mind/matter/time (the matrix) left behind.

Self-interest (self preservation) comes with the body, standard. Second standard issue? Sex. Ken Wilbur ingloriously exampled our basic human condition via this question: "Hey, do I kill it or do I fuck it"? The rest is cultural frosting.

At any rate, what did the Jain's seek to liberate from from body/mind and its brutish, earthy condition? The soul.

What is soul? I've not a clue.

Signed, Your Cousin, Sri Neanderthal

I googled the word "autopsy" the other day. On the second page, I found a 10 minute video of an actual autopsy. A for real, no-shit autopsy on a relatively young human female body. I thought that it was going to be a hollywood-type narrative at an actual autopsy where the physician's performing the autopsy would describe what they were doing while the camera just hinted around at the toe tag and arms and legs and what have you. No. No.

The camera was on the body before the autopsy began, and it stayed on the body during the ENTIRE procedure. You actually see the "Y" incicison being made, and the skin and muscular layers being pulled aside. You see and hear the (medical equivalent of) bolt cutters snapping the ribs and watch as the entire chest plate is lifted and removed to expose the internal organs. You see the intestines lifted up and out, en masse, and placed next the body on the table. You watch as the bladder and uterus are removed and examined. You see the lungs removed one at a time and examined. The stomach, small intestine, liver and spleen are all examined and remarked upon. The heart is dissected carefully and inspected for lesions , blockages and other abnormalities. The skull was opened with a high-speed hand-held circular saw blade and the brain was removed. During the removal, you saw the optic nerves and spinal cord being snipped, just like you would cut the ribbon on a birthday present.

She was a lovely physical specimen. Her face was partially covered at the beginning of the autopsy, but as they began to work closer to her head, the cloth became displaced. They did not edit the video. Her genitalia was covered for the most part, but you could see her pubic hair (odd - she didn't shave it!). She was presumed to have died from an overdose of anti-depressants. During the autopsy they found nothing but perfectly formed internal organs with no signs of abnormality.

The dead body did not exhibit any signs of complaint or resistance to what was happening to it. Every single one of the bodies that are reading this message, including the one that is typing this message, will eventually be just as unresponsive as the one that was being unceremoniously eviscerated in the autopsy.


Past a certain point, it is not possible to be concerned about what happens. That is because there is no entity that stands apart from the biological process that endures or suffers the process. Oh yes - concern there will be while the process endures - that's only natural.

That complete lack of concern is what "Reality" actually is.

When your hoping to get out of something its actually how your in it.Paul Hederman

@ Brian and Willie R.

Once "one" (literally) understands how everything arises spontaneously...and that our virtual selves (egos) are simply shaped and formed by the particular fabric of time and space (culture and family, etc.) that we are entwined in (as the conventional story goes...)...then the need for "self-servitude" or "self-gratitude" or "self-centeredness" naturally falls away. Understanding is the key...and this understanding requires paradoxically the absence of ego to "get it".

Baggini is more or less limited (as evidenced by his writings) to a rational way of thinking and arguing...and you (Brian) paraphrase him as follows:
"The middle way is a lessening of self-centeredness, while recognizing that this inclination also is a manifestation of self-interest, because it makes us feel better. "

So if I understand this paraphrase correctly what you are saying (via Baggini) is essentially that we feel better about ourselves if we don't take ourselves so seriously. So wouldn't the "logical" continuation be that we would feel elated if we didn't even "take" ourselves (egos) to be at all? That's "my" experience. What then remains is "all that jazz"...where being basks in the "sound of soul" (metaphorically for those that don't like the word soul).

Moreover, Death is not the absolute absence of ego...plants are an example of this. And the autopsy example cited by Willie R. quite vividly reminds us that "death is the perfect insult to ego"...but why wait for death for it to happen?

Brian,

Did you find out why the non-X'd People magazine was left at the athletic club?


William,

Why would the 'perfect insult' be sought? Is there a special need for such?
And, what 'exactly' is the presense of ego?

Willie R.

I liked this,

"That complete lack of concern is what "Reality" actually is."

---This complete lack of concerm would be a 'moment' of non-conceptuality?

Is the 'Reality' word, more of a non-Reality? Can one know what 'anything' actually is?

Roger, my investigation into the People magazine debacle was pretty simple: my wife confessed instantly. The athletic club exercise room has a magazine rack, and she left the issue there after reading it.

My compassionate Buddha-nature will enable me to forgive her in a mere 10,000 additional incarnations, or thereabouts. It still seriously bothers me that I have missed out on a whole week's worth of celebrity news.

from above by William Nelson:

"Once "one" (literally) understands....."


What is understanding? Tis it a byproduct of physical process in the brain that cease somewhat before the autopsy table and rigamortis? If so, heavy sigh, what does it matter? No matter how glorified by myth, religion, new-age stuff, No-Self profundities, etc., it all ends the same. You are still gonna die.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slOY4cSVfy8

We are all in deep, deep, denial. We are the only animals that know they are going to die....which is in terrible conflict with the prime directive to survive.

Anyone here ever read Escape from Evil by Becker?

"At its most elemental level the human organism, like crawling life, has a mouth, digestive tract, and anus, a skin to keep it intact, and appendages with which to acquire food. Existence, for all organismic life, is a constant struggle to feed, a struggle to incorporate whatever other organisms that they can fit into their mouths and pass down their gullets...seen in these stark terms, life on this planet is a gory spectacle, a science-fiction nightmare in which digestive tracts fitted with teeth at one end are tearing away at whatever... they can reach, and at the other end are piling up the fuming waste ....(E. Becker)

And in all of this is the soul(??), well somewhere.

As Winston Churchill said "Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result..." Death where is thy victory?

Also Hitler: "Providence has kept me alive to complete my great work".... kept alive, kept alive, kept alive....in the heavens, somewhere way outside the teeth and the anus. Being organismic is SO, like, undignified.

Cheer up, everybody! It seems as though the US dollar is relinquishing it's status as the world's reserve currency. Other countries are divesting themselves of the Dollar, and oil producing nations are threatening to mark the value of petroleum against other currencies. Life is going to get mighty tough here in the land of the free and the home of the brave, yessir. Make sure you have frank discussions with your children and grandchildren about the forthcoming economic disaster. That might sway their opinions about the taboo subject of death.
I figure that something that is so incontrovertibly inevitable has got to be wonderful. Why, it's the payoff for a life well lived, as well as a life mis-spent.

Death is definitely the best thing that can happen to a human being. Naturally, we all save the best for last. Much thanks to jon weiss for that youtube link.

http://english.aljazeera.net/watch_now/

These last days I’ve been reflecting on the madness of those in power. History tells the distorted and revised tales of what has gone before. Though history has been altered to serve the needs of those manipulating it for present and future gain, there is still more than enough to serve as lessons for the endless lines of fools who want to follow in their footsteps. What is it that endures to this present day that makes it so easy for people to lie, steal, cheat and murder for personal gain and position?

It’s not so different from a thousand years ago. This predatory scheming and jockeying for position just goes on and on and on. The population rises up against its leaders and the leaders go through the same disingenuous motions of shuffling their cabinet and stonewalling the public. Their relatives slip off to the country, whose meddlesome ways kept the dictator in power and offers of asylum come in from the biggest enemy of that country; the country their leader was in office to protect them from. Israel is offering asylum to Mubarak? The Palestinian leadership is revealed as traitors, working for the psychopaths who are genociding them? There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it.

We had the Magna Carta in 1215 and that was supposed to usher in a whole new understanding between royalty and those below them. Now the bankers have placed the crown on their own heads and the corporations have become the system that institutes the rules and regulations of behavior. They told the Supreme Court that they were running things now and the Supreme Court said. “Sure, go right ahead.” The insidious neo-Pharisees have taken near total control of the United States and all the rest of the Crown Colonies. It’s right there to be seen but it is officially not true and some portion of the people who can see it are saying that this group and these individuals, are being manipulated and operated by people and forces we can’t see but who represent the real power. Does it matter? If you eliminate the medium, then the darkness has no mechanism for delivery. All evil proceeds from one source, through millions of delivery systems.

It seems to me that certain people are blinded, by themselves or some force, so that they can carry on as they do with no hesitation or remorse. We’ve heard of an internet kill switch. I’m thinking there is also a humanity kill switch that is thrown internally and which cuts off access to the human qualities. I’m not sure at what point the switch gets thrown. Sometimes it seems that it might be thrown in the womb or early childhood. Maybe it occurs at a later day, during that first semester at Wharton or in the first year at the bank. At a certain point, the decision has to be made. I will treat others as I wish to be treated or, I will do what is expedient and have no concern about the human cost. It’s a simple matter, you fail as a human being or you fail at the needs of business and self interest for profit.

This is the hallmark of materialism, in this age of materialism. The choice is upon us all, each and every day. Do we aspire to the dictates of our higher nature, knowing that it entails continuous sacrifice in the process or, do we do what they tell us to do on TV and in the movies, where no mention of the invisible is ever given out, except when it happens to be a horror movie or some cobbled together, unintentional satire on the occult and metaphysical; where the world is only what is seen, unless it’s some absurd mockery of somewhere they’re never been, dolled up like an outer space, Burger King.

That’s all going to change now. Longstanding notes are coming due. The foreclosures on the physical level are going to start to result in spiritual foreclosures, where you get aced out of future possibilities, because you closed yourself off inside from the higher end of your potential. This all comes about because of the corporate mindset. Corporations are the poster boy for mindless materialism, to the exclusion of any and all other motivations.

A corporation is a cabal of conspirators, whose motivation is maximum profit for the shareholders. The excuse given by the boards of directors and those serving in the corporate hierarchy, is that they serve the needs of the stockholders and that, in this dog eat dog world, they have to pursue every innovation and cut every corner in order to meet the needs of the holiest of the holy, the stockholders. The idea is that they are the most selfless of servants, laboring for the benefit of others, who are defined as representatives of the bedrock of society; ordinary citizens seeking to invest in the dream of a better life for all. The truth is that most of those stockholders are not ordinary citizens but just more of the elite cyborgs who are milking the conglomerate tit.

Everywhere you turn now, the world is being manhandled into fascist policies of operation, whose object is a universal prison system that is manipulated by faceless goons, according to an unshakeable policy for the repression and regimentation of the human spirit. The idea is an insane, backstabbing scramble for the higher positions in order to be in the executive seats and free from the directives that flow down upon the oppressed masses. No one is responsible for the bad chemicals and lingering deaths. No one is responsible for the profits at the expense of quality and durability. No one is responsible for the loss of jobs and the disappearing manufacturing base. No one is responsible for anything, it’s just business as usual and if you don’t like it, you are a traitor to your country and to the spirit that made your country great.

The more the corporate schematic is overlaid upon the natural order of things, the more unnatural everything becomes. This applies across the board into every area of life and is reflected in the state of the culture. The rights of tiny minorities are blown out of proportion into social imperatives, while the rights of the majority are crushed beneath the hobnailed boots of progress, whose purpose is to create two separate worlds; those who rule and those who are ruled over. All of this is reflected in the degree of material gain, on the one hand and in the loss of what one previously owned, on the other. It’s there in black and white. Foreclosure lawyers are now suing against the possibility of having to operate legitimately and without any irony attendant, except among the victims.

It can’t go on as it is going. It can’t function this way for any great length of time. The wheels will heat up from the lack of lubrication. The disparity, in wealth and privilege, invariably forces revolution upon everyone. It’s not a workable system. It’s a feeding frenzy, where greed and appetite have overcome all of the resistances of good sense and natural restraint. It’s that stage of insanity where some form of creative suicide becomes the logical next step and they can’t see it. Something has closed their eyes to the clear evidence of where all this bad behavior leads. Just before the train hits the wall, or the other train coming toward them on the tracks, hits them head on, they are going to step off and all will be well. They’re all going to retire and move to Dubai, on to one of those exclusive islands that are sinking back into the sea. More money will fix that too.

I can’t say it often enough and I can’t say it with enough force to match the actual, critical imminence of the condition in the mirror; that object which is closer than it appears. It all looks normal, outside your window, there in the streets below and it can become Cairo (or much worse) in the space of an afternoon nap. You don’t have to go to sleep to have a nightmare. You can wake up right inside of one.

The thing to remember is that the system cannot sustain itself. It cannot endure as what it is. The principles and components are unsound. It’s like a Ponzi scheme. It can only operate for a certain period of time before it won’t work any more. You are inside of the biggest Ponzi scheme of all time. That clock is not going to ‘keep on tickin’ but someone is going to get a lickin.

http://lesvisible.blogspot.com

That was an incredibly astute diatribe, tAo. I don't know if you copied and pasted it from another source or if you actually composed it yourself - it does not matter.
Juxtapose the complexity of the above ideas with the stark facts revealed in an autopsy. It is obvious that biological organisms are configured to transform one form of matter into another form. Material goes in one end and comes out the other. Ah but wait, you say...the reason that organisms do that is to extract certain molecules which are critically needed to sustain the existence of the organism. And the prime directive is to continue to exist. For what? To have ideas about what existence is in the first place?

Intact organisms cut up unresponsive organisms and try to figure out WTF went "wrong" They don't find anything.
The lack of concern exhibited by unresponsive (dead) organisms is of the same order as the lack of concern that pertained before the organism was formed. Try and think back to before you were born. You cannot. You did not exist.
Concern=Life
Lack of Concern=Death

So what makes these chemical factories capable of concern? By the time you figure it out, you will not be concerned any more.

We hope.

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