Differing Beliefs

Is it right to tolerate and accommodate different beliefs?

Buddhism is often seen as soft and cuddly, even blissed out but at its core are some pretty radical “truths” especially when seen from a normal socio-political context. The above statement is simplicity itself, but its implications are vast. Many say this kind of thing, fewer embody it.

If you think about it the whole framework of society is of conditioned-things, there are also conditions attached. It has a basis in interpersonal negotiation and bartering. Inherent in negotiating are conditions. This notion of impermanence although logically accurate is somehow put on the back-burner as we grasp after things and seek to hold on to them. And when things dissolve, fade or are lost, this is upsetting. This natural state of impermanence is resented somehow. There is a disconnect between a truth and our wish it was not so. People are attached to many things and each other.

I have an inkling that if you truly pertain to this statement from the Dhammapada you will be at odds with the “worlds” of so many. This is because acquisition of conditioned things is an ambition underpinning society. And ambition of one kind or another is a driver, a motive force. If you don’t have ambition you do not succeed in the world of conditioned things. To many a lack of ambition is non-sensical but is follows from this quotation. Why would you have ambition for attachment to conditioned things?

Attainment of this tenet of Buddhism, sets you apart. It means that others do not have leverage and thereby “control”, which many find unnerving. Which raises the question as to how one might cooperate and otherwise work with people holding this tenet and embodying it. I suspect that it may be inconceivable to others that such a tenet can indeed be held. Concepts are fine so long as they remain concepts, when they are actual, things are different, there are implications. In the teachings of Christ there are some pretty hard to embody ideas and these are not widely embodied. Few turn the other cheek, many seek to get even.

The nature of society is to try to bend others to the consensual “normality” and because of this it is difficult for society to accommodate differing beliefs. Whilst we might make provision for the practicalities of prayer for a Muslim, unless we ourselves are Muslim, their belief system is alien to us and therefore suspect. Provided that we have no need to cooperate closely, we need not learn more. But to work closely we will need to understand where another being is coming from. A renunciation of conditioned things strikes at the heart of normal societal acquisitional values and is just as “odd” as a hijab, though somewhat less obvious to the eye.

Buddhism is actually quite radical, though this is not at first obvious.

Having cued this up:

Is it right to tolerate and accommodate different beliefs?

Or should everybody fit in to the prevailing societal norms?

Fixation of the Common Dream (Nightmare)

A Toltec might say that the Tonal of Man, is fixed and getting ever more fixated. It simply will not budge. All one might hope for is that a few individuals might see this for themselves and then start to loosen that Tonal {in a personal sense} so that they might experience a wider reality. Make no mistake that concrete Tonal is reinforced with steel bars, carbon fibre rods and graphene nanotube composites. It will take a hell of a lot to even get it to flex a little. We may collide beams of hadrons together at TeV energies, build sophisticated laser interferometers to “listen” to neutron starts colliding, and send billion-dollar telescopes into space, but there is one simple frontier which we fail to address. That frontier is inner space, it is perhaps less glamorous and won’t win you any prizes. But surely this frontier needs looked at before humanity descends further into its fatuous obsession with self-image and all the attendant miseries associated?

We have a world in which someone may go on a meditation or yoga retreat and then simply cannot wait to upload images to their social media, a world in which plastic tits and knifed up lips or noses are seen as desirable. A world in which a fucking selfie with a “star” is an epitome, a highlight. We have people eating themselves to death, whilst others starve. We have a world where stuff is more important than substance. That image obsession, how it rules. Of all the impermanent things, all the conditioned things in the universe, this is our new pantheon of deity; image, brand, made up shit. How we worship all these imaginings! There is no need for a gilded calf, there is just fantasy worshipped by megapixel count.

My guess is that humanity has to fall all the way around the u-bend of this image fixation until such time as big pharma can no longer supply enough happy pills to keep the world away from the noose or the razor blade. This illusion, this glamour, this “celebrity” is all more than a little sad. We have become paper tigers prowling in a fantasy-forest, and we fail to realise just how fragile we are.

Whilst our eyes are turned outward, to space or to image, we get sicker and more unhappy. All the shiny technology in the world cannot sate an inner hunger, an inner thirst or an inner melancholy. It might displace the misery for a while, but it comes back like a spring tide. All that being busy and rushing around, it never addresses anything.

“Look at me I am such a success! Look at me!”

“Pray tell, why then are you so tense and miserable?”

Until such time as humanity understands its corporeal observational instrument a whole lot better, there will be suffering and angst. But no, we can’t look there, it is too scary, too real, too risky. I know let’s upload some inane photos onto the internet, that’ll do it!

The inner space is the new frontier, it is here, and the monetary cost of its exploration is small. It is so obvious, so simple and so easy to miss. People generally prefer the grandiose to the simple. Which in itself, speaks volumes.

The Fixation of the Common Dream (Nightmare) gets ever stronger. Maybe one day, humanity will seek to wake up from this self-created nightmare and smell the coffee?

Is the Model Reality?

I suspect that most people misinterpret how they model the world as reality. They forget that what they assimilate is just that, an assimilation. How one person models the events of life will of necessity differ from others, yet we are often adamant that we are absolute and accurate and we alone. In this we are kidding ourselves. What we make of the world is down to our cognitive apparatus, its training and conceptual ability, our cultural influences and the efficacy of our sense organs. Our awareness can vary, and most are severely limited in ability by their internal dialogue. It is a tremendous source of instrumental noise in our corporeal observational apparatus. It is a wonder any signal gets through, sometimes. Most of the dynamic range is swamped and until you cool your detector, so to speak, you are unable to observe the weaker fainter signals. A lot of capability lies undiscovered.

This is more than simply a philosophical point, we all suppose and that downgrades our ability. The model of life, we suppose, isn’t actual reality. It may approach reality, but never attains it totally.

There is a bad habit in science in which people get all excited by the models they use and talk as if that is the sum total; that the model is reality itself. One sees it in papers all the time. It should be prefaced by, “if I use this model then” or something like that. This keeps one honest and reminds that one is testing hypothesis against observation. The hypothesis may be good and useable, but it cannot as yet be all encompassing. I am not splitting hairs here. This is the basis of scientific method, as I understand it. Making reality prematurely is not keeping an open mind. It may be heavily subject to confirmation bias. Language is a tricky old thing and it can lead us astray, quickly.

To say to some that how they assimilate the world is not real, is to mess with their minds. Many of which like a certainty which is not there. Humans like to think that what they are seeing, and interpreting, is real and that the socially conditioned world comprises a real-life experience. How do you know if your detector is only partially functioning? There may well be a whole bunch of artefacts and spurious signals.

Having cued this up:

How confident am I that what I deem real, is real?

How well do my world models, which I live by, fit true nature?

Could I benefit from not being quite so adamant in my interactions with life?

What People Say

When I was perusing the on-line newspapers today, I was struck by how much “news” was about what people say and what they put on social media. The news is to say something about what someone else has said. Which generates even more to talk about. There is a lot of outrage about some comments, tweets etc. It seems more than a little barmy to me. To be outraged about the comments of another is perhaps to police free speech, but it also smacks of people with nothing better to do.

Many put a lot of faith in what others say and what is written. Personally, I like to look someone in the eye, face to face, wherever possible. I tend not to rely on what is presented. Believing what people say can lead to “being sold a pup”. If you then act on the basis of what people have said to you, you can get yourself into some pretty strange places. If you have been sold a pup and then make big decisions on that basis you might blame the pup seller, but you too have had a hand in the purchase of said pup. There is a growing tendency to rely on on-line polls, reviews and references. This can take some of the adventure out of things. So why is it that we are so influenced by what others say? Why does it seem important? Can it ever be a substitute for personal experience?

What people say underpins recruitment practice. I remember having a long telephone conversation with a recruiter in a far-off land. Someone I knew was being interviewed and he had been in conflict with the CEO of the company I co-founded, way back. They were looking for an explanation as to why the CEO wasn’t a referee. Luckily, I was able to explain the circumstances and he got the job. They trusted me, though they had never met me. I could have been in cahoots. We rely a lot on what people say. Sometimes we may be over-reliant.

People make shit up, not all the time, but from time to time. I am reasonably sure that being lied to is an experience many if not all have had. Yet we are willing to forget this experience and quickly do.

Why is it so very important what people say? Surely of all things conditioned and impermanent in the universe words and opinions are in that set. Yet we treat them as real and true and reliable.

What people say is “news”…

Woof, better get on that bus to Barking…

Prejudice and Illusion

There are many historical precedents for scientists being interested in magic and alchemy. Though this side is rarely talked about. If I were to start speaking about pentagrams at a conference on Molecular Beam Epitaxy of SiGe Heterostructures, it is likely that I would be tarred and feathered, or simply ridiculed. I have a seventh ray personality, so I am interested in things magical. There is an illusion, born out of prejudice and ignorance, that pentagrams exclusively mean black magic, no not the chocolates. And such things can scare the bejesus out of allegedly rational and sane people. To be scared, a priori, is a bit silly. Da Vinci draws the pentagram, the symbol of man.

If you look at the post previous, the seventh ray is the ray of entrepreneurship.

Wherever there is prejudice there is some level of illusion about the target of prejudice. People don’t know, they have already made their mind up, without inquiry and by definition, there is some illusion about the subject. If people could admit that there was even the tiniest smidgeon of chance that they may not know, it might help. But people are convinced without basis for that conviction.

Because so much weight is placed upon the physical form, some imagine themselves to be just that. They worry about the appearance of their body and its function. If you have any understanding of how light interacts with matter then, if your thinking is joined up, you cannot stress quite so much about how light reflects off the surface of the soft-wet matter which is your body. The photons from which go into the eyes of other beings or reflect off some mirrored glass and back into your eye. Your awareness operates through the means of a blob of soft-wet matter, how can one blob of matter be any more “attractive” than any other? It is mental. The illusion is all in the mind, or rather the internal dialogue. The image of the reflected photons is made in mind, we assimilate it and compare it. The image is man or woman made. If you apply various powders and dyes, you have altered the spectral reflectivity of your blob, temporarily. If you apply some organic compounds with moderate vapour pressures, perfumes, does that make the underlying being more attractive? No. It is just a game. And one that some people take so very seriously. People spend a lot of money on illusion and there is much prejudice about what is and isn’t attractive. Irrespective of all that crap, most people manage to find a mate or partner. Amazing…

People get all het up about illusions. They have some preconceived ideas which can get in the way of being. It is hard to be, when you are up in brain-mind inundated with prejudices.

The Age of Idolatry

Etymology and nomenclature

The word idolatry comes from the Greek word eidololatria (εἰδωλολατρία) which itself is a compound of two words: eidolon (εἴδωλον “image“) and latreia (λατρεία “worship“, related to λάτρις). The word eidololatria thus means “worship of idols”, which in Latin appears first as idololatria, then in Vulgar Latin as idolatria, therefrom it appears in 12th century Old French as idolatrie, which for the first time in mid 13th century English appears as “idolatry”.


This etymology from Wiki says it all really, image worship. Humanity slips ever deeper into the illusion of image worship. We are in the age of idolatry and it fucks people up. Everyone must have an image and how we worship them. If ours isn’t good enough we suffer. If we are not attractive enough or sexy enough, we get anxious. And we must protect our image, imaginary though it is. Our image must further be idealized and photo-shopped. And when one image interacts with another image, is it any wonder things go wrong? We may even try to uphold our image in relationships. Not wanting to lose face, we do not back down. How far this lunacy will go, who can say? My guess is it has plenty of steam yet.

If you dare to suggest that an image isn’t accurate, woe betide you! The image police come out with riot gear and water cannons.

We may worship our idols on electronic media, and bow to them on TV. We must have the latest news on our idols, fake though they are. Deeper and deeper into illusion we sink. We may have business idols, science idols and political idols. They can become sacred cows like Jimmy Savile. We may watch TV programmes about every turd they lay, like the Kardashians. We may watch Celebrity Big Brother and even call it, get this, reality TV!

I’ll hypothesise that there is an ever increasing shortage of marbles and that many decks of cards now have well less than 52.

As an exercise:

Am I worried about my image?

If so, why?

Am I impressed and fascinated by the images of others?

If so, why?

Investing Time

Yesterday I spoke a little about how looking at finances can provide some clarity. This was to start into the theme of investing. If one looks at how one invests time, one can get a great deal of clarity about how one is living. The idea lies aback a coaching tool. It allows one to see what are the ”priorities” in life.  Although I have said things like “shit happens” I am surprisingly focussed and organised. We can look at this from the ideas of spending time and investing time. If you like spending can be wasting whereas investing is less so. If you spend a lot of time being defensive and posturing, you may well be wasting a whole bunch of time. I guess the trick is to use your time well and in a meaningful way.

I think it fair to say we live in the age of gobshites and bullshit, there are a lot of gobshites and they do a lot of bullshitting. It can help people “advance” and many invest in bullshit, it is attractive somehow. People buy it, they trade it. Like birds in a nest demanding worms, there is much attention seeking these days. Electronic media has amplified this attention seeking. If you spend your time attention seeking it is time that you are never going to get back. Although attention might be nice I am not sure that it is worth all that much. It does not aid liberation, quite the opposite in fact. As a commodity what does it do for your Soul? It may even harm your personality; a low self-esteem is rarely improved by needy attention seeking behaviours. Yet attention seeking is quite prevalent.

With whom do you spend your time?

At this time of year, we have a little duplicity, because we are supposed to love our families we are supposed to put on our happy face and hang out with our relatives. Underneath the surface there can be found some dread. People hang out with others, often because they are accustomed so to do. They rarely question this. We can be influenced by people we don’t like but feel we need to hang out with. There are many things we are accustomed to which serve little or no purpose other than the spending of time. It is a form of conditioning.

I have known people who want so badly to be right, that it consumes them. They spend time trying to prove that they are right, whatever that means. It can go on for months. It is a moot point as to whether the victory is worth the effort.

If you invest 5-10 minutes a day in meditation, there may be no immediate pay-off but after a few months, you will notice a difference. Such an investment is a slow burner, it does not yield immediately and what it yields may not be materially measurable.

If you want to get clarity on life, have a look at what you do with your time.

How do I use my time?

Do I spend it or invest it?

What are my priorities in life?

What am I simply accustomed to doing?