January 20, 2003


Arthur Schopenhauer is my latest distraction. His penchant for distorting the suffering of Buddha into an all encompassing theory of pessimism is both frightening and interesting.

Studies in Pessimism
Religion and Other Essays

Other info at Frownland
World as Will and Idea

Hence, it will be found that the fundamental fault of the female character is that is has no sense of justice. This is mainly due to the fact, already mentioned, that women are defective in the powers of reasoning and deliberation; but it is also traceable to the position which Nature has assigned to them as the weaker sex. They are dependent, not upon strength, but upon craft; and hence their instinctive capacity for cunning, and their ineradicable tendency to say what is not true. .. That woman is by nature meant to obey may be seen by the fact that every woman who is placed in the unnatural position of complete independence, immediately attaches herself to some man, by whom she allows herself to be guided and ruled. It is because she needs a lord and master. If she is young, it will be a lover; if she is old, a priest
--On Women

What is the relationship between Schopenhauer, Stoics like Marcus Aurelius and Eastern philosophy. Buddha said the world is dukkha or suffering. His 4 noble truths said that the root of suffering was desire. He believed elimination of desire was the way to mitigate suffering. To help remove desire he proposed the 8 fold path. His claim was desire could be reduced by non-attachment. Schopenhauer read accepted buddha's theory of suffering. However he said the only solution was appreciationg of aesthetic beauty and acceptance. My personal opinion at this point (given that I haven't read enough of Schopenhauer's works) is that he had an rational understanding of buddha's path. He understood that the world was suffering, but failed to realize that nirvana is an experience that makes possible non-attachment. Bodhidharma was more helpful when he said that that a teaching outside the scriptures was the path to attaining buddha. Schopenhauer failed to see this aspect of the buddhist philosophy. The stoics were ascetics who subscribed to the theory that the moral superiority gained by denying normal human desires was the right answer. Buddhism doesn't focus on the denial. Buddhism is about not attaching to human desires. It is to accept and see things for what they are. Just as they are. Not more. Not less. Stoics build up fortitude by refusing things and in that they increase the importance of a thing by denying its need.

For example consider ice cream. The stoic would consider ice cream as catering to the depravity of the human masses. The stoic would commend himself on his ability to deny the use of ice cream. But it will remain a part of him. He will carry his need for ice cream and his denial of ice cream around. A buddhist however would acknowledge the essence of what makes ice cream appealing: heat, sweet tooth. He might indulge in the ice cream. But will let go of it and not attach himself to it. He could be given ice cream or he could not. In either case he'll be ok with it. He doesn't have to justify its value or rail against its bad effects. Now replace ice cream with your favorite vice.

Posted at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

Flagpole Sitta

Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger

I had visions, I was in them I was looking into the mirror To see a little bit clearer Rottenness and evil in me Fingertips have memories Mine can't forget the curves of your body And when i feel a bit naughty I run it up the flagpole and see who salutes (but no one ever does) I'm not sick but i'm not well And I'm so hot cause I'm in hell Been around the world and found That only stupid people are breeding The cretins cloning and feeding And I don't even own a tv Put me in the hospital for nerves And then they had to commit me You told them all i was crazy They cut off my legs now I'm an amputee, god damn you I'm not sick but I'm not well And I'm so hot cause i'm in hell I'm not sick but I'm not well And it's a sin to live so well I wanna publish zines And rage against machines I wanna pierce my tongue It doesn't hurt, it feels fine The trivial sublime I'd like to turn off time And kill my mind You kill my mind Paranoia paranoia Everybody's coming to get me Just say you never met me I'm going underground with the moles Hear the voices in my head I swear to god it sounds like they're snoring But if you're bored then you're boring The agony and the irony, they're killing me I'm not sick but I'm not well And I'm so hot cause i'm in hell I'm not sick but I'm not well And it's a sin to live so well
Posted at 09:29 AM

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