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Responding to Hend Amry

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — yes, we can feel for Muslim victims as we do in a different register for their persecutors, Buddhists untethered from their moorings ]
.

I must respond:

Yes, the core, the deepest stratum of being — zen’s “original face” == the soul goes out. Whether heart and mind follow is variable, utterly human, as you observe.

**

Readings:

  • Washington Post, Hundreds are dead in Burma as the Rohingya crisis explodes again
  • Human Rights Watch, Burma: Satellite Images Show Massive Fire Destruction
  • Buddha — rage face, poker face

    Friday, September 1st, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — Myanmar and, well, not quite Vegas — Barcelona ]
    .

    A study in reversal, monastery and monk{

    Having said that the interior of the monastery is quite and calm, while outside are monks denating politics under hideous posters of alleged Rohingya brualities:

    NYRB, The Hateful Monk

    The contrast between the monastery’s inner calm and this exterior display of violence is a fitting inversion of Ma Soe Yein’s most infamous resident, Ashin Wirathu, the subject of Barbet Schroeder’s new documentary, The Venerable W. On the outside, Wirathu is composed and polite, with large brown eyes and a sweet, impish grin. His voice is smooth and its cadence measured. Yet beneath this civil disguise seethes an interminable hatred toward the 4 percent of Myanmar’s population that is Muslim (the wall of carnage stands outside his residence). Wirathu is responsible for inciting some of the worst acts of ethnic violence in the country’s recent history, and was described by Time as “The Face of Buddhist Terror.”

    Hat tip: Michael Robinson, the Ornamental Peasant

    See also:

  • JRI Cole, Muslim Rohingya Refugees Drown as They flee Buddhist Persecution in Myanmar
  • **

    I could use that kind of karma, with permission to retain 15% for my own requirements. Oh well, no need to complain. I share his delighted smile.

    HipBone implications of the second shoe dropping for intel analysis

    Sunday, August 6th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — also, the role of the True Name in intel analysis & Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea ]
    .

    You may know that I value the documentary film Manhunt for its lucid presentation of the process by which the finest intelligence analysts “leap” to their quarry — in which Cindy Storer notes, “not the analysts doing it, but other people who didn’t have that talent referred to it as magic”.

    In my post The process of associative memory I decribe this process, which I consider the root process of true creativity:

    There’s the present moment .. And there’s the memory it elicits.

    Compare Michael Hayden in Manhunt, at 1.19.18:

    The way it works is, information come in, you catalog it, your organize it – that little nugget there could sit fallow on your shelves for four or five years until something else comes in that’s suddenly very illuminating about something that you may have had for a very long period of time. That actually happened in the work we did to hunt for Osama bin Laden by trying to track his courier.

    By way of confirmation, here is Robert Frost:

    The artist must value himself as he snatches a thing from some previous order in time and space into a new order with not so much as a ligature clinging to it of the old place where it was organic.

    And here’s Jeff Jones on piecing together puzzles —

    Some pieces produce remarkable epiphanies. You grab the next piece, which appears to be just some chunk of grass – obviously no big deal. But wait … you discover this innocuous piece connects the windmill scene to the alligator scene! This innocent little new piece turned out to be the glue.

    **

    My point here is that the board in my “game” of DoubleQuotes provides a matrix for eliciting and annotating such leaps between fact and memory — that’s its purpose, and that’s why I believe the practice and “playing” of DoubleQuotes is, in itself, an ideal training for the analytic mind in that otherwise elusive aptitude which Ms Storer says seenms like magic to those who do not possess it..

    I believe my DoubleQuotes would be an invaluable tool for analysts in training.

    **

    Note, however, that Jose Rodriguez, speaking immediately after Michael Hayden at 1.19.55, adds a reference to the “True Name” — accompanying screencaps included — something to which as a theologian I am naturally drawn:

    It took years for the agency to recruit the human source that eventually gave us the true name. That’s why we were in the business the of condensing human intelligence because, in many cases, all these fancy gadgets and everything else won’t give you the information that you really need. A true name.

    And we finally got his true name, which is whatever it is. Whatever. Arabic name, you know. But the true name – we were able to find out a lot about him. From then on, you know, the agency was able to do what it does so well. Track the guy and find him.

    That too elicits memories, though in this case providing cultural context rather than actionable intelligence. It’s interesting to compare Rodriguez’ quote with the passages in which Ursula Le Guin describes the nature of magic in her book, Wizard of Earthsea:

    He who would be Seamaster must know the true name of every drop of water in the sea.

    and:

    He saw that in this dusty and fathomless matter of learning the true name of every place, thing, and being, the power he wanted lay like a jewel at the bottom of a dry well. For magic consists in this, the true naming of a thing.

    **

    See also:

  • Gaming the Connections: from Sherlock H to Nada B
  • Jeff Jonas, Nada Bakos, Cindy Storer and Puzzles
  • FWIW, there’s an appendix on the central spiritual significance of remembrance of the True Name in Judaism (HaShem), Christianity (Jesus Prayer), Islam (dhikr), Hinduism (nama-rupa), Buddhism (nembutsu) etc at the back of Frithjof Schuon‘s little book, The Transcendent Unity of Religions.

    On which frankly mystical note, here’s a third para from Le Guin to carry you towards Lao Tzu‘s observation that “The name that can be named is not the eternal Name” —

    It is no secret. All power is one in source and end, I think. Years and distances, stars and candles, water and wind and wizardry, the craft in a man’s hand and the wisdom in a tree’s root: they all arise together. My name, and yours, and the true name of the sun, or a spring of water, or an unborn child, all are syllables of the great word that is very slowly spoken by the shining of the stars. There is no other power. No other name.

    Political influence on the movies

    Friday, July 21st, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — Canada, Hollywood cave? ]
    .

    Sources:

  • Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, Did the CBC get spooked?
  • Hollywood Reporter, Vladimir Putin Cut From Two Upcoming Hollywood Movies
  • **

    The Chinese don’t want the Dalai Lama to speak with heads of state; they throw their weight around, and some heads of state capitulate.

    Here’s the equivalent in terms of the arts. I suppose it’s inevitable, considering the state of the world, but I don’t like it one little bit.

    Realpolitik as if angels were real

    Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — I mean, are they or aren’t they? — really? — what do you believe? ]
    .


    St Michael, of the archangelic rank or choir

    **

    It’s just a thought I entertain from time to time. Because if they are, if angels are real — as bookloads by the dozens, popularly read, attest — why then they may know something, and they may surely accomplish something.

    **

    Thomas Aquinas asks and answers the Question, Whether an angel is altogether incorporeal?. Along the way, he quotes St John Damascene:

    an angel is an ever movable intellectual substance.

    Angels are forms of intelligence — is the Intelligence Community listening?

    **

    When the boy’s eyes were opened, as per the prayer of Elisha (2 Kings 6:17), he saw:

    and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha

    and the Lord speaking to Muhammad (Qur’an 8:9):

    I shall reinforce you with a thousand angels riding behind you.

    Angels are perhaps force-multipliers. Is DOD interested?

    **

    Angels may be beings of music and dance — gandharvas, apsarases — is theirs a language our intelligence recognizes?

    **

    But I digress. Intelligence has a long history with the invisibles. Abbot Trithemius may be called first among cryptologists. Elizabeth I’s John Dee would have been at home to Bletchley Park (though Walsingham might have tossed out his amanuensis, Edward Kelley). Talmudic scholrs would do well to teach at Quantico, Jesuits at Fort Meade. Their remit, from Ephesians 6.12:

    For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    **

    An aside: in his Himalayan attempt to fathom angels, Aquinas makes an instructive statement:

    Now the medium compared to one extreme appears to be the other extreme, as what is tepid compared to heat seems to be cold

    Left and right, how often do we get caught in that trap in these divisive times?


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