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One or other, both or neither?

Friday, January 31st, 2020

[ by Charles Cameron — Modi or Trump, special or chosen? — with thanks to The Emissary on BrownPundits — and closing in on the shining suchness of the Tathagata ]
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Modi of India, Trump of USA?

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Trump of USA proclaims himself the Chosen One, while Modi of India’s supporters claim Modi is the Special One.

Who knew?

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Sources:

  • The Emissary, The Special One
  • Giphy, I am the Chosen One
  • **

    Buddhist logic from the beginning differs from its Aristotelian cousin, featuring the chatushkoti or tetralemma:

    India in the fifth century BCE, the age of the historical Buddha, and a rather peculiar principle of reasoning appears to be in general use. This principle is called the catuskoti, meaning ‘four corners’. It insists that there are four possibilities regarding any statement: it might be true (and true only), false (and false only), both true and false, or neither true nor false.

    Hence my title, One or other, both or neither?

    Oh ah:

    speaking of the Buddha, Nagarjuna states that the Buddha’s teaching is “emptiness is suchness, not suchness, both suchness and not suchness, and neither suchness nor not suchness.”

    Furthermore:

    The suchness of the Tathagata is the suchness of all phenomena.

    Rumor therefore has it that there’s a fifth possibility, a refuge from all dualities: the shining suchness of the Tathagata.

    **

    No, really — please comment!

    Break it Down Show with Zen Co-Hosting: Mazarr on Leap of Faith

    Saturday, October 12th, 2019

    [mark safranski / zen]

    Friend of ZP, Pete Turner invited me to join him at his place The Break it Down Show to interview RAND scholar Michael J. Mazarr about his new book Leap of Faith Hubris, Negligence, and America’s Greatest Foreign Policy Tragedy :

    Mike Mazarr – Leap of Faith Hubris, Negligence, and America’s Greatest Foreign Policy Tragedy

    Mark Safranski joins Pete A Turner with author, think-tanker Dr Mike Mazarr.
    Mike’s book is called, Leap of Faith Hubris, Negligence, and America’s Greatest Foreign Policy Tragedy
    Why is the invasion of Iraq viewed as a tragedy? Mike explains to us and draws conclusions to help us better understand by comparing and contrasting past conflicts to Iraq. Mark, brings his experience understanding presidential security council dynamics to push the show to even great depth and uniqueness.

    Listen to the episode here.

    Without giving way any spoilers, Mazarr has penned our time’s version of The Best and the Brightest. It’s a step by step reconstruction using the best evidence available and extensive interviews of principal figures or their aides and colleagues to explain how the Bush administration decided to go down the road to war in Iraq.  Like David Halberstam explaining the origins of Vietnam, Mazarr’s task was to explain how so experienced a national security team as the one that served George W. Bush could make so catastrophic a strategic error, the effects of which continue to unfold to this day.

    See the source image

     

    New Book from SWJ! The Plutocratic Insurgency Reader

    Friday, July 26th, 2019

    [Mark Safranski / zen]

    Plutocratic Insurgency Reader edited by Robert J. Bunker and Pamela Ligouri-Bunker

    The newest book published by Small Wars Journal contains 376 pages of essays by 15 contributors, a foreword by Nils Gilman and conclusion by longtime criminal insurgency analyst John SullivanWhat is a “plutocratic insurgency” you ask?

    According to Robert Bunker:

    The plutocratic insurgency concept dates back to 2011 and has been influenced by earlier work done by John Robb (Onward to a Hollow State, 2008) and Nils Gilman (Deviant Globalization, 2010). As a theoretical construct, it was further inspired by the global street protests and demonstrations of the Occupy movement taking place during that period. Research on this topical area for its U.S. national security threat potentials has been conducted related to U.S. Department of Defense and Army programs, with a number of works produced or derivative of these efforts; Op-Ed: Not Your Grandfather’s Insurgency (2014), Global Criminal and Sovereign Free Economies and the Demise of the Western Democracies (2014), and Old and New Insurgency Forms (2016). Of these works, the “Foreword: The twin insurgency—facing plutocrats and criminals” written by Nils Gilman for the derivative 2014 edited book project—and reprinted online as The Twin Insurgency in The American Interest—is by far the best known and eloquent of these writings:

    The defining feature of the plutocratic insurgency is its goal: to defund or de-provision public goods in order to defang a state that its adherents see as a threat to their prerogatives. (Note that, conceptually, plutocratic insurgencies differ from kleptocracies; the latter use the institutions of state to loot the population, whereas the former wish to neutralize those institutions in order to facilitate private-sector looting. In practice, these may overlap or co-mingle.) Practically speaking, plutocratic insurgency takes the form of efforts to lower taxes, which necessitates cutting spending on public goods; reducing regulations that restrict corporate action or protect workers; and defunding or privatizing public institutions such as schools, health care, infrastructure, and social space.

    Two unexpected signs of the same intelligence at work

    Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — two instances in which land is returned to tribal peoples who previously tended it ]
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    Sources:

  • Bold Nebraska, In Historic First, Nebraska Farmer Returns Land to Ponca Tribe
  • Forest News, Indonesian president hands over management of forests to indigenous people
  • **

    Wallace Black Elk told me the Americas were his altar, and that on this altar guns are not permitted. He also offered to get me a Lakota passport, which would allow me to fly into US airports without having to pass through customs.

    but these ideas are a bit farther along the timeline, I think, from the two land exchanges detailed above.

    The British Are Coming

    Monday, May 20th, 2019

    [by J. Scott Shipman]

    The British Are Coming, by Rick Atkinson

    A couple of Rick Atkinson’s books (WWII) are in my anti-library, but on the urging of a friend, I purchased Mr. Atkinson’s first volume of a planned trilogy on the American Revolution. About 100 pages in and I find myself trying to make time to finish (it doesn’t help that I’ve embarked on a project that requires even more reading…). Mr. Atkinson may be the best narrative historian since William Manchester.

    Preemptively highly recommended.

     


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