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A very interesting title from 2014, & a title match, 1972

Saturday, February 15th, 2020

[ by Charles Cameron — a biker gang as alt-army, a chess board as Cold War battlefield — Night Wolves, and Fischer Spassky ]
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I mentioned the Night Wolves bikers in my post It’s how we / they roll in May 2015, and there have been many reports of their activities elsewhere — but yesterday I was pointed to some videos I hadn’t seen before, and came across this intriguing title on an RT video from Sevastopol, 2014:

Russia: Epic Night Wolves biker rally takes war in Ukraine to the stage

Similar, is this Guardian headline from 2916:

Putin’s Angels: the bikers battling for Russia in Ukraine

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Think about it. Taking a war to the stage — with a couple of rock bands, a light show, plenty of fires, and the Night Wolves themselves making high bike jumps across the stage — may sound like little or nothing, but for the citizens of Sevastopol is’s either w pretty profound warning or a pretty powerful affirmation that the Crimea belongs to Mother Russia.

That’s quite an audience! And read the caption:

This city will come back
Sevastopol will stay Russian

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Note — this is a very short video clip — that Putin rides with the Night Wolves — in Crimea:

Note that Putin‘s bike has the Russian Imperial insignia of a double-headed eagle — on his gas tank!

Note the crown at the very top, and St George slaying the dragon in the center panel.

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If you have 35 minutes, watch this — it’s pretty damn impressive for a show put on by a biker gang:

If you don’t have 35 minutes, just flick through it, catching a sense of the thing. But uit’s well worth watching in full, so perhaps you can find time to come back and watch it later.

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The title of this post claims that “Epic Night Wolves biker rally takes war in Ukraine to the stage<" is A very interesting title". Any text which suggests that war can be considered a drama, a game, or a dream -- a subset of reality -- is of inherent interest: think of the impact of the black American athlete Jesse Owens crushing his German opponent to win four gold medals in Hitler's 1936 Summer Olympics!

In this case we have the claim that war can be enacted in a rock and roll and light show. A comparison with warfare as chess may prove illuminating: consider the Telegraph article titled How Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky became pawns — the title itself is extraordinary, making pawns of two great chess grand masters!

Even before Fischer-Spassky, we are told:

For the USSR, chess had always been a key weapon in the Cold War.

And the match itself? For this, let’s turm to an Irish Times article:

Cold War in Reykjavik as Fischer breaks Soviet defender Spassky

Never before or after has a chess tournament, or perhaps any sporting event, taken on such non-sporting significance. This was not Spassky v Fischer. It was the USSR v US. [ .. ]

The fate of a nation has rarely depended on the result of a sporting endeavour. But that was how the match-up between Fischer and Spassky was portrayed in the lead-up to Reykjavik in 1972.

When he defeated Spassky, we are told, Fischer “was treated as a war hero.” Spassky resigned by telephone– and Fischer? Ever the eccentric —

The audience (about 2,500) burst into rhythmic applause and rose. Fischer, still busying himself at the chessboard, again nodded, looked uncomfortable, glanced at the audience from the corner of his eyes and rushed off.

Predictable, enormously surprising

Friday, February 7th, 2020

[ by Charles Cameron — read these in sequence and tremble — with a brief note on impeachment ]
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Here:

  • New Yorker, Citing climate change, BlackRock will start moving away from fossil fuels
  • New Yorker, Will Big Business Finally reckon with the Climate Crisis?
  • World Economic Forum, The Global Risks Report 2020
  • BlackRock, A Fundamental Reshaping of Finance
  • Guardian, European Investment Bank to phase out fossil fuel financing
  • IEEFA, The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year for oil and gas
  • **

    Climate scientists caught on first, then the military, and now financial risk analysts. Meanwile, Mitt Romney spoke his conscience to the Senate on impeachment. Things are shifting: if BlackRock and IEEFA were the jurors, with a dime of every dollar in the world at stake, President trump might not like their verdict.

    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!

    Two very different pieces of possible interest

    Wednesday, January 29th, 2020

    [ by Charles Cameron — one for those who follow apocalyptic strands in RL and media, one for those who follow Vimalakirti, Heraclitus and the Glass Bead Game — recommended ]
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    Tim Furnish reviews the Netflix series, Messiah:

    An Iraqi Refugee Trained in Illusion Who Works Miracles — Christ or Anti? Masih or Dajjal? That’s the situation posed by the Netflix series, Messiah, and it’s presented with sufficient subtlety that the answer’s not as obvious as it may seem from that quick condensation — and indeed, at the end of the series, there’s still sufficient ambiguity to keep you guessing, and the producers in line for a renewed contract and second series..

    It’s not quite subtle enough to please our friend Tim Furnish, however, who gives a fine overview of the series, then takes the details of eschatological hadith and Biblical writings a step further into accuracy, and thus depth. His opening paragraphs:

    “One man’s messiah is another man’s heretic.” That’s the opening line of my first book on Islamic messianic figures. It’s also an apt summary of Netflix’s excellent new show Messiah. Its 10-episode first season was released on Jan. 1. Let’s hope it gets renewed. We need to know how this story of a charismatic Middle Eastern miracle worker, who not only attracts Christians, Muslims and Jews but sways the U.S. President, plays out. Here’s a brief (as possible) summary.

    A Modern-Day Messiah?

    A long-haired, thinly bearded man appears in Damascus and accurately predicts the destruction of besieging ISIS forces. Many Palestinians there follow him into the desert, believing him to be al-Masih, “The Messiah.” He leads them to the Israeli border. The movement gets on the CIA’s radar screen. The group reaches the Israeli border, and al-Masih crosses. He’s arrested and interrogated by a Shin Bet agent, about whom he knows personal details. He then disappears from prison (later we find out the prison guard let him go, believing him the Messiah) and reappears on the Temple Mount. In a confrontation near the Dome of the Rock, Israeli soldiers shoot a young boy — whom al-Masih heals. He then disappears again, showing up soon after in Dilley, Texas. He is caught on cell phone cameras stopping a tornado about to destroy the Baptist church. This goes viral and many flock to the town. The church pastor believes him to be Jesus returned and becomes his spokesman and handler.

    Well there’s plenty more, obviously, and I highly recommend Tim’s commentary — they should have hired him as a consultant.

    To read more, go to Netflix’s Messiah Reviewed: Who’s Your Messiah Now?

    **

    Very different indeed is JustKnecht‘s exquisite weaving of ideas around Basho, Vimalakirti and a whiff of Chick Corea in his Notes on a winter journey to the interior, subtitled (and subtled) “on a treadmill facing north” — the reference is to Basho‘s Narrow Road to the Deep North which you really ought to know already.

    And that’s a bit of a point. You really ought to know already: Basho and Vimalakirti, Heraclitus and Tamsin Lorraine, heaven and earth, and as it is in heaven, so it already and always is on earth, for as above, so below.

    For myself, I know each of these with glancing blows, while JustKnecht knows each in depths I cannot match. Reading the whole is, for me, a sustained flight in the Absolute as viewed through thr world’s cultures, with butterflies a particular point of reference — and a long-tailed bired in seven syllables that’s almost an angel — or an apsara?. — ah, peacocks, too.

    In any case, an education — and a delight.

    Late afternoon, cooling down after a hard run in the condo gym, Herbie Hancock’s Butterfly breezes onto my playlist. We breathe together deeply, and I don’t know whether it is I dreaming that I am the bass clarinet, or the bass clarinet dreaming that it is I.

    The music and the vision fades, and I’m sitting in my armchair doing mental exercise. From high school trombonists and collegiate level cello students to elite athletes and surgeons, cognitive rehearsal in the absence of physical movement has been shown to improve physical performance. In the same way, listening to one of my 5K run playlists gives me a perfectly good workout without the inconvenience of even moving a muscle.

    Reade more: Notes on a winter journey to the interior — ah yes, the interior!

    Thank you: I bow .

    Complexity and cats

    Monday, January 6th, 2020

    [ by Charles Cameron — the spontaneity and consequent unpredictability of cats surely stems from their complexity, though I doubt the level of complexity described here is sufficient to account for their ornery individualisms ]
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    You may have noticed that I’m collecting instances of complexity, from the wave-fronts on rocky beaches to understanding Boko Haram, from idealism to Afghanistan, and from there to simplicity under the astute guidance of Nassim Nicholas Taleb..

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    Well, then there’s cats:

    a cat cannot easily change where it lives: all the extraordinary knowledge in its head, of friends and enemies and hiding places, built up over time, has to do with a particular place..

    That’s an excerpt from The Strangeness of Grief by VS Naipaul.. How’s that for adding complexity to our conceptual universe?


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