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Doing without, a new wave?

Sunday, February 23rd, 2020

[ by Charles Cameron — intuitive and counter-intuitive redefined, no politicians, no borders, no traffic lights ]]
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Consider these two titles, both of which I ran across today:

Sources:

  • The Nation, What Would an Open-Borders World Actually Look Like?
  • New Yorker, Politics Without Politicians
  • **

    Consider: doing without traffic lights:

    The original example is Drachten, a town in Holland of 50,000 people. It is home to exactly zero traffic lights. Even in areas of the town with a traffic volume of 22,000 cars per day, traffic lights have been replaced by roundabouts, extended cycle paths and improved pedestrian areas. The town saw accidents at one intersection fall from 36 over a four-year period to just two in the last two years since the lights were removed in 2006.

    The counter-intuitive finding is that streets without traffic signals mean that cars drive more slowly and carefully because the rules of the road are ambiguous—there’s no red, green or yellow to tell drivers precisely what to do.

    Counter-intuitive. eh? Highly intuitive, and counter to popular assumption, I’d say. Out of the box from one-two-three to zero.

    The Fractal Partition of Bangladesh / India

    Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

    [ by Charles Cameron — in and out, up and down, black and white, fractals, enclaves, exclaves and chhitmahals, the prophet Isaiah and the Virgin Mary — a wild spin through geographies, religions, people, peoples, and their maps ]
    .

    It’s remarkable, from a geotheological point of view, the prayers within prayers within orayers. But look at this excerpt from a Nation piece on a world without borders:

    The so-called “Radcliffe line” separated a Hindu-majority India in the center from Muslim-majority East and West Pakistan on its wings, with a smattering of independent princely states throughout. But neat division wasn’t remotely possible, and what resulted was a labyrinthine confusion of over 100 enclaves (a portion of a nation entirely inside another nation), counter-enclaves (an enclave within an enclave), and even a counter-counter-enclave, in which a little pocket of India sat in a little pocket of East Pakistan which sat in a bigger pocket of India which was entirely enisled in East Pakistan.

    The mind jumps to the Tai-chih symbol in Taois [left] and its implicit fractal presentation [right]m:

    The thing is, one can map a single mini-me of the Tai Chih within the Tai Chih, but that’s about all the eye can manage, except when the symbol is blown up to all-size. But The Subcontinent is large enough for Indian within Pakistan within India within Pakistan — something we could abstractly represent using a target:

    * in Cooch Behar
    Well, here’s a map of what the French term LA VIE ENCHAÎNÉ — enclave within enclave within enclave:

    Sensing that this sort of arrangement was unnecessarily complicated, India and Bangladesh have since done some land swaps to simplify matters, and moved villagers pof certain religious persuasions accordingly — and a certain complexity and perplexity is gone from the world map.

    There’s a certain samenness, anyway:

    A sari-clad woman tended to a small field of sticks of rolled cow dung, used as cooking fuel, bundling the ones that had baked in the sun and stacking them by a bamboo bench. A chicken, followed by four chicks, pecked nearby. If not for the corrugated metal barracks, we might have been witnessing village life almost anywhere in India, Bangladesh, or Pakistan, much as it had carried on for centuries.

    That we could map with a simple white space:

    **

    A friend where I write has a tattoo:

    It’s okay to not be okay

    That’s an enclave, Tai-Chih style insight — brava!

    **

    And let’s wind up with two celebrated quotes from the Old and New Testaments, from Isaiah 40 (Deutero-Isaiah, for textual critics) and the Magnificat of the Virgin Mary:

    :

    Isaiah‘s verse is a fom of land-swap — but it wasn’t until a few days ago that I realized Mary’s Magnificat echoes Isaiah, transposing positions within social hierarchy for heights and depths in social standing.

    **

    Hm: I do seem to have noticed this echoing of Isaiah in the Magnificat before — see my post The trouble with moral high ground, which opoens with another interesting variant of high and low ground:

    With the rise and fall of sea levels, sky levels, land emerges or submerges, mountain ranges with scattered lakes in their valleys transform into archipelagos, island clusters surge up to become continents — rise and fall, ebb and flow, wave upon wave..

    I mean, really, what of the moral high ground?

    and closes with yet another:

    O ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road,
    And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye

    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?

    **

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

    Who knew?

    **

    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!

    Persepolis, for instance?

    Monday, January 6th, 2020

    [ by Charles Cameron — which cultural heritage sites did you have in mind, Mr Trump? ]
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    Persepolis, for instance?

    **

    So?

    The Golestan Palace, in the heart of Tehran? The Masjed-e Shah in Isfahan? The Hyrcanian Forests, or Lut Desert? I suppose Trump could bomb the Lut Desert without harming civilians, and wind would soon bring the dunes back into their miraculous order..

    Iran has 24 UNESCO World Heritage Sites all told.

    Let’s just say that it took ISIS to destroy the Temple of Bel in Palmyra, and the Taliban to demolish the Bamiyan Buddha..

    **

    Of possible legal relevance:

    After an al-Qaeda affiliated group destroyed ancient religious monuments in Timbuktu, Mali, in 2012, the International Criminal Court took on a unique criminal case: prosecuting cultural destruction.

    Though it generally focuses on human rights violations, the ICC charged the leader of the jihadist group, Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi, with a war crime for destroying cultural artifacts in Timbuktu.

    The case was the first criminal charge of its kind. It “breaks new ground for the protection of humanity’s shared cultural heritage and values,” UNESCO Secretary-General Irina Bokova said at the time. Al-Mahdi eventually pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine years in prison.

    Okay, a precedent of sorts has been set.

    **

    BTW, Mike Knights suggests the “best way to make sure Trump does do something you oppose – say bomb cultural sites – is to engage him in a twitter war about it. The way insiders get him to forget about a course of action is to stop mentioning it.”

    He did his PhD on “target selection and vetting,” and tells us:

    It’s a very laborious, mechanical process for fixed sites, & there is a huge constantly-refined no-strike list. Judge Advocate Generals are involved in all target lists.

    Sometimes POTUS crosses red lines and erases norms, sometimes not.

    Dart Boards and Hatred, a DoubleTake

    Sunday, December 29th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — featuring a comparison between Osama bin Laden and Adam Schiff ]
    .

    From my private collection, now in storage, an image of counter-terrorist hatred:

    and a second image:

    ‘Nothing Less Than a Civil War’: These White Voters on the Far Right See Doom Without Trump

    forming together with the first what I call a DoubleTake, in this case featuring a parallelism that’s suggestive.

    What do you think?


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