Tuesday, November 18, 2014

(#48-1) November 18 2014. The art of appreciating more by appreciating less; of doing more by doing less; of understanding a great deal more—by just meditating.




Lest you wonder—and I doubt you do—I don’t meditate (at least not in any formal sense). Indeed, I don’t set aside any formal time to think. I try and do that all the time.

I bump into things when I don’t.

Exercising one’s cerebral qualities with vigor  is a necessary prerequisite of writing—certainly where I am concerned. I try not to write on auto-pilot, but to build focused thought into the process—questioning in particular. I study a great deal to find answers, but primarily that seems to tell me how little I know. Very strange. But, I enjoy it greatly.

A caveat: I do find answers to most practical problems. In fact, I’m truly amazed at how few practical issues we would be left to wrestle with if we bothered to do our homework. The answers are out there—and are mostly proven. Primarily, we fail on the political side. Typically, we refuse to do what is necessary because of prejudice, greed—or both. Vested interests tend to be the main obstacles. We talk a great deal about lack of resources, but it is rarely true.

Look at Quantitative Easing (if your threshold of boredom can survive it). The Federal Reserve didn’t have several trillion dollars tucked away for a rainy day. They simply made an entry in their books saying “We have it,” and spent it on government bonds labeled “We’re the government—we’re good for it” and something like $4 trillion appeared as if by magic. Back in the good old days when we called a spade something close to what it was (such days never existed, by the way) we would have called QE “printing money.” Unfortunately, it didn’t benefit the Real Economy much, but the Big Banks made a fortune by borrowing dirt cheap money and speculating with it. Sometimes they borrowed at no real cost off the Fed, and bought government bonds (which pay higher interest). Is this a wonderful country, or what?

Meanwhile, the quality of our infrastructure declined still further—and real unemployment remained disturbingly high. In addition, millions of people with full time jobs with corporations like Wal-Mart didn’t earn enough to support themselves on their pay—and needed Food Stamps.

Such Food Stamp payments to employees constitute a massive subsidy for corporations (one of many, from tax breaks to development grants)—who don’t need it—and are a further indictment of the current American Business Model. We don’t have a free market economy disciplined by competition (the essential ingredient). In fact, in many cases there is no competition. We practice Rigged Corporate Commercial Cronyism (R-Triple C to coin a phrase) where the government is largely subservient to business interests. We talk Free Market Capitalism but that is not what we do.

Meditation, of course, is about not thinking—at least in any conscious way. I have tried to it on a number of occasions, but always without success. I regret that because it really does seem to have a positive effect. I suspect I need a teacher. One can do many things oneself, but many skills are best taught.

Great teachers—comparatively rare beasts—are probably the people we should admire the most. I have no idea how they do what they do—but I do know they light the flame. They are pyromaniacs! After that, the fire of intellectual curiosity takes over and does most of the work. It just needs to kept focused—no small task in itself. Great teaching is magic.

If you are a writer—and have a great mentor in your life—you are a fortunate human being. I had no one to mentor me in writing as such—prior to being published—so I probably made every mistake I could have. But I endured—and that counts for a great deal. I still don’t have a writing mentor, though I have support in other ways. Great friends are a singular blessing.

As I have written previously, I made a conscious decision a long time ago not to try and seek the meaning of life. It seems to me to be a question without an attainable answer—so pointless to spend time on. Whereas that may not be true—given that the quest itself is often the whole point of the exercise—it is an answer that I am content with. I guess I don’t have the kind of mind that finds itself at home in the abstract.

I think a great deal about how one should live. Life reminds me greatly of my old boarding school—in that it is heavily controlled with those in power seeking to keep us so busy or distracted, that we will lack the time, energy, and inclination, to question the status quo.

True, we didn’t have democracy at school—but then we don’t really have democracy here. We have a plutocracy—rule by the ultra-rich for the benefit of the ultra-rich—lavishly equipped with carrots and sticks, and the very latest tools of propaganda..

I don’t expect that to change that in the balance of my life—though I would change it if I could—but I think it is important to know the reality.

Meanwhile I will remain a guerilla.

Check the spelling, dude! I don’t mean the hairy kind (gorilla). I mean an opponent of the status quo who hides in plain sight and seeks change. In my case, ideas expressed through words are my only weapons (and I have no violent intentions)—but what else achieves real change? Successful conquests and revolutions based upon physical force almost always are underpinned by ideas and words.

Did Ghengis Khan, one of the most violent—and successful—conquerors in history have a philosophy, a cause—that drove him and his troops?

Actually he did. He thought his could rule better than most—and, in some ways, he demonstrated just that. He also had a way with words—not something you typically associate with such a destructive human being. Let me give some examples:

On Managing Your Fears

If you are afraid—don’t do it. If you’re doing it, don’t be afraid.

Serve a Greater Good Than Yourself

“[A leader] can never be happy until his people are happy.”

Have a Vision

“Without the vision of a goal, a man cannot manage his own life, much less the lives of othersThe ancients had a saying: ‘Unity of purpose is a fortune in affliction.’”

Be Self-Reliant

“No friend is better than your own wise heart! Although there are many things you can rely on, no one is more reliable than yourself. Although many people can be your helper, no one should be closer to you than your own consciousness. Although there are many things you should cherish, no one is more valuable than your own life.”

Be Humble

“The mastery of pride, which was something more difficult, he explained, to subdue than a wild lion. He warned them that, ‘If you can’t swallow your pride, you can’t lead.’”

Be Moderate

“I hate luxury. I exercise moderation…It will be easy to forget your vision and purpose one you have fine clothes, fast horses and beautiful women. [In which case], you will be no better than a slave, and you will surely lose everything.”

Ghengis Khan wasn’t a moderate when it came to his territorial ambitions—he was clearly a member of the 0.01 percent, and wanted all the marbles—but he was in terms of his personal lifestyle. Here, I have to say that he was on the right track.

Moderation is, in fact, one of life’s great secrets. It’s a luxury disguised as a burden. After all, who wants to be told to ease up when you are having a great time.

Am I moderate in my lifestyle? In material terms—absolutely. In other ways, lets just say that I’m a late developer.

But it is the key to so many other aspects of life that I’m surprised they haven’t banned it. Consumerism—the religion R-Triple C espouses—discourages it.

It is all of a piece.

VOR words c.1, 343







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