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On the death bed — Katsu!

Tag: bodhidharma

Information and Communication Technology in Areas of Limited Statehood: A New Form of Governance?

Patrick Meier at iRevolution has a brief, interesting article on the power of information technology to help individuals in areas of limited governance coordinate actions to fulfill needs traditionally met by governments. This is exactly what I was talking about in my post on local manufacturing. As Meier succinctly puts it, “[T]he resulting map is often not as profound as the social capital generated between the dozens, often hundreds, of people collaborating on a live crisis map. In turn, this social capital facilitates mass collective action. In other words, social capital is fungible.” Technology is useful as a way of empowering individuals and groups to meet their needs without relying on hierarchical, coercive institutions that extract high rents in exchange for services. But, the technology is perhaps more valuable as a means of building social capital which can then be applied to a variety of other situations. Self-actualization is the real goal and the technology serves as an educational tool. This is related to Rebecca Solnit’s work researching group behavior during disasters for her book A Paradise Built in Hell. What she found was, contrary to popular belief, in disasters many people actually behave as their best selves, acting more cooperatively and generously than in ordinary life. The possible conclusion from this is that people generally rise or fall to the level of behavior expected or demanded of them in a given situation. Certain scenarios or tools can facilitate pro-social behavior which can lead to self-actualization and the confidence to live without reliance on external support/control structures. This may be kind of a leap, but it’s a nice idea at least.

i’m alive! right? don’t we say that?

It is a terrible mistake that we often confuse continuity with permanence and characteristics with identity. In both cases, the former is related to the present, while the latter is a projection into the future. In both cases, the person conflating one with the other is being set up for disappointment. Because, see, in this reality, there is no such thing as forever. Everything that happens happens today. There is now. Sure, characteristics are real, but they’re not forever. And continuity, while comfortable, is not immutable.

Buddhism, if it says anything, says, “Shit happens.”
Everything ends.
People die.
Ming vases, precious though they are, often get knocked off their precarious and ill placed pedestals and break.

Loony Tunes taught me that.

Daffy was a true zen master, as irreverent as Ikkyu any day. And I’m not excluding myself here. I confuse continuity with permance too, characteristics with identity. But it’s just not so.

We say, “This is this and this should be like this and this should always be like this. You should always be like this. We should always feel like this.” But it’s terribly foolish. No one is ever always, no matter how hard she tries. Every instant, subatomic particles being knocked like billiard balls away from the temporary atomic cloud that is you. Every atom replaced seven times over, how could we not be hypocritical? Consistency is the hobgoblin of feeble minds. My new favorite saying.

Later, I’ll have another.

Ah, Bodhidharma, all those long years alone in the cave. Then what? You cut off your eyelids and from them came green tea.

One day, long from now, I’ll be today. Just like this, but different some how. Why is that so hard to understand?


don’t wait for the man standing in the snow
to cut off his arm help him now

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