center, periphery, community

A rather classical way to describe civilization and society is to use a center-periphery model. This is the “all roads lead to Paris” idea wherein Paris is understood to be the cultural, economic, and political center of the nation-state. Anything that happens in the periphery is understood to be happening in relation or reaction to the center, and it is only deemed “high culture” or “important” once it has reached and been accepted by the cultural elites in the center. Otherwise, it remains hidden and obscured in the world of “folk.”

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digest: what have i done

One shouldn’t mistake a lack of blogging for a lack of productivity. This little Buddhist blogger has had one helluva productive month. Many things are happening. Some, I can’t reveal just yet. But here’s some stuff that I can.

Brit Hume: part two

In my last post on this issue, my overall point was two-fold: (1) there are real differences between Buddhism and Christianity that aren’t being discussed in the Brit Hume kerfuffle; and (2) that Brit Hume exposes a deeper religious double-standard in our country that may be the better target of our discontent. In this post, I’d like to talk about a related but separate issue, that is, how the mainstream media represented Buddhists in their response to Brit Hume’s comment.

my awkward summary post

I’d like to switch gears here for a moment, away from all that sardonic snark of earlier this afternoon. (I’m not sure if sardonic is the right word, here. Sure it was mocking, but not really grim. Oh well. Let’s let it ride.) The Bottom of Heaven, one of my favorites, routinely posts short summaries of random media or links. I like this idea. It seems to me a good way to deal with something I struggle with; namely, how do I share information with my readers without resorting to the restrictions of 140 characters which, it seems to me, often get lost or go unnoticed?

So, without further ado or explanation, I’d like to draw your attention to the following…

adrift on a post-modern sea of relativity and uncertainty

I just wrote, and deleted an exceptionally long and self-reflective post about, among other things, my lack of critical posts over the past few months and a central question of mine of late: why the hell am I blogging?

Then I got up, went to get some coffee, and, having returned to the computer, realized that that post was really the kind of thing I should have written for a private journal, were I the kind of person who still kept a private journal. (This may be a subconscious plug that I should start keeping a journal again like I did when I was younger.) And I’m guessing that no one wants to read that. Or, maybe more likely, that I don’t know if I want to share that much with you.

Nevertheless, there were a couple of things in that post that I think are worth putting out there. But they come with the following disclaimer. In my now deleted post, I wrote at length about how I don’t know anything. About how I’ve come to see the world not in terms of absolutes, of rights and wrongs, but instead as a series of complex and nuanced issues that have no right or wrong answer, and that at the end of the day we’re going to have to live with uncertainty, we’re going to have to live with inadequate, crappy answers that make one or two people, if not happy, at least less irritable, and leave the rest of us more or less in a bummed out state of resignation. A state of, “Well, I guess that’s just how it is. And how it is sort of sucks.”

expanding my horizons

Star Wars Episode I pretty much sucked. I think we can all agree on that. But there was a throw-away line by Qui-Gon Jinn that went, “your focus determines your reality.” I think there’s a bit of truth in that.

I’ve been thinking lately about our little corner of the Buddhist blogosphere. I’ve been reflecting on how, very often, we comment on one another’s blogs, how we write posts in reaction to posts on other blogs, endless chains of back-and-forth criticism. If you follow a chain of links from my blog to, say, Dharma Folk, to somewhere else, I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t end up back here pretty quick. That’s what I mean about our little corner of the Buddhist blogosphere.