Monday, September 13, 2021

Pandemic Journal, Part 22: Pandemic... Ugh...


My ever-expanding pandemic journal continues, now with Part 22. I guess a lot of people have decided the pandemic is over, but alas, it is not. And now we're having a new school year with a worse pandemic and fewer protections, so that's... great. But at least the memes continue. In fact, this post is overstuffed with memes, so ... enjoy!

 


Monday, September 6, 2021

Random Thoughts, Part 15: Randomly, the Pandemic Continues

 

Made at: https://www.jasondavies.com/wordcloud/

My Random Thoughts series continues with Part 15! My last post, Part 14, was on May 31 when I hoped that we were reaching the late stages of the pandemic ... well, that turned out not to be the case. I'm not sure if this is random as the title of this post supposes (see random thought 352 for more), but I thought it was a good title. Also, I have continued to include some random memes for your amusement.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Frankencraft: Revival by Stephen King


 

I'm a big fan of Mary Shelley and H. P. Lovecraft as well as (obviously) Stephen King, so Revival is right up my alley. Somehow this mash up works for me, although I understand why some elements, like a plot that seems meandering until you see where it's going, may not work for others. I particularly love the dread that builds up and those last few dozen pages are filled with delightfully eldritch creepiness.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Nondualism and the Pandemic, Part 2

A representation of Indra's Net

Continued from Part 1...


Dualism and Responsibility 

How did the US come to possess such a set of flaws that uniquely predisposed us to react to the pandemic as we have? There are large cultural and political forces that no one of us is uniquely responsible for, but each of us bears some responsibility for. I don’t deign to know your life, dear reader, so let me think through my own example.


Nondualism and the Pandemic, Part 1

Photo Credit: https://www.reddit.com/r/Thailand/comments/gg7eu4/a_statue_of_buddha_wears_a_face_mask_at_a/ 

 

A text written by a Buddhist monk 1,000 years ago probably seems like a remote concern in comparison to the pandemic we’ve been living through since March 2020. And of course, that’s true. I’m not going to claim that medical professionals should all stop what they’re doing and pick up ancient Sanskrit texts.

 

 

A Personal Connection?

 

But there is a connection for me personally. When the pandemic was declared in March 2020, I was in the early stages of a new research project on the 11th century Indian Buddhist philosopher Ratnakīrti. I was looking at one of his texts that modern scholars often read as a defense of solipsism—the view that there is only one mind, of which we are all part. 

 

Solipsism is heady stuff (even if there is only one head!), but I wondered if Ratnakīrti’s point might run in a different direction. As a Buddhist philosopher heavily influenced by the Yogācāra tradition and its emphasis on nondualism, I thought that maybe Ratnakīrti’s point isn’t that there is one mind (my mind?) but rather that the very concept of discrete minds totally walled off from one another is an illusion in the context of nondualism, which in turn is a philosophical development of the idea of non-self. If there is no self, separate from the rest of the world, then the very concept of an individual, discrete mind is nonsensical.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Alien Immortality: Kéthani by Eric Brown


 

I'm a sucker for stories about benevolent aliens (Clarke's Childhood's End is one of my favorites, and I also enjoyed one of Brown's other novels, The Serene Invasion). Kéthani also includes some interesting thoughts on death and the possibility of immortality. There are a few things that didn't work for me, but overall I really enjoyed this one.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Pandemic Journal, Part 21: Same Pandemic, Now with Occasional Trips



My pandemic journal series continues with Part 21. When will it end? Who knows? Especially here in the US where a lot of people refuse to get vaccinated. Having been fully vaccinated since April, I've been only masking occasionally and started making some trips (read about them below!), but in recent weeks it looks like things are going back in the wrong direction here in the US due to low vaccination rates and the Delta variant. So, this series may continue awhile longer. Sigh...

But the good news? More memes!