Zen Talk: Removing the Concept of the Absolute

“Natural and super-natural, temporal and eternal – continuums, not absolutes.”
– Albert Schweitzer (paraphrased)

My mind found this quote incredibly jarring. It seems to me that Albert has picked things that are quite opposite and quite distinct from one another. There does not seem to be, in my mind at least, but I’d venture in the minds of others either, anything in between these extremes.

Yet it is the very notion of extremes which these words attempt to shatter.

Rather than be extremes with nothing in between, we are being told that these notions have vast continuum of possibilities between them. Though I cannot imagine what particulars those might be I do find it to be a mental exercise even to attempt to imagine such a continuum. It’s literally the creation of space and ideas within my mental schema. And it’s those mental schema that Zen wants me to break in order to understand what else the universe has to offer.

Hmm, quite an exercise.

Can you help us better understand the middle ground between the so-called absolutes? What other absolutes are not really so but have a continuum? All of them? Specifics please!

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Cartman Tries Desperately to Save the World’s Final Two “Jakovasaurs” in South Park Episode 305

This episode is a surprisingly appropriate look at humanity’s misguided attempts to interfere in natural selection and save every animal on the planet. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that we should continue killing every species on the planet either, especially at the rate we happen to be doing so. I’m just saying that there are animals out there dying in a totally natural way and nature’s no fool – she’s got her reasons. Let them die.

And thus, South Park gives us the Jakovasaurs, creatures on their last leg who just need to die already. They don’t have a natural means of procreating anymore, are totally stupid and annoying (kind of a reminder of Jar-Jar Binks in the new Star Wars movies) and really just need to die.

Cartman, however, doesn’t want them to die because he finds their antics to be hilarious, despite the fact that they’re close enough to human that they’ve been allowed to put their litters of stupid children in classes and participate in all the usual things in town, destroying practically everything.

See what the solution is by watching this episode of South Park.

What’d you think? What was your favorite part?

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Fun with the Bible: The Theme of the Second Son in Genesis and How God Does What He Wants

The Nifty Theme of Anti-Primogeniture

One interesting theme to note in the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible, is how it’s all about God changing the way that the natural order plays out. One primary example of the way this happens is who the inheritance goes to in the line of the Israelites ancestors. In each instance, it is the older son that tradition and convention and ‘nature’ tell us should get the inheritance – known as primogeniture – but the second son who actually receives it because that is God’s will.

Abraham’s inheritance should actually go to Ishmael as his first born male son. However, it is actually Isaac who receives Abraham’s inheritance. Similarly, Isaac had two twin sons, Esau, who came out first, and Jacob, who came out second. Esau was meant to get his father’s blessing and inheritance, but it was Jacob who received it.

Why Can’t I Have Babies?

This theme presents itself in the case of the matriarchs as well. In each case, Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel are all barren and unable to provide children for their husbands, but God reverses the natural order and allows them all to have children because he will affect the way this line goes.

Applying This to the Torah at Large

This notion sits behind the entire experience of the Israelites as they are given the land of Cana’an by God, and is the point that the Five Books of Moses are making (in the story part, not the laws). God, at creation, has partitioned the land of the earth accordingly, but because it was His land, He was entitled to change His mind later on – something He did – and give certain parts to other people. The Torah is the story of him opting to give an already alloted piece of land to the descendants of Abraham.

In a cynical sense, the Torah is, in essence, an Israelite justification for why they had the right to dispossess the local people and take the land for themselves and live there. Their book says, because God told us it was ours when He changed his mind about the people here! The Torah is an old-ass piece of political propaganda, if you look at it this way.

Disclaimers

A. the Torah is A WHOLE lot more than this.

B. this is a cynical view though something to consider

C. Though the attitude may have modern ramifications this understanding is not meant to be applied – nor should it be applied – to the modern circumstances in the state of Israel. That would be foolish and lack consideration for myriad other factors like factual historical circumstances and other purposes of the Torah.

Wrap Up

What do you think of these ideas? What do you find noteworthy around these stories in the book of Genesis?

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