Make it a Good Farce

 
KathleenBrugger
 
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KathleenBrugger
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26 February 2016 11:11
 

I recently read Robert Thurman’s translation of The Tibetan Book of the Dead. I’ll admit I didn’t read the actual TBotD. The prayers were quite esoteric. What I did read was Thurman’s intro to Tibetan culture and Buddhism, particularly Tibetan Buddhism, which I found clear and quite informative. In the section on the Buddhist preparation for death, which involves introspection into the nature of the self, Thurman writes:

Eventually, the investigation leads you to realize that you are going to fail to find that hard-core identity of the self. You realize that it does not exist at your center in the way that it seems to. You have moments of feeling that you perhaps don’t exist at all, but you realize that that sense of nonexistence is also not itself a hard-core identity. As you go along, you must rely on the help of the wisdom literature to deal with this failure to be able to pin down any intrinsically identifiable mode of either existence or nonexistence. You must also take your time, and persevere without expecting spectacular breakthroughs, and feeling discouraged if none occur. Gradually, your sense of absoluteness begins to erode, while your sense of just being there relatively becomes more and more liberated.

You realize that identity is a construct, a relative fabrication, and you begin to understand objective selflessness. You look out at others and at the objects of the world, realizing that they too are more relativistic entities, with no hard-core identities either. Finally, you realize that this interdependent network of nonabsolute, relative beings and things is fluid and malleable, open for creative development. If it’s all a mutual construct, let’s make it more beautiful. Everything is open for transformation.

I bolded those sentences. It made me think of Nhoj’s concept: ‘since it’s a farce, let’s make it a good one.’ This is my hope. Humans have spent thousands of years immersed in our farces, completely oblivious to the fact that we’re making it all up. Finally some of us are waking up and recognizing that it’s a ‘mutual construct,’ or as Harari puts it in Sapiens a ‘collective fiction.’ Will enough people wake up in time so we can start writing a better plotline before something like climate change wipes us out? Interesting times.

 
 
burt
 
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burt
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26 February 2016 21:01
 

From Child of Fortune by Norman Spinrad,

“If all creation is but a cosmic ruespieler’s tale whereby the characters conjure themselves out of their own imagination, then all that should concern the spirit is the art of the story or the lack thereof…” p.209

“‘Sing your own song, ruespieler, tell your own tale….’
‘This is the only tale I have to tell, and I am doing my best,’ I told this apparition plaintively, quite as if he were my old lover and friend, for if this was the Dreamtime, then the logic thereof allowed such intimacies. ‘But I cannot end it thusly.’
‘This tale never ends, muchacha,’ Pater Pan reminded me in the Dreamtime. ‘Before the singer was the song, so when the singer is gone, will the song remain. As long as there is anyone to tell the true tale.’
‘How can I relate in the true spirit of the Yellow Brick Road that the Pied Piper thereof, after calling us down from the forest of unreason and leading our Mardi Gras parade out among the stars, expired pitifully at last, leaving behind only these poor lost Bloomenkinder of Alpa, this unwholesome travesty of the spirit we shared as Gypse Jokers?’
‘Were we not all Bloomenkinder of the forest of unreason before we heard the song that we followed from the trees to the stars?’ Pater Pan said, and while the voice was his, the words he threw back at me, if memory serves, were my own. ‘Wherever in the worlds of men that there are Bloomenkinder of the spirit, there you will find lost Children of Fortune awaiting their own Piper.’
‘And you were mine before I even met you!’ I cried. ‘You saved mu spirit from destruction on the Bloomenveldt in a Dreamtime such as this!’
‘And who will be mine now save she who tells our tale?’
Me? Yo?
‘Who is the Pied Piper of the Bloomenveldt?’ Pater Pan said, speaking so plainly now in my own oft-repeated sprach that I could all but see my own ironic self mocking me from within his eyes.
‘Merde,’ I sighed in this moment of dizzying satori, ‘anyone who tells the tale!’
‘Will you not let this torch pass to you, ruespieler?’ Pater Pan said. ‘For who else is there to take it up from the failing hands of this loving ghost who only stayed behind to pass it on? Auf wiedersehen, mi vida, hail and fairwell.’” pp.45—452

 

 
sojourner
 
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sojourner
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26 February 2016 22:01
 

I like to think that the project of creating “a good story” is what all humans are ultimately involved in - it’s just that, like a complex mathematical equation with literally infinite intertwined and interrelated components, working out the details takes time.

 
 
burt
 
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burt
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26 February 2016 23:29
 
Niclynn - 26 February 2016 10:01 PM

I like to think that the project of creating “a good story” is what all humans are ultimately involved in - it’s just that, like a complex mathematical equation with literally infinite intertwined and interrelated components, working out the details takes time.

And as individuals look for a good story, we also look for a good story for humanity. And it may be that it’s all the same story, just projected in different ways. More from Child of Fortune: “Wandering tinker and masterless samurai, troubadour and hippie, Rom and Arkie, Zen hermit and cowboy—uncounted avatars of the archetypal wanderkind have followed the Yellow Brick Road which wanders eternally through space and time from the villages and forests of prehistoric Earth to the San Franciscos and Samarkands of myth and history, via the first arkologies to brave the starry seas at a sublight crawl, and thence to the celestial cities of the far-flung worlds of men. The singers and the avatars pass, but the song goes on, for the story is always the same: that of the wanderjahr, the eternal journey from childhood to maturity through the wondrous and terrible chaos of the region between.”

 
KathleenBrugger
 
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KathleenBrugger
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27 February 2016 08:00
 

Love those passages from Child of Fortune burt. I hadn’t heard of that book before. Yes I agree that creating a good story is perhaps the essence of what it is to be human. Is the ‘story-telling animal’ perhaps the best descriptor for us? And it seems to me the story we’re telling of ourselves, who we are as a species, is getting better all the time: more inclusive yet broader in scope, more tolerant, more equal. I was just in Nicaragua again and it was interesting to me how anti-bullying and anti-domestic violence campaigns are happening all over the country. These concepts are not First World elitist. I think the internet is accelerating the rewriting of the human story.

 
 
burt
 
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burt
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27 February 2016 09:55
 
KathleenBrugger - 27 February 2016 08:00 AM

Love those passages from Child of Fortune burt. I hadn’t heard of that book before. Yes I agree that creating a good story is perhaps the essence of what it is to be human. Is the ‘story-telling animal’ perhaps the best descriptor for us? And it seems to me the story we’re telling of ourselves, who we are as a species, is getting better all the time: more inclusive yet broader in scope, more tolerant, more equal. I was just in Nicaragua again and it was interesting to me how anti-bullying and anti-domestic violence campaigns are happening all over the country. These concepts are not First World elitist. I think the internet is accelerating the rewriting of the human story.

I have a book set aside to read sometime over the next month or so called The Storytelling Animal. Right now I’m collaborating on a project to study human cooperation from the viewpoint that it is not so much genetic as it is cultural, and culturally we basically develop stories that become templates for behavior by providing channels for expression of basic biological instincts in ways that maintain social coherence in groups of individualistic creatures such as ourselves.

 
KathleenBrugger
 
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KathleenBrugger
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27 February 2016 10:22
 
burt - 27 February 2016 09:55 AM
KathleenBrugger - 27 February 2016 08:00 AM

Love those passages from Child of Fortune burt. I hadn’t heard of that book before. Yes I agree that creating a good story is perhaps the essence of what it is to be human. Is the ‘story-telling animal’ perhaps the best descriptor for us? And it seems to me the story we’re telling of ourselves, who we are as a species, is getting better all the time: more inclusive yet broader in scope, more tolerant, more equal. I was just in Nicaragua again and it was interesting to me how anti-bullying and anti-domestic violence campaigns are happening all over the country. These concepts are not First World elitist. I think the internet is accelerating the rewriting of the human story.

I have a book set aside to read sometime over the next month or so called The Storytelling Animal. Right now I’m collaborating on a project to study human cooperation from the viewpoint that it is not so much genetic as it is cultural, and culturally we basically develop stories that become templates for behavior by providing channels for expression of basic biological instincts in ways that maintain social coherence in groups of individualistic creatures such as ourselves.

Cool! Another book to check out. Thanks.

 
 
Cheshire Cat
 
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Cheshire Cat
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28 February 2016 16:02
 

There is a mind-bending movie that touches on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, consciousness surviving death, and finally, reincarnation. The movie is call Enter the Void by Gaspar Noé, and was released in 2010. It is one of the most original, creative and visually stunning movies that I’ve ever seen. It is also disturbing and sexually explicit at times, so this is not family fare nor a movie that everyone will enjoy.

It’s on Netflix and pops up from time to time on different cable networks.

Here is a Wikipedia synopsis in case you’re interested:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enter_the_Void