In 2004 I started studying Buddhism. You have to understand Buddhism is not a religion, not really. It's a practice whereby you work your way to a happier existence by compassion, giving and forgiving. It's the only dogma who's leader I have heard say that if science disproves it then you have to stop believing it. Seriously, in National Geographic. Can you imagine the Pope ever saying that? Me neither.
When my father heard I was studying Buddhism he said to my mom, as only he could, "What the hell does he want to learn that for?" Dad had a way with words. He wasn't alone though.
A very good friend of mine for a few years, Mason was a Christian. His whole family was. We often politely argued over things like gay marriage. Anyhow, Mason had a step-father who was a very honorable and nice guy. One day he and I started talking about things and he mentioned he had heard I was studying Buddhism. I naturally said yes. He asked me why? I told him how it had helped me with some issues in ways Christianity just couldn't. It had been a path I'd been on for a long long time anyway. His reaction surprised the heck outta me.
"You know better than that.You were raised a Christian.You know better than to dabble in things not real.It's very dangerous." He said, a stern look on his face.You would've thought I was contemplating killing puppies or raping farm animals or something.
Buddhism of course teaches that knowledge is all that's required to defend against fear. I personally how found this to be absolutely 100% true. It doesn't make fear totally go away but it helps when dealing with what you might need to deal with. So I asked this man I respected, "Maybe you just don't know enough about it. If you have questions I'd be happy to answer or find the answers to them for you.I can recommend many books too."
And that's when his face turned a white I've never seen before or since. He physically recoiled from me. It was as if I had just ripped off my mask to reveal myself some kind of demon. "NO! I have no interest in putting myself in danger like that!" To say I was weirded out would be the biggest understatement in the history of understatements. In fact it would such an understatement other understatements would elect it president.
What's my point? Well it's kind of explained by this exchange during the recent campaign:
Christine O'Donnell clearly thinks she's won. She's just obliterated any chance Chris Coons has of winning that race. Right? But where does that kind of egotism come from? In fact where does it come from that she's being presented with evidence that contradicts her view point and she STILL thinks she's right. Ladies and gents, I submit that my dad, my friend's step-father and Christine O'Donnell all come from the same place. Yes, ignorance but more than that. It's that they are incurious.
I had never heard the word "incurious" until Bob Woodward was stumping for one of his books about the Bush White House in the early '00s. I think it was the third one. People would ask him his biggest impression of George W. Bush. His answer almost everytime was "He's the most incurious man I've ever met." Why yes,yes he is.
I would argue that it's not his cronyism or greed that eventually had us invade a country with no reason and plunged this country into a recession we may not be truly out of until Miley Cyrus is eligible for Social Security (and the way things are going that could be longer than you think). It was his unwillingness to learn. His willingness to just take things as they are told to him. Remember Aug.2001? Bush was at his Crawford Ranch being told that the US was in immediate danger of an attack. His response? "Alright, you've covered your ass."
See, I'm not sure he actually wanted us to go to Iraq. What I think is more obvious is that he was scared not to. Cheney,Rumsfeld,Feith,Wolfowitz and others scared the be-jeebus out of him. We had to because the WTC attack was just the beginning. Who wouldn't invade if they thought that this was the best and only way to keep America safe? I'm not saying he wasn't told otherwise but I believe he ignored the other voices.
And now we have just seen an entire group of political candidates who are not only ignorant of facts, when faced with opposing evidence, they smile and think "You poor sucker. You believe that crap that the Marxists tell you." And they are proud of their ignorance. They believe the only books worth reading are the Bible and anything by Sarah Palin.
And they brag on it or, they don't want to admit it so they run away.Sharron Angle wasn't stupid. But she knew she wasn't able to withstand scrutiny. "We want media who are our friends." What did you really think that meant? And now,some of those same are in control of the House of Representatives.
Make fun of Rand Paul and "Aquabuddha" all you want, he alone could plunge the world into an economic depression by blocking a vote on raising the Debt Ceiling. Politicians aren't the only ones. Remember the protesters in Alaska who told Rachel Maddow they were against Eric Holder because he was "anti-gun, anti-second-amendment" but couldn't cite a single actual thing he'd done?
Growing up I had a friend named David who was raised by a single mother who was a Baptist. I have tons of stories I could tell about him and I growing up and her looneyness and maybe I will later. David and I lost track for many many years. So I decided last year to see if I could find him on MySpace. Sure enough there he was. Just as I was about to send him a message I noticed something really disturbing in his "Favorites" section. Where it asks you to list your favorite books he had written "I don't read. I don't like books."
Now I can tell you without any hesitation that I know good and well David can read and is not blind.Last time I spoke to him he had a job doing loan processing for a major home builder.So "I don't read. I don't like books" was not because of something that prevented him from reading.It was by choice. I find this a serious personality defect.A defect on order,in my opinion, with psychopathy.Seriously. People who tell me they don't like to read, I walk...errr..roll? away from them.
This is an extension of the post Wed. where I said we need to look around and know where we're coming from. With that I'm gonna recommend 3 items to get. In order for us to move the country forward, we need some basic education. So here we go:
A copy of the United States Constitution. In fact, here's the official government page on the Constitution. You can find not only facts there about it but read the actual document itself. You really need to. It's clear that not enough people in America have. If you don't think you should or need to, scroll back up and watch Christine O'Donnell again.
And two books. "U.S. History For Dummies" by Steve Weigand and "Congress For Dummies" by David Silverberg. You can find them at the usual spots.
Why the "For Dummies" books? Because everything has to start with basics.You don't learn to run until you learn to walk. You con't learn how to play Pagganini's 5th Caprice on guitar without learning "On Top Of Old Smokey" first. Basics people. Basics.
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