I’ve tried to enjoy schlepping water, thinking that it serves to keep us to some human roots.
Annoyances and upsets with the iPhone 4S have been more than offset by its screen, the silkiness of its surfaces, the camera, and the third-party market for both software and hardware.
After they finished watching the Bond movies, I figured the next series John Gruber and Dan Benjamin would discuss on The Talk Show would be Stanley Kubrick’s oeuvre. But Gruber refused — too personal for podcasting, he said. Disappointed, I rewatched 2001.
Instead of acknowledging the wisdom of leading from behind, the Right jumped on the Obama administration’s handling of Libya as yet another example of at best incompetence. They lost me there.
Steve Jobs we lost at the age of 56; when Frank Lloyd Wright reached that age it was still only 1923, the time of merely his second comeback with Tokyo’s Imperial Hotel.
It’s amazing, given the adulation he enjoyed elsewhere, that the Israeli public knew from the start not to trust this US President.
Nobody from usesthis.com has asked me what my setup us, nor is likely to anytime soon. So I’m just going to mouth off here about it. But first, some background.
On the Leon Wieseltier/Andrew Sullivan spat, Walter Russell Mead seems to want to have his strudel and eat it too.
Defeat in the Olympics bid may focus the mind in the Oval Office where it should be: Afghanistan.
There’s nothing else around here except empty desolate pretty hills. The Israel Trail passes by a bit to the west. It’s a hot July Wednesday morning. Things are reasonably busy. The shops are mostly franchises, almost all homegrown — Super-Pharm, Aroma, Tzomet Sfarim, Cup O’ Joe’s, LaMetayel, Mega, Fox, Castro, H&O.
— or whoever I was enacting in the dream — entered down the steep stairs to where the fellows were hanging out as usual. There was something urgent I had to tell my friend. The fact that there was someone among us living backwards — apparently there was — meant inescapably that our reality simply couldn’t be. This exception to the rule of time travelling forward made a complete mockery of our universe — that was utterly clear to me. The only conclusion was that things somehow weren’t real.
Indeed they weren’t, and I woke up. Before taking a nap this evening I’d watched one of those new snippets at Charlie Rose, 4 minutes of A. O. Scott and David Denby discussing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. One critic liked it, the other didn’t. I sent the URL, along with a negative review of the film in The Times, to my Mum, who had disliked the movie and was mildly disturbed that everyone she knew who saw it liked it.
If someone is living life in reverse time while the rest of us are living it forwards, then our world is Buddhist, because such an impossibility falsifies reality, which must therefore be something like a dream. The notion that reality is a dream is, to my knowledge, the theology of Buddhism, in as much as Buddhism recognizes such things. In contrast, the Judeao-Christian view is that reality is creation. In the Eastern model God is our Dreamer; in the Western He is our Creator.
Cosmologically these two models may for all intents and purposes be similar: in both a supreme being exists outside our reality with whom we nonetheless have a direct connection. Rather, the two differ more greatly in how they suggest we go about communing with ourselves; they engender quite different senses of self.
If you are but a character in a dream, striving seems pointless, even ridiculous; more fitting to simply marvel at the intricacies of the surroundings you find yourself in and play out your part. If you desire anything, it is to help bring about the inchoate desires of the Dreamer, if indeed He has any, by aligning your actions with what you perceive to be the general underlying direction of things. What you are most akin to is an actor. If however you perceive yourself as a created being, your own existence is much more solid, and consequently your own desires seem more serious. Rather than an actor in an open-ended script, you are a child in an open-ended family.
In the Buddhist way I have no independent mind, even if it appears that I do, so that my unassisted constant internal conversation is the delusion of a being who does not understand his own position in things; I should ease up with my endless chatter. In the Judeo-Christian way my unassisted chatter is misguided, pathetically so, because with it I presume I am alone when in fact I am permeated with a grand and supreme other; my endless monologue should become a dialogue.
Aye, this is my current stand on religion, utilitarian as it may be (and my stand moves): its most vital task is to help us maintain sanity and cheer by teaching us how to manage our thoughts. While Buddhism eases them away, Judeo-Christianity transforms and elevates them. Personally I prefer the Judeo-Christian way, which seem to go more with the flow that is the energy of language, but both are, and even this should be said with fear and trembling, deep boons.
Without having seen this movie, could it be that this East/West schism is what it’s actually about? The word “button” seems the closest in the English language to the word “buddha”. But you see I’m reaching here. Well, that’s what comes from taking a nap in the evening and what dreams may come. Still, how pleased I’d be if I worked out some similar rubric for each movie before seeing it.
24, Lost Get Soft