Monthly Archives: April 2013

What’s the Point of Having a Buddhist Meditation Practice?

Is the goal of the Buddhist meditator the same as the scientist (the breaking of spells and the dispelling of ignorance)? Ron Liefer, psychiatrist and Buddhist meditator, in his book The Happiness Project (Snow Lion 1997), writes the following (14): … Continue reading

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Which Religion is Best? The Admirable Superhero Criterion

There are five major world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. They can be judged by any number of criteria. Which one has the most admirable superhero? There are certainly compelling characters in four of the five: Jesus is awesome … Continue reading

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10 Questions to Ask Before You Believe Something

How well does a belief that you currently subscribe to hold up under these ten questions? And wouldn’t it be nice if we all asked such questions before professing belief in something? Do I have any actual evidence for the thing … Continue reading

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Jihad in Boston

A razor sharp bit of analysis from Rafia Zakaria, a Pakistani columnist in Pakistan, on why the Boston Marathon bombing grips the world’s attention even as the death count is low: As a weekly columnist for the Pakistani newspaper Dawn, I’ve … Continue reading

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Vicarious Voyeurism is “In the House”

Recommended to me by a colleague, the new French film, In the House, sounds interesting. A high school teacher encourages one of his students to write ever more dramatic scenes for him to read, knowing full well that by doing … Continue reading

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Buddha’s Take on Suffering vs. Nietzsche’s

If you think about it, we respond to whatever arises into consciousness with desire, aversion, or neutrality. And the things that appear to consciousness are always in flux: they arise, they ripen, they decline from attention and disappear. Then others … Continue reading

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Is Nietzsche Important To The Atheist-Theist Debate? And What About Socrates?

I agree that Nietzsche is important to the atheist-theist debate and that contemporary “new atheists” tend to ignore him, but it should be remembered that Nietzsche never made any direct case against theist arguments, but instead went straight to the … Continue reading

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Two Potentially Life Friendly Planets Discovered in Same Solar System 1200 Light Years Away

Here’s something to fire the imagination. This is from the science section of The New York Times this week: Astronomers said Thursday that they had found the most Earth-like worlds yet known in the outer cosmos, a pair of planets that appear … Continue reading

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A Great Ad

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Round One

Obama is awesome here, and his side is going to win the battle over sensible gun control laws later in this decade (or perhaps in the 2020s). Background checks are not unreasonable. Magazine limits are not unreasonable. Ending the drug … Continue reading

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Do You Think You Have Free Will?

If you answer yes, watching the below video might give you second thoughts. Serious second thoughts. __________ What I take from this clip is that my intentions and actions are things for which the ground has already been prepared, unconscious … Continue reading

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Gold Price Plunge: Gold Theory and Gold Reality

Right wing “gold bugs” take note. Maybe Glenn Beck is wrong. The New York Times reports today that gold bug theory and gold reality have been diverging of late: The price of the metal has been undergoing extraordinary reversal from a decade-long rally. … Continue reading

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Would Anne Frank Have Been A Belieber (A Follower Of Justin Bieber)?

This was reported at The Daily Beast today: [Justin] Bieber visited the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam this weekend, where he is performing a concert, and wrote a humble little note in the museum’s guest book: “Truly inspiring to be able to … Continue reading

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Hatred of Gays in Missouri and France

The following was reported at The Huffington Post this week: Roger Gorley went to Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday to visit Allen, his partner of five years. But when he got there, a member of Allen’s … Continue reading

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Embrace Chance?

In a collection of art essays by Roger Kimball titled Art’s Prospect (Ivan R. Dee 2003) is an essay on a Matisse exhibit in which Kimball writes the following (151): [Matisse] arrived [in Morocco in 1912] in the rainy season, … Continue reading

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Ralph Nader in His Prime

The ur-consumer advocate in 1970: __________ Good stuff. But I still blame him for Al Gore’s loss to George Bush in Florida in 2000. The gods of contingency can be absurdly and maliciously cruel to one’s legacy.

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The Living Statue of Liberty vs. the Old Junos (and Jesus on the Cross)

Robert Wright has recently given up blogging at The Atlantic to write a book about Buddhism. His parting admonitions on foreign policy include these two sensible gems: [1] The world’s biggest single problem is the failure of people or groups to look … Continue reading

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Sharon Olds in High Form

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Egypt without Jews, Christians, and Pyramids?

Jews have been a part of Egypt and its history for over three thousand years, but Islamic fundamentalism’s steady rise in the country has absurdly driven their numbers literally into the dozens. A new documentary, made by an Egyptian and … Continue reading

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This Book Sounds Good

Are we really rational in our decision making? Harvard professor Francesca Gino talks about her new book, Sidetracked:

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