Decoding Bourgeois Science

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Bourgeois science is the product of the controlling class that currently dominates Western society. The bourgeoisie control society and therefore provide the dominant ideas of the age. Bourgeois science emerged out of Judeo-Christian theology, and developed an entirely new way of viewing  the world. This process is generally perceived as a historical extension of ancient and classical Greek thought, although bourgeois science is much more advanced, in as much as it has proven its hypotheses through devising logical experimentation. The problem is that the thought community that preserves, and perpetuates bourgeois science is more or less fully divorced from the real world as experienced by the working class. Bourgeois science exists in a rarefied world that is elitist and exclusive in nature (i.e. ‘alienating’) – designed only to serve the class interests of the bourgeoisie and the capitalist system it has established. As a consequence, the pristine logic of bourgeois science has become enshrined in a type of ‘rational’ mysticism that is designed to befuddle and confuse anyone not of a middle class background. This is because bourgeois science, at its core, remains fully ruptured from the material world it seeks to understand, define and explain. In-short, bourgeois science has no direct association with ‘labour’, other than in the fully exploitative sense. Workers may use their labour to produce scientific equipment – but at no time is it explained to the worker what the equipment does, and why it is important. It is assumed a priori that although the worker obviously possesses the ability to manufacture advanced scientific equipment, he or she simultaneously does not possess the intellectual ability to ‘understand’ the bourgeois scientific method. For the worker to ‘decode ‘bourgeois science, its findings, methods and techniques must be re-explained in a practical manner, directly related to the ‘real’ world as the worker experiences it. This is science devoid of its elitist elements and made universal in scope. The working class must find new ways to transcend the bourgeois logical mysticism that permeates that type of science.

The Connection Between the Perception of Inner and Outer Space

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The Buddha’s ideas are very similar in nature to many of those generated by the philosophers of ancient Greece. Like those ancient Greek philosophers, the Buddha used his mind in a very ‘modern’ manner, and developed a logical and rational view of existence. Again, like the ancient Greeks his thinking reflected, the Buddha developed his mode of pristine thought out of the religiosity prevalent during his lifetime. The Buddha’s life dates are uncertain, but he is thought to have lived (by Western scholars) around 2,500 years ago in ancient India, and around 3,000 years ago according to the traditional scholarship preserved within Chinese Buddhism. I have speculated elsewhere, a tentative theory that Emperor Ashoka [304-232 BCE] (and his ministers) may have developed a peaceful and wisdom-loving (secular) philosophical path, that denied the relevancy and reality of an ‘Indian’ militant Brahmanism, an Indian religion that threatened to confront and over-throw Emperor Ashoka’s ‘foreign’ rule. A passive and meditating Buddhism could have been developed by merging certain Brahmanic elements (such as the yoga of meditation), with various aspects of Greek rational thought. A candidate for the Greek input for the Buddha’s mode of thinking could be the system of thought as developed by Epicurus (370-270 BCE). The similarities between the Buddha’s system and that of Epicurus are so obvious and staggering that I am surprised that this link has not been recognised in the past and studied with a greater depth. Of course, playing devil’s advocate, I have suggested that the ancient Greeks influenced ancient Indian thought, and that Emperor Ashoka ‘created’ Buddhism out of an admixture of Indian and Greek traditions. This is purely a speculation on my part, using the rational facility of my mind. It could also be that the Buddha’s mode of modern thinking was developed hundreds of years before a similar manifestation occurred in ancient Greek (spreading to Greece from ancient Indian through trade and cultural exchange). Another theory is that a ‘new’ way of using the human mind was an evolutionary development that spread ‘species-wide’ across many human cultures that had no direct (or indepth) contact with one another. The use of the rational mind (as advocated by the Buddha and ancient Greeks), is essentially a ‘free’ and ‘unhindered’ mode of thought that lies at the basis of modern science when channelled in a certain manner. This means that ‘free-thinking’ requires various modes of constraint to direct its energy into specific forms of creativity – with perhaps art for art’s sake being its most ‘free’ expression, and scientific endeavour being its most structured and disciplined.

Epicurus was taught by Nausiphanes, and their root-master was Democritus. Democritus was a genius who – without access to microscopes (or even advanced mathematics) – used his ‘rational’ mind to determine that existence is comprised of ‘atoms’ that move around through ’empty space’. Today, through the use of advanced technology and mathematics we know that this is scientifically correct. This would suggest that Democritus had an experience no less important than the enlightenment of the Buddha, as it radically redefined humanity’s perception of reality and existence, and yet generally speaking, there are no temples containing statues of Democritus, or people applying a meditative method to replicate his mode of thought. Democritus stated that atoms moved through space in a determinate manner – but Epicurus modified this idea by stating that atoms – although moving in a definite manner through space – also possessed the ability to suddenly ‘deviate’ or ‘swerve’ in a different direction for no apparent reason. This is how Epicurus explained how unusual events happened, whilst things seemed to unfold in similar patterns. Thousands of years later, Epicurus was proven right when Heisenberg produced his ‘Uncertainty Principle’ in 1927. My point here, is to explore how space and matter is perceive within (and by) the human mind. The Buddha and the Greeks said similar things about form and void. Epicurus – like the Buddha – rejected the relevancy of religion. Both seem to suggest that gods might exist in a deluded sense, but do not exist in an ultimate sense (as many people thought). Epicurus stated that even if gods existed, they had no interest in humanity, and after-all, as there are only atoms and space that define existence, the gods themselves must be comprised of atoms just like humans, and probably subject to some-type of ‘death’ or ‘demise’. For Epicurus – who understood that life was comprised of many sufferings and different kinds of pleasure – death is the absolute end of existence for the individual because the body has ceased to function and its atoms fall apart. There is no transmigration to a heaven or a hell, or rebirth into another living form. The Buddha agrees with this, but allows for a certain ‘delusional’ existence where rebirth occurs and physical death is not the end of existence. However, when full enlightenment is attained, then all rebirth (and karmic retribution) comes to an end – and yet the Buddha clearly states time and again the reality is comprised of empty space within which physical reality manifests. In other words, empty space is not ’empty’ in essence, and physical matter does not occur in a ‘dead’ vacuum.

The Buddha and ancient Greeks were able to use their minds to ‘see’ reality in such a way that modern science has confirmed their basic assumptions to be correct. Both Epicurus and the Buddha seem to suggest that this is not just an ‘objective’ understanding, but also the product of a profound subjective experience. It could be that the Buddha and Greek philosophers like Epicurus were able to manifest a rational mind premised upon subjective experiences that had been previously interpreted in a ‘religious’ manner – an approach rejected by ‘rationalists’. The following is a fascinating scientific documentary about empty space – which is not ’empty’:

 

Lenin: American Mind Control Indeed

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Youtube can be a great place to ‘learn’ and expand one’s knowledge, appreciation and awareness. Of course, Youtube also contains a corresponding downside of myth and delusion, and since its take-over by Google, inappropriate adverts now pop-up even during relaxation videos, sombre occasions, and even children’s TV. There are many good ad reliable leftwing videos just as there are many terrible and odious rightwing videos, but I have chosen the video below for critique, as in typical Trotskyite rightwing fashion, it presents the falsehood that Soviet Communism was no different to fascism or capitalism. It incorrectly states that Lenin advocated the adoption of capitalist ‘Taylorism’ in the USSR (implying that Lenin was a hypocrite), when in fact Lenin advocated the exact opposite:

Lenin actually said that increased productivity (the objective of Taylorism) can only be achieved ‘outside’ of capitalism by an emancipated workforce that is in control of its own working environment. Taylorism stated that the workforce must be completely controlled and entrapped in the working procedure from start to finish, and to achieve this, they must have no rights or self-determination. This is rightwing, US predatory capitalism at its absolute despotic. This is what Lenin actually said:

The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government” (Original Version)

‘Of course, employment of the labour and guidance of the bourgeois intellectuals in combination with proper control by the democratic organisations of the working people and the Soviets, will create a number of new problems, but these problems will be quite solvable. No difficulties can stop us from solving these problems, as we have no other way out towards a higher organization of production under the present situation.

I shall go further. Big capitalism has created systems of work organization, which, under the prevailing conditions of exploitation of the masses, represent the harshest form of enslavement by which the minority, the propertied classes, wring out of the working people surplus amounts of labour, strength, blood and nerves. At the same time they are the last word in the scientific organization of production, and as such, have to be adopted by the Socialist Soviet Republic and readjusted to serve the interests of our accounting and control over production on the one hand, and raising the productivity of labour, on the other. For instance, the famous Taylor system, which is so widespread in America, is famous precisely because it is the last word in reckless capitalist exploitation. One can understand why this system met with such an intense hatred and protest on the part of the workers. At the same time, we must not for a moment   forget that the Taylor system represents the tremendous progress of science, which systematically analyses the process of production and points the way towards an immense increase in the efficiency of human labour. The scientific researches which the introduction of the Taylor system started in America, notably that of motion study, as the Americans call it, yielded important data allowing the working population to be trained in incomparably higher methods of labour in general and of work organisation in particular.

The negative aspect of Taylorism was that it was applied in conditions of capitalist slavery and served as a means of squeezing double and triple the amount of labour out of the workers at the old rates of pay regardless of whether the hired workers were capable of giving this double and triple amount of labour in the same number of working hours without detriment to the human organism. The Socialist Soviet Republic is faced with a task which can be briefly formulated thus: we must introduce the Taylor system and scientific American efficiency of labour throughout Russia by combining this system with a reduction in working time, with the application of new methods of production and work organisation undetrimental to the labour power of the working population. On the contrary, the Taylor system, properly controlled and intelligently applied by the working people themselves, will serve as a reliable means of further greatly reducing the obligatory working day for the entire working population, will serve as an effective means of dealing, in a fairly short space of time, with a task that could roughly be expressed as follows: six hours of physical work daily for every adult citizen and four hours of work in running the state.

The adoption of such a system would call for very many new skills and new organisational bodies. Without doubt, this will create for us many difficulties, and the posing of such a task will even evoke perplexity if not resistance among certain sections of the working people themselves. We may be sure, however, that the progressive elements among the working class will understand the need for such a transition, and that the appalling extent of the economic chaos witnessed in the towns and villages by millions of men returning from the front who had been torn away from it all and now saw the full extent of the ravages caused by the war-all this, without doubt, has prepared the ground for shaping public opinion in this direction, and we may be sure that the transition which we have roughly outlined above will be accepted as a practical task by all elements among the working classes who have now consciously sided with the Soviet government.’

Lenin required the Soviet Union to progress through the industrialisation of the peasantry into a proletariat workforce and productivity was the obvious way ahead as a means to implement this process. Taylorism was capitalistic, but it demonstrated a method of increasing the productive output of an oppressed workforce. Lenin ‘rejected’ capitalist Taylorism because of its oppressive nature, but nevertheless was of the opinion that a liberated workforce could produce so much more because it was ‘free’ and engaging in what amounted to voluntary work for the betterment of humanity. Therefore, Lenin did not accept or endorse capitalistic ‘Taylorism’ as this anti-Soviet documentary suggests, and neither did Lenin’s decision lead to the counter-revolutionary actions of bourgeois-infected workforce at Kronstadt. Of course, Noam Chomsky, as a Trotskyite, will not miss any opportunity to denigrate the Soviet Union.

 

Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) & Logical Thinking

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Every great thinker is a mixture of the limitations of the times within which he or she lived, and a spark of genius that transcends those very same constraints. In fact, I would say that a genius is not necessarily a privileged member of the dominant or riling class – on the contrary – the pampering this class receives tends to negate the function of genius, or at least negates its emerging into society (through transcendent modes of thought), but in the case of Sir Francis Bacon, brought-up as he was, in the religiously dominated upper classes of feudal England, the spark of genius definitely did emerge with a vengeance that threatened the very edifice of the privileged society that he was apart. This is why Sir Francis Bacon is considered the father of modern experiential science. Although his works often made allusions to religious motif, the implications and conclusions of that work definitely lay ‘beyond’ the scope of religious thinking, and thoroughly entered the realms of ‘logical’ and ‘rational’ analytical thinking. Even within his work of fiction entitled ‘The New Atlantis’ (published after his death), he explained the Solomon Institute, which existed to logically analyse and map all of physical existence, and thereby extend humanity’s understanding of the world within which it lived. This notion of Bacon’s is thought to have been the inspiration behind the founding of the Royal Society (1660) in the UK – the Latin motto of which reads ‘nullius in verba’ – or ‘take no one’s word for it’. This development signifies a clean-break from inverted modes of thought associated with theism and theistic modes of analysis, and the turning of the mind the ‘right way around’. The assumptions of religion were laid to one-side, and the characteristics of various phenomena were examined in an objective manner, that sought understanding through a detached observation. This inevitably led to the idea of experimentation and the replication of results to prove hypotheses.

The Buddha, Non-Literate Wisdom, and Why Ch’an is Beyond Words and Letters

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Author’s Note: Many in the West are so understandably taken by the Buddha’s use of modernistic logic and reason in his expression of the ‘science’ of perceptual psychology, that they remain unaware that the Buddha either could not read or write, or if he could, never made any reference to this ability in the thousands of teachings attributed to him.  However, writing in November 1880, TW Rhys Davids and H Oldenberg, state (in the Introduction to Part I of their English translation of the Vinaya Discipline) that ‘writing’ was known to have existed during the formulation of the Vinaya Discipline, as it is mentioned on more than one occasion in the main body of that text, and within its associated commentarial ‘Notes’.[1]  Admittedly, its mention is not common, but its presence is contextually interesting: 

1) In Mahavagga I (45), for instance, it is explained that a man who had become a bhikkhu had in fact previously committed the crime of theft, and that the king had it ‘written’ that this man, once found, should be executed. 

2) In Mahavagga I (49) 1, it is stated that the parents of the Upali, suggested that if he learned the art of writing, then after their deaths, he could earn a living for himself. 

3) The Third Paragika Rule of the Vibhanga states any bhikkhu who kills a person, or brings about the death of a person, must be expelled from the Sangha.  In the Notes associated with this Rule, an example is given of attempting to cause death to another by persuading them that suicide leads to salvation.  It is stated that such an underhand activity might well be made not by word of mouth, not by messenger, but rather in ‘writing’.  Even if such corruption of the Dharma is made in writing, (and not spoken) it nevertheless constitutes a ‘Dukkata Offence’.  If another takes his life foolishly believing that in the suffering associated with self-inflicted death there is salvation, he who causes the death is guilty of a ‘Paragika Offence’. 

4) Again, the Vibhanga states that Buddhist nuns must renounce all attachment to the world and not participate in any worldly activity – except that of ‘learning to write’. 

These brief extracts contained within a very long ancient text, suggest that writing was probably known during the Buddha’s lifetime, and was used by the king and his government for official announcements, could be used to communicate in private life, and as a means to make a living that was available to both women as well as men.  However, despite these references, it is also clear by assessing all the implements that could be kept within the ordained Sangha community, that there is no mention of:

a) Pens (or similar writing devices).

b) Paper (or similar recording devices).

c) Existing texts containing important teachings.

The Buddha never taught that texts should be written-down, and learned through correctly reading the text.  On the contrary, in Mahavagga II (17) 5, 6, it is related how a group of bhikkhus had no one within their community who knew how to recite the ‘Patimokkha’ (Code of Monastic Discipline).  The answer was to send a bhikkhu to another Sangha community, and ‘learn’ this body of knowledge by word of mouth and accurately commit to memory. In the Mahavagga III, 5, 9, there is the story of a Upasaka (male lay follower of the Buddha) who sent word to the local Sangha living in his area, that he had received a teaching from the Buddha, and was concerned that if left too long, he might forget it.  A bhikkhu was immediately sent to learn this ‘sutta’ by heart, and bring it back to the Sangha community to spread its message (so important was this task that the Rule forbidding bhikkhus travelling in the rainy season was temporarily suspended).  In the Anguttara Nikaya (Katukka-Nipata and Pankaka-Nipata) there is an injunction that monks should ensure that they pass on (by word of mouth) the knowledge of the Buddha’s teachings they possess to others, before they themselves die and the teaching is permanently ‘cut-off’ at the root.  It seems that writing at the time of the Buddha (whenever that exactly was), was known but not yet associated with spiritual training or religious movements.  It could be that the sparse references to ‘writing’ in the Vinaya Discipline were added at a later date through faults in memory, transmission or transference, or included much later when the teachings were eventually committed to writing in 1st century BCE Ceylon (within the Theravada tradition).  Whatever the case, the Buddha NEVER mentions reading and writing, and obviously did not consider such abilities relevant to finding enlightenment on his path.  This appears to be the case in both the Theravada and Mahayana traditions.  In the Buddha’s time it was perfectly natural and expected for a great scholar to have gained immense knowledge and wisdom through direct ‘seeing’ and ‘perceiving’, but not through the agency of reading and writing.  ACW 9.9.2016

‘When reading the early Buddhist literature we must not forget how these works originated.  The Buddha himself and his disciples could not write.  It was an old tradition in Indian cultural life that compositions in prose as well as poetry should be learned literally by heart, and they were in this way transferred from generation to generation.  Matter that is conserved in this way will necessarily get a special character.’

Pali Buddhist Texts Explained to the Beginner: By Rune EA Johansson, Curzon, (1981), Page 11

One of the reasons I was told that Hui Neng (the Sixth Patriarch of Buddhism) was (and remains) so popular in China, is that although perfectly and completely enlightened, like the vast majority of Chinese people prior to 1949, he was illiterate.  He could not read or write due to his humble family background and lack of formal education.  However, this inability did not prevent him from realising the empty mind ground – or that reality which underlies all psycho-physical functionality and acquired abilities.  If a student had a question about a sutra, Hui Neng would have that student read-out the section, and then he would wisely express his profound understanding through the spoken word.  Another reason Hui Neng is so popular (and important) to the Chinese Buddhist tradition, is that the Indian Buddha – Siddharta Gautama (the man believed to have initiated the Ch’an tradition), was himself illiterate.  The Buddha’s illiteracy is the hidden reason why Chinese Ch’an Buddhism is not dependent upon words and letters, or words and sentences. For many people in the modern world, brought up with abundant Buddhist scriptures (bound neatly in endless books), this seems an unlikely fact.  How can a system of such profound and logical thought, which is distinctly ‘modern’ in its presentation, be the product of an individual who could not read or write?  Indeed, so powerful was his penetrative insight into the nature of reality, that Western science and philosophy is still considering its impact upon the sum-total of the knowledge humanity possesses.  It seems that nearly every year or so lately, this or that advanced physics paper compares favourably the philosophy of the Buddha with contemporary scientific findings.  Even that modern genius Albert Einstein looked upon Buddhism with respect.  In other words, those who are now the product of mass literacy and sophisticated educational systems, look upon the ‘illiterate’ philosophy of the Buddha as if it had been produced at Oxford or Harvard after years of written research, lectures, data gathering, debate and refinement.

Of course, the Buddha’s system was a matter of personal will-power, and not institutional or group endeavour.  By an act of intense will, the Buddha managed to change the historically conditioned manner in which his brain functioned.  He managed to permanently ‘alter’ the thought-patterns of his mind so that they ‘shifted’ from the superstitious thinking associated with theology, and into that of modern logic and reason.  The Buddha’s Enlightenment mirrored entirely the European Enlightenment that would happen thousands of years after his lifetime, (and may well have pre-dated) and been far more sophisticated than its ancient Greek counter-part founded in Miletus by Thales.  The Greeks certainly developed logic and reason, but its early evolution is ponderous, inconsistent, and generally incomplete.  Greek logic and reason developed over centuries, and has been the product of many great thinkers using their minds in a new manner – but the Buddha’s system of thought appears to have evolved solely from his own efforts, and appeared suddenly in ancient India with no historical precedent.  Yes, the Buddha borrowed meditation from the Yoga School, and made use of pre-existing ideas such as polytheistic gods, rebirth and karma, but at no time did he use these terms in their historically correct context.  The Buddha made use of pre-existing terms, whilst thoroughly rejecting the historical premises for those terms.  Gods and rebirth were no longer ultimately real, but only appeared to exist as long as individuals believed in them (disappearing altogether when the mind achieved ‘enlightenment’).  Karma was transformed from a semi-divine and deterministic power, (as vague as it was fatalistic within Brahmanic thought), to the acknowledgement that everything operates in the universe through morally neutral cause and effect, and that through volition, or the state of mind of the individual, good, neutral or bad experiences could be experienced.  The Buddha saw that the minds of all beings are default set to function in the unenlightened state through the agency of greed, hatred and delusion, and that ‘enlightenment’ is the state of mind left after greed, hatred, and delusion have been uprooted through meditation.

The Buddha, through his Four Noble Truths, assessed that existence for a living being is ‘nama-rupa’ (mind and body integrated – see Chain of Dependent Origination), and that the notion of an underlying and permanent self was an illusion.  As the Buddha defined enlightenment by way of what it is not, the notion of ‘emptiness’ is very important in his system of thought.  The enlightened state is not greed, hatred or delusion.  The enlightened state is not the literal belief in polytheistic (or monotheistic) gods.  The enlightened state is not the blind acceptance of a deterministic karma that is partly determined by personal actions, and partly directed by the will of punishing or rewarding gods.  Enlightenment is not the acceptance of, or practical experience of rebirth.  Enlightenment is not the acceptance of, or practical experience of a ‘soul’ theory.  In other words, a fully enlightened and rational mind, is a mind ‘emptied’ of all delusion and irrationality.  This ‘emptiness’, however, has a practical realisation within Ch’an Buddhism, and is not just defined by the ‘absence’ of things. Yes, all delusion in the mind must be uprooted, but delusion is defined as the erratic and chaotic movement of the surface mind, that must be ‘stilled’ through meditation, or after a rigorous dialogue encounter with an enlightened master.  Once ‘stilled’, this obscuring layer is removed and the practitioner can see directly into the empty nature of the psychic fabric of the mind.  Once this understanding permeates all six senses, it appears to ‘expand’ and encompasses all that which it senses.  All this was realised by the Buddha without the need to read or write, and the power of his insight was such, that we are still discussing it today.  Hundreds of years after his lifetime, his sutras – which had been passed on from generation to generation by monks tasked with remembering them by word of mouth – were eventually committed to paper and comprehensively recorded in writing.

Although the Buddha could not read and write, and despite the fact that in the modern world ‘illiteracy’ is associated with a lack of education and knowledge, this cannot be said to be the case in ancient India.  The Buddha was a high caste Indian who had received a very sophisticated Brahmanic education, including Vedic studies, yoga, martial arts, and preparation for ruling and leadership.  All these arts were conveyed not through the written word, but rather through the recalled spoken word and in remembered actions.  It was a very sophisticated education in an age before reading and writing came to dominate education.  When Buddhism spread to China in the 1st century CE, reading and writing had already been raised to the level of spiritual attributes by the scholar-sage Confucius.  The Ch’an School produced very learned masters in the Buddhist literature but always remembered that the Buddha’s enlightenment was achieved prior to the era of wide-spread reading and writing, and constituted a unique and entirely different mind-set.  The Buddha’s knowledge and wisdom was not attained by ‘reading’ the ‘words’ explaining what others understood, or claimed to understand.  His ‘Buddhi’ (i.e. ‘intuitive’ knowledge) was a direct perception of reality in its most pristine and unmediated realisation (beyond and unsullied by the obscuring clutter of intellectualised words and letters).  The Ch’an School resided in a highly literate China that put a great stock on the written word as a civilising tool (despite the fact that only about 10% of the people could read or write).  The Ch’an School technique appears to refer back to a time in Indian history before the Buddha-Dharma was rendered into the written word, and became sullied by intellectual attachment, and shallow understanding.  Although this is a common knowledge within China, it is virtually unknown in the West, with many scholars referring to Ch’an as a later development, and offering no understanding as to its ‘beyond words’ motif.  It is quite often the case that Western scholars do not reference Chinese language source materials, but instead rely upon antiquated, and quite often flawed Japanese scholarship that misinterprets and misconstrues Chinese Buddhist history.

When reading and writing was associated with Western religion, its use was very different to that found in modern society, where ample texts are available and subject to individualistic consumption. Contemporary reading usually involves one person absorbing one text as if the act of ‘reading’ should be an entirely ‘private’ affair.  However, given that in the past throughout the world it was common for only a very select minority of people to possess the ability to read and write, reading was often a ‘shared’ experience, with texts being read aloud rather than silently.  In this regard, Jean Leclerc states:

‘…in the Middle Ages, as in antiquity, they read usually not as today, principally with the eyes, but with the lips, pronouncing what they saw, and with the ears, listening to the words pronounced, hearing what is called the “voices of the pages”…  Doctors of ancient times used to recommend reading to their patients as a physical exercise on an equal level with walking, running, or ball-playing.’[2]

It seems logical to assume that even after teachings were written down, their recitation followed on from the time of recitation from memory, and that initially at least, despite the shift in conveyance from memory to bamboo strip, leaf or paper, the manner in which the text was handled followed all the conventions of a ‘remembered’ text for hundreds or thousands of years.  The Buddha might have thought that as there was no real difference in how a text was recited, it was more efficient and functional for a Sangha that prided itself on a lack of possessions, (and which referred to its adherents as ‘bhikkhus’, or ‘beggars’), that the use of memory – common for the time – was by far the preferred (and perhaps superior) method of conveyance.  After-all, the Buddha’s method of transformation has the centre of its activity in the mind, and the perfecting of memory could well have been considered as important as perfecting the jhana states, and the uprooting of greed, hatred, and delusion.  The Buddha’s relationship to reading and writing can be logically assessed as:

i) He could read and write and never mentioned this ability throughout his 45 years of teaching.

ii) He could not read or write, but knew about these abilities and thought them irrelevant to his path.

iii) He could not read or write, and was unaware that such an ability existed.

If the Buddha was illiterate, it is curious that he would give permission in the Vinaya Discipline for his nuns (bhikkunis) to learn how to write, whilst advising them to renounce all other worldly activities.  As Andrew Skilton points out in his excellent ‘Concise History of Buddhism’ (see ‘Preface’), the received Pali texts of the modern Theravada School exhibit, in part, definite evidence of sectarian editing. Even so, as this school allots a superior position to a man and a subordinate position to a woman, it is difficult to envisage why women (and not men) would be granted the ability to read and write by the Buddha (whose original ‘liberal’ teachings should not be conflated with any particular school that arose after his passing).  Whatever the case, the Buddha-Dharma inherited by the Chinese Ch’an School does not discriminate between men or women, and is not reliant upon the ability to read and write.  Reading and writing is simply a function of the mind, that in and of itself represents a ‘moving surface’ mind that does not perceive reality.  This is why Ch’an masters advise that all activities be ‘laid down’ and the attention turned firmly within.  This includes no reading of books, or communicating in writing for the duration of the Ch’an training.

A final consideration is this; the Chinese explorer (and devout Buddhist pilgrim) Fa Xian (法顯) [337-422] – whose name literally means ‘Dharma Manifested’ – visited India (and other Buddhist countries) in search of Buddhist sutras between 399-414 CE. Kanai Lal Hazra states in his book entitled ‘Buddhism in India as Described by the Chinese Pilgrims AD 399-689’, the following information:

‘Fa-hein (Fa Xian) and his friends returned to Pataliputra from Banaras.  Fa-Hein’s aim was to obtain complete sets of the Vinaya texts. But he could not find any written volume.  Because in the various places of Northern India the Vinaya texts were handed down orally from teacher to teacher.  Then in a monastery he found a copy of the Mahasanghika Vinaya.  “The copy of the rules is the most complete with the fullest explanation.”  This was accepted by the Buddhist monks in the Buddha’s lifetime and was used by the monks of the First Great Assembly.  Fa-hein also obtained a manuscript of the Sarvastivada rules in six or seven thousand gathas.’[3]

Although the Theravada School Buddhist texts were committed to the written form around the 1st century BCE, it appears that in North India during the 5th century CE (some six hundred years later), there were schools of Buddhism that still retained the oral tradition of passing on the teachings by word of mouth, and that had not transferred their remembered Buddhist knowledge into readable form.  This behaviour appears to be an adherence to a much older tradition that had survived for at least a thousand years or more since the lifetime of the Buddha. Contrary to Theravada rhetoric that it, and it alone, retains the oldest version of the Buddha’s teachings, the above text makes it clear that in 5th century CE India, it was the Vinaya of the Mahasanghika School that was considered not only the oldest extant version at the time, but also the body of knowledge used to ‘fix’ the teachings at the First Buddhist Council (held soon after the Buddha’s death).  It is interesting to note that Bodhidharma, the Indian Buddhist monk that brought the ‘Dhyana’ (Meditation) School to China (where it became known as ‘Ch’an’) in the year 520 CE, arrived only 106 years after Fa Xian had returned from India (in 414 CE).  It is logical to speculate that Bodhidharma was very well aware that certain Indian Buddhist schools still existed that had refused to abandon the tradition followed by the Buddha, which emphasised the realisation of enlightenment during a developmental process that was not dependent upon the use of words and letters, or the ability to write words and read sentences.  Of course, as time went by, the ability (and necessity) of societies and cultures to make written records of their existences became ever more important, and the Dhyana (Ch’an) tradition probably represents a vibrant Buddhist school of India (and China), which preserved in essence the ‘pre-literacy’ tradition prevalent in ancient India at the time of the Buddha, whilst fully accommodating the contemporary necessity to embrace modern trends of scholarship premised upon the ability to read and write.  This historical development explains the apparent contradictory nature of the Ch’an School which possesses masters who have an advanced grasp and understanding of the most complex and difficult Buddhist written texts, whilst simultaneously demanding with an iron will, that all Ch’an students immediately ‘give-up’ and ‘abandon’ their reliance upon, and attachment to, their ability to read and write.  This Ch’an attitude is not a rejection or abandoning of literacy skills, on the contrary, it is the temporary suspension of a particular cognitive function of the mind that constitutes ‘movement’ in the mind, and is associated with inner psychological turmoil.  The ability to read and write is not the issue.  The issue is that the Buddha taught (in a pre-literacy age), that all functionality of the mind must be ‘stilled’ if the surface mind is to be ‘calmed’.  It is only when the surface mind becomes ‘still’, that a penetrative insight is able to perceive the deep and essentially non-substantive ‘empty’ mind ground from which all perception emerges and returns.  The ability to read and write simply allows the surface mind to add images of letters and words in combinations that represent various and continuous ‘attachments’ to surface movement.  The Ch’an method of the ‘hua tou’ (話頭), unknown as it was in pre-literacy India, was devised in China as a means in part, to combat that country’s reliance upon literacy skills in all areas of its culture (including spiritual development).  The ‘word head’ implies the principle of ‘ante word’, ‘word origin’, or ‘before word’, and refers to the ‘empty’ underlying mind ground from which the conception of a mental image emerges.  In the unenlightened state, the obscuring surface of the mind appears as a constant and self-replicating barrier of confusion and chaos.  It seems that one surface image automatically gives rise to another image in quick succession, with no gaps observable in the process.  The hua tou creates the enquiring word ‘who?’, and through an act of will, ‘turns’ it back toward the base of its origination (in the empty mind ground), and away from its apparent (and incorrect) manifestation in the surface mind.  Although one thought appears to give rise to the next in a lineal fashion, (like one word logically following the next in a correct grammatically structured sentence), this is incorrect from a Ch’an Buddhist perspective.  Thoughts (or ‘words’) only appear to follow one another in a continuous succession – this is an expedient or superficial truth. It is ‘correct’ only from the position of the surface (or ‘seeming’) mind, and is not correct from the perspective of the deep (or ‘real’) mind.  Thoughts (or ‘words’) do not really follow on from one after another, but in reality continuously ‘emerge’ or ‘bubble-up’ from the deep and empty recesses of the psychic fabric.  This being the case, it follows that the Ch’an method of ‘turning words’, particularly in relation to the hua tou, is a developed technique designed to counter the otherwise ‘solid’ surface structure generated in the mind through the ability to read and write.  During sustained training, the hua tou quite literally acts as a cognitive ‘drill’, and enables the practitioner to break through the accrued levels of psychological conditioning.  Of course, the hua tou method can be used effectively by literate or illiterate people, as all beings experience the steady stream of deluded thought that flows across the surface of the mind, but it is particularly useful for those caught up in their own intellectual understanding, which has been acquired through, and is inherently linked to the ability to read and write.  This non-reliance upon literacy skills as a means to acquire enlightenment explains why the tradition of Ch’an patriarchs begins with the Buddha holding-up a flower in an act of non-verbal communication with Mahakasyapa.  The Buddha’s enlightenment, as preserved within the Chinese Ch’an School, is the direct realisation of the ‘essence’ or ‘origination’ of thought in the deep mind, which must never be mistaken or conflated with the manifestation or functionality of thought in the surface.

 

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2016.

 

[1] See ‘Sacred Books of the East’ Series, Edited by Max Muller, Vol. 13 [Vinaya Texts Part I], Vol. 17 [Vinaya Text Part II] and Vol. 20 [Vinaya Texts Part III] –  as re-published in 1982 by Motilal Banarsidass – Pages ix-xxxvii of Part I.

[2] Williams, Paul, Mahayana Buddhism – the Doctrinal Foundations, Routledge, (1994), Page 38 – Leclerc 1961: 34)

[3] Hazra, Kanai, Lal, Buddhism in India as Described by the Chinese Pilgrims AD 399-689, Munishiram Manoharlal, (3011), Pages 4-5

Quantum Entanglement – Consciousness and Matter Integrated

QuantumEntanglement-01

‘Possibly the Western dichotomy between “material reality” and mental images is exaggerated or even false. Our nervous system has the power and resources to create images from external patterns of information or from information stored in the nervous system itself – and to give it a meaning: these experiences may be the patterned processes themselves in the nervous system: perhaps within special association centres. They would in that case belong to the same type of “reality” as all other processes, physiological or physical.’

(REA Johansson – The Dynamic Psychology of Early Buddhism: The One Reality – Page 26)

The Buddha taught that reality is a combination of mind and matter that cannot be limited to its own concept, or properly interpreted by the ordinary intellectual mind. This is because of the limitation of human language which evolved as a means to survive (through communication) within the material conditions of the planet earth. Human language, and the human mind that developed it, was premised upon explaining, interpreting, predicting, and directing the immediate environment as it presented itself to human settlers. It did not have to work-out complicated mathematical, chemical, or engineering formula in early history, and was limited to environmental manipulation. Later, of course, the human mind did develop the ability to see beyond, beneath, through and into their immediate environment. This has led to the development of modern science with its dualistic categorisation of phenomena into subjective and objective elements, and its functional preference for the objective. Religions, mysteries, and idealistic interpretations of the world were designated ‘subjective’ and relegated to the realms of groundless imagination, whilst the observation and measurement of the environment was promoted to the realm of supreme fact. Modern science, by necessity, rejects the subjective and embraces the objective. Its failures over the last two centuries has been eclipsed by the sheer weight of its successes over the same time period. It has led to industry, technology, medicine, and space travel, etc, and is self-evidently superior to any other mode of thought that has ever existed throughout the history of humanity.

Part of the relegation of the subjective into the realms of superstition and supernatural, has had the ongoing problem of essentially rejecting one very powerful aspect of the human mind. Even if an individual studies and becomes a scientists – he or she will still possess an imaginative aspect of mind, even if it is not required in their daily work. Some scientists are atheistic whilst others profess a religious belief in their private life. It seems that the development of modern science has not, as yet also led to the extinction of the human imagination. This being the case, it is an interesting speculation to consider what the imagination is for in the human mind. It maybe that the way that human beings have used the imaginative process in their minds is incorrect, limited, or simply as of yet undeveloped. Perhaps ‘imagining’ religions, deities, ghosts, spirits, and the like, is a rehearsal for the next stage of human evolution, which cannot be limited to the nature of its apparent function. Many philosophers (including Karl Marx) have speculated and stated that reality is not just ‘mind’, and not just ‘matter’, but something inbetween, that is so sophisticated that human intelligence has not yet developed across the species to understand this advanced knowledge. This is a state of affairs very similar to the subject of Quantum Theory, which appears to contradict the ‘common sense’ of conventional Newtonian science.

The theory of Quantum Entanglement turns the assumptions of modern science to date, entirely upon its head. For instance, the presumed ability of one human mind to communicate with another human mind without the agency of physical interaction, has been considered a false imagination, thought-up by con artists and charlatans to make gullible people think that ‘telepathy’ is real. Of course, to date, other than circumstantial or incidental data, telepathy as defined as one mind communicating with another, has remained unproven when subjected to conventional scientific testing, but consider for a moment that this result maybe a product of testing a hypothesis in the wrong way. Quantum Entanglement states that if a subatomic particle splits into two – the two halves continue to communicate with one another for no obvious reason. This suggests that the human mind and physical reality are not two separate entities forever separated, but are in fact two distinct representations of the same time-space continuation that is not limited to its own definition of being. This might suggest that the human ability to ‘imagine’ is not an evolutionary error, but is rather the natural preparation of the human mind to develop higher abilities that are in fact the product of reality (and not myth), and which will one day be considered quite normal and the product of science. This will require the upgrading of human thought as regards to the nature and functionality of conventional science.

Witchcraft of the British Isles – An Ancient Science

Witchcraft Imagery Witchcraft Museum

Witchcraft Imagery Witchcraft Museum

Witchcraft Museum, Boscastle, North Cornwall

It is interesting to note that the ancient teachings of witchcraft, wiccan, or any other name pertaining to the preservation and practice ancient wisdom, is very much with us in the UK, and despite suffering around a thousand years of persecution from the politicised Christian church, it has always been present in one form or another. This is because witchcraft – beyond the imagination of the Hollywood film industry – has neither adhered to dogmatic definitions of itself, or limited its practice through dogma. Just as the immensity of nature cannot be reduced to an ‘ism’ and retain any vestige of truth, just so is witchcraft, which is, after-all, the human expression of the reflection of nature in all its multitudinous diversity and variation. There is no ‘one’ witchcraft that holds the keys of orthodoxy – as such destructive notions of desolation, alienation, and disjointedness remain solely within the foreign importation to these ancient isles of the Romanised Judeo-Christian tradition. Prior to the Norman Conquest of 1066 (which was backed by the Pope to clear the British Isles of Paganism), the much older Celtic Christianity (found on the western fringes of the British Isles) had peacefully co-existed in the UK for hundreds of years with the local beliefs and spiritual customs without coming into conflict, or developing a dogmatic policy of deliberate persecution toward non-Christians. Even the Pope in Rome had to admit that this much more ‘tolerant’ Christianity had arrived in Britain at a much earlier time and date that the Roman Catholic Church had no record of.

This Celtic Christianity, unpoliticised as it was, centred around peaceful monastic communities and encouraged its adherents to quietly ‘look within’ whilst living in remote, weather beaten areas of Britain’s west coastal areas, and to practice directly the teaching of Jesus Christ as found in the Sermon on the Mount – teachings that are not incompatible with the nature loving, indigenous belief systems of the British peoples. The problems began for the Wiccan people when the Roman Catholic Church arrived on the British Isles – with instructions from its ‘king’ the Pope – to eradicate any belief system that contradicted Roman Catholic theology. This divinely authorised persecution of other faiths involved a Christian church that had firmly taken hold of the reins of political power, and which used all civil institutions to pursue its destructive aims. This persecution was aimed at other lineages of Christianity (for example, the Cathers in France – a Christian school that believed in reincarnation – all 5 million were eventually killed), followers of Judaism, and the adherents of various forms of folklore – including witchcraft. Conservative estimates assert that around 10 million men, women and children died in these religiously inspired persecutions in Europe over a thousand year period; but when the Christian church spread through imperialist expansion into the Americas, Africa and Asia, the attacking of Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and others began.

Preserved in the Museum of Witchcraft (in Boscastle, North Cornwall), and elsewhere in libraries and on the internet, are the disturbing court records telling the stories of humble men, women, and children who were tortured by the judicial authorities of the Catholic and (later) Protestant churches, before eventually being put to death by crushing, hanging, drowning, or burning. Many women were murdered in these so-called ‘witch hunts’ for practicing ‘midwifery’, that is the assisting and caring for pregnant women when giving birth in the villages where no medical knowledge or supplies – in the modern sense – existed. Indeed, so strong is the witchcraft tradition of midwifery in the UK that it still exists today within Britain’s modern National Health Service (NHS), as a highly respected profession – although in the USA – the tradition has all but died out, with obstetricians taking the place of midwives. It is disturbing to read that individuals were hurt and killed by a church whose founder advocated the practice of universal love – for what amounted to helping others – as Christ suggested. Even today, this logic that exposes the history of theological hypocrisy is lost on the modern church that refuses to acknowledge its crimes against humanity, committed in the name of its distorted and highly politicised theology – a theology that collaborated with anti-Jewish pogroms of Nazi Germany during WWII.

This attack on the minds and bodies of Britain’s witches and wizards is the history that must be understood today. Those who burned or drowned at the hands of an out of control Christian church are the true British heroes, for they went to their deaths safe in the knowledge that they understood the universe as it was, and although preferring not to die or suffer pain, they knew how to proceed through the fear and into the eternal embrace of the nature they so respected, admired and at times worshipped. Although many died for ‘witchcraft’ what exactly was it? Witchcraft is something akin to the modern notion of complexity science, which is a broad platform for the development and integration of many and diverse ways of looking at, and understanding the universe and existence. Nothing is excluded, and all is worked into a rich tapestry of co-operative functionality. Importantly, no one philosophy or view of life is given any superiority over any other – there is no need. There is the implicit understanding that individuals and groups take from nature and develop what they need when the time is right for them. Nothing is forced or contrived and everyone is free to move in whatever direction is right for them. The Christian distortion of witchcraft is that it is the dark side of Christian belief that worships the devil. This misrepresentation tells the researcher more about the psychology of embittered Christianity than it does about true Wiccan belief. It is the Christian that fears the devil – because Christian theology splits the world into the unnatural dichotomy of good and evil – a duality that trusts light but fears darkness. Of course, this is an absurdity that has no place even in the creation that the Christian god is supposed to have created – with one light day being followed by one dark night. Christian theology requires that its adherence remain terrified for one half of the day – whilst during daylight hours, they remain in awe of the church that controls every facet of their lives! No. Witchcraft does not adhere to this false dichotomy, but rather applies what might be termed as a ‘scientific’ approach to the analysis of nature. Spells and magic are not illogical or distorted ramblings of the pre-Christian insane, but rather the early application of the logical mind to the questions of existence. Spells and magic – when not distorted as being the ‘devil’s work’ – are in fact the practice of rationality and logic. The problem is that in much of what passes as popular entertainment today, witchcraft is still portrayed through the historically distorting rhetoric of Christian fear, paranoia, and profound ignorance. This gives the false impression that those who follow Wiccan beliefs are backward and barbaric, whilst those who follow the quite frankly bizarre belief system of Christianity are sane and the bringers of light! This is absurd, as the true preservers of the scientific analysis of nature has been the followers of the indigenous belief systems of the British Isles, and not its Christian invaders.

In the UK, students are taught that the development of modern scientific thinking emerged with the renaissance (in 14th century Italy), which culminated in the Enlightenment of Western Europe (17th century onwards). This intellectual movement away from the belief in ‘faith’ based theology and toward logic based enquiry, was premised upon the European rediscovery of ancient Greek philosophical texts that emphasised the use of reason, which were preserved in the Islamic libraries of Byzantine (and other places). Not only does this give another view of Islam as a religion that embraces the wisdom and knowledge of secular Greece – but it also presents a narrative that excludes witchcraft from science. Although it is true that Islam preserved ancient Greek texts that the Christian church banned for the content of the learning they contained, and that the European rediscovery of these texts ushered in a truly magnificent era in European scientific thought and cultural development, nevertheless, it is my contention that Europe’s early scientists were (and remain) the witches and wizards of witchcraft and Wiccan, and that it is these men and women who kept the flame of science alive during the dark times of the domination in Europe of politicised and distorted Christian theology. It is these men and women who suffered terribly at the hands of religious bigots, fundamentalists, and fanatics, who never gave-up their respect for nature, or their compassion for their fellow human beings. Alongside the Greeks, the Muslims (of Byzantine), the Renascence Italians, the Enlightened French, and the Industrialised English – should proudly stand the followers of witchcraft – who should be acknowledged as preserving the basis of science whilst suffering one of the greatest and sustained religiously based persecutions the world has ever seen. The thousands who were executed through state sanctioned trial should now be pardoned and modern British school children should be taught about the true heroes of their country’s past – who were not the religious bigots of Rome.

Everything known in the popular imagination about witchcraft is a lie. It is the product of a distortion of an inversion of the facts. When witchcraft is discussed, portrayed, or analysed, the tendency is to see how the indigenous belief systems of the British peoples looked through the psychology of the Roman Catholic Church – a psychology which ascribes to itself a monopoly upon everything ‘good’ – and which projects onto other belief systems everything that is ‘bad’. Therefore witchcraft – although embracing and reconciling the light and dark forces of nature, and which accepts without question all Christian beliefs – nevertheless has not been treated with the same respect and understanding. A few examples of medical witchcraft include the use of willow bark as a pain killer – as it contains aspirin – honey and lemon for sore throats, arnica (relieves muscular bruising and pain), ginger (for the relief of inflammation) and various mixtures of herbs to create medicinal compounds. This includes the use of foxglove which is the source of the modern heart drug digitalin. Needless to say, although the modern drug industries make millions of pounds out of the use of medicinal compounds, their discovery is attributed only to modern science and the fact that these medicines were known to practitioners of witchcraft is completely ignored and constitutes yet another example of the progressive nature of witchcraft being written out of history. This is as well as the immense psycho-spiritual work of witchcraft which is ‘holistic’ in its approach to human wellbeing and the relieving of psychological and physical suffering.

 

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2014.

 

 

 

 

Human Rights and Neo-Imperilism

aImperialism

The Judeo-Christian tradition has undoubtedly been a major developmental influence upon the cultural and political development of Europe and the USA. For at least a thousand years, this religious teaching arising within a Roman-dominated Middle East, held the populace of the West in its psychological, moral, and physical grasp. As there has not been a radical or permanent ‘break’ with the past (through revolution) in Western Europe, the Judeo-Christian tradition has been allowed to develop more or less naturally as the socio-economic conditions have changed. As educational standards improved in Europe, the power of the Judeo-Christian tradition – in its obvious religious expression – began to wane. This process of the loss of power in Europe was aided and enhanced by the rediscovery of Greek logic (preserved in Islamic libraries) throughout the world, and the subsequent development and re-emergence of rationality and science in the West. This process of renaissance and enlightenment was confronted and brutally opposed by the Catholic and Protestant Churches, (and ignored by the adherents of the Jewish religion). It is ironic that in the old days only the nobility and the Church retained the ability to read and write, and even then it was only designed as a means to read and copy the bible, so that the laity could be kept firmly in their place, dominated as they were by the imaginations of theology, that were masquerading as a cross between a legitimate political philosophy, and a pseudo-scientific theory. It was just this ability to read and write that led to a number of Christian monks – such as Giordano Bruno (1548-1600) – an Italian Dominican friar, who is today recognised as being a very able philosopher, mathematician, poet, and astrologer, to break out of the tyranny of theological conditioning. He agreed with Copernicus that the sun was at the centre of the solar system, and that planets evolved around it, but went further by asserting that there were many other suns that had planets revolving around them throughout the universe, and that it was a logical possibility that on some of these planets, there would exist other forms of life. This development of logical thinking out of theological propaganda, led to Bruno being tried for heresy by the Catholic Church (a trial that began in 1593), and publically burnt at the stake in Rome, in 1600.

The example of Giordano Bruno serves as an indicator of the routine use of torture and terrorism by the established Church in the West, as it tried to prevent the re-emergence of logical thinking. Bruno, of course, was arrested by the ‘Roman Inquisition’ – an odious Catholic institution that still exists in the Vatican (as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), which acts very much in the mould of the Nazi German SS. Researchers claim that for over a thousand year time period of systematic abuse, torture, and murder in the West, the Christian Church has killed thousands upon thousands of people – with the final total possibly in the millions. This aggression has its origins in the inverted mindset that lies behind religious imaginations that are often anything but benign. An idea of a god is generated in the mind of an individual, and mistakenly interpreted as existing in the environment, independent of the mind that has created it. This illusion is then imbued with qualities associated with the physical universe – which is infinitely large, self-sustaining, and all embracing. This thought in the form of a god is then further distorted as being the creator of the physical world it mimics. Theology is then a distorted use of the intellect which seeks to justify this fundamental inversion and misunderstanding of reality. Theology justifies the perpetuation of this ignorance through a bewildering array of imaginations that are believed to be both ‘good’ and ‘correct’. Theology is yet another invention of the inverted intellect that assumes delusions of grandeur that really does not exist any further than in the mind of its human creators. When illogicality of theology is attacked by reason, it responds by resisting the corrective nature of the logical criticism, by attacking the physical body that is producing progressive attitudes and ideas. The Christian Church has demonstrated throughout its history that its preferred method of crushing the emergence of logic and reason is the physical eradication of those who dare to throw-off the shackles of ignorance and darkness.

Today, the socio-economic forces of the West have produced the conditions for the human mind to move beyond the conditioning of a theology that reflects medieval (and earlier) conditions, and which have led to the development of secular logic and presumed superior standards of moral behaviour. The problem with this development is that it is not ‘free’ of the Judeo-Christian tradition that has served as its historical basis. The conditions that have given rise to modern secularist thinking in the West are not only socio-economic, but are also theological in nature. Socio-economic development, it is true, has allowed for the stripping of obvious religiosity from around Christian theology, and created what is sometimes referred to as ‘humanistic’ thinking, but the nature of secularist thinking remains firmly rooted in the very bible it appears to have transcended. Just as Judeo-Christian theology is not logical or universal in the rational sense, it follows that any secularist thinking premised upon its religious imaginations, does not represent humanity as a whole, and should not be referred to as ‘humanistic’, as this is a contradiction in terms. The rhetoric of Judeo-Christian theology very much represents the socio-economic conditions of Roman-occupied Judea around 150 CE, and reflects the Jewish concerns of the time. This out of date thinking dominated Europe in a most destructive manner for centuries, before finally collapsing under the substantial weight of its own inherent contradictions. The supposed ‘morality’ of the Judeo-Christian tradition is enforced upon a modern world through the strictures of ‘human rights’, which are really an expression of how the Judeo-Christian influenced West chooses to view the world. Humanism is nothing but theology stripped of its obvious outer garb of religiosity, and enforced on other people (and countries) through military and political action. It can be clearly seen today in Gaza, as Israel packages its murderous actions with Old Testament biblical references, and in how the West currently treats African nations, China, and Russia. Secularism is being used by modern Western governments as a form of neo-imperialism – because it is friendly to the development and sustaining of capitalism in undeveloped areas – and as a ‘new crusade’ against anything that dares to be different. In this situation, modern Western governments mimic, in their behaviour, the proselytising spirit of the Church they have replaced.

People’s China Leads the World in the Development of Wisdom Studies

aLong-Hammer-Sickle

(This article appeared in the New Worker – the newspaper of the New Communist Party of Britain [NCPB], no. 1779, dated 13.6.14, Pages 6-7)

In the 21st century, with the ever deepening process of globalisation and the development of information technology, human society is facing new and challenging problems. Due to the unprecedented complexity of these problems, a superior (and outstanding) wisdom is required. However, as the development of information is at its height, knowledge can be retrieved at anytime. The rapid development of science and technology has led to unprecedented material growth, and this inturn has led to an accelerated rate of development of education in modern society. There is now an urgent need to develop the subject of Wisdom Studies so that society can benefit fully from its presence.  

(Zhangjiagang Wisdom Studies Declaration – 2013)

The human brain, through its capacity to think, analyse, assess, and logically organise, has given birth to two great outpourings of the intellect, namely religion and secular science. The former is represented by a mixture of imagination and environmental observation, whilst the latter abandons a priori the requirement for imagination, and strictly limits itself purely to the observation of natural processes. Although now perceived as two very different entities, which of course they are, religion and science have shared, to a lesser or greater degree, the capacity to generate ‘wisdom’. The concept of generating wise thoughts is signified by the ability to produce optimum psychological functioning that simultaneously combines the observation of the environment, with specific inner cognitive processes. In the case of religion, the various phases of environmental change, such as the passing of the seasons, weather conditions, natural catastrophes, the cycle of life, and conflict, etc, are used to reinforce the inner generation of religiously significant imagery. Whereas in the case of modern science, the environment is not just passively observed by a human mind standing in awe of its presence, but is dynamically ‘measured’ and ‘understood’ by a mind that actively seeks to reduce and remove imagination from the empirical process of information gathering. Both religious systems and modern science signify the development of the human mind (and its capacity to be ‘wise’) at various stages of its cognitive evolution, but it is interesting to note that ‘wisdom’ as a distinct capacity, appears to have been a prominent biological and physical attribute of humanity generated through the constant environmental pressures with regards for the need to survive as a species.

When wisdom is interpreted in this manner, it becomes a perennial capacity that has accompanied human evolutionary development, but the origin of which most likely lies in humanity’s pre-human ancestry. As soon as a functioning brain is aware of the environment, (and its place within it), perception is transformed from subject-object dichotomy to a subject-object-other perspective. In other words, from a strictly two dimensional, instinctively governed existence, to a three dimensional awareness that is able to ‘think’ beyond, round, and through its otherwise powerful instinctive programming. This is wisdom as self-awareness. As a capacity of thought generation and thought organisation, wisdom has had the task of formulating contingent responses to inner and outer stimuli, that is information derived from the experience of psycho-emotional and psycho-physical states of being. Wisdom answers the question as to ‘what does this sensory information mean’? This is a continuous path of human evolution that has no end, as it is an unfolding process of the continuous refinement of the observation and understanding of inner and outer processes. From this process has emerged the modern science that has benefitted the planet, albeit in an asymmetric manner due to the difference in socio-economic development around the globe. The wisdom manifest by those who live in economic poverty is of a more organic nature than those who exist in economically advanced societies, and whose wisdom is routinely augmented by technological assistance. In a poor country, the apex of wisdom may manifest as the ability to grow crops effectively and make obsolete machinery function despite a lack of spare parts or replacements, etc, whereas in a rich country, advanced wisdom builds space-rockets and devises ever more effective medicines, etc.

Wisdom is a human-wide phenomenon that is not linked to any one culture, ethnic group, or society, and it is clear from the observation that many great civilisations, such as the Egyptian, Chinese, Indian, Babylonian, Greek, Roman, Inca, Mayan, North American Indian, Celtic, and Modern European, amongst many others, have produced cultures and architectural constructs that contain an obviously advanced quota of developmental ‘wisdom’. This is why it is significant that on the 10th of December 2013, a group of eminent Chinese academics issued the Zhangjiagang Wisdom Studies Declaration, which simultaneously recognises the importance of the study (and development) of the theory of wisdom research, and the founding of the International Wisdom Society (IWS). This is an important recognition that will see the subject of wisdom studies advance and gain a greater depth of understanding. In recent years, knowledgeable people, both inside China and abroad, have started paying attention to this issue, and have begun to promote awareness of the emerging academic discipline of Wisdom Studies. In the United States, first there was the famous Psychologist Robert J. Steinberg who led a group of scholars in a spontaneous research programme in Wisdom Studies. Following this, there was the development of Wisdom Studies carried out at the University of Chicago. In Europe there is the ‘Berlin Wisdom Paradigm’ which has a group of Wisdom Study researchers. In China during the last 50 years of the 20th century there was the famous educator Luo Jia Lun who considered the relation between wisdom, learning, and knowledge. He produced a penetrating analysis of the three inter-related subjects.

The famous scientist named Qian Xue Sen, (as far back as the mid-1990’s), proposed a ‘Great Compendium of Wisdom Studies’ school of thought. In the 21st century, the famous educator Gu Ming Yuan, the President of the Chinese Association of Education, developed the academic subject of Wisdom Studies. Within China there has been the development of the Chinese Wisdom Project Research Council, together with the emergence of the International Chinese Wisdom Society in Hong Kong, as well as the Zhangjiagang City Wisdom Studies Project, and other similar academic institutes. As a consequence there have been a number of important academic conferences held, and many pioneering papers published on the subjects of wisdom, learning, and knowledge, which has led to the development of a practical curriculum designed specifically for Wisdom Studies. The academic brothers Zhang Qing Lin and Zhang Qing Song are credited with designing and implementing the first ‘Learning Wisdom in College’ courses, which have achieved many important results.

However, whether in China or the United States of America and despite the fact that leaders in both countries clearly advocate the development of wise thinking amongst the people, it has to be acknowledged that Wisdom Studies (and the ability to ‘think’ wisely) is an acquired skill, and that there must be appropriate planning if it is to be made socially acceptable and relevant to the masses. In this regard, Wisdom Studies remains in its initial stage of development. However, the fact that there are now ‘Wisdom Cities’, ‘Wisdom Tourism’, and ‘Wisdom Study Schools’ serves to illustrate the success of the project, and the willingness of people to embrace wisdom. In fact intelligence is the facility people use when choosing their words and actions – and it can be said that Wisdom Studies encourages the development of a clearer (and superior) thinking process. Wise thinking can be used to tackle the most difficult of problems with an innovation that is capable of producing new inventions. Amongst the workers, the use of wise thought is the foundation of the generation of all productive forces.

For further information regarding the International Wisdom Society:

 

RHACS – International Wisdom Society

http://wenshuchan-online.weebly.com/international-wisdom-society.html

Tiananmen June 4th, 1989 – the Making of a Modern Myth

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One very clear and disturbing aspect with regards to June 4th, 2014, when compared to June 4th, 1989, is that the BBC continues to relentlessly disseminate rightwing propaganda in the service of the international bourgeois designed to mislead the masses and keep the international working class in a state of permanent ignorance regarding the reality and true source of the oppression it endures every single day. The bourgeois authorities make use of the Judeo-Christian myth of ‘good verses evil’ in its fairy-tale fabrications that it laughingly terms ‘news’. It is happening today concerning the rise of fascism in the Ukraine, (and the demonising of Russia), and it happened in 1989. Until a revolution finally occurs, the situation will not change and ordinary people must cognitively arm themselves with a superior intellectual analysis premised upon the Marxist observation of historical materialism, augmented by the use of correct dialectical assessment of world events. Working upon the presumption that the bourgeois news agencies operate through an inverted consciousness, the matter of assessing the body of Western produced lies that constitute the so-called ‘Tiananmen Square Incident’ is easy to accomplish. This is because Marxist analysis represents a higher form of logic and rationality. For instance, the BBC today, whilst sentimentally eulogising their ‘Tiananmen Square’ fabrication throughout their media network, simultaneously admits that they can find no one in China who will comment on this matter. The fact that there exists no objective evidence – that is no trail of clues – to demonstrate that the event actually happened, is then used as a means to ‘prove’ that the event must have happened. Here is clearly seen the inversion into chaos and the construction of a ‘faith-based’ myth. The fact that something never happened is used as the basis to assert that it did happen. This is simply a secular version of the Judeo-Christian myth that sees mystification (i.e. chaotic imagination), take the place of rational thought constructs.

When logic is abandoned, the reporting of news becomes an exercise in the presentation and maintenance of the bourgeois mind-set and lifestyle. The rational teachings of Karl Marx, for instance, become the irrational rantings of the devil and must be opposed by the forces of god at every turn. This explains why the Christian church routinely supports the fascism of the far-right against the humanitarian logic of the left. If individuals are naturally kind and considerate to one another, there is no reason for a god (or his church) to exist. Marxist logic disempowers the bourgeois myth-making machine and renders it impotent in the light of reason. In the meantime, until a Socialist revolution in the outer world ushers a new (and rational) psychology in the inner world, this dichotomy will continue to exist. With the case of Communist China, the church (and its bourgeois secularist supporters), view its rationality as ‘atheistic’ and a threat to its own (privileged) survival. This explains why the US colony of Taiwan has thousands of American Christian missionaries working there with impunity, attempting to convert the Chinese away from their indigenous belief systems to that of a reassuring and Eurocentric Christianity. This is part of a general and continuous historical undermining of the nation of China and the Chinese people, which has its origins in the European colonial presence in that land. China may have become physically free from Western domination in 1949, but it continues to be a target of the distorted Judeo-Christian psychology of the West to this day; a process of denigration that has unwittingly been assisted by various strands of the Communist Party in the West, that continues a Eurocentric rhetoric toward China by unilaterally declaring that China’s over one billion population ‘is not Communist’. When viewed in this manner it is clear that the taint of Eurocentricism, (something Marx and Engels both abhorred), ensures that China remains continuously attacked by the rightwing and the leftwing. This situation is historically unique as China is being assessed and judged in the West by an undeclared, but nevertheless virulent united front of right and left, premised entirely upon a lack of genuine knowledge about China, which is feed through a Judeo-Christian myth-making filter. China has been made to be the ‘evil other’ in the bourgeois mind-set of the West, and those of the left who confuse historically conditioned prejudice with genuine knowledge.

The simple fact of the matter is that nothing of any real relevance happened in Tiananmen Square on June 4th, 1989. The Western media was present at a minor demonstration that was eventually dispersed by the Chinese authorities. Contrary to Western misrepresentation, people are allowed to protest in China, and exercise this right all the time. There have been many such protests both before and after Tiananmen in China, many of which could be construed as far more significant for various reasons as that which occurred in Tiananmen in 1989, but which the Western press have completely ignored. This is because the bourgeois myth-making machine, (which is nothing but a lie producing entity), must focus all its attention at a single-point in Chinese history if its imaginations are going to have the desired effect of training the minds of younger generations to hate China and not recognise the contribution it is making toward Communism and the progression of world history. It is a matter of resource management. Lies on the scale of Tiananmen are expensive and time consuming. It takes an extraordinary sense of co-operation to exist and develop amongst the self-centred bourgeoisie for this kind of undertaking to materialise. As it is an exercise in totalitarian control, the so-called ‘democracies’ of the West can only pull off such operations between elections, and only then after they have created, through the domestic implementation of ruthless rightwing policies, a disgruntled masses scenario. Today, there is all out war between the technologically advanced West and countries barely out of the feudalistic level of historical development; in 1989 it was the fabrication of the victims of Communism rebelling against their government, or so it seemed. Nothing significant happened in Tiananmen in 1989, but something very important happened in China. She stood alone as the Soviet Union collapsed and resolutely upheld the true Marxist cause on her own whilst under continuous attack from the all the resources the West had to offer short of all out war. China should be respected and through Marxist analysis free of the taint of Eurocentricism the lies should be removed so that the truth becomes apparent for all to see.

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