Pulling Books At Random

The conventional notion of patience is to be very kind and wait and hold your temper, repressing your restlessness…The bodhisattva, on the other hand, free from the compulsive concern with time, can just sit patiently without feeling that he is “waiting” for something else to happen.

~Chogyam Trungpa, The Myth Of Freedom

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Is there a personal Devil? This is more or less the same question as whether there is a personal God. If God, being much greater than we can imagine, is not ultimately personal but is capable of relating to us as persons, something more or less similar is probably true of the great downward force portrayed as the unholy trinity of “the world, the flesh, and the Devil.”…We may fear the Devil and struggle against him, but without him we would not be what we are.
~Richard Smoley, Inner Christianity

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“My friend, I still want to be a gentleman, and to be accepted as such,” the visitor began in a fit of some sort of spongerish, good-natured, and already-yielding ambition. “I am poor, but…I won’t say very honest, but…in society it’s generally accepted as an axiom that I am a fallen angel. By God, I can’t imagine how I could ever have been an angel. If I ever was one, it was so long ago that it’s no sin to have forgotten it…”
~Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (trans. Pevear and Volokhonsky)

Welcome to the Palindome

Like 70 million other Americans, I watched the vice-presidential debate and I decided six seconds after the candidates were introduced that Sarah Palin was evil incarnate.

“Nice to meet you. Hey, can I call you Joe?” Does this ring a bell? I’m convinced that the only reason Governor Palin poured on the folksy, shmaltzy charm at the very beginning was to deliver her “say it isn’t so, Joe” sound byte later on during the debate.

Perhaps the Republican vice-presidential candidate should have used a different tact for her introduction during the debate. One, perhaps that we are all more familiar with: “Please to meet you. Hope you guess my name.”

Worse, after some serious fact checking, my suspicions were confirmed that the marjority of Ms. Palin’s talking points were either false or only half-true. And what happened afterward, our darling media remained as wishy-washy as ever in their coverage. To stress what exactly is going on here please allow me to quote Thomas Pynchon’s intro to the Plume edition of George Orwell’s 1984:

[Our nominally free news media are required to present “balanced” coverage, in which every “truth” is immediately neutered by an equal and opposite one. Every day public opinion is the target of rewritten history, official amnesia and outright lying, all of which is benevolently termed “spin,” as if it were no more harmful than a ride on a merry-go-round. We know better than what they tell us, yet hope otherwise. We believe and doubt at the same time—it seems a condition of political thought in a modern superstate to be permanently of at least two minds on most issues. Needless to say, this is of inestimable use to those in power who wish to remain there, preferably forever.]

Is it me, or did the temperature just drop?

While I won’t go so far as to say that if we shaved Sarah Palin’s head we would find the number of the beast on her scalp; but I do believe that our country is gambling away the last of her basic freedoms if the Republican candidates win the election.

As a voter, I’m not after some pie-in-the-sky kumbaya reality by voting Barack Obama because I have enough sense that such place does not exist. What I want as a free-thinking citizen is the right not to have my front door kicked in over a post like this and while I don’t hear footsteps outside my door just yet the time is coming, if we have four more years of Republican rule, when an angry voter like me won’t even be able to voice his opinion without fear of imprisonment or worse.

“Someone’s sleeping, Lord…”

Wake up!

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