Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Local News: It's Murder

Saturday. Over my morning cup of tea, I stumble sleepily into the "California" section of the Los Angeles Times. Front page: a husband and two boys, 7 and 3, murdered--supposedly by their mother in Rowland Heights. Page 3: "2 deny guilt in OC slayings"--a father and daughter killed, allegedly by two men, because they tried to end a relationship between one of the men and another daughter, because the family was Hindu and the suitor a Muslim. Page 7: "Victims are remembered in Burbank: Two apartment complex residents were shot dead Thursday and a third wounded. Then the shooter turned the gun on himself." That's the local news. The first instinct, of course, is to blame the killers. Please instead send metta to these--and all those many other--unhappy and ignorant human beings, who seem to know of no other way to solve their conflicts than to kill their neighbors and their loved ones. Including those who wage war. As our teacher says, the world would be a better place if they could find true happiness and the source of happiness.

And have a good weekend.


carly said...

I offer an excerpt from the "best-known example of fin-de-si├Ęcle decadence", "Against Nature", A Rebours, or Against the Grain, by J.K. Huysmans, 1884, (
as a glaring insight of the fork in the road men took toward the Modern and modern art. There is even a line suggesting the mental state of rejecting reality. How Buddhist it is! The utter disdain for the "impermanent" "mundane". The subject, Des Esseintes, has cloistered himself away from the world like a monk and designed an artificial environment in a country home, and decided intellect can go solo.

"Transferring this artful sophistication, this clever system of adulteration, into the world of the intellect, there is no doubt we can, and just as easily as in the material world, enjoy false, fictitious pleasures every whit as good as the true.

The whole secret is to know how to set about it, to be able to concentrate the mind on a single point, to attain to a sufficient degree of self-abstraction to produce the necessary hallucination and so substitute the vision of the reality for the reality itself.

To tell the truth, artifice was in Des Esseintes' philosophy the distinctive mark of human genius.

As he used to say, Nature has had her day; she has definitely and finally tired out by the sickening monotony of her landscapes and skyscapes the patience of refined temperaments. When all is said and done, what a narrow, vulgar affair it all is, like a petty shopkeeper selling one article of goods to the exclusion of all others; what a tiresome store of green fields and leafy trees, what a wearisome commonplace collection of mountains and seas!

In fact, not one of her inventions, deemed so subtle and so wonderful, which the ingenuity of mankind cannot create; no Forest of Fontainebleau, no fairest moonlight landscape but can be reproduced by stage scenery illuminated by the electric light; no waterfall but can be imitated by the proper application of hydraulics, till there is no distinguishing the copy from the original; no mountain crag but painted pasteboard can adequately represent; no flower but well chosen silks and dainty shreds of paper can manufacture the like of!

Yes, there is no denying it, she is in her dotage and has long ago exhausted the simple-minded admiration of the true artist; the time is undoubtedly come when her productions must be superseded by art."

(I leave it to your devices to apply this to the contemporary image system of art, politics, media, and other aspects of contemporary life, such as ONLINE HUNTING, where one can shoot real game, online, on websites located in Texas, and have the trophy head sent.)

PeterAtLarge said...

Ah, the irony of it, Carly! The substitution of endlessly fascinating human artifice for the tired old efforts of Nature. Not sure, though, that Buddhism proposes an "utter disdain" of the impermanent and the mundane. For me, it's a recognition and a continuing awareness rather than a disdain. The disdain, if the word applies, is for allowing these things to delude us into overestimating their value and importance.

PeterAtLarge said...

By the way, Carly, it's good to hear from you again. How's the pooch?