Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

Malcolm
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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

Post by Malcolm »

PuerAzaelis wrote:
Malcolm wrote:I think that you are not properly distinguishing the power differential between ourselves, and those who live in muslim nations, most of which are second and third world nations.

For example, if a white person is biased against black people, this is a more powerful kind of bias than one group of black people having bias against another, for example, the frequent bias black people raised in American express against black people raised elsewhere, and vice versa.

One can expect bias against Muslims from Jeff Sessions. The fact that Harris so shamelessly promotes his bias against Islam is nothing short of appalling.
Oh, for the Namdrol of old.

I suspect it is extremely aggravating for people (such as Sam Harris) to have their words proof-texted. But, well, c'est la vie, once that mud starts flying, things tend to spiral out of control. Hell, before you know it, you're living in some place called Moscow in 1934 and there's no court of appeal and that court officer with the jackboots and revolver is making you nervous.

But I forget myself. One man's bigotry is another man's subtle postmodernist critique. As we all know. Since we are all enlightened post-enlightenment whatever-we-ares-based-upon-our-present-whim. Indeed, one man's bigotry may be another man's championing of the downtrodden and the oppressed, who all, I have no doubt, would unhesitatingly appreciate all of his sentiments without question. And if they did question these sentiments, well, no need to take the noble savages at their word. They are oppressed, therefore delusional, so our words can be safely uttered in order to liberate them, after all. As long as you are preaching to the correct choir. Or talking about the perfectly appropriate topic, "power differential", as opposed to, I dunno, cultures, or books, or ideologies, or belief-systems or ... well whatever topic it is that makes your points valid and the other man's invalid.
Different day, different point. You will note that I do not spare Christianity nor Judaism from the charge that they are religions essentially founded on the basis of culture wars and ethnic cleansing.

What we are witnessing now is a fundamentally Christian exercise of power over the Muslim world. Terrorism against Western populations is a direct consequence of US wars of aggression the Middle East, and the failure of an anti-Commiunist foreign policy that made crucial policy errors in the 50's, not limited to the CIA's replacement of Mosedeq with the Pahlavi family in Iran.

I fully understand the anxiety of Europeans who are fearful. I also think that the Harris response, i.e., to try and blame Muslim terrorist behavior on books absurd.

The difference between what I am saying and what Harris says is that I am saying is that monotheism itself is the problem, not any of its particular expressions.

I am not apologizing for Islam, I saying that Harris is a bigot who has problems with Muslims based on their belonging to a religion. For example he claims:

"While the other major world religions have been fertile sources of intolerance, it is clear that the doctrine of Islam poses unique problems for the emergence of a global civilization...The only future devout Muslims can envisage—as Muslims—is one in which all infidels have been converted to Islam, politically subjugated, or killed."

This statement is such absolute bullshit coming from a person who lives among Fundie Christians in the US. His laughable defense of the Second Iraq war is equally pathetic.

He summarizes, "It is not at all clear how we should proceed in our dialogue with the Muslim world." Yes, it is not at all clear when one engages in dehumanizing and humiliating others based on what you imagine they believe.

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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

Post by PuerAzaelis »

Malcolm wrote: I do not spare Christianity nor Judaism
Neither does Harris.
Malcolm wrote:I also think that the Harris response, i.e., to try and blame Muslim terrorist behavior on books absurd.
My point is that from proof-texting your own statements to an absurd degree, he could do precisely the same to you.
Malcolm wrote:The difference between what I am saying and what Harris says is that I am saying is that monotheism itself is the problem, not any of its particular expressions.
That's exactly what he would say.
Malcolm wrote:"While the other major world religions have been fertile sources of intolerance, it is clear that the doctrine of Islam poses unique problems for the emergence of a global civilization...The only future devout Muslims can envisage—as Muslims—is one in which all infidels have been converted to Islam, politically subjugated, or killed."
And again this idea that he is somehow sparing Christian fundamentalism is just to proof-text him, the way you were just illegitimately proof-texted. For this one quote, I could trot out hundreds where he calls bullshit on any monotheists from Baptists to Mormons to Jews to Muslims, etc, ad nauseam. Just using the old faithful argument "bigot" no more holds water against him than "fascist" or some other label holds water against modern leftist literature.
Malcolm wrote:This statement is such absolute bullshit coming from a person who lives among Fundie Christians in the US. His laughable defense of the Second Iraq war is equally pathetic.
Yea well the hard left never forgave Hitch for that either, did they? I loved seeing George Galloway telling Congress to go f themselves as much as anyone but the fact remains Hitch was walking around Iraq on foot talking to people and that was what he based his decision on. So on the question of whether we are better or worse off after W's little crusade, as far as I'm concerned the jury is still out on that one. Reasonable minds apparently can differ.
Malcolm wrote:"It is not at all clear how we should proceed in our dialogue with the Muslim world." Yes, it is not at all clear when one engages in dehumanizing and humiliating others based on what you imagine they believe.
Taking statements out of context is an extremely alarming tactic, because it establishes a kind of kangaroo court that doesn't need to be peer-reviewed. Your own statements, blithely defended by you as "another time, another context", etc, could similarly be utilized by someone far more unscrupulous in a blood-curdling fashion. So could the statements made by some idiot writing for that website.

The point is that if we just trot out the labels, we are giving our own intellectual legacy away to some cretin who is going to come along after we are gone, and who may not be just quite so dependable a philosopher king as we are.
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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

Post by boda »

PuerAzaelis wrote:
Malcolm wrote: I do not spare Christianity nor Judaism
Neither does Harris.
Indeed, Harris has a far greater body of work critical of Christianity than he does of Islam. I suppose that means he's "racist" against white people??? :?
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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

boda wrote:
PuerAzaelis wrote:
Malcolm wrote: I do not spare Christianity nor Judaism
Neither does Harris.
Indeed, Harris has a far greater body of work critical of Christianity than he does of Islam. I suppose that means he's "racist" against white people??? :?

No, it means he's terrible at what he does. 75% of his meanderings are transparent nonsense where he sets out to simply prove his thesis that "religion" (always a vaguely defined, moving target, representing whatever group his is criticizing at the time) is the cause of the worlds ills, and somehow the horrors wrought by non-religious economic and ideological systems (especially liberal democracy, which he basically believes can do no wrong) have escaped his ire. In his world people just read stuff from books and act it out, so if a book says something bad, there is a one to one relationship between that, and a violent happening.

Some of his reductionist arguments might appeal to younger people looking for something "edgy", I would have liked them when I was 18 and was similarly convinced that all the problems in the world could be reduced to religion and "superstition". Frankly I'm amazed that other people I know and respect take them seriously. It's almost like satire where only the most shocking quotes from world religion, etc. are used. The fact that so many fall for his schtick is more indicative of the void on the left where religious discussion is involved than it is the merit of his arguments.

What makes some of it cross the line into bigotry is that he continues to be circular in his presentation, ultimately his main purpose is to show that religions are bad, and to imply that the people following them are not to be trusted - especially Islam. In a more "liberal" time, where the political situation was not what it is, this might be a juvenile, but otherwise ok way to get people talking. Under the present circumstances, where both Jihadist terror and increasingly attacks against Muslims in the West are becoming an everyday thing, it becomes bigotry, and beyond that stupidity.

The fact that he either does not know, or purposely avoids the effect that his non-productive "dialogue" has on his listeners and fans is precisely what made me really start to dislike his rhetoric, as well as some of his friends like Maajid Nawaz etc. I don't think that all they say is "racist", "bigoted" etc..., they occasionally make some good points, and I am all for actual valid criticism of religious institutions. I do think though that both have crossed the line in places to becoming kind of reactionary snake-oil salesmen, pretending they are "fighting extremism", when in fact they seem to more be acting as cheerleaders for people who want a permissibly "liberal" form of xenophobia. The job of public intellectuals is not only promoting debate and calling out nonsense, but actually having some consideration about what their own contributions bring to the table, rather than just talking out loud.
Malcolm wrote: I do not spare Christianity nor Judaism
Puraezelis wrote:Neither does Harris.
Yes he does. I have never seen him refer to Jews or Christians as some Fifth Column waiting to destroy America, yet he does this quite regularly with Muslims implicitly through his claims that Islam itself (again, people just do what's in books, no more complicated than that) renders most Muslims incapable of resisting it's pull to 'destroy the west", claiming that it cannot be reformed and whatnot.

You know, I respect you guys frustration with the current dialogue surrounding Islam, the sterile, PC way in which the debate is often approached, but I think you really should be more critical of spurious arguments put forth by people like Harris, in times like these.
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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

Post by boda »

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
boda wrote:Indeed, Harris has a far greater body of work critical of Christianity than he does of Islam. I suppose that means he's "racist" against white people??? :?
No, it means he's terrible at what he does.
I was being facetious of course, but what it probably means is simply that he's delved into a religion more local to his culture.
...liberal democracy, which he basically believes can do no wrong) have escaped his ire.
I haven't read or watched much of him, yet this doesn't ring true.
Some of his reductionist arguments might appeal to younger people looking for something "edgy"
Edgy? Perhaps you mean not PC.
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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

Post by boda »

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Puraezelis wrote:Neither does Harris.
Yes he does. ...claiming that it cannot be reformed and whatnot.
:jawdrop: The entire point is reform. How do you not get that?!
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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

boda wrote: I haven't read or watched much of him, yet this doesn't ring true.
Indeed, if it doesn't ring true you haven't read much of him. A huge part of his schtick (and the New Atheists generally) is that liberal democracy coupled with scientific advancement is basically the nadir of "enlightened" social systems, and that the "classical liberal, Western.." etc. values that he espouses are simply better than everything else, they represent the best of all possible worlds . If you agree with this, fine, I personally see this as a myopic enough position that I think it damages a lot of his critiques. It's very similar to what you se eon the very other end - people who think the Third World (for instance) can do no wrong because "The West" ruined everything. Such simpleminded approaches to such complex things do not fill me with confidence.
Edgy? Perhaps you mean not PC.

No, I mean they are often juvenile and not particularly relevant to anyone willing to actually think out his positions, and not simply adopt them because they sound good.
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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

boda wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Puraezelis wrote:Neither does Harris.
Yes he does. ...claiming that it cannot be reformed and whatnot.
:jawdrop: The entire point is reform. How do you not get that?!

Sam Harris generally doesn't believe Islam can truly be reformed, without being pretty much dismantled, last I checked. He may have softened a little.

Let me say though, if you want this sort of thing, Maajid is better to read and listen to than Sam.
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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

Post by PuerAzaelis »

Johnny Dangerous wrote:A huge part of his schtick (and the New Atheists generally) is that liberal democracy coupled with scientific advancement is basically the nadir of "enlightened" social systems, and that the "classical liberal, Western" etc. values that he espouses are simply better than everything else, they represent the best of all possible worlds . If you agree with this, fine, I personally see this as a myopic enough position that I think it damages a lot of his critiques. It's very similar to what you se eon the very other end - people who think the Third World (for instance) can do no wrong because "The West" ruined everything. Such simpleminded approaches to such complex things do not fill me with confidence.
Fair points.
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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

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Malcolm wrote:The difference between what I am saying and what Harris says is that I am saying is that monotheism itself is the problem, not any of its particular expressions.
Well that's news to me. Last I checked the problem was good old hatred, greed, and delusion. Life itself is predicated on the consumption and annihilation of other lives, and unfortunately it seems to involve a far more gratuitous indulgence in destruction than the mere need for food would seem to impose upon it. Animals don't need monotheism to sodomize one another and tear each other limb from limb for meal, dominion or play, and neither do humans. Ideologies are the problem now? Come on...

The Buddha said that all was ablaze, and he was most certainly correct. Take away their monotheism and some other form of nonsense will appear to justify rape, pillage and slaughter. Oh wait that already happened, we called it Communism...or wait, maybe it was the national socialist party...


EDIT:

But then it seems you don't disagree?
Malcolm wrote:Who cares what philosophical justification Christianity and Islam use? Theological underpinnings have nothing to do with the systematic ethnic cleansing that both Christians and Muslims have engaged in. Theology is just their excuse. Theology is bullshit anyway.
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"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

Post by PuerAzaelis »

Johnny Dangerous wrote:I have never seen him refer to Jews or Christians as some Fifth Column waiting to destroy America, yet he does this quite regularly with Muslims implicitly through his claims that Islam itself (again, people just do what's in books, no more complicated than that) renders most Muslims incapable of resisting it's pull to 'destroy the west", claiming that it cannot be reformed and whatnot.

You know, I respect you guys frustration with the current dialogue surrounding Islam, the sterile, PC way in which the debate is often approached, but I think you really should be more critical of spurious arguments put forth by people like Harris, in times like these.
Maybe. I still think a lot of it is quote-mining. And I think that if you want to call someone a "bigot" who doubts the Chomsky, blowback, etc, narrative, is the deepest explanation, or who simply thinks that Islam cannot be reformed, or even separated from the notion of physical jihad, you have stretched that word into meaningless Brave New World territory. Worse, you are using it to corral debate and exposing yourself to someone who will come along later and use that word in ways you cannot presently foresee. I likewise respect your points, but I likewise think you should be more critical of the left squandering it's otherwise extremely important points on BS low hanging fruit like this. The spirit of the 60s cannot believe this sh-t. Instead of framing the debate about the alienation of capital from labor we're pussyfooting around issues of whether if we say people who tear the clitorises off of young girls aren't quite such nice people then we're going to be told we're bigots by the PC police.

PS: And is it really f-ing necessary for me to say that five doors down from me on my street is a Muslim family and I'm sure the dad (who is an optician) has never even remotely desired to tear the clitoris off of his young daughter? It's like all this trepidation about being labeled something or other has driven us all crazy and no one can speak plainly any more.
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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

I didn't call him a bigot, I said the things he says sometimes cross the line into bigotry, participially given the context in which he says them, and I stand by that.

I could care less whether he is personally "a bigot" and consider the question a real distraction from what he does, which is what I was criticizing.
PS: And is it really f-ing necessary for me to say that five doors down from me on my street is a Muslim family and I'm sure the dad (who is an optician) has never even remotely desired to tear the clitoris off of his young daughter? It's like all this trepidation about being labeled something or other has driven us all crazy and no one can speak plainly any more.
I didn't say anything about that, so any feeling of that sort you have did not come from me.

Nonetheless, if you want a more intelligent conversation about Islam, then make one. There are some very good reasons for thinking that Harris et al. are not really up to the task.
but I likewise think you should be more critical of the left squandering it's otherwise extremely important points on BS low hanging fruit like this.
I am not sure who you think of as "the left".
around issues of whether if we say people who tear the clitorises off of young girls aren't quite such nice people then we're going to be told we're bigots by the PC police.
I personally have never met anyone vaguely aligned with my politics who would be ok with female genital mutilation, nor would any of the people I regularly talk to about such things have a problem condemning it, so i'm not sure what you want me to respond to.

Since you brought it up though, whose reaction are you complaining about to this, and what would the proper reaction be?

In other words, who told you you were a bigot for objecting to female genital mutilation, and in what context?
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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

Post by dzogchungpa »

That dream Harris had with Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was pretty cool, wasn't it?
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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

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dzogchungpa wrote:That dream Harris had with Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche was pretty cool, wasn't it?
Totally! Very envious of that myself :cheers:

Wait...I see what you did there :twothumbsup: :rolling:
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Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

Post by Malcolm »

PuerAzaelis wrote:PC police.
Red herring of all red herrings.

The problem with Harris is that he blames Muslims for not being sufficiently Western and liberal. This is why I think he is a bigot. He targets Islam, and Muslims for special venom in his writing, etc. This is amazingly clear evidence of his bigotry:

  • 4. It is perfectly possible—and increasingly necessary—to speak about the ideological roots of Islamism and jihadism, and even about the unique need for reform within mainstream Islam itself, without lapsing into bigotry or disregarding the suffering of refugees. Indeed, when one understands the problem for what it is, one realizes that secular Muslims, liberal Muslims, and former Muslims are among the most desirable allies to have in the West—and, indeed, such people are the primary victims of Islamist intolerance and jihadist terror in Muslim-majority countries.
Muslims became radicalized when Western powers started attacking Muslims. Muslims did not start attacking the West.

He continues to talk about "reform within mainstream Islam itself," while having zero expertise in Islam, being completely ignorant of its history, tradition, language, and doctrines.

He then says:
  • 6. The next acts of jihadist terrorism to take place on American soil will most likely be met with terrifyingly blunt (and even illegal) countermeasures by the Trump administration. If all that liberals can do in response is continue to lie about the causes of terrorism and lock arms with Islamists, we have some very rough times ahead.
The cause of terrorism from Muslim countries is Western economic imperialism. Harris does not understand, or refuses to understand the real causes of violence that is coming against the West from the Muslim world. And even here, that violence is minimal, compared to the violence that competing factions fighting resource wars against each other in the Middle East, etc. are inflicting upon one another. Harris' point of view is rooted in bigotry because it does not address the real issues and relies on scapegoats.

My intellectual distaste for monotheism as a socio-religious-economic system is distinct from my lack of sympathy for Harris' politics of scapegoating.
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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

Post by Malcolm »

aflatun wrote:
Malcolm wrote:The difference between what I am saying and what Harris says is that I am saying is that monotheism itself is the problem, not any of its particular expressions.
Well that's news to me. Last I checked the problem was good old hatred, greed, and delusion.
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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

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Malcolm wrote:
aflatun wrote:
Malcolm wrote:The difference between what I am saying and what Harris says is that I am saying is that monotheism itself is the problem, not any of its particular expressions.
Well that's news to me. Last I checked the problem was good old hatred, greed, and delusion.
Malcolm wrote:The Buddha was fairly clear that some views are more pernicious than others.
I don't think you've addressed my point, but I see you've given your position some nuance above, so I'm cool with that :smile:

He was also fairly clear that all views (DN 1) are rooted in contact, and hence, in delusion, so they can never be anything but a red herring...
Last edited by aflatun on Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

Post by dzogchungpa »

aflatun wrote:He was also fairly clear that all views (DN 1) are rooted in contact, and hence, in delusion, so they can never be anything but a red herring...
It's red herrings all the way down.
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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

Post by aflatun »

dzogchungpa wrote:
aflatun wrote:He was also fairly clear that all views (DN 1) are rooted in contact, and hence, in delusion, so they can never be anything but a red herring...
It's red herrings all the way down.
No argument with that from me

What happened to the one upmanship thread... :tongue:
"People often get too quick to say 'there's no self. There's no self...no self...no self.' There is self, there is focal point, its not yours. That's what not self is."

Ninoslav Ñāṇamoli
Senses and the Thought-1, 42:53

"Those who create constructs about the Buddha,
Who is beyond construction and without exhaustion,
Are thereby damaged by their constructs;
They fail to see the Thus-Gone.

That which is the nature of the Thus-Gone
Is also the nature of this world.
There is no nature of the Thus-Gone.
There is no nature of the world."

Nagarjuna
MMK XXII.15-16
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Re: Sam Harris receives a (literal) pointing out instruction

Post by PuerAzaelis »

Johnny Dangerous wrote:In other words, who told you you were a bigot for objecting to female genital mutilation, and in what context?
You mean aside from the millions of men who approve of or enforce the practice? Odd little omission - any reason not to take them at their word regarding this issue? As long as the patriarchy preempts the bourgeoisie we can safely indulge criticism of Muslim men to our hearts content? But the moment those same men threaten the imperialist crusaders instead of their own wives and daughters - get the tar brush out for the "bigots"?

http://www.fuambaisiaahmadu.com/events.html

https://islamqa.info/en/45528

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/2 ... me-try-new

https://www.theatlantic.com/internation ... st/389640/

http://fgm.co.nz/beliefs-and-issues/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/areomagazi ... oblem/amp/

https://www.pri.org/stories/custom-fema ... -indonesia

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.thegua ... -indonesia
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