Encephalon

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About Encephalon

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  1. Any interesting plans for June?

    Here in Los Angeles we are blessed with "June Gloom," an overcast condition that offers some blessed relief from the heat and the UV bombardment. It cools down at night enough for a box fan in the window and I am overwhelmed with gratitude that the long summer of intense heat has not arrived. Every night that cools and promises fine sleeping with oxygen-rich air is a blessing. It's also cleaner due to reduced traffic, although it's starting to return, and gas has gone up 14 cents in less than two weeks. My ambitious exercise routine has been replaced with daily rebounding, at least through the month of June. I feel biomechanically repaired when I use this regimen. I have the tools and the opportunity to wake up, unlike so many unfortunate people dealing with life and death issues around the world, so I am trying to express gratitude in my thoughts and deeds. I am grateful for the opportunity to grow old - turning 60 in September -- and while this is truly a blessing, it comes with the anguish that my own daughter will not likely have the same opportunity. This combination is preying upon my conscience and I hope to find some semblance of peace despite the worrisome forecasts.
  2. https://www.amazon.com/Essential-Spirituality-Central-Practices-Awaken/dp/0471392162/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1590621617&sr=8-1 This was written in 1999, well before I was anywhere near "awake," or at least cognizant of the level of my negative unconscious conditioning. Besides being best friends with Ken Wilber, he's a walking, talking encyclopeadia of spiritual development and a professor of psychiatry who writes in an extremely accessible style and it feels like you're getting a course in comparative religion as well. Taoism and Buddhism get a lot of attention here but there are plenty of Western corollaries. Had I read the book 20 years ago, my spiritual evolution would have likely been advanced. https://www.amazon.com/Body-Keeps-Score-Healing-Trauma/dp/0143127748/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1590621992&sr=8-1 What can I say that could do this work justice? For anyone who's been wrestling with pernicious and destructive forms of negative conditioning, those of us who aspire to be better but seem unconsciously programmed to self-destruct in slow motion, here's the bible of getting free. Trauma, and particularly early childhood developmental trauma, is so rampant in America it easily explains much of the sociopathology we are drowning in as a culture. I wept tears of relief for weeks after reading this. https://www.amazon.com/Sober-Truth-Debunking-Programs-Industry/dp/0807035874/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= For the fellow Bums who took the on-ramp into addiction and found 12-Step programs antiquated, moralistic, and just plain antiscientific, this work will blow you away with possibilities for healing and put to rest any lingering worries that abandoning AA meetings will sentence you to the pit of Hell. I could probably add 4 or 5 more titles if I expanded the criteria but these three form a profoundly accessible resource for those of us who don't have access to expensive treatment or proper mental health care. I can't imagine how my nei kung practice would have advanced had the information in these three been internalzied first, but the practice feels even more satisfying now. `
  3. Calling All Metal Rats

    "The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes" by T. and L. Lau is my go to reference although I'm still using the 7th edition from 2010. My Triangle of Affinity for the Rat includes the dragon and monkey. I took your advice and purchased an Ox pendant. Could you explain the prescription for Ox energy? Is this because of the year? Thanks in advance.
  4. It's pretty clear that the US intelligence community is demonstrably getting politicized to demonize ALL things Chinese as the next permutation of Trump's scapegoating and deflection from his own incompetence. Fox News is complicit in this ongoing charade.
  5. Post-Industrial, post-crash, Taoist village.

    Cut and pasted from my previous article, the following skill sets have been prioritized for "eco-villages" of all kinds, Taoist or otherwise. I believe most architectural considerations will mandate extreme insulation, as we would want to reduce as much as possible energy expended on heating or AC. Obviously, rammed-earth or underground design maximizes the most prevalent building material available. And, of course, humanure will prevail. No way around this. Gotta close that loop! Passive solar design Organic bio-intensive food production Animal husbandry Permaculture and aquaculture Natural and preventive medicine as well as β€œditch” medicine Book-binding and printing Low-cost short wave radio Computer-free mathematics (Greer, J.M. 2016) Further specialization as defined by Lewis Dartnell for a post-industrial reboot included – Clothing Water power Transportation Advanced chemistry (biodiesel, hydroponics, medicines) (Darnell, L., 2014) https://www.amazon.com/Knowledge-Rebuild-Civilization-Aftermath-Cataclysm-ebook/dp/B00DMCV5YS/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+knowledge&qid=1589566534&sr=8-1
  6. I found this article pretty effective at teasing out the political implications of interdependence, a subject held dear by Buddhists, Taoists, and not a few Hindus, not to mention the science of ecology. The western worldview predicated on the supremacy of individual existence, to the absolute eclipse of our interdependency and mutual causation, will have to give way to a more ecological worldview if we are to become an enlightened, planetary civilization. This article looks at the fraying of the "man as an island" theology. https://www.salon.com/2020/05/14/the-pandemic-exposes-the-truth-right-wing-individualism-is-just-selfish-garbage/ AMANDA MARCOTTE MAY 14, 2020 5:15PM (UTC) During Donald Trump's daily press conference (and, wait β€” wasn't he going to quit those?) on Wednesday, the president was unable to hide his irritation at coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci, and pooh-poohed the latter's concerns about re-opening schools and universities. Fauci had testified in front of the Senate on Tuesday and was asked about the possibility of educational institutions opening in the fall. He did not actually weigh in on this policy issue, but just observed, "Even at the top speed we're going, we don't see a vaccine playing in the ability of individuals to get to school this term." Without rigorous testing, he said, there's "a real risk that you will trigger an outbreak that you might not be able to control." Trump, who's always furious at any hint that he actually be working at his job, and is overtly hostile to the concept of expanded testing, became visibly angry about Fauci's comments. "I think they should open the schools, absolutely," Trump told reporters on Wednesday, while bathed in appropriately sinister lighting. "It's had very little impact on young people." Trump reiterated the argument a few minutes later, saying this was "just not an acceptable answer" because COVID-19 "is a disease that attacks age. It attacks health." As usual, the president was barely coherent, but it appears he meant to say that the coronavirus is more dangerous for unhealthy or elderly people. Trump got a lot of pushback, with critics pointing out that there have in fact been numerous cases of young people dying or becoming gravely ill. But that criticism misses the point to a large extent. The principal reason for shutting down schools in the first place was less about protecting young people themselves β€” who do appear less likely to contract COVID-19, and generally tend to recover quickly β€” and more about shutting down a major vector for the coronavirus' rapid spread. Even if not a single young person died from the disease, shutting down the schools was the right move so that kids can't unknowingly transmit the virus to their parents and grandparents, or other high-risk people in the community. This moment, in other words, was another reminder that Trump doesn't even grasp the basic concept of caring about people other than yourself. In his mind, the only factor that should determine whether a student goes back to school is the personal risk to that student. It doesn't even occur to him that students might have concerns about other people's health β€” possibly even members of their own families. But this problem extends beyond Trump. For decades, conservatism has preached a gospel of "individualism," disdaining the idea β€” which is backed by considerable scientific evidence β€” that humans are deeply interdependent pack animals whose survival depends more on cooperation than on individual striving. That right-wing gospel is being rapidly exposed as not but silly, but meaningless and even dangerous in the age of coronavirus. Just a few short years ago, conservatives were in an uproar because Barack Obama gave a speech arguing, "If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business, you didn't build that." (Obama, it should be noted, got the basic premise of the speech from Elizabeth Warren, then a Senate candidate, who gave a spontaneous speech at a meet-and-greet in 2011 making the same points.) Mitt Romney's 2012 campaign seized on "you didn't build that," stoking anger among conservatives who love to tell themselves that their wealth is strictly a matter of their own hard work and who ignore the obvious fact that they wouldn't have gotten far without the taxpayer-funded infrastructure Obama was talking about. This is what passed for "scandal" in 2012: A Democratic politician telling a bunch of delusional conservatives something obvious, which is that individual prosperity depends on the extensive benefits of an interconnected society. To understand how and why the vast majority of Republicans eagerly voted for Trump, a man who literally demonstrates every symptom on the sociopathy checklist, it helps to understand how much the right has morphed into a cult of individualism. In 1987, for instance, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, a major architect of contemporary right-wing thought, famously said, "There's no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families." The Tea Party protests β€” which were largely what Obama was responding to in 2012 β€” were fueled by this faith that "society" is merely an illusion and that conservatives are a bunch of rugged individuals who don't really need anyone else to survive. Certainly, in the far-right mythology, there's no need to respect the concept of a "social contract," or any obligations, such as paying one's fair share of taxes, that flows from it. I shouldn't even have to say this, but racism has long been the not-so-secret fuel for this cult of individualism. The rise of 1964 Republican nominee Barry Goldwater, with his hostility toward federal anti-discrimination legislation and social safety-net programs, was a direct result of white people's anger at the civil rights movement's insistence that black people be included in the social contract as full equals. The Tea Party was full of people whose newfound loathing of taxation was directly proportional to their anger that a black man had become the face of the federal government. Still, the media has taken this idea of "individualism" at face value for decades and dutifully reported right-wing anger at Obama's "you didn't build that" speech as if it were legitimate disagreement, instead of the loony rantings of people whose lives would fall apart the second there was the slightest disruption to social systems that work only because of government investment. The coronavirus has exposed this delusion of individualism for what it is. For one thing, the virus doesn't care if you pop on a tricorner hat and declare yourself a rugged individual. It'll infect you just as easily as it infects a person who stays home, wears a mask and pays their taxes without complaint. Individualism can't stop the virus β€” only collective action can. But on a deeper level, the virus has exposed the incoherence of the individualist ideology. Right now, the same people who fueled the Tea Party protests, including Trump himself, are out there insisting that the lockdowns end. Why? Well ... because they miss the benefits of living in an interconnected society. They want their kids in school. They want to go to the mall or the gym or the hair salon. They want to use public spaces that are either directly funded by taxpayers or only possible because taxpayers pay for roads, utilities and other public infrastructure that make it possible to open stores, gyms and restaurants. More to the point, the idiocy of this individualistic rhetoric is exactly the reason we can't just return to normal life. The "every man for himself" philosophy is why Republicans resisted building up the public health infrastructure that could have responded to this crisis with the kind of mass testing and tracing needed to stop the spread. Even when it was clear the virus was spreading, Trump β€” due to laziness, but also due to his refusal to treat public health as a serious issue β€” didn't do what was necessary to ramp up an emergency response. Obama's words about how "you didn't build that" now feel less like an admonishment and more like a warning. Conservatives have rejected the idea that we're all in this together. Because of the extreme social and political negligence that provoked, they're now losing the benefits of living a society that they pretended they didn't want and didn't even notice. "Every man is an island" sounds like a romantic notion until you actually have to live that way, locked up in your house and unable to interact meaningfully with other people in public spaces. Too bad they had to ruin it for the rest of us, but that, of course, is just more proof that we're all in this together. AMANDA MARCOTTE Amanda Marcotte is a politics writer for Salon who covers American politics, feminism and culture. Her new book, "Troll Nation: How The Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself" is out now. She's based out of Brooklyn and can be followed on Twitter @AmandaMarcotte. MORE FROM AMANDA MARCOTTE β€’ FOLLOW AMANDAMARCOTTE
  7. Your Taoist/Buddhist friend wins the lottery and builds a small village in the Canadian Rockies. What is it like? Who's there? Off-grid? Vegetarian? How would you spend your day (besides raising food and practicing chi kung, of course)?
  8. Deleted topic.

    Sorry folks. The political debate may have quieted down some in TTB. Maybe that's a good thing.
  9. Calling All Metal Rats

    I've Oxe'd out my house, including the fridge. Ready for a balanced relationship between my ratness and my ox.
  10. Calling All Metal Rats

    Uh-oh. I'm effed. Was advised to stay away from horses and rabbits. Married a horse, my wife gave birth to a rabbit. The lady at the mail-order bride company said that inauspicious Taoist combinations were no grounds for getting my money back. All sales final. Looks like a trip to the Mexican market for some ox-tail soup... by the gallon.
  11. Calling All Metal Rats

    Any other Metal Rats in here? My DOB - 09/12/60. Gonna be a good year for me.
  12. How's it going?Β  Starting up nei kung practice again on New Year's.

  13. It would appear that some folks dealing with crippling body-mind issues have not yet discovered the healing power of chi kung and basic methodical, abdominal breathing. TCM... thousands of years old... way ahead of the curve! https://www.thecut.com/2019/05/i-now-suspect-the-vagus-nerve-is-the-key-to-well-being.html?fbclid=IwAR0glHLlN9a3tBxp6XbDwq5TyuvDDbpIqRlcNfiNAd-gJn6O-EYRTL6qovs
  14. The opposite of Taoism is Fascism

    As it's been said before, madmen impose patterns on the world. Geniuses see the patterns. I don't remember where I read that.