A Christmas Stocking Type Jumble of Unrelated Ideas

Merry Christmas everybody!

Or if you don’t do Christmas Happy Kwanza, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Festivus, Rohatsu or whatever.

I’m down in Dallas where, yesterday, I attempted to visit the Occupy Dallas movement with my dad. Only when we got to where they’re supposed to be at the time they’re supposed to meet there was nobody around. Maybe they take Christmas Eve off. So we went and saw the new Sherlock Holmes movie instead. It was good. But we also saw J. Edgar, the Clint Eastwood movie about J. Edgar Hoover. That was better. We didn’t see both movies on the same day.

I have mixed feelings about the whole “Occupy Wherever” movement. I’m glad it’s there. I’m glad people are expressing an opinion about how totally fucked the current system is. On the other hand, the message seems a bit muddled. And, as it always is, the movement is pretty much dominated by a certain type of person. It’s hard to define the personality type that always takes over these things. But you know them when you encounter them. They’re sort of loud and cranky and convinced of their eternal rightness. I find those people incredibly annoying most of the time.

I like these protesters better. Seriously.


For those who are interested in understanding what Nishijima Roshi, my teacher, is on about when he talks about the Sympathetic and the Parasympathetic nervous systems here is a little animation for you that explains it all (or at least one aspect of it all). It’s called Prickles and Goo. Take a look:

You’ll note that this animation is by Trey Parker & Matt Stone, creators of South Park, and that the audio is from a lecture by Alan Watts. None of these people have any connection at all with Nishijima Roshi nor do the terms “symapthetic nervous system” or “parasympathetic nervous system” appear anywhere in this piece. And yet Alan Watts is saying exactly, precisely and unmistakably the very same thing as Nishijima.

To translate this into Nishijima’s terms, “prickly” = “sympathetic nervous system” and “gooey” = “parasympathetic nervous system.”

We choose the words we feel most comfortable with to explain the things we think are important. Nishijima Roshi was always, in Alan Watts’ terms, more of a “prickly” person. So he chose a prickly way of expressing himself. He used scientific terminology. This got him some criticism from others more prickly than himself because Nishijima used prickly terminology in a gooey way. And in the world of prickles, being the least bit gooey is not allowed.

Watts, being a gooey sort, chose a gooey way of expressing the same idea. In the world of goo it’s more acceptable to be slightly prickly.

Here are some more good cartoons (the opening, by the way, expresses exactly how I feel about my own work):


Finally, here is a really good article from Cracked.com that you may enjoy.

Have a wonderful holiday season everybody!

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171 Responses

Page 4 of 4
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous December 31, 2011 at 6:36 pm |

    Once again, more contractors
    for Brad's Dad.

    But don't forget to keep the
    story straight.

  2. Mysterion
    Mysterion December 31, 2011 at 7:42 pm |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. john e mumbles
    john e mumbles January 1, 2012 at 4:31 am |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 1, 2012 at 5:52 am |

    mysterion's in his manic troll mode.

    Don't worry Brad, it never lasts very long.

  5. Mysterion
    Mysterion January 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. PhilBob-SquareHead
    PhilBob-SquareHead January 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm |

    If Anon got "it", he-she-it'd never post again.

  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 1, 2012 at 5:06 pm |

    "If Anon got "it", he-she-it'd never post again."

    absurd small talk.

  8. BVR
    BVR January 1, 2012 at 5:43 pm |

    I was reading some on a World War 1 discussion forum. It was interesting how polite the comments were there. The comments here are not so nice. What is it that makes people interested in war act so courteous in their forums, and people interested in just sitting so combative in theirs?

  9. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm |

    Because Zen people think they have outgrown good manners.

  10. Mysterion
    Mysterion January 1, 2012 at 7:01 pm |

    Zen people "cut to the chase."

    They often directly say [a PDF] (or write) what is on their mind.

    An example of this would be saying: "Your politics make me puke." just before spraying vomit on a republican'ts Hart Schaffner & Marx archetypical black suit.

  11. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 1, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  12. Phred Felps
    Phred Felps January 2, 2012 at 6:31 am |

    Anonymity+audience= douchbaggery

  13. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 2, 2012 at 8:15 am |

    I have lurked on these "zen" blogs and have come to a unshakable conclusion:

    True zen, true dharma is a face to face, community affair.

    -ANY- asshole can compose something "wise", pithy and compassionate.
    -ANY- asshole can mull their words over, and craft the "perfect post" given enough time.
    -ANY- asshole can make themselves sound like they have some great insight; 99.999% of these replies have this to some degree.

    Zen blogs – this one included – for me is a big waste of time and bandwidth, having little if any to do with dharma… because the true and only test is how one has brought it to life *IN* their life.
    And brother – this here aint life.

  14. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 2, 2012 at 8:57 am |

    just be aware
    see it and know it for what it is
    same as your reaction to it

    i think what's going on here is some kind of unconscious human animal group dynamic.

    It terms of mental phenomena, my internal experience and what i perceive externally, it feels analogous to a hall of mirrors. However, the mirrors are not at right angles to each other. They are shattered, angular, and you can only see a mirror reflected in another mirror.

  15. anonymous asshole
    anonymous asshole January 2, 2012 at 9:59 am |

    Does an asshole have the Buddha nature?

  16. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 2, 2012 at 10:18 am |

    yes, and no.

  17. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 2, 2012 at 12:34 pm |

    I don't know what I love more, FEMEN or Alan. Kind of both.

  18. Mysterion
    Mysterion January 3, 2012 at 6:31 pm |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Anonymous
    Anonymous January 4, 2012 at 3:29 pm |

    Exceedingly helpful

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