Everybody Knows?

Hello from your roving Zen reporter, reporting to you today from Glasgow, Scotland where the weather is damp and rainy. “That’s nowt rrrain, laddie!” they tell me, “That’s nowt bot smirr!” Yet it seems like rain to me. Or drizzle at least.

Yesterday I visited my old friend Nick Wilding aka Vic Wild Thing the fiddle player of the band My Niece’s Foot for whom I played bass in Japan way back in nineteen-diggity-two or whenever the hell I lived in Japan. Nick’s into human ecology, sustainability, community action and all of that wonderful stuff. He has two lovely children who are extremely energetic. Zing! And a lovely wife Tara and two kitty-cats.

The talk and one-day retreat in Glasgow last weekend were amazing. You should’ve been there! Judi Ferrell of Merchant City Yoga hosted and her friend Cynthia McVey did the first night’s talk in an “In Conversation” format. She interviewed me on stage. This is a lot more fun than the usual thing where I just talk at the audience for a while to try to stimulate them to ask questions or otherwise respond. Part of it was video’d and all of it was audio recorded. As long as I don’t lose the files before I can upload them, maybe you’ll be seeing or hearing the results soon.

There are still a few UK dates left. They are:

Nov. 23-25 (Fri-Sun) Weekend Sesshin at Fawcett Mill Fields, Penrith, Lake District  UK Sponsored by Yoga Manchester

Nov. 25 (Sun) Manchester, England Sponsored by Yoga Manchester

Nov. 27-28 (Tues-Wed) Hebden Bridge Zen Group, UK contact Rebecca at rebeccahabs@googlemail.com

Dec. 2 (Sun) London, England, The Vibast Community Centre, 163 Old Street, EC1V 9NH, for info sacredalchemyevents@hotmail.com

The Lake District thing and the Hebden Bridge thing are both longer retreat type events. Although you can also come on Tuesday night to Hebden Bridge and just hear the talk if you don’t want to commit to sitting all day on Wednesday. The events in Manchester and London are just talks. Easy-peasy! As always, all of my events are on my Events Page.

It’s amazing to me that I can come to places like Glasgow, Berlin, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Warsaw and a host of other (to me) exotic locales and get rooms full of people, while I only seem to be able to attract the same six people to my regular sittings in Los Angeles. What is up with LA people? You can’t sit still for a little while?


In Buddhist news, Joshu Sasaki Roshi, Leonard Cohen’s Zen master and one of my first teacher’s teachers, a guy whose book I often recommend as one of the best on Zen practice, has been outed on Sweeping Zen as a sex pervert by my buddy Eshu Martin up in Victoria, BC.

Like Eshu says, “everybody knows” and has known about this for ages. It’s one of those things you hear about in Zen circles. Yet nobody really knows precisely what went on other than those who were present at the time.

The very first commenter on Eshu’s piece when it appeared on Facebook said, “Glad you’re saying it. It needs to be outed and stopped in every community.” He is a man, by the way*. This is the common response. I don’t find it very interesting or useful. It’s the same old stuff. Everybody loves a lynching. Even you. Trust me. You do. (Yes, I’m talking about you.) So when we find someone who falls into our own personal category of “lynchable” we are ready to go after him. All of us. But is that really where we want to go?

If you are keen to seriously dig into this and not just opt out for the knee-jerk response, there are some comments on Eshu Martin’s Facebook page from a woman who was… Well, what was she exactly? One would generally say she was a “victim” of the Roshi’s abuse. But she doesn’t feel that way at all.

She says, in part, “It’s so easy to make someone wrong. I ‘suffered Roshi’s abuse’ and it was the closest I ever got to god.” She goes on to state that, “Everyone knew about it, everyone talked about it. Oshos (Sasaki Roshi’s higher level assistant priests) were distressed about it. Processes were put in place. We were constantly being offered support around it… well handled I thought.” She says a whole lot more. But I already feel like maybe I’m overstepping some of those unknowable Internet protocols by quoting her here. The post I’m referencing appeared on Eshu’s Facebook profile page on November 16th. Dig for yourself and maybe you’ll find it.

This is very interesting to me. It’s incredibly easy to slip into habitual modes of thinking around hot button issues like this. It’s important to be very careful about that sort of thing. Which isn’t a way of saying that I think hetero male Zen teachers ought to grope their female students so they can get closer to God. There really is such a thing as sexual abuse and some of it happens with Zen teachers. But then there are far more complicated things that also happen for which there is no category.

I feel like our need to slot things into established categories may be one of the deepest problems we have to uproot as human beings pursuing the dharma. It’s a survival skill we need, this categorizing of things. It’s what keeps us alive. If I’m walking down the street in a foreign country at night, as I often am these days, I have to watch people closely. If a group of guys is giving off signals I read as potentially dangerous, I walk down another street.

Maybe they’re perfectly nice people. Maybe they’re just excited about a football match they just saw. But I have no way to know. So I categorize quickly and act accordingly. This is what we all do all the time.

But we also have a tendency to go too far with this. Or to believe that the categories in which we place things are true or absolute. That becomes a problem if our aim is to see all of life just as it is.

I feel like Eshu’s article and the response it is generating are very important and interesting. I’m glad he said what he said. I’m waiting for more.

I’ve always wondered what was really going on around Joshu Sasaki. He is one of the best expounders of what Zen is all about that I have ever encountered. His book Buddha is the Center of Gravity is absolutely one of the best out there. He knows his stuff. His teaching methods in all areas have always been unorthodox. Not just the sex stuff that’s now being talked about, but everything he does.

The female commenter on Eshu’s Facebook clearly states that she does not consider what Sasaki did to her or to the other women at his center that she talked to as “sexual abuse” or even as sex at all.

Curioser and curioser. This deserves a closer look.

* I was wrong. The commeter in question was female.


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101 Responses

Page 2 of 2
  1. Andy
    Andy November 21, 2012 at 3:44 am |

    Power? It’s always about power, at some point. Sex? It’s always about sex, at some point. Zero point? It’s always about being stupid, I guess.

    I remember when one of our kittens fell in the bath. For some reason her cute little brother found he couldn’t resist the excitement that still shocked and vulnerable, shivering wet pussy induced in him, and so proceeded to mount her. A slap of the hands and a stern “No!” put pay to that particular biological dance. We put forward the snip for the pair of them after that.

    She’s grown to be much larger and frequently lets off steam at his expense. She’s worked out by now that anything beyond a hiss with my wife or I is a minus game – so it’s all on you poor fella these days, I’m afraid(constant nose and ear wounds noted). A slap of the hands and a stern “No!” helps to avert the worst. That is, when us Titans are around to ‘help’ out.

    All in all, I’d say they’re very happy, healthy little critters, who know how to make themselves discreet when the humans fall out – and then reappear for treats or lap snoozes when the time is right. This is not a parable.

  2. CosmicBrainz
    CosmicBrainz November 21, 2012 at 6:24 am |

    So the main question is, how big is the priest’s penis? The girth and length is what I’m talking about. Also, was the female pleasured sufficiently? Did he cum too fast and feel impotent, did he cum too fast and not feel impotent, or did he not cum too fast? Are females more likely to tattle-tale when they’re sufficiently pleasured?

    We are like bonobos afterall. Let’s have a group orgy!

    I hate human beings and their sexuality. BURN IT ALL! In the name of the Tathagata! *giggle*

  3. Fred
    Fred November 21, 2012 at 6:28 am |

    Uku, why not pursue it within yourself without the context of the formal, outside structures?

    1. Uku
      Uku November 22, 2012 at 3:20 pm |

      Fred wrote:

      Uku, why not pursue it within yourself without the context of the formal, outside structures?

      Who says I’m not pursuing? 🙂

      I didn’t gave up practicing zazen. I’ve been practicing zazen over 16 years and most of the time without formal context. Hell no gaving up Buddhism and formal Zen will destroy the essence aka zazen. Zazen is everything.

  4. Fred
    Fred November 21, 2012 at 6:30 am |

    The priest was upon the Absolute, but he left his penis-brain in samsara.

  5. CosmicBrainz
    CosmicBrainz November 21, 2012 at 6:32 am |

    Samsara and nirvana are the same. Neither have intrinsic properties of their own.

    Thus, it does not matter whether the priest came too early or not?

  6. SoF
    SoF November 21, 2012 at 4:05 pm |

    And now Joshu Sasaki Roshi… what next? Tony Alamo?

    Yes, Virginia, there is plenty-o-evil in this world of shadow and light.

    Fame sans fortune or fame and fortune can lead to hedonism. In fact, there is a religion called “hedonism.”

    And hedonism is the full flowering fruit of DESIRE.

    Let me see… desire? suffering?

    Buddha saw the causes of suffering in craving, desire, and ignorance.

    Anyone who puts up with unwanted sexual agression from another – regardless of gender – is exhibiting ignorance.

    If you find yourself in this situation, speak up! Or become a “silent lamb.”

    Boundary violators [a PDF], with early intervention, respond to treatment. I’ld guess that 105 is too late.

    It is a PROBLEM.

    “It confirms that authorities, as well as wanna-bes, are subject to the failings of the human condition.”

  7. A-Bob
    A-Bob November 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm |

    Well a nickel is a nickel, and a dime is a dime
    I need a new girl, she won’t mind
    Tell me how long do I have to wait?
    Can I get you now, or must I hesitate?

  8. Khru
    Khru November 21, 2012 at 10:09 pm |

    Zen…sexual something, something…drugs, bad…..zen…..sex…drugs….

  9. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote November 21, 2012 at 10:13 pm |

    Lord, I went to my window, babe, I couldn’t see through my blinds
    Went to my window, babe I couldn’t see through my blinds
    Heard my best friend coming around I thought I heard my baby cry.

    ‘Cause I’m leaving in the morning, if I have to ride the blind
    Leaving in the morning, if I have to ride the blinds
    Well, I’ve been mistreated and I swear, I don’t mind dyin’.

    yeah, how long do I have to wait; well, kin I gets you now, eh must I sex… drugs… sin… hesitate.

  10. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote November 21, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  11. Fred
    Fred November 22, 2012 at 3:03 am |

    “Samsara and nirvana are the same”

    This is seen at zen zero. Not dropping the penis-mind is to be ever deluded.

  12. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon November 22, 2012 at 6:00 am |

    Brad writes about sex scandals involving popular and financially successful Zen teachers and then complains that “I only seem to be able to attract the same six people to my regular sittings in Los Angeles.” The problem might be that Brad is not having enough sex with enough of his students. He should advertise it as “Tantric Zazen” or something similar and before he knows it there will be suckers (and fuckers) lined up around the block.

    “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.” H. L. Mencken

  13. anon1253
    anon1253 November 22, 2012 at 8:29 am |

    Regarding Everybody Knows…

    “He is one of the best expounders of what Zen is all about that I have ever encountered. His book Buddha is the Center of Gravity is absolutely one of the best out there. He knows his stuff.”

    OK, and you two live in LA?
    Then, how come you’ve never met the guy?
    What’s up with that? It’s strange.

  14. Phumbling
    Phumbling November 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm |

    I’m interested in hearing more of your take on this, Brad. I sometimes get all judgemental when I initially disagree with something you’ve written but by the end of it I feel you have opened some side secret portal and I understand completely – this time I’m still waiting for more. My right now assumption is you are protecting this guy based on the comment of one woman because he was a teacher of a teacher of yours. Everything else you’ve posted about abuses of power have been blunt and exacting without bashing the teachings of that person. This time you are (in my opinion) saying the exact opposite to help this potential douche from being tagged an abuser. He might be and he might not be but you’re alluding that he most likely probably isn’t but won’t say that outright. In essence – I’m confused and this post doesn’t seem to sit well with me. I assume you don’t generally read these comments and perhaps if you don’t respond I’ll copy and paste this to an email after I read it again. Read the comment and the blogpost again that is. Thanks for your time and keep on doin what you do.

  15. Fred
    Fred November 22, 2012 at 5:23 pm |

    There will be knowing:

    “I resented that men were not injis. It can be frustrating just to have a dialogue. His broken english here. ‘You don’t understand’ there. I was bribed (not by Roshi) with a motorcycle and a vacation to a tropical place to stay because I think the senior women who do inji are tired of the abuse, tired of the position. Any young female who goes there is swiftly moved on to the inji position.
    That whole organization is so dysfunctional”

  16. JamesAtkerson
    JamesAtkerson November 22, 2012 at 7:41 pm |

    Who is this woman that she gets to legitimize the Roshi’s behavior? Personally I think this is a very odd response — “She says, in part, “It’s so easy to make someone wrong. I ‘suffered Roshi’s abuse’ and it was the closest I ever got to god.” She goes on to state that, “Everyone knew about it, everyone talked about it. Oshos (Sasaki Roshi’s higher level assistant priests) were distressed about it. Processes were put in place. We were constantly being offered support around it… well handled I thought.” The closest I’ve ever gotten to God? What sort of sorcery is this? And further more this line, “Everyone knew about it, everyone talked about it. Oshos (Sasaki Roshi’s higher level assistant priests) were distressed about it. Processes were put in place. We were constantly being offered support around it…” truly smacks of the disciples defending the savior with really confronting the root causation … sort of, if you felt molested, come to us we will counsel you, comfort you, support you in your recovery, how some ever we will not confront the host of hosts. Would this wash if it was a found out Catholic Priest? or Baptist Minister? or Evangelical Preacher? Didn’t wash for Warren Jeffs or many others … and in the case of Warren Jeffs most of his flock is patiently waiting for the walls to come down and Jeffs to return to his rightful leadership role as a chosen messenger of God.
    Jeffs gets them nearer or the nearest they too have been to God or so they choose to believe … I’ve read stories of Muslim Imams that get away with this sort of thing and if the woman presses she takes her life in her own hands. One does not charge the messengers of Allah it seems.

  17. Phumbling
    Phumbling November 22, 2012 at 9:43 pm |

    Thanks Brad for the quick reply. I have reread both my comment and the blogpost. I suppose I was left feeling like there is more to be explored because you already said that there is more to be explored! ha. So, here I am. Thank-you.

  18. Wedged
    Wedged November 23, 2012 at 6:03 am |

    Anyone know where i can get a copy of his book? Amazon doesn’t have it!! How is that even possible 😉 Email me or comment back…

    “Buddha is the Center of Gravity”

    I could check a library but not sure i want to read it that bad.

  19. Fred
    Fred November 23, 2012 at 6:21 am |

    Abbess Myoan Grace Schireson:

    “Fifteen years ago one of my students voiced his reason for leaving Sasaki and Mt Baldy where he had lived for an extended period. He said “It is one thing for a teacher to make these mistakes; it is a bigger problem for me that the sangha does nothing. I cannot abide with that.” And this is the dynamic that perpetuates the problem; those who can’t stand it leave (in silence or without public protest), and those who accept this behavior, stay and support the teacher. As others have said, we need to speak out even when there is some risk”

  20. HarryB
    HarryB November 23, 2012 at 6:57 am |

    Yeah, bullshit metaphysics/religious waffle re ‘not knowing’ etc is just that: Bullshit. Amazing how the practice of awakening can be twisted by deadheads to be reduced to ‘passing a blind eye’ and a sort of numbed blanket ignorance. Zero responsibility, zero accountability… the same old murky tricks as always peddled by men with unchecked authority.

    And I’m not just blaming the old man either; any social situation that results in this ethical sludge and the ever attendant rhetoric of denial and apology is always a complicated matter that requires the involvement of several, or many, parties: those who gush over the touchy-feely ‘enlightened master’; those who resign their autonomy to the ridiculous and infantilizing notion that some big spiritual ‘daddy’ is going to ‘save’ them; and those who have an investment in it (emotional and/or otherwise) that impels them to stay the hell quiet while the head honcho indulges his quirks.

    That the Roshi is a brilliant and talented and highly experienced teacher, and a remarkable human being, is indeed another element to this, but the orgs failure to address this is failing everyone, including the Roshi. It’s top-heavy organizational cowardice and stasis that allows the vacuums to form that allow for this. I wouldn’t trust anyone in that Roshi’s position, very much including myself.

    Wakey, wakey, folks!


    1. senorchupacabra
      senorchupacabra December 4, 2012 at 2:47 pm |

      Damn, Harry, as per usual, you do a much better job at articulating what it is exactly I’m trying to get at in my own posts, particularly re: this topic.

      I would even go so far as to say that if the teacher is reduced to groping his students, it certainly doesn’t appear as if that teacher is “brilliant and talented and highly experienced… a remarkable human being…” I think it just shows how easily people can be misled. Say a few nice words, write a decent book and, voila, it suddenly doesn’t matter how you act, only that you wrote and said some nice things under the name of “Zen” or “Christianity” or “Peace” or “Enlightenment” of whatever other catchphrase attracts the attention, money and adulation of some people.

  21. Fred
    Fred November 23, 2012 at 7:06 am |

    “The closest I ever got to God” was the ” work done ” in the presence of Sawaki to
    see that ” there is no birth and no death for the center of gravity ”

    Sawaki :
    ” In Buddhism, the outside is not the outside; it is ourselves. The center of gravity of ourselves and the center of gravity of the outside are one. ………..
    There is no inside either.”

    Different words for experiencing one’s original face, no self upon the Absolute,
    actualizing the fundamental point, realizing the Universe, etc.

  22. Fred
    Fred November 23, 2012 at 7:09 am |

    Enlightenment with a V.D. price tag.

  23. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote November 23, 2012 at 8:28 am |

    thanks to Adam Tebbe for the post “I’m sorry, was this an inopportune time?…” over on his Sweeping Zen.

    He pulled some back teeth out of me:

    “I’ve said before, no one should have to put up with sexual harassment, and it seems especially repulsive in an instructional setting.

    So here we have the deal: folks who have something they want to get and who have been taught that they must give up something to get it may give up the wrong thing.

    I find it particularly ironic that Sasaki has no successors, as though the folks who became long-time students gave something up but never got what they thought they would get in return.

    That there are institutions and individuals that claim to be able to provide an appropriate setting, guidance and counseling for the experience of a “deliverance from thought without grasping”, as the Gautamid once expressed it, is what sets Chan and Zen apart. That many of these individuals and institutions claim that the experience must be transmitted personally by a qualified teacher is also a part of Chan and Zen, although it was not a part of the original teachings of the Gautamid. The flower that Mahakasyapa saw was actually in the hands of a naked ascetic, having fallen out of season after the Gautamid’s death; Mahakasyapa proceded to the town where the Gautamid’s body lay on the funeral pyre, and acquired the robe and bowl there. Isn’t it interesting, the way the story is told in the Zen tradition! Nevertheless, there is an assumption among Zen students that the deal is to become the disciple of a teacher, and then to become a light to the world when the dharma has been transmitted mysteriously from the teacher, making the assumption that actually no thought is required and indeed thought is counter-indicated when “deliverance from thought without grasping” is the goal. Intuition may be vital, but the formation of belief must needs include science as the informer of intuition and the shaper of belief.

    In zazen, personal belief can translate into action without the intermediary of volition; this is a matter of human nature very much like the experience of hypnosis, but unlike hypnosis there is “no doer, no ‘mine the doer’ with respect to this consciousness-informed body”, not even a hypnotist to be found. In a state of hypnosis, a person does what the hypnotist suggests, except where that suggestion conflicts with the subject’s sense of morality; however, there are ways to cloak the morality of the suggestion so that the subject will do something that they would not otherwise accept as moral . Because action in the absence of volition is a kind of selfless action that takes in unconscious as well as conscious experience, it can be a very timely action, almost supernaturally so; do we blame the students that they are awestruck by the teacher’s selflessness in action, do we blame the teacher who is truly acting selflessly but nevertheless in part from belief formed through reason and experience, or do we examine the phenomena of zazen and the experience of the hypnogogic state with a cool eye, and de-mythologize what is going on so that we can finally arrive at a way of teaching zazen for what it is?”

    those who can, teach; those who can’t, do.

  24. robert
    robert November 23, 2012 at 8:50 am |

    @Mark Foote:

    > those who can, teach; those who can’t, do.

    Best thing I’ve heard in this entire thread. This entire year even.

  25. SoF
    SoF November 23, 2012 at 8:54 am |

    I thought it was:

    Those that can – do

    Those that can’t – teach

    Those that can’t teach – teach PE

    Those that can’t teach PE – become principals.

  26. robert
    robert November 23, 2012 at 9:04 am |

    “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day.
    Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.
    Talk about fish, take all his money as consulting fees.”

  27. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote November 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm |

    thanks, Robert. I had a former P.E. teacher as my advisor when I did my student teaching; I took the math classes that were remedial at the junior high and high school, and although I made some progress in the month I was there, the discipline in my classes was not what you would call exemplary so on his counsel the program cashiered me. Those who can’t teach P.E. and don’t become principals become advisors to student teachers and as advisors they specialize in C.Y.A.; ah well, I would never have seen Hawaii if I hadn’t gone on from there to become a travel agent.

  28. King Kong
    King Kong November 24, 2012 at 4:21 am |


  29. Andy
    Andy November 24, 2012 at 6:29 am |

    ‘Knowing’ is very good for moral outrage. Let’s syphon off some more sublimated monkey juice!

    My take.

    Being involved in all this knowing business, we shouldn’t push the envelope to the extent that we distract ourselves from the fact that what we don’t know is thoroughly involved in it.

    Being involved in what we don’t know brings more clarity for effective action. It helps us to locate, discern and define what we can say has happened, and to draw valuable generalizations people can opt into that are applicable in and for other similar situations.

    It also enables us (as part of an honest and discerning engagement with what we know) to relate in a rounded and flexible way as human beings to other human beings, including ourselves and situations that we all – in various ways, at different levels and at different times – have a stake in.

    For example, expressing what we understand as someone’s actions in terms of ‘a flawed human being’ we might be rationalizing away others (and our) responsibility. Yet framing talk of ‘flawed human beings’ in terms of rationalization we might also be rationalizing away our (and others) responsibility. Both ‘flawed human beings’ and ‘rationalization’ are default positions of knowing, until they have been reinvigorated and re-realized through an examination of not only the facts, but the facts as we are seeing and re-fashioning them.

    There is no way for what and how we don’t know not to be involved in what and how we know. We can ignore our not knowing, we can even deconstruct the language in which it is reified ( i.e ‘not knowing’ is not ‘not knowing’, but merely another ideological designation passed between those ‘in the know’), but it is still a functioning aspect of the activities involved in knowing and our expressions of it.

    It’s just that when we do this, not knowing functions within and as the forms of our knowing. Everything we don’t know is my insistence in what I know as the whole matter and has the quality divisiveness; everything I don’t know qualifies what I know as separate and distinct and insists on division.

    Realizing what we don’t know and our not knowing clarifies and delimits what we know and enables what I have called – crudely – ‘insisting’ to function more freely and flexibly with the force of compassionate action and expression (inherent within it) and in a less limiting, limited and fractious way. It helps us to burn up whatever we are sublimating with less noxious and obfuscating smoke; to notice the neurotic and psychotic processes and byproducts we can pour into issues en masse; and to reduce how such can often turn into an unwholesome feeding into and from the shit-storms surrounding such scandals.

    The next situation we look into will always play some part in renegotiating our pre-existing ideas, beliefs and stand-points on issues that we feel represent another example case. This renegotiation can be a process in which we reassert the same old self/social contract, in fixed or superficially different terms, or it can be one where we are evolving another new one – reassessing or reinvigorating the old terms, and/or discovering new ones.

    Without our not knowing we are heading in a direction that holds much personal and social damage and misery along the way.

  30. HarryB
    HarryB November 24, 2012 at 7:14 am |

    Zen Master Donald Rumsfeld speaks on the nature of knowledge, no-knowledge and unknown-knowing etc for the purpose of justifying a devastating war on Iraqis who, it was inaccurately claimed, were supplying weapons of mass destruction to terrorists…

    “Now what is the message there? The message is that there are no “knowns.” There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know. So when we do the best we can and we pull all this information together, and we then say well that’s basically what we see as the situation, that is really only the known knowns and the known unknowns. And each year, we discover a few more of those unknown unknowns.

    It sounds like a riddle. It isn’t a riddle. It is a very serious, important matter.

    There’s another way to phrase that and that is that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It is basically saying the same thing in a different way. Simply because you do not have evidence that something exists does not mean that you have evidence that it doesn’t exist. And yet almost always, when we make our threat assessments, when we look at the world, we end up basing it on the first two pieces of that puzzle, rather than all three. ”

    … it may just be that, in the real world of human interactions that occur outside of the little spheres of what we think or don’t think, it is more practical to evaluate a situation based on people’s actual actions (especially in something as clear as sexual groping, or whatever) than on our own understanding of what does or doesn’t constitute knowledge.



  31. Fred
    Fred November 24, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  32. Fred
    Fred November 24, 2012 at 10:46 am |

    “And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
    Everybody knows that it’s moving fast
    Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
    Are just a shining artifact of the past
    Everybody knows the scene is dead
    But there’s gonna be a meter on your bed
    That will disclose
    What everybody knows

    And everybody knows that you’re in trouble
    Everybody knows what you’ve been through
    From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
    To the beach of Malibu
    Everybody knows it’s coming apart
    Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
    Before it blows
    And everybody knows”

  33. BrightHeart
    BrightHeart November 24, 2012 at 11:13 am |

    Hymnus Ad Patrem Sinensis

    I praise those ancient Chinamen
    Who left me a few words,
    Usually a pointless joke or a silly question
    A line of poetry drunkenly scrawled on the margin of a quick
    splashed picture—bug, leaf,
    caricature of Teacher
    on paper held together now by little more than ink
    & their own strength brushed momentarily over it
    Their world & several others since
    Gone to hell in a handbasket, they knew it—
    Cheered as it whizzed by—
    & conked out among the busted spring rain cherryblossom winejars
    Happy to have saved us all.


  34. hrtbeat7
    hrtbeat7 November 24, 2012 at 11:55 am |

    “Self-importance is our greatest enemy. Think about it – what weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellowmen. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone.”

    ~Carlos Castaneda

  35. Fred
    Fred November 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm |

    ” the closest I’ve been to God ” is an interpretation of a state brought on by:


  36. Fred
    Fred November 24, 2012 at 2:59 pm |

    A song for NellaLou ( in formless circumstance )


  37. Andy
    Andy November 26, 2012 at 7:31 am |

    “… it may just be that, in the real world of human interactions that occur outside of the little spheres of what we think or don’t think, it is more practical to evaluate a situation based on people’s actual actions (especially in something as clear as sexual groping, or whatever) than on our own understanding of what does or doesn’t constitute knowledge.”

    Agreed. Regarding the situation discussed in this thread, people – including myself – have and are actually evaluating a situation based on their limited knowledge of people’s actions, projecting ‘little spheres’ of understanding into the public arena. It is important that we do this, important that we are engaged. And, as this is something worth being engaged in, it is also important to have a good look at how we are being engaged and what we are actually basing our views and comments on.

    My own words were not of “our own understanding of what does or doesn’t constitute knowledge” versus people’s actual actions. They were about what constitutes our views, especially those we choose to share, about people’s actions. If our casual or not-so casual tuppence worths on sites like these (or facebook) can have some accumulative effect, no matter how tangential, then we should take the opportunity, especially out the outset of another public scandal, to have a good look at how and what we are actually doing.

    Brad’s words from the outset here addressed this, and struck a note of caution. Words that have been met here and in other spaces with passionate responses. Also very real people connected with this scandal, and in much more intimate ways than you or I, will probably have already read people pronouncing on things that affect their ‘little spheres’ quite deeply. And one person, at least, had the bones of their words picked over.

    Discussing what we understand as our actual ‘not knowing’ does not have to mean we are involved in some sort of philosophical distraction or obfuscation from engaging with what we do know, despite the conceptual mazes it might produce; and it certainly doesn’t in this blog where such issues have been brought to our attention with the intention to also make us think twice, to”seriously dig into this and not just opt out for the knee-jerk response”.

    Constructs like ‘Not knowing’ can be bandied about or received like some old chestnut of a construction, but what it means to me is something very practical and very human. It’s how I take care. And so I think it’s important to take care of that meaning, in light of the other pitfall of throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

  38. HarryB
    HarryB November 26, 2012 at 10:34 am |

    Hi Andy,

    I’m from Ireland (we are still coming to terms with our failures around institutional sexual abuse, including all the denial and protective ‘selective blindness’) and am all too familiar with the ambiguous language of justification and denial around this. This all seems very familiar and, while there may be cause for question marks regarding the situation, I would suggest that there may be more cause for concern seeing as there is little transparency or accountability in this situation despite fairly strong indications that something is amiss.

    Part of the response that we are putting in place here in Ireland now is to accept the word of those mistreated, or those speaking for them, first and foremost, and to ensure that there are no ‘barriers’ for people accessing help (it’s called ‘Children First’), and we’ve made it a personal responsibility for every citizen to report suspected abuse directly to the police (i.e. not to your superior in an org, say) regardless of who they are. This is so that historical factors (e.g. church/institutional/political/social etc power and the denials of people who supported it/upheld it) do not ‘come first’ as they did during the time when such conditions ensured people’s silence, and led to a culture of fear, shame and silence on the part of the people who had been mistreated.

    So, it seems to me that we need to take a position that favours potential victims over potential perpetrators. And if indeed it does transpire that all the allegations are smoke, at least we can say that we were wrong with the best interests of the most vulnerable party in mind.



  39. Let’s Talk About Sex… March 6, 2013 at 6:51 pm |

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