Nesting Buddhas and insubstantiality

[ by Charles Cameron — from the Buddha’s Diamond Sutra via matrioshka dolls and koans to Sun Tzu and Wittgenstein ] . From Karl Brunnhölz, The Heart Sutra Will Change You Forever, in today’s Lion’s Roar: Besides being a meditation manual, we could also say that the Heart Sutra is like a big koan. But […] Read more »

Destructive Witnesses: JW, IS, Saudis, Brits, Byzantines

[ by Charles Cameron — religions taking other religions apart, stone by stone, image by image, song by song ] . Some recently converted Jehovah’s Witnesses appear to have destroyed the altars of indigenous Otomi people in Mexico, an anthopologist has stated: Assailants have damaged an ancient Otomi Indian religious site in Mexico, toppling stone […] Read more »

Intellectuals and their Romance with Political Barbarism

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“] Martin Heidegger, Eric Hobsbawm and Ezra Pound A  meandering post inspired by Reason Magazine and Charles Cameron. Reason.com is best known for giving a scrappy libertarian take on current events, crime, technology and pop culture, but recently, an article by Charles Paul Freund touched a deeper, darker vein of twentieth century history […] Read more »

Adding to the Bookpile

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. "zen"]    Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor / Hiroshima / 9-11 / Iraq by John Dower  Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934-1941 by William Shirer Moral Combat: Good and Evil in World War II by Michael Burleigh  Picked up a few more books for the antilibrary. Dower is best known for [...] Read more »

Sunday surprise 5: once in a blues moon

[ by Charles Cameron -- time for some more surprises, this time in stone and jazz -- plus an afterimage of WWI ] . First, a master-class in the craft of the blues: Second, the moon: And third, because of the violence in Kenya, Pakistan, Syria … get me a globe and I’ll spin it… [...] Read more »

Of Alice, Angels and Apsaras

[ by Charles Cameron -- squeezed between the space of astronomers and the paradise of the believers, is there yet room for the dancing play of poetry, music and imagination? ] . My first question for you today would be — do you believe in Alice? And further to that, do you believe in the [...] Read more »

Hints followed by guesses; and the rest Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action

[ by Charles Cameron -- you can safely ignore this if you have zero interest in any or all of Bach, Eliot, Christianity and Sufism ] . It’s Sunday evening here, let’s start with Yehudi Menuhin playing Bach — the great Chaconne: ** This post began to coalesce for me when Dr Alan Godlas, whose [...] Read more »

Octavian Manea interviews MIT’s Roger D. Peterson

Another installment of Octavian Manea’s excellent COIN interview series at SWJ. This one focuses on social science and varieties of insurgency: Breaking Down “Hearts and Minds”: The Power of Individual Causal Mechanisms in an Insurgency  ….OM: In your research you pointed out to a spectrum of conceivable individual roles in an insurgency. What is the [...] Read more »

Reforming Intelligence vs.Intelligent Reforms

The intense behind the scenes lobbying on behalf of prospective candidates to replace General David Petraeus as Director of the CIA and the ongoing furor over Ambassador Rice’s “talking points” on Benghazi, have spilled over into op-eds quietly urging that the vacancy be used as an opportunity for reforms of the IC and CIA. This [...] Read more »

Form is Insight: the project

[ by Charles Cameron -- about the (not yet titled) book (or post-book project) i seem to be writing, which offers a grand slam intro to an array of box-free contemplative and artistic approaches to creative thinking, and hence opens fresh angles on intelligence ] . One thing I can promise: whatever this project turns [...] Read more »