State-sanctioned discrimination against LGBT people legitimizes the kind of anti-gay attitudes and beliefs that lead directly to anti-gay bullying at the ballot box and anti-gay bullying in schools.
I liked Stephen Mitchell’s translations of Rilke, but I remember hearing his Tao Te Ching as a book on tape (remember those?) lo these many moons ago, and feeling puzzled at how different it sounded from the other versions I’d read. So this is pretty funny (and several months old, but I just happened across it while looking for something else):
Tao Te Ching is an ancient Chinese scripture originally written by Lao-tzu (who some scholars believe is actually an amalgam of various wisdom texts). Mitchell alleges he studied the texts and various interpretations for years, immersing himself in Zen training before writing the book. As a result, “rather than provide a literal translation, the book embodies language that conveys Mitchell’s version of Lao-tzu’s meaning and the spirit of his teaching,” the complaint says. “Accordingly, Mitchell’s book is a highly original work.”
When an otherwise notable translator like Stephen Mitchell muddies the waters with something as irresponsible as his wild interpretation of Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching passed off as translation, it is like a virus in a computer that begins to invade other programs. Mitchell writes that he felt no compunction to study the original Chinese because he somehow got the transmission directly from his Zen master, so felt free to interpret the Tao Te Ching freely. In at least a couple of chapters, there is not so much as a single word brought over from the original. The problem with this kind of practice is that the naïve reader might assume that the English bears some resemblance to the original, which all too often simply isn’t so. Or as Chuang Tzu might say, “Not quite there yet, eh?”To truly understand Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu or most classical Chinese poetry, we would need a large scholarly apparatus to clarify all the allusions and explain a cast of characters and provide an explication of cultural-philosophical contexts and linguistic differences. We would know the Analects of Confucius and the Classic of Filial Piety, the I Ching, and elementary Chinese cosmology.
Like so many other Christians I had chosen to view the story of Adam and Eve as a metaphor for something. I just wasn’t sure for what.
“A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed young men sitting in their mother’s basements and ranting. They are very angry people,” he told the Cheltenham Literary Festival. “OK – the country is full of very angry people. Many of us are angry people at times. Some of us are angry and drunk. But the so-called citizen journalism is the spewings and rantings of very drunk people late at night.”
The problem is that this tidy narrative is an American myth. The real story of religion in America’s past is an often awkward, frequently embarrassing and occasionally bloody tale that most civics books and high-school texts either paper over or shunt to the side. And much of the recent conversation about America’s ideal of religious freedom has paid lip service to this comforting tableau.From the earliest arrival of Europeans on America’s shores, religion has often been a cudgel, used to discriminate, suppress and even kill the foreign, the “heretic” and the “unbeliever”—including the “heathen” natives already here. Moreover, while it is true that the vast majority of early-generation Americans were Christian, the pitched battles between various Protestant sects and, more explosively, between Protestants and Catholics, present an unavoidable contradiction to the widely held notion that America is a “Christian nation.”…America can still be, as Madison perceived the nation in 1785, “an Asylum to the persecuted and oppressed of every Nation and Religion.” But recognizing that deep religious discord has been part of America’s social DNA is a healthy and necessary step. When we acknowledge that dark past, perhaps the nation will return to that “promised…lustre” of which Madison so grandiloquently wrote.
The history of philosophy throughout the world has been a struggle between two basic fundamental systems — idealism and materialism. Spirituality is a kind of idealism. It takes the view that the spiritual world, the world of ideas, imagination, and mental formations, is the true reality. Matter is regarded as secondary at best or sometimes even as nonexistent. We are spirits trapped inside bodies made of gross matter – and some bodies are a lot grosser than others – and the way to happiness, according to the idealists, is to get free of this material world and its miseries. In many Eastern philosophies we are told, “I am not this body. I am the spiritual soul within.”
What projects will you pursue now that you have the funds?There’s a project that [“The Wire” co-creator] Ed Burns wants to do that reflects on the 1880 Haymarket bombing in Chicago, which was an elemental point in terms of capital and labor in our society. There’s a book I’m working on with [longtime Simon collaborator] Bill Zorzi about the drug economy of Baltimore in the ’50s and ’60s. We’re trying to reach as many of the surviving players before they pass on. I’m working with Ed and [Baltimore Sun reporter] Dan Fesperman on beating out scripts for the history of the CIA from 1947 on. That’s a long-term project. This grant may enable me to hold onto writers for projects that aren’t greenlit yet.
“For now, let’s keep the door open to the idea that animals can be spiritual beings and let’s consider the evidence for such a claim,” he added.“Meager as it is, available evidence says, ‘Yes, animals can have spiritual experiences,’ and we need to conduct further research and engage in interdisciplinary discussions before we say that animals cannot and do not experience spirituality.”
“They can’t get inside you,” she had said. But they could get inside you. “What happens to you here is forever,” O’Brien had said. That was a true word. There were things, your own acts, from which you could never recover.
Nation of slaves, indeed. Spending your adulthood fearing the potential job you might not get because of something you posted on the Internet once, what a life. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a Facebook Like button…
You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves.