Wednesday, May 11, 2005


"Indeed, the BHAGAVAD GITA itself, as a chapter of this warrior epic [MAHABHARATA], is in aim and content a lecture of encouragement to a young prince afflicted with a qualm of conscience before giving the signal of battle, to free his mind from all sense of grief and guilt in killing. 'For that which is born, death is certain,' he is told; 'and for that which is dead, birth is certain. You should not grieve over the unavoidable.... The Supreme Self, which dwells in all bodies, can never be slain." Weapons cut it not; fire burns it not; water wets it not; the wind does not wither it. Eternal, universal, unchanging, unmovable, the Self is the same forever.'

"'... Dwelling in all bodies, the Self can never be slain. Therefore you should not grieve for any creature.'

"And that, in sum, is the ultimate ground, in Oriental thinking, of all peace. In the field of action—which is to say, in life—there is no peace, and there can never be. The formula, then, for the attainment of peace is to act, as one must, but without attachment. 'Being established in yoga'; the young warrior prince Arjuna of the GITA is taught, 'perform your actions, casting off attachment and remaining even-minded, both in success and in failure. This evenness is what is called yoga. And far inferior is mere action to action performed with this evenness of mind. Seek refuge in this evenness. Wretched are all who work for results. Endued with evenness of mind, one casts off in this very life both good deeds and evil deeds. Strive, therefore, for yoga. Yoga is skill in action."' (from MYTHS TO LIVE BY, Campbell, pp. 201-202)

I get great amusement out of all these calls to transcendent action, whether Christian or Buddhist, calls to action with noble purpose or so beyond my humanity as to be devoid of purpose. How can any action be free of purpose since it must take place with the body's purpose even if only the purposes of the body to pee and to poop? For I am but a man, with the weakness of the frail, human man, and the unquenchable desires born of my biological nature. Philosophy and religion are always trying to make us poor humans commit ourselves to a pie in the sky dream of behavior.

Sounds hopeless to some, I imagine, yet, I think we do have a chance to clean up our acts, but we shall never clean them up until we cast aside morality and begin to consider the science of behavior. When we can ask and answer, "Is selfishness a moral dilemma or a scientific problem," then we can finally start to get to the bottom of my bottom and the breast of her breast.


I love Campbell's brilliant work in unraveling the mythological histories and mysteries of the old world and the new. Odd, that his life's work, which urges the necessity for the power of mythology in every human life, should so much undermine the narrow theologians' rigid mythologies. I take Joe Campbell's ideas a step further. Humans do need to tell themselves some sort of story (or call it mythology) about life that makes sense to them otherwise life 'feels' meaningless. But atheists are a different cut of person. Atheists tell themselves nonfiction stories, documentaries and stuff while theists continue to tell themselves the same old fictional stories of supernatural daring do.

"Parts of Texas look like Kansas with a goiter." — Unknown

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