Regarding the idea of the soul (Jiva), Vardhamana introduced a small change that made a significant difference in his approach to life and the shaping of the Jain code of conduct. It was widely accepted by Indian society that animals, humans, and even the gods had souls, but Vardhamana went even further, claiming that nearly everything is alive. Everything is made up, according to his view, of Jiva or “living intelligence”, trapped in matter. Living beings were divided into different categories.
Beings with five senses, including humans and major animals.
Beings with four senses, they cannot hear (wasps, flies, butterflies).
Beings with three senses, they can neither hear nor see (ants, moths, fleas).
Beings with two senses, they can only taste and touch (worms, leeches, shellfish).
Beings with only one sense, they only have the sense of touch (plants, microscopic organisms, wind, fire, water).
These ideas became the basis of the most important component of the ethical code of Jainism, named ahimsa or “non-violence”: Violence against any living creature in any form is strictly forbidden. Because Jains believed that everything was alive, non-violence was taken very seriously, to the point that the followers of Vardhamana veiled their mouths for fear of inhaling and killing the organisms of the air. They also screened their lamps to protect insects from the flame and swept the ground before walking in order to avoid the risk of accidentally trampling out any life. Some sources claim that Vardhamana would allow mosquitoes to feed on his blood, and while other ascetics would carry sticks with them to scare off the dogs, Vardhamana would allow the dogs to bite him. Even vegetables were considered to be alive, along with inanimate objects, such as rocks and fire. For this reason, the most strict Jains would only eat vegetables and grains of rice that were already lying on the floor, no longer attached to their source, and would never cut up a plant to obtain their food.
Vardhamana is credited as the author of an interesting parable known as, “The blind men and the elephant”, which is a form of criticism of the conventional assumptions on the nature and scope of human knowledge. A group of blind men are taken to an elephant and asked to inspect the animal while describing it:
[...] the one whose hand landed on the trunk said, "This being is like a drain pipe". The one whose hand reached its ear said, “This being is like a kind of fan”. The one whose hand touched its leg said, "This being is like a pillar". The one who placed his hand upon its tail said...
All these descriptions are accurate and incorrect at the same time. The point of the parable is clear: all points of view are partial and there is no such thing as an absolute truth when it comes to human knowledge. All human notions are imperfect, incomplete, tentative. This parable illustrates the fundamental doctrine of Jain epistemology known as Anekantavada, which maintains that no single point of view or human notion can be regarded as the complete truth. This parable is also mentioned in other traditions as well, such as Buddhism and Sufism, but it is most strongly linked to Jainism as it is perfectly consistent with the Jain epistemological approach.
No deity was recognized by Vardhamana: The only road to liberation was people’s own personal effort. This is the reason why Jainism is considered an atheist religion. Vardhamana emphasized the importance of individual actions.
Al-Ma'arri (973-1057), whose full name was Abu 'L'Ala Ahmad ibn 'Abdallah al-Ma'arri, was born in Ma'arra, south of Aleppo. He achieved fame as one of greatest of Arab poets. Al-Ma'arri was stricken with smallpox when four and became blind. As he grew older, he was able to travel to Aleppo, Antioch and other Syrian cities, learning by heart the manuscripts preserved there. Al-Ma'arri spent 18 months at Baghdad, then the center of learning and poetry, leaving to return to his native town. There he created the Luzumiyyat, a large collection of verses that contrasts from traditional works by its irregular structure and in the opinions it contains. His presence in Ma'arra drew many people, who came to hear him lecture on poetry and rhetoric.
Of himself, al-Ma'arri wrote "Men of acute mind call me an ascetic, but they are wrong in their diagnosis. Although I disciplined my desires, I only abandoned worldly pleasures because the best of these withdrew themselves from me." But his somewhat misanthropic nature appears in another remark: "I was made an abstainer from mankind by my acquaintance with them and my knowledge that created beings are dust."
In the meditations of the Luzumiyyat are sentiments which, had they not been surrounded by many expressions of pious faith, would have incurred a charge of heresy. In a somewhat oblique apology for any offenses his work might engender, al-Ma'arri said "I have not sought to embellish my verse by means of fiction or fill my pages with love idylls, battle scenes, descriptions of wine parties and the like. My aim is to speak the truth. Now, the proper end of poetry is not truth, but falsehood, and in proportion as it is diverted from its proper end its perfection is impaired. Therefore I must crave the indulgence of my readers for this book of moral poetry."
Al-Ma'arri's skepticism of all religions reminds us of Xenophanes, Carvaka, and Lucretius, and does not re-appear in Western thought until the Enlightenment. He was equally sarcastic towards the religions of Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Al-Ma'arri remarked that monks in their cloisters or devotees in their mosques were blindly following the beliefs of their locality: if they were born among Magians or Sabians they would have become Magians or Sabians. Al-Ma'arri was a rationalist who valued reason above tradition or revelation. Like Carvaka he saw religion in general as a human institution invented as a source of power and income for its founders and priesthood, who pursued worldly ends with forged documents attributed to divine inspiration. Like Vardhamana and the Jains, al-Ma'arri believed in the sanctity of life, urging that no living creature should be harmed. He became a vegetarian and opposed all killing of animals, and the use of animal skins for clothing.
Al-Ma'arri passed judgments with a freedom that must have offended the privileged members of his society. In Reynold Nicholson's words "Amidst his meditations on the human tragedy, a fierce hatred of injustice, hypocrisy, and superstition blazes out." Many of the extracts below are taken from Nicholson's translation.
Calmness: Page 2
Sanctity of Life Page 3
Reason and Truth Page 4
Mortality Page 5
Those Who Falsely Lead Us Page 6
Religion and Superstition Page 7
Sources Page 8
People invariably talk in terms of cause and culpabilty when they are unprepared to take full responsibilty for thier feelings and situations: whereas I would argue that it is a matter of conditions.
The concept of conditions requires being somewhere and is an expression of space, whereas cause and culpabilty are both linear aspects of time.
So you can live and kill and eventually die on a line, albiet bent and never straight or can dwell eternally
in an infinitly dimensioned space, even if you are only able to enjoy a few dimensions. I'm replacing the previous clause after a discusison on a train to St Ives on 11th Feb where I argued against that.
The conditons for an existence are many, or more accuratly undefined in totality and inevitably infinite and whole. But let's use H2O as a simple example.
I am not going to look at the conditions needed of it's internal structure to exist but the basic human concious interaction. We all are familiar with water for drinking, which seems essential, washing and swimming being less important.
Yet H2O exists in three main forms, ice, water and steam. Ice although not as common as water is well appreciated whereas steam is a bit more obscure or should I say vague. Steam is a colourless gas and is essentially H2O molecules moving around at high speed.
Certain condtions are prevalent for H2O to appear in any one of these forms, both commonly appearing to equate to temperate; however pressure is equally important. By reducing the pressure on water it will convert to steam even if there is no change in temperature.
So you can see that whereas certain conditons must be met for an existence it cannot be viewed that heat melts water. Heat does have the nature of being transfered but it does not have the nature of cause and does not melt things. Heat does not melt wood nor stone, although it can be used to melt stone.
Cause and Effect
Looking at the environment from a perspective of understanding the fundemtall conditons that have to exist for a complex form to exist is the stuff of science i.e. knowledge, the task being understanding. Yet most understanding is not a pure intelectual pusuit with the goal of knowing but of controlling. Here exists the basis of linear thought that one thing ineviably leads to another. Despite this being absolutley false this is inhernt in our language, so words follow words, but does one word mean that another has to follow, surely I can write what I like even though it may be unintelligable.
So there is a cause and effect mentality that pervades human thinking which is then seen as polarisation and extended to the issue of success or failure, profit and gain. The outcome of applying a finite amount of conditions does not necessaripy produce the succes and gain it was set for.
Most often in human endeavours that require a gain, when some task to perform fails there is seen to be a weakness or wrongness. People are then held to account for not being fully in control of the environment and blame is then apportioned. Of course those apportioning rarely take their appropriate share and so the disparity grows between what really does exist and that which is only a function of conditions.
The problem is that the simple idea of spirit and body has become an never ending search for conditons that can be manufactured for the minds desire to control. There is a never ending set of conditions as to why H2O exists and an equally non-exhuastive uses water can be put to.
So can you really ever be to blame for not understanding enough conditons and or not having the will to manipilaute them to anothers liking, well obviously you can; but intellectualy it's a load of bullshit, it is just bullying, something us humans are becoming conditioned to.
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So there's a wagon with two wheels, she has problems balancing but it can be done. However every time the load changes a new balancing act is required. More often than not the wagon is either ass down or tits down, neither is very attractive and leaves the wagon open to use at either end.
Then there's the wheel, I mean not one of the ordered pair that are inherent to the wagon, but the odd wheel, the lonely wheel with no wagon. He has trouble just standing alone and is at it's best when rolling along. The faster it rolls the more stable it becomes, yet in it's stability it unwittingly losses control and becomes less able to direct itself.
Thus the wheel and the wagon are both contray and complimentary; the later has lack of direction and yet is plainly stable, whereas the wheel so able to have direction but such is reciprical to it's stabily. Of course there are instances of the wagon and the wheel with direction and stabilty as in the segway and unicycle, but each is topped by a directional spin and wobble.
The spinning top comes to mind only in it's similarity to the wheel that it's stability is directly related to it's speed of movement, which is this case is rotation on it's axis. Although no more than a toy, a playful reminder of self absorbtion, like the wheel the top can be used to stabise a wagon, yet it adds nothing to direction.
Now the stories of the wagons with three wheels is diverse for each three wheeler travels it's own sweet or sour direction, not confined to the tracks required by a wagon with spinning top.
Whereas the direction set by the third wheel may be deemed undoutdedly devious, the wagon is largely liable for the load. Large or small is not the primary issue, but both balance and weight are. For the directional wheel losses control in inverse proportion to the weight. And of course if the wagon becomes ass heavy and tips back then the extra wheel is defunct. If the load is too forward and demanding the direction is grounded and the front wheel digs in. So there has to be some effective control of the load by the third wheel, something the wagon finds hard to swallow.
What keeps the wheel to the wagon is friction and part of that is the sheer weight of the wagon, yet before such intimate bonding there has to be some force that brings them into proximity, that of attraction and repulsion.
Attraction is in the direction of the void. No matter where you want to go you can only go where there is space to park, the attraction of the emptiness. This is not the same as the apparent attraction of opposites or that birds of a feather flock together, this is a basic principal underlying attraction, birds to food and the filling of wagons.
It is arguable that a wagon needs no destination and can be self fulfling, but then it would be a mere container, that could be moved, a skip. A wagon has more awareness than a container as it anticipates movement and is keen to shunted around. The attraction is the avoidence of the numbness of being filled with the same old crap. Better a ship be that can ply a variety of good and evil; at least that is the draw, the illusion, that by being on the move it's possible to avoid at least some of the crap.
And so we value the singlemindedness of the wheel, the promise of freedom, and are all to ready to blind ourselves to the ineviatble lack of stability and bogging down in the mire or desire.
When a obviously larger force tries to influence a smaller the term bully may be applied to the former, whereas when the later tries to influence the former it may be called pestering.
Size or mass do not differentiate the two, although such properties may help to note them. Insects as well as deer are pests to me, whilst I'm cultivating crops. If a human were to ravage my plants they could be a criminal in the theft or damage they action, but the human must have intent. So if the person is starving, in such a case they are a pest, like a beggar, a busker, a charity mugger, a solicitous soul touting for money for use of their body or use of your mind. At this point all advertising is one or the other.
Social Media becomes bullying when enough pests outweigh the target and the influence is acknowledged. Perfect business would respond to a single compliant before it grows to a pester, let alone fester.
Bullying is not confined to the battery of another and UK law does define assault as other than unwanted physical contact. It is the repeated action that is bullying. Physical violence may not be bullying if there is no intent of outcome, whereas continually arguing a point to persuade another certainly is.
As bullying requires a force to be reckoned with, many small voices, which individually can pester, all to easily become bullies, as in trade unions and social media. That such exist shows that the individual who alone is a pest feels bullied.
Employers, are inevitable bullies along with the law in general. In fact anyone laying down the law is a bully as the only criteria for a law is that it can be enforced.
So bullying unlike pestering can only be done with some degree of concious effort, albeit minimal. A bull may not appear as clever as a poor hungry orphan but in defence of it's territory will use it's mass to support it's anger to move an intruder.
Bullying and pestering are not real properties as they represent a polarised view, yet each of us acts out both sides of the argument adding to the notion of at least a relative sense of what is real.
This is early learnt, from a baby crying, knowing it will get attention, maybe food, may be toys. In such years the child can be both a pest at the instant of being demanding and yet a bully in that it quickly learns to control the parents by crying repeatedly and making a fuss or maybe some sort of tantrum. Not surprising then that teenagers, wanting to free themselves from the confines of domestic control 'play up'. Nor therefore should it be surprising that adults, although the main recipients of both are also the greatest perpetrators.
Parents as authorities are bullies, yet there has traditionally been the greater and the lesser, usually the male and the female respectively. However remember the child in each of us, when faced with a kinetic force that a male may use the female will undoubtedly use potential force and is no less a threat and can bully by position. To which degree each gender uses each is no doubt largely customary.
What is sure is that parents are more likely to bully each other than pester whilst the children are more likely to pester. No wonder social media, the love of the young is a hive of pests. Yet the sheer number makes the platform the main playground for the bully. No wonder some parents have taken to shame their children on-line; for pests can be bullied.
It's just pointless to bully a bully as it will surely end in divorce or death. Best a pest be and single at that; but what conduct can I cultivate to ease the bulling and pestering that binds me to consume this world and further not to acquiesce and be complicit in those characteristics in others.