virus: The Fall of Buddhism {W2: LONG}

Wright, James 7929 (
Wed, 12 Mar 97 15:37:00 EST

David Rosdeitcher[]wrote:

> A closed system of thinking takes perceptions or ideas, and while
>the context, constructs a whole world view based on those perceptions or

Excellent: this is how Objectivism views the objective reality through
the perceptions or ideas it calls axioms.

>This world view can be distorted to fit a preconceived notion, or to
>any action such as supporting a dictator. These ideas are accepted as
>dogmatically true and a decision is made to not question these
>seeking better understanding by looking behind surface appearances. All
>religions and mainstream political systems are based on this mode of

Well, I am not so generalist as to say anything about "all" major
religions or mainstream political systems - but it certainly appears to
be true about Objectivism, from previous postings in CofV.

> In open system thinking, the mind sees a big picture of what is going
>This big picture, which is based on what is observed, can be then broken
>into its parts to be verified. If there is an error, there is no reason
to be
>defensive, as all that matters is understanding the big picture by
testing and
>questioning it.

OK. Why then was "war" declared earlier, and by which group? Is this an
example of Objectivist dishonesty, now trying to mislead another group
into a sense of false security? <VBG!>

> The following posts show how closed system thinking is used to
justify a
>traditional religion.
>James wrote:
>>If Buddhism is pragmatic, then why would it attempt to prevent human
>>suffering at all? Even the most optimistic person would give up the
>>attempt after over three millenia of failure. Instead, Buddhism gives
>>analysis of the problem, describes a method of dealing with it, and
>>details fairly clearly how to go about it. The most pragmatic thing
>>Buddhism is the results it often provides.
>In other words, fundamentally, all traditional paths that claim to
>human suffering" have failed, yet the Buddhist system is good. It's like
ignoring the context of
>"trying but failing" for 3000 years, and choosing to only see the
>effort to prevent human suffering by Buddhists. How about asking the
>"In a wider context, can Buddhism be part of the problem?"

All traditional paths to PREVENT human suffering have failed, yet
Buddhism, along with many others, still TRIES to prevent it. NOWHERE does
Buddhism suggest that the problem is not worthy of solution (or at least
an effort at solution). Buddhism may be part of the problem in that it is
not "evangelical" in practice, that Buddhism doesn't send out thousands
of missionaries to preach to the "heathen"; it is an understanding,
however, rather than a religion, and does not seek to impose itself on
those who would not listen. This approach may be preferable to those of
more "fundamentalist" organizations.
Objectivism, however, starting from poor conceptions like "self' and "I",
continues to pursue materialist and ego-driven goals that can only lead
to more goals and desires, in an endless quest for gratification.

>Another example of a closed system mode shows why so many people are
tricked by
>politicians, regardless of the negative publicity about politicians. :
<Snip backquote of Four Vows>
>What's going on is that teachers are promising students enlightenment
>a system that hasn't worked for 3000 years. But most people are focusing
only on
>what is being said, without looking at the big picture of what is going
>Does this remind anyone of political speeches, in which vows are made
>though the solutions are not real?

What's going on is a fundamental misunderstanding on your part. NOWHERE
did I say that Buddhism is a system that hasn't worked for three thousand
years. Please gain the distinction between PREVENTING human suffering,
which Buddhism still tries to do, and ALLEVIATING EXISTING HUMAN
SUFFERING, which Buddhism has been quite successful at for three thousand
years. Does this remind anyone of political speeches, where statements
are accidentally misinterpreted to create a false conception that wasn't
present in the original statement?

>Buddhism provides an excellent example of how closed system thinking
>and what the consequences are. There is a 4 step process that is used to
>people in a closed thinking system. The first step is to attack
>reality by accepting as a given the idea that things have no identity.

Objectivism provides the better example of closed-system thinking, in
this paragraph. The idea that things have no identity disputes
OBJECTIVISM, not objective reality, since objective reality MAKES NO
AXIOMS AND CREATES NO IDEAS. PEOPLE do that, and sometimes incorrectly,
as in Objectivism.

>The law of identity is an inescapable axiom that states that things have
>definite nature.

There are no inescapable axioms, especially in Buddhism. If things have a
definite nature, then why does Objectivism have such trouble with quantum

> To show how inescapable this axiom is, take a look at the
>following statement:
>>Please stop spreading false statements about Buddhism! I don't recall

>>Buddhism inverting your 3rd axiom of identity: Buddhism holds that
>>identity is an illusion, leading to other illusions.
>In other words, Buddhism doesn't invert identity, but holds identity as
>This statement, even though is a contradiction, describes the nature of

You have again projected your beliefs on an uncooperative Universe. There
is no contradiction here ( even though Buddhism allows contradictions) if
you deny Identity as an Axiom. And the statement, presumably "Identity is
an illusion", does not describe the nature of Buddhism! It is merely one
of a series of principles that are held in Buddhism. Sweeping
generalizations are unnecessary and frequently mistaken.

>So, Buddhism, and everything else, according to James, has a definite

Buddhism may have a definite nature; certainly there are principles and
practices that are common throughout Buddhism, and tend to become seen as
Buddhism. However, neither Buddhism nor I state that "everything else"
has a definite nature. You have again created a sweeping generalization
without justification.

> Later he states:
>>Buddhist does not accept the so-called "law of identity", as such. You

>>project your beliefs on the universe here, deceiving only yourself.
>Apparently I have an identifiable behavior of "projecting my beliefs on

These are your words, "identifiable behavior"; are they true? I have now
written several times that Buddhism does not accept the Objectivist Axiom
of Identity, as you have stated it in your posts, and that Buddhism holds
this Axiom to be false, and given reasons.

>It appears you have defined identity as "a series of changes".
>> Where did I say that? The law of identity is easily misunderstood when
>>defend Buddhism since the law of identity happens to be the silver
bullet that
>>would destroy the foundations of not just Buddhism, but all current
>>religious and political organizations.
Backquoting an earlier post:
>> The 'law of identity' ..... states that, that which exists, exists as
something and has a specific
nature. For instance, at any given moment, there is a nature of the light
the moon and a definite relationship between that light to the water in a
And, a river changes from moment to moment, but at any given moment has a
definite nature.<<
The "law of identity" example used indicates that identity can change
instantaneously, as a flowing river does. If identity is not permanent,
cannot be shown, cannot be isolated, and changes instantaneously, then it
appears to be a series of changes, as I wrote before. Can you provide a
better example? Your sweeping "destroy" statement is merely posturing.

>One way that Buddhists and others demonstrate that there are
contradictions and
>paradoxes, is by making claims that things have dual natures--that they
>of a specific nature. An example is the idea that light can be viewed as
a wave
>or a particle, according to the model of reality that is used.
<Snip backquote>
>Such a statement cannot be taken as 'proof' of a dual nature since it is
>saying that if you have 2 different types of maps of the United States,
that the
>territory itself has a dual nature. Such "duality" is grabbed by some
people to
>show that contradictions exist in nature, even though light, like
>else acts in a predictable way, according to its nature. That nature is
>completely understood, but that makes no difference to the fact that it
has a
>nature or identity. "Dual nature", after becoming quickly accepted, is
>investigated further by people of the closed system mindset. (BTW,
according to
>Richard Feynman, in "The Strange Theory of Light and Matter", light
appears to
>be particles.)
Particles are not split by prisms, David, in physics; light waves do not
have discrete "pieces" emitted. Your map analogy seems to imply there is
another existence beneath that which is known and demonstrated. This
existence is unknown, despite Objectivism's claim that objective reality
is knowable; this discredits the assertion that objective reality is
knowable. When you cannot deal with the reality you claim exists, you
resort to "metaphysical certainty". Which Objectivist Axiom covers FAITH,
David? (I haven't read but will look for the book you cite.)

> Another so-called paradox is the Heisenberg uncertainty principle,
in which
>the position and momentum of atomic particles cannot be measured
>James on the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle:
<Snip backquote>
>In the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, there is a simple explanation
why the
>position and momentum of a particle cannot be measured simultaneously.
It has
>nothing to do with paradoxes or contradictions. If you measure the
position and
>momentum of something in the macro-world, like a car, the more accurate
>position is measured, the more accurate the momentum is measured and
vice versa.
>But, with atomic particles, the more accurately the position is
measured, the
>less accurately the momentum is measured and vice versa. What is going
> When you measure, say, an electron's position, you must fire a
photon at the
>electron to 'see' the electron's position. This can give the position,
but the
>act of firing the photon changes the momentum, so it is a situation in
which the
>act of measuring one aspect, alters the measurements of the other
aspect. It's
>like if you put a thermometer in a lake, you can get a good reading, but
if you
>put a thermometer in the water of a small thimble, the thermometer can
>the temperature of the water. The measurement activity changes the

Ah, the observer interacting with the reality changes the reality? What
does this do to the Objectivist Axiom of Identity, when every time you
observe something you change it? How can one "know" something that is
changed when you observe it, by the act of your observation? Does the
closed-system of Objectivism have difficulty explaining such phenomena?
Does the "metaphysical certainty" that a reality exists cause it to
exist? Shades of the Teleological Argument for the Existence of God!

> Various dishonest authors such as Fritjof Capra and Gary Zukav have
>popularity by claiming that apparent paradoxes in sub-atomic physics
>with conclusions made by Buddhist monks who are attuned to some "higher
>through meditation. The whole idea is the same gimmick about how "honest
>and individual achievement is worthless" since you can get the same
>through meditation as you can through years of hard thinking and

Amazing how many dishonest authors there are! None that I have read
conclude that "honest effort and individual achievement is worthless",
though, since there are many paths to truth, and "honest effort and
individual achievement" are in many of them.
I want you to understand something: not everyone considers meditation as
a simple, easy business. There are a few examples (darn few!) in the
Buddhist literature of someone who "heard the Diamond Sutra for the first
time, and in listening became enlightened". Most records indicate a
difficult time incurred by the student, such as "for nine years
Bodidharma sat facing the wall" [in meditation]; "After this experience,
he went to study for five additional years under Master Hakuin, to deepen
his understanding, before going on to found the monastery at ...".
Meditation is HARD WORK, because you have to give up so many things you
are so deeply attached to: "I", "Soul", "Self", "Me", "MY BMW", "MY
Expensive House", "My position in society", "My superior
friends/experience/previous knowledge", etc. None of these will help you
reach peace of mind, none will aid you to understand your own nature. For
most people, this is PAINFUL; it helps explain why Buddhism is not widely
accepted by everyone, and certainly not by the vain, the covetous, those
who find approval of others more important than awareness, etc.

>Step 2 in the process of trapping people in a closed system mind is
denying the
>existence and/or validity of consciousness--the sense of 'self' or 'I'.
<Snip backquote>
> Zen Buddhism became popular in the United States during the mid-1970's,
>shortly afterward, some studies have shown that consciousness is, in
>connected with certain measurable phenomena. While consciousness is not
>necessary for things like thinking, reasoning, or reacting to the
>it is necessary for:
>1. Generating metaphors
>2. Spatialization--visualizing something abstract like a theory with an
image of
a concrete.
>3. Excerption--imagining a large whole by using a part, (ie. think of a
clown to
visualize a circus.)
>4. Analog modeling--using maps to convey a larger picture.
>5. Narratization-Seeing oneself as main character in personal story.
>The 'I', like anything else, can be understood better through

"Consciousness" is NOT "I"; your entire paragraph above is misdirected.

>When and if a physical understanding of consciousness is discovered,
that would
>be a major blow to religious idea systems, just like the discovery of
>structure of DNA.

When and if a physical understanding of consciousness is discovered,
David, you will be justified in abandoning your resort to FAITH instead
of dealing with a failure of Objectivist Axioms.

>But here is the main problem with James' argument:
>> It is accurately described as an illusion
>>created by ego without substance, form or reality.
>>He is implying that his own consciousness is valid since he can say
that it is
>>accurate to describe the 'self' as an illusion.

This may be true; I'm not sure I "implied" anything of the sort,
however. I maintain that "I" remains an illusion, separate and devoid of
existence. "I" is a mental construct.

>Like the law of identity, consciousness is an inescapable axiom that
exists whether or not you agree with

Consciousness may have validity independent of Objectivism, but there are
no inescapable axioms - unless you're an Objectivist.

>Furthermore, the whole concept of losing the 'self' to achieve the
>enlightened state sometimes known as 'nirvana' or 'satori' is
contradictory (how
>can someone achieve a state of being no one?)

Losing illusions is painful, David, that's why those who have them hold
on to them so closely. What you lose is not existence - you lose the
illusion of "I", which held you back from so much for so long.

> and creates a confusion that leads to--
>Step 3 in closed system mind control: Now that the Buddhists'
self-esteem is
>deflated since it is impossible to figure out objective reality, even if
>was one, the next step is to prescribe a submissive behavior which
accepts order
>from higher authority:

Unfortunately,this proceeds from a bad premise to a series of worse
conclusions. Buddhists are not confused, after enlightenment; they have a
crystal-clear perception of reality, free of misconceptions common to
Objectivism and similar philosophies. If there is no self, what need is
there for self-esteem, or false pride? Not that Buddhists need to feel
inferior. Acceptance of order from higher authority is another issue:
authority in what area? Since Buddhists have no need for validation from
other people, they have their own moral leadership. Matters of the body,
such as food, shelter and clothing, are irrelevant. Buddhists cannot
kill, however, so one area where higher authorities might want
cooperation they will not get it.

<Snip backquote>
>He is saying that the Buddhists apparently obeyed Dalai Lama's orders to
>resist Mao's soldiers who came in the temple to kill them. That's not

The enlightened ones did not resist; the lay persons who had lesser grasp
of the principles, did, and some quite effectively. There are numerous
instances of Buddhists being slaughtered by those who covet; evil will
not be stopped by creating more evil.

>The soldiers who killed the Buddhists aren't that much better as
>they are just following orders from their superiors.

There are not, really, any superiors; there are those who misuse
authority, but then who gave them that authority in the first place?
Certainly not the Buddhists!

> Now we are ready for the final step toward nailing down the closed
>Step 4--Integrating the Buddhist structure into society.
>>No one takes up Buddhism as an attempt to "get in good" with the ruling

>>authorities [David is backquoting me here]
>Only 2 classes in society exist--the productive class and the parasite

This says nothing accurate about reality, but lots about Objectivism. The
"all-or-nothing" approach, sometimes called the "fallacy of the excluded
middle", is a failure of classification applied to logic. Until last
year, there were only X orders (my ignorance of the exact number) of
creatures on earth. Last year, someone with a lot of time found a new
order of creatures - they live on the lips of lobsters, if I understand
correctly. Nonetheless, until last year a biologist [taxonomist] could
state firmly, with great conviction, "There are only X orders of
creatures known to Science - there are no other possibilities. If you
name a creature, I can tell you which of the X orders it belongs in."
Just as biologists prior to last year could PROVE that all [known]
creatures belong in one of the X orders, now they can admit that others
exist - and they created another order to put them in.
Objectivism, as a closed system, is full of axioms - identity,
knowability, and now classes of PEOPLE! Either one is "productive" or one
is a "parasite" - no other possibilities exist. Are "managers"
productive? In my experience, yes and no - some push paper, some actually
give direction and generate policy, a few even roll up their sleeves and
get dirty - my boss is getting his coveralls black in Kansas as I write
this in Atlanta. Which class do "managers" fall in, David? How about
acrobats [entertainers]? How about pure researchers? Soldiers in time of
peace, time of war? Writers of romance novels? Nuclear physicists? Your
system of two classes is rather inflexible.

>Buddhists manipulate the producers to support their livelihoods, while
>toxic memes about the producers, (ie. business people are unenlightened
and part
>of the world of duality, etc.) These beliefs, once commonly accepted,
make it possible
>for a political parasite class to regulate and further control the
>So, the Buddists and Government have a symbiotic relationship with each
>yet both groups have a parasitical relationship with the producers who
would be
>better off without them.

Bah! Buddhists manipulate no one - no one is forced to respect, to give
or even to listen. Buddhism earns only gratitude, and appreciates all who
come as seekers for the truth. If they choose to listen, Buddhism will
tell them the truth about themselves - even when its painful.

Objectivists manipulate their own minds to support their axioms, while
spreading toxic memes of self and I to anyone who is susceptible (i.e.,
Objectivism will dominate cyberspace, drug-like effect of
being able to destroy any non-Objectivist in a philosophical argument,
etc.) . Objectivist beliefs, once accepted, allow the adherents to
consider themselves as superior to all others, holders of truth too
straightforward for the deluded masses to understand. Unfortunately,
since the general populace is too deluded to understand Objectivism, the
Objectivists have little control over anyone, and their axioms prevent
them from understanding themselves. So, Objectivism and ignorance have a
symbiotic relationship with each other - having the second allows
"gaining" the first, which consequently spreads more of the second.

>How can you exploit someone who is not attached (to ANYTHING/ ANYONE/
>ANYWHERE?) What is there to exploit? Charity? Yellow robes? How can
>such people be ruled, by anyone?
>A ruler: I'm going to take your possessions.
>Buddhist: OK.
>A: I'm going to take your money too.
>B: Since it was all given to me, you are welcome to it.
>In other words, the Buddhists didn't earn their money, and the "charity"
>comes from the producers. (By the way, who contributed more to
>charity--industrialists like Andrew Carnegie, or all Buddhists

It is well known that Buddhism does not accept capitalist success as a
principle - although there are plenty of examples of successful Buddhist
entrepreneurs. There are also examples of priests selling their
calligraphy and artwork to sustain themselves as they taught. (Which
class, David, producers or parasites, were those priests selling their
artwork?) The Buddhists have contributed more to charity also, since
capitalist success is a relatively recent phenomenon (1700's +? Buddhism
since a few years B.C.?) and the Buddhists have had more time - and many
of their contributions (peace of mind to hundreds of thousands, artwork,
help in times of crisis) cannot be valued with dollars.

>>What increase in life expectancy can you expect as an Objectivist? Is
>>proof against disease, aging and death?
>>This is interesting: Objectivism as a route to immortality? Is Ayn Rand

>>still alive?

>Put the following facts together about an Objectivist society:
1)Individual is
>the highest cause, 2) political and financial freedom, 3) profit
incentive for
>bio-tech companies, 4)more people in open system mode.
>What follows is speculation, but the direction would be toward

Where is the Objectivist society you describe located? All of what you
list here is speculations!
The history of the world is full of Utopian experiments that fell apart
when faced with the difficulties of the real world - yet there are quite
a few Buddhist societies, with members numbering in the hundreds of
thousands if not millions, still going strong.

>No major religion or political party is secure in cyberspace, since they
>depend on force, fraud and closed system thinking to exist.

But then Buddhism is neither a political party nor a major religion,
since it has none of those three qualities you list. Objectivism,
however, seems extremely insecure, depending as it does on FAITH, closed
system (axiomatic) thinking and weak initial axioms at that.
James Wright