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III. Tales of Human Origins: The East 2. China and Buddhism Intro

It is almost funny that we can so quickly finish up with India and now stumble our way into China. Admittedly, we cannot hope to do justice fully to each topic we touch on our path to discovering the Origin of Man. I must make it clear that, in spite of what it may seem,  in no way are we attempting an encyclopaedic (I prefer it with the A…) overview of each and every nation, or of every sect of every belief system and/or religion. We must pick our way carefully through the mountainous fount we know as all the literature and physical evidence from the entire human history. I want us to be thorough, though, and here now is where you all can come in handy, perhaps with your suggestions have included that which might not be. Remember there is much more yet to come, so don’t email me yet about the Mormons or the Sikhs. In due time we will get there.

What I am happy to inform you of is that you will begin to notice common strains, ideas of the same nature made up in different dress or hairstyle. Difference exists certainly in these doctrines we are studying, but I have come to believe more sameness exists, enough so that it is still a riddle why people insist upon continually hating and killing one another under the dominion and blessing of their patron, indeed patronizing, deity. I am no pacifist, I can understand a good fight and a good war if such a thing may be so-called. I cannot understand fighting someone because they dress differently, speak another language, live on the other end of the globe, or have a different god. Who cares, really, what you believe? Isn’t it what we do that makes us what we are?

Ah yes the soapbox. All you have to do is research something like the Origin of Man, or for that matter, the history of America, or something even seemingly beyond subjective bias like the ingredients in your child’s vaccine, to learn quickly the lesson that says it takes a sharp machete to hack through the amount of prejudice and shoddy scholarship that more often hurts than harms the pursuit of any real truth about anything at all. Hear me carefully, as in trying to do this study we have been hindered at many turns by people who either 1) parrot what they have heard about the subject and so sometimes never even consider the original document or artifact, or 2) who bias what they see according to their religion, worldview, or even less understandable prejudices. I am not talking about some psychological slip of which we are all guilty, neither about the milieu or set of inescapable conditions, or to speak German, our framewerk of existence. I am talking about eyes that see correctly but minds which twist what they see so as to make that object or document or doctrine of the senses conform to what the mind already prior believed. To put it another way (because I want to say these things once only), I have become sick to my stomach over the amount of shoddy scholarship and overall lack of anything near objectivity in science, religion, and interpretation of history, and more am I disgusted about the amount of ambiguity, unsurety, slim statistical margins, and pious arrogance which goes into a large majority of the fiddle-faddle peddled as FACT; indeed, question one of these “unquestionable” facts, as for the benefits of any, oh, vaccine, or point out the fact that we can NOT know the ingredients of these drugs because of patent law, and you are laughed at by the gaggle of geeks who, in actuality, are more parrot than geese. As for our subject here, we have seen the assumptions science makes, we have seen the ambiguities involved with the dating of old objects, the speculative facts, the slim margin by which some things are science and others not. Progress is cited as proof of science’s grand efforts, but what progress have we achieved? How is progress defined? As we have said, take away less than a dozen great inventions since, and we are no better than a shoeless Sumerian. “Truth” is usually considered that which is “peer-reviewed,” and this is no wonder, as the parrots are most pleased by what comes from another parrot.

Perhaps it is because we no longer value philosophy and history, perhaps it is because real theology has died, having been replaced by fanaticism, I don’t know. What I do know is every war is supported by the “holy men” of every nation. Which god is this? I see only one people invading foreign countries for marginal concerns. Which country is this? Which politic?

An atheist looks at the world and finds all the things that confirm his belief that there is no god; a man of god, so-called, looks at the same world, and finds all the things that confirm his belief that there is a god. A Muslim, a Sikh, a Hindu, a Christian, a Jew, a Buddhist–they look out into the world, and they find evidence of what they believe. For me, there are many things that beckon my belief, and I am happy knowing the alternatives without having to choose.  I think there is a virtue to being able to look out and see as the atheist or the believer, without having to actually be either. The mistake we make is not in our choosing one alternative or the other, the mistake is becoming intolerant of those which we did not choose. In a  sense, we walk through the Superstore of Knowledge, buy what we prefer, and rather than leave the rest for others who might like them, instead we decide the other stuff to be worthless and commit it to the flames. You can choose a belief system and still be objective only if you have respect for what you did not choose, otherwise, we become automatons, or human robots, not too good for society, anathaema for anything to do with the search for the Truth.

I spill all this now because I have read recently several books about China, all of which describe the same people, often in the same places, as decidedly different. I understand subjectivity, after all, it is the grounds of any real objectivity. And writer’s license, well, I am a true libertine. But can no one say maybe “the tea I had here” was bad, rather than “the tea in China was lousy”? Or “the people we met were very nice” rather than “All the people are like robots”? Not only do these authors disagree about many things about China, but they often have completely different impressions about the very same places in China. It is like wanting to go to China, and searching travel reports. In the many, many instances in these books, it is clear that often the authors mistake what and who they experience for China in general. A writer who is not objective cannot be a  non-fiction writer. He may be whatever he wants to be; if he does not tell the truth, he should be writing fiction.

Ok then, to China next time! Let’s see for ourselves what they know about the Origin of Man.


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