Friday, March 17, 2017

puppets war

[wolfgang] nietzsche pointed out the most dangerous personin the world is a philosopher because it comes in everything it was agreed on is no longerclear, it confuses everyone and tonight we have a founding professor of egs, he was hereon the first year and he has coming back every time he can. on his book one can read “themost dangerous man in the world”. [zizek] philosopher. now you have the most dangerous man in theworld. please welcome slavoj zizek

thanks very much for the great number of youhere, just a couple of points before i’ll begin, three points basically. first i mustpublicly, i promised this to myself, to apologize to my good friend christopher that i was nothere yesterday, i mean he is one of my absolute persons, the reason i'm here, and i was justehm i have my problems with... i was not in a good, yesterday... sorry i really apologize,on the other hand, so you will not think something is wrong, i hope he is not here because iformally prohibited alain badiou to come here. no, no, seriously because you know? he hassome health problems and he came yesterday tired and i saw him, we have lunch this afternoonand with it the usual communist plotting against different persons and so on ... he wasn'there ... ehm. third thing, may it surprise

you but i decided that, because we debatedit a lot in my class, that i will talk about buddhism and it is very open, so please don'ttake this as a rhetorical point, i'm not sure how deep i'm into it, andeven if, i will be very critical, this is more kind of a series of remarks to provokeyou because i know that some of you are probably much more substantially in it than me, myself…so,why deal with buddhism? is it just the fashion so that we in the west feel more organic,holistic or whatever? no, i claim that there are two features which account for the, let'scalled naively, actuality of buddhism in our today’s global capitalist, whatever we calledit, predicament. as we all know two features characterize our civilization today to putit very naively: a global capitalism with

its unheard dynamics; and second: science,the role of science; and i claim in both domains buddhism, and i'm not going now into if it’san authentic one or not? bla bla bla, but some references of buddhism, if not crucialat least it plays a very interesting role. first i would like to begin with what maybe dismissed, but i don't think it is as simple as that, as some kind of a comical westerncopy of authentic buddhism so called western buddhism, by this i mean groups in the westwho practice buddhism and so on and so on. now if you follow this trends a little bityou may have noticed something, how western buddhism presents itself as the remedy againstthe stressful â tensions of capitalist dynamics allowing us to uncouple from this freneticand frenzy rhythm and retain inner peace and

enlightenment, but i claim, and do you knowwhat take me to think this? when i read, i don't know in what journal, an interestinganalysis of let's called it if not religious, spiritual trends among top managers, businessmenof today, and to cut a long story short, 80% are what they claim tibetan buddhist or whateveryou called it, practicing so called, ehm, meditation, and i can understand it becausein so far as, if you are really engage in modern capitalism at its craziest you know?like it is really as one of the top managers claimed, that when he studied buddhist ontologythe way he understood it, the idea of being, as you probably know, the fragility of existence,all are fleeting phenomena everything can fall apart at every point… he said but thatthis is our market today, you know? one rumor

everything falls apart. so he got it correctlythis manager, sorry i forgot his name, he said if you really want to be fully engagein this market you get crazy, so what you need is a kind of an inner distance whichtells you ok it’s the crazy market, to teach you how to participate in it without beingfully existentially engage in it, that's why businessmen like this bullshit you know? evenif i speculate all day it is just a cosmic play for me, i'm aware of the nothingnessof it, it means nothing. it functions perfectly, which is why, to conclude this first point,i think that if marx weber were to rewrite his legendary book on capitalist protestantethic and the spirit of capitalism today the title of the book would have been, i’m sure,the taoist or buddhist ethic and the spirit

of global capitalism or something like that. now more seriously, no no no, wait a minute,let me make one point, i cannot resist it, it’s in my nature to make so called badtaste jokes but i take buddhism extremely seriously, it’s absolutely an authentic,i don't like the term because it is itself western orientalist, let's called it subjectiveexistential experience. so the other reason, for me at least much more interesting is whatsome people call the so called cognitivist breakthrough, the new stage of our understandingof our brain, our thinking, provided by whatever you called them, brain sciences, cognitivismand so on. now â i don't want to deal with the problemlike are they true or not? what i’m just

saying is that more and more they are somehowgenerally received, even those who should resisted it most, psychoanalysts, you know?often play the game of how you call this? if you can't beat them join them, you know?they like to claim “oh but you see how cognitivist scientists are arriving up, this is just aparaphrase of what already freud knew and so on” you know? this kind of a join theenemy. ok, but there is none the less one interesting point for me and here i agreewith, ehm, we have many problems with me and wolfgang, but at one point i agree with himand i will make this point that if we want to retain martin heidegger as a referenceit’s crucial not to read heidegger along the lines of some kind of anti-technologicalor romanticism, you know? heidegger walking

in his stupid forest up there and cursingall the technology bla bla. no, heidegger was quite rational here, i read in one biographyof heidegger that like, ok it is nice that authentic todtnauberg, but at the end he wantedair conditioning, full electricity and so on, you know? ok, so what i'm saying is thatthe question we should ask in this spirit is is a very naive one, if we really accept,we don't have to but if the results of brain sciences which is ... but this already tobe debated, but i don't want to enter it... that our subjective freedom or the unity ofour ego as a free and responsible agent is an illusion that in reality we are just awell functioning neuronal mechanism? whatever you put it.

ok, the problem is how to subjectivize this?that is to say how should or does this affect your inner most, but not some deep metaphysical,even everyday sense of an agent engaging in social life and so on and so on? so here ithink that buddhism to be vulgar is doing quite well without any irony because thereare three main attitudes the way i can see it, i mean only i'm talking only about thosewho accept cognitivist breakthrough, and buddhism is the fourth one i think. the first predominantattitude is simple to resign ourselves to the gap between the scientific view of ourselvesas neuronal automata, whatever you want, and our everyday self experience as free responsibleautonomous agents. the idea is that because off, you can be very materialist here, becauseof how we were produced through evolutionary

choice and so on so on, it we can not butexperience ourselves as free responsible agents and so on, so that we are simply condemnedto live in the gap. scientifically we know but in everyday life, you know? it’s likethe same, some of them like to use this metaphor, as we know very well how big moon is but youcannot help perceiving moon as the small circle up there, that is the same, we cannot stepout. the second attitude, the worst if you askme, is the, i hope again we agree here we have many other reasons to kill each otherso here we can agree, this is my declaration of love if you didn't get it, you know? isthe habermasian position which is, he also fully asserts the duality but not as a necessary...but the non-naturalist aspects, is for habermas

not simply as an illusion we should tolerate,but a kind of a transcendental a priori which is necessary and even points to an immanentlimitation of scientific knowledge. no, this habermas's reasoning is here a very transcendentalphilosophical one, it’s that science is a certain social practice, intersubjectivepractice where, you know? we formulate universal statements, we confront them through experimentsin a debate bla bla, and in this practice the transcendental a priori of this practice,is that we are free responsible being reasoning in a certain way and so on. so even if theresult for example of our scientific investigation is we are neuronal puppets, whatever, we shouldnot forget that this result is the result of an exercise of our transcendental freedomof scientific thinking which is a priori you

know? we cannot say no! that is false, ifyou neglect that the result also disappears. then we have an even more naive but in a waysympathetic to me attitude, that of some radical brain scientists like the big couple fromla joya i think california, patricia and paul churchland, they claim, i don't think it workswhat i'm saying, but it’s a beautiful position... they claim that no! they claim that our termamong some brain scientists for this everyday attitude is as you probably know folk psychology,no? this spontaneous idea, my god, i do whatever i want, we are free and so on, ok. they claimthat this folk psychology doesn't have such a deep status as some darwinists think, thatit’s not a kind of a biological, evolutionary a priori but simply a reflectionof our old naive ideologies. they say self

like in old times when, i think this is evenby patricia churchland, an example, when so called primitive people saw a lighting theythought god is sending us a message or there is a higher force behind and they claim whenwe act, i think 'oh! i have a free self in me' which is the true source of it it’sexactly the same type of superstition and in the same way that even if you are scaredshit of a storm as i am i admit it, specially if you are in the plane when it happens, youknow? nonetheless at least mostly i succeed not starting to pray and claiming you know?â like you naturalize it, we no longer think like so called primitives … they, the churchlandcouple, they think the same thing is possible with even with our freedom of the will andself and in a pretty naive way they described

how such a society would had looked, thatit wouldn’t be simply a society without punishment as some people think, mainly theidea being, if i’m an automaton and there is no freedom of the willwhat right do you have to punish me? i'm not responsible, no, for them punishment can nonethelessbe a regulative mechanism which works and so on, just a more kind, less oppressive societyand so on. the reason i don't agree with this solution is its implicitly naivety and theone who is my good guy here, the german brain scientist, maybe you should invite him, hedidn’t want to come or what? thomas metzinger, it would be really nice to get him,maybe you can (refering to wolfgang) if he has some son blackmail him like you know?mafia, everything is permitted to get good

people here to saas-fee, you know? maybe yourson will have an accident, who knows? if you don't come, no, he is very well how this typeof simple acceptance ‘ok so what? we change our view’ still leaves, even if in works,it recognizes it ‘yeah i admitted it , what's the problem? ok i'm an automaton what thehell?’ but the de facto in your activity you still treat yourself as the goodold free self, you don't really existentially accept it and here again we come to buddhismbecause metzinger, who is a serious scientist not some kind of a shitty new ager like thosewho claim, you know? the tao of quantum physics, we are not talking about that, he is in butat the same time for very precise reasons, although he is also totally materialist, heis buddhist in the sense that he claims that

although it may appear that we are, as thefirst position which i described claims, that we are condemned to this duality, that isto say scientifically we know we are neuronal automata but in your immediately self experienceyou experience yourself as free agent and so on and so on, that there is nonethelesspossible as a limit case and this for him as you can guess would have been preciselywhen you arrive at enlightenment in buddhism, when you accept so called anatman that yourself does not have any substantial identity that... and this is beautiful thesis, i likeit in a way... that, and again he is not in that sense a mysticist, he claims that heis totally a scientist, he just claims that if you go to the end in buddhist meditationwhere you arrive a stage of, this is one popular

book on buddhism by john epstein i think whichis not so bad, the title is “thoughts without a thinker”, that literally you arrived ata stage where you have thoughts but you no longer can say there is an i agent who isthinking this thoughts and that he claims, although for large majority of us, he putsit very nicely, we can't, he agrees with the first position, we can't scientifically objectivelyaccept as an object of study our brain, ok, we are automata, but he puts this beautifully,his says we simply cannot really believe in it in our everyday life, even if you claim‘ok, so what? i’m so kind off automaton’ in our innermost identity you cannot reallybelieve this except if you come to the end of buddhist meditation.

i love this position although, and metzingeris aware of this, although, do you know that? and that is the beauty of all this debates:cognitive scientists, buddhism; because you know? many of them are idiots but some ofthem are really bright guys and they know it, for example... my god i forgot his name...there is a scientist jewish, because this affects his notion of free will, he is sowell known in san francisco, his name will come to me, who is the very author of thecrucial experiment... his name will come to me, i'm sorry... benjamin libet, you know?the author of the crucial experiment demonstrating, allegedly, that there is no free will, youknow? is that famous experiment where... don't ask me how, i'm giving you a reader's digestsimplified version... that he wires your neurons

and then he asks you to do some extremelyelementary gesture, for example, grab this pen and he tells you just to say now dropit or whatever to somehow signal the moment you decided, ok you know the story, i don'tknow how much part of the second before you decide your brain already knows it, signalsare already on the way, but now comes the beauty, this is why i like this guy, a bigshock to this common gang of morons stupid flat scientists is that they automaticallytook this as a proof of there is no free will, because when you think you decide you just,what's the term? take cognizance, assume what your brain has already decided it but thisis not, you see? this are intelligent guys, this is not libet’s position and he has,that's why not of any anti-semitism or praising

the jews, that is why i emphasises that heis a jew because he makes here a very nice theological, but he is a materialist justas spiritual point, reference to the ten commandments, prohibitions, and he claims, although it’salso very problematic topic, that we are looking for freedom of the will at the wrong point,that the basic, he is very hegelian here negativity that the basic form of freedom is not i dothis, there we are overdetermined by neurons bla bla, but to stop it, in that split ofa part of a second when i do this (drops the pen) i can stop it and that is the form offreedom, it’s beautiful, then if you want a more complex counter-argumentation, danieldennett, who again he is like a mix, sometimes too stupid but sometimes bright, has alsoa wonderful attack on this primitive reading

of libet, his point is, very derridean almost,a minimum of, he almost calls it differã©nce temporality of the brain, he says thatthere is no freedom only if you presuppose what he wrongly i think daniel dennett callsthe so called central cartesian self where ultimately things happen at the same point,you know? if this, if you presuppose this then you can say i decided this but it alreadyhappened, but you must first presuppose an homogeneous central agent withbasic temporality, if you renounce this then this primitive conclusion doesn't work. i'mtelling you this why? just to let you know that i’m not as if i were totally bluffing,you know? that i know that things are more complex, but ok.

now, this is just the introduction, you know?you've got the idea why i think buddhism is not just a kind of an amusing, exotic reference,but it means something spiritually today in our own constellation because it, again, itappears to be the ideal form of functioning in today'scrazy, frantic capitalism, at the same time it appears to be the proper mode of subjectivizationof the results of modern science, though how do things stand with it? now i'll go to aneven more problematic stance and then i will try to turn directly into buddhism, it willbe of course... here i have 45 min or what? very short, but please believe me i do bluffa little bit but i know more than what’s in here you know? ok. so as you all know,let me begin with the beginning: buddhism,

we all know, is concerned with solving theproblem of suffering so its first axiom, as it were, automatic presupposition is not onlywe but known living being wants to suffer, ok, i will not go now immediately into itbut for me as a freudian-lacanian i will say here already problems began. i don't, i thinkthat if there is something which is from a freudian standpoint not truth is that we don'twant to suffer and not only, i'm not going here in some obscure masochism or whatever,i just would like to invoke to you, i will be very pathetic here even in the sense ofmelodrama, imagine yourself passionately in love, isn't it that if you are truth to yourselfand you can be, no cognitive discordance here, you know very well or you suspect that atthe end it will probably end bad, that whatever

will happen at the end it will be for youterrible suffering, whatever, but nonetheless, and i've spoken with people to whom this happened,passionately in love and then dropped and now i'm quite open and i was one of thosepeople whom i've spoken, heaven, but you know? when it ends in catastrophe, just suffering,and then a friend ask me the usual question: now you probably regret it, my answer wasautomatic: no! i will have done it again, you know? so i simply think that there isin our passionate engagement certain logic where you are ready fully to buy final fiasco,incredibly suffering, but you are ready to do it again, you know? but ok i will cometo this later. now let's go through buddhist doxa, the sourceof suffering lies in the unquenchable desire

of people for things which even if they getthem will never satisfy them and it’s this satisfaction which causes suffering. so, thegoal of the buddhist practice is, as we all know, is liberation from suffering, we cancalled it reaching nirvana, enlightenment, awakening, whatever you want and everythinga buddhist does is ultimately for the attainment of this enlightenment. buddhist practice firstas we all know focuses on a morality that will lead to enlightenment, you know how itbegan for buddha? he first establishes the fact life is this wheel of desire, it’ssuffering, then he defines the causes of suffering and then the way to fight them and here, atleast the moment buddhism became an institution, it of course introduced a certain gradualismin the sense that first it begins with a simple

morality, everyday morality, which is supposedto as it were paved, prepared the way, or put us on the path to enlightenment but asthey emphasise, buddhists, it's not enough just to regulate your conduct or how you act,this should culminate in enlightenment, and the point of all this is enlightenment. thisis already interesting because you know why? i read recently in a book, i think is a bookof the guy, very interesting guy, i think... what's the title? buddha's consciousness orwhat? (the bodhisattva’s brain) owen flanagan, one of the cognitivists scientists who isalso doing buddhism, draws attention, and here begins ours western distortion, to aninteresting fact that for us in the west if you say i'm a buddhist it usually means ipractice some stupid transcendental meditation

or whatever, it's automatically meditation,while he draws attention to the fact that for the majority of the nations, i don't know,thailand, i don't know which others where real buddhism is a way of life for the majority,the large majority of people don’t meditate. for them being a buddhist means two things,first to respect this ethic, moral rather than ethical, moral rules, you know? don'tbe violent, don’t cause suffering bla bla, and where does then meditation enter? it isvery interesting, it is just as a kind of an imagined presupposed point of reference;you need, even if they don’t exist to be cynical, you need to know that there are somepeople who made it to the end, you know? so that it gives you hope, it is more, it’skind of this subject to paraphrase lacan subject

presupposed to meditate, people need it asa fix point of reference. ok, so let's go on. how do we then fight our enslavement to desires?here we have the first point of buddhism which is i think very nice materialist, there areno higher powers, you should forget about those later religious misreadings of karmaand so on and so on. the idea is simple that karma or faith triggered by your desires,actions, is a kind of, is immanent today to the way we act, because as buddhists liketo point out, you know? they have this wonderful, no wonder even some stalinists-marxists likeit, the idea of codependent origination, you know? what stalin called the ‘dialecticalunity of all phenomena’ to be slightly cynical,

no? so â the idea, i precisely try to giveyou an idea of karma which is not some kind of a divine out there, it’s simply thatour acts being part of a rich texture of the world leave traces, have consequences, someconsequences are good, wholesome, others are not and so on and in this way to deal withyour karma means to regulate, try to diminish negative traces, consequences of your actsand, again, as you all know, i'll just quickly enumerate them just to give you an idea ofbasically how, in a good sense, it’s not a criticism, how common sense this first stepof basic morality is. you have this buddhist classification where they claim actions canoccur at three levels: body, speech and mind; and at each level, already buddha but it waselaborated later, proposes a whole categorization

of bad acts as it were. first at the level of body there are actswhich are to be avoided: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, by misconduct is not meantso much perversion or what, but this excessive passion, excessive attachment. then at thelevel of speech, four actions: lying, hard speech, slander, malicious gossip; and atthe level of mind: greed, anger, delusion. so, the idea is that this is widely the firststep as it were calm yourself down in what buddha calls the middle way, not the tonyblair's third way, but a more authentic middle way, you know? like neither excess of, i don'tknow, gluttony, sex or whatever; but also not some kind of sadomasochistic radical renunciationand so on and so on. the goal of all this

is to acquire dispassion, as some translated,for the objects of clinging to which we cling, that is to say, the point is your subjectiveattitude of how much you cling, you attach yourself to objects, because, again, you allknow this, i'm just repeating it, this what in buddhism is called samsara is preciselythis wheel of life, of suffering, and the point, this is crucial i think without thisyou don't get it, is not that from bad samsara we should get good samsara or karma, the pointis not if you do, this would be the western reading, if you do bad things you will havebad karma so let’s do good things to get good karma so when you die you will profit,no no, here buddhism is not this type of bullshiting it’s serious, the point is not to get goodkarma, the point is to step out of it. but

again i'm well aware how refine this is, steppingout doesn't mean melancholia, von trier, the end of the world; in one version of buddhismeven nothing has to change materially only your, let's called it although it sounds toocalifornian, your attitude. now i see slowly emerging problems which arenot imported by me, i registered this problems, the very ambiguities, conflicts, the way ifound them in the buddhists teaching itself, ok. the guy, sorry for the vulgarity, whoreaches this state of acquiring distance, maybe the term stepping out is wrong becausewe have nowhere to go out, there is no transcendence in buddhism, that is the beautiful about it,as you know it’s called bodhisattva, the one who is concerned with freeing all sentientbeings not just himself or herself, even not

just humans from samsara and it’s cycleof death, rebirth and suffering. but what makes it so difficult, so interesting hereis that, and this brings me to the first conflict that i see, ok, conflict tension, you knowthat traditionally at least according to my informations, we get three levels or notionsof bodhisattva, they’re called very nicely king-like bodhisattva, boatman bodhisattvaand shepard bodhisattva. king bodhisattva aspires to become buddha as soon as possibleand then help all others, like i do it myself, i try to reach nirvana, and the wager is bydoing this, either me as an example or by acting in a more gentle way, i will help others.boatman is already more communist, you know? the idea is yes but not me alone togetherwith others. now the highests, according to

some classifications, but for me i agree herewith critics with the other tendencies of buddhism, the lowest, the most dangerous,where things go really wrong is sheperd-like bodhisattwa, the idea is the following one:that the greatest ethical act is that you reach enlightenment but out of compassionfor all those who are, as they called it the greatest work of american literature, i’mmaking joke, did you read the cycle of novels from, how are they called it? â by tim lahaye‘left behind’? the lowests of the low, ok, what i want to said, i mean it’s reallylike dan brown is shakespeare compared to them. but what i want to say is that, so againthat should will be the great ethical act, you are there eternal bliss bla bla but outof compassion you go back into the wheel of

suffering and so on and so on like, you know?you give priority to others you say no i don't have the right to enjoy it myself, i’llgo back to help others, this delaying stepping it back. but some, i was told maybe i'm wrongmany of you must know it better, there are other buddhists made accounter, ok, in traditionallybuddhism there is a kind of a graduation here, you know? the lowest, the king bodhisattva‘i’ll do it fuck you, you are following or not’, you know? then the shepherd liketype communists, you know? and then the highest one, i was up there but uh i came in infinitegoodness, i came down to help you all. but some theravada guys and they are immediatelyon their side, they make a nice argument, even if the core of authentic buddhism isnot, has nothing to do with this ridiculous

european spirituality uh i move up there intoa higher domain, no, i stayed here, i'm fully here, i eat the same apples like you, whatever,it is just my attitude totally changed, i'm still socially active, i even, it even doesn'tmean to attain nirvana that you meditated, that you are in a some kind of pseudo orgasmicspiritual trance if this is true and authentic, buddhists alwaysemphasise this, you know? that this vision of buddhists saying of someone hiding in acave and just trembling bla bla bla that it’s false, so, if this is true, why then the necessityto step back? you can act like buddha and so on, you can attain nirvana and at the sametime be active here. the idea is, and i think again this is the origin of catastrophe, thisidea, you know? the moment somebody who wants

to redeem you here we us nietzscheans shouldagree, both how good he was that he sacrificed himself, don't trust the guy you know? ok. so, what do i mean by this? now i'll cometo another, please i'm here openly exposing myself, i'm not kidding this is not rhetoricsdo your criticism if you know more, i noticed another problem here, on the one hand someradical buddhists, radical means i like them i'm sorry, describe in a wonderful way howauthentic buddhism deals with suffering, you first isolate the cause of suffering and blamethe others, for example ‘oh i was deprived of that pleasure, fuck the world and so on,why me? this is the eternal why me? question, you know? like children are starving in somaliaok i’ll give them five dollars a month to

make me feel good but why me? or my child?’.the idea is that of course the first thing to do is to precisely stop blaming the circumstances,blame your desire and then extinguish, although i don't like this term distinguish becauseit’s too violent in the wrong way, but here is a quote: "what has always been, what wasextinguished when you stepped out of samsara, cycle of suffering, it’s only the falseview of the self, â what had always been illusionary was understood as such, nothing was changedbut the perspective of the observant, so i know this and again correct me if i'm wrong,i know this here the following tension which from my reading on my books on history ofbuddhism, is all present there and it mirrors precisely this first tension in the notionof bodhisattva, ‘should i simple go there?

and this way? is it the best thing for others?or, should i play this sacrificial game? no no i love you so much i stepped back and soon’. the problem is that on the one hand we have this radical description of nirvanawhich is everything is different but nothing changes, you know? like ‘it’s the sameworld out there and so on, just i'm aware of it's illusory nature and i assume thisillusory nature existentially’. why? and this i call the minimalist attitude but thenyou nonetheless have, especially attached to this notion of bodhisatwa as the one whosacrifices himself, the opposite of what i call it the maximalist attitude ‘i don'twant to reach nirvana before prior to all other sentient beings reaching it, so thereit’s not just my subjective attitude, you

are aiming effectively at some kind of a global,as it were, global cosmic change. the next ambiguity i see is, and again i alreadydebated this in my class and some of you reproached me so i did as much of homework as i was ableto do and i still stick to my opinion, that there are serious debates among within buddhism,i think this is the third level of the same tension namely, as you do remember how i describedit? first you do morality, you know? not too much sex, proper eating, don't curse,don't be violent, as preparing the way for enlightenment; but the obvious point hereis, is there any link between the two? this is a great problem in buddhism, i read manytexts on this were they claim if we are really honest we have to admit that once you arein enlightenment nothing imminently prevents

you, for example from torturing people, youcan just say my acts leave no traces because i'm already at the nirvana level, no karmaand so on and so on. now i know what you will say now ‘but nonetheless where is here compassionfor others bla bla bla? i'm just making a typical western logical extrapolation totallyout of touch with existential reality of buddhism’, no, i will give you immediately proofs, sorry. before i’ll go into this, the fourth debatei encountered is the one where even the dalai lama has some wonderful statements like ifdrinking, by drinking he means real alcohol, helps you, why not? you know? like the problemis that many, if not all of the states, described as nirvana, can be if not totally it getspretty close to it, you know? like they say

money is not all, my answer is usually butit comes pretty close to it, no? ok. that what if you can induce the experience whichimminently, inherently, fits nirvana in a biochemical way with some drugs or whatever?how to distinguish? should we then distinguish the bad nirvana? ‘i’ll take a pill fuckyou i'm there’ and then the good nirvana? ‘i was torturing myself meditating for yearswhatever’, as some guys, but here i don't agree with them, try to introduce here anethical distinction, quote from owen flanagan "cases where happiness is gained by magicpills or is due to false belief do not count because the allegedly happy person must beinvolved in cultivating her own virtue. happy states born of delusion are undeserved" buti think this is totally non-immanent, once

you are in you are in, who cares how you gotthere? ok, back to that problem of suffering, compassionand so on, let me give you a little bit to shock you and then... yeah, yeah, i will stopthen, to shock you, some of my all stuff, a little bit of buddhism and war, becauseyou know? like buddhism did dealt with this problem, specially â interesting is here therelationship between japanese zen buddhism and war and it’s interesting to know whattricks this zen buddhism employed to justified taking part in war. first there are two mainstrategies in zen buddhism, the first one to justified, participating in war, that isto say killing people whatever to be clear; the first one is the standard teleologicalnarrative which is even

well known in our western societies, a quote,i think this quote is from teitaro suzuki the great popular writer: “even though thebuddha forbade the taking of life he also thought until all sentient beings are reunitedtogether through the exercise of infinite compassion there will never be peace, thereforeas a mean to bring this harmony those things which are incompatible killing and war arenecessary", you know? the usual trick, you know? like... my god i'm sorry to tell youbut hitler would have argued you like this, he would had said ‘i'm totally against suffering,i want peace but fuck it, there will be no peace as long as jews are manipulating ourneeds, so the only way to really fight for peace is to give to the jews, to be cynical,one way first class ticket to auschwitz’,

no? i mean, ok. so again did you listenedprecisely what this passage says, it’s the very force of compassion which guilts thesword, a true warrior kills out of love, and suzuki was consequently here, you know? whenhe wrote many texts supporting japanese war effort in china, he said "the chinese arelike stupid children, they cannot get that the sword which it's killing them now is reallythe sword of love". he even proposed so much, fuck you if you even think you will squeezeout by compassion. suzuki and some other japanese buddhists introduced the wonderful term ofcompassionate war like, you know? you do it precisely out of compassion to prevent furtheratt.. now comes the truth horror, ok this is the western bullshit also, we had it. butsuzuki and others then add to this teleological,

let's call it justification in the sense ofwar is a necessary evil to bring about the greater good, no? and of course in a certainway i agree with it, i mean i'm not going to bri... there is a much more radical lineof reasoning which is, i really find this one terrifying and ok, look into my book,i think it’s 'the puppet and the sword' but i don’t want to repeat myself so i developedthis in detail; namely suzuki also dealt with this problem, how to make the japanese militarymachinery more efficient? he knew well that we have a certain elementary decency like,lets say you are my love partner, i meet you wolfgang in a battlefield and even if i hateyou i would find it somehow difficult â to stab my knife or sword into you. here suzukienters and says ‘i have this difficulty

because i'm still caught in the false illusionof my self, you know? because i still think i'm the agent of my acts i feel falsely responsibleand so on but, quote from suzuki, a beautiful one: "if, the logic is that, if ireach nirvana then i no longer experience myself as an acting agent responsible forthe act but, you know is this very beautiful? i admitted, this buddhist view of the worldas a free flow of phenomena where i whatever remains of me, i'm no longer an agent butjust a pure gaze, an impassive observer which meditates on this crazy dance. this makesthings easier because here, quote from suzuki: “when i try to kill some of you it is reallynot me, but the sword itself that does the killing, he (the killer) has no desire todo harm to anybody but the enemy appears and

makes himself a victim, it is although thesword performs automatically its function of justicewhich is the function of mercy". now, are you? and please don't just tell me that thisare the freaky japanese and so on, all around you find this idea that, all around buddhism,that reaching nirvana, getting rid of your falseself makes you a much better warrior. this is why you have this long mythology of, youknow? zen buddhists as perfect samurai because you can do it with proper distance and soon and so on. so if you allow me now from here just to,i mean i should squeeze it now, two concluding points. the one is that here i see, i cannot...(a butterfly appears) my god i feel like a

bad buddhist, let's squash that! take a sentientbeing! good! he killed a sentient being! but you know this will worsen your karma, youknow? in the next life maybe instead of being an even greater philosopher you will be rebornas that butterfly, who knows? sorry, i’m not making fun, but i hope, letme, you know why not? because, do not please misunderstand me and that's my, i'm open tosay this tragedy here, i'm not in anyway saying thatbuddhist enlightenment is some kind of a joke to make killers or military better functioning,it's an absolutely authentic existential experience, all i'm saying is that we have to accept thegap and again suzuki is here honest, he says buddhism is a technique of stepping out ofthe karma and bla bla and he says you can

be (his examples) a stalinist, a fascist,a liberal, democrat, whatever, it doesn't matter, so i think to be a truly radical buddhistyou have to accept the minimal gap between all those ethical, you know why? because,let me give you now a really brutal idea, if the point of acting kindly, the buddhistmoral injunctions and so on compassionate, if the true point of this morality is to teachyou to bring you this dispassionate attitude of seeing the illusionary nature of realityand so on and so on. and when i, when i was in korea a month ago, i debated there witha buddhist and i laughed him, because he said yes what's the problem? when i told him wouldn'tthen be logical to conclude that the true proof that you are in nirvana would have beenprecisely that you can do horrible things

without your acts leaving traces in your karma?like, it’s easy to claim i don't cause any suffering bla bla if you just, you know? eatproperly, don't swear, don't steal, don't have too much sex and so on and no guilt;but wouldn't the true strength have been to do acts which usually involve a kind of acrazy fanatical attachment, torture, killing, but to be able to do it in a zen way witha distance? here i go very depressed, when i read a biography of ha ha he was the one,pol pot’s khmer rouge, and it is incredibly how many of his colleagues claim, people whomet him, that pol pot had such an absolutely breathtaking incredible in direct human relations,his inner peace and kindness, even when he ordered you know what, that there was a kindof a myth all around the khmer rouge leadership

that he is in the highest state and so on. so, what i’m saying here are two thingsto conclude. first: i claim that, and i'm not even taking sides here, both positionsare crazy but i claim that here we should grasp the gap that separates buddhism as oneradical condition from let's call it the western christian ethicswhich is, i think there is an absolute abyss here and all those shitty attempts to claim‘no, we are all talking about the same god or this things we are wrong’, mainly aschesterton and others emphasised, in western christian ethics the truth is as it were outthere, the whole point is excessive attachment, what buddhists see as evil is for us the gooditself, good means let's take our love, you

fall in love means, alain badiou will probablytalk about too this later, which means you know you get this excessively attachment,you throw yourself to the end into it. in other words, as chesterton put it so nicely,all other religions want to unite the world... how to unite with god? we are all one allbla bla... christianity separates, it is the religion of separation, christianity is nota religion of harmony, it's a religion which says yes there is some kind of homogeneous,harmonious circle of life but this is bullshit, this is the pagan background. the christiangesture is to say no! i do something crazy, i chose this, i stick to this even if it turnseverything around. ok, i will, if you allow me just to take thisnext three minutes really to conclude, here

also because some people try... this willbe the really concluding part, some people try to bring together heidegger and buddhismclaiming again two paths towards the same and so on, no, i claim not, you know why not?because for heidegger what he calls ereignis, this radical form of historicity, concealment,unconcealment and so on and so on, and precisely this radically historical dimension is missingin, for heidegger ereignis is not nirvana, ereignis is an historical event, this dimensioni don't find. but now if allow me just to conclude and it is madness because this isthe speculative center of what i'm trying to prove, where i would have been at the sametime where i would have to entertained a certain distance towards heidegger and towards buddhismis in the following one, and this is not just

ethical, it's much more radical distinction,you know? as a guy called, if you want to get more on this there is an interesting book,very, it's a modest book but very well written, i think the guy is bret davis, i forgot thetitle (zen after zarathustra) but basically it’s basically about heidegger and zen buddhismand he points to one, to a deep ambiguity in heidegger, how heidegger sometimes he isradically historicists, you know? in the sense of like modern nihilism bla bla but somehowhere and there heidegger locates, let's called it naively, the origin of evil of how thingsgo wrong, into the a priori structure of this closure of being itself, for example i willread you this short passage from heidegger’s der spruch des anaximander where he claimssomething which sounds strangely buddhist,

a quote "an entity may even insist bestehenupon its while... strange translation, it means the way that goes on i think... solelyto remain more present in the sense of perduring, that which lingers persist in its presencing,in this way it extricates itself from its transitory while (while is here substantive),it strikes the willful pose of resistance no longer concerning itself with whateverelse is present, it stiffens as it is the only way to linger and aims solely for continuanceand subsistence”. so here heidegger says something like the origin of disturbance iswhen a thing, and entity, persists too much, doesn't want to just be part of circle oflife whatever, you know what is the circle of life? i hate it, it's, you know? i thinkit’s the most oppressive ideology that you

can imagine, this is my old joke maybe youknow it, did you see , i hope you didn't, the lion king, and you know when where youfind there the song the circle of life precisely when the son asks his father the obvious question,is this right that we lions eat zebras? and father, it's easy when you are on the top,sings the song wich is ‘it’s all a circle of life, we eat zebras but we will die, wewill turn into dust, our flesh will feed grass and grass will be eaten by zebras so it'sall one big circle of life’ no? so all i'm tempted to say is imagine in beautiful life,the movie by benigni, the son asking him father but why are germans killing us jews? and ican well imagine roberto benigni singing back ‘it’s all one big circle of life, youknow? jews are killing us but we will die

and we will turn into food, our maneuver forgrass, grass will be eaten by cows and one of us will kill a cow and we will eat thecow so it is a big circle of life, you know?’ like, you know what's the point here? thepoint, the point is yeah but what if there are differents circles of life, maybe let'shope there is a circle of life where you exactly you don't have to do holocaust let's hope,no. but seriously now comes my final thesis, iwill just try to hint it, if you want more read my big fat book. my thesis is that enlightenmentis an authentic position but comes afterwards that, lets say that at animal level immediatelywe are simply fully emerged in life and there is no fall, we are there like animals buthow do you create the space for nirvana, void

or whatever by acquiring a distance from beingfully immersed into ordinary life? and this distance is true obsessive attachment, thatis to say to be primitive how do, it's very naive, i developed it much more technicallyin the book, how do animals become humans? when you say, no no sorry mr. lion king it'snot a circle of life, there is this woman, politically idea ... i get fixated on that,if the whole world drops, i want that, you know? this fixation de naturalizes you, throwsyou out of the circle and in this way, that's my claim, creates the space for withdrawalfor nirvana, you cannot get into nirvana directly from full immersion into natural life, youmust fall, fall in the sense of excessive attachment and this fall creates the voidwhere you have to withdraw.

now really to conclude, look i don't evenhave a paper, this brings me, and here i'm not kidding, i'm sincerely asking you if youknow more, i spoke with some guys here, this brings me to the crucial enigma that i findin buddhism and again very respectfully this is not a critical remark, you know? buddhasays the fact is people suffer, how to get them out? as a hegelian i like the oppositequestion, not how to get out but how did we fall in? and here, and this is the questioni'm asking people, is simply samsara affected or was there some kind of, you know illusionof maya? but, how did we get caught into this illusion? and i can make a report to you i'vegot three answers. the first one is the totally pragmatist one: buddha is a practical guy,he is not, this is a concrete answer, i'm

not mocking it, buddha was a practical guy,his problem was how to get out of suffering, he didn't care about this metaphysical questions.the second answer is a version of the first one but it is more a tricky one, a littlebit of a sophism, it says to understand how this, how the follower, you have to be alreadythere in nirvana but once you are there you don't care about this, you know? it is a kindof like a trick. the third one, and some tibetans that i met in beijing half illegally toldme, i really like that, here i can identify with buddhism, they told me that, they gaveme a kind of a, the name is meant ironically but basically very seriously, you know instar wars? now we are talking about real works of art, you know how they all the time mentionthis dark side of power, you know? and this

is i think very hegelian... so you don't simply,we are caught into earthly confusion but then there is a higher domain of peace, but whatif something can go terribly wrong in this nirvana domain itself? what is you know? whatis we are here in deep shit not because, or to put it in more agnostic terms of schellingand so on, human evil is not because we fell from god, human evil originates in madnessreversal, something going wrong in god himself, i know in buddhism you don't have in thissense god but what they told me this guys is that and they gave me a wonderful experimental,experiential reason, they told me, my god just listen to and i do, it’s really purehorror, do you know that buddhist music... they told me this is the voice of evil andno wonder, do you know who knows this? fbi,

do you remember some 10 years ago they gotto waco texas, those â fundamentalists who were encircled by fbi, do you know what musicfbi played to them to get them out to terrorize? this buddhist horns and so on and so on. sothis is i think some kind of a secret of tibetan buddhism witch, and again it is not rhetoricswhat i'm telling now, if you know anything about me i would... (someone walks out ofthe door) it is nice that you want to take a walk before i'll finish come back in halfan hour.. no, seriously, you see? this enigma speculative hegelian of how, it is not justwe are here in a world of illusions and then nirvana what if something can go wrong upthere. i'm very sorry if i was too long but on the other hand i'm not sorry, fuck you,what can you do?

thank you very much.

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