Monday, April 12, 2010

On religion

I find it difficult to discuss about religion with a believer. The fact that the concept of god is based on faith and not on rationality makes it impossible to argue. Faith doesn't need logic or proof, you have it or not. It's a concept that sustains itself, that exists only because of its own meaning. Religion is nothing more than the oldest and most powerful meme.
Some time ago, a friend of mine which I previously knew as atheist told me she converted herself to christianity. I received that news as a shock. I tried to probe her about what triggered this sudden belief. She wasn't too eager to drill on the subject but basically told me she that had an illumination. Reflecting on that I realised I shouldn't have been so surprised, I already knew she believed in predicting the future by reading tarot.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Eurock climbing

Mon ami Pierre a entrepris un voyage de 8 mois pour grimper sur les plus beaux sites d'escalade d'Europe. Je l'ai suivit durant le 1er mois, sur le parcours Espagnol. Il retrace ses aventures sur son blog.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

A review of "The Art of Happiness"

I'm half through the Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama & Howard C. Cutler and I have a few opinions to express already.

These opinions have to be put in the context of my own lack of culture. That is the first time I'm reading anything from the Dalai Lama. I have no background regarding Buddhism whatsoever. I am a convinced atheist and a fierce religion opponent. Beside, this book includes only excerpts of the conversations between the Dalai Lama and H. C. Cutler, selected by and liven up with the latter's own interpretations, which probably helped a lot to screw the original Dalai Lama's message.

H.C. Cutler is just the perfect cliché of the western guy to whom the true meaning of life has been revealed. This is sometimes pathetic, like when he rambles about the making of his cotton shirt and how discovering that everybody is interlinked in a network of dependence make him want to cry. Yes, that's the complexity of the modern ways of production and commerce. That has nothing to do with intimacy or even self-reliance like he claims.

I understand this philosophy of reaching happiness by living a simple life filled with spirituality, so much in opposition to the current western culture that mixes pleasure and materialism with happiness. But sometimes the views of the Dalai Lama appear to me as simplistic at best, naive at worst.
I'm particularly entertained by reading about monk giving his opinions on love and passion. I don't think that a lifetime of watching and reflection can replace true-life experience. This is enough to read him say that an intimate and passionate love relationship 'can be seen as something positive'. The guy obviously never experienced it. This might be only a moment of bliss that leads later to suffering but who would let it pass by ? Anyway, the guy won't reproduce himself. He will reincarnate. That removes this hell of a problem of finding a mate.

This culture of taming emotions doesn't inspire me much. I think the mental states it leads to shouldn't be called happiness but rather blankness.