“People get into a heavy-duty sin and guilt trip, feeling that if things are going wrong, that means that they did something bad and they are being punished. That’s not the idea at all. The idea of karma is that you continually get the teachings that you need to open your heart. To the degree that you didn’t understand in the past how to stop protecting your soft spot, how to stop armoring your heart, you’re given this gift of teachings in the form of your life, to give you everything you need to open further.”— Pema Chödrön (via purplebuddhaproject)
“A great American poet, John Ashbery, wrote that tomorrow is easy, but today is uncharted. He put his finger on our real weakness. It is not our ignorance of the future which is incurable. It is our failure to understand the present.”—John Gray - Heresies Against Progress & Other Illusions (via themoralmindset)
For half a century we have been arguing about “the Vietnam War.” Is it possible that we didn’t know what we were talking about? After all that has been written (some 30,000 books and counting), it scarcely seems possible, but such, it turns out, has literally been the case.
Now, in Kill Anything that Moves, Nick Turse has for the first time put together a comprehensive picture, written with mastery and dignity, of what American forces actually were doing in Vietnam. The findings disclose an almost unspeakable truth. Meticulously piecing together newly released classified information, court-martial records, Pentagon reports, and firsthand interviews in Vietnam and the United States, as well as contemporaneous press accounts and secondary literature, Turse discovers that episodes of devastation, murder, massacre, rape, and torture once considered isolated atrocities were in fact the norm, adding up to a continuous stream of atrocity, unfolding, year after year, throughout that country.
It has been Turse’s great achievement to see that, thanks to the special character of the war, its prime reality — an accurate overall picture of what physically was occurring on the ground — had never been assembled; that with imagination and years of dogged work this could be done; and that even a half-century after the beginning of the war it still should be done. Turse acknowledges that, even now, not enough is known to present this picture in statistical terms. To be sure, he offers plenty of numbers — for instance the mind-boggling estimates that during the war there were some two million civilians killed and some five million wounded, that the United States flew 3.4 million aircraft sorties, and that it expended 30 billion pounds of munitions, releasing the equivalent in explosive force of 640 Hiroshima bombs.
Yet it would not have been enough to simply accumulate anecdotal evidence of abuses. Therefore, while providing an abundance of firsthand accounts, he has supplemented this approach. Like a fabric, a social reality — a town, a university, a revolution, a war — has a pattern and a texture. No fact is an island. Each one is rich in implications, which, so to speak, reach out toward the wider area of the surrounding facts. When some of these other facts are confirmed, they begin to reveal the pattern and texture in question.
“The destruction of personal privacy is not an ideological issue. Thoughtful women and men on every point of the political spectrum are beginning to realize that surveillance technology has shifted the balance of power between institutions and individuals. Without private thoughts and actions we can never truly be free.”—John Twelve Hawks, “New surveillance states have placed us in an invisible prison”
“But the same thing is also sought in other places- in caves, in labyrinths, in the desert where the tempter lives. To those who can divine its symbols a tremendous life force inhabits all things and places. Moses strikes his staff on the rock and the water of life spurts forth. A moment like this suffices for millenia.
All this only seems to have been given in remote places and times. In reality, it is concealed in every individual, entrusted to him in code, so that he might understand himself, in his deepest, supra-individual power. This is the goal of every teaching that is worthy of the name. Let matter condense into veritable walls that seem to block all prospects: yet the abundance is closest at hand, for it lives in man as a gift, as a time-transcending patrimony. It is up to him how he will grasp the staff: to merely support him on his life path, or to serve him as a scepter.”— Ernst Junger, The Forest Passage, p.47 (via vulturehooligan)
A new and improved global drug control regime is needed that better protects the health and safety of individuals and communities around the world. Harsh measures grounded in repressive ideologies must be replaced by more humane and effective policies shaped by scientific evidence, public health principles and human rights standards. This is the only way to simultaneously reduce drug-related death, disease and suffering and the violence, crime, corruption and illicit markets associated with ineffective prohibitionist policies. The fiscal implications of the policies we advocate, it must be stressed, pale in comparison to the direct costs and indirect consequences generated by the current regime.
The Global Commission proposes five pathways to improve the global drug policy regime. After putting people ́s health and safety at the center of the picture, governments are urged to ensure access to essential medicines and pain control. The Commissioners call for an end to the criminalization and incarceration of users together with targeted prevention, harm reduction and treatment strategies for dependent users.
In order to reduce drug related harms and undermine the power and profits of organized crime, the Commission recommends that governments regulate drug markets and adapt their enforcement strategies to target the most violent and disruptive criminal groups rather than punish low level players. The Global Commission’s proposals are complimentary and comprehensive. They call on governments to rethink the problem, do what can and should be done immediately, and not to shy away from the transformative potential of regulation.
The obstacles to drug policy reform are both daunting and diverse. Powerful and established drug control bureaucracies, both national and international, staunchly defend status quo policies. They seldom question whether their involvement and tactics in enforcing drug policy are doing more harm than good. Meanwhile, there is often a tendency to sensationalize each new “drug scare” in the media. And politicians regularly subscribe to the appealing rhetoric of “zero tolerance” and creating “drug free” societies rather than pursuing an informed approach based on evidence of what works. Popular associations of illicit drugs with ethnic and racial minorities stir fear and inspire harsh legislation. And enlightened reform advocates are routinely attacked as “soft on crime” or even “pro-drug.”
“For a progressive sexual movement, even one that may want to produce marriage as an option for non-heterosexuals, the proposition that marriage should become the only way to sanction or legitimize sexuality is unacceptably conservative.”—Judith Butler, Undoing Gender (via literature-and-cats)
On point to my feelings as to why gay marriage is not the end all be all of the gay rights movement.