Of foremost importance are the people – not celebrities, the powerful, the rich, scholars or others whom society deems great or praiseworthy. The purpose of all things must be the happiness of the people.
Everything else should be but a means to that end.
Those who fail to recognize this fundamental point and look down on the people and exploit them are thoroughly vile and contemptible; they are a hindrance to people’s happiness.
Daily Encouragement by Daisaku Ikeda
Friday, March 26, 2010
The fundamental spirit of Buddhism is that all people are equal. A person is not great simply because of his or her social standing, fame, academic background or position in the organization. In the world of faith, the truly great are those who spread the Mystic Law and strive for kosen-rufu, who actively work for...
I woke up this morning ……and read two small passages, both written by Buddhists, one of which quotes one of “The Buddha’s” last works, the Lotus Sutra. What struck me, was that sometimes, this Buddhism that I do can get a bit confusing, and then suddenly – suddenly someone says something that brings everything right...
My old friend Jeff recently died.
The track now playing was one of the last pieces we did together. It’s Jeff’s creation and is one of my favourite Crawling Chaos tracks. This is a pre-Waqqaz version from a cassette that has travelled round France, been in various glove compartments and cupboard floors.
I’ve taken it straight from cassette and it’s encoded at the maximum bitrate for MP3 files in Reaper for your enjoyment. I’ve just used a noise gate set at -20dB and a bit of compression to follow in this extract. For me, the mix is better than the final vinyl one despite the 12kHz frequency cut-off.
It’s Jeff at his finest.
I remember him sitting cross-legged on the floor at Bebside for about a fortnight getting the various harmonies planned out. My input was minimal and I just did a few block keyboard chords as instructed, to bulk out the end as well as the mixing on the guitars and the drums set-up.
The real work was within the complex interlocking guitar parts, of which there are at least six, all played by Jeff. The only words I could think of came to me in a dream.
E.ver Y.oung, E.ver S.pecial
I ensured that they were on the penultimate bounce so that they couldn’t be removed. I didn’t know why, at the time, I thought of them (apart from the corniness) or why I strove to ensure their longevity. I instantly knew though, that this was Jeff’s finest work, for me, and I’ve listened many times to it since, mainly this cassette tape version.
But now, I know that one’s karma transcends space and time and that one can affect one’s karma in the distant past.
Currently, I am heavily affected by EYES, believe it or not. I have chanted to change my karma both now, in the future, and in the past, and the benefits are immense.
So now I know why I woke up with those words in my head 25 springs ago.
It was so that I could write this piece about my old friend Jeff, and remember him and all the joint experiences that we had together since we were 14.
I’ve put a live version on the Crawling Chaos site of Yoni Suchon. This is quite a powerful sound with some small differences to the version on the Waqqaz release. It’s just Jeff & me pinning back everyone’s lugholes to the back wall. It seemed to have quite a favourable reception – well it would,...
Daft innit. I think it’s great. It only appears to be in the install, which takes ages and is in the menus for a bit. The actual game doesn’t appear to have it although thematically the in-game music is similar. The chords are very like I Predict a Riot, but slower – big jumps with...
Using my Panasonic Lumix TZ7 and it’s fantastic zoom and image stabilisation, and at low-ish light levels (dusk), I took the following pictures last night of the thinnest, slimmest, almost invisible moon that I’ve ever seen. Just after the sun set, the bats were flying and the moon was ever-so-close to the sun. On 12x zoom, and hand-held, the camera actually managed to get the moon as a sharp sliver of whiteness against the blue of the gloaming.
Lovely. (George the Dog also makes an appearance, which emphasises the darkness of the ground.)
These are a few pictures taken with my new Panasonic Lumix TZ5. They show the first real flowers in the back garden, some daffodils across the canal and some ethereal and dynamic shots from down the canal that demonstrate the effect of sunlight on reed beds with the sun for and against you! There are...
Indian police officers look down from a bridge at the wreckage of a bus after an accident in Sawai Madhopur district, nearly 185 kilometres west of Jaipur, India, Monday, March 15, 2010. (AP / Rajasthan Patrika)
The above headline is awful enough for the people involved, but in reality, it’s subject, a road crash, is common enough in my own country, the UK.
What is really bad is how the BBC is reporting this. They should know better but essentially, they’ve reported verbatim the same “superiority complex” story being bandied about the globe in a “mass denigration” of India, (see here and here for instance), originally sourced from AP and which includes the objectionable phrase,
Road accidents claim hundreds of Indian lives every year. Most are blamed on bad driving or poor roads and vehicles.
There are two things wrong with this:
ONE: The statistics are incorrect and they imply that somehow India is much worse than anywhere else.
TWO: The causes of accidents are reported as if they are specific to India, e.g. bad driving, vehicles, roads. This is obviously wrong – my personal experience and the accounts of countless others tell me so….
People are killed on the roads in far greater numbers than “hundreds” as the BBC and everyone else is saying. Not only that, India’s figures are in the thousands, not hundreds, the same as every other country on the planet!…
You see, ~4,000 are killed in the UK and ten times that, ~40,000 are killed in the USA! Every year.
In the USA it’s so bad now that the main cause of death for people aged from 5 to 27 is on the road! (source)
Bad Driving? Bad Writing? Bad Editing?
So is it okay to compare bald figures? What are they?
Of course, the statistics for India are hard to come by. But this website for 1998 gives road deaths figures for India, North America and Europe as:
N. America: 49k
From Wikipedia, these are the (2008) figures for population of the three areas:
N. America: 528M
So from these figures, road traffic deaths per 100,000 persons are:
N. America: 9.3
So India is about twice as bad as the two major OECD areas in the world, for road deaths as a percentage of population size…. Not that we can all sit easy in our Western smugness…. there are still 10 people dying every day in the UK, on the road.
(I know the above calculations are back-of-fag-packet stuff and the data doesn’t line up correctly, date-wise. As I said, Indian data is hard to come by. This document makes plain that the OECD median is 7.8 for 2007, which is close to my calculations, and my calculation uses figures from the same year for each geographical zone down a given metric.)
But what about the distance travelled? Surely Americans drive more and thus crash more compared to their fellow Europeans which will lower their rates?
This document again makes plain that the above supposition is false! When allowance is made for distance travelled, the USA fares only slightly worse than the UK for deaths per 100 million vehicle kilometres; 0.8 compared to 0.6
But this “slightly worse”, in percentage terms, is about the same as the whole variation across all OECD countries, N. America and Europe as seen above. This means, that Americans DO drive farther, but they still crash at their same higher rate compared to Europeans.
Where does this leave India? As I said, the data is hard to come by. But that’s not the point, is it?
The point is that the reporting of this bridge crash is being done in a mocking, superior way, and we have nothing at all to be smug about in the arena of road deaths.
Introduction You may not have noticed the co-incidence yesterday, but an Iranian aircraft crashed and the US Space Shuttle took off. the co-incidence was in the strange reporting that envelops such events. Iranian Crash This, as air crashes go, was pretty ordinary – something went wrong, it crashed, everyone died. You’d expect some reasoned discussion,...
Last week I arrived in Croydon to a week’s worth of knife deaths, convictions and escapes. It seemed that the whole place was a blood-bath. In examining them closely, some deaths were national news – and deservedly so, but mostly, there is no world outside of London for all the meeja types. For instance, in...
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