Archive for December, 2016

The media

It’s interesting that everyone seems to be unhappy with the “mainstream media”. Those “on the left” tend to feel that the pursuit of “unbiased” reporting is lending credibility to candidates and stories that simply aren’t credible. Meanwhile, those “on the right” tend to believe that the pursuit of “the facts” is at best a distraction from what they care about, and at worst an elaborate scheme to cover up elitist conspiracies.

Is it possible for the media to address these concerns without going out of business or fragmenting into the “echo chambers” we are now seeing of special-interest news feeds that are not helping anyone to understand each other better?

  • Can journalists acknowledge that everyone is biased, and therefore that pretending to be truly unbiased is inauthentic?
  • Can scientists acknowledge that all facts are human creations, and as such are inherently prone to some uncertainty?
  • Can religious leaders acknowledge that all scripture requires human interpretation, and as such is also inherently prone to some uncertainty?
  • Can laypeople acknowledge that some important truths are difficult or impossible to understand without years of training and effort?
  • Can politicians acknowledge that they, like all people, have made devastating mistakes?

In short, how do we present the news of the day authentically, humbly, and realistically? (How would Jesus, or the Buddha, report the news?)


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Meditation on the “Four Immeasurables”

“Begin by drawing on the warmth of friendship that you know exists potentially in your mind and direct it to yourself. Notice how much peace, happiness, and benevolence you possess already. Make yourself aware of how much you need and long for loving friendship.

“Next, become conscious of your anger, fear, and anxiety. Look deeply into the seeds of rage within yourself. Bring to mind some of your past suffering. You long to be free of this pain, so try gently to put aside your current irritations, frustrations, and worries and feel compassion for your conflicted, struggling self.

“Then bring your capacity for joy to the surface and take conscious pleasure in things we all tend to take for granted: good health, family, friends, work, and life’s tiny pleasures.

“Finally, look at yourself with upeksha (“even-mindedness, non-attachment“). You have failings, but so does everybody else. You also have talents and, like every other being on the planet, you deserve compassion, joy, and friendship.”

-Karen Armstrong, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life (p. 85-86)

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A definition of meditation

“Meditation… is a discipline that helps us to take greater control of our minds and channel our destructive impulses creatively.”

-Karen Armstrong, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life (p.84)

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