Friday, May 20, 2011

Obama's big Middle East speech

Reptilian?

My reaction: meh. Parole parole. Lots of rhetoric, precious little substance. Good political theater, with the Israelis pretending to be righteously indignant even though the speech didn't actually change anything with regards to them.

The 1967 borders have been official American policy since 1967. Sometimes the Prez brings them up, sometimes not, depending on which way the wind blows. It was news back when George W. Bush appeared to backtrack from them in a letter to Ariel Sharon, but even that didn't become the official American line; Obama's speech is only significant to the extent that it goes back to the rhetoric before that bit of correspondence.

Both Obama and especially Netanyahu are way behind the curve. The initiative is now with the Arabs.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Doubt

Almost Green

NellaLou has an excellent post up about the Genpo Merzel hoopla. It got me thinking, although not so much about Genpo Merzel. About doubt. The zazenkai a week ago did that too.

One of the first teishos I heard when I got into this here Zen thing a couple of years ago was about great faith and great doubt. It didn't make a lot of sense to me at the time. It's starting to do so now, though.

As far as I know, Zen is fairly unique in making doubt an engine of spiritual practice. In the Abrahamic religions at least, faith and doubt are opposed; faith is good, doubt is bad. What's more, at least in Western Christianity, faith is conflated with belief, and doubt with skepticism. Yet these are actually quite distinct things.