Ted (merovingian) wrote,
Ted
merovingian

Mahayana vs. Theravada. Ready..... FIGHT!

Knowing which way the horsies move is important, but the secret to winning chess is starting a discussion that will distract your opponent, without losing one's own focus.

At the local cafe - which serves no bagels - there's a pretty lively chess scene. Sometimes it gets competitive. Fronting occurs. I'm actually a pretty mediocre chess player, so usually I stay out of it, but someone insulted my new shoes, so I had to step up to bat.

He knew the strategy as well as I did. On his opening move, he said, "So, I was looking at a website today about a new language, dedicated to being as simple as possible, and to sounding like cute cartoon characters. The creator claims to be inspired by the Tao Te Ching. Do you think great philosophical works could be created with a language dedicated to the inability to express complex thought? Is it any coincidence that Germany, with its complex and precise language, has give the world so many philosophers?"

I smiled, and probably did something with a pawn while I said, "There's some topics and ideas which are so broad that you can reasonably apply them to every aspect of life. Language and its effects on mentality is such an idea. So is dominant/submissive power struggles. So is personal happiness versus group morality. So are the struggle between social classes, and the subjectivity of perception, and the theory of adaptive and competitive evolution, and the evils (or benefits) of corporate and commercial culture. It's a trap. Once you discover that your Key Principle touches every aspect of human existence, it's too easy to assume it's the only idea you need. Even if every situation is affected by competitive evolution, or class struggle, or whatever, there's other forces at play, and it's important not to forget them for the sake of the elegant simplicity of a Universal Theory."

He scowled, and probably did some kind of chess piece-moving thing, too. "Interesting idea. Let's see what happens when you apply that theory to itself!"

I took a moment to think about that, which is how I knew I'd lost the game. I scrambled desperately for another gambit. "You know, P.J. O'Rourke once said 'All boy bands consist of The Cute One, The Moody One, The Rebellious One, The Ethnic One and The Dork. It worked for NATO.' I thought that was clever."

He chuckled amiably, knowing he'd won. "Perhaps music was once the best tool to influence popular political thought, but today, I think it's comedy."

I was about to respond to that, but he pointed at the checkmate situation at the table, apologized for his comment about my shoes, and left.

So, um, don't take my advice about chess, okay?

Poll #68084 Make Your Own!

All boy bands consist of The ...

Cute
7(13.0%)
Invisible
10(18.5%)
Pregnant
10(18.5%)
Omnipotent
4(7.4%)
Skin-Eating
23(42.6%)

... One, The ...

Moody
6(11.1%)
Feline
5(9.3%)
Septagenarian
9(16.7%)
Big-Nosed
14(25.9%)
Chosen
20(37.0%)

... One, The ...

Rebellious
6(11.1%)
Clay
7(13.0%)
Proto-Indo-European
21(38.9%)
Microscopic
10(18.5%)
Fulbright Scholarship-Winning
10(18.5%)

... One, The ...

...One, and The ...

Dork.
2(3.7%)
Beaver.
1(1.9%)
Who.
1(1.9%)
Epic of Gilgamesh.
5(9.3%)
Pants.
4(7.4%)
Chaos Fairy.
4(7.4%)
Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
3(5.6%)
Seventeen Foot Tall White Chocolate Statue of Brigham Young.
14(25.9%)
Terrible Secret of Space.
10(18.5%)
Quarterback.
2(3.7%)
Crow.
1(1.9%)
Talented Mr. Ripley.
0(0.0%)
Ninja.
0(0.0%)
Pirate.
3(5.6%)
Best Way To End This Poll Is With An Off-Topic Question.
4(7.4%)

On another subject. What percentage of the time do you spend being ironic, in thought or in action?

Mean: 50.00 Median: 50 Std. Dev 29.25
0
2(3.7%)
10
4(7.4%)
20
9(16.7%)
30
5(9.3%)
40
6(11.1%)
50
4(7.4%)
60
3(5.6%)
70
9(16.7%)
80
5(9.3%)
90
2(3.7%)
100
5(9.3%)
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