Friday, 12 January 2018

My work on Buddhism: how is it perceived by (non-scholarly) white Buddhists?


This is a link from 2016 I stumbled upon (when googling my own name to find the link to an article that I know I uploaded somewhere).

http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/24451/articles-on-buddhism-by-a-former-pali-scholar

You see the religious mentality at work here: one contributor to this website is saying that my articles (and videos) about Buddhism are "honest scholarship" and raise important questions for Buddhists to consider.  And the other members of the forum reach for whatever excuse they can find to dismiss the articles without reading them (one explicitly says that he made his decision on the basis of the titles of the articles being too cynical).  ;-)

Thursday, 11 January 2018

I finally discarded the jacket I got married in.

A certain black jacket that you may have seen in my photos and videos many times has finally been put into a garbage bag.

This was, in fact, a Canadian military jacket (sometimes recognized as such by veterans and government officials, in various places around the world) that I had a tailor modify in Vientiane (to make it slimmer).  The original cut of the cloth was very bulky, to be worn over a harness or other (military) equipment.  The material was ("bullet-proof") aramid (Nomex 3 aramid fiber, as I recall).

I was wearing this jacket on the day of my legal marriage (shown in the pictures above) and on the day when my wife and I were separated (legally, we still aren't divorced!).

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

My former Cree Teacher Advocates for Cree Street-Signs.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCvJuFE0POM
Solomon Ratt was one of my professors at FNU, and I talked about this issue with him (street-signs, no-smoking-signs, etc.) ALL THE TIME.  Part of my argument was to point out that the Canadian government had signage in Chinese for Chinese neighborhoods ("Chinatown" streets)… but why didn't we ever see Cree/Ojibwe on street signs?  I have no idea if my kvetching about this (years ago) at FNU was part of the impetus toward his formally lobbying on the issue, but I would note: he'd been there (as a professor of Cree) for many, many years… and he didn't take this on earlier.

Yes, Aristotle really meant "Election By Lottery".

My recent video titled, "Aristotle's philosophy (in/and my life)" resulted in a few gasps of amazement amongst my Patreon supporters.  Can it be that "election by lot" really means a sort of lottery?  Could it be that I'm misreading something somewhere along the line?

Note the text quoted in the image above, but, also, to quote the lowly Wikipedia: "The Athenians believed sortition to be democratic but not elections and used complex procedures with purpose-built allotment machines (kleroteria) to avoid the corrupt practices used by oligarchs to buy their way into office."  And yes, indeed, you will find, "sortition" is another word for election at random —by lot or lottery.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sortition#Ancient_Athens

Both Aristotle and Herodotus (one of the earliest writers on democracy) emphasize selection by lot as a test of democracy, "The rule of the people has the fairest name of all, equality (isonomia), and does none of the things that a monarch does. The lot determines offices, power is held accountable, and deliberation is conducted in public." (Quoting Herodotus)

Thursday, 2 November 2017

A Letter to My Next Lawyer (& A Current Summary of My Divorce Case)

Hello, I am in the middle of a divorce (in Nice / Côte d'Azur) and I'm seeking a new lawyer.


1. The current situation of my divorce is really very simple (although the prior history may be complex).  I do not believe there are any special challenges for a law firm (more details below).

The purpose of this message is to communicate a few simple/reassuring things (so that you can decide if you would like to become my lawyer or not).


2. I do not have any unreasonable expectations from my lawyer / law firm (I think that every lawyer is probably concerned about having a fussy / implacable client).  I do not have any unreasonable expectations about the legal process, generally (although I need guidance on some strategic decisions in future, from my lawyers).

Friday, 20 October 2017

My Laotian Handwriting (having "forgotten" the language for 11 years)


Working on Laotian again after a "pause" of 11 years: I had exemplary Lao handwriting in 2006… but I haven't seen, read, written or practiced the language in any way since then.  I don't think I'm naturally talented in languages, TBH: I just do the work others don't do.


Thursday, 12 October 2017

There are many ways to tell the truth, but only one way to lie.

I made that up in a memorable situation at City Hall.  Toronto City Hall.  There are many ways to tell the truth, but only one way to lie.

Monday, 28 August 2017

Letter to my Cree Language instructors (from years past)

Hi Bill (this is Bill Cook's email, I presume?),
Hi to Solomon, too,

You guys haven't heard from me in more than a year.  Many strange changes in my life since I was a full-time student of Cree (as a language) at F.N.U.  I actually tried to study First Nations languages at UVic: they had one professor specialized in Cree, but they* refused to let it happen. They also had a circle of students studying Ojibwe independently on campus.  The whole department was hollow: nobody at UVic is learning/teaching any First Nations language (neither west-coast nor otherwise).  They just do linguistic methods.  Depressing as hell.

* [They = the department.]

I spent 7+ months in a language-school in China, 1-on-1 with the teacher, 4 hours per day, 5 days per week in the classroom.  This is exponentially more effective way to learn a language than university classroom methods (1 hour, twice a week, with 40 students in one room, etc.) --but expensive, of course.

A Complete List of My Youtube Videos (à-bas-le-ciel)


https://activistjourneys.wordpress.com/eisel-listed-videos/

It is actually pretty difficult to access old videos (on à-bas-le-ciel) via the normal Youtube interface: they may fix/improve that interface (the corporation has recently made many changes)… but… for the time being… this clickable list made by Patreon-supporter Theo is a huge help.

The channel already has over 700 videos (as of August, 2017)… I don't know if the list will be updated/maintained, but it is already useful for accessing the earlier history of the channel.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

What I Value About Chinese Culture.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjymJGAPFQ4

NOTE: this blog will not be updated for many months, as I will be living in China.  You can find me via Patreon in 2016–2017:  http://patreon.com/a_bas_le_ciel

H.M.U.