June 23, 2008

Utter indigence and striking elegance

Against certain instincts I like to check in at Nassim Taleb's non-blog to see what esoterica he's drawn out from his reading and travels. There doesn't appear to be anyone else on his beat.

I was in India (for the first time) and had the impression that I had been there before –at some point I felt I was coming home & felt like breaking my nomadic streak & staying there. Maybe there is this manner in which the poorest of the poor can live hand-to-mouth while projecting a philosophical composure: a combination of utter indigence and striking elegance you never see in the (industrialized) West –Christianity appears amateurish by comparison. You need to learn to be poor; though it is easier to have nothing than have a little bit, just enough to start a materialistic dependence and worry about losing it, which is why I am convinced that middle-classdom is some form of punishment inflicted on unsuspecting members of Western societies. A few educated imbeciles irritated me with the cliché “fatalism” – a meaningless term.

Which brings me again to ataraxia [inner peace from the skeptical suspension of belief] which these people practice naturally. Among other things, I became once again obsessed with the strange similarities between both stoicism & Pyrrhonian skepticism on one hand, & Hindu thinking on the other –remembering that stoics were often Phoenicians (Zeno, Chrysippus, etc.), that Socratic ethics have some strange Eastern overtones (&, as well, Biblical).
The West in general is so up it's own ass as to take as read that little of value has come from the East, while Asia now is happy to read all, plunder all, and benefit.

I wish I could live another 500 years and see how it all unfolds, as it is I'll be dead within 60 or so. I'm an optimistic guy

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