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This bit in Milton:

"hope never comes / That comes to all"

reminds me, for its complete contrast, of something from Bhikkhu:

"Hopes and expectations are troublesome things. … Don’t bother with hope."

(Pages 2–3, "Living in the present: without past, without future", lecture delivered by Buddhadasa in 1982, translated by Dhammavidū:

"with ambitious aim /
Against the Throne and Monarchy of God /
Rais'd impious War in Heav'n and Battel proud /
With vain attempt. Him the Almighty Power /
Hurld headlong flaming from th' Ethereal Skie /
With hideous ruine and combustion down /
To bottomless perdition, there to dwell /
In Adamantine Chains and penal Fire"

Milton dropping 🔥 right in book one.

Note: Davidson pronounces "impious" as "IM-pee-us", two syllables, so the stress then falls on "WAR": "impious war".

Adamantine Chains.

Oh GODS IN HEAVEN, the same narrator for Gulag Archipelago as Milton’s Paradise Lost: Frederick Davidson.

Now I’m going to hear about Soviet totalitarianism in the same voice as Lucifer and Beelzebub—“Whether by strength, or Chance, or Fate”!

That was an amazing audiobook, Paradise Lost read by Frederick Davidson, very memorable for many reasons. English has many, many amazing works of literary art.

Library has all three parts of Aleksandr ’s Archipelago in online audiobook. Volume one is unavailable: all four copies are “checked out” and there are thirteen other patrons ahead of me with holds.

But volumes two and three are available for listening now.

Starting on volume two without reading volume one!

Looking forward to learning exactly what order of profession/class Lenin and Stalin murdered people in!



But what Batchelor and Nietzsche imply here, that there’s a way to love our fate to see cruelest suffering inflicted on the least deserving (children in cages or cancer wards, say), that would truly be an Ozeki-grade supa-powa (superpower).

And. I’m becoming increasingly convinced that finding the road to that superpower and walking it and cultivating it is the best chance I have of helping head off the coming genocides.

Because this hating the fascists for existing isn’t getting me anywhere.

I’m not being a fascist apologist here. Ruth Ozeki’s earth-shattering novel *A tale for the time being* has this amazing scene where the teenager narrates how she reads to her great-grandmother (a Zen nun) the news about perverts murdering schoolgirls, causing the great-grandmother to click her juzu beads in prayer for both the murdered and the murderers. She’s not being a murder apologist by praying for the murderers’ enlightenment and awakening, any more than I am for the fascists.

(Ibid.: Stephen Batchelor, *Confessions of a Buddhist atheist*.)

The fascists and the progressives I think are driven to extreme views of each other and extreme action because we are all so incapable of dealing with the inevitability of cruelest suffering befalling the undeserving and innocent. We are so wedded to the delusion that, if only these sociopolitical changes were enacted surely the world would be a better place… the harm caused by this delusion so amplifies the intrinsic suffering.

“creatures are constantly being born, falling ill, growing old, & dying. These are the unavoidable facts of our existence. As contingent beings, we do not survive. & when I am honest with myself, when I drop all my stoic conceits, this is unbearable. To embrace the contingency of one’s life is to embrace one’s fate as an ephemeral but sentient being. As Nietzsche claimed, one can come to love that fate. But to do so one must first embrace it, though one instinctively recoils at such a prospect.”

“doubt rather than belief, perplexity rather than certainty”

(Stephen Batchelor in “Confession of a Buddhist Atheist” about .)

"The problem with prophets is that they don't always agree with one another. … How do you decide between prophets? This was always a perennial problem for Israel: they never really quite knew how you could determine who was a true prophet and who wasn't. After all, there was no way to test prophetic claims. … Eventually, there has to come a point where you draw a line in the sand and say, 'No more. No more prophets. No more direct revelation.', because it gets to be problematic."

(Lecture #21)

“Prophets are <pause> a difficult <deeper pause> group of people to deal with."
—Steve A. Wiggins, podcast #19, "Moses and the Problem of Torah",

🤣 in the midst of a deeply learned lecture.

"They used to say ‘if the product is free, you are the product’ but now, if the product is free, you are the training data"

(This working hypothesis owes a lot to Stephen Batchelor’s candid writings about his difficulties with the Tibetan Buddhist brand of supernaturalism, starting with rebirth.)

Working hypothesis: as monotheism may have been a viral meme that swept through Jewish community during the Babylonian captivity (to explain the fall of Jerusalem) and replaced the older polytheism-with-benefits, reincarnation and karma may have been viral memes that swept through early Buddhist doctrine, infusing supernatural leanings into an originally atheistic or agnostic one.

Two initially fringe ideas that grew to near universality.

Until modern academic investigations dismantled them.

We were hearing that students living in dormitories are hacking their crock pots to produce high enough temperatures for hot pot, which gave my brilliant spouse this idea:

in fondue pot! Works perfectly!!!


Debating between

1. returning to the comfortable imperial walled gardens by buying an Intel stick (x86, Windows, mass compatibility) for $150, versus

2. returning to my even-earlier roots of wasting time trying to make things work (the Dropbox-Uploader script in a cron is lame; even a custom app with sync probably will be hugely suboptimal).

Obligatory complaining about how the world doesn't work the way you wished it worked (a crucial skill for personal computing projects, Linux projects, etc.):

, just pay someone a few hours to figure out how to compile your Cython code for !

Qemu ought to be able to run a statically-compiled i386-targeted binary on ARM, but Dropbox's daemon is dynamically-linked, and Qemu/Dropbox/Raspbian complains things in /lib are mismatched architectures 😅.

SO I was futzing with , Dropbox-Uploader script, my own scripts, etc., etc., all the bad advice and dead ends and, and I remember this! This is the first time in a few years that I've wandered outside the boundary of "everything just works on " for personal projects but I remember dropping thousands of hours as a child into these computing projects that in retrospect ruined my eyesight and retarded my social skills developing by many years, but gave me valuable skills!

Traded an old tower for a relative's . The idea was to finally have a local mirror of all my data—none of our computers these days have an always-connected drive with >1 TB storage, so they have some directories unsync'ed, which worries me.

I remember running Dropbox on back in the day, since its Python and all, so I thought it'd be fine.

But no. The core Dropbox daemon is a closed-source compiled app that isn't available for ARM CPUs. It's just Cython, but alas.

Especially because that software could easily be used to identify district shapes that *minimize* gerrymandering, and *improve* democracy, and *maximize* each individual’s vote impact—though that’s better done through switching from runoff voting to ranked choice voting:

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Octodon is a nice general purpose instance. more