typography of the sermon of buddha, resistance to truth can persist through adulthood, sunset volcano wallpaper

A page from The Life History and Sermon of Buddha.

Life History and Sermon of Buddha Abstracted from Buddhist Scriptures

Seokbosangjeol (Life history and sermons of Buddha abstracted from Buddhist scriptures) was compiled by Prince Suyang, the son of King Sejong and Queen Soheon, in the 29th year of King Sejong’s reign (1447). It was written in Korean prose style, not only to pray for the repose of the prince’s mother, but also to let the common people learn Buddhist doctrines more easily. Its content teaches about Buddha’s life and his main sermons, selected from the Chinese sutras such as the Sutra of the Lotus, the Sutra of Ksitigarbha, the Sutra of Amitbha, and the Sutra of the Medicine. The book was published using the movable metal type called gabinja. The gabinja is considered to be the most outstanding type from the entire history of the Joseon Dynasty. The type used to print Seokbosangjeol is the first type made after the invention of the native Korean alphabet Hangul script. Some pieces of the work are still missing, but it is a very rare and important masterpiece, especially in the research areas of 15th-century linguistics and the history of printing.

I don’t subscribe to Buddhism and I’m not promoting it as a belief system. The printed script, the typography is quite beautiful and the book is important as a historical artifact.

There is an anti-Obama film that, for a documentary is doing well at the box office. It is based on utterly false, though very an imaginative book by conservative fanatic Dinesh D’Souza’. I don’t know why, maybe to give them a chance to convince me they were not kooks I started reading what the D’Souza fan club had to say in the comments at this movie news site. The disconnect from reality is staggering. Those who think you can have and win a debate with people who have such contempt for things like reality, facts, rationalism, common decency – good luck. There is some basic fact checking of the book on which the film is based here, Dinesh D’Souza’s Lies in “About 2016: Obama’s America”. This resistance, in some instances more like an insistence on resisting facts, is not restricting to the U.S. and not just to politics or public policy issues. This is from an article about science and the resistance to new knowledge, but the general issue of accepting new knowledge as opposed to unjustified beliefs starts in childhood and can, given certain circumstances persists through life,

The main source of resistance to scientific ideas concerns what children know prior to their exposure to science. The last several decades of developmental psychology has made it abundantly clear that humans do not start off as  “blank slates.” Rather, even one year-olds possess a rich understanding of both the physical world (a “naïve physics”) and the social world (a “naïve psychology”). Babies know that objects are solid, that they persist over time even when they are out of sight, that they fall to the ground if unsupported, and that they do not move unless acted upon. They also understand that people move autonomously in response to social and physical events, that they act and react in accord with their goals, and that they respond with appropriate emotions to different situations.

These intuitions give children a head start when it comes to understanding and learning about objects and people. But these intuitions also sometimes clash with scientific discoveries about the nature of the world, making certain scientific facts difficult to learn. As Susan Carey once put it, the problem with teaching science to children is “not what the student lacks, but what the student has, namely alternative conceptual frameworks for understanding the phenomena covered by the theories we are trying to teach.”

Children’s belief that unsupported objects fall downwards, for instance, makes it difficult for them to see the world as a sphere — if it were a sphere, the people and things on the other side should fall off. It is not until about eight or nine years of age that children demonstrate a coherent understanding of a spherical Earth, and younger children often distort the scientific understanding in systematic ways. Some deny that people can live all over the Earth’s surface, and, when asked to draw the Earth or model it with clay, some children depict it as a sphere with a flattened top or as a hollow sphere that people live inside.

In some cases, there is such resistance to science education that it never entirely sticks, and foundational biases persist into adulthood.

This frequently heated resistance to justified information, resistance to fact checking to see if one’s assumptions are true and the strong desire to propagate one’s false beliefs as the truth has real world costs. In the U.S. we value the concept of live and let live, to be easy-going is considered a high compliment. It is also part of our culture that we prize qualities that are in something of an opposition to those easy-going attributes, we prize the practical, we prize common sense and plain speaking. The chances of a politician speaking in the flowery language of a 19th century novelist like Henry James being elected to public office are very slim. So is it to be plain speaking or should we just walk away from the nutters, live and let live. Should we be guided by the carefully researched and documented “book learn’n” or should we just go with our “gut” instincts. There is a price to pay for resisting change. Most of us cringe at the idea of testing to see if someone is a witch or not by seeing if they float. Yet if someone does a study on a health care policy and shows us a way to save money and provide better care, many people are not only not going to research why they believe otherwise, they’ll spread lies about the proposed changes because it conflicts with what they believe to be true. False beliefs cost money. As much as some value money, sometimes it seems above all else in American society, one would think they would be guided by cost savings. That is not the case. The false beliefs are so deeply intrenched that we now have paid for science or pseudo-science. Another interesting phenomenon is that presenting new facts with documentation – as some commenters try to do – can actually make the opposition reader entrench even further into their false beliefs. Knowing this is a good reason to have a coping strategy.

sunset volcano wallpaper

Mizoram’s Wild Flower

Chhaidy was born in Theiva, a little-known village of around 150 homes in Saiha, the southern-most district of Mizoram that borders Myanmar. It is the home of Maras, a sub tribe among Mizos who were once feared headhunters.

At the age of four, Chhaidy disappeared in a nearby forest, along with a cousin of the same age, Beirakhu. Beirakhu was found five days later, beside a stream. He was in a disturbed state, but alive. Chhaidy could never be traced. But last month, at age 42, she was rediscovered.

Locals say Chhaidy was taken away by a spirit in the forest.

Long time readers already know I’m fascinated by stories of feral children. many of them, especially from the 19th century and earlier are false or embellished, but some modern ones, like this one seem to be true. It seems possible, just barely that Chhaidy had some contact with an adult – that the villagers think was some kind of spirit, but that adult never spoke to her or gave her any kind of guidance.

On trying to communicate further with her, they learnt the meanings of three other words she’d often use, none of which means the same in any known dialect or language. She refers to water as ‘nam’, anything that flies as ‘jackey’, and soup as ‘appozee’.