“Matsumoto thinks that two areas help us predict how emotion will be displayed as facial expressions:

– power distance (how hierarchical a society is, and how big the differences are between different levels)

– individualism/collectivism (how important and powerful the individual is believed to be, versus the needs of the group)” Nonverbal Notes

    Culture can be imagined as a structure, space, environment, a place. It is space in this sense, and in the sense that you can’t seem to escape it. I don’t say that to be coy- if escaping culture is possible (not to even go into desirable) is something I don’t know. It seems like space- any space is allowed or surrounded by a larger or higher or other space defining it. Try to get out, and you’re only out into something else, out of the mountains into the forest.

In my Nonverbal Communication class, we talked a lot about facial expressions. One researcher believed that facial expressions related closely to the kind of culture people lived in and especially these two elements, power distance and individualism/collectivism. The latter interests me right now.

What does this mean in light of the realities of interconnection, mutual influence, “a brilliant web of miracles of blazing light”? It seems like it’s oversimplifying to say that individualism is a matter of how much people think they have control over their being in this mix of energies. It’s also not enough to say that it’s how much control over their being people actually have. It’s something in the middle of those things, I think, something vibrating in the middle of those two things.

“Mind, like space, has no foundation.” Tarthang Tulku, Time, Space, and Knowledge

We’re approaching the end of the space part of the book. This quote is one that I like, and one that I don’t think I need to offer much comment on. Rinpoche writes that, although mind is not a source or solid thing, we need to use it as a reference point until we gain certain realizations.

“This reference to mind and thoughts, however, involves the qualification that the mind does not do, the mind allows.”

This is somewhat mysterious to me, but I suppose it has to do with the concept of mind as not being a generator. But if the mind is baseless and not solid, how does it even allow? For that matter, how does space, in any large or small function “allow”?

Mind, according to TSK, is a “focal setting on space.” But if mind does not do, how is it that it can focus in this specific way?

Okay. Very good. Problem solved.

“‘Mind, like space, has no foundation.’ Tarthang Tulku, Time, Space, and Knowledge

We’re approaching the end of the space part of the book. This quote is one that I like, and one that I don’t think I need to offer much comment on. Rinpoche writes that, although mind is not a source or solid thing, we need to use it as a reference point until we gain certain realizations.

“This reference to mind and thoughts, however, involves the qualification that the mind does not do, the mind allows.”

This is somewhat mysterious to me, but I suppose it has to do with the concept of mind as not being a generator. But if the mind is baseless and not solid, how does it even allow? For that matter, how does space, in any large or small function “allow”?

Mind, according to TSK, is a “focal setting on space.” But if mind does not do, how is it that it can focus in this specific way?” Intro to TSK

Culture like space allows without foundation. The barriers and habits give a sense of foundation which is probably comforting and necessary. Certainly when they change it’s disconcerting and destabilizing.

You look at someone’s face. They seem to be untrustworthy, unreal, deceptive. Is it their being playful, manipulative, or is it their belonging to some unknown set of spaces, some unknown culture?

The way people express themselves in words and faces changes all the time. Having tried to teach English a little bit as a second language, I have discovered what one professor said to be true is in fact true- trying to control the changes in language, give prescriptions, is pretty hopeless. Language is changing under our feet. I don’t think this is an original idea, but I had the thought last night that maybe in 100 years English will make more logical sense, its grammar will be more logical, just due to its spread throughout the world and the changes it has to go through as people adopt and adapt it.

“…practice helps you connect to the sacred universe (and not in some head-in-the-clouds way, but in a simple, earthy way). Second, practice is one of the most powerful and dignified activities people can engage in. Through simple actions, more or less ritualized, people can tune their energy, open their minds a bit, and contact the reality that is most important to them. Even people meditating just to relax, destress, and so on, experience some of the kingly goodness of it. Their bodies and minds start to relax and release their knots a little bit, and natural dignity begins to expand.

There’s something very sad about people who have lost touch with the energetic forces that are so entwined in the world, people who just believe in science and material things. It’s not that they lack in hope, hope is very dangerous in its own way. Hope can be like a drug. It’s that they deny certain areas of life, and live less, as a result.” 108 reflections

So who cares about the charnel ground chaos of culture shifting and bubbling, the constant slip and slide of language, spaces growing shrinking and interacting like translucent venn diagrams? One approach is invoking sacred world. I think it’s very possible to look to the spaces of culture, the evolution of cultures, and of languages, in terms of finding, teasing out, and even “invoking and provoking” sacred world. This is a necessary and delightful thing in a world where the sacred is used as an excuse for violence, aggression and insanity, and the secular is used so irresponsibly, making people equally insane, polluting everything, filling the world and the body with chemicals.

One thing the charnel ground idea is about, I think, is digging into the messiness and the chaos. Then, the idea is that you can get some beautiful results out of digging in (as opposed to ignoring).

 

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About jakekarlins

Aspiring writer and artist, dharma practitioner, yogi.

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