Tuesday, February 08, 2011

When my life is busy, less blog posts ...but I had to pipe up on Merzel...

It's kind of strange, but there are priorities.  But that one I did with Dylan, well, I could watch the video in that 3 or 4 more times.  And I already have. 

But I digress.  There is a confluence of 2 events that gives me schadenfreude on the one hand, and a degree of sorrow on the other; both though flow from hubris, and it's entirely possible (yes it is) that the event that gives me schadenfreude might ultimately have harmed more people than that which gives me a degree of sorrow.  Perhaps it's a miniature mutant version of Stalin's famous dictum that one death is a tragedy, but millions of deaths are just statistics.
On the one hand the reviews of the Broadway extravaganza Spiderman are out. or at least there's one the NY Times.   You know when you see in the home page "may be among the worst musicals ever" that you're in for a reading treat that's the NY Times equivalent of a Friar's Club Roast.  This musical catastrophe, which employed who knows how many people and cost how many millions will probably close soon; careers will be stalled, bills won't get paid - it'll be an economic mess.  And thanks, at least in part, to the hubris of Bono, who, with the Edge once made good rock n' roll, especially when he was on Long Island.  I'm sure all involved had wished he'd have moved to Davos and never schemed to make a comic book equivalent of Springtime for Hitler. 

Read the review though is a dark joy to read- if you ignore the human costs - and frankly, there's no reason to be overly serious here; the cast and all involved should have had career parachutes the moment they sensed this was the Hindenburg.

Career advice for all: be on the outlook for risk.  Your banker is. Ah, I could tell you stories.  Someday if we meet I will.

Then of course there's the abrupt resignation of Genpo Merzel, and I truly feel sorrow for all around.

I have chosen to disrobe as a Buddhist Priest, and will stop giving Buddhist Precepts or Ordinations, but I will continue teaching Big Mind.  I will spend the rest of my life truly integrating the Soto Zen Buddhist Ethics into my life and practice so I can once again regain dignity and respect. My actions have caused a tremendous amount of pain, confusion, and controversy for my wife, family, and Sangha, and for this I am truly sorry and greatly regret. My behavior was not in alignment with the Buddhist Precepts. I feel disrobing is just a small part of an appropriate response.
I am also resigning as an elder of the White Plum Asanga. My actions should not be viewed as a reflection on the moral fabric of any of the White Plum members.

 Know what I said, "Be on the outlook for risk?"  It applies here too.

Hubris (manifested as greed)  seems to be at the heart of both of these debacles, in my view.   The hubris shows in Merzel's apology (which I take as "as sincere as he can muster at the moment").  And it also shows in the link on the "Big Mind" home page to this study.

Objectives: To test the hypothesis that a novel Zen dialogue–based method can bring about significant improvements in spiritual, meditation, and well-being parameters. Design: A pretest–posttest design was used with participants being randomly assigned to either treatment or no treatment group at the Zen Center. The participants were 14 females and 2 males within each group with no prior formal Zen or meditation training. Those participants in the treatment group received intensive interaction for 1 day with an experienced Zen teacher using a dialogue method to induce a deep meditative state without instruction in formal meditation sitting practice. The outcome was measured with multiple previously standardized instruments designed to assess meditation states, well-being, and spirituality. Results: A repeated-measures analysis of variance showed statistically significant differences between the treatment and control groups for all parameters measured. In addition, the meditative state measure suggested qualities consistent with deep meditation experiences. The results justify further investigation of the technique as a rapid spiritual intervention tool particularly for clients facing end-of-life issues.

I had thought I had made a blog post on the topics of science and reality...but I haven't been able to find it.  But my point is - the point I'd wanted to originally make when I saw related articles I can't find now - was that researchers - and investors I might add - always need to be on the lookout for confirmation bias.  There is a whole host of other issues I could raise with this "Big Mind" "study," but for now, I'm just awed by the fact that there's so much hubris/shame associated here that they thought - somebody thought - they could legitimize this thing with a cargo-cult scientific "study." I mean, this really is cargo cult science!   I could probably  think of a dozen objections to the purpose, method, outcomes and usefulness of this "study."

It's all the same.   Hopefully I can be on the lookout for such things in my own life.

No comments: