Plastic ban kicks off in Mumbai City embraces "tough plastic-free regime"
  
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#^[url=http://www.vikshepa.com/the-base-layer/]The base layer[/]
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I think it's a nice idea to place on hubzilla references to things that come up in actual conversations had with people. Yesterday I was speaking with a former monastic who said that the main cause of his being overworked in the monastery was that he could do many things, and therefore was "too useful". I told him about the following passage in Chuang Tsu:

Shih the carpenter was on his way to the state of Chi. When he got Chu Yuan, he saw an oak tree by the village shrine.

The tree was large enough to shade several thousand oxen and was a hundred spans around. It towered above the hilltops with its lowest branches eighty feet from the ground. More than ten of its branches were big enough to be made into boats. There were crowds of people as in a marketplace. The master carpenter did not even turn his head but walked on without stopping.

His apprentice took a long look, then ran after Shih the carpenter and said, "Since I took up my ax and followed you, master, I have never seen timber as beautiful as this. But you do not even bother to look at it and walk on without stopping. Why is this?"

Shih the carpenter replied, "Stop! Say no more! That tree is useless. A boat made from it would sink, a coffin would soon rot, a tool would split, a door would ooze sap, and a beam would have termites. It is worthless timber and is of no use. That is why it has reached such a ripe old age."

from Chuang Tsu, Inner Chapters. A new translation by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English


Here in Palestine, apart from useful trees like olives, the only large old trees are those at religious sites, such as those that shade a cemetery or sheikh's tomb. The rest were long since cut down for timber by one or another of the land's occupiers.
(Many other things could be said about the role of trees in the current conflict.)

However in Chuang Tsu, the fable concerning the tree is meant to illustrate one of the the teachings of Taoism, which, as usual turns conventional wisdom on its head.
  
AntanicusAntanicus wrote the following post Wed, 20 Jun 2018 12:14:49 +0200
"The frictionless world of online labour markets, free from regulation and the grips of national governments is unleashing the full force of the free market, and causing workers across the globe to undersell themselves and undercut each other. They know, as do their employers, that there will always be someone else who will do it for less."

In which we learn why cooperatives are the only way out of the neoliberal nightmare.

https://www.redpepper.org.uk/tyranny-of-the-mechanical-turk-the-rise-and-rise-of-digital-platform-work/

Tyranny of the Mechanical Turk: The rise and rise of digital platform work
  
I'm glad Hubzilla allows to edit text after a post. I can never write a grammatical sentence the first time around and even if the edits don't federate it makes me feel better.
  
We currently have a guest who lives normally in Plum Village, France. We were discussing countries and I was saying that all the nations with which I'm familiar seem to suffer from similar problems of racism, bigotry, injustice, corruption, etc. There isn't a single one with which I feel comfortable, at home, or to which I could feel anything like patriotism. He agreed with me and said that basically he goes "from oasis to oasis", finding places where he feels a level of personal support. Yup. That's basically what I've been doing too all my life.

Of course, small communities suffer from the same problems which become unbearable when they are extended to the macro level, and everywhere you have human beings, you have the same issues, but on a smaller scale the problems are more manageable, maybe, and when there is at least the intention to create something better, this is not without effect. Even noble failures may be better than not having tried at all.
  
"from oasis to oasis"
What an interesting solution this is!  But as for the fact that these problems are more manageable in small places, I disagree.  The stories of rural crimes, revenge, massacres on villages...  they're a never-ending list!  Not to mention the slander, the envy, the harassment of women....
  
Corsican villages till today I think suffer from blood feuds, which have resulted in generations of suffering and, I suppose, a few tens of thousands of people killed. But the most famous Corsican would be Napoleon Bonaparte and in his wars, within a few years, up to 5 million people died. Insatiable ambitions create unmanageable problems once given some scope. No offence intended to Corsica, Napoleon or France.

But I was mainly thinking of small ideological communities. (There too there are some unfortunate examples like Jonestown, Waco and Rajneeshpuram.)
  
(For some reason, your previous post, to which this comment was directed, has disappeared. I do it here)

You don't have to go to India to see the current pressure of censorship. Just look in my country, in Spain, where there are rappers, singers / composers, imprisoned because they were tried and convicted for the lyrics of their songs: religious offenses, offenses against the monarchy, apology of terrorism... And the worst thing, as you say, is the social indifference, not just of the writers' or publishers' guild. History has often shown that complicit silence in the face of violations of freedom of expression has dire consequences for society as a whole.
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Sorry, accidentally deleted the earlier one (it wasn't the censors).

Last year when I was in India I had an interesting conversation with a visiting young Chinese journalist. I asked her whether she thought that there was greater freedom of speech in India, where, as Arundhati Roy says, censorship is outsourced to bullies and thugs, or China, where it happens at an official level. She said that there is still more freedom in India. I think that what worries Roy is not so much the social indifference, but that the gov't too turns a blind eye to violence against atheists and freethinkers, for example - even when it does not actively condone it. (Update: I should say maybe influential atheistic writers and thinkers, like M. M. Kalburgi who was murdered in 2015 - India has its fair share of ordinary atheists)

In Israel there is a free press, based somewhat on self-censorship. Jews enjoy more freedom than do Palestinians, who have been arrested and convicted of incitement in social media. Organizations like "Breaking the Silence" (which is not in any way radical) have been treated almost like state enemies. Recent antidemocratic laws have been passed, including one that allows companies to sue individuals who call for boycott and sanctions.

I guess basically we are seeing the same trends everywhere, though they take different forms.

Palestinian poet convicted of inciting terror in Facebook poem

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Dareen Tatour was arrested in 2015 and held in house arrest for nearly three years for publishing a poem on Facebook. On Thursday morning, an Israeli court convicted her of incitement to violence and support…
  
Rewatched the first half of Mughal e Azam again after a reference to a song, "Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya" from the movie came up in the first part of The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. The song and dance scenes are lovely - as for the rest, it depends whether or not you're into old 3-hour long Indian romantic movies. Somebody must be; there were a number of seeders on the torrent, and the film can also be watched for free on YouTube.
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I've added a couple of books to my hubzilla channel's file archive.

The Rubayat of Sarmad (pdf)
Sarmad lived from 1590 - 1661. He was born as a Jew in Armenia, became a Muslim, worked through the Mughal empire as a trader, fell in love with an Indian boy in Sindh, followed him to Delhi and, in the latter part of his life made a name for himself as a naked faqir and mystic. Eventually he was martyred for heresy at the hands of the powerful king Aurangzeb. His dargah is next to the Jama Masjid. Khushwant Singh and Arundhati Roy are among those who have brought attention to him. This book contains a selection of his poems and an introduction by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. It's a real gem.

The Ashtavakra Gita, translated by Bart (epub) This is a classical vedantic resource. No one is sure who wrote it or exactly when. The American translator, a Vietnam war vet, doesn't know Sanskrit, but based it on a number of different translations. It's a very short book and was intended for advanced students of Vedanta. For example, it speaks of the practice of meditation as being an obstacle to realization.

Savitri, by Sri Aurobindo This is a very long poem in blank verse. Aurobindo Ghos (1872 - 1950) was a Bengal-born English educated mystic philosopher and yogi. He was one of the first to call for independence and was one of the early leaders of the sometimes violent struggle. He began to take up spiritual practice in earnest while in jail and later fled the British to Pondicherry, which was under French rule. Savitri is his masterpiece, bursting with majestic poetry and vast spiritual vision, though initially hard to approach. There's an elderly English lady in Auroville who can help with that.
  
Thank you!
  
Listening to Yanis Varoufakis at bedtime proved to be very poor sleep economy (1 hr 48 min lecture and Q&A). Found via a public stream of a Pleroma instance, but don't remember who shared it.

Is Capitalism Devouring Democracy?
  
Rise of the machines: has technology evolved beyond our control? by James Bridle Interesting, factually and philosophically.

"In Hollywood, studios run their scripts through the neural networks of a company called Epagogix, a system trained on the unstated preferences of millions of moviegoers developed over decades in order to predict which lines will push the right – meaning the most lucrative – emotional buttons. Algorithmic engines enhanced with data from Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and others, with access to the minute-by-minute preferences of millions of video watchers acquire a level of cognitive insight undreamed of by previous regimes. Feeding directly on the frazzled, binge-watching desires of news-saturated consumers, the network turns on itself, reflecting, reinforcing and heightening the paranoia inherent in the system."
  
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Looking back at life with laughing haggard eyes Article in The Hindu about Anuradha Roy's "All the Lives We Never Lived". I hadn't heard of this writer, but this looks interesting. Meanwhile I've started to re-read Arundhati Roy's (no relation) Ministry of Utmost Happiness. But since I started reading it about this time last year and I read slowly, it might make summer seem like a re-play.
  
Rain in mid-June. Almost never happens here.
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Bananas Have Died out Once Before – Let's Not Let It Happen Again The banana industry is based on a monoculture of one single variety, which is now threatened by disease. "The same economies of scale that promoted monoculture fit hand-in-glove with exploited labour, environmental degradation, and excessive amounts of pesticides."