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I was moved to write this essay because of an odd circumstance that occurred to me on Friday (Sept. 10).

Jing’An Temple
Jing’An Temple

Part 1: In downtown Shanghai, there is a magnificent Buddhist temple (Jing’An Temple) separated from a shopping mall by a pedestrian walkway. Across the street is a large park with a small lake (a pond, actually) hidden in its center, and on the shore of the pond is a Thailand restaurant. About two years ago, a friend invited me to this restaurant for lunch. The setting was pretty, but the restaurant wasn’t exceptional and I wasn’t fond of the food and so had no intention of returning.

Part 2: I keep an office near the Temple, and on Friday I was at my desk working on some research when the thought of this restaurant popped into my mind, but I couldn’t remember its name. I thought about it for a moment, but had no particular interest and so dismissed it. Ten or fifteen minutes later, the thought returned. I considered the topic again, and confirmed my first conclusion that I didn’t much like either the restaurant or the food, had no intention of returning and thus didn’t care to remember the name. I returned to my work, but ten minutes later the thought returned again. I dismissed it again but it returned yet again. The damned thing refused to leave me alone. I finally surrendered, did a brief search on the internet and found the name of the restaurant. No result, but no further interruptions.

Part 3: A few hours later, I left my office and was walking through the pedestrian walkway near the Temple, as I regularly did, when I noticed a group of four foreign women (American, I think) standing at the side. When I came near, one of them turned and saw me and came running over. She said, “Please can you help us? We’re trying to find a restaurant. Everyone tells us it’s very near, but no one can tell us how to get there.” I replied, “I don’t know. What’s the name of the restaurant?” And of course, it was the same restaurant I’d just looked up on the internet.

The ladies’ version of the story would have been that they were lucky to find someone who could direct them to the restaurant, but it wasn’t quite so simple as they might have imagined. Of course, one trivial event is proof of nothing at all, but when I lived in Italy I kept for seven or eight years a daily diary in which I recorded anything of interest and, leafing through that diary later, I discovered I had recorded literally hundreds of such incidents. They were all different, but in some sense were all the same. Each required a bit of uncommon ‘luck’ or perhaps magic, for its fulfillment. Some were brief and quickly executed, while some were protracted and more complicated. Here is a more complicated example, from my time in Rome:

The Lost Boy

The Chinese Boy, image from “A Chinese Ghost Story“
The Chinese Boy, image from “A Chinese Ghost Story“

In Rome I lived in a primarily residential area facing on a small piazza with a fountain in its center and ringed with coffee shops, a hotel, a basilica and other buildings. One evening at a small outdoors table at a sidewalk coffee shop I saw a young Chinese boy, perhaps 15 years old, sitting all alone after the coffee shop had closed. He was still there the next morning, with his head resting on the table and I wondered if he had spent the night there. I tried to speak to him, but he knew no English nor Italian and conversation was impossible.

He was still there late that evening and also again the next morning, and it now seemed evident he had spent the night there. I knew something was wrong, though I had no idea what that might be, but I couldn’t leave him there. Conveniently, my favorite Chinese restaurant was only a few hundred meters from my home, so I gestured with him to come with me and took him there in the hope they might help him.

But the people in the restaurant couldn’t understand him. China has many hundreds of local dialects, many being similar but some being very different languages existing only in remote mountain valleys and intelligible only to residents of that valley. This lad apparently spoke only one of these local dialects, the manager telling me he could understand only a few words. But he said a girl who worked in his kitchen was from a different part of China and that perhaps she might understand him. The girl would arrive for work in perhaps half an hour, so he brought me a coffee and we waited for the kitchen girl to arrive.

She understood the boy perfectly. The boy had come from China to visit his uncle in Bologna but had missed his station stop and gotten off the train in Roma instead. Of course, his uncle wasn’t there to meet him and he had no idea what to do. He stayed at the little hotel in my piazza until his money ran out, then he spent two nights sleeping outdoors at the sidewalk cafe until I rescued him. They called his uncle, arranged for his trip to Bologna, took him to the train station, bought him a ticket, and all ended well. But there are some interesting questions here.

The railway station in Roma was a very long way from my piazza. How did the boy get there? He couldn’t possibly have navigated the subway system and he couldn’t have taken a taxi because he spoke no common language and had no knowledge of the city. He might have taken various trams and buses, alighting and dismounting and eventually ending up at my piazza, but that seems desperately far-fetched.

Moreover, WHY would he have come to my piazza? The most sensible thing would have been to remain at the train station where there were many thousands of people and a good chance to find someone Chinese who could help him. What possible reason would he have to travel all that distance to my piazza? There were a million places in Roma where he could have gone. Why that one, and how could he possibly have gotten there?

But the real point of the story is this: The boy was from a remote mountain valley in Gansu province, with a dialect that was in fact spoken and intelligible only in that small valley. The reason the kitchen girl could understand the boy perfectly was because she was from the same valley.

So, we have a young Chinese boy who travels to Italy, gets off his train in the wrong city, speaks no useful language, then (by means and motivation unknowable) finds his way to my piazza and sits patiently outdoors at my favorite sidewalk coffee shop until I take notice of him and lead him to what was almost certainly the only person in Rome who could understand him.

I would like to share one more story with you, this one prior to my departure to Italy.

A Boy Named Richard

A boy named Richard
A boy named Richard

This was an experience many years ago when I was moving to Italy. I had disposed of my assets and encumbrances and for the final few months had lived in a rented apartment – which I had now relinquished – planning to stay in a hotel until my departure two days hence. Then something unusual suddenly occurred that forced me to delay my departure for one month. Not serious in itself, but I was now homeless. The building fortunately had an empty apartment which the owner was happy to lend to me for a month provided I could wait a few days for painting to be completed. He even had some surplus furniture for me.

A bit later that day, while walking down the street I passed what we would call a youth hostel, a kind of hotel for young people who are traveling, very nice building, gardens, huge kitchen and so on. I knew the fellow who managed it, so as I passed by I stopped in to say hello and the subject of my present circumstance arose. More good luck. My friend said if it were for only a few days I could stay there in one of the private rooms, and we could drink beer and watch hockey games. Perfect plan.

I moved my luggage into the hostel, and the first person I met was a young man named Richard. He was only 18 or 19 years old and had come from a small town to the big city to begin his life. Richard seemed smart, sensible, honest, with high standards and good values, and a big heart. He told me of men on the street begging him for \$1 to buy a cup of coffee, but Richard wouldn’t give them the money. He would take the man into a coffee shop, buy him a coffee and some cigarettes and talk to him for half an hour, asking about the man’s life, the difficulties of survival, the possibilities of a job, and offering encouragement. I loved this kid.

Richard told me that upon completion of high school, there were few or no jobs in his small town, but he was lucky to find two jobs, one painting houses and the other I cannot recall, but he worked at those two jobs 15 hours a day and saved enough money to come to the city and begin his life. He said he had no idea where he would stay when he arrived in the city, so he asked the person sitting next to him on the bus, and the fellow told him of the youth hostel, so that was where he came. And the first person he met was me. He had no idea what he wanted to do, but he was firm that he would never take a job washing dishes in a restaurant. That was his entire plan.

Then I returned to the apartment building where the owner was collecting furniture for me. His first offering was a beautiful, very new and very expensive sofa that folded out into a huge double bed, so now I wouldn’t sleep on the floor. Later that day he had a small table and a few chairs and this continued with dishes, bed sheets and pillows. I resisted almost immediately, insisting I didn’t want all those things because I was leaving the country and their disposal would be a burden. I can still recall the man saying to me, “Take it. You will need it.” So I took it. But then the next day he had a TV set and some other things, and I tried to refuse, telling him again I didn’t want any more things, and he again said to me, “Take it. You will need it.” I have to say that by this time I was becoming unsettled. The delay in my departure was sufficiently unwelcome, but now things were happening to me that should not have been happening, things beyond my power to resist, and suddenly all the signs were indicating that Providence had decided I wasn’t going to Italy and that my delay would become permanent.

In the meantime, I was trying my best to look after Richard. He’d had no luck finding a job, and the reality of being alone in a big city was starting to frighten him, to say nothing of his meager finances. He said (realistically), “Even if I get a job, I won’t be paid for a month, and I will have to pay a deposit plus the current month’s rent and, even if I can find an apartment, I have no furniture, and I would be sleeping and eating on the floor.” So now Richard was scared. I was sure in my own mind that something had been planned for Richard so I did my best to cheer him up and maintain his faith, but this was looking increasingly shaky.

Back to the apartment building, with the owner apparently determined to furnish my entire apartment, leaving me more worried than Richard. I was unable to explain anything that was happening to me, my planned future in Italy beginning to look bleak.

Back to the youth hostel, with Richard rapidly losing his courage, increasingly expressing fear, doubt and uncertainty, and seeing no hope. It was becoming clear he wasn’t going to last much longer.

Back to the apartment building. I told the owner about Richard, and asked if I could bring the boy to stay with me for the one month, that perhaps in that time he could find a job and things would be better. The owner asked what kind of work Richard did. He was too young to have done much of anything but he mentioned painting houses so I said, “He’s a painter”. And the owner said, “That’s great. I need a painter. There are people coming and going each month from the rented apartments and they all have to be painted. Bring him with you and I’ll give him a job. And he can keep the apartment as part of his pay. He won’t have to give me a deposit or pay rent.” And suddenly the whole world made sense again. Richard not only had a good job with a good boss, but he had a free apartment that was by now fully furnished with very nice things, and it would all be his as a gift when I left. In that conversation of two minutes, all of Richard’s problems evaporated. He was out of danger and in good hands. As was I, apparently.

I ran back to the youth hostel to tell Richard, but he was gone, having checked out and leaving no information. I returned several times, finding him a week later in the company of some not very nice people. He said he realised how stupid he had been, that he could never have succeeded, and so took a job washing dishes in a restaurant – the one thing he said he would never do, and was living with these other men. I reminded Richard of the advice I had given him so many times about believing in himself and not succumbing to fear. I told him what was waiting for him but that it couldn’t be forced onto him, that now he had to choose. I gave him my phone number and address, and told him to call me. I never heard from him again.

My assessment of the situation was that my move to Italy was delayed a month in order to serve as a tool to give a young man a wonderful start in life, but I wasn’t the only actor in this stage play. It seemed that Richard’s entire immediate future was planned for him as a gift, but there was a price: he needed the courage to stand firm and be brave for one moment longer. But, as so often occurs with many of us, at the very last moment, when success is within our grasp, we let ourselves be overcome by fear and doubt and we throw everything away.

I have great respect for William Shakespeare, in part because the man seemed to have knowledge that men should not have. In ‘As you like it’, he wrote, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts.” But our life on earth isn’t only a stage play; it’s also a puppet show, and someone is pulling the strings.

I will leave you with a quotation normally attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. I am not certain Goethe is the original source of these words, but it is the content that is important:

“. . . the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.”

My stories will not convince you of anything. You need to experience these in your own life. If you are so inclined, begin to pay attention to the things happening around you, make notes and keep a diary. If you do, you will soon realise that if Providence can pull the strings to make a circumstance or a meeting happen, Providence can also pull the strings to ensure that such a circumstance or meeting will never happen. There is another element to this, which may be of interest. The words are not mine, and I have never been able to locate the original source of this quotation: “Relations are not contained in the real world of existence. They are extraneous, and super-induced.” If you think, you will understand.

*

Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 32 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’. (Chapt. 2 — Dealing with Demons).

His full archive can be seen at

https://www.moonofshanghai.com/ and http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com

He can be contacted at: [email protected]

(Republished from The Vineyard of the Saker by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Culture/Society, History • Tags: Conspiracy Theories 
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  1. Note on the quotation at the end of the essay tentatively attributed to von Goethe (to pre-empt the Wikipedia scholars):

    The Internet contains many claims (all emanating from the same source) attributing this passage to William H. Murray, who included it in his 1951 book The Scottish Himalayan Expedition. As I wrote in the essay, I am not certain Goethe is the original author, but I am more certain that Murray is not the original author. Murray wrote on Scottish mountaineering and nature, his writing being common prose from a common mind, displaying no evidence of literary or philosophical gifts, most certainly not in the category of Goethe or Schopenhauer, and not a mind likely to experience magnificent philosophical insights.

    Here is the entire passage from Murray’s book:

    “But when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter. We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money – booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: ‘Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!’”

    You can see that after the first four sentences the tone, style and, most importantly, the writing quality, improve by an order of magnitude. Murray’s clumsy common-man prose not only transforms suddenly into eloquence but Murray inexplicably becomes a philosopher revealing a remarkable insight into the human condition. Moreover, the actual quotation (beginning at the 5th line) is a language style from the 1850s, not the 1950s of Murray. I cannot definitely say that Murray copied the passage, but it is extremely unlikely that he is the source of it.

  2. IreneAthena says: • Website

    Very interesting.

    • Agree: Agent76
    • Replies: @gorgeous hordz
  3. frankie p says:

    Thanks, Larry. I loved this one.

    • Thanks: Voltara
  4. I see these moments in retrospect as the places where I went wrong…for thinking there was something more important than what I mistook as the distraction.

    May only be a couple , but these were potentially life changing mistooks….

    Seen only in retrospect, makes life feel so short

    • Agree: Backward
  5. Franz says:

    Another odd thing that has happened to me more than it was comfortable. Finding myself in a bind, racking my brains to unsnarl the part of the world that had bunched up — then saying, nuts. It can’t be done, I’m moving on.

    And shortly after the answer I was previously beating my head against the wall about has a simple solution. Never would have happened if I hadn’t given up. Maybe Providence was waiting patiently for me to stop trying to do Divine work. Or maybe just a fluke.

    • Agree: Rubicon
  6. @Larry Romanoff

    I think what you describe happens much more often, and to many people, than we could believe at first.
    But in order to see those fortunate series of events, or rather simple “chance events”, as something more than fortuitous, we have to be ourselves “believers”. I use the term “believers” in a very general sense, you may be a religious person or not, believe in God or not, the fairies, etc. You have just to believe Man is more than the apparent sophisticated biological machine living through the motions of a haphazard world.
    And to be attentive to those happenings, otherwise you miss them (or you attribute them to hazard, which is the same thing).

    Just to give an example, some years ago, when I was travelling in south India, I was amazed at how the indians drove theirs cars in the roads, and still survived every single day. Driving too fast for the road in question, with no rules, with plenty of very different vehicles (from the small taxi to the big overcharged truck to the elephant and buffalo’s cart). They had some recent highways but they were simply an enlarged version of common roads, driving happening in each lane in both directions and allowing the same vehicles.
    And the “miraculous saving situations” were happening by the thousands and millions every single day. My take is that “Providence” saves them because they are like little children who took a dangerous toy into their hands. If they really were “adults”, in the sense of being fully (karmic) responsible, accidents would happen by the thousands, everywhere and every day, until they changed their way of driving.

  7. Toza says:

    As Master Oogway would say, “There are no coincidences.” Our Lord works in mysterious ways.

    • Replies: @Rev. Spooner
  8. Kaiulani says:

    Although there are many mutually unintelligible dialects in China, there is one common writing system. Unless he is completely illiterate, the boy could have communicated with the restaurant owner in writing.

    • Replies: @Anon
  9. Thanks for writing this. The world needs re-enchanting.

  10. GMC says:

    Another strange coincidence is meeting people you know from your small home town , thousands of miles away from that home town , with no real way of knowing that those others would be in the same place , same time as you are. Happened to me in Arizona, Mexico, Florida and Costa Rica. All of us knew each other { very well } and we were from from Wasilla or Trapper Creek, Alaska. I’ve never been able to figure this one out.

  11. A week ago, on the way back from a few hours working on the homestead, attempting to get it back into living condition after a nearly 6 year hiatus, I happened to stop at a dumpster station on the way back to the small-town apartment where I’m staying in the meantime. There outside the bins stood a two-level wooden file cabinet.

    With a very messed up back, I was having a tough time moving it the few feet to my car. Up to the other side of the dumpsters comes a vehicle with out of state plates. Driver, a young fellow of about my height but built a bit more robustly, pops out and dumps off a couple of garbage bags. Asking him if he could give me a hand, he ends up picking up the piece of furniture and sets it into the backseat of my car.

    Delighted with the help, as we chatted for a bit, it developed that he not only lived in my old hometown from back in the 50’s and only one house downhill from my former home. It developed that he had moved in there only recently and also that he did a lot of reading.

    So I invited him to stop by the apartment on the way back to his place and I’d fix him up with a couple of books I’d recently finished and no longer needed. He agreed to that and also kindly helped me get the file cabinet located in the apartment. With a surplus of reading material, I also fixed him up with some Life magazines from my extensive hoard and a few copies of a monthly newspaper I’d published back in the ’70’s.

    Over the past year, Ive come to understand that if you get into the flow, the Universe provides. You see, I’d been hoping on finding a file cabinet which would fit into the apartment and here it was. In the process I met a new friend who lives only a few miles away and was yet to become integrated with the local culture here and perhaps somewhat in need of a mentor.

    Totally true. We are not alone. When one gets into the flow, the universe provides.

    • Thanks: Irish Savant
    • Replies: @Nancy
  12. Job 33:14
    For God may speak in one way, or in another,
    Yet man does not perceive it.

    Romans 8:28
    And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

    Sir, thanks for the beautiful stories. All of creation testify the benevolence of Providence. Many sad people focus too much on bad things and grow cold. But God did not create evil, it’s evil men who bring it about by the wickedness of their own hearts. If we do not willingly cooperate with our “puppet master” by becoming or at least trying to become good “puppets”, then we might end up being strung from any one of the strings.

    Your Gypsy article was really fascinating. Such characters spice up life so it doesn’t become too predictable and monotonous. Hence, they have been tolerated. There is also the Biblical injunction against mistreatment of the stranger. Life is beautiful, thanks be to the Holy Trinity for allowing it happen.

    • Agree: JR Foley
    • Replies: @profnasty
  13. Xafer says:

    Life is full of coincidences. Carl Gustav Jung wrote very impressive essay about it. Also, Richard Bach, an avaition enthusiast, wrote extensively about it. There is many subtle unconsious currents in life that cannot be explained by cause and effect and temporal sequences.

    There are genuine occurences of prescience and logic or probablity defying happenstances that cannot be explained.

    • Agree: sulu
  14. Alrenous says: • Website

    Life isn’t fair. Yes, you and I aren’t alone. Some folk are, though.

    Life is just, though. (To my surprise.) A curious combination, no?

    What Richard screwed up is exactly what lead him to talking to those bums. Not that you’re Richard, so it doesn’t matter, but anyway…

    [MORE]

    He told me of men on the street begging him for \$1 to buy a cup of coffee, but Richard wouldn’t give them the money. He would take the man into a coffee shop, buy him a coffee

    It’s not the Malthusian Medieval ages anymore. It’s impossible to starve in any rich Western country unless you’re completely insane. They’re begging for drug money.

    If it was the Malthusian ages talking to them about their lives wouldn’t make the farms more productive; someone has to starve to death. For every one you save, another dies untimely. This is still true of wild animals.

    What actually works with bums is, basically, conscription, by the way. The search term is million dollar Murray. They need daily supervision by a drill sergeant willing and able to hand out corporal punishment. Having a nice surrogate mom helps too, but my primary motivation is to stop these genetic dregs from bothering regular productive folk. They’re too sick to be able to handle liberty, it’s not even close, and there’s no cure.

    Shows Richard’s obedience and willingness to learn social rules, though. There’s that.

    His problem: he cares too much about bowing to social rules. He felt he was “supposed” to suffer for taking risks, and “supposed” to have to be a dishwater. That’s how he was raised, and ultimately he chose filial piety over divine piety.

    I’ve made the same mistake myself, which is how I know. Though I got better. I did it on a small scale instead of messing around at a large one.

    but there was a price: he needed the courage to stand firm and be brave for one moment longer.

    Meanwhile, “Hey Alrenous, I need you to re-invent all of Western philosophy real quick.”
    Oh, is that all.

    I say I hold myself to a higher standard, and at first it was just to see how far I could push it, but it’s not really my own idea.

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
  15. Interesting subject, and it triggers some existential reflections.

    After reading a few paragraphs, I assumed the article was going be an introduction to the concept of ‘synchronicity’, or how several apparently unrelated happenings, when they somehow coincide in space and time, seem to have a mysterious common intention behind them, so that all benefit somehow.

    Some explain that phenomenon as if unseen and compassionate forces are pre-fabricating a particularly suited solution for a problem that is going to occur or that is also fabricated. But that somehow it also requires of those that are (selected) to be playing a part in that play (leela) a sort of being tuned-in into the forces that are orchestrating it all, so that all actors and their actions are adequately synchronized to be effective and that all actors enjoy and benefit or somehow materially or otherwise derive deep satisfaction from the play. It also seems that those forces count on (activate) ‘compassion’ or other forms of ‘human goodness’ in some of the actors, to fabricate the solution for the ones that are going to be needing the solution.

    It would probably lead too far, but one could wonder if not all of the things that happen in the world are coordinated somehow on a plane that is beyond the normal human perception; that for instance things that appear to go ‘wrong’ may hide some future blessing in disguise.

    Of course then one also could wonder if the whole of the play of human existence or of evolutiomary forces may not have an overall intention behind it, pushing human awareness towards some predestined destiny. Something also sometimes coined as ‘auspiciousness’. That possibly, the more one is tuned-in to these invisible guiding forces, the more one’s life would be pushed (guided) towards that ultimate existential pupose of ultimate joy and satisfaction. (saying like “Seek the eternal” or “gnothi seoton” come to mind).

    Some have said that the more one tunes-in towards seeking that universal purpose, the more one is guided towards it, usually by meeting (and recognising) those that can guide them.

    But in such an existential play of seeking and finding, there would certainly be an aim for quality rather than quantity and so there might be forces brought in that push away those with only superficial intentions. That would explain the purpose of institutions like academia, media, religions, mystiscism and the various pseudo-spiritual movements. Like Theosophy and its modern day New Age fall-outs, that have built whole industries in leading seekers towards the para-normal and thus away from ever finding that genuine existential purpose. Moreover the basic fabric of our Western Culture is composed of greed and lust and as such it carefully maintains an effective impenetrable shield around the minds of most, so most people never ever get tuned-in into that realm where the existential intentions are fabricated. Even if they wanted to.

    But if there are indeed forces that potentially synchronize things in such a way to bring together those that have solutions to those that need them, then despite all the predatory institutions, they would not have a problem of the bringing together and the mutually recognition of those that genuinely seek with those that can genuinely guide. And despite the efficiently working misleading of academia, the religions, the media and pseudo-spirituality, every day seekers are driven to meet those that can guide and that give freely that what is to be given. All this safely happening beyond the reach of all ‘experts’ and their predatory institutions.

    Anyway, Wikipedia has a nice intro on the subject of synchronicity, but maybe better to start at the wiki subject of ‘coincidence’, which then also branches out to ‘synchronicity’. There are various ‘see also’ subjects worth exploring.

    But Wikipedia is but a functional part of the Western Culture and as such plays its part in the sophisticated shielding-off of all seekers from any and all true existential knowledge. It does provide interesting food for the inquiring mind, but true to purpose Wikipedia is always a dead end for the genuine seeker.

    So if indeed we are not alone, to be (tuned-in) or not to be (tuned-in), might be the question before the seeker.

    Or it may even well be a choice that the seeker has to make, as a friend of mine once said: “to be or not to be is not the question, it is the answer”.

    Thanks for the article,
    Sinek.

  16. JM says:

    Unless one has empathy with the narrator, this kind of reminiscence is boring. Very boring.

    • Agree: true.enough
    • Disagree: Voltara
  17. Levtraro says:

    Nice stories, thank you, happy about the stranded Chinese boy, sad about Richard’s bad timing. Nevertheless, for any such incident that seem guided by Providence’s intervention and that you write down in your diary or that you remember in your head, there are hundreds/thousands/millions similar incidents that mean nothing and that you forget. We are minuscule open systems taking advantage of one small eddy of the universal flow towards thermodynamic equilibrium. No one is looking at us. There is no ultimate purpose. We are biological machines and we are alone. But we can have fun for an instant in our little eddy in one little corner of one small galaxy among billions of galaxies.

  18. Such experiences, which I think many of us have, have been noticed also by famous psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. He called it synchronicity.

    For further information, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synchronicity

    My explanation is twofold: The human mind works as a telepathic sender. Thus it can attract other human minds and cause meetings to happen.

    The spirits of people who have deceased remain close to the earth and help those in need by arranging meetings. These spiritual helpers are often deceased members of the family of those they help.

    Of course modern materialistic science does not recognize either of these explanations, but that is to be expected from blind materialism..

    • Replies: @Larry Romanoff
  19. Synchronicity.

    C.G.Jung called it synchronicity & interpreted it as some acausal connection (while the term “super-causal” would be more appropriate).

    An illustration is this (only one among many):

    A certain M. Deschamps, when a boy in Orleans, was once given a piece of plum-pudding by a M. de Fortgibu. Ten years later he discovered another plum-pudding in a Paris restaurant, and asked if he could have a piece. It turned out, however, that the plum-pudding was already ordered— by M. de Fortgibu. Many years afterwards M. Deschamps was invited to partake of a plum-pudding as a special rarity. While he was eating it he remarked that the only thing lacking was M. de Fortgibu. At that moment the door opened and an old, old man in the last stages of disorientation walked in: M. de Fortgibu, who had got hold of the wrong address and burst in on the party by mistake.

    What scientists do is that they tend to dismiss such things as either fictions, lies or anecdotal unrepeatable stuff. This may be the case on many occasions- but in a non-negligible number of cases- not.

    There are numerous other areas, but some of them point to old world-view of Plato & comp: we live a perceptually limited existence, while there is much more, and while we are getting, now & then, signs of that “more” – we mostly ignore such things, relegating them to projections or fictions.

  20. Jon Chance says: • Website

    All entities possessing volition act as synapses within a cosmic computer of infinite complexity.

    Multiplying this infinite complexity by an infinite magnitude, non-volitional phenomena act upon the volitional entities and make the universe yet again infinitely more complex than our infinitely complex yet relatively miniscule minds can comprehend.

    The finite games we play do not reflect the infinite games of the cosmic computer.

    Entropy does not exist. It’s an anthropocentric delusion.

    However, the behavior of some entities does seem to indicate an illusory trend toward entropy that is continually reversing along a critical path.

    • Thanks: Rubicon
  21. If everything were so ideal, why is the world getting worse every day and there is no intervention of Providence in favor of humanity?

    • Agree: Ace
    • Replies: @Poppie
  22. Anonymous[661] • Disclaimer says:

    Beautiful article.

    Coincidence is God’s way of staying anonymous.

    Nothing ever happens by chance.

    • Agree: JR Foley, Voltara
  23. Nancy says:
    @Larry Romanoff

    Henry David Thoreau expressed a similar sentiment –
    “I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
    Life seems to ‘teach’ that some kind. of ‘faith, trust, etc’ is a key to unlocking a door, beyond which are ‘gifts’. I think it involves acknowledging ‘something greater than us’, an empowering humility, if you will 🙂 Perhaps Pascal’s Wager applies here.

    • Agree: Biff
  24. Nancy says:
    @Franz

    Ditto.. frustrated at not being able to do something the ‘right, best’ way, I give up and find an alternative workaround… only to discover I didn’t need to do it ‘my best’ way. Hopefully teaches more humility and flexibility and less ‘perfectionishm’.

    • Replies: @Irish Savant
  25. Nancy says:
    @emerging majority

    Another angle… ‘check your assumptions’. Assuming help is available, we are able to see it, and vice versa. Sort of like buying a new car, and suddenly the highways are full of the same car… which we just didn’t notice before – same with being pregnant, etc. Being a genetically pessimistic Scandanavian, it’s serious work for me to check and change mine 🙂

    • Replies: @Ace
  26. Anon[259] • Disclaimer says:
    @Kaiulani

    Although there are many mutually unintelligible dialects in China, there is one common writing system. Unless he is completely illiterate, the boy could have communicated with the restaurant owner in writing.

    The whole article sounds like a ghost story. Time to light up the bonfire and scaaaaaaaaaaarre the kiddies?? Ahoooooooooo ??

    Well not really. I had the same experience once. I was travelling on a private plane with a Moslem, A Jew and a Negro. We were flying over some of the most shark infested waters in the world. The pilot was a White Man like myself. A horrendous argument started about who was the most patriotic. To prove the point the Israeli threw himself out of the aircraft. The Moslem, not to be outdone, shouted Allah U Akbar and also jumped into space, never to be seen again. These guys were really committed.

    “Well White Man”, snarled the Negro “What about you ? I know white shit dont care about their country. They are unpatriotic. They dont care about anything !”

    “Wrong Jigger Boo, I AM patriotic !”. And with that I threw HIM out the plane.

    Just think. I never travel with people like this, I never travelled with people of such diverse backgrounds. I never fly in a plane with open doors over shark infested waters. The only seat belt on the plane was mine. Providence was with me that day. Its that mysterious “thing” Jung called synchronicity.

    We are truly not alone !! Well almost. That day only the pilot and myself landed, were allowed into the only restaurant after closing hours and served the last chicken and bottle of wine. And Jung was right. The owners were a black Jew, A Moslem named Abdul and a Negro with the funny name of L”Mbongo. They want to fly with us next time !

    • Thanks: profnasty
    • LOL: Che Guava
    • Replies: @Irish Savant
  27. FredF says:

    “Out of the chaos of selfishness comes the order of selflessness.” -Squeaky Fred

  28. Anon[259] • Disclaimer says:
    @JM

    Unless one has empathy with the narrator, this kind of reminiscence is boring. Very boring.

    That was very disrespectful, to the article the author and us readers ! What you are implying is that the article is an enormous crock of shite.

    Well, on second thoughts you are right and I agree with you. With all the issues we face these days, including being on the brink of a world war, I could give a flying fuck about some illegal Slope lost in Italy plus cute little Richard whom I would advise to stay out of jail, especially the showers.

    Inflation, wetback invaders, crime, gasoline prices through the roof, war, show trials, gun confiscation, Covid, Monkey Pox, killer vaccines, cackling Vice Presidents who cannot put a sentence together, senile Presidents ruining the country ? and we are all mushy and teary eyed at this drivel.

    Larry and Linh Thin Dinh (and his boring travel stories) must be competing for the Yawn of the Year Award !

    • Disagree: Voltara
  29. We generally have tens of thousands of “intuitions’ like these in our lifetimes. We almost immediately forget them except for the very few which play out by pure, random chance in subsequent experience. It happens that human brains are hardwired to detect patterns where there may be no pattern. Stare at anything long enough and you’ll detect a face or other object in it that has been created by your mind busily trying to sort chaos into familiar recognition. Once upon a time, those ancestral apes who could distinguish the spots of the cheetah who had crept into their tree from the background pattern of leaves tossing in the breeze survived to have offspring, and those who couldn’t became dinner. I believe this is termed “natural selection.”

    Belief in the supernatural is grounded in profound misunderstanding of the natural and how very sloppily constructed we are. The old theistic chestnut that this imperfection renders us incapable of actually understanding anything is a real howler of a rationalization by some who just can’t let go of the seductive comfort of illusion. This worldview finds the imaginings of superstitious primitives equivalent to the results of scientific inquiry, perhaps because the latter have dethroned mankind from its pretended position of superiority. It suggests to me that some poor souls are so strongly addicted to the people’s opium that going cold turkey is simply (and literally) unthinkable.

    As a PS I would add how Jung’s role as director of the nazi-dominated International General Medical Society for Psychotherapy has failed to put him into the disrepute now attached to just about everything from that regime. One of his objectives was to legitimize psychiatry by detaching it from the “Jewish roots” of his old mentor Freud, though of course he claimed otherwise. And his writings on flying saucers, astrology and parapsychology read like those of someone on the edges of sanity himself.

    • Replies: @emerging majority
  30. Ducunt fata volentem, nolentem trahunt.
    Seneca

  31. TKK says:

    A reverse image search of “Richard’s” image produces this:

    Hot Italian Teen Gay Porn Videos

    What is presented as enchanting could be the musing and perambulations of a male seeking the company of attractive young males.

    In my experience, both as a world traveler and a lawyer, grown men do not help other men they encounter on the street- aside from a jump start or a quick ride to grab some gas- unless they want to have sex with him.

    Funny how no older, frumpy, poor old women or men appeared in the author’s magic zone.

  32. @Franz

    4. Grasshopper Kaplan

    “I see these moments in retrospect as the places where I went wrong…for thinking there was something more important than what I mistook as the distraction. May only be a couple, but these were potentially life changing mistooks….”

    5. Franz

    “. . . saying, nuts. It can’t be done, I’m moving on. And shortly after the answer I was previously beating my head against the wall about has a simple solution. Never would have happened if I hadn’t given up. Maybe Providence was waiting patiently for me to stop trying to do Divine work. Or maybe just a fluke.”

    This is another part of the same issue, but more complicated because it can sometimes be very difficult to know what is the right thing to do. Think back to a time when you had an objective of some importance, perhaps one that required the cooperation of others. There will be occasions when you meet one obstruction or stumbling block after another, when every door suddenly appears closed. At those times, you should be wondering if maybe someone is trying to tell you something.

    The obstructions could be telling you that your enterprise is doomed, and to let it go. But it is equally possible that you are going about it in the wrong way or that your efforts are premature: it’s the wrong time, and you need to wait, or you need to think and find another way.

    Think of a time when an enterprise ended badly: there would have been many signs (obstructions) along the way telling you to either change course or to stop, but usually we are too intent on our objective and have a tendency to believe we can overcome all by effort and force. We cannot. Everything in nature takes the path of least resistance. And so must we. Most often, if one of our enterprises – of whatever size or consequence – ends badly, it is our fault. We weren’t listening. Trying to lead instead of following. Really.

    • Replies: @Arthur MacBride
  33. niceland says:
    @Franz

    And shortly after the answer I was previously beating my head against the wall about has a simple solution. Never would have happened if I hadn’t given up. Maybe Providence was waiting patiently for me to stop trying to do Divine work. Or maybe just a fluke.

    Many decades ago I discovered that solutions to problems often came when I wasn’t thinking about them. And through the years I have used this “method” deliberately to solve problems. When stuck, out of ideas how to proceed – it’s often best to walk away and take my mind off it. And strange as it may seem, it’s often the quickest way to solve immediate problem, instead of banging the head against the wall.

    The way I understand this; Logic is somewhat subconscious process. The subconscious mind needs time to process data before it can figure out solutions, often more time than our conscious mind has patience to wait. It also needs decent working conditions, meaning not to be exposed to even more irrelevant data or interruptions from our conscious activity.

    • Replies: @Hardrock
  34. As expected most commentators talk about Carl Jung and God and Providence and all that. Predictable and boring.

    Carl Jung was a graphomaniac. Besides, Freud wrote about that as well.

    No one has ever managed to come close to understanding of this phenomenon. Our perception of the world is too limited. We can see and hear a small portion of what’s going on and our mind in its natural state is like a broken mirror.

    We are incapable of feeling, thinking – can’t even get real calm. Most people live and die in complete ignorance.

    Yes the world is a lot more complicated than we think, and little situations like these show that there’s something else out there. But the problem is we can’t use it. We can’t comprehend it. We are all hopeless spiritual idiots.

    • Agree: Rev. Spooner
    • Replies: @Poppie
    , @Poppie
  35. Ayax says:

    It is true that life is full of unexplainable coincidences.
    I still vividly remember one such incident:
    One time I was on a long journey travelling in a remote area in an African country and I only had enough money for a round trip bus ticket and a may be one meal a day.
    After about a quarter into the trip, the bus broke down. So we spent several days in no mans land, although there was small township nearby. I had no choice but to use whatever money that I had. After few days, money for my return ticket was about to vanish, and I started worrying.
    So, early in one morning, while I was walking along the only asphalted road in the township with a couple of other guys, I saw right infront of me a bundle of brand new cash-notes wrapped around mats fiber.
    I grabbed it hurriedly and put it in my pocket without anyone noticing it. Thereafter the trip was much more enjoyable.

    Thanks for the article. It was a good read with no bias, politics, or conspiracies.

  36. SafeNow says:

    I would think that books have been written by authors who have a strong background in both statistics and psychology. And these authors analyze anecdotes of paired events to assess whether they are coincidences, or, so highly inexplicable and mathematically improbable that some unseen hand or undiscovered law of the universe is at work.

  37. profnasty says:

    Opportunity knocks once.
    But trouble beats a path to your door.
    -me

  38. @TKK

    “A reverse image search of “Richard’s” image produces this: Hot Italian Teen Gay Porn Videos”

    Actually, the image was downloaded from a family-oriented community website in Taiwan. Your search parameters must be very different from mine.

    “In my experience, grown men do not help other men they encounter on the street unless they want to have sex with him.”

    You are also the person who wrote this:

    “Most women are shallow, snarling mental midgets whose inability to regulate their moods renders them effectively insane most days of the week.”

    I don’t believe any commentary is required here.

  39. Although they didn’t speak the same language, surely if he’d written on a piece of paper the other Chinese would have understood. That’s what I saw in China, people who couldn’t talk to each other writing down their conversation and everything was understood. Many languages, or dialects, one script.

    Since we’re waxing anecdotal … When I was a postgraduate student I used to work part time as a head waiter and assistant manager in the evenings and weekends at an Italian restaurant in the posh Jewish part of town (Rolls Royces parked outside with the drivers sitting in the driver’s seat as their employers ate inside, Ferraris of pop star, etc.) and there was a bloke washing dishes there in the kitchen. Several year later, and not many years later, after I had been absent from the area I walked into another Italian restaurant in the city centre on my visit there, actually my favourite one, and that former dishwasher greeted me, sat me down at a table, told me everything I wished to order was on the house and called all the staff to introduce them to me telling them that I used to be his boss and that I was doing well in the academic world as a researcher. It turns out that by then, and really not even ten years after we first knew each other, he was an owner of a chain of Italian restaurants. It got me wondering if I should have not stuck to the restaurant business and forsaken the academic world. So that Richard may have done well for himself after all.

    • Replies: @ebear
  40. @TKK

    Oh come on, you did enjoy hospitality of strangers in Turkey, if I’m not mistaken, where I assume it would have been mostly men, and we know their reputation (hearsay of course). And in Thailand too, though there it most probably was women. And are you sure those image searches are reliable?

    • Replies: @TKK
  41. One shouldn’t read too much into coincidence. I have had a number of experiences that felt, offhand, as though God had intervened personally to save me from making a fool of myself, but in the cold light of rationality, I suspect that that was not really the explanation.

    • Replies: @profnasty
  42. @Alrenous

    They’re begging for drug money.

    You could be right. I remember one time I sat down at a coffee shop in the centre of Frankfurt not far from the railway station with a coffee and a sandwich on the table and this long haired guy came up to me begging for some euros and I offered him the untouched sandwich but he refused, he said he wanted money. However, a Gypsy woman watching this scene came up and asked for the sandwich, saying she was hungry, so I gave it to her. I really hate this about beggars, that you can’t sit down and have a coffee and a sandwich in a city centre without getting hassled.

    • Replies: @Alrenous
    , @Wielgus
  43. @Levtraro

    A mechanistic view of the Universe creates blockages in accessing the Tuniverse.

    • Replies: @Alrenous
  44. @Observator

    Logical, rational, analytical mindsets are materialistic and tend towards near total occlusion and adumbration of the holistic and intuitive right hemisphere of the brain. That repressed right brain is connective with dimensional realities which we cannot perceive within the academicist paradigms which have ruled since the time of DesCartes.

    Materialists suffer from this weird delusion that if we cannot see, hear, smell, feel, or otherwise perceive a phenomenon with our elementary senses; then, ipso facto, such a phenomenon does not exist.

    In my estimation the materialist ethos developed as a reactive rejection of the received tenets of organized religion. In Hegelian terms, religion comprised the thesis, while the materialistic reaction to that crock being the anthesis.

    What materialists overlook is that the dialectic implicitly posits that a synthesis must exist and that it is inevitable. That synthesis, many maintain, is to be found within the difficult to perceive spiritual dimension. Thus, the entire materialist ethos can be described as “half-baked.”

    In a sense, materialism is a dead-end. It signifies life without meaning or purpose. Or as Shakespeare phrased it in one of his more memorable observations: “There is more to heaven and earth than is dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio.”

  45. @Anon

    The bitterness of cynicism is sometimes its own reward.

  46. @Franklin Ryckaert

    “My explanation is twofold: The human mind works as a telepathic sender. Thus it can attract other human minds and cause meetings to happen.”

    Perhaps, but think of the first example of that restaurant. One woman would have been a mighty powerful “telepathic sender” to have been repeatedly battering me maybe eight times over a period of two hours until I finally looked up the name of the restaurant for her. And how could this “telepath” have known to beam her needs to me? Or did she broadcast to all humans within a 10-Km radius? With thousands of humans all having multiple simultaneous needs, that might create a lot of background noise, no? Plus, this “telepathy” must operate without long-distance or roaming charges. These connections frequently occur with people on other continents.

  47. I am not a believer having lost my Catholic faith when I was about 17 after I read Tom Paine’s “The Age of Reason” and Bertrand Russell’s “Why I am not a Christian”. However, some events just seem so unlikely as not to be mere coincidence. The one that sticks out in my mind the most is what happened on July 4, 1826. Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the 2 most important leaders of the American Revolution after George Washington, died. This, just “by coincidence” happened to be the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration. What also happened on that day is that the greatest musician in American History, Stephen Foster, was born.

    • Replies: @Hardrock
  48. @Larry Romanoff

    Thanks for a thoughtful and intriguing article, Larry Romanoff and your comments on when it is time to abandon a project as simply not meant to be. I am currently in the process of buying a small property that the owner is very keen to sell to me and which I wish to buy. The seller lives in USA and the property is in UK. What with lawyers, his uncooperative family and friends what seemed like a walk in the park has turned into trench war. Provisionally have put two weeks for a significant breakthrough before saying c’est la vie and moving on.
    As you infer, some things are just not meant to happen for good reason even though that good reason is or may be hidden from us at the time.

  49. Hacienda says:
    @Larry Romanoff

    Sometimes leap of faith works, sometimes it doesn’t. For me, I find about 1 of 10 attempts at things work. Ten books self-published. Only one works, but that one is a category buster.

    Ten stocks picked, two are bust, seven are forgettable, but one is a lottery win.

    Nine days of worthlessness, one day of great productivity.

    Beethoven wrote one truly great symphony. His 5th. Yeah, the others are great, but really all are repetitions of his 5th.

    Everyone has their mathematical, statistical, geometric personality. That’s what got you to China, to that restaurant. It’s what got the girls there, that boy there. And it’s that temple. It was a geometric, mathematical attractor.

  50. @Larry Romanoff

    Early in this article, I was reminded of a short, unusual circumstance that happening over 35 years ago and would always remain a puzzle never to be completed.

    It’s about 1985, I’m in my mid 20s and living in NYC. One day after work, I’m walking to my apartment after departing the Lexington Ave subway line. About 50 yards ahead, walking towards me, is a guy that was familiar but, I couldn’t immediately place him. As we approach each other, he keeps glancing at me the same way that I am at him. We pass and continue on about 15 paces, then I turn to look back at him and realize he has turned at the same time and is looking at me.

    Smiling slightly, with quizzical looks on our faces, we walked towards one another. We struck up a conversation, both saying a version of, “You look so familiar but I can’t place you.” We proceeded to run through every possible thing we could think of: names, employers, what streets we lived on, which gyms we go to or other activities participated-in, names of various friends, recent parties attended, where we each grew up, went to college, etc. This stranger and I spent 6-7 minutes verbally scavenging to figure out how we knew each other. Ultimately, we gave up, realizing we weren’t going to solve it but, agreeing that each of us was botheringly familiar to the other. We walked our separate ways, never to see one another again and I, at least, never did figure out how I “knew” him.

    Btw, it’s not uncommon when living in NYC that you see someone that looks slightly familiar and even if you can’t place them, you normally just keep on going. This time, the stranger and I both “recognized” the other and were compelled to try to understand it. That happenstance never occurred any other time in a decade of living in NYC.

    Lastly, somewhat in this vein, I had an almost disturbing amount of deja vu in my 20s regarding all sorts of things. A visual scene at a party like a replica, exact conversations I was sure I’d had or heard before, landscapes that I’d never seen previously were utterly familiar…and on it went. The deja vu experiences ceased sometime in my 30s and I very rarely have them anymore. They were fascinating but, I don’t know what they meant.

  51. EdwardM says:
    @Levtraro

    Agree. You would expect a few “coincidences” over the decades, so in that context they’re not really coincidences.

    I analogize to tossing a coin. You’d never expect to get 10 heads in a row (around 1/0000 chance), but if you toss a coin a million times, you will sometimes get 10 heads in a row. It would be fallacious to conclude when you got 10 heads in a row at some point that the coin must be biased or that Providence has interceded.

    • Replies: @Herald
  52. @Larry Romanoff

    “…One woman would have been a mighty powerful “telepathic sender” to have been repeatedly battering me maybe eight times over a period of two hours until I finally looked up the name of the restaurant for her. And how could this “telepath” have known to beam her needs to me? Or did she broadcast to all humans within a 10-Km radius? With thousands of humans all having multiple simultaneous needs, that might create a lot of background noise, no..?”

    Your own thinking about that restaurant created a telepathic current in your environment. And so did the thinking of those women. Because you were so close to each other, both thoughts being of the same content made contact with each other and caused your meeting.

    Thoughts are not only a sort of energy, they have definite forms and colors which can be seen by clairvoyants. As a good introduction, see:

    • Replies: @Here Be Dragon
    , @Alrenous
  53. @Toza

    Over a 100 years ago, the sainted Reverend Spooner had declared “The Lord is a Shoving Leopard”.

  54. Rita Coolidge was wrong

  55. @Anon

    Enormous crock of shit? You mean like that rag they call the Holy Bible? Better these stories than those of a dude walking on water and rising from the dead. At least these make sense geographically and scientifically. Jesus ones don’t.

  56. @Franklin Ryckaert

    You don’t need to be a “clairvoyant” to see that. Take some acid and you will see all of that, and a lot more.

    Thoughts are like entities made of information and energy. They live and die.

    But there are many types of thoughts. Some are verbal, some are not. Some are emotional, others are not.

    The best way for anybody who is interested in this is a direct experience. Reading these books is useless.

    At least, there are better books to read.
    https://archive.org/details/raajayogabeingle00viveuoft/mode/2up?ref=ol&view=theater

    From this one you can actually learn something.

    • Replies: @Nancy
  57. IreneAthena says: • Website

    Your suggestion to keep a journal of events that strike one as significant is a good one, Larry Romanoff. One doesn’t have to be a great thinker, though, or have wonderful powers of expression, to be “worthy” of the task. Listen, notice and record, then review, remember, reflect and synthesize. The point isn’t so much the shadow itself, but the shadow’s role in the quest for the shadow-casting Who.

    In fact, humility, awareness of one’s littleness with respect to Providence, is key to this quest. One must believe — despite the work of anti-Providence in, through and around us— that Providence is, and is a rewarder of those who seek and approach with the attitude of little children.

    • Replies: @IreneAthena
  58. Coincidences? I remember one time I was walking around Geneva and I bumped into my best childhood friend, a Taiwanese guy I knew from another continent, walking in the street towards me. I wish it could happen again, but it won’t.

  59. Notsofast says:

    ….at the very last moment, when success is within our grasp….arthur waleys translation of 64th chapter of the tao te ching illustrates this point beautifully.

    “where as the people of the world, at their tasks, constantly spoil things when within an ace of completing them. heed the end no less than the beginning and your work will not be spoiled.”

  60. IreneAthena says: • Website
    @IreneAthena

    There are exceptions to the general principle: “must seek with humble attitude.” Providence at times mercifully interrupts the destructive course of an arrogant person, with a terrifying flash of self-awareness. Saul’s interruption involved “three days of darkness.”

    • Replies: @Alrenous
  61. Alrenous says: • Website
    @Commentator Mike

    I had a guy ask for a few dollars for bus money.

    I offered him a bus ticket, knowing he would be very disappointed. He was. Seeing his disgusted expression, I asked for it back. He gave it to me. Quietly laughed at him for trying to lie to me.

    Donating to a beggar is to be an enabler. Beggar and giver are co-dependants. Technically speaking, the beggar is selling a good; a virtue-signalling good. It’s not charity, it’s a market transaction. The beggar sells a wink-wink nudge-nudge good that’s ruined if you ask for it directly. “Consider me a good person!” “Yes, that will be \$5 please!” “You…you’re not just pretending, are you?” “Of course not, valued customer!”

    Though a good which is inherently a lie would be more of a bad than a good. Both bum and donor have an addiction.

    [MORE]
    It was doubly dumb of your guy to refuse the sandwich. A paid sandwich is vastly more palatable than the free food. Plus you can skip the line at the soup kitchen if you get a free meal somewhere else. I suspect the Gypsy wasn’t too dumb, or maybe the sandwich guy was really desperate for a fix and hoped you were more gullible than you are.

    You can be so crazy you literally can’t ask for directions. You can be so crazy you can’t follow the directions even if you ask for them (the voices told me to go left). You can be so crazy you can’t manage to wait in line. Otherwise…

    Even if you manage to collapse from hunger, odds are the local ambulance will pick you up and force-feed you. If you’re too stupid to imagine a soup kitchen exists, they will make you know. Part of the reason they don’t let bums sleep on the benches is they can’t tell if they’re asleep or just dead, so they have to hassle the bum to see if he wakes up. (I would just let them be dead, but I’m almost completely ruthless.)

    If you get welfare but don’t pay rent you can eat out every day if you want.

    At worst you can commit a crime and eat prison food. Dine and dash until they arrest you.

    If you’re not absolutely batshit crazy, you cannot go hungry in a modern Western city. You have to deliberately hide out in the woods where nobody will find you. It’s the drugs. Can’t eat out if you blow your welfare cheque on drugs.

  62. Alrenous says: • Website
    @emerging majority

    A mechanistic view of the Universe creates blockages in accessing the Tuniverse.

    They pray for a mechanistic, meaningless universe, and such a universe is kindly provided to them. It’s not blocked, it’s willingly withdrawn upon request.

    Ironically prayer is scientifically testable. It’s not even hard.

    With certain caveats: e.g. you can’t do in a lab because the being you’re praying to notices you’re in a lab and saves themselves the effort. Q: “Tell me what’s on the hidden cards.” A: “You don’t care what’s on the cards; stop asking stupid questions.” Scientist, who has prayed for a meaningless universe: “Ah HA! Remote viewing doesn’t work!” Everyone gets what they want.

  63. Alrenous says: • Website
    @JM

    Passive aggressive concern-trolling. Are you a woman? Does the J stand for Jessica, and Jessica, did your husband annoy you today?

    If bores you, don’t read it. We don’t care.

    If you’re not a woman, this is very unbecoming. If you are a woman, talk to your husband, not us.

  64. ebear says:
    @Commentator Mike

    “Although they didn’t speak the same language, surely if he’d written on a piece of paper the other Chinese would have understood.”

    I find the story of the Chinese boy hard to believe for exactly that reason. Everyone in China has basic written literacy, in fact my Japanese wife and I travelled through China in the 80’s and did exactly what you describe. Most common Chinese characters are the same as Japanese Kanji, so unless you’re trying to explain quantum mechanics, you will be understood.

    If you watch Chinese movies, you’ll notice they always have the characters as subtitles. That’s because, while not everyone can speak Mandarin or Cantonese, everyone can read Chinese characters.

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
  65. sulu says:

    I started traveling to the Philippines in the early 90’s. By the late 90’s I had decided to move there more or less full time. And so, to facilitate this, I sold a property that I owned. The property included the house I grew up in that had been built in the late 1700’s. One room of the house was more or less a storage room that had, among other things a hardback trashy novel written in the 50’s called Star Money. It had a bright yellow cover and was one of those older books that had uneven width pages so that when you looked at the edge of the book it was not entirely smooth.

    In my bedroom I had many other books but one was a black hardback called Bring On The Empty Horses which was an autobiography by David Niven in which he detailed his early Hollywood years in the 30’s. This included the fact that he used to room with Errol Flynn. Another book was a maroon hardback called The Hugo Winners which was sci-fi written by various authors with a forward by Issac Asimov. The books were left behind when I sold the property, not because I didn’t value them. But because of the difficulty in transporting them half way around the world.

    I moved to the island of Cebu, Philippines and assumed what some might see as a life of dissipation. I drank moderately. I scuba dived with enthusiasm and I womanized with absolute abandoned.

    Feeling somewhat culturally isolated I frequented a bookstore in Cebu city in Robinsons on Fuente Circle. They frequently had American magazines for purchase that were 6 months or so old and I would buy them in order to sate my need for casual reading. One fateful day in about 2011 0r 12 I was in the bookstore when a book with a bright yellow hardcover caught my eye. It was the book Star Money that I had sold some 15 years earlier on the other side of the World! Sitting about two feet away was Bring On The Empty Horses and The Hugo Winners! I gleefully opened each of them in hopes that I had at one time left some writing in them that would positively identify them as my own. There was no writing inside to identify them by but when I opened Star Money I could still smell the characteristic musty smell of the old storage room that it had been in. Anyone that has lived in an ancient house probably knows what I am talking about.

    I bought two of the books but left the Yellow one behind since I had never read it and wasn’t interested in a trashy novel from the 50’s. In about another year I sold the house that I owned in the Philippines and moved back to the states. I left the books there and haven’t seen them since. I have sometimes wondered if I will ever see them again or whether I should have bought the Yellow book too so as to keep them together.

    I can’t begin to calculate the odds on this happening but it must be longer than winning the lotto a half dozen times in a row. Logic, and all the education I possess, tells me this was just a random happy coincidence. But another part of me doesn’t believe it was chance and seeks another answer. I have some speculation on that but this is already long so I will end my story here. And I will say that throughout my life I have had other long shots happen to me that makes me suspect that the Universe has connections in it that humanity has yet to unravel.

    Sulu

  66. ebear says:

    Yesterday I was in Tim Horton’s when my wife asked me what the sign that read “Bieber Merch” meant. It took a moment for me to realize that it meant Justin Bieber merchandise sold here – probably a mug with his mug on it, or maybe a t-shirt. Later that evening I heard on the news that half of poor Justin’s face was paralyzed and that he had to cancel a tour on account of that. Personally, I don’t really like the guy, but not enough to wish him a paralyzed face, so get well buddy!

    Now is that weird, or just a coincidence? On the same note, you’ve probably heard of the six degrees of separation? Well, if you met me, you’d be only two degrees away from Bryan Adams! How about that, eh? I’ve never met him, but my dad worked with his dad in Japan, and my family often visited him, including when Bryan was there. I even have photos to prove it!

    Strange shit happens all the time. I wouldn’t make too much of it.

    • Replies: @IreneAthena
  67. IreneAthena says: • Website
    @Alrenous

    It’s important—but difficult—to refuse to be an enabler. There’s not only the missed opportunity to “feel virtuous” but also the crazy-making “silly-guilt” generating vibe emanating from a manipulator on a self- and other- destroying course.

    On the other hand, there are people who, through no fault of their own, need help. Trying to line up one’s personal resources/limitations with a world full of people needing such help, that’s another kind of crazy-making. In the end, we all need direction. Small wonder that a (lying, manipulative) State promising to equalize everyone holds such appeal.

    • Replies: @Alrenous
  68. @RJ Macready

    You emotional hatred betrays you because Jesus is right – He is the Way, He is the Truth and He is the Life – and that idea is one that haunts you which is why you spend time expressing your hatred of Him.

    If He was just a fiction, you’d not waste your time.

    But here you are…

    God created man for His glory and our Happiness and man can not be happy unless he is in the presence of His Glory for all of eternity.

    Unless you the escape chains of hatred (forged by your own self) you will spend all eternity raging with hatred. You will hate your own self with the intensity of 10,000 Krakatoa explosions and you will hate Satan and his fallen angels and all other people in Hell.

    Your self hatred will be unimaginably unrelenting because it is your choice to live apart from Jesus and He always gives us what we most desire.

    • LOL: Alrenous
  69. Herald says:
    @EdwardM

    It would be fallacious to conclude when you got 10 heads in a row at some point that the coin must be biased or that Providence has interceded.

    It might well be fallacious, but there is absolutely no certainty.

  70. Alrenous says: • Website
    @IreneAthena

    On the other hand, there are people who, through no fault of their own, need help.

    In theory. I’ve never witnessed one personally. If it really isn’t their fault generally they can work out the problem on their own.

    But yeah if you know them personally and well & will notice if they use your money to buy drugs, then sure go ahead and help. I’m a feudalist and I think this sort of thing is what the local lord is for. Importantly, the lord can offer punishments, not merely assistance. Bonus: the lord doesn’t need to virtue signal, because we’re already literally calling him a noble.

  71. @IreneAthena

    ..
    ..

    ‘Now hear this’

    or,

    ” Plot
    Baron Victor von Frankenstein (Boris Karloff) has suffered torture and disfigurement at the hands of the Nazis as punishment for not cooperating with them during World War II. Horribly disfigured, he nevertheless continues his work as a scientist. Needing funds to support his experiments, the baron allows a television crew to shoot a horror film about his monster-making family at his castle in Germany.

    This arrangement gives the baron enough money to buy an atomic reactor, which he uses to create a living being, modeled after his own likeness before he had been tortured. When the baron runs out of body parts for his work, he proceeds to kill off members of the crew, and even his faithful butler, for more spare parts. Finally, the monster turns on the baron, and they both are killed in a blast of radioactive steam from the reactor. After the reactor is shut down and the radiation falls to safe levels, the monster’s bandages are removed, and an audio tape is played back in which the baron reveals that he had intended for the monster to be a perpetuation of himself because he was the last of the ..”(?E?Z?”)

    • Replies: @IreneAthena
  72. Those who dismiss the possibility of a Higher Power are living in a fog. I make no claims to any special insight but I do know with absolute certainty the existence of such a power. I have also become convinced that we are – maybe we always were – in a Manichaen struggle, that between Good and Evil, manifestations of God and Satan. My final belief is that this struggle will come to a conclusion in the not too distant future.

    • Replies: @sulu
  73. anon[202] • Disclaimer says:

    @Hacienda #50

    “Beethoven wrote one truly great symphony. His 5th. Yeah, the others are great, but really all are repetitions of his 5th.”

    He didn’t just write symphonies, you know, and most actual composers preferred to hang their hats on his 9th anyway. And due to the chronological constraints, there’s no way Eroica could be a “repetition” of his 5th either.

    It doesn’t mean you might not otherwise have a point, though, just try to keep it away from Beethoven.

    • Agree: Backward
    • Replies: @Notsofast
  74. @Nancy

    “Perfection is the enemy of good enough”. This axiom infuriates the engineering mind but it contains much practical wisdom.

  75. Lovely article, Thanks.

  76. @Anon

    I’d believe your story except for the bit about the Israeli throwing himself out. Now I think you just made it up. 🙂

    • LOL: Thim, Ace
  77. Alrenous says: • Website
    @IreneAthena

    Being humble has no downside; it’s strictly better than the alternative. I heartily recommend it.

    The prideful man is blind and cannot see the glory of this gorgeous planet. Does he deprive himself out of foolishness, or out of secret self-hatred?

    • Agree: IreneAthena
  78. Alrenous says: • Website
    @Franklin Ryckaert

    Your own thinking about that restaurant created a telepathic current in your environment. And so did the thinking of those women. Because you were so close to each other, both thoughts being of the same content made contact with each other and caused your meeting.

    I might be able to prove this scientifically, if I had a budget.
    In related news I know why AI research doesn’t work.

  79. sulu says:
    @Irish Savant

    I make no claims to any special insight but I do know with absolute certainty the existence of such a power.

    I’m sorry but those two separate claims have a rather obvious inherent contradiction.

    Sulu

    • Replies: @Notsofast
  80. Notsofast says:
    @anon

    ….but really all are repetitions of his fifth…. especially one through four.

  81. profnasty says:
    @traducteur

    Did you ask Him about it?

    • Replies: @traducteur
  82. profnasty says:
    @RJ Macready

    Dying man. Priest in attendance.
    Priest: My son, do you denounce the devil and all his works?
    Dying man: Father, this is no time to make enemies.

    • LOL: Notsofast
  83. Liza says:

    When a teenager I met an elderly (in my judgment at the time) woman, 51 years of age, a real alcoholic who lectured me on this and that whilst in a bit of a haze. One thing she told me: “The lord works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform”. Another was, “When God closes a door, he opens a window”. Yes, indeed. You can never know what he has in mind.

  84. Notsofast says:
    @sulu

    at the risk of misinterpreting his statement, i feel he claims no special insight, as everyone has access to this understanding, if they so choose to pursue it.

    • Replies: @Irish Savant
  85. Very inspiring essay: show spirit and courage and the Heaven will help you. Anything is possible if one keeps the eyes and the mind open. I think Elon Musk is a good example among many others.

  86. “No scientist, no lab in the world can create even a blade of grass [not even one of its numerous cells] from raw material, a proof for the existence of an intelligent power greater than human. Given this, it is only natural that through the centuries many great scientists such as Kopernik, Newton, Lomonosov, Pasteur and Einstein believed in God.” – Humber College ‘Rosary Prayer Group,’ Toronto and Knights of Columbus, Mississauga. Robert Jastrow, a former NASA scientist, explains: “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”

  87. @JM

    Unless one has empathy with the narrator, this kind of reminiscence is boring. Very boring.

    Don’t criticize too much or you’ll suffer an onslaught of accusations from the author, a person who feels the need to provide a lengthy bio at the end of his screeds.

    Nor should one criticize China, which is held up by some on these fora as a beacon of hope as globo-home-schlomo takes down the ‘West’.

  88. anon[142] • Disclaimer says:

    It’s more like my life is already planned or happened before, and even when I try to circumvent the planning, well that was planned for too and my life goes right to the track I was already on. Don’t want this? How about this over here? But it’s the same thing! How about this? Here is one try this? It’s the same thing. Some times I find that I had been doing things months or years in advance of some event happening that it was useful to start because now I really needed it. I look back and I say if I hadn’t started it then I would be stuck now. I also shake (legs) when I need to be scared of something and will continue until whatever it is passes. It happened one time in front of someone I just met and I couldn’t stop it until I finally got away from that person.
    Most people just think your crazy, even I think it too sometimes, but I just can’t deny what is.

  89. Johan says:

    A psychic network of invisible karmic ties between humans has always been part of the philosophy of Western esoteric views (Goethe acknowledged this in more than one way). Karma and destiny, being a route, a life path, roughly laid out, it has it’s equivalent in age old Eastern philosophy.
    Christianity made this into some sort of single superpower pulling all strings. In the esoteric view, relations and happenings are initiated by humans themself, we can choose ourselves how to act, within limitations, within the laws of karma and destiny, in the monotheistic view, there is a puppet player and predestination.

    • Agree: emerging majority
  90. Athena says:

    “Relations are not contained in the real world of existence. They are extraneous, and super-induced.”

  91. Voltara says:

    Another great piece, Larry, thank you.

    Two thoughts/gross simplifications.

    The six degrees of separation. We are all more closely connected than we realise.

    All physical systems seek equilibrium.

  92. TKK says:
    @Commentator Mike

    No, I was dating their sister. That is where my pack of friends came from- her brothers and cousins and family.

    Some hospitality in Turkey- a glass of tea- but not outfitting a home or a stranger taking on any huge life or logistical problems and suffering angst over my life.

    No hospitality in Thailand. Some in Cambodia but mostly quid pro quo. Indonesia- same.

    I have no control over algorithms. That is what the image produces. Reliable? More like matching pixels.

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
  93. Hardrock says: • Website
    @niceland

    reminescent of Kekule’s dream of the snake eating its tail. This vision supposedly led to the revelation of the aromatic structure of benzene…..recalled from a 1974 lecture in organic chemistry class.

    Nevertheless, I believe (now) that we all seek to find some meaning not provided by the universe and that existentialism and ontology are the children of this search.

    • Thanks: niceland
  94. Hardrock says: • Website
    @Jud Jackson

    Also, a railroad laborer named Dominicus Brown found a five dollar bill on the exact same day!!!

  95. IreneAthena says: • Website
    @ebear

    The chances of your hearing about the same celebrity twice in one day are actually rather high. The chances of hearing about “rare” adverse effects in younger people who were pressured into getting a vaccination they didn’t need, also rather high:
    https://pmj.bmj.com/content/early/2022/01/05/postgradmedj-2021-141022

  96. Ace says:
    @Nancy

    If you get pregnant you starting seeing your car everywhere on the road? 🙄

    • Replies: @Nancy
  97. @Alrenous

    I’ve met those professional beggars who ask for money to get back home. Once in Malaysia this woman was quite convincing with her story and I donated. Another day I walked behind her as she was telling the same story to some other sucker.

    Junkies don’t eat, hardly anyway.

  98. @TKK

    I suppose they were generous enough to let you use their sister … being Muslim and all that.

  99. @ebear

    If he was illiterate I doubt he could have made it all the way to Italy. Unless he was someone abandoned by people smugglers from the back of a truck.

  100. I would not be inclined to tell this story beneath any other article, but here it seems appropriate.

    One day, at 3 years old, I saw my dad sitting on the edge of the bed with a “sad” look on his face. I went up to him and asked him why he was sad. He had come across an old photo of his father, who died a year or so before I was born, and showed it to me, explaining that he was thinking about grandpa. For whatever reason, I said, “Don’t be sad, I am nonno and I came back.” This is a phenomenon that we have talked about off and on since then, the story had been shared amongst the family, and I have visual memories of the event.

    What would posses a 3 year old to tell his father that he is his reincarnated father? I don’t know, but maybe part of explanation is that “we are not alone.”

    Thank you, Larry.

    • Thanks: emerging majority
  101. Wielgus says:
    @Commentator Mike

    In Athens sitting inside the cafe reduces the problem as they tend not to go inside, although it is generally more pleasant to sit outside in the summer weather than inside.

  102. Poppie says:
    @Liborio Guaso

    ‘there is no Intervention of providence’

    Patience is a virtue.

    Everything is predetermined in this perfectly perfect dreamsphere where there is no such thing as life and death or you or me.

  103. Poppie says:
    @Here Be Dragon

    ‘No one has managed to come close to understanding’

    I have an understanding,as did Buddha around 2500 years ago but I very much doubt there is a Buddhist alive in Asia today that has anything close to a full understanding of Buddhism.

    How ironic that today some white skinned non Buddhists know more about Buddha than darker skinned Asian Buddhists but then again perhaps not because there is no skin or colour in the first place.

  104. @Notsofast

    Well thank you. I was just struggling with a reply to sulu when I rea yours! To put my point another way, I have no special insight into the exact nature of this ‘supernatural’ force I just know that it exists due to personal experience.

  105. @Poppie

    I have an understanding, as did Buddha around 2500 years ago but I very much doubt there is a Buddhist alive in Asia today that has anything close to a full understanding of Buddhism.

    That’s a bold claim.

    And if you really had any understanding at all, you would have never said anything like that.

    • Replies: @Poppie
  106. Poppie says:
    @Here Be Dragon

    What an egotistical thing to say about someone you have never met nor know anything about and for all you know the Poppie creature could be the next avatar for all you know.

    Try to keep an open mind and not ignorantly respond,simply due to your ego/mind being bruised when another tells you that you are wrong and you will be happier for it and you never know you may one day learn that you can’t always be right and become humble in the process.

    • Replies: @Here Be Dragon
  107. KrisP says:

    Fascinating. A refreshing change from what we usually see on Unz. Thank you!

  108. Poppie says:
    @Here Be Dragon

    ‘We are all hopeless spiritual idiots’

    Please speak for yourself and to state ‘all’ is ridiculous as it implies that you know all about the lives of closing in on 8 billion people.

    You are on the right track though judging buy one of your comments up-thread but I won’t elaborate because I dont much like your energy and life is a hall of mirror’s dont you know.

  109. Alrenous says: • Website
    @Poppie

    The problem is we can’t use it.

    I can use it. Oops.

    Dragon can’t use it because they don’t want to be able to use it. Therefore, unusability was granted.

    Values are arational. Argument exists to serve values, it is not their master. You can’t argue someone into, or out of, wanting something they don’t want.

    • Replies: @Poppie
  110. @Poppie

    Yeah yeah, give me a second.

    – Nurse!

    300 mg of Thorazine to this guy.

    And tie him to the bed he may be dangerous.

    • Replies: @Poppie
  111. Poppie says:
    @Here Be Dragon

    Open your mind dragon open your mind.

    And in the meantime you really should try and wean off those antispcyhotic meds of yours.

    Trust me you will be happier and more tuned into the positive reflections.

  112. Poppie says:
    @Alrenous

    It might help matters if you highlighted something I actually stated,would it not?.

  113. Hg says:

    I started reading your article and my wife interrupted needing my assistance in loading something to the car. As I did, I excitedly told her of the coincidence that had just unfurled. At the time I didn’t know what the article was even about since i had only read the first sentence or two. I returned to the article and discovered that it was to be a piece on synchronicities! What blew my mind was to realize that I had only just told my wife of a synchronicity related to this very article: that I was only this week pondering if there might be a temple in downtown Shanghai? My bet was that there was. I never got around to check the internet for the answer but here it was, almost insistently, like that little restaurant on the pond nearby said temple! Why was I pondering such, you’d ask? Well, my job is making CDs for local bands in Denver. The one we are working on this week is very good:) They are called Shanghai Metro Temple

    • Replies: @Larry Romanoff
  114. anon[409] • Disclaimer says:

    @Poppie #110

    “. . . learn that you can’t always be right and become humble in the process. ”

    Well, go ahead then, “Learn. . .”, etc.

  115. I thought it will be about ET aliens in China, or Chinese CETI programs….. But no.

    Such climates as presented here were heavily explored by Gothic fiction.

    The first story (women and restaurant) is nothing special, really nothing to put in diary for posterity. Everything else (‘special’) is self-mythologization by Larry.

    The second story, about illiterate Chinese boy stoically awaiting his end in Rome in the manner of Taiping warrior, looks embellished. As it was already noted, there must be some method of communication in China besides its dialects, or China would be populated by lost children. Isn’t this method called Mandarin BTW…? Also, a son of communist China should trust one of many police forces in Italy. His communist instinct should be: many police = order and help.

    The third story – in opposition to previous stories – is remarkable in its lack of fulfillment. That maybe a clue what this is about: about a widespread sense of live unlived, and abandoned opportunities enclosed in every non-trivial choice. It does happen at certain age, so no, this is a story of Larry, not of Richard.

    But I still prefer stories by Villiers de L’Isle- Adam or Barbey d’Aurevilly, since they are larger than a life of Larry.

  116. Nancy says:
    @Here Be Dragon

    And Vivakenanda’s well-known student, Swami Sarvapryananda has teaching and Q&A videos all over YT. Well worth a look/listen, IMO.

    • Replies: @Here Be Dragon
  117. Nancy says:
    @Ace

    Sorry… with a new car, it suddenly seems to be everywhere; when newly pregnant, it seems the world is suddenly full of pregnant women. I.e., just because we don’t ‘see’ something doesn’t mean it isn’t there… it is not high our totem pole, hence it doesn’t catch our attention.

  118. @profnasty

    No, but I give thanks a lot, just in case!

  119. @Nancy

    Will check it out, but Vivekananda died a long, a long time ago.

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
  120. @Here Be Dragon

    More like a student of a student of a student. These swamis are mushrooming all over the place and getting on the commercial bandwagon in the West at a younger age. I really don’t know if they have anything new to say or teach that wasn’t done better before by older wiser men. They see some guy made some money doing it so they hop on trying to copy and repeat so as to divert some cash their way. If people weren’t so gullible these guys would actually have to get to do some work, in the fields or wherever.

    • Agree: Here Be Dragon
  121. @Poppie

    How ironic that today some white skinned non Buddhists know more about Buddha than darker skinned Asian Buddhists but then again perhaps not because there is no skin or colour in the first place.

    In any population, be it white, yellow, brown whatever, understanding exists in a continuum. On the most basic level, people understand it mechanistically….eg “if I am good, I will be rewarded in Heaven / Karma”

    People with a higher understanding appreciate the concepts that go beyond the mere prescriptions.

    With even higher understanding, people are able to make wilful manifestations a reality. The physical and thought realities merge.

    Beyond, this, is understanding and still more power that we all hope to achieve one day.

    Now this difference in understanding levels/continuum exists in all religions, from the Buddhists who buy captive birds so that they can set them free to earn good “karma”, to the Catholics who believe they have to say so many Hail Marys in absolution of whatever petty sin, to the Muslim who fasts from dawn till dusk not even daring to swallow his own saliva because he was instructed via the Prophet.

    Everyone is in a different state of development. It does not profit a Third Grader to laugh at a First Grader because he understands less.

    How ironic that today some white skinned non Buddhists know more about Buddha

    This smacks of so much conceit, that I know that you are far from the truth that you claim to know.

  122. guibus says:
    @JM

    so you just proved by yourself YOUR total lack of empathy, being for the narrator or not. So it’s your problem, and you’re the only one who can change it. Good luck, idiot.

  123. Anon[319] • Disclaimer says:

    What is Larry’s point? He never got around to stating it. He narrated two random and unrelated events and provided no conclusion. This paper would get an “F” in freshman English.

    • Replies: @IreneAthena
  124. IreneAthena says: • Website
    @Anon

    Just because Larry’s point is “mystery” doesn’t mean his point is “a mystery.”

    Larry Romanoff, I’m wondering why you got so much flak in the comments on this one. Maybe it is because defensiveness/resistance/denial, rather than receptiveness, is the response when the Universe/God/Creator has been trying to get a possibly inconvenient message through. Thanks for the interesting article.

    • Replies: @Alrenous
  125. RawDaddy says:
    @Larry Romanoff

    I’m just being honest here, love your writing, have for a long time, but the title of the piece, “we are not alone,” drew me in thinking it was about other worldly beings. And it was, just not in the pedestrian sense. So thank you.

  126. Alrenous says: • Website
    @IreneAthena

    Atheists aren’t. They’re mad at god for whatever reason. Whenever someone claims that they or anyone else has been helped by the divine, the atheist feels personally attacked, like god hates them personally and specifically. This is what they hear: “You deserve it.” Then, as per usual for homo sapiens, they get mad, rather than entering into any sort of self-contemplation.

    I know this personally, having been raised with a heavily Christianity-flavoured New Age nonsense set. God is implied to promise all sorts of things, and then inevitably renegs on these fake promises.

    If someone were genuinely an atheist-materialist, they would shrug. “Sounds confused to me, but not my problem.” If they exist, they don’t show up in comment sections, being too busy minding their own business.

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