Introduction to Buddhism in Spanish

El Budismo

Young Love at Target

young-love

I spotted this young pair at Target in Kailua.  I can’t be sure how they know each other, whether they are young lovers or perhaps siblings.  Given their physical stature, I am guessing that they are each no more than 13 years old.  However, the confidence with which they carried themselves intrigued me.  I do not remember being so self-assured when I was 12 or 13 years old.  If they were on a date to the food court at Target, it seemed to be unchaperoned, as no older person ever approached them.  Perhaps I would have had enough confidence to invite a girl to meet me at Target for some popcorn when I was their age, but the way they so casually got up and left the food court and store together led me to think of them as “little adults” more so than as “children”.  I began to speculate as to what their backstory might be, and on the advice of my mother, I’ve decided to write some fiction with this photo as inspiration.

Katy & Kyle

Katy and Kyle are local Kailua residents and attend middle school only a few hundred yards from Target.  They are both on Winter Break from the 7th Grade, and, being children of the smart phone era, they keep in touch on all the social media platforms plus through text messages.  … to be continued …

Elliot Rodger

 

Elliot Rodger Was the Real Victim and

American Society Is To Blame

Elyas Bin Yahya Abdul-Ghaffar Rucker

Hawai‘i Pacific University

 

elliot-rodger

Abstract

Elliot Rodger was the victim of a callous American society; a society which by and large fails to recognize the sexual needs of mature males.  It is not all of American society which is so heartless, as Isabel Esquivel-Isidoro commented on one of Elliot Rodger’s YouTube videos “Call me weird, but I wish I could have done something.” (Rodger, 2014)  However, my stance is that Elliot Rodger is an example of what can happen when society minimizes the importance of satisfying the sexual urges of men.

 

“This world is such a beautiful place; it’s such a tragedy that I’ve had to live, you know, such a pathetic life in it- all because of the cruelty of humanity, and woman.” – Elliot Rodger (Rodger, 2014)  I can empathize with Rodger’s frustrations and feelings of injustice.  His reaction to being sexually frustrated, of being consistently rejected by women, is far from unreasonable.  I find that many people tend to minimize the importance of satisfying a man’s sex drive, most especially women.  It seems to me that the natural order is for women to satisfy their man’s desire for sex, and when a man is given absolutely no satisfaction, the natural order is disrupted and can understandably result in the development of a man like what Elliot Rodger ultimately became.  I can empathize because it is hard for me to imagine how I could have tolerated life to this point without knowing the pleasures of being intimate with a woman.  Kissing and fondling my various girlfriends when I was a young teenager were some of my only sources of pleasure- some of the only activities that could calm my mind and make life bearable.  I am fortunate to have had girlfriends in my teens and into my adulthood.  Without them, it is very likely that I would have lashed out against society in way similar to that of Elliot Rodger’s killing spree.  Numerous recording artists have expressed this intense need that we men have, among them Korn and Nine Inch Nails.  Two songs in particular support my viewpoint that this need of ours is not limited to the initial years of puberty or to Elliot Rodger and myself.  The following is from the Korn song A.D.I.D.A.S.

Honestly somehow it always seems that I’m dreaming of

Something I could never be-

It doesn’t matter to me cause I will always be that pimp that I see in all

Of my fantasies.

I don’t know your fucking name- so what?  Let’s…

Screwing may be, the only way that I can truly be free…

From my fucked up reality…

So I dream and stroke it harder cause it’s so fun to see

My face staring back at me.

I don’t know your fucking name.  So what?  Let’s fuck.

All day I dream about sex.

All day I dream about fuckin’. (Korn, 1996)

Trent Reznor, in his 1994 song Closer, sings about what I believe most men feel but are shamed into denying.

You let me violate you.

You let me desecrate you.

You let me penetrate you.

You let me complicate you.

Help me.

I broke apart my insides.

Help me.

I’ve got no soul to sell.

Help me.

The only thing that works for me.

Help me get away from myself.

I want to fuck you like an animal.

I want to feel you from the inside.

I want to fuck you like an animal.

My whole existence is flawed.

You get me closer to god.

You can have my isolation.
You can have the hate that it brings.
You can have my absence of faith.
You can have my everything.

Help me.
Tear down my reason.
Help me.
It’s your sex I can smell.
Help me.
You make me perfect.
Help me become somebody else.

I want to fuck you like an animal.
I want to feel you from the inside.
I want to fuck you like an animal.
My whole existence is flawed.
You get me closer to god.

Through every forest above the trees.
Within my stomach scraped off my knees.
I drink the honey inside your hive.
You are the reason I stay alive.  (Reznor, 1994)

Reznor’s words strike me as being extremely relevant to any discussion of Elliot Rodger.  In most of Rodger’s YouTube videos he is very clearly asking the world of women for help.  He literally needs them, their loving affection, and their sex.  Without a woman’s love, Rodger’s whole existence is flawed and the logical conclusion is that there is no longer any reason for him to stay alive.

Clinical Psychologist Dr. Judy Ho expresses an opposing assessment of Elliot Rodger when, on an episode of Dr. Drew On Call she states “… narcissism is part of his profile but where does it come from and how does it play into the fact that he wanted to commit a mass murder?  And this is where the research shows us some real interesting things because people who tend to go and shoot up schools and movie theaters are people who are single, young, white males who tend to come from affluent families.  And these types of people are more likely to take their personal pain out on the entire world thinking that the world owes them something; whereas when you look at all the other social demographics, people can be violent when they get to that point, but they tend to just aggress on intimate partners and family members.” (HLN, 2014)

Dr. Ho makes reference to a so-called “race” of people when she singles out “single, young, white males”.  Her statement and her entire assessment, as well as that of Dr. Drew who was nodding in agreement, are rendered invalid when we consider what modern science has to tell us about human “races”.  Dr. Fairbanks informs us in his 2015 masterpiece Everyone Is African: How Science Explodes the Myth of Race that “[t]he time has come to abandon the notion of race as a presumed biological construct when referring to humans.” (Fairbanks, 2015, p. 58)  “What this means scientifically is that classification by race is an oversimplified and inaccurate way to biologically define people.” (Fairbanks, 2015, p. 55)  Fairbanks quotes two researchers, Jorde and Wooding, who state in reference to the DNA variants they examined:

All of these findings, which are in accord with many other studies based on different types of genetic variation assessed in different samples of humans, support an evolutionary scenario in which anatomically modern humans evolved first in Africa, accumulating genetic diversity.  A small subset of the African population then left the continent, probably experienced a population bottleneck and founded anatomically modern human populations in the rest of the world.  Of special importance to discussions of race, our species has a recent, common origin. (Fairbanks, 2015, p. 42)

“According to the scientific evidence, the biblical Eve and Adam mentioned at the beginning of this chapter as the first parents of all humanity are mythical … As humans, everyone is related by common ancient ancestry, and, ultimately, everyone is African.” (Fairbanks, 2015, p. 42)

As I have made abundantly clear with my quotations of two popular musical acts, males need women to love, to have sex with.  Dr. Ho makes a point of emphasizing that many mass murderers are single.  Is this supposed to be revelatory information?  It seems obvious that these men would not have committed these mass killings if they felt loved, emotionally and physically, by at least one woman.

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Fairbanks, D. J. (2015). Everyone Is African: How Science Explodes the Myth of Race. Amherst, New York, USA: Prometheus Books.

HLN. (2014, 05 27). YouTube. Retrieved from Dr. Drew On Call: https://youtu.be/cIyD7O_baYo

Korn (1996). A.D.I.D.A.S. [Recorded by Korn]. On Life Is Peachy. Malibu, California, USA: R. Robinson.

Reznor, T. (1994). Closer [Recorded by N. I. Nails]. On The Downward Spiral. Los Angeles, California, USA: T. Reznor.

Rodger, E. (2014, 05 23). YouTube. Retrieved from Elliot Rodger, Lonely Vlog, Life is so unfair: https://youtu.be/-4CressilIo

 

 

In Reply to a Claim to be “Full Filipino”


On Sunday, August 21, 2016, Clyed Reyes <[redacted]@my.hpu.edu> wrote:
Elyas,

Wow! You’ve lived in so many places, that is really cool. I actually lived in San Francisco when I was 5 years old and moved to Los Angeles when I was about 10. But for me, Los Angeles is home because I don’t really remember anything from San Francisco. I have a hispanic last name but I am not, I am full Filipino. I can understand Tagalog (Filipino) but I struggle speaking and writing. I took three years of Spanish but I do not remember much, I can understand it but its very minimal.

My Reply:

Clyed,

My autocorrect wants to change your name to “Clyde” for me. Yes, I obviously recognize your surname as the Spanish word meaning “kings” or “monarchs”. I have spent a bit of time pondering what it really is to “be Hispanic”. Like, what are the parameters, the requirements? Is it necessary to have an ancestor from Spain/Portugal? Is it necessary to be a Spanish/Portuguese speaker? If a person has a Spanish ancestor, but doesn’t speak Spanish, is he still Hispanic? Is it necessary to be aware of and a practitioner of the “Hispanic Culture”? What about the Mexicans who have no Spanish ancestor, but their daily language is Spanish, and their culture is that of the mainstream of Mexico? Are they Hispanics? What about the people who live in so-called “Hispanic Countries” but don’t speak Spanish or Portuguese, don’t practice Catholicism, and retain a distinctly pre-Columbian culture in their localities? Are they “Hispanic” based solely on the passport they would be obliged to carry were they to travel internationally? And what of people in “non-Hispanic” countries who live a version of the Hispanic culture in their daily lives? I am thinking of the neighborhoods of people I have come across in Chicago and New York City. The whole idea of “Hispanicity” is so confusing that I have resolved that the United States Government’s policy of asking people on forms if they “identify as Hispanic” is best. If a person says he is Hispanic, then he is. If not, well then obviously he is not. I check the “Hispanic” box, when it is there for the checking, even though I don’t define myself by my ancestors. I see that my existence began sometime in March 1983 when a sperm fertilized an egg. The whole thing with distinguishing between “white” and “Hispanic”, as if they are two distinct categories of people, is asinine. As if the people living on the north (French) side of the Pyrenees Mountains are “white” but the people on the south (Spanish/Portuguese) side of the Pyrenees Mountain are suddenly something altogether distinct called “Hispanic”. Then there are the people living 7 miles away from Iberia in the north of Africa, people who fit the U.S. Government’s description for being “white”. Why don’t any of the other broad categories of people inhabiting Europe get their own box to check? Like, why isn’t there a box for people to identify themselves as “Slavic” or “Scandinavian”? The term “Caucasian” is way too broad. Only a few people in Europe who actually live in or near the Caucasian Mountains should be called “Caucasians”. The category name comes from the idea a 19th century German had that there are “three races” of man, the “Caucasoids”, the “Negroids”, and the “Mongoloids”. Are you cool with being categorized as a “Mongoloid”, Clyed? I imagine not, and likewise I am not cool with being labeled “Caucasoid”. I have written academic papers explaining how the concept of “human races” is a myth.
I don’t understand how anyone can consider themselves and/or others to be “full” anything. That implies that there is something “pure” or “whole” about them, and “impure” or “partial” about others. Or am I “full American” by virtue of my having been born in America and being familiar with the culture? Or is it only the “old world” nations that can be considered “full (insert nationality)? So, “full Korean” is a thing, and “full French” is a thing, but “full Mexican” and “full Brazilian” are not things. Is that the way this works? In the case of the Philippines in particular, how is it possible that anyone can be considered “full Filipino”? So, if it is discovered that a certain group of people living in the Philippines have a Spanish or other foreign ancestor, they would be labeled as “impure” or “only partial” Filipinos? Or is the modern nation-state of the Philippines, by whose very name we know only exists due to Spanish colonization, to be considered as a “whole” people, in spite of their varied ancestral lines, sub-cultures (Ilocano versus southern Mindanao), and mother tongues? No, I do not think it is possible to be “full Filipino”. At the same time, I do not think it is possible to be “full” anything. I flinch and shudder if I hear people refer to themselves or others as “half bloods” or “half breeds”. This is because I know, and everyone who looks into the matter knows, that every human being is cousin to every other human being they encounter. It is a recognized fact, not just conjecture or educated guesswork, that our species (Homo Sapiens) have a common point of origin in what today we call east Africa. One tribe, one band of primitive people, spread out across Africa and the rest of the world as the ice in the north receded and allowed to do so. Obviously we developed distinct cultures, religions, and languages when we settled in different areas, but these differences, and the differences in physical appearance which evolved to adapt to our surroundings, do not make us into “races”. Nay, we are all one people, one human race. If I get with a woman who has brown skin, our baby is not “half this and half that”, rather he is “full human”. That is because this hypothetical woman with brown skin inevitably has an ancestor in common with me, even if that ancestor lived 2000 or more years ago. My relationship with her would not be “interracial” because the coming together of my genes and her genes, my immediate family and her immediate family, is the coming together of (perhaps long-lost) cousins. If everyone could stop pretending that “race” is a thing, and instead see every other man as his cousin, as his “blood” (because of their ancestor in common), we would find many fewer men willing to go to war and/or commit atrocities against other people.
As for your Spanish-language abilities, or the lack thereof, I will stick with English when speaking to you, since it sounds like you would quickly be lost were I to speak Spanish to you.
I am sorry if this e-mail is long and rambling. Sometimes I get passionate about a thing and I have to let it out in writing or through speaking.

Regards,

Elyas

“It’s really all still Mexico”


          “It’s really all still Mexico” interrupted a man when I claimed that the border between the United States of America and the United Mexican States is arbitrary and quite void of significance. His statement and the accompanying sentiment feel incongruous with a logical approach to the history of North America in the past 500 years.
          In stating that the border is arbitrary and void of true meaning, I am taking the (somewhat) long view of history, not stopping at the history of the past 150 or so years. The man who claimed that “California, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and other areas are really still part of Mexico” is forgetting many important facts. Most importantly, even during the time (1846-1848) when the USA and UMS were at war over Texas and other territories, the native tribes (or First Nations) of the areas being fought over did not recognize the claims of sovereignty over the land of either the Americans or the Mexicans. The Shoshone are an important example of this, led by the great Chief Pocatello, they never viewed themselves as subjects of the Spanish Crown nor as Mexicans; their territory being shown on paper maps as being ruled from Mexico City notwithstanding.
            It is important to remember that Mexicans, and every other extant, internationally recognized nationality in the Americas, are not the indigenous (or first) nationalities. The indigenous nationalities of the Americas remain extant in the form of semi-sovereign tribes with allocated land located within the national boundaries of Canada, The USA, Brazil, and possibly other countries. Then there are groups of people who have an identity, a language, a culture, a religion, or other defining characteristic which sets them apart from the mainstream, dominant culture of their country. If that identity, language, culture, religion, etc. predates the arrival of Christopher Columbus, I would say that those people are participating in the indigenous survivance movements of The Americas. Those who participate in indigenous survivance in the modern-day Mexican territory are landless, and therefore their continued survivance is more precarious than that of the White Mountain Apache, for example. It is my view that the lack of land reserves for the people who practice indigenous survivance in the UMS is unfortunate. I knew a Mexican man, Carlos Balleza, who would rather the practitioners of indigenous survivance in areas such as the Mexican State of Chiapas give up their ways and assimilate into mainstream Mexican (Hispanic) culture. On this topic, I find it derogatory to refer to all the people living in the UMS as “Hispanics”. It is an obvious attempt to coverup and erase the distinct identities cultures which predate Christopher Columbus, replacing them with the Hispanic identity and culture. Doing so is tantamount to calling every person in the USA (excluding foreign visitors) “Anglo” or “Anglo-Saxon”.
           Many, if not most, of the nations we know today are the direct result of European conquest and settlement; and they are the direct successor states to the European Empires. The United States were “The British Crown Colonies in America” before they declared (in 1776) themselves to be a collection of sovereign states, and won (in 1783) their independence of the British Crown. In the exact same sense, there was no polity in the world called “Mexico” before 1810 (declared) or 1821 (won). There was a city, the former Tenochtitlan, named Mexico by the Spanish, and it served as the capital of the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Spain. This vast viceroyalty included more territory than Mexico ever has, controlling the territory of some of the modern Central American countries, in addition to the only modern nation to be named in honor of a Spanish monarch, The Philippines. However, both the USA and UMS took their post-independence shapes by assuming control of the land which had been claimed by the British and Spanish, respectively. In this way, when my former classmate made his claim, he is (probably unwittingly) granting legitimacy to Spanish (specifically) and European (in general) ideas of hegemony over and superiority to the native nations which predate European arrival in America (The Americas). I would have explained this to my former classmate, had our conversation been allowed to continue.
          Everyone who feels very strongly one way or the other about the current location of the USA-UMS border needs to take a deep breath and relax. They all need to recall that both countries are the successor states to European Empires, and as such, out of respect for The Shoshone and other native nations, they should give up feeling strongly that the border “is where it ought to be” or that it “should be elsewhere” or as my former classmate said, that “[the modern southwest of the USA] is really all still Mexico (he began to justify his claim by saying that the SW USA has “a lot of Hispanics”).” In addition, to those who lament that Mexico City no longer controls a territory as vast as it once (at least on paper maps) did, I submit the case of the shifting borders in South America. The issue of whether the Mexican-American War was “justified” (is there such a thing as a “just war”?) notwithstanding, the same border-shifting wars took place in the southern half of the American Continent. Bolivia, currently a landlocked country, had territory along the Pacific Coast after its independence from Spain. It retained this territory before it was “taken away” (Stolen? Won?) by Chile during negotiations to end the war between the two formerly Spanish (but still Hispanic?) countries. These things happen with a high degree of frequency throughout recorded history. Nations are founded, dependencies (colonies) break away, a militarily powerful nation conquers and annexes a militarily vulnerable nation, nations squabble over access to resources and coasts (resulting in border shifts when the peace treaty is signed), etc. It is in the nature of human civilization that borders shift and their location is contentious to those who feel “patriotic pride” toward one nation or the other.