As I read an article on how “Nepal’s Largest Stone Buddha At 12,600 Feet” got built and then I read the comments, I couldn’t help but feel that people are repeating same old mantra and not thinking for themselves. One comment suggests that instead of building such a statue, the money should go to the poor instead. I totally understand the good intention of such a comment, but it’s a narrow minded thinking and missing the big picture altogether. Of course, at Buddha’s time, he said you should not idolize him and focus on his teaching instead. Nonetheless, we’re not living in a time in which his holiness is alive, and so it’s so misleading to think that a Buddhist tradition can carry on without idolizing him in a physical form through arts and sculptures. After all, his teaching doesn’t come out of thin air. Without the peaceful fanatics (not the violent ones of course) who idolizing him, I don’t think his teaching can be spread far and wide. Although we all know moderation is best, but I don’t think the making/worshiping a Buddha statue is sinful. A narrow minded person could seek out a path where he/she could choose to not remember and respect the Buddha himself through idolizing him, and he or she could pray and hope his holiness trace would disappear along with his peaceful teaching altogether. Sure, it might not change the world in any way of shape or form if this to happen, but his teaching is one of the peaceful ways and to go without such a knowledge the world may be missing out on something really good. Not everyone can inherit a strong self in moments of helplessness in everyday life, and so his holiness teaching could always lift such a spirit out of despair through such terrible times. I think people should not spit out mantra as if they’re a saint themselves, because if you’re a Buddhist you should care not if someone else is idolizing him in a peaceful manner, and instead you should focus on his timeless teaching. Somebody got money to make a statue of his holiness, it’s their business and not yours. If you got money to help the poor, you could always do it yourself instead of preaching. This idea can also be applied to Christianity and other peaceful religions. I’m not recommending anyone to idolizing a cult’s figure and go crazy on normal folks, because the whole idea is to worship and idolize a peaceful deity and in this way peace can exist among our brethren and sistren.
Lately, Starbucks got some bad lucks. From the news, a cop was suing Starbucks for spilled hot coffee. Another news reported that hackers are targeting Starbucks’ customers who use Starbucks app. Just in, a manager exploded and accused a customer of stealing a straw. The whole incident was recorded and now is being shared on the Internet. Check out the videos right after the break to have a glimpse at the incident.
I got free coffee from Starbucks before, and so I’ve had great experience with Starbucks. Nonetheless, I definitely don’t want to ever have to experience something similar to the customer who was at the receiving end of an angry Starbucks’ manager. Fortunately, so far I have not yet had any crazy incident like that at anywhere I have gone to. Oh wait, there was one time that I went into a Subway sandwich store near the closing time, and a stranger gave me a peck (a brief kiss) on my cheek for no apparent reason. I think she was drunk or something of that sort. I felt uncomfortable of course, but everyone was laughing in the store. I laughed along, but I got out of the store as quickly as I could after I had my order fulfilled.
Is it wise for the United States to pivot to China? This question is so important in our young century, because we’re talking about the conflicts of the two most powerful nations of today time. Once again, I like to use ancient history to reveal what we might face in the future. Of course, ancient history doesn’t have a crystal ball to predict a future in which such a future is way different than anything ancient history could ever imagine. Nonetheless, ancient history was the product of humans. Thus, we can safely assume no matter how different the future will be, ancient history might get it right still. Of course, unless the future is not a product of humans but of aliens, then I won’t bet my farm on ancient history at all. (I don’t really have a farm!) What ancient history I’m talking about? Read on and I expand…
I watched a YouTube video, The Phoenician Carthage – The Roman Holocaust, in regarding to how Carthaginian empire was toppled by the Romans, and I was very intrigued to how United States and China are facing a very similar Carthaginian versus Romans picture, in the big picture of course. I may get this wrong, because I’m no expert in ancient history of Carthaginian versus Romans. Nonetheless, from what I’d learned from this YouTube video, Carthaginian empire was a superpower way before Rome became one. Carthaginian controlled the nearby sea trade routes, thus Carthaginian empire was also an ocean going superpower just like how United States is today. Meanwhile, at the time when Carthaginian ignored how Roman state was on the rise in term of ground territorial expansion, Carthaginian thought nothing of Rome until sometimes later this would prove to be fatal for Carthaginian empire itself.
Sometimes later, Roman state slowly took up form of an empire, albeit a much smaller one than Carthaginian. As Roman empire began to expand even more, it faced an obstacle which was the Carthaginian empire. Carthaginian controlled much of the sea routes for trade, and the Romans wanted a piece of that. I don’t think I can be wrong on this, after all — wars of our time, meaning now or even in the past, were and are mostly about victories over trades, territories and whatnot. Since the Roman state was on the rise to become an empire that rivaled the Carthaginian empire (eventually surpassed the Carthaginian empire), thus the two superpowers of their time began a series of conflicts that led to three major Punic Wars. I’m not an expert in Punic Wars history, thus I couldn’t go into the details, but I know few things about the conflicts of Carthaginian empire and the Roman empire that I can use to compare the two superpowers of today, the United States and China.
At the start of first major Punic War, according to Wikipedia’s “Punic Wars” piece (source link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punic_Wars), the Romans wanted to expand to Sicily and was presented with an opportunity when a local conflict in Sicily broke out. Whatever the details were, the local conflict in Sicily became a proxy war for Carthage versus Rome conflict. Eventually, the proxy war enticed the two superpowers into an all out conflict, resulting in the first Punic War. Wikipedia details that at the start of the first Punic War, Carthaginian was at a disadvantage on land warfare for Roman state was originally expansionary through land warfare, thus the Romans defeated Carthaginian at the Battle of Agrigentum in 262 BC. With such a harsh defeat, Carthaginian decided to avoid most land warfare against the Romans and preferred to fight on sea. Since the Roman empire was not strong at sea, thus Carthaginian empire was able to take advantage of Romans’ sea weakness. The YouTube video I watched describes after a major defeat on sea, the Romans were lucky to capture a Carthaginian battleship which then later the Roman empire was able to duplicate such battleship technology to revert the tide of war on sea. This is important for my thinking of the current conflicts between the two superpowers of today.
Today, the United States is still the undefeated champion on sea, and China is largely a powerful land based force. Obviously, it’s less true than before as China is rapidly developing a huge professional navy with capable battleships and whatnot to deter United States from getting too close to her shore. Just as how Carthaginian versus Romans, United States is facing a rising China in which China has overtaken the United States in world trade. Since Carthaginian was facing a hungry Romans in trade and territory domination, the first Punic War between these ancient superpowers was becoming inevitable. Can we say the same for the United States and China? Once again, not so different from the Punic War conflicts, contemporary superpowers are emphasizing their face-off on sea. China needs to control sea routes for trades and the United States does not want to be pushed out of the Pacific, thus the stage is setting up for a future sea confrontation. Modern Punic Wars? Who will be the Carthaginian and who will be the Romans this time around?
According to ancient history, Carthaginian empire was a superpower at sea. Today, the United States is also a superpower at sea. Romans stole Carthaginian’s battleship building technology, and was able to turn the tide for the ancient battles at sea. United States and China have yet to go to war on sea, but China is hungry for better sea warfare technology. Carthaginian didn’t want Romans to expand and capture ancient territories that could dictate favorable terms for trades such as important sea routes. United States definitely does not want China to control most sea routes, because that would push United States out of Pacific, making United States becomes irrelevant in a modern, most profitable sea-trading territory in the world (i.e., Pacific ocean). United States for sure knows that China is a very capable land force, because China has huge population to prepare a huge ground force invasion. In ancient time, Carthaginian relied on mercenary for their army, but the Romans relied on native population for their army. Today, United States does rely on mercenary more than China for obvious reasons. One such reason is that China is not in as many conflicts as the United States, and the United States is facing too many conflicts around the world such as in the Middle East. I’m living in the United States, and I feel it’s a poor taste of me to compare United States as Carthaginian empire and China as Roman empire. Nonetheless, the picture of the ancients somehow reminds me of the picture of today. Very freaky in my opinion.
Of course, one big difference of today world is that we are in a nuclear age, thus Carthaginian versus Roman conflicts might be irrelevant for warfare lessons since nuclear weapons can make sea warfare struggles become rather irrelevant. Really? What about submarines with nuclear warheads? Isn’t this scenario all about using the sea to gain victory over the enemy? Thus the oceans are still important in warfare today, and the oceans are still practically important to how we do trades today. I think if we can go on without having sea conflicts between United States and China in a major way that might result in modern Punic Wars, then we might make to the space age. Only in space age where trades take place in space that we might find conflicts on sea become less relevant. Nonetheless, I don’t bet my farm on this, because nobody knows the future. Even though the ancient time can remind us a familiar picture of the past, it doesn’t mean the future will unfold similarly. Nobody knows really! Nonetheless, history can be a great teacher in that the fundamentals won’t just become the aliens overnight, thus the human products of ancient history will probably be somewhat similar in contemporary age. Thus it begs the question, is it wise to have modern Punic Wars? Is it wise for United States and China to have conflicts at sea?
It was how Romans defeated Carthaginian that built the Roman empire into one of the most glorious ancient empires.
As the world becomes evermore connected, it begins to look like the historic dramas. One of those historic dramas came easily to me was the Warring States period in ancient China. Chaos was broken out for as long as two hundred and fifty something years, and many ancient folks were slain by the God of war (i.e., meaning deaths in wartime). Nations in ancient China’s Warring States period were keened to spy and create wedges between each other for their nations were so connected through trades and wars. Instead of finding peace for two hundred and fifty something years, through intimate connectivity they fought to the deaths for that long. In the end, the ruler of Quin, who became the first emperor of unified ancient China, was able to provide peace for most parts throughout the Warring States as these states became a unified ancient China. Nonetheless, China first emperor Shihuang-di ruled ancient unified China with absolute terror through his dictatorship style, and so right after his death his successors failed to retain a unified China, leading to the breakup of his dynasty and allowing the rise of Han dynasty.
The intricacies of the ancient connected Warring States in ancient China is somewhat reminding us how the world can be so connected today and yet peace is nowhere in sight, whatsoever. In Ukraine, we have rebels versus the new government, dividing Ukraine up. In the Middle East, ISIS is rising but their advance is temporary being stopped by U.S.A.’s bombings and whatnot. Syria is still struggling with its rebels of many factions. Protests have broken out throughout the world, one in Hong Kong, another in Ferguson, MO, and so forth. Afghanistan and Egypt are not doing too well, and Afghanistan is like a fail state. Ebola is spreading in Africa and slowly making its way toward the West. Russia and United States are planning to be in each other’s way as much as possible, and each country is throwing out sanctions at the other country without much care for the consequences that will play out in the near future.
For an example, Russia is ordering France’s warships, but United States is against this and so France is capitulating between delivering and not delivering to Russia the ordered warships. Russia is knowing quite well that it can build the warships if it wants to, but to drive the wedge between United States and France Russia decides to go ahead and pushing France to deliver the warships. Meanwhile, Russia is carrying out an engagement with China so the wedding between the two countries may have a brighter future, thus Russia is signing all sorts of contracts with China, to the benefits of whom we may never know. As Russia and China become ever closer, United States will have to face the possibility of losing even more influences throughout the world’s International Order. Why? China is the largest trading country in the world, surpassing the United States already; China demands whoever wants to do trade with China needs to swap Yuan and not of Dollar. This could mean the Dollar’s world influence begins to wane slowly. Meanwhile, Russia is also one of the largest energy trading countries which demands others to trade not in Dollar whenever it’s possible, and this further the waning of the Dollar’s world influence.
Russia is dangerous to the United States as this country can persuade other energy trading countries to begin to move away from using Dollar for trade and reserve accounts. The eroding of the Dollar’s world influence will be hard on the United States in a big way. The United States needs to print money to help the economy from sliding back into the atmosphere of 2009 (i.e., financial crisis of 2009), but if the Dollar is no longer valuable throughout the world the United States may have to pay a hefty premium on the interests that derive from the foreign borrowings. Why? Countries around the world may fear the inflation train in the United States cannot be stopped and the hyperinflation would kick in, thus devaluing the Dollar to the point of worthlessness. If this situation to occur in a time that China and Russia are encouraging the world to use other currencies and not of Dollar, the United States may not be able to use the Dollar as a currency to barter and trade for whatever with the rest of the world. Thus, printing more Dollar can only become pointless. If the United States finds itself in such a situation, borrowing foreign countries’ money to help rebuild the economy within might not be wise as the interest rates would go through the roof.
Of course, if the United States has a vibrant economy with strong industrial base sectors such as manufacturing to back the economy up when hard time hits folks in the gut, then the United States can fair whatever weather quite well, regardless of how China and Russia want to move away from the Dollar. Nonetheless, the United States doesn’t have much in term of manufacturing since manufacturing jobs and productions have been moving to other countries for awhile already. Whether manufacturing jobs are moving to India, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and whatnot, I doubt that the United States can stop the trend of seeing manufacturing jobs from leaving the United States. After all, the world is evermore connected, thus capitalism is fully functioning and working hard as always, providing greener pastures for cows to graze such as cheaper labor market, higher profit environment, less taxing environment and so on…
Since United States is not a weak country for the last 100 years or so if I’m not really wrong on the historic time quantity there, thus the United States still has options to turn the tide of favors back home. Nonetheless, as the United States tries hard to win back the tide of favors, other countries are too hard at work to make sure things are going their ways. With rising China, angrier Russia, and a worried United States, the world will see a much more chaotic future as these three powerful forces can demand the rest to capitulate in making decisions for a future as a whole. A future according to whom we may ask though. As a more connected world, we think we may see a more harmonious future, but instead we may see a more chaotic future, somewhat similarly scripting to one of those historic dramas.
I usually don’t like to rant on something I have zero clue about. Nonetheless, Ebola scare is something that I don’t know about but I want to rant on. I think Ebola scare is real, whether Ebola will become something of the past as new treatments will be made available or not. Even now, I don’t know how you could catch Ebola or how you would die from it. In fact, I heard how fatal Ebola could be, and that’s pretty much all the facts I need to know. Sure, I’m uneducated about Ebola, but I do know one thing is that it’s not a joke to be around an infectious disease such as Ebola. Ebola could spread! This is why we’re seeing experts and medical personnels are being told to be super careful around Ebola such as wearing proper medical, protective gears.
With Ebola scare is real, we should know that if this Ebola scare gets even more serious, we may see the real economy gets destroyed, quickly. One example, I’d read “Patients avoiding Dallas hospital where Ebola hit” article, and I knew right away that if Ebola spreads any further and be any more infectious and be any more scarier — hospitals around the country can see their revenues dwindling fast. How about Ebola could scare people from travel? That would dwindle the revenues of the travel agencies, airlines, and other relevant sectors easily!
I think Ebola is no joke unless someone has a cure that demotes Ebola into a common flu. Ebola could be spread and so any entity which has the power to put resources into preventing the spread of this disease must do all it can to stop Ebola from spreading. As I’d said, Ebola can kill not only people, but it can also kill the economy. If the economy of a system is getting killed, the people within the system will not fair any better. What’s worse is that the sick ones will be killed off by Ebola and the healthy ones will become poorer for Ebola is killing the economy! If a hospital isn’t well funded for it lacks of revenues since Ebola is stopping people from going to such hospital, then the healthy people — who may get sick and live near the hospital — may need to go out of their way and waste extra gas just to go to a farther hospital. If too many hospitals are getting hammered by Ebola, people may rather die at home!
I’m not an expert on any religion, and I’m, myself sometimes, swaying within the wind in choosing the one religion as my only faith. Nonetheless, in my opinion many religions promote brainwashed idealism in the twenty-first century are stupid! How come? As science makes advancements, humanity becomes evermore progressive in intelligence and social morals, us humans can reach and touch places that could only be dreamt in the pasts. For an example, the future is all about space exploration. When space exploration is possible, stars and planets that represent gods are merely just stars and planets. Perhaps, those stars and planets will be colonized by us all!
Nowadays, I’m seeing religious people who wage their stupid holy war as the ones who do not accept the future! Holy war is a relic of the pasts. In the past, science wasn’t all that active, and so we all thought the earth was flat and the center of the universe. How wrong were we, right? Even a blind and ignorant person nowadays can just play a science audio or video on the Internet that explains the inner working of the universe in details. We know we are not all-knowing about the inner working of our universe, but we know we got many things right! How ignorant can one be to believe in whichever religion that promotes wars and killings? Such a religion is more of a work of fiction and cult! Any religion is to be considered a religion in my mind is not capable of promoting war and killing!
I think a religion is to last for centuries to come, it needs to be progressive and open mind. If a religion is to last just as science and technology will last for centuries to come, a religion must accept that humanity is always going to be progressive. By this I meant such a religion must morph and change with time. As science undoubtedly discovers more advancements as time progresses, a religion needs to develop into less of idolatry and superstition and more into teaching moralities. A religion needs to hone a human’s goodness and not otherwise. In the end, I think a religion needs to become a teacher and not a killer! If a religion is to last, it needs to be a great teacher. A teacher who can teach peace and promote the end of all killings!