What is with these people and their love for the word "Infinite"? (See also, "unlimited", "limitless", "boundless" and "eternal"). They can't seem to get enough of describing aspects of this practice, and the members themselves, as "infinite". But people aren't
infinite. We're finite, and mortal, and very limited in our capacities.
What gives, freaky cult?
So then I spent literally three minutes on the math part of YouTube, and learned something about the concept of "infinity". Did you know that it comes in at least two varieties: "countable" and "uncountable"?
From what I remember, the difference is: "Countable infinity" is a never-ending list of actual numbers, also known as "natural" numbers, such that you could theoretically count your way to any one of them. Whereas "Uncountable infinity" is infinity in the other direction: to the infinitely divisible
. Between any two defined numbers there are infinite others: you can always add to the decimal place, at
any place. That's infinity too, but in a way that can't be counted... because you could never figure out what the numbers are in the first place.
One concept of infinity stretches out into the distance, while the other one infinitely subdivides into something smaller. Both infinite... but not in the same way.
I think the version of infinity being used by the propagandists over at Sniffing Glue-dism magazine would have to be the second kind, right? The kind that subdivides into infinity? Human capacity could never be "infinite" in the countable sense, in terms of days or dollars or output, but that second
type, that uncountable type... a religion could wax wooingly about that one all day, and it would never mean a thing.
You could go around saying that space itself is infinite, or that each moment of consciousness is infinitely subdivisible, and you wouldn't be wrong
, but you wouldn't be provably right
, either. You could say that there are three thousand "realms" contained within each moment of consciousness, and what would it matter? Is there a practical difference between that many and 2,999? Is this information of any use to a physicist? Does it even sound smart? No, to all three. It sounds like a throwback to more primitive times, like how the ancient Chinese used the number "ten thousand" as their standard way of saying "a countless many".
Remember, infinity isn't a number... It's more like the space within which all the numbers can exist. It's a term for what lies outside the realm of understanding, and in math it's what you get when the calculations break down. It means "error", "paradox", "does not compute".
But our concern here is not to grapple with the concept of Infinity per sé. No. Once again this story is about a funny group of propagandists with a looong
track record of using language as a weapon, as a tool for confusion. Not only do they have no interest in explaining how
they're using a term, but they have no interest in you having a concept of it yourself Your confusion, muddleheadedness, the glossy look you get when your brain runs low on glucose... that's their currency. They want you in the mushiest of middles.
A word like "infinite" is key to their deceptive ways because it sounds deep, it indicates paradox, and it also has a range of different meanings, which makes it easy to fling around like a pile of monkey shit, without having to commit to any particular train of thought. It checks all the boxes.
Oh, look! The recent cover of the World Tribune: "One Youth, Infinite Hope. 6,000 in 2020"
Six thousand new members, eh? What a depressing little goal. (What happened, did no one survive the war of 50k?) And how very finite
. Funny how, if one person is so infinitely valuable, they still require 6,000 of them for work in the salt mines.
"One person awakening to their Buddhahood can change the world— introducing the SGI-USA’s new, hope-filled focus."
So they're basically recruiting the Messiah?
"This is a call to action from the youth of America."
Written by three people who look a little too old to be playing high school students.
(And I'm not saying that these three are stuck in the world of delusion or anything, but the one in the middle is literally named
Maya. Draw your own conclusion.)
"It is a cry from the depths of our beings to call forth and raise a new generation of peacemakers who have both the philosophy and means to transform our country from the inside out."
They've invested in Bitcoin?
"This year, 2020, marks the 60th anniversary of SGI President Ikeda’s first visit to America, his launching point for the worldwide spread of Nichiren Buddhism."
Oh, is that
what that smell is?
"In 1990, he cited the book The Cycles of American History by Dr. Arthur M. Schlesinger, who discusses the theory that America returns to its founding ideals every 30 years."
BAH GAWD, everyone! They're about to drop some knowledge on us!!
"This was evident in the 1930s and 1960s, with President Roosevelt’s New Deal and the American Civil Rights Movement. Furthermore, the 1990s marked a monumental shift in the SGI-USA’s history, in which we returned to the foundations of faith, the Gohonzon, Nichiren Daishonin’s writings and President Ikeda as our eternal mentor of kosen-rufu."
WHOOOOA!!! What a lesson!! Every thirty years... shit happens! It happened back in 1990. It happened back in 1960. And yes, 1930 was a thing too! 2020 is DESTINED to be another year of shit happening! I can feel it in my bones!!
In fact, without 2020 happening, there couldn't even be
a 2021! This year is the most important year that is currently happening! It may be finite in length, but it's completely infinite
in terms of how important it is!! Just like YOOOOU, gentle reader! You may be finite in every way that matters, but you at least have an uncountable amount of hope. What does this mean? We don't know, because this religion has all the emotional complexity of a soda commercial.
"Now, 30 years later, the youth of America are resolved to create another tangible shift. How so? By welcoming 6,000 young people to the SGI-USA this year."
Infinity plus six thousand?
"These future leaders of justice and peace will be the antidote to our country’s turmoil—from gun violence and climate catastrophe to anxiety, suicide and the opioid crisis."
Theeese warriors of the tangible arts... they will be unleashed upon the population, not unlike bioweapons in the war for human revolution, to set about the work of completely eliminating guns, drugs, suicide, and the climate itself. Be afraid! Be very very happy! Most of all, be infinite
"We may sometimes feel powerless as a single individual to effect change in the world."
But please, don't let reality stand in your way...
"Our Buddhist practice, however, teaches us that “one is the mother of ten thousand”
See? Ten thousand.
"Everything starts from one inspired person, determined to make a difference."
True, but then would it also be fair to say that the vast majority of plans end
in the mind of that same person? See, I'm more of a glass-infinitely-empty kind of Icchantika.
"When all the members of the SGI-USA stand up with the resolve to help one youth rise up with this same mission and awareness, we will undoubtedly create a tidal wave of hope throughout our country and the world."
Woo-hoo! Being religious hoo-has will surely change the world!! Nobody's tried that
And can we talk about phrasing? When it's not a war we're emulating, it has to be a devastating natural disaster such a tidal wave? You'd think the Japanese people would have had enough of both
by now! Chill the fuck out already.
"The one youth we introduce will not only gain infinite hope in their own lives but will also be the source of infinite hope for their families, communities and society."
An indeterminate amount of hope, yes...
"We have a responsibility for the sake of humanity to stand up in this significant year. Let’s not be bystanders of history. Let’s be active participants by giving infinite hope to one young person."
Well, gee, that sounds all sorts
of wrong... Do we all have to share the same person?
"This year, we are resolved to break through our own limitations, saturate our communities with the seeds of the Mystic Law..."
"...and nourish them through heartfelt dialogues and friendships, with one youth after another."
"What greater way is there for us to express our appreciation to our mentor in this 60th year of worldwide kosen-rufu?! Will you join us?"
I don't know. This all sounds a little too messy for my liking. I also can't decide if you guys are hippies or fascists, or just plain old energy vampires, and it sort of freaks me out.
Could I have infinite time to mull it over?
Thanks! Text you...uh...never.
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