[NetBehaviour] Fears for Tulsa tomorrow, hopes for something better today

Max Herman maxnmherman at hotmail.com
Sun Jun 21 20:14:16 CEST 2020

So grateful today for how things went in Tulsa.  The "flop" effect's impact on nationalist-populist rallies as a political technique has long been speculated about, and there seems to have been a rather shocking case of it yesterday even as hopes for a spectacular success were exponential among certain quarters.

Very tangentially, a happy accident just now led me to look up the Chinese word "shen," a most fascinating one, which I had never heard of before!



Shen (神) is the Chinese word for "god", "deity", "spirit" or theos. This single Chinese term expresses a range of similar, yet differing, meanings. The first meaning may refer to spirits or gods that are intimately involved in the affairs of the world. Spirits generate entities like rivers, mountains, thunder and stars. A second meaning of shen refers to the human spirit or psyche; it is the basic power or agency within humans that accounts for life, and in order to further life to its fullest potential the spirit must be grown and cultivated. A third understanding of shen describes an entity as spiritual in the sense of inspiring awe or wonder because it combines categories usually kept separate, or it cannot be comprehended through normal concepts.

A starting point for an understanding of shen is the meeting place of Heaven and Earth, which is mankind. Heaven is the origin of the spiritual aspect of humanity and provides ongoing spiritual influences, while Earth is the origin of the physical aspect of humankind. The ongoing harmonious interaction of Heaven and Earth in man is essential to maintaining life. In Chinese religious tradition, balancing yin and yang is important to provide organization of life and prevent harm to body and spirit.

Shen's polysemous meanings developed diachronically over three millennia. The Hanyu dazidian, an authoritative historical dictionary, distinguishes one meaning for shēn ("Name of a deity (神名)) and eleven meanings for shén 神 translated below:

Celestial god(s)/spirit(s) of stories/legends, namely, the creator of the myriad things in heaven and earth and the supreme being. (传说中的天神,即天地万物的创造者和主宰者.)
Spirit; mind, mental faculties; consciousness. Like: concentrated attention; tire the mind; concentrate one's energy and attention. (精神.如: 凝神; 劳神; 聚精会神.)
Expression, demeanor; consciousness, state of mind. (表情; 神志.)
Portrait, portraiture. (肖像.)
Magical, supernatural, miraculous; mysterious, abstruse. Like: ability to divine the unknown, amazing foresight; highly skilled doctor; genius, masterpiece. (神奇; 玄妙. 如: 神机妙算; 神医; 神品.)
Esteem, respect; valuable, precious. (尊重; 珍贵.)
Rule, govern, administer. (治理.)
Cautious, careful, circumspect. (谨慎.)
Display, arrange, exhibit. (陈列.)
Dialect. 1. Dignity, distinction. (威风.) 2. Entrancement, ecstasy. (入神.) 3. Clever, intelligent. (聪明.)
Surname, family name. (姓.)

From: Max Herman <maxnmherman at hotmail.com>
Sent: Friday, June 19, 2020 11:53 AM
To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
Subject: Fears for Tulsa tomorrow, hopes for something better today

Hi all,

The current US administration clearly has no plan other than to leverage incendiary rhetoric to try to get re-elected, posting today belligerent provocations and physical threats ahead of a non-socially-distanced rally in Tulsa.  I sure hope their plan doesn't work but life this year does seem to be unpredictable in the extreme.

All best wishes and hopes,


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