Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Free Tibet

Trekking in Tibet I meet the Dalai Lama.
Hello Dalai. Hello David. After some
Hesitation and small talk, I ask him
What kind of washer-dryer combination
To buy. He says, “What is your universe
Of choices?” Basically, it’s down
To ASKO, the Swedish import, and Maytag,
The quality American product. The snow
Contrail winging off Chomolungma turns
East toward Bhutan. A sign? I explain
That the ASKO duo is friendlier to all
living things -- uses less electricity, water,
bleach, detergent -- and gets clothes cleaner,
Purples, purpler, but costs twice as much.
The Maytag is spartan, righteous, renounces
Superfluity, cleans O.K., but throws repairmen
Out of work. The Dalai Lama nods, sips
his yak-butter tea, and eyes a fisky dzo
in the yawn of Tingri Plains distance. I
consider his silence. Is this a reproach?
While waiting, and waiting, for his answer
I ponder his baggage: the Swedes had come
Through with the Peace Prize, overdue,
but still. Plus he’s quite green, definitely
pro-planet. Is a dear object more material
than a cheap one? Would the “Buy American”
motive be dismissed as empty nationalism?
And yet who rides higher, astride his kiang,
With the banner of the nation-state, than he?
The huge head of Richard Gere, a tsonga
In his hair, comes floating like a Macy’s
Parade balloon above the snowcapped summit
of sacred Kailas. The Dalai Lama coughs,
reaches for a peppermint lozenge not yet
spoiled by the Chinese occupation, and says,
“Sometimes a belonging that doesn’t work
properly creates suffering for us.”

David Breskin


To be known is to be in the know. Superb feature via Bloomberg and HarvardBusiness.org.

Read the Time cover story this week on president of the Ohio State University for a full 3D, technicolor, big screen realization of the quote.

And to confuse things just a bit, a quote from Baudrillard on the "other side" of networking:

It is forbidden to unplug yourself, and not only in active, interactive social life, but also on your deathbed: it is forbidden to tear out the tubes, even if you want to. And this is not criminal because it is an attempt on your own life – who cares about that? – but because it is an attempt on the life of medicine, and of high technology, which must ensure their own salvation first. The network principle carries with it the absolute moral obligation to remain plugged in.