Monday, 11 October 2021

Elitism: My Changing Approach to "Micro-Fame".

[Note: a few other mean-spirited (and seemingly crazy) messages have been omitted, to leap to the relatively "happy ending" to the correspondence, below.]


I apologize I knew the question was absurd and yes, I did in fact discredit your work, I'm just curious and living a life of distractions and am confused, that email was insulting I admit and it's a shame... As I mentioned earlier my mind's jumpy and for the wrong reasons. I apologize and from now on I'd rather actually listen, I talk more than I know and that was stupid, I tried to get to an end cause I had a certain belief, I didn't find any source, one guy on the internet (my bad curiosity again) said you might not be vegan and I wasn't confident enough with his points but I just knew Vegan Cheetah wasn't vegan and it was suspicious (I'm sorry again), I thought you might be as well but I was attacking you personally and was angry with your response, I admit defeat.. Forgive me if you can, I'll just switch channels or listen from here on. I don't actually listen, my anger got the better of me. I apologize and won't write to you again.


Thank you for your apology.

Apology accepted.

I was young once.

I know what it's like to be wrong.

I know what it's like to be stupid.

And I know what it takes to grow.

I know what it takes to change.

I know it isn't easy.

It wasn't easy for me.

I wasn't always wise.  I wasn't always brilliant.

And sometimes the hardest thing is just having the detachment to see what's in front of your face —to neither disregard it nor subtract from it nor add to it.  To see what the evidence is first, and to have a separate category in your own mind for what your opinion is about it, what your doubts are about it, what your feelings are about it, and what your conclusions are about it.

Yes, I am really vegan.

Yes, I really was a scholar of Buddhism.

Yes, I really have studied Chinese in Kunming (and I'm brutally honest about how little of the language I know: I don't exaggerate my accomplishments in that respect).

Attached is my C.V. / résumé.

None of this was easy for me.  It won't be easy for you.

But you will be able to learn from other people's experience: other people's wisdom, other people's folly, other people's mistakes.

I tried to be friends with many foolish people on the internet, including Vegan Cheetah (back when he was vegan).  I don't make that effort anymore.  Now, I respond in the very confrontational way that I did when you wrote to me.  In some ways that's better and in some ways that's worse.

I'm no longer trying to build an open, inclusive, broad-based movement that would include people like Vegan Cheetah —and I don't even try to reach out to (and encourage / include) people like yourself.  My approach, now, is overtly elitist.

That is "bad" in some very obvious ways.  Inviting people like Vegan Cheetah into your life is bad in other ways, perhaps less obvious.


Sunday, 10 October 2021

You do realize the intellectual caliber of criticism I'm facing here.

[I've put the messages from the "fan" in italics, just to make the contrast between the two authors easier to see.]


[Vanima writes to me as follows:]

Really weird question for you and is quite off-putting but I don't mean any disrespect, my brains just a bit too jumpy along with my fingers... here it is: Are you really vegan? No disrespect I really mean it out of curiosity.. Please.... no lies

[Emphasis added to indicate my incredulity at receiving this question.]

BTW I'm sorry for the other day it was just a video from Fandar III and I was curious about your response to him which was kind of shocking but not shocking at the same time, cause fandar has been a long term hater and conspiracy theorist, I didn't want to answer the other day cause it was such a... stupid question. :/ I was basically like, "Is that really him"

Really good critique of the anonymous for the voiceless though and I think that criticism was a 100% meaningful and it actually makes common sense to anyone and that wasn't hating by any means, that contributes fully against the movement if you ask me, shutting your mouth is the worst you can do it's true, people have jobs and other things to do than stand there.


[Two minutes later, she writes again:]

BTW I was talking about your comments on the gabby petito case in my earlier email.


[My reply:]

Never write to me again.

Not now.

Not five years from now.

Not ever.


[Note: this is not unprecedented.  Some of you may recall that I replied to a self-evidently stupid and/or crazy "fan" a few years ago asking her to never write back to me.  She responded with an escalating series of threats (that she'd have her lawyer sue me, etc.)… but the emal I'd sent that infuriated her was just a single-sentence long, "Never write to me again."  That video is still on my channel, here:  I did receive later email from some kind of male relative of hers (or boyfriend?)… these messages told the tale of a grim fate ensuing for her thereafter, with worsening "mental health issues"… but, of course, I cannot verify the truth of what was merely told to me in such an email.]


To E.M.(Immoral brat)😂, So you're telling me, you're charitable? You're kind? You're moral? You're ethical? I'm pleased to know the truth anyway, I in fact knew you're a liar, Learn what ethics is, and yes, there's no way in the world, you're a scholar of buddhism, you're not ethical in the lowest sense. We need to get rid of people like you in the movement who lie to people's faces, I've tried my best to be charitable :/ You know I did, sad to see your ego get the better of you and I will in fact learn from this lesson, if you're angry about my comments on youtube and you came to a dead end, I'll remove the offensive comments but the truth needs to be spilled sometimes, whether you like it or hate it.

Van: Narcissist catcher and truth detective :)



I'm not angry at you.

I'm busy.

I reply to intelligent people.

You're an idiot.

You've demonstrated --repeatedly-- that you're an extremely stupid person.

If you want a vegan activist who will talk to you —no matter how stupid you are— please try StellaTheLight.  She charges $299 per month.  Inasmuch as I understand the service she offers, she will talk to you by voice and text message for a full month, for that price.  Perhaps you'd find that very encouraging.

That's not what I do.

I talk to brilliant, hardworking, talented people.

They don't pay me.  I don't pay them.  They recognize my ambition, and I recognize theirs.  That's why we make time for each-other.

You know how to use google?

You can read an avalanche of evidence as to my history as a scholar of Buddhism, if you can simply use google.

^ Just hit "page down" and scroll through that list of articles.

You can read an avalanche of evidence showing that I'm vegan (in both writing and video form) going back many years.





Anyone can read the articles I've written, anyone can watch the youtube videos I've published.

Anyone and everyone.

Not everyone gets to communicate with me by email.

Not everyone gets to talk to me via the telephone, via Skype, etc.

Not everyone gets to meet me in person.

No, not everyone.

Talented, hardworking, brilliant people —or, at least, people who seem intelligent, interesting and promising.

You have none of these redeeming qualities.

Apparently, you find it very easy to revile me as (1) someone who doesn't speak Chinese, (2) someone who never was a scholar of Buddhism, and (3) as someone is not (and never was?) vegan.  This demonstrates that you are both stupid and malign: you are not able to understand the evidence that is in front of you —and you have bad intentions (in "seeing only what you want to see", and what it is that you "want" reflects very badly on you).

So, again, simply: never write to me.

You can watch my videos.  You can learn from my videos.

But you won't.

Some people can learn.  Some people can improve.

Not you.

You're going to remain an imbecile forever.



Another example showing how self-indulgent you can be, if you want to call people stupid without any context whatsoever, we're talking about veganism not buddhism, as I said, I won't write to you ever again, period. Let me tell you something you're extremely dumb and mean-spirited if you reply to me and even reply simply anything to me, if you reply, you're stupid and ugly, along with being fat. If you reply, you're all that  ^

-Signed Narc catcher Van

[You do realize the intellectual caliber of criticism I'm facing here.]

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Remember 2013? My Final Judgement on Buddhism.

This was an email sent to a "professional Buddhist" layperson: someone who is neither a monk nor a scholar, but who has a lifetime of experience organizing events, lectures, etc., and doing fundraising for Buddhist institutions (that would often brutally disappoint her after she'd handed over the money).  She had known me in Toronto, before I departed to start my life in Asia.  This message was sent in 2013, when (as you'll see) I'd given up on Buddhism because I'd given up on Buddhists as people.


> You would know yourself how much closer to love-compassion and
> wisdom your are since you first encountered the teaching…

I disagree:

• Before I encountered Buddhism, I already had an excellent philosophy
that I had pieced together from sources as diverse as ancient Greece
and 19th century Germany.

• Buddhism did not provide me with a new philosophy: Buddhism provided
me with an ancient literature to study, and set of modern (political
and social) problems to study --and the opportunity to try to help with
the poverty of Laos, Cambodia, etc.

• There are fundamental things that the Buddha taught that I do not
believe in (and I do not lie to myself about this).  If someone is
walking in the mountains, and they see ghosts of dead people being
tortured by demons, I think the person is hallucinating.

Hallucinations are real.  I do not believe that ghosts and demons are
things that are real.  I do not believe that a brain can exist without
a stomach; I do not believe there are ghosts and demons floating
around that do not eat food, and yet can think, and see, and hear, and
talk, etc. etc., in a magical form.

Buddhist philosophy is interesting.  Ancient Greek philosophy is also interesting.

My experience with real Buddhists (who are alive today) has been
entirely negative --both with people and with institutions.

Would my experience have been equally negative if I had worked on
Ancient Greek philosophy?  I doubt it.

Modern Buddhists are afraid of what the ancient texts say (even
Richard Gombrich).  They can't study them, they can't debate them,
they can't discuss them openly.  That is very sad.  That is part of
the decline (and death) of Buddhism as a religion in our century.  The
same is not true of Ancient Greek.

Everywhere in the world, Buddhism is in decline:

• Buddhism is in decline in Thailand,

• Buddhism is in decline in Sri Lanka,

• Buddhism is in decline in Taiwan, Japan, Mainland China, Korea, etc. etc.

There was an illusion of a great Buddhist revival at the end of World
War Two (because many countries regained independence, etc.) but it
was only an illusion.  Buddhism, today, is really collapsing --both as
a religion and in every other sense of the word.

In my whole life, I have never met anyone who can actually have a
conversation about original Buddhist philosophical texts with me.  Not
even Leonard Priestley!  Not even Richard Gombrich!  When I offered
simple (but "new") observations about the 12 links, nobody in the
whole world (not even Bhikkhu Bodhi, etc.) could actually have a
conversation about it.

That's the death of Buddhism right there.

> Pali and Cree are extremely specialized fields.

Pali and Buddhist studies are SUPPOSEDLY important to millions of
people (who call themselves Buddhists).

I should be able to meet people who care about these subjects
everywhere --from Bangkok to Taipei-- that people call themselves

Similarly, Hebrew is important everywhere that people call themselves
Christians and Jews.

If you make a list of universities where I can get a serious education
in Hebrew, the list is very (very!) long --and it is not just in
Israel, but in Europe, America, and everywhere.

If you make a list of universities where I can get a serious education
in Pali or Buddhist studies… in my opinion (after many years of
research) the answer is NOWHERE.  That is a serious failure.

Cree is a very different question, that I think we are not debating
here, so I say no more about that subject now.

> You
> must have known that before you decided to study them.

Why don't you ask me questions, instead of making assertions like this?

You know I have written several articles about what my economic
situation was (in Asia) and what my hopes and expectations were.

Please read them (they are short, and not "academic" in tone).

[The other link has disappeared from the internet, but it can be found quoted here, if you search for my name, Eisel Mazard:]

> I understand you have new responsibility now to your family, something you
> didn't have in the early years of your study. I certainly think you can
> reconvene your study in an area that is more in demand by the general
> public, and getting well-paid for it.

I disagree.  I think my life is already over --and the indifference of
people in Buddhist institutions (big and small, even including
yourself) is a large part of what has destroyed my life.

[Note that I never once spoke in terms of the difficulty of "getting paid for it", because I genuinely did not think of the problem this way (and my motivations were not so mercenary!)… whereas she does view the issue in this way, first and foremost.]

> …and your work experience was
> also.

No, Chris, you're wrong: NOBODY looks at my C.V. and is impressed.

THE ONLY PEOPLE who could be impressed are people inside Buddhist
institutions --the same people who have slammed the door in my face
and refused to help me for so many years.  If a dedicated Buddhist
studies department looks at my C.V. and DOES NOT want to help me, who
do you think DOES want to help me?  In what discipline, or in what
type of work, is my C.V. impressive?  It is only impressive to
Buddhists --and Buddhism is a disaster.

I regret --utterly regret-- that I ever became involved with this religion.

The Buddhists I have known (as people) have made me ashamed that I
ever called myself a Buddhist.

> Maybe you want to help a Buddhist
> organization…

Why don't you try to name one Buddhist organization --ANYWHERE IN THE
WORLD-- that would employ me.  The answer is: there isn't one anywhere.

> You can blame "Buddhism" all you like, but it
> won't change anything.

No, Chris, you're wrong: I have changed things.  My absence changes
things.  The number of white men who can read Pali is amazingly close
to zero.  When I quit, it becomes even closer to zero.  Buddhism
desperately needs honest scholars.  By discarding me, it DOES change
things.  Ten good scholars --alive in the same century-- would make a
huge difference.  One scholar quitting does matter (because the total
number is so few).  My presence made a difference when I was present,
and my absence makes a difference now that I'm gone.

The number of white men with combined expertise in Pali, Lao,
Cambodian, the history, the politics, etc. etc. is really zero.

Buddhism lost an asset when it lost me; nobody cared, and (even now)
nobody cares.

I don't blame "Buddhism" for anything it is not guilty of; my
complaints are neither poorly-informed nor spurious.  Sadly, I am an
expert in the things I am reviling.


Thursday, 29 July 2021

I am (still) working on the book full time (i.e., No More Manifestos).

I had thought I was at the stage of final editing --just removing a few typos, etc.-- but I now can read the book as a whole (from start to finish) and I find that the first few chapters are not as well written as the final few --and so more revisions will ensue.

I do think that all of the changes now will be stylistic, rather than substantive, but as the month of July comes to an end, the book is not (yet) finished.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Don't Make Excuses for People who Make Excuses: the Slogan, the T-Shirt, the Lifestyle.

Did I coin this slogan?  According to Google, I did: this is one of many (MANY!) turns of phrase that the internet has no record of before I said it… although it seems as if it should be in common usage (frankly, it seems as if you might find it printed on a t-shirt!).

Whenever I search for this kind of thing, I'm wondering, "Did somebody say that in a movie I saw as a child… ?" --i.e., I'm wondering if I really made it up myself, or if there's some familiar source for it that escapes me.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Book Review: Troy Parfitt's Critique of Jordan Peterson in, "The Devil and His Due".

[In my interview with the author (in the video above) I repeatedly hinted at my skepticism about what the author did and how he did it… well, in this short review, I'm not just hinting, but stating the problem much more explicitly.]

(1) The book does identify a great deal of Peterson's "source material", i.e., the books that influenced his work --with many of these being books that Peterson openly says that he's a big fan of, but a few of the most important being covert (rather than overt) sources of inspiration.  This is a significant contribution.

(2) I did interview the author myself (for my youtube channel) and I felt he gave a better presentation of his views in that interview than he does on paper (perhaps because I was challenging him to do so, stating skeptical questions, asking about more than one possible interpretation of the evidence, etc.).  The book undermines its own premise more often than it supports it, veering off topic (e.g., did we really need this long digression on Fyodor Dostoevsky?), and making little to no effort to prove the connection between the author's symbolic interpretations and Peterson's (genuinely incoherent) source material.  Occam's razor always favors dismissing Peterson's "philosophy" as having no hidden meaning (and no clear intent) in his writing/lectures at all; yes, even in Peterson's most provocative statements about Hitler, these could have no significance beyond the professor's struggle to keep the attention of his students, they could really be nothing more than the efforts of a boring, middle-aged man trying to seem edgy and interesting in his interviews, when he really has very little of substance to say.

(3) To be blunt: the author asserts, "this is the symbolic significance of Horus, Osiris and Marduk in Peterson's work…" --but does he prove the assertion?  No.  Does he make it seem credible or compelling?  No, not at all.  Is it possible, instead, that Peterson has no philosophy whatsoever in his (extensive, incoherent) use of occult imagery?  Yes: it could just be stupid.  And it could be that what Peterson has to say about Hitler is stupid as well. 

(4) However, returning to point #1, he does establish the sources Peterson was inspired by, in his incoherent commentary on Horus, Marduk, Communism, Fascism, etc. --and, again, this is a significant contribution.  

(5) If you're willing to "edit" the book yourself, by skipping over many pages, this could still be a good purchase for you… but if a professional editor from the old school had been involved, the text would be less than half as many pages long as it now is (perhaps one third).  Alternately, if the book were edited to meet academic standards of methodology, it would need to be rewritten much more radically, to explain to the reader why and how it is proving what it does at every stage --and with what implications and what limitations.  

(6) In our interview, he said just a few words about his socio-linguistic approach to tracking the common (i.e., derivative) use of vocabulary and phrasing between sources (i.e., Peterson either intentionally or unintentionally reproduces the same expressions found in books that have influenced him, including odd phrases used by Hitler).  The book utterly fails to explain this, and fails to make meaningful the innumerable pages of parallel quotations comparing Peterson's phrasing to Hitler's --and for the vast majority of readers, this will (fairly or unfairly) discredit the book at a glance.

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

Satire or flattery?


No, I did not create this image myself.  I assume it was created with satirical intent, but hey… if you know the source material, it comes pretty close to flattery.

Source 1:

Source 2:

On Failure.