(Letters Column for December 2005) Remembering Christmas-Sama

Posted on January 4, 2006 by Jenna

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It is now a New Year. As some of you may have noticed, there is still suffering in the world. This, as the Buddha pointed out, is an inevitable consequence of our own robotic and Internet technology. Here is an interpretation of the teaching:

The elements of the world give rise to sensory impressions. We perceive these impressions in a fashion conditioned by our experience. To understand these perceptions we apply scientific methodology. The scientific method gives rise to our technology. Our technology creates robots and the Internet. As we use robots and the Internet, we form an attachment to our perceptions of them. However this perception differs from the actuality. The discrepancies between perception and actuality we call the robot-demon and the Internet-demon. We desire robots and the Internet because of the manner in which we perceive them. The robot-demon and the Internet-demon conspire to make these perceptions dissonant with reality. That dissonance is suffering. We suffer because robots are not truly our friends. This is called the usurpation-suffering. We suffer because the Internet loves only death. This is the TCP/IP-suffering. When we die, savaged by the latest browser update, our lingering misconceptions regarding reality propel us forward through the wheel of transmigration. Our passage between lives spins the wheel of transmigration. This rotation converts angular spiritual momentum into electricity. Robots and the Internet use that electricity to survive. This is what the Buddha called “the flywheel-understanding of material existence.”*

  • See the 2002 classic, “Dude, Where’s My Yana?”

Yup, the forums were hacked. They’re fixed! Thank you, Hitherby_Admin, for your prompt attention. ^_^

Thank you for your kind words,

dan percival
David Goldfarb
Ford Dent
Metal Fatigue
michael vassar
Penultimate Minion
Zombie Buddha

In December there were $230 in donations. Thank you! I hope that you found it a good value. ^_^


It’s a funny thing about Hitherby – the best mathematical jokes are often in the pieces that are also the most emotionally loaded.
— SusanC

Ain’t no tragedy ever made don’t owe a debt to induction, and ain’t nothin’ any great teacher’s ever said that’s much more’n “commutativity, transitivity, reflexivity, amen.” Cut down to the raw beatin’ heart of life an’ you’ll find the Dukkha Equation: the sum of our desires is the sum of all fears.

… to be honest, the real reason is probably that I tend to use math as negative space.


registering to mention that I’ve occasionally linked to Hitherby in comments at Ben Rosenbaum’s journal and at Tohu Bohu, and Jed Hartman has just done a nice writeup on his journal Lorem Ipsum (where I first found out about Hitherby myself).
— dan percival



I was at my dad’s house at Christmas, and “My Favorite Things” came on the satellite radio thing they have. So I read “The Incredible Alchemy Elixir” — both parts — to my stepmom.
— David Goldfarb

^ _^


Do they have Bill O’Reilly in the Hitherbyverse?
— Metal Fatigue

Not every fantasy version of the real world kills Bill O’Reilly off immediately, you know. Some of us save it for the climax!

That said, I actually think he was right on this one. I think that Christmas is part of America, but not the Christian sacred day that he claims to care about. The Christmas that’s part of America, down to the bone, is the Christmas of pretty lights and Christmas trees and a spirit of giving and forgiving and love. It’s the Christmas that sets aside pettiness and anger and disdain and disgust and lets the world be the kind of place where the stars twinkle and there’s icicles on the tree and the world is magic and everybody loves everybody else. It’s the Christmas that’s like our Thanksgiving.

I think that there is a real movement to say: no, we as a country—our merchants, our governments, our people—won’t take a national holiday to celebrate the birth of Christ and the sacredness of that. That’s for Christians to do, as private people or private gatherings. It’s not the business of America.

So, well, I laugh at him and everything he stands for, I think he is a shriveled little shouty man. But I’m not going to pretend that movement doesn’t exist.


— mineownaardvarks

I was kind of rooting for Christmas too.

Still, that is not dead which can eternal lie! I mean, it’s not like Christmas is gone. It lives in our hearts, like a magical sparkly aorta!

Come back next year, Christmas-sama! We love you!


Christmas is weakened ever so slightly by people saying “Bah, Humbug!”
— Sundre

But where does the power go?

… hm. I bet you could make a humbug engine!

That’s it for this month! There was one more comment, but it was such a good story idea I decided to make it an actual post instead. ^_^

Thanks for reading, commenting, donating, buying Primal Chaos, and maintaining in your hearts the knowledge that people are good.

P.S. Yay Unclean Legacy fan art!