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(The New York Times)   The burning question: Is self-immolation worth it?   (nytimes.com) divider line 80
    More: Sad, Tibetan Buddhism, Lobsang Sangay, Dharamsala  
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8337 clicks; posted to Main » on 03 Feb 2013 at 3:14 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-03 12:04:33 AM
Better that than suicide bombers, I guess.
 
2013-02-03 12:15:00 AM
At this point it seems they're just making ashes of themselves
 
2013-02-03 12:19:52 AM
Thich Quang Duc - Attention Whore Extraordinaire
 
2013-02-03 01:46:02 AM

fusillade762: Better that than suicide bombers, I guess.


At least the only people they're killing are themselves.
 
2013-02-03 02:13:43 AM
I fight back by downvoting on Reddit.
 
2013-02-03 02:18:52 AM

MaudlinMutantMollusk: At this point it seems they're just making ashes of themselves


While I know that I have no right to declare "thread over", I really can't think of anything more that need be said. Outstanding! :D
 
2013-02-03 02:43:09 AM
In Soviet Tibet, food cooks itself.
 
2013-02-03 03:11:00 AM
I'm gonna go with no but if you disagree you can DIAF.
 
2013-02-03 03:15:41 AM

MaudlinMutantMollusk: At this point it seems they're just making ashes of themselves


Ooooh, burn!
 
2013-02-03 03:18:02 AM

Fark Rye For Many Whores: In Soviet Tibet, food cooks itself.


I think you meant Soylent Tibet.
 
2013-02-03 03:18:09 AM
It is an attention grabber, but it only works once....
 
2013-02-03 03:18:26 AM

MaudlinMutantMollusk: At this point it seems they're just making ashes of themselves


Now that's a quality burn, right there.
 
2013-02-03 03:18:40 AM
It's only worth it if people are listening; as indicated in the article, no one is outside the Chinese government (which has prosecuted people for encouraging it).

Just can't shake the feeling that humanity is on its way out. It might take a thousand years (relatively short period of our evolution), but I feel like the end is coming.
 
2013-02-03 03:22:21 AM
I'm retaining water (for a friend).  Immolation would be a solution for those in dissolution of their constitution.
 
2013-02-03 03:25:45 AM
Light my fire, sorry ; )
 
2013-02-03 03:28:03 AM
Everyone will cool down eventually.
 
2013-02-03 03:34:09 AM
If you want people to really understand your commitment to your cause then immolation is the way to go. The extreme pain and torment of such an act could only be tolerated by someone who has an iron will.

However, does it change things? Probably not. History has many example of people setting themselves on fire, and not many examples of positive change coming from it.

Worse, with there being no afterlife, the person wouldn't get to see the potential good works such an act might produce. So their last moments in life are utter agony for no good reason.

If you are going to kill yourself for a cause, do it with too much hookers and blow. Nothing will change after you are gone, but at least the only burning you will feel is in your genitals, where it belongs.
 
2013-02-03 03:36:12 AM
but this is ok:

armchairspasm.files.wordpress.com
 
2013-02-03 03:40:44 AM
Peaceful protest (this counts, right?) really only works when your target audience can be shamed into sympathizing with you. Right now, the Han majority is largely utterly shameless (I have definitely met exceptions, but they are rarer than in most societies).

At best, they are apathetic. At worst, they are nationalistic, Darwinistic assholes -- true relics from the nineteenth century.

The Tibetans (and the Urghyurs) need to hit them where it hurts. The 21st century Communist Chinese state has survived by enlarging the cage within which its people live. They know they're still in a cage, but the walls are farther away than in their parents' time. If the minorities try to break out, the state will have to tighten its grip, leading to economic slow-downs and popular resentment.
 
2013-02-03 03:42:06 AM
the arab spring began with a self immolation didnt it? the end result was that most of the arab world is now free or fighting for freedom. pretty successful if you ask me.
 
2013-02-03 03:42:33 AM
At least with self-immoation you can say you didn't quit - you were fired. (Just like Joan of Arc.)

If someone botches the job are they considered to be alive and medium well?
 
2013-02-03 03:42:34 AM
self-immolation would only be worth it if your oppressors value human life. setting yourself alight to protest the Chinese? probably an empty gesture.
 
2013-02-03 03:43:24 AM

RamboFrog: At least with self-immoation you can say you didn't quit - you were fired. (Just like Joan of Arc.)


But... Joan of Arc didn't set herself on fire, did she?
 
2013-02-03 03:44:18 AM

calbert: but this is ok:

[armchairspasm.files.wordpress.com image 550x368]


Hot?
 
2013-02-03 03:46:15 AM

Insurgent: self-immolation would only be worth it if your oppressors value human life. setting yourself alight to protest the Chinese? probably an empty gesture.

Free BBQ
 
2013-02-03 03:50:23 AM

Wolf892: If you want people to really understand your commitment to your cause then immolation is the way to go. The extreme pain and torment of such an act could only be tolerated by someone who has an iron will.

However, does it change things? Probably not. History has many example of people setting themselves on fire, and not many examples of positive change coming from it.

Worse, with there being no afterlife, the person wouldn't get to see the potential good works such an act might produce. So their last moments in life are utter agony for no good reason.

If you are going to kill yourself for a cause, do it with too much hookers and blow. Nothing will change after you are gone, but at least the only burning you will feel is in your genitals, where it belongs.


I like this plan
 
2013-02-03 03:51:04 AM

nmemkha: Insurgent: self-immolation would only be worth it if your oppressors value human life. setting yourself alight to protest the Chinese? probably an empty gesture. Free BBQ


BYOT(singtao)
 
2013-02-03 03:55:01 AM
"...By far the worst is the hamburger lady, and because of shortage right now
of 'qualified technicians', e.g. technicians who can work with her and keep
their last meal down, Screwloose Lauritzen and I have been alternating
nights with her, unrelievedly. If you put a 250-lb meatloaf in the oven
and then burned it and then followed that by propping it up on a potty-chair
to greet you at 11pm each night, you would have some description of these
past two weeks. Which is to say the worst I seen since viet napalms. When
somebody tells you that there is a level of pain beyond which the human mind
cannot retain consciousness, please tell them to write me. In point of fact
this lady has not slept more than 3-5 minutes at a stretch since she came to
us - that was over two weeks ago and, thanks to medical advances, there is
no end in sight; from the waist (waste?) up everything is burned off, ears,
nose etc - lower half is untouched and that, I guess, is what keeps her
alive. I took one guy in to help me change tubes and he did alright, that
is alright till he came out, then he spotted one of the burn nurses
(pleasant smiling zombies) eating a can of chile-mac at the desk, and that
did it: he flashed on the carpet. It is farking insane is what it is."

-part of a letter sent by Al Ackerman from Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. 1978


Sleep tight, Fark!
 
2013-02-03 03:58:33 AM

Rufus Lee King: BTW, it's been a long time since I read any high school history books, but I'm wondering if the whole Vietnam thing is even mentioned, or is it all "crimethink" now?

[static.guim.co.uk image 460x276]


That's thoughtcrime you illiterate plebe and I am doubleplus ungood about your post. You really should read the 5th edition you'll be speaking double plus good in no time ; )
 
2013-02-03 04:13:27 AM
Self-immolation as a form of protest works IF your audience truly reveres the kind of person who would commit such an act of total self-abnegation. Like highly militant Buddhist cultures, for instance, which is why it worked in Vietnam and Cambodia, and why the Chinese crack down on it so hard in Tibet. Since Buddhist monks are not supposed to commit acts of violence, they will protest in this fashion; however, their followers (who revere monks for just that reason) are not so constrained and could be inspired by the act to rise up against the government.

That's my understanding of such actions; I could be wrong, as I often am; but I doubt such an act by such a person in such a location is mere "attention whoring".
 
2013-02-03 04:17:17 AM
While this thread is a gas, it's only kindling my snark tonight.  Maybe it will spark something, but I'd like to see something on a lighter note.

It's easy to kill for a cause.  It's hard to die for a cause without feeling you need to kill a bunch of them when you go.

I could be wrong, but ethnically speaking, weren't most of the Arab Spring uprisings either ethnically neutral or a majority group suppressed by a minority government?  That makes a big difference in how much support you can garner.  I seem to remember seeing that China had moved enough ethnic Chinese into Tibet that it was about 50/50 in Tibet itself.
 
2013-02-03 04:22:58 AM

Gyrfalcon: That's my understanding of such actions; I could be wrong, as I often am; but I doubt such an act by such a person in such a location is mere "attention whoring".


I've seen some videos of people doing this. Very few look like the famous image of the monk. At least half get this look of realization once the flames start, then scream and run around letting people put them out.

That doesn't mean they weren't committed to it, or were somehow "attention whoring".

I think self-immolation is always thought of in terms of that monk image, which is almost unreal.

On a lighter note...

www.tampabay.com
 
2013-02-03 04:27:23 AM
Dying in protest is always hard to tell if working. Cultures are so dynamic. The thought of burning yourself matters little to our American society of regularly cutting digital people in half with digital chainsaws for fun.
 
2013-02-03 04:29:45 AM

Gyrfalcon: Self-immolation as a form of protest works IF your audience truly reveres the kind of person who would commit such an act of total self-abnegation. Like highly militant Buddhist cultures, for instance, which is why it worked in Vietnam and Cambodia, and why the Chinese crack down on it so hard in Tibet. Since Buddhist monks are not supposed to commit acts of violence, they will protest in this fashion; however, their followers (who revere monks for just that reason) are not so constrained and could be inspired by the act to rise up against the government.

That's my understanding of such actions; I could be wrong, as I often am; but I doubt such an act by such a person in such a location is mere "attention whoring".


That's an interesting point that I hadn't thought of, no really. I mean the non-violet protest thing I sorta got but the rest well...
And yea doing that seems way more than attention whoring and really I'm beginning to hate those words.
 
2013-02-03 04:30:43 AM
 Eh, I have core beliefs that I will live (and die) by, but setting myself on fire just seems out of the picture.

 Part of me wants to admire these people for having the courage of their convictions; another part of me wants to point and laugh at them.

 Seriously, WTF would you ignite yourself? Can't you cause more social shifts with a pen or a bullhorn?
 
2013-02-03 04:34:23 AM
www.songvideoz.com
 
2013-02-03 04:34:24 AM
The Buddhists have a long tradition of ritual suicide.

It's really the end result of the practices. Eventually, no matter how close to a Bodhisattva you become, your human body wears out and must be discarded. You can only help people for so long. When you can no longer pull your weight as a monk, you can simply start meditating and never stop. An ultimate final test of your abilities.

There was a practice in Japan where they'd have themselves buried alive. In Southeast Asia, they like fire for some reason. It's like how Christian Saints will usually get executed somehow, but more predictable.

The use of a act as a political protest is really just a two-fer.
 
2013-02-03 04:40:58 AM

dickfreckle: Seriously, WTF would you ignite yourself?


To prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the philosophy is true and that this flawed life of suffering and death is really a trap created by one's own mind and there is a way out that's so powerful even burning to death causes no pain.
 
2013-02-03 04:42:31 AM

Rufus Lee King: tinfoil-hat maggie: And yea doing that seems way more than attention whoring and really I'm beginning to hate those words.

Join the club.


Well I just updated you maybe you have a chance of becoming human after all, don't ask, I'm weird.
 
2013-02-03 04:46:44 AM
Fark is on fire tonight.
 
2013-02-03 04:46:53 AM

doglover: dickfreckle: Seriously, WTF would you ignite yourself?

To prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the philosophy is true and that this flawed life of suffering and death is really a trap created by one's own mind and there is a way out that's so powerful even burning to death causes no pain.


You really surprise sometimes, wow, I'd buy you a couple of beers or a diner for that one. You're defiantly an interesting construct of my imagination ; )
 
2013-02-03 04:48:44 AM

doglover: dickfreckle: Seriously, WTF would you ignite yourself?

To prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the philosophy is true and that this flawed life of suffering and death is really a trap created by one's own mind and there is a way out that's so powerful even burning to death causes no pain.


no i don't think that's it.
 
2013-02-03 04:52:11 AM

tinfoil-hat maggie: doglover: dickfreckle: Seriously, WTF would you ignite yourself?

To prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the philosophy is true and that this flawed life of suffering and death is really a trap created by one's own mind and there is a way out that's so powerful even burning to death causes no pain.

You really surprise sometimes, wow, I'd buy you a couple of beers or a diner for that one. You're defiantly an interesting construct of my imagination ; )


Don't mistake trolling for ignorance.

I do know my Buddhism.
 
2013-02-03 04:58:47 AM
Using suicide to draw attention to an oppressive political situation is a tricky business. The suicide itself needs to be shocking, horrific, poignant, and novel, or else it won't get press. The original Buddhist monk who committed self-immolation, that was all four. Tank Man in Tienanmen Square was the same, even though he didn't get run over by the tank. Sometimes just the act itself is enough to move people to tears, regardless of the outcome.

As more and more people self-immolate, it becomes less newsworthy. It's the same theory that makes people gloss over stories were less than thirty people were murdered in a mass shooting. Were a child to interrupt a press conference, explain why Tibet should be free, then slit his own throat, I can guarantee it would get international coverage, and reinvigorate the debate. Hell, if every time a Tibetan stood up against China, then slit their own throat, we would see a backlash the likes of which we haven't seen in decades. So long as each suicide was more shocking and unexpected than the previous ones (a doctor with five children or an expectant mother) the world would be forced to take notice.
 
2013-02-03 05:00:13 AM

Insurgent: self-immolation would only be worth it if your oppressors value human life. setting yourself alight to protest the Chinese? probably an empty gesture.


Also doesn't help that the government the Chinese displaced was a fairly oppressive caste-based theocracy that reduced the peasant classes to existences even worse than being a peasant in communist China, and every time China has backed out historically the theocrats have come back.

... and it's a bit weird to claim you're protesting the government taking away your right to protest when you just sent out formal invitations and set up a stadium for 5000 viewers for your protest and the government shrugged and let you do what you wanted.
 
2013-02-03 05:08:01 AM

doglover: tinfoil-hat maggie: doglover: dickfreckle: Seriously, WTF would you ignite yourself?

To prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the philosophy is true and that this flawed life of suffering and death is really a trap created by one's own mind and there is a way out that's so powerful even burning to death causes no pain.

You really surprise sometimes, wow, I'd buy you a couple of beers or a diner for that one. You're defiantly an interesting construct of my imagination ; )

Don't mistake trolling for ignorance.

I do know my Buddhism.


Naw, really I've thought you were trolling any more than I am. Yeh, you say weird stuff and people disagree but so do I. And yeh I've had you favorited for along while by you're own comment "a well meaning jerkface" I think it suit's but yea I'm sorta a fan ; )
 
2013-02-03 05:08:46 AM

Seth'n'Spectrum: Peaceful protest (this counts, right?) really only works when your target audience can be shamed into sympathizing with you. Right now, the Han majority is largely utterly shameless (I have definitely met exceptions, but they are rarer than in most societies).

At best, they are apathetic. At worst, they are nationalistic, Darwinistic assholes -- true relics from the nineteenth century.


I wouldn't necessarily go that far. There's a stew of things at work in the Han Chinese mind.

On the one hand, throughout their entire schooling they're taught a version of Tibetan life/culture that's basically equivalent to our vision of Indians sitting around campfires in front of teepees in feather headdresses, smoking peace pipes and saying "How". This is regularly reinforced by insipid "harmonious society" crap on Chinese TV showing smiling ethnic minorities doing cartoon versions of their traditional dances. For most people in China this is as close as they will come to ever meeting an actual Tibetan person in real life.

On the other hand, they're taught that before the Communist Party came along,Tibet was a violent, backward, utterly impoverished place (which is not entirely untrue). News of self-immolations is heavily censored in China, but of the few people that do hear about it, a lot of them are genuinely baffled why Tibetans would be upset when, in their eyes, modern China has brought so much development and progress to them.

On the third hand, there is a deep-rooted sense that "these people aren't Han Chinese like us anyway, so meh." And unlike less-Communist, more religious countries in Asia,Tibetan monks hold no special place in Chinese society - most would regard them with curiosity the way we might regard an Eskimo shaman.

So basically, all these self-immolations are doing is a.) getting a rise out of Westerners who are largely powerless to change the situation in Tibet, b.) causing the Chinese government to crack down even more, and c.) between censorship and indifference, having little to no impact among ordinary Chinese. Sad really.
 
2013-02-03 05:12:15 AM

tinfoil-hat maggie: doglover: tinfoil-hat maggie: doglover: dickfreckle: Seriously, WTF would you ignite yourself?

To prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the philosophy is true and that this flawed life of suffering and death is really a trap created by one's own mind and there is a way out that's so powerful even burning to death causes no pain.

You really surprise sometimes, wow, I'd buy you a couple of beers or a diner for that one. You're defiantly an interesting construct of my imagination ; )

Don't mistake trolling for ignorance.

I do know my Buddhism.

Naw, really I've not thought you were trolling any more than I am. Yeh, you say weird stuff and people disagree but so do I. And yeh I've had you favorited for along while by you're own comment "a well meaning jerkface" I think it suit's but yea I'm sorta a fan ; )


FTFM
/Sorry, drinking: )
 
2013-02-03 05:25:03 AM
Only in wintertime and you're out of booze. Under no circumstances should you use booze as an accelerant, though. If you have enough booze, you're still good. If all you have is methanol, though, drink half real quick and then fire it up; you're beyond hope.
 
2013-02-03 05:31:03 AM

The Snow Dog: Only in wintertime and you're out of booze. Under no circumstances should you use booze as an accelerant, though. If you have enough booze, you're still good. If all you have is methanol, though, drink half real quick and then fire it up; you're beyond hope.


Very true, I'm just trying to drink myself to death.
/Fear of fire kinda but I am farkin' cold right now.
 
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