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Solitary Confinement

Interesting brief interview with Terry Waite who spent 1760 days in solitary confinement!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05m9m62

I sometimes think it would be nice to have the opportunity to see what it's like but it wouldn't be the same if done intentionally and had a fixed duration. I have no plans to get kidnapped any time soon!

BunksShoshin
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Comments

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    He says in the interview he was confined for nearly 5 years... that’s a long time to be in solitary, almost like some of the yogi’s who go into retreat up in the Himalayas. But I think he managed to adapt really well, from hearing him talk in the interview.

    It does make you wonder about the kinds of people who would do something like that though, keeping a fellow human being who has done no wrong chained up for five years.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    Well said, and true, but as with so many of these things it’s about how things turn out in practice. I don’t think many people would have responded as Terry Waite did, by focusing his creativity within the confines of his own mind to alleviate loneliness.

    Friendlyface
  • @Kerome said:
    Well said, and true, but as with so many of these things it’s about how things turn out in practice. I don’t think many people would have responded as Terry Waite did, by focusing his creativity within the confines of his own mind to alleviate loneliness.

    Yeah, and this is the very large caveat to what I said above. It's simple enough to say that our mind determines our experience, but we don't all have the same mind to start with, and are each burdened with our own very individual karma that, for the most part, pre-determines the mind with which we will be able to respond to our circumstances. For most human beings on this planet it would be almost miraculous and at least extreme good fortune to find ourselves such a circumstance and have any wherewithal whatsoever to respond in such a positive manner. There's no easy solution to this. The best we can do - those who are fortunate to have awareness of dharma - is to work diligently to develop ourselves such that our efforts to share this wisdom with others has credence. It is so, so, so unbelievably complicated. We all wish to solve the problems of our world, but this is a tangled knot of cosmic proportions, and suffering is going to be with us for a long, long time yet. It almost makes me feel like giving my life to Jesus and be done with it.

    Friendlyface
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @mindatrisk said:

    It almost makes me feel like giving my life to Jesus and be done with it.

    That's gold! Maybe just wait until you're on your death bed :)

    dhammachick
  • @Bunks said:

    @mindatrisk said:

    It almost makes me feel like giving my life to Jesus and be done with it.

    That's gold! Maybe just wait until you're on your death bed :)

    Yeah I'm waiting as long as possible to play the Jesus card. Good to know it's there if all this wisdom stuff doesn't work out.

    karastiVastmindShoshin
  • @karasti said:
    Is it really that complicated or do our human minds just make it so? Developing ourselves and sharing ourselves with others is our nature. We only make it complicated when we think that our development means we should be able to use it to solve the problems of the world instead of the problems in our homes, families and communities. Then we feel frustrated that we "know" so much and can't use it, so it seems futile to continue. Using it daily in our lives means more than we know.

    Long ago, my dad was a hunter and a trapper. Out of necessity. His job often laid him off for months at a time, and we used the food and fur to help us survive. Now he's an older man in his 60s with a huge heart for wildlife. His joy comes in feeding the birds and the deer and the foxes in his yard. A little fluffball of a young snowshoe hare has taken up residence under my dad's canoe, and he went straight away to the farm store and bought hay and food and other things to help the bunny survive. Our winter came early, and this bunny is still brown as a result, against the white landscape. He has to hide until he can change color or he will quickly be victim of birds, foxes, even squirrels. My dad decided to help. He even named it. He has not yet solved the problem of gun violence in the US, or worldwide war, or nuclear tennis that our leaders are playing. He hasn't solved homelessness or poverty or any thing else. But he solved a problem for a bunny. We can all do that.

    Yes we can, but we don't, we haven't, and we won't. This is not a pessimistic view, but a realistic one, and that is important. To expect so much of ourselves and others is to lead us only to huge disappointment, and, most likely, anger and hatred. We are all inhibited by incredible limitations, with the greatest of all being a lack of awareness... how many people on this planet even have the awareness of their mind, let alone any inclination to develop it?

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    ...Is the question rhetorical, or do you have an answer?

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I couldn't tell you how many, but I can tell you I'm part of several groups that consist of thousands of people who are quite aware of the tricks of the mind and are constantly working to improve and change it. I think there are more than one would think. We observe the world through the lenses we are given to do so, so our experience of it is very limited. We see a very small portion of the things that happen in the world every day. It's by looking around you that you see the differences and make a difference. I live in a town of 3000 people, 250 miles from the nearest urban center and a Lama moved here from Nepal to live and teach in residence. We met for the first time on Saturday and there were 65 people there. Considering this is a town with 13 churches, that's a significant turn out. People are quite interesting in learning how to observe and tame their minds.

    I disagree with your assertion that "we don't, we haven't and we won't." I see this kind of stuff every single day. Because I choose to watch for it. I see people helping others, humans and animals, all the time. If all you look for is people who don't help, then that is what you see. On the front page of our local paper is a story about drug busts and politics. But when you look around the community, you see far beyond that. You see a whole community that volunteered time, money and materials to help a family rebuild after a fire. Despite it being deer hunting season, I watched several locals wade into a half frozen river to help a drowning deer. I see neighbors who shovel snow for each other. The kids at the school collected record numbers of food donations last week. A local boy set up a fundraiser for kids with cancer. My son told his grandma he wanted donations for diabetes research for christmas, and my mom told one friend at work, and the entire office put together a donation for him to turn in. This happens in far greater numbers every day than what the headlines tell us. It's not that difficult to see it, or do it. It's certainly not just happening in my community.

    person
  • @karasti said:
    I couldn't tell you how many, but I can tell you I'm part of several groups that consist of thousands of people who are quite aware of the tricks of the mind and are constantly working to improve and change it. I think there are more than one would think. We observe the world through the lenses we are given to do so, so our experience of it is very limited. We see a very small portion of the things that happen in the world every day. It's by looking around you that you see the differences and make a difference. I live in a town of 3000 people, 250 miles from the nearest urban center and a Lama moved here from Nepal to live and teach in residence. We met for the first time on Saturday and there were 65 people there. Considering this is a town with 13 churches, that's a significant turn out. People are quite interesting in learning how to observe and tame their minds.

    I disagree with your assertion that "we don't, we haven't and we won't." I see this kind of stuff every single day. Because I choose to watch for it. I see people helping others, humans and animals, all the time. If all you look for is people who don't help, then that is what you see. On the front page of our local paper is a story about drug busts and politics. But when you look around the community, you see far beyond that. You see a whole community that volunteered time, money and materials to help a family rebuild after a fire. Despite it being deer hunting season, I watched several locals wade into a half frozen river to help a drowning deer. I see neighbors who shovel snow for each other. The kids at the school collected record numbers of food donations last week. A local boy set up a fundraiser for kids with cancer. My son told his grandma he wanted donations for diabetes research for christmas, and my mom told one friend at work, and the entire office put together a donation for him to turn in. This happens in far greater numbers every day than what the headlines tell us. It's not that difficult to see it, or do it. It's certainly not just happening in my community.

    I don't question that human kindness exists, nor that it is the most prevalent attribute in human interaction. Generally speaking, within communities, we are good to each other. But that is relatively simple. The challenge for humanity is not in how kind we are to those who are kind to us, but how we respond to those who challenge us, and this is where humanity severely lacks, and has not developed very much at all throughout our whole history.

    I don't see it as kind or wise to overlook just how severe the problems we have are... or to admit the severity of them. We remain a species that allows millions upon millions to live and die in poverty. And they haven't even hurt us! Look at what we do when someone attacks us... Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and this is just in recent years. I can't set the bar so low as 'if people are good to me then I'll be good to them', and I can't set the bar as low as 'this is neat, some people raised some money for so and so'... this is not an achievement!

    For as long as 20,000 children under the age of five die every day because of poverty, and for as long as wars are fought, then it is only right, compassionate and wise to challenge such horrors. The goodness you witness has always existed. It is nothing remarkable. It is right to note that humans are capable of great goodness, but it is also right to exhort us to much, much, much greater heights of compassion... because we need it.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited November 14

    It’s a worldwide issue, there are hotspots like Syria where people seem to be more concerned with waging war in the name of religion than being kind.

    I think the Dalai Lama was right when he said it was more important to be a better Christian, Muslim or whatever you are, than to become a Buddhist. If you can bring a little more kindness to your life and those around you then you are on a good path.

    But encouraging people to be kind and listen to their hearts is not an easy task, when people are caught in the throws of desire and find that ruthlessness gets them more of what they want.

  • @Kerome said:
    It’s a worldwide issue, there are hotspots like Syria where people seem to be more concerned with waging war in the name of religion than being kind.

    I think the Dalai Lama was right when he said it was more important to be a better Christian, Muslim or whatever you are, instead of becoming Buddhist. If you can bring a little more kindness to your life and those around you then you are on a good path.

    But encouraging people to be kind and listen to their hearts is not an easy task, when people are caught in the throws of desire and find that ruthlessness gets them more of what they want.

    It's an issue within every human heart and mind. The difference between you and I and an Islamic fundamentalist cutting peoples heads off is circumstances. If you or I were raised under those beliefs, and if we experienced our homelands being destroyed and exploited, then maybe we too could be led to such horrific behaviours. We may not engage in such extremes, but we can see how our own circumstances at times lead us to poor behaviour in our lives. The solution is relatively simple, but it's not easy, and the evolution towards a truly kind and compassionate world is going to be very, very long. But every seed of kindness we plant now matters, and the greater we develop our capacity for kindness then the greater the results. Our example if our greatest and most effective advert and influence.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @mindatrisk said:
    The difference between you and I and an Islamic fundamentalist cutting peoples heads off is circumstances. If you or I were raised under those beliefs, and if we experienced our homelands being destroyed and exploited, then maybe we too could be led to such horrific behaviours.

    So then the real problem is with those who teach hateful beliefs, would you not agree? They are few, and they don’t do any dangerous actions themselves, but they fill the heads of the many impressionables with material that fuels this behaviour.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran
    edited November 14

    I wasn't suggesting we ignore the larger problems. But we have literally no control over them. The only control that we have is in our voting and political process and even there, our control is minimal depending on the choices someone else that is part of the broken system chooses to give us. We do what we can, but it isn't much.

    We have a much better chance of making a difference by starting small. Being kind to a person or a child and truly seeing, hearing and valuing them effectively changes the causes and conditions of that person's life, which has the chance to influence their choices. If even one cause/condition in Devin Kelley or Stephen Paddock's life had been different, there's a chance we wouldn't have had those shootings, and 80+ people would still be alive. That's how differences are made. Learning how to value ourselves is the first step and then extending that to every other person we come into contact with. We can't control Assaad in Syria but we can potentially change the course of someone else's life with simple acts of kindness. And that affects us all. Those people become our future teachers, parents and leaders.

    Also, the flip side that is hard to consider but, I think, worth looking at is: if we had saved every life that died in famine, war, disease, murder and abortion, would the world truly be better off? I'm not suggesting those people weren't just as worthwhile as us to live, but if you are going to look at the discussion we had about saving the planet, and population control is one of the most important ways we can do that, is wishing millions upon millions more people were still on the planet, really the right answer? A lot of those things are the exact result of an overpopulated planet.

  • @Kerome said:

    @mindatrisk said:
    The difference between you and I and an Islamic fundamentalist cutting peoples heads off is circumstances. If you or I were raised under those beliefs, and if we experienced our homelands being destroyed and exploited, then maybe we too could be led to such horrific behaviours.

    So then the real problem is with those who teach hateful beliefs, would you not agree? They are few, and they don’t do any dangerous actions themselves, but they fill the heads of the many impressionables with material that fuels this behaviour.

    Yeah but then you end up killing Jesus too. Who gets to decide what is what? Who is good and who is bad? I'm sure even the Buddha could have found himself nailed to a cross in another land or another time.

  • @karasti said:
    I wasn't suggesting we ignore the larger problems. But we have literally no control over them. The only control that we have is in our voting and political process and even there, our control is minimal depending on the choices someone else that is part of the broken system chooses to give us. We do what we can, but it isn't much.

    We have a much better chance of making a difference by starting small. Being kind to a person or a child and truly seeing, hearing and valuing them effectively changes the causes and conditions of that person's life, which has the chance to influence their choices. If even one cause/condition in Devin Kelley or Stephen Paddock's life had been different, there's a chance we wouldn't have had those shootings, and 80+ people would still be alive. That's how differences are made. Learning how to value ourselves is the first step and then extending that to every other person we come into contact with. We can't control Assaad in Syria but we can potentially change the course of someone else's life with simple acts of kindness. And that affects us all. Those people become our future teachers, parents and leaders.

    Also, the flip side that is hard to consider but, I think, worth looking at is: if we had saved every life that died in famine, war, disease, murder and abortion, would the world truly be better off? I'm not suggesting those people weren't just as worthwhile as us to live, but if you are going to look at the discussion we had about saving the planet, and population control is one of the most important ways we can do that, is wishing millions upon millions more people were still on the planet, really the right answer? A lot of those things are the exact result of an overpopulated planet.

    I think we can all do much, more more than we think we can. Plus, I don't think we can afford to 'start small' anymore. We live in an age of nuclear weapons and an age of particularly unstable world leaders, and I think our collective situation is much more urgent and severe than we might believe. Humans have a profound capacity for burying their heads in the sand.

    And your last paragraph is a bit disturbing, although you're not the only one to discuss this idea. I think if you truly believe in what you say then you should kill yourself and set an example, otherwise, maybe keep in mind that those who die in poverty want to live and be happy just as much as you do, and deserve to just as much as you do. I'm sure you'd be horrified to be in their situation and have others talk like that about you and your loved ones, and even more horrified if they turned out to be practitioners of a religion that emphasises compassion.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Wait, what?? "...you end up killing Jesus too...." ?
    How the heck dd you make that connection??

  • @federica said:
    Wait, what?? "...you end up killing Jesus too...." ?
    How the heck dd you make that connection??

    Jesus was crucified for his unruly behaviour, i.e. even someone who taught unconditional love and forgiveness can end up persecuted. It's not a simple task to distinguish and determine what is good and bad, what is love and what is hate, what is right and what is wrong.

  • HozanHozan Veteran

    @mindatrisk "you should kill yourself and set an example". Terrible choice of words to say the least!

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    However, if you decide to persecute preachers of hateful beliefs, then I think you would be fairly safe in ending up not prosecuting the likes of Jesus. Pretty much the only hateful thing he did was kicking the money lenders out of the temple, public affray and a slap on the wrist at most.

    And Jesus wasn’t crucified for “unruly behaviour”, it was about his asserting a heavenly authority above the earthly one of Caesar. The whole “king of the Jews” bit, if I recall rightly.

  • @Hozan said:
    @mindatrisk "you should kill yourself and set an example". Terrible choice of words to say the least!

    I don't think so. I've heard this argument quite a few times regarding population control, and it just doesn't hold up at all, which I think is shown by those 'terrible' words. I mean, if you think that humans dying for the good of the planet is helpful then lead the way... of course, they won't! For me it is a terrifying lack of empathy, and since we know from history how these little ideas can end in genocides and holocausts, we need to be very strong in challenging such ideas whilst still in infancy.

  • @Kerome said:
    However, if you decide to persecute preachers of hateful beliefs, then I think you would be fairly safe in ending up not prosecuting the likes of Jesus. Pretty much the only hateful thing he did was kicking the money lenders out of the temple, public affray and a slap on the wrist at most.

    And Jesus wasn’t crucified for “unruly behaviour”, it was about his asserting a heavenly authority above the earthly one of Caesar. The whole “king of the Jews” bit, if I recall rightly.

    His asserting that is the 'unruly behaviour'. If you need more examples then look at what happened to Gandhi, MLK, and Mandela. It's a very slippery slope going after 'hate beliefs', and I don't think there is anyone qualified or pure enough in motive to take on that job.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I live with this reality every day, with a son who relies on daily medical care to stay alive. If the world goes upside down, he will die in a matter of days without access to his medical requirements. So I am quite aware of living on the edge in that way, despite not currently living in poverty. I certainly wouldn't suggest he should die or that the world would be better off. But I also recognize that were we forced to live within the confines of the natural world, he would die. In many other countries, children like him die. So don't think I don't understand what that means.

    I most certainly didn't say or suggest that people deserve to die. I said, imagine our current world and all of its problems if we added all of those millions of people back into the mix. I'm not suggesting we don't work on the related problems and let people die. But if we are going to discuss population control as a valid way of saving the planet, then we have to look at the uncomfortable aspects of that as well, which includes nature, cruel as she can be, taking over.

    So, you tell me, what are you doing in this moment to prevent nuclear war? What are you doing about the Syrian children who were bombed the other day? What are you doing about the famine in Somalia? What are you doing to stop the earthquakes that have killed so many in the past few months?

    Focusing on what you can actually do isn't sticking your head in the sand.

    lobsterperson
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @mindatrisk said:

    @Kerome said:
    However, if you decide to persecute preachers of hateful beliefs, then I think you would be fairly safe in ending up not prosecuting the likes of Jesus. Pretty much the only hateful thing he did was kicking the money lenders out of the temple, public affray and a slap on the wrist at most.

    And Jesus wasn’t crucified for “unruly behaviour”, it was about his asserting a heavenly authority above the earthly one of Caesar. The whole “king of the Jews” bit, if I recall rightly.

    His asserting that is the 'unruly behaviour'. If you need more examples then look at what happened to Gandhi, MLK, and Mandela. It's a very slippery slope going after 'hate beliefs', and I don't think there is anyone qualified or pure enough in motive to take on that job.

    We will have to agree to disagree. Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Mandela all had run-ins with authority despite preaching messages of non-violence, and if you are talking about persecuting hate speech they would specifically be on the other side of the divide. ‘Hate Beliefs’ as opposed to a message of non-violence is very clear, to my mind.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @mindatrisk said:

    @Hozan said:
    @mindatrisk "you should kill yourself and set an example". Terrible choice of words to say the least!

    I don't think so. I've heard this argument quite a few times regarding population control, and it just doesn't hold up at all, which I think is shown by those 'terrible' words. I mean, if you think that humans dying for the good of the planet is helpful then lead the way... of course, they won't! For me it is a terrifying lack of empathy, and since we know from history how these little ideas can end in genocides and holocausts, we need to be very strong in challenging such ideas whilst still in infancy.

    Moderator note:

    You use examples like that again, and you're going to find yourself out of the door and sitting on a hard place.
    However apposite you might feel such a comparison to be, it is disrespectful, inappropriate and highly unskilful.

    Not up for discussion.
    No further warning will be issued.

  • If that example was upsetting or offensive then I apologise... it was not intended to be.

  • @karasti said:
    I live with this reality every day, with a son who relies on daily medical care to stay alive. If the world goes upside down, he will die in a matter of days without access to his medical requirements. So I am quite aware of living on the edge in that way, despite not currently living in poverty. I certainly wouldn't suggest he should die or that the world would be better off. But I also recognize that were we forced to live within the confines of the natural world, he would die. In many other countries, children like him die. So don't think I don't understand what that means.

    I most certainly didn't say or suggest that people deserve to die. I said, imagine our current world and all of its problems if we added all of those millions of people back into the mix. I'm not suggesting we don't work on the related problems and let people die. But if we are going to discuss population control as a valid way of saving the planet, then we have to look at the uncomfortable aspects of that as well, which includes nature, cruel as she can be, taking over.

    So, you tell me, what are you doing in this moment to prevent nuclear war? What are you doing about the Syrian children who were bombed the other day? What are you doing about the famine in Somalia? What are you doing to stop the earthquakes that have killed so many in the past few months?

    Focusing on what you can actually do isn't sticking your head in the sand.

    My point is more that you should believe more in your capacity for goodness. Yes there are very obvious things in our day to day lives that we can do... the 'small things', and the small things amount to a lot - they are the moral glue that keeps communities and societies functioning. However, within you, I have no doubt that there are endless reserves of untapped goodness that are mostly untapped because humanity as a whole seems to have a self esteem problem. Perhaps because for so long now we've been called sinners and what not, and also because we can see the state of the world and our contributions to it. Irrespective, with some imagination and some will then whatever our immediate circumstances are, we can use them for the benefit of others. I don't know your situation so I won't make any suggestions, but there are, for example, parents whose children die of cancer and who then raise funds for research and end up helping thousands of others kids... a small example, but a demonstration of what can be done when we harness our compassion, and probably much more than the parents might previously have believed themselves capable of.

    karasti
  • @Kerome said:

    @mindatrisk said:

    @Kerome said:
    However, if you decide to persecute preachers of hateful beliefs, then I think you would be fairly safe in ending up not prosecuting the likes of Jesus. Pretty much the only hateful thing he did was kicking the money lenders out of the temple, public affray and a slap on the wrist at most.

    And Jesus wasn’t crucified for “unruly behaviour”, it was about his asserting a heavenly authority above the earthly one of Caesar. The whole “king of the Jews” bit, if I recall rightly.

    His asserting that is the 'unruly behaviour'. If you need more examples then look at what happened to Gandhi, MLK, and Mandela. It's a very slippery slope going after 'hate beliefs', and I don't think there is anyone qualified or pure enough in motive to take on that job.

    We will have to agree to disagree. Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Mandela all had run-ins with authority despite preaching messages of non-violence, and if you are talking about persecuting hate speech they would specifically be on the other side of the divide. ‘Hate Beliefs’ as opposed to a message of non-violence is very clear, to my mind.

    Mandela was in prison for 27 years! He was labelled as a 'terrorist'!

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    being labelled a terrorist is not the same thing as being one.

    Hozan
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    And according to this guy, he was an incredible person.

  • @federica said:
    being labelled a terrorist is not the same thing as being one.

    No it's not. But the discussion is about solving the problem of 'hate speakers', and if humanity already struggles identifying the moral status of someone like Mandela, then we are going to cause more problems than we solve attempting to tackle others deemed morally dubious.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited November 14

    I think you should pick less on notable pacifists and concentrate on people like pol Pot, Chairman Mao and Hitler.
    You might make better and more valid points then.

    However, we all know what happened to them... and how their reputations have suffered as a consequence of their actions.

    ETA: I didn't mean Genghis Khan....

  • @federica said:
    I think you should pick less on notable pacifists and concentrate on people like pol Pot, Genghis khan and Hitler.
    You might make better and more valid points then.

    However, we all know what happened to them... and how their reputations have suffered as a consequence of their actions.

    The discussion stemmed from an earlier point about the influence of so-called hate preachers on individuals, and that tackling the hate preachers would solve a lot of our current world problems. Which is true. My point in response was that, it is not simple for us to always identify who the hate preachers are, and that, historically, there are notable examples of very moral individuals being identified as bad influences, and being persecuted as such. I don't think I could make this point by using Hitler etc. as examples.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I think it's far more simple to identify them nowadays than it was in those days.
    Hindsight is 20/20 vision.
    Instead of discussing Historical figures, who would you say, today, is a good person being labelled as a Hate preacher?

  • techietechie India Veteran

    @federica said:
    I think it's far more simple to identify them nowadays than it was in those days.
    Hindsight is 20/20 vision.
    Instead of discussing Historical figures, who would you say, today, is a good person being labelled as a Hate preacher?

    Dalai Lama, according to the Chinese government.

    person
  • @federica said:
    I think it's far more simple to identify them nowadays than it was in those days.
    Hindsight is 20/20 vision.
    Instead of discussing Historical figures, who would you say, today, is a good person being labelled as a Hate preacher?

    Good question! The problem with these kinds of labels is that they are very open to abuse. For example, the label of 'terrorist' as well as ensuing terrorist legislation has been used to describe and manage activists, and I remember one particular occasion where I think Madonna described the leaking of her then new album as an 'act of terrorism'. So, when we prescribe the label of 'hate preacher' then there are certain instances where individuals obviously fit the bill. But will it end there? Could that same label be extended to someone who says 'Trump is an idiot'? Could it be extended to someone who says that Bush and Blair are war criminals? Could it be placed on someone who openly denies climate change? On the surface it would be very unreasonable if that happened, but we don't live in a very reasonable world. Rather we live in a world of ulterior motives, deeply entrenched prejudice, ignorance and delusion, and I don't think it stretches the imagination to imagine somewhere down the line the label of 'hate preacher' being assigned to someone who is simply outspoken and critical of certain authorities. This is the problem I have.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @techie said:

    @federica said:
    I think it's far more simple to identify them nowadays than it was in those days.
    Hindsight is 20/20 vision.
    Instead of discussing Historical figures, who would you say, today, is a good person being labelled as a Hate preacher?

    Dalai Lama, according to the Chinese government.

    Yes, not a global assessment or universally-shared sentiment though, is it? It's politically-led, not a general consensus of opinion.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @mindatrisk said: ....I don't think it stretches the imagination to imagine somewhere down the line the label of 'hate preacher' being assigned to someone who is simply outspoken and critical of certain authorities. This is the problem I have.

    And I think it's 'your' problem. Because the definition of what constitutes a hate preacher is different between you and me, and I would surmise, others too.

    dhammachick
  • @federica said:

    @techie said:

    @federica said:
    I think it's far more simple to identify them nowadays than it was in those days.
    Hindsight is 20/20 vision.
    Instead of discussing Historical figures, who would you say, today, is a good person being labelled as a Hate preacher?

    Dalai Lama, according to the Chinese government.

    Yes, not a global assessment or universally-shared sentiment though, is it? It's politically-led, not a general consensus of opinion.

    It doesn't need to be for the consequences to be experienced. All it took was one South African government to keep one of the 20th centuries great men in prison for 27 years.

  • @federica said:

    @mindatrisk said: ....I don't think it stretches the imagination to imagine somewhere down the line the label of 'hate preacher' being assigned to someone who is simply outspoken and critical of certain authorities. This is the problem I have.

    And I think it's 'your' problem. Because the definition of what constitutes a hate preacher is different between you and me, and I would surmise, others too.

    Well, exactly! That's the problem! How are we going to target 'hate preachers' if we can't agree on what constitutes one? All that will happen is that one side says 'X is bad' whilst the other side says 'no, X is good' and so even more violence arises, which is what, at the beginning of the discussion, we were attempting to solve.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited November 14

    And I daresay if HHDL went to China or Tibet, he would be party to the same treatment.
    Circumstances were different. And there were plenty of protests to the contrary. It was the cry for freedom that set him free.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @mindatrisk Yes, and I agree. I think we are often capable of much more, but often we have to start small, and you never know where your small gesture takes someone else! If we too often tell people "why bother with the small stuff when you are capable of so much more" which is how many would receive what you are saying, then suddenly everything feels futile and too small and it doesn't make a different so why bother? And then the opportunity to grow and help and form connectedness and community falls flat.
    I just don't want to discourage people from doing whatever they can because they think it's not enough, and sadly, I see that a lot.

    person
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    ^^ We're back to the little girl and the starfish washed up on the beach... ^^

    David
  • @karasti said:
    @mindatrisk Yes, and I agree. I think we are often capable of much more, but often we have to start small, and you never know where your small gesture takes someone else! If we too often tell people "why bother with the small stuff when you are capable of so much more" which is how many would receive what you are saying, then suddenly everything feels futile and too small and it doesn't make a different so why bother? And then the opportunity to grow and help and form connectedness and community falls flat.
    I just don't want to discourage people from doing whatever they can because they think it's not enough, and sadly, I see that a lot.

    I see your point, and it is important (for many reasons) to encourage small goodnesses. It's just that from my perspective our natural human nature is good, so noting the small things as something to be overly emphasised is a little bit unnecessary, as that goodness has always been there and always will be. If it wasn't then communities and societies could never have formed. And even in horrendous circumstances human goodness prevails, so, for me, it's not possible that we will lose the small moments of goodness, although in encouraging them we can increase their frequency. The problem I see is that it is so, so easy for this general background of goodness to be overridden and rapidly deteriorated into the most heinous behaviour imaginable, and this for me is what we as a species need to find a solution for, because, with nuclear weapons and very defective leaders, we really can wipe ourselves out now. So, for me, I'm going to take our human goodness for granted and trust that the small goodnesses will remain no matter what, and focus more on what we can do to counter the tendencies we have to react with violence to those who we dislike, disagree with etc.

  • @federica said:
    ^^ We're back to the little girl and the starfish washed up on the beach... ^^

    There's no argument against the small acts of kindness... they all matter deeply. But these small acts haven't been enough to stop wars, to end poverty, to look after our environment, and so on. And maybe in the past this wasn't so urgent, because our capacities for destruction were relatively small. But now we live in a world where we are capable of destroying a whole planet, so it's clear that we somehow need to raise our game, and somehow engage in big acts of kindness.

    Hozan
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    so then we are back to my question earlier of what are YOU doing for all of those issues? I'm curious because you seem to be implying that we should all do more in those areas. I'm at a loss for what to do. So what are you doing to up your kindness to bigger acts?
    And to me, it seems like investigating our individual tendencies to reaction of the world is still a small act, comparatively. Yes, we should be doing that, but to me it is on the same level as the smaller acts of kindness. And can even be considered the same thing. If I get upset by something a person does, and choose not to act on it but to let it pass through and go on my merry way, that is still a small act. But my learning how to do so isn't going to encourage Trump to do so and thus change the possibility of nuclear war breaking out.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    I don’t think you can equate HHDL with a ‘hate preacher’, to do so is undiscerning. Governments may perhaps try take those stances, but that is a perversion of the terminology, and I don’t think the people are fooled, at least in those environments where there is access to a free press.

    federicaHozan
  • @karasti said:
    so then we are back to my question earlier of what are YOU doing for all of those issues? I'm curious because you seem to be implying that we should all do more in those areas. I'm at a loss for what to do. So what are you doing to up your kindness to bigger acts?
    And to me, it seems like investigating our individual tendencies to reaction of the world is still a small act, comparatively. Yes, we should be doing that, but to me it is on the same level as the smaller acts of kindness. And can even be considered the same thing. If I get upset by something a person does, and choose not to act on it but to let it pass through and go on my merry way, that is still a small act. But my learning how to do so isn't going to encourage Trump to do so and thus change the possibility of nuclear war breaking out.

    I don't want to talk about myself specifically, but I think there are three areas that hold significant potential for the future of humanity.

    The first is our own moral development. I think we need to be almost impeccable in our conduct. This does not mean that we cannot make mistakes, but it does mean we have the capacity to admit them and to make amends.

    Secondly, a concept in taoism called 'Wu Wei', which translates somewhat as 'effortless action'. I don't know the mechanics of this so well at the moment, but it seems to be about working in partnership with a higher aspect of our nature, and allowing this creative element to shape events and to guide our role within the unfolding event. From what I've experienced so far and from what I've read, this way - The Way, in Taoism - has the capacity for extraordinary results.

    The third is the philosophy of non-violence. In terms of creating a better world we need to learn how negate the anger and hatred of our opponents and connect with them as a fellow human being, and make them our friend. I think Gandhi left a significant toolbox in this area that has been very little used or understood.

    These are the three areas that I think are key in my life moving forwards. So much more could be said on all three, and I certainly have much to learn in all three, but this is where my personal focus lies.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    We've moved a fair way away from the discussion of Solitary Confinement and Terry Waite's way of coping...
    Perhaps we can steer the discussion back to his example, as well as that of both Viktor Frankl or Palden Gyatso

    One profoundly moving book I read at school, was this one.
    Not about Solitary Confinement, per se, but certainly an eye-opener on the dangers of living in a politically prohibitive and repressive society.

    I must get a copy of it for my bookshelf.

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