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We’re doomed

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

I came across this interesting and insightful interview today by a leading climate scientist called Mayer Hillman who actually has a good track record of making calls which are unpalatable but usually come true. Well, judge for yourself...

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/26/were-doomed-mayer-hillman-on-the-climate-reality-no-one-else-will-dare-mention

JasonSnakeskinBuddhadragon

Comments

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    Sadly, I think he's right. And warnings like his are falling on mostly deaf ears.

  • "He believes that accepting that our civilisation is doomed could make humanity rather like an individual who recognises he is terminally ill."

    "And while this discourse was being spoken, there arose in the Venerable Kondanna the dust-free, stainless vision of the Dhamma: 'Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.'"

    Bunks
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @Snakeskin said:
    "He believes that accepting that our civilisation is doomed could make humanity rather like an individual who recognises he is terminally ill."

    "And while this discourse was being spoken, there arose in the Venerable Kondanna the dust-free, stainless vision of the Dhamma: 'Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.'"

    The question is, does that realization prevent us from doing anything, or do we still do what we can to try and limit the suffering of future generations as much as possible?

  • @Jason, I think in characterizing that way he argues for a genuine shift in priorities, the kind that comes with terminal illness.

  • 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

    Could I just point out that we're all going to die anyway....? If all those who can do what they can, to do what they can, do what they can, at least it will be some small improvement. Until I die, I will do what I can, to do what I can.

    As others have said before, It makes a difference; to one starfish. And even a drop in the ocean, is one drop more.
    Mother Teresa never admitted to helping thousands.
    She merely said that she only ever helped one person.
    At a time.
    I would encourage those who wish to change the world, to start with a small garden.
    One day at a time.

    lobsterBunkspersonadamcrossley
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited April 26

    @Snakeskin said:
    @Jason, I think in characterizing that way he argues for a genuine shift in priorities, the kind that comes with terminal illness.

    While I agree with that, I also think one danger arising from such a realization is a shift towards nihilism, especially among those who are profiting in the short-term. If such a realization isn't tempered by compassion and wisdom and insight into interdependence, then one can easily continue harming the planet and other people with a shrug that "we're all going to die anyway."

    nakazcidlobsterBuddhadragon
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    @federica said:
    Could I just point out that we're all going to die anyway....?

    You have heard of rebirth yeah? ;)

    ShoshinNeridaBuddhadragon
  • 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

    @Bunks said:

    @federica said:
    Could I just point out that we're all going to die anyway....?

    You have heard of rebirth yeah? ;)

    No...? Could you cite sources?

    (Yes, I'm kidding. But as I have no idea who - or what - I shall be revisiting as (if at all!) I'm discounting that aspect, at the moment. Hit me with it, when I come back next time.... ;) )

    Bunks
  • @Jason said:
    I also think one danger arising from such a realization is ...

    If it leads to renunciation, to freedom from ill-will and to harmlessness, then it's right view. If it doesn't, it's not.

  • DavidDavid some guy Veteran

    @Jason said:

    @Snakeskin said:
    "He believes that accepting that our civilisation is doomed could make humanity rather like an individual who recognises he is terminally ill."

    "And while this discourse was being spoken, there arose in the Venerable Kondanna the dust-free, stainless vision of the Dhamma: 'Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.'"

    The question is, does that realization prevent us from doing anything, or do we still do what we can to try and limit the suffering of future generations as much as possible?

    It probably shouldn't considering the same doom and gloom attitudes were around when the massive ozone hole was going to kill us all. Said hole is now healing thanks to our collective efforts.

    There is no real proof that the damage is irreversible and I think he knows it but its just too close for comfort.

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited April 27

    @Snakeskin said:

    @Jason said:
    I also think one danger arising from such a realization is ...

    If it leads to renunciation, to freedom from ill-will and to harmlessness, then it's right view. If it doesn't, it's not.

    That may be true, but I've known too many people, and Buddhists in particular, who use such reasoning to not care about the world around them. They point towards things like impermanence, and then renounce the world along with any feelings of shared responsibility for it. I think that is a mistake and something to be guarded against. It's one of the reasons I've distanced myself from many of my Theravadin peers, as they tend towards this 'who cares if the world burns' mindset the most.

    lobsterBuddhadragonNerida
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    We're doomed

    I'm not. :p

    Dukkha is:
    Disturbance, irritation, dejection, worry, despair, fear, dread, anguish, anxiety; vulnerability, injury, inability, inferiority; sickness, aging, decay of body and faculties, senility; pain/pleasure; excitement/boredom; deprivation/excess; desire/frustration, suppression; longing/aimlessness; hope/hopelessness; effort, activity, striving/repression; loss, want, insufficiency/satiety; love/lovelessness, friendlessness; dislike, aversion/attraction; parenthood/childlessness; submission/rebellion; decision/indecisiveness, vacillation, uncertainty.

    — Francis Story in Suffering, in Vol. II of The Three Basic Facts of Existence (Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1983)

    https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?t=3461

    Do I believe that priorities and crisis changes the direction of the Zeitgeist? You bet your buddhahood!
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bright_green_environmentalism

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited April 27

    @Jason said:

    @Snakeskin said:

    @Jason said:
    I also think one danger arising from such a realization is ...

    If it leads to renunciation, to freedom from ill-will and to harmlessness, then it's right view. If it doesn't, it's not.

    That may be true, but I've known too many people, and Buddhists in particular, who use such reasoning to not care about the world around them. They point towards things like impermanence, and then renounce the world along with any feelings of shared responsibility for it. I think that is a mistake and something to be guarded against. It's one of the reasons I've distanced myself from many of my Theravadin peers, as they tend towards this 'who cares if the world burns' mindset the most.

    Here's something I wrote in response to that mentality for anyone interested: "being a Buddhist doesn't mean renouncing social engagement."

  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `     ` `     ` Outa Range Fridays thru Sundays South Carolina, USA Veteran
    edited April 27

    I think that the main gist of what Mayer Hillman says is that carbon emissions are the chief unwanted byproduct of capitalism, and that the emissions are sure to rise exponentially as long as modern economies rely upon sustained growth. That is our chief concern. As an American, I find it unconscionable that our supreme court has, more or less, declared that money is speech. Seems to me that money is power, purchasing power; and I think that ill-advised decisions such as this on the part of the body politic can only aggravate the problem of run-away consumerism. Speech is speech, and ought to be focussed on Truth and good intentions, not on power.

    I recently viewed a 30 minute documentary on Ram Dass titled, "Going Home." (It's on Netflix.) In the documentary Ram Dass contrasted his early years with those after he found the Truth through his Guru. He said that he formerly lived life only for power and its thrills and privileges, but when he awoke to the Truth, all that lost any charm. LOVE then became himself and he became Love. (Charming video)

    I like Hillman's paradigm of the need for human societies to turn away from running around everywhere milling everything, and instead focussing on music, love, education, and happiness:

    Hilman says:
    “Standing in the way is capitalism. Can you imagine the global airline industry being dismantled when hundreds of new runways are being built right now all over the world? It’s almost as if we’re deliberately attempting to defy nature. We’re doing the reverse of what we should be doing, with everybody’s silent acquiescence, and nobody’s batting an eyelid.”

    lobsterKeromeJason
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited April 27

    @Nirvana said:

    I like Hillman's paradigm of the need for human societies to turn away from running around everywhere milling everything, and instead focussing on music, love, education, and happiness:

    We will song them out of existence =) Tee hee. Liked the following song so much, also posted to our music thread ...

    Love them to death :p
    Educate their children B)
    And make them happy <3

    Iz us plan?

  • @Jason said:

    @Snakeskin said:

    @Jason said:
    I also think one danger arising from such a realization is ...

    If it leads to renunciation, to freedom from ill-will and to harmlessness, then it's right view. If it doesn't, it's not.

    That may be true, but I've known too many people, and Buddhists in particular, who use such reasoning to not care about the world around them. They point towards things like impermanence, and then renounce the world along with any feelings of shared responsibility for it. I think that is a mistake and something to be guarded against. It's one of the reasons I've distanced myself from many of my Theravadin peers, as they tend towards this 'who cares if the world burns' mindset the most.

    Now you're just beating a dead strawman, with a divisive stick. Neither I, Mr. Hillman nor any Buddhist in any tradition of which I'm aware is making an f-it-all-with-fn-no-regrets argument. If any Buddhist do so, it can easily be shown to be a misrepresentation. On at least two occasions, the Buddha reprimanded even Sariputta and Ananda for sitting idly by with equanimity instead of acting out of compassion when they should have acted.

    However, if you're implying any form of Buddhism absent some messianic mandate to go out and save the world is misguided, then I would point out that wherever goodwill and harmlessness is being developed for their own sake, that's one less part of the world anyone has to worry about saving. On the flip side, if one sees that goodwill and harmlessness could save the world when all conform, then one would do well to develop equanimity.

    person
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited April 27

    @Snakeskin said:

    @Jason said:

    @Snakeskin said:

    @Jason said:
    I also think one danger arising from such a realization is ...

    If it leads to renunciation, to freedom from ill-will and to harmlessness, then it's right view. If it doesn't, it's not.

    That may be true, but I've known too many people, and Buddhists in particular, who use such reasoning to not care about the world around them. They point towards things like impermanence, and then renounce the world along with any feelings of shared responsibility for it. I think that is a mistake and something to be guarded against. It's one of the reasons I've distanced myself from many of my Theravadin peers, as they tend towards this 'who cares if the world burns' mindset the most.

    Now you're just beating a dead strawman, with a divisive stick. Neither I, Mr. Hillman nor any Buddhist in any tradition of which I'm aware is making an f-it-all-with-fn-no-regrets argument. If any Buddhist do so, it can easily be shown to be a misrepresentation. On at least two occasions, the Buddha reprimanded even Sariputta and Ananda for sitting idly by with equanimity instead of acting out of compassion when they should have acted.

    However, if you're implying any form of Buddhism absent some messianic mandate to go out and save the world is misguided, then I would point out that wherever goodwill and harmlessness is being developed for their own sake, that's one less part of the world anyone has to worry about saving. On the flip side, if one sees that goodwill and harmlessness could save the world when all conform, then one would do well to develop equanimity.

    I never said you were; there's no need to take it personally. I'm simply saying it's a conclusion many people come to when they grasp teachings like impermanence by the tail rather than the head, and I think it's worth guarding against that. It was a general statement, and if it doesn't apply to you, that's wonderful. No need to pick it up at all.

  • adamcrossleyadamcrossley Explorer
    edited April 27

    My feeling is, it’s a matter of discovering your own vocation or calling. A catholic priest I know in Spain said he thought monks perform an extremely important role in the church, but when I asked him why he wasn’t a monk he simply said it wasn’t his vocation.

    Sometimes I read about the lives of political activists like Thich Nhat Hanh, and marvel at how many lives they have helped. Some people are world movers. And then at other times I read about mountain hermits, like Ryōkan Taigu in the Japanese tradition with whom I feel a very strong connection, and appreciate that they may not have helped as many people, or spoken out against war and atrocity, but simply lived their lives and were compassionate to the people around them. Ryōkan was particularly lovely with the local children, for example.

    I think when we read about these people’s lives we shouldn’t berate ourselves if we fail to match up to them.

    @Snakeskin said:
    Wherever goodwill and harmlessness are being developed for their own sake, that's one less part of the world anyone has to worry about saving.

    @federica said:
    I would encourage those who wish to change the world, to start with a small garden. One day at a time.

    I’m with these two.

    lobsterperson
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited April 27

    @adamcrossley said:
    My feeling is, it’s a matter of discovering your own vocation or calling. A catholic priest I know in Spain said he thought monks perform an extremely important role in the church, but when I asked him why he wasn’t a monk he simply said it wasn’t his vocation.

    Sometimes I read about the lives of political activists like Thich Nhat Hanh, and marvel at how many lives they have helped. Some people are world movers. And then at other times I read about mountain hermits, like Ryōkan Taigu in the Japanese tradition with whom I feel a very strong connection, and appreciate that they may not have helped as many people, or spoken out against war and atrocity, but simply lived their lives and were compassionate to the people around them. Ryōkan was particularly lovely with the local children, for example.

    I agree. I'm very drawn towards monasticism myself and find it an important vocation. There's much benefit and peace in removing oneself from worldly life, and monastics can be inspiring models and teachers and even activists on occasion. I also think there's benefit in people of the world to be involved in it. Because I think being engaged in our communities and being a part of the political discussion, not to mention being active in broader social and political movements, is what makes our society and political systems function more effectively, and how progress, however slow it may sometimes be, is made.

    person
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I stay involved and "in the know" where I can, because I do believe having a big picture outlook is important. But my focus is right now, today. It is too easy to have lofty goals of how to save the world and completely miss that there are things you can and probably should be doing in your life that you aren't because you are too focused on a big picture you can't control. There is a lot to balance in that, so it's not easy.

    I grew up in nature. I grew up and live now in a wilderness area that is rife with wildlife, trees, plants, and constantly changing seasons. I have notebooks going back to my great-grandparents with their observations for decades. I also keep my own (seems to be in my genes, lol). What I observe, and what I note in all of that notekeeping my family has done, leads me to believe that we are not on a course that can be slowed or reversed in any meaningful way at this point. We have too many people. For all of our solutions, their ability (at this point in time) to support as many people as are on this planet simply aren't realistic.

    But I don't dwell on that. I work daily on the things I can. Sometimes it feels futile but it literally is the only thing I can do. I have a utopia dream life in my head, like most of us do. But rather than complain I am not there yet, I take steps with what I have. No matter how much I think about all the huge issues facing everything, I also have to be honest with myself that all these potential solutions have one thing in mind, and one thing only, and that is to keep humans alive. For all our talk about saving the planet, really we are only talking about saving ourselves in the end. The planet will be just fine. Always has been, always will be, at least until the sun swallows it up. It's us we have to worry about, and as @federica said, we're all going to die anyways. So the answer I always come around to when I look at the big issues in the world is that I can only do for my little corner of the world.

    personJasonlobster
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited April 28

    That's understandable, @karasti. I definitely think people should only do what they feel they're able to do and not take on too much. Nobody can do everything, that's for sure. But I also think it's important to be informed about, and help to inform others of, societal issues that need to be addressed, especially ones of such global significance. And ultimately, I think we can do a lot more when we work together, collectively, whether it's having a greater voice politically or physically tackling some of the larger problems we face, which is something I annoyingly try to encourage people to do in general. That said, I don't think it's just about us. It's also about other species of life, many of which are endangered or already extinct because of our actions. I like the idea from Genesis that we are stewards of the earth, and I take that as my own perspective. I think other sentient beings deserve our empathy, compassion, and attention, too.

    lobster
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