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Socialist ? Or Communist? Or somewhere in between ?

Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran
edited October 2020 in Buddhism Today

Well yesterday was the first day of early voting in Aotearoa's (NZ) coming elections which is on the 17th Oct....Under the MMP system I gave my Party vote Labour and Electorate vote Green.....I'm comfortable with their commitment to the people and the environment and not to the bidding of big business...

I have always had concerns about the suffering of others (sentient beings) and environmental concerns, however through Dharma practice I have become more aware of the suffering of others and the environment ...It would seem both Labour & Greens seem to be working towards ending suffering and cleaning up the environment....

When it comes to political parties none are perfect, mistakes are made... but in my case it's better the devil I know, at least Labour & Greens have a record of making an effort to do the right thing, they are also more open and accepting of change & diversity...(I guess one could say "Right View" )....

Would you say Buddhist ethos leans more towards Socialism ? Communism ? Capitalism ? Or somewhere in between ?

rocala

Comments

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Two things my parents taught me I should not talk about:
    1. Religion
    2. Politics
    ......

    Shoshin1JeroenGlass
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran
    edited October 2020

    @Bunks said
    Two things my parents taught me I should not talk about:
    1. Religion
    2. Politics

    Damn and there I am talking about both evils ;);)

    I was thinking along similar lines @Jason ....

    From what I gather, one practices Dharma to end suffering and to end suffering is to end ignorance and to end ignorance is to be and promote the wholesome change one wants to see...and if a certain political party's policies have the potential to be part of these changes, ie, share similar goals.......come election time one supports the party or parties which share ones concerns ie, supports us so to speak.....

    What political party one chooses to vote for is not important...I guess what is important is how their policies fit in with the Dharma according to the practitioner approach...ie, how the practitioner sees things, what the practitioner finds is compatible with their practice.....

    I found this article interesting....

    Why there is a moral duty to vote

    We have a duty of conscience to vote with care; with information and a sense of the common good, in order to help our fellow-citizens prevent injustice and ensure decently good governance

    lobster
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited October 2020

    I think that's a good approach, and that's basically what underlies my own political engagement.

    As I've mentioned before, I think these kinds discussion re interesting in that they illustrate how different people view Buddhism and the influence their practice has on their answers to the question of what kind of political leanings do the teachings of the Buddha have. For me, though, the most relevant question is, did the Buddha believe or teach that one must accept and suffer their unequal circumstances, whether they be material or spiritual, or if one could and should actively change them?

    If one is poor, for example, must one say that this poverty is the result of their kamma and seek to remain poor, not accepting the generosity of others or seek to make a society where they can access the same education, healthcare, and employment opportunities as people who are better off? Or should one work hard to get themselves out of poverty, accepting the generosity of others and seek to make a society where they can still access the same education, healthcare, and employment opportunities as others who are better off? If one is unawakened, should they accept that as their kamma and not seek awakening or the material support of spiritual institutions that make living a mendicant life possible? Or should that material and spiritual support exist and be used to help elevate the spiritual seeker?

    For example, take this part of MN 129:

    And suppose that fool, after a very long time, returned to the human realm. They’d be reborn in a low class family—a family of outcastes, hunters, bamboo-workers, chariot-makers, or waste-collectors. Such families are poor, with little to eat or drink, where life is tough, and food and shelter are hard to find. And they’d be ugly, unsightly, deformed, chronically ill—one-eyed, crippled, lame, or half-paralyzed. They don’t get to have food, drink, clothes, and vehicles; garlands, perfumes, and makeup; or bed, house, and lighting. And they do bad things by way of body, speech, and mind. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell.

    The basic premise of most of this sutta seems to be that unskillful deeds lead to painful feelings and consequences while skillful deeds lead to pleasurable feelings and consequences, making the focus our actions and their results, i.e., on the internal/contemplative focus of the Buddhist practice and illustrating Buddhist ideas of morality. This part in particular is talking about someone who has committed unskillful actions in the past and, after a really, really long time, is finally reborn in the human realm only to be born into poverty and marginalization and misfortune and who seems, due to this and the difficulties in finding food and shelter, to be doomed (or conditioned) to do further bad things by way of body, speech, and mind. And one may see this as supporting the idea that people are unequal and that one must be resigned to accept and live out whatever their kamma throws at them. They're foolish and they get what they deserve, right?

    But then we have the aforementioned passage from DN 5:

    Rather, here is a plan, relying on which the barbarian obstacle will be properly uprooted. So let the king provide seed and fodder for those in the realm who work in farming and raising cattle. Let the king provide funding for those who work in trade. Let the king guarantee food and wages for those in government service. Then the people, occupied with their own work, will not harass the realm. The king’s revenues will be great. When the country is secured as a sanctuary, free of being harried and oppressed, the happy people, with joy in their hearts, dancing with children at their breast, will dwell as if their houses were wide open.’

    And one may see this as a recognition that, instead of heavily taxing the people, executing and imprisoning them, or simply banishing them from the land, providing material relief and support for people can actually help to prevent them from violating the precepts and doing unskillful deeds. Because people are seemingly conditioned by more than just their past actions. They're also conditioned by genetics, education and upbringing, material circumstances and social relations of the society they're born into, etc.

    So while I think that Buddhism has elements that one can view as left-leaning or right-leaning, the question I ask myself is, which political system is more skillful, one that sees people as unequal and allows them to be born into poverty and be compelled by hunger or desperation to harm and steal, or one that takes care of people's basic needs so that they're less compelled by hunger or desperation to harm and steal? That, for me, is why I personally see more left-leaning politics as more skillful and in line with the Dhamma, as they seek to lessen the material conditions that compel people to do harmful things, as well as lessen the harm that systems can do to people.

    While the focus of Buddhism is definitely spiritual in nature, I don't think it's wrong to address both internal and external causes of suffering, especially if we're talking about a secular society. If we can alleviate at least some of what would otherwise condition another to commit unskillful actions that would harm themselves and others or the suffering caused by privation and exploitation, why shouldn't we? The Buddha himself ordained a serial murderer, who was able to be rehabilitated and changed because he was fortunate enough to bump into the Buddha and had access to the social institution of the monastic sangha (which itself is a communal, democratic, and caste-free structure). And I see no reason why that idea can't be applied to lay life as well, i.e., making the external organization of society more egalitarian and conducive to collective harmony and happiness and skillfulness.

    Sometimes, however, I think Buddhists tend to deny the influence of material causes and conditions in favour of purely personal/mental ones, focusing on things like kamma, and precepts, and personal practice/responsibility. Certainly people's intentions and actions play a role in shaping themselves and their lives. And in the context of Buddhism, the practice can help one to make a more stable and skillful foundation for their intentions and actions and train their minds to delve into and deconstruct things that give rise to suffering. However, I think it borders on idealism to only focus on the mental/personal aspects and ignore/deny the material ones. And by material I mean the society and system one lives within and all of the social relations, institutions, etc. that influence and shape our thought and behaviour. And things like social, political, and wealth inequality are a part of that and condition a lot of things in the world, as well as ourselves. I don't think it's in line with the Dhamma to say that it doesn't, and the Buddha himself notes in places like Khp 5 things such as the importance of having a place suitable for practicing the Dhamma. Dr. R.L. Soni's commentary on this section, in fact, makes the explicit connection:

    Pa.tiruupa-desa-vaaso means "residence in a suitable and pleasant locality." For life to be pleasant, the dwelling place must be comfortable, secure in construction, tidy and clean in appearance, properly maintained, and besides it is helpful if it is in a good neighborhood and inhabited by agreeable people. The commentators amplify the meaning by explaining that a suitable locality should have in it people who practice the Noble Dhamma, the evidence of this being the existence of shrines, monks and monasteries and many good people engaged in meritorious deeds.

    Residence in a place inhabited by quarrelsome and trouble-making citizens, where one is bossed about by a dictatorial and corrupt government, where the climate is inimical with frequent ravages by floods, famines, earthquakes and epidemics, where the air is charged with hatred and mutual suspicion, and where freedom of thought and action are reduced to a minimum: in brief, residence in a place having many factors and conditions obstructive to the practice of Dhamma and not conducive to physical, moral and spiritual well-being, is just the opposite of what is meant by a suitable environment.

    When selection of a place for residence is considered, a Buddhist bears in mind the advantage of being near a source of Dhamma, besides, of course, more mundane advantages such as nearness to his work place.

    And I would argue that if one cares about the Dhamma, one should also consider caring about the world around them and trying to make it as conducive to the practice of the Dhamma as possible. For example, you mention the precepts and kamma. How can we expect people to follow the precepts if their material conditions create barriers to that, such as poverty which conditions crime, and other conditional factors which cement these barriers into specific populations, such as disparities in jail time, wealth disparities, health disparities, educational disparities, employment disparities, etc.? It's not easy for an individual born into such circumstances and conditioned by them to connect with the Dhamma and live according to it. And I certainly don't see anything negative about trying to address those issues and make things more equitable in an effort to reduce the suffering others experience as well as the conditions that make keeping the precepts more difficult.

    Shoshin1Vastmind
  • Damn and there I am talking about both evils ;);)

    Tee Hee.

    Politics is a religion for some. Just as religion is often politics ...
    I prefer the Middle Way.

    In a sense we are neither rigidly aligned or free.

    Shoshin1コチシカ
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited October 2020

    Bravo @David well said.

    You are exactly right. It is VERY difficult to have compassion for what makes us angry/fearful/hateful but this is the path. Nobody said it would be simple. <3

  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    I thought @Jason gave a decent answer about Buddhism’s standpoint on this.

    Personally I find myself making voting decisions on a different basis than referencing Buddhism. I’m largely in agreement with many measures of wealth redistribution, I think that capitalism has run away with much of society’s purpose and there is too much inequality, and not enough focus on the arts.

    I also think that there is still too little attention paid to the environment, to the biosphere, to man’s impact on planet earth. It’s encouraging to see some schemes for rewilding in some parts of the world but I think the plight of wild animals is underestimated. I think man has not yet found his role on earth, which I think is more as gardener than as farmer.

    So I tend to vote socialist or greens.

    lobsterWalkerDavidShoshin1
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @Kerome said:
    I thought @Jason gave a decent answer about Buddhism’s standpoint on this.

    Personally I find myself making voting decisions on a different basis than referencing Buddhism. I’m largely in agreement with many measures of wealth redistribution, I think that capitalism has run away with much of society’s purpose and there is too much inequality, and not enough focus on the arts.

    I also think that there is still too little attention paid to the environment, to the biosphere, to man’s impact on planet earth. It’s encouraging to see some schemes for rewilding in some parts of the world but I think the plight of wild animals is underestimated. I think man has not yet found his role on earth, which I think is more as gardener than as farmer.

    So I tend to vote socialist or greens.

    I tend to vote similarly, largely in part to my Buddhist practice, which has led me to become left-leaning because it has led me to develop harmlessness. In the negative, it leads me to try as much as possible to not harm myself or others mentally, verbally, or physically; in the positive to do the opposite, what leads to long-term welfare and happiness.

    For example, let's take healthcare and strong environmental policies. In my country, supporting universal, single-player healthcare is considered left-leaning and privatized, for-profit healthcare is considered right-leaning, and the same with supporting strong environmental policies. In this case, I see a lack of access to healthcare for many as a form of harm, and universal access as a form of non-harm. And the imacts of climiate change are harming people and ecosystems. And since I live in a society governed by a representative system, I feel a duty as a citizen to do what I can to make universal healthcare and a green new deal a reality, whether by marching in rallies in support of it, making a case to other people why it'd be more beneficial than what we have now so they also support them and vote for those who do, or personally voting for representatives who support them myself.

    While universal healthcare and a green new deal and my support for them aren't in themselves Dhamma, I see the motivation to support it flowing from the Dhamma, and my political engagement as a positive form of right resolve, right speech, right action, and right effort. For example, my desire to work towards universal healthcare and an end to fossil fuel use, the creation and sharing of green technology, etc. is born out of my development of harmlessness and the development of skillful mental qualities. My voting, discussions, and marching/protesting are forms of speech directed towards unity and universal access to things I think good, things that promotes and protect the lives of others. A more complex example would be my support of alternatives to capitalism as I see it as an economic system rooted in greed and competition rather than need and cooperation, but the underlying motivation for that support is similar.

    That's not to say that every thing I support is perfect, but much of it has been inspired as well as informed by the teachings of the Buddha, my own practice, and the example of monks like Bhikkhu Bodhi (addressing climate change), Ajahn Brahm (addressing racism), Ajahn Maha Bua (trying to save Thailand's economy), Ajahn Buddhadasa (his Dhammic socialism), etc.

    Davidlobster
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited October 2020

    I'm pretty much the same @Kerome and @Jason. The closest parties we have to socialism is the NDP and the Greens which I usually go for but I have voted Liberal before.

    I've yet to vote for the Conservatives and likely never will but I'm for the life of me trying to see myself in conservative people.

    I hear the racism and sexism and classism and I tell myself that I could have been just like that if I was affected by the same conditioning. It helps but I can't just stay silent.

    Black lives do matter, we need to raise the feminine and we need to pull together to end class warfare. We need nurturing and healing and to make that change is to be engaged and to be engaged is political.

    I remember not long ago, there was a thread here and it was about BLM and I was arguing against using the labels, calling them divisive. I still do see it that way and still do not identify as "white" but that's getting too far ahead. We can drop the labels when the time is right but right now, we need to pull together for those most afflicted.

    JasonShoshin1lobster
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    Coincidentally, Pope Francis just issued a new encyclical that, among other things, highlights the contradictions inherent in private property rights and the suffering and inequality it engenders. While in practice, the institutional church has long been geared towards the support of power and oppression and covering up abuse, the theological and historical basis of Christianity itself has always been a universal call to the common good and solidarity with the poor and oppressed. The encyclical calls for justice; for a radical change in thought as well as the material ways we produce and distribute wealth; and for us to envision a new, socialized humanity and "aspire to a world that provides land, housing and work for all." I think this part in particular demonstrates that:

    ENVISAGING THE SOCIAL ROLE OF PROPERTY

    1. The world exists for everyone, because all of us were born with the same dignity. Differences of colour, religion, talent, place of birth or residence, and so many others, cannot be used to justify the privileges of some over the rights of all. As a community, we have an obligation to ensure that every person lives with dignity and has sufficient opportunities for his or her integral development.

    2. In the first Christian centuries, a number of thinkers developed a universal vision in their reflections on the common destination of created goods.[91] This led them to realize that if one person lacks what is necessary to live with dignity, it is because another person is detaining it. Saint John Chrysostom summarizes it in this way: “Not to share our wealth with the poor is to rob them and take away their livelihood. The riches we possess are not our own, but theirs as well”.[92] In the words of Saint Gregory the Great, “When we provide the needy with their basic needs, we are giving them what belongs to them, not to us”.[93]

    3. Once more, I would like to echo a statement of Saint John Paul II whose forcefulness has perhaps been insufficiently recognized: “God gave the earth to the whole human race for the sustenance of all its members, without excluding or favouring anyone”.[94] For my part, I would observe that “the Christian tradition has never recognized the right to private property as absolute or inviolable, and has stressed the social purpose of all forms of private property”.[95] The principle of the common use of created goods is the “first principle of the whole ethical and social order”;[96] it is a natural and inherent right that takes priority over others.[97] All other rights having to do with the goods necessary for the integral fulfilment of persons, including that of private property or any other type of property, should – in the words of Saint Paul VI – “in no way hinder [this right], but should actively facilitate its implementation”.[98] The right to private property can only be considered a secondary natural right, derived from the principle of the universal destination of created goods. This has concrete consequences that ought to be reflected in the workings of society. Yet it often happens that secondary rights displace primary and overriding rights, in practice making them irrelevant.

    Rights without borders

    1. No one, then, can remain excluded because of his or her place of birth, much less because of privileges enjoyed by others who were born in lands of greater opportunity. The limits and borders of individual states cannot stand in the way of this. As it is unacceptable that some have fewer rights by virtue of being women, it is likewise unacceptable that the mere place of one’s birth or residence should result in his or her possessing fewer opportunities for a developed and dignified life.

    2. Development must not aim at the amassing of wealth by a few, but must ensure “human rights – personal and social, economic and political, including the rights of nations and of peoples”.[99] The right of some to free enterprise or market freedom cannot supersede the rights of peoples and the dignity of the poor, or, for that matter, respect for the natural environment, for “if we make something our own, it is only to administer it for the good of all”.[100]

    3. Business activity is essentially “a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving our world”.[101] God encourages us to develop the talents he gave us, and he has made our universe one of immense potential. In God’s plan, each individual is called to promote his or her own development,[102] and this includes finding the best economic and technological means of multiplying goods and increasing wealth. Business abilities, which are a gift from God, should always be clearly directed to the development of others and to eliminating poverty, especially through the creation of diversified work opportunities. The right to private property is always accompanied by the primary and prior principle of the subordination of all private property to the universal destination of the earth’s goods, and thus the right of all to their use.[103]

    The rights of peoples

    1. Nowadays, a firm belief in the common destination of the earth’s goods requires that this principle also be applied to nations, their territories and their resources. Seen from the standpoint not only of the legitimacy of private property and the rights of its citizens, but also of the first principle of the common destination of goods, we can then say that each country also belongs to the foreigner, inasmuch as a territory’s goods must not be denied to a needy person coming from elsewhere. As the Bishops of the United States have taught, there are fundamental rights that “precede any society because they flow from the dignity granted to each person as created by God”.[104]

    2. This presupposes a different way of understanding relations and exchanges between countries. If every human being possesses an inalienable dignity, if all people are my brothers and sisters, and if the world truly belongs to everyone, then it matters little whether my neighbour was born in my country or elsewhere. My own country also shares responsibility for his or her development, although it can fulfil that responsibility in a variety of ways. It can offer a generous welcome to those in urgent need, or work to improve living conditions in their native lands by refusing to exploit those countries or to drain them of natural resources, backing corrupt systems that hinder the dignified development of their peoples. What applies to nations is true also for different regions within each country, since there too great inequalities often exist. At times, the inability to recognize equal human dignity leads the more developed regions in some countries to think that they can jettison the “dead weight” of poorer regions and so increase their level of consumption.

    3. We are really speaking about a new network of international relations, since there is no way to resolve the serious problems of our world if we continue to think only in terms of mutual assistance between individuals or small groups. Nor should we forget that “inequity affects not only individuals but entire countries; it compels us to consider an ethics of international relations”.[105] Indeed, justice requires recognizing and respecting not only the rights of individuals, but also social rights and the rights of peoples.[106] This means finding a way to ensure “the fundamental right of peoples to subsistence and progress”,[107] a right which is at times severely restricted by the pressure created by foreign debt. In many instances, debt repayment not only fails to promote development but gravely limits and conditions it. While respecting the principle that all legitimately acquired debt must be repaid, the way in which many poor countries fulfil this obligation should not end up compromising their very existence and growth.

    4. Certainly, all this calls for an alternative way of thinking. Without an attempt to enter into that way of thinking, what I am saying here will sound wildly unrealistic. On the other hand, if we accept the great principle that there are rights born of our inalienable human dignity, we can rise to the challenge of envisaging a new humanity. We can aspire to a world that provides land, housing and work for all. This is the true path of peace, not the senseless and myopic strategy of sowing fear and mistrust in the face of outside threats. For a real and lasting peace will only be possible “on the basis of a global ethic of solidarity and cooperation in the service of a future shaped by interdependence and shared responsibility in the whole human family”.[108]

    rocalaDavid
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    .

    We don't have a choice in Australia....it is illegal not to vote unless you have a legitimate reason.

    And, from experience, telling the Electoral Commission that your 3 year old stuffed the postal vote envelope you received down the back of the couch as an excuse doesn't cut it.....my wallet was $75 lighter :(

    Shoshin1marcitkoDavid
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    edited October 2020

    I came across a simple graphic that explains some of my ethical feelings around the topic.

    I don't really see the unethicality being having more than an other. It's about how it is acquired.

    I have a brother who works as little as is possible. My mother gives each of her children a christmas gift of $1,500. For him she only gives $500 and puts the other $1,000 in a savings account for when he may need a new car or another large expense. He is perfectly capable of working, he is smart and efficient. While working most of his life as a cook he passed up many opportunities to become a kitchen manager and other ways to increase his value and resume. He had a roommate in the trailer home he owns win a sizeable poker tournament and my brother quit working for 2 years living off the rent his roommate payed. Now the roommate is gone and he doesn't want to go back to cooking, so he drives for a gig food delivery app. He has no real skills, doesn't want to get even a 2 year tech degree, for which there are jobs in the area, and he is now always on about UBI. That if he only had $1,000 a month he could start a food truck... Please...🙄

    I guess I'm saying you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink, you can provide many people with opportunities but they need to put in the effort. I don't want to come off as cold hearted, I would like to see a world where as many people as possible have adequate access to the opportunities they need to succeed. The subject in general hasn't been much on my mind lately so I'm fairly disjointed in my thoughts.

    I think about proportionality. Fairness sort of comes in two flavors, equality and proportionality. The example I remember about this is of a classroom where the students clean and organize every now and again and afterward the teacher hands out jellybeans. Proportionality says that the students who put in more effort and talent get more reward, while the students who stood around talking most of the time get little reward. To the fairness as proportionality crowd distributing the jelly beans equally is a form of injustice.

    I also think about incentives. The prosperity of the world today is built upon certain foundational incentives towards productivity and innovation. It is possible that efforts that take from that productivity to address real ills in the world reach a level where they destroy the source of that prosperity, to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. A world where everyone is equally poor is not a goal worth achieving.

    What else... the world isn't zero sum, one person having something doesn't necessarily mean it comes at the cost to another.

    I'm sure there is more buried away in some dusty corner but those are half a penny's worth of thoughts from a hopelessly pragmatic capitalist.

    コチシカShoshin1David
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited October 2020

    Except the rich are the primary predators and parasites.

    DavidShoshin1
  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer

    Does Buddhism promote compassion and caring about other people? Then it promotes left-wing politics. Simple.

    Shoshin1
  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer

    @person Your entire post assumes a simplistic black-and-white worldview of meritocracy which says, "The rich are rich because they earned it and the poor are poor because they're lazy." Do you realise that? Is it possible for anyone who knows anything about the world to consciously and knowingly embrace this statement?

  • Then it promotes left-wing politics.

    There are many examples of aristocratic [cough, cough ... Buddha], sexist, militaristic sanctioned ZENiths and right wing sangha and individuals. >:)
    Are they not in need of dharma? Perhaps more so. Perhaps not.

    There is free and loose and there are tight clingings. I shake myself free. Which is never simple ... o:)

    https://newhumanist.org.uk/articles/4021/the-dark-side-of-buddhism

    Maybe Daath Vedas will come over to the light side? Oh he did ... <3

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    I remember how surprised I was to find out that not only did the sixty or so monks at the Buddhist monastery I was having a retreat at, break that retreat in order to cast their vote during an election but despite them all them being Buddhist renunciates, many of them voted for diversely different parties.

    lobstermarcitko
  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer
    edited November 2020

    @lobster Sure, perhaps those in power are the most in need of dharma, but that would only prove the point- that Buddhism itself would logically align with a political stance that is about compassion and caring about other people. Hence why those in power would need it.

    lobster
  • コチシカコチシカ Veteran
    edited November 2020

    I think categories are / can be very nice and convenient. Yet they can make our clear vision go astray. Like @how once mentioned to me, it can become intoxicating!

    In my country Podemos and PSOE (New Left / Old Left parties) are in power. And I've seen how time has slowly changed the newbies promising alternative, following the "History repeats itself" dynamic once more -we had the same situation with Felipe González in 1982-1996)-. Also our President, Pedro Sánchez (PSOE), in the midst of the current pandemic and crisis, did not hesitate in renovating the official summer residence, a gift from the former king (Juan Carlos I, check out his corruption tales please if you have time), which is located where my parents live. Apparently for his holidays he spent around 67,000 euros. The expenses are detailed [here] in Spanish. (https://okdiario.com/espana/pedro-sanchez-gastara-menos-67-000e-falcon-sus-vacaciones-plena-crisis-5990638).

    Now, the issue is ... what sort of categories or terms do we prefer? White supremacy, rugged individualism, Western cultural superiority, globalisation, eco-perspectives, Instagram-Facebook culture, Openness, Capitalism, Socialism, Anarchism -endless list of isms for a few kalpas-.

    I simply gave up voting. But in my heart Socialist and Anarchist values always feel closer.

    I believe Buddha would probably just dismiss this talk and remind us: "What about your practice?".

    lobster
  • But in my heart Socialist and Anarchist values always feel closer.

    Many Buddhists are [insert varied heartfelt values of choice]. Throughout our lives our values may change due to:

    • age
    • education/socialisation/proper gander
    • awakening

    Power can be corrupting as mentioned but also we are not all the same

    • type of Buddhist
    • type of person
    • type of karmic conditions

    Q: Does a dog, cow, post, dictator, communist or demon have Buddha Nature?
    A: Know

    ;)

  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran
    edited November 2020

    @コチシカ said:
    I simply gave up voting. But in my heart Socialist and Anarchist values always feel closer.

    I think it makes sense, I think in the end it is important to find a good balance. A system like communism limits expression, while a system like capitalism means undeserved hardship for a lot of good people. I’d like to see a system where the worst excesses of capitalism were curbed, the not-well-off were supported and where young people started off more or less on an even foot, had similar chances and there wasn’t so much left to the standing of one’s parents.

    I try to vote when I can, usually for the greens. It’s not so much of a burden, and I still have hope that eventually we will be able to turn the earth into a garden planet. Once every four years a brief visit to the polls is relatively ok.

    I believe Buddha would probably just dismiss this talk and remind us: "What about your practice?".

    I think that is true, ultimately freedom and getting to know yourself is an internal process. Meditation helps with that, but mindfulness and reflection bring these deeper things more to the surface. But I feel also that a practice alone is not enough, one should devote time to creativity and playfulness.

    コチシカ
  • @Kerome

    Definitively! I forgot mentioning these (creativity and playfulness), even though in my mind they were implicit with my politics / practice.

    But regarding politics, I agree visiting the polls every 4 years make no harms, but the system makes it quite unfair for smaller parties in which I do have some hope or think I could contribute. The way Podemos has drifted makes me a bit happy -in a sad way- from resisting the popular wave of voting them. I also felt identified with the reference to the youth and parents. If it weren't for my parents support, my migration to Germany would have been impossible. And my first year establishing, quite a different reality. I know Spanish people who have still done the trip with barely anything, just a few savings, and yet succeeded. They have my deepest admirations. Without mentioning the refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Mali, Gambia, etc. Those had the rougher end of the stick due to: No VISA? No money? No.

    :(

    Right now as a migrant in another country, I'm completely disconnected from German politics. I do hope we see a system like the one you described... I have to say the forest here in autumn looks beautiful. I wish I could distinguish the good mushrooms from the bad ones. I'm only familiar with Amanita Muscaria :scream:

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    I would probably make voting mandatory with an option for "none of the above". I feel voting should be a right, not a privilege and a responsibility, not an option. If you want to enjoy the benefits of modern society like driving on the roads, attending schools or contributing to the work force then you'll be taking part in the voting system.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    @Sam8 said:
    @person Your entire post assumes a simplistic black-and-white worldview of meritocracy which says, "The rich are rich because they earned it and the poor are poor because they're lazy." Do you realise that? Is it possible for anyone who knows anything about the world to consciously and knowingly embrace this statement?

    I think you're probably assuming a lot. I'm far from an absolutist, I don't think we're living in the best of all possible worlds. I'll just say that I don't think Buddhism is synonymous with left wing politics and I'm rather put off by the insistence I see coming from some of the western Buddhist community that acts as if its the 5th noble truth.

    Buddhism also talks about wisdom and equanimity, about taking a broad and long term view. Often what benefits society in the long term isn't the kindest thing for every individual. Frankly I interpret some of what I see coming from the left as fitting into the Buddhist notion of "idiot compassion".

    To use an analogy to maybe try to express my view better take a beehive. Is it compassionate to care about what happens to the bees or is it compassionate to care about the hive? The hive isn't a living, conscious thing. It doesn't suffer or experience happiness. But a healthy hive is fundamental for the prosperity of the bees. If you only view compassion as actions that directly help the bees even if they come at the expense or neglect of the hive I question whether you're properly balancing and integrating wisdom and compassion.

    My mind hasn't been engaged in this direction much recently. But I appreciate disagreement and dialogue and the opportunity it offers for clarity and understanding. So feel free to disagree, I'll just ask to try and keep it civil. Political topics often provide more heat than light.

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    I think wealth is fine if one is working for the betterment of all but if it is for the benefit of one while taking advantage of the situation of others then that is parasitic.

    Big banks and other money lenders often picture themselves as saviors and justify their fees in that way but they are really just exploiting poverty.

    Everybody has a unique way of seeing the world and can be really good at something. If that was nourished, there is no telling how much better off we would be as a whole. Everybody should have the right to education if they are trying and if they are encouraged to do what excites them no matter how much money or respect their family has then they are trying.

    I do think we are coming around.

  • Insects which form colonies are known as 'social insects' which means they live and work together for the greater good of the colony...

    A bee hive consists of social insects, in this case bees and is by its very nature commun-ist....
    Commun-ism is the structure which maintains the hive...

    All for one and one for all, all working together for the greater good....There would be no hive if not for the bees and their ability to work together, sharing the load in maintaining the colony, by working together all their needs are taken care of, food shelter and protection....

    The liquid gold produced by the bees is shared amongst each other, each taking only what they need to survive and storing some for winter/hard times...
    All the workers are infertile females, the males aka drones are one off gigolos whose sole purpose along with the queen bee is procreation after which the drones die off and the fertile queens produce off springs and so the cycle of commun-ism aka sharing continues...

    Ant and wasp colonies also operate/function under a commun-ist system..

    Funnily enough, here in Aotearoa (NZ) the building which houses the PM & MPs is call the "Beehive" and this came about due to the shape of the building...

  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer

    @person Perhaps I misinterpreted you- but your original post did seem strongly suggestive of that "meritocratic" worldview that is commonly used to justify inequality.

    I understand the tension between what is good for the individual vs what is good for the collective, but I don't see how it's applicable here as a right-wing worldview is not good for either. Privatization, deregulation and tax cuts paid for by cutting social services demonstrably benefit wealthy individuals at the expense of society as a whole.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    edited November 2020

    @Shoshin1 said:

    Insects which form colonies are known as 'social insects' which means they live and work together for the greater good of the colony...

    A bee hive consists of social insects, in this case bees and is by its very nature commun-ist....
    Commun-ism is the structure which maintains the hive...

    All for one and one for all, all working together for the greater good....There would be no hive if not for the bees and their ability to work together, sharing the load in maintaining the colony, by working together all their needs are taken care of, food shelter and protection....

    The liquid gold produced by the bees is shared amongst each other, each taking only what they need to survive and storing some for winter/hard times...
    All the workers are infertile females, the males aka drones are one off gigolos whose sole purpose along with the queen bee is procreation after which the drones die off and the fertile queens produce off springs and so the cycle of commun-ism aka sharing continues...

    Ant and wasp colonies also operate/function under a commun-ist system..

    Funnily enough, here in Aotearoa (NZ) the building which houses the PM & MPs is call the "Beehive" and this came about due to the shape of the building...

    I'm not sure I'm 100% on board but I'd say I mostly agree with your point.

    I'll say that the relation is symbiotic and that is where I'm trying to come from. Healthy bees are needed to create a healthy hive, but healthy bees can't just do what they like or disregard the structures and institutions they depend on and expect things to continue on swimmingly. They're required to contribute in a way that the hive deems useful.

    I guess I think the greater good is served by allowing the most productive and talented among us to reach their potential. Even if while they're alive they do end up keeping it mostly for themselves we're all better off for the things they created. Along the lines of the graphic I posted earlier I make a distinction between rich people who create wealth and rich people who extract wealth.

    I'll also add a quote by E.O. Wilson on communism, "Great idea, wrong species".

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    @Sam8 said:
    @person Perhaps I misinterpreted you- but your original post did seem strongly suggestive of that "meritocratic" worldview that is commonly used to justify inequality.

    I understand the tension between what is good for the individual vs what is good for the collective, but I don't see how it's applicable here as a right-wing worldview is not good for either. Privatization, deregulation and tax cuts paid for by cutting social services demonstrably benefit wealthy individuals at the expense of society as a whole.

    Where do you come down on the idea of meritocracy? It seems like there are two different ways people take a negative view towards it. One, that the whole idea is sort of corrupt and should be replaced with something else. Or two, that meritocracy is a positive ideal but currently we aren't living up to it.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    @Sam8 said:
    "The rich are rich because they earned it and the poor are poor because they're lazy."

    I feel like trying to unpack this a bit. You're right if this what people think 100% then that is simplistic black and white thinking.

    I'd say that thinking the opposite is also simplistic black and white thinking. That the rich are rich because they stole it or got it dishonestly or corruptly somehow and the poor are only just victims of life or the system.

    I do think some rich people are rich because they earned it, I know a few of them. And I think some poor people are poor because they're lazy, I'm related to one of them.

    There are greater forces at work though, some rich people engage in wealth extraction rather than wealth creation. Say a payday lender or wall street broker vs an owner of a construction company or inventor.

    Many who are poor are simply victims of bad luck, while others don't take advantage of the opportunities given them.

    I also don't think the measure of a successful life is how well you compare to others. I think the better measure is how well you compare to your own starting position.

    Anyway, I'm not really on a team anymore. I'm a firm believer in what John Stuart Mill said, "A party of order or stability, and a party of progress or reform, are both necessary elements of a healthy state of political life”. I think the right's proposals are often out of balance and I think the left's are too. I like the analogy of a bus, conservatives are the brakes and progressives are the gas. All brake and we don't go anywhere, all gas and we fly off the cliff.

    lobster
  • コチシカコチシカ Veteran
    edited November 2020

    I would like to share this interview between Jordi Évole and the former president of Uruguay, the famous Mujica :) Unfortunately, it is just in Spanish. Sooo... I decided to translate it into English and add the subtitles to the video :awesome: But they don't let me... So I will just leave the link and the translation here.


    Jordi: You are not very fond of consumerism?

    Mujica: Not at all. I'm against it.

    J: But I've been told that for a country to work, it needs this flow of consumption. That people buy so that money can circulate. So that then banks can give out loans and that's what sustains the system.

    M: In part that cannot and should not be avoided. But I think that in our contemporary society, due to the spread of this hyper-consumption, we are not paying attention to the priority consumption, the one which is really fundamental. And at the same time, we are spending human effort on a lot of nonsense that has little to do with human happiness. People are stuck inside of some kind of giant spider's web that is this consumer society, which is built on accumulation. People aren't even aware of that. But let's start from the beginning. When you buy something, make no mistake about it, the instrument is the money that you are buying it with. But in reality, you are buying with the time of your life that you had to spend in order to obtain that money. This means that when you spend, deep down, what you are spending is that time of your life which you have exchanged to obtain that money. When I propose sobriety as a way of living, I propose sobriety in order to have more time, the greatest amount of time to live life according to the things that motivate you. Which are not necessarily related to those of work.

    J: But there may be people who freely think that it's good for them to invest their time in earning money and with that money buy a better car, a bigger house…

    M: Yes, yes, and let them work. And screw them. Let them work hard if they want to. It's a free decision. But are we free when we're forced to have a culture of spending and spending, and having to change your phone every month, and that your car doesn't resist more than two years? That will move the economy, but don't think that that will develop your life. Because the biggest thing you have, is that you are alive. It's a miracle that you're alive. So, there are people like this, I've seen… Once I was with a man in New York. He was 98 years old…

    J: Who was he?

    M: Rockefeller.

    J: Man, you guys know each other.

    M: 98 years old and still accumulating money, what's the point? It is understandable that you with the age you have, well, that you're fighting to have a better house, it has a logic, right? But at my age, to worry about that? When you biologically know that you are... It doesn't make any sense.

    J: But you have never seemed to worry about that. Not at this age or any other age.

    M: Not at all. Happiness is not a material question. I understand the Bible. They said that the happy man had no shirt. It's literally not like that. That's a poetic and figurative expression of saying: All in good time. My definition of poverty is the one from Seneca: Poor are those who need a lot. Those are poor.

    J: I've been told that you donate 90% of what you earn to social causes.

    M: Yes, there is a housing plan for poor women who have children, and the bulk of what I earn goes there.

    J: And how much do you get to live on?

    M: I have about 40 to 50 thousand pesos left, which I also save.

    J: Because you spend very little.

    M: And I have enough with what my partner earns, who is a senator.

    J: Those 40 / 50,000 pesos, how much would that be in euros?

    M: About 2,000 dollars more or less.

    J: Every month?

    M: Because I plan to build a school in that field over there. And when I leave the government, I plan to set up a farm school there.


    person
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    Congratulations to Mr. Mujica, for figuring out something essential.

    Unfortunately it is not something they teach you in schools, for the most part. It is the kind of lived experience that you arrive at at a certain point in life. In a way the economy is a system for getting everybody to do what needs to be done, and rewarding them a little.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    @コチシカ said:
    I would like to share this interview between Jordi Évole and the former president of Uruguay, the famous Mujica :) Unfortunately, it is just in Spanish. Sooo... I decided to translate it into English and add the subtitles to the video :awesome: But they don't let me... So I will just leave the link and the translation here...

    I'll admit that I am free riding on the system. I live a simple life, mostly not in pursuit of materialistic goals. I feel like I'm benefiting from others efforts and habits. I don't have to work excessively hard to sustain myself and set money aside for the future. I benefit from cheap, easily accessible goods.

    So I guess that's fairly self serving. Though I do put some small effort into trying to show others that a materialistic attitude isn't the way to happiness and fulfillment.

    But are we free when we're forced to have a culture of spending and spending, and having to change your phone every month, and that your car doesn't resist more than two years?

    This is kind where I head in the opposite direction. I don't think the culture forces you to do anything. To me the ability to live according to your own values is a major part of what it means to be mentally and spiritually free. Maybe I'm an outlier though, I've often been described as someone who marches to their own drum.

    lobster
  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer

    @person

    "Where do you come down on the idea of meritocracy? It seems like there are two different ways people take a negative view towards it. One, that the whole idea is sort of corrupt and should be replaced with something else. Or two, that meritocracy is a positive ideal but currently we aren't living up to it."

    I tend to think the idea itself is "sort of corrupt" since it's impossible- sort of a utopian ideal in its own right. Certainly under capitalism it's impossible, since it's economically and mathematically impossible for everyone to be rich all at once no matter how hard everyone works. Under socialism (traditionally understood, i.e. worker ownership of the workplace, distribution according to one's contribution) it might be more possible, but even then we have to acknowledge that people would be born with unequal opportunities through no fault of their own even in a socialist society. However, of course, in a socialist society you'd still need accountability for those able-bodied people who refused to work- no denying that.

    "I'd say that thinking the opposite is also simplistic black and white thinking. That the rich are rich because they stole it or got it dishonestly or corruptly somehow and the poor are only just victims of life or the system."

    Of course; either extreme is black and white thinking. But once you acknowledge that the system is grey, that people can be rich by foul means as well as "fair," that poor people can be poor by exploitation and bad luck as well as laziness, then you are acknowledging that the system is unfair and un-meritocratic.

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited November 2020

    I really think we could have the best of both worlds if we handled education better to our advantage. If everybody was taught that everybody is good at something they enjoy and that we could all benefit from and we nurtured that ideal, more of us would put in the effort.

    I can't remember where I heard this quote from but the individual can only be expected to care about society as much as society cares about the individual.

    Class warfare has to end if we are to have a future where we all matter.

    Democratic and socialized capitalism could work and I think that's where we are headed. More and more of us the world over are waking up to the fact that we are a global community and that scares the hell out of some people.

    Shoshin1
  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer

    "Democratic and socialized capitalism could work..."

    "There is no alternative to exploitation and inequality, the best we can hope for is a more humane form of exploitation." Yes, this is the mindset that has been pounded into us.

  • Heart Sutra of Politics

    There is no politics,
    and no end to ignorance.
    There is no old wage and earth,
    and no end to old wage death.
    There is know suffering, know cause of suffering,
    know end to suffering, know path to follow.
    There is know attainment of wisdom,
    and know wisdom to attain.

    from the original:

    There is no ignorance,
    and no end to ignorance.
    There is no old age and death,
    and no end to old age and death.
    There is no suffering, no cause of suffering,
    no end to suffering, no path to follow.
    There is no attainment of wisdom,
    and no wisdom to attain.

    http://webspace.ship.edu/cgboer/heartsutra.html

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