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Anarchism and Buddhism

KeromeKerome Certainty is the enemy of wonderThe Continent Veteran

Recently I have been interacting with a Dutch Buddhist who is also a follower of anarchism (which is also referred to as libertarianism in some parts of the world), and I have found it interesting to consider what the meeting of the two might mean. Personally I’ve never been that interested in political philosophy, and the whole idea of class struggle is something that I have rarely contemplated.

I’ve always thought that if you decline to be fitted into other people’s compartments for easy identification, you can consider yourself more of an individual, more free in a way. Which is why I don’t apply isms to myself, because they always seem to come with certain expectations. One of the main things I have learnt from Buddhism is that a lot of the movement towards freedom comes from dissolving ones own previously held convictions, the restrictions we have placed on ourselves.

Of course this is also about identity, a lot of people define themselves by being a member of certain groups. This then brings in attachment to the groups ideals and goals, which then starts to stir the emotions. It seems a set of behaviours which is not really conducive to the path...

How do you feel about identity and being part of movements? How does it work with your Buddhism?

person
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Comments

  • 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'm sure @Jason will reply far more fluidly, but the old saying "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem" seemed to jump into my head on reading your post...

    Everyone is a part of something, even if they declare themselves to be entirely independent...

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

    Being free to be curious and play with ideas, to think for myself is important to me. I find pretty much every group has some level of group think where, "when everyone thinks the same, no one thinks at all".

    I agree with the idea that politics is becoming some people's new religion. And maybe this is more of an American phenomenon with our puritan history, but our political tribes these days often come with their own forms of heresy, public shaming and excommunication.

    I think there is some relation with the idea of renunciation. When we belong to social groups there is an inevitable pressure to conform to retain membership and the personal connections and security benefits that come with it.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited November 2020

    Meditation can be a process of unfolding how we continually create our own identity.

    Seeing how we habitually manipulate all of the raw data that we receive through our sense gates shows us the mechanisms in play that maintain our identity.
    The degree to which we meditatively stop trying to control those data feeds in any way is the same degree to which our identity is denied the raw materials needed for its maintenance.

    It is perfectly possible to do but as it directly threatens the very expression of the human condition that our identity manifest as.. only by really understanding how our expression of identity is intrinsically linked to suffering's cause, would any of us seriously proceed any distance through that process.

    Be part of any movement that seems good to support. Just question why the support of any movement does not also contain the seeds of harmfulness while your identity is still feeding of it.

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

    @federica said:
    I'm sure @Jason will reply far more fluidly, but the old saying "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem" seemed to jump into my head on reading your post...

    Everyone is a part of something, even if they declare themselves to be entirely independent...

    So what if you think one of the biggest problems we face is the strife caused by political polarization? Does that mean if you pick a team to fight for and are not working towards the solution to that particular problem you are complicit in 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

    @person said: So what if you think one of the biggest problems we face is the strife caused by political polarization? Does that mean if you pick a team to fight for and are not working towards the solution to that particular problem you are complicit in it?

    If you pick a team to fight for, you're backing the team in the fight. The reason you pick the team is because you agree with their ideology, their rationale, their reasoning. There may be things about the team you're not entirely happy about - well, you can't have it all ways all the time - but pitching your flag in their camp - IS doing something. Isn't it?

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

    @federica said:

    @person said: So what if you think one of the biggest problems we face is the strife caused by political polarization? Does that mean if you pick a team to fight for and are not working towards the solution to that particular problem you are complicit in it?

    If you pick a team to fight for, you're backing the team in the fight. The reason you pick the team is because you agree with their ideology, their rationale, their reasoning. There may be things about the team you're not entirely happy about - well, you can't have it all ways all the time - but pitching your flag in their camp - IS doing something. Isn't it?

    Sorry, I don't think I worded my statement well. I'm asking if by picking a team you are part of the problem of polarization? Not that one can't advocate for a cause without being partisan, but that is a difficult needle to thread and you are adding energy to the teammates that are causing strife and division.

    So going by the notion "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem", does joining a team make one complicit in the problem of polarization and strife?

  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran
    edited November 2020

    How do you feel about identity and being part of movements? How does it work with your Buddhism?

    I find this by Gary Snyder interesting...

    Buddhist Anarchism ...

    Avatamsaka (Kegon) Buddhist philosophy sees the world as a vast interrelated network in which all objects and creatures are necessary and illuminated. From one standpoint, governments, wars, or all that we consider “evil” are uncompromisingly contained in this totalistic realm. The hawk, the swoop and the hare are one. From the “human” standpoint we cannot live in those terms unless all beings see with the same enlightened eye. The Bodhisattva lives by the sufferer’s standard, and he must be effective in aiding those who suffer.

    The mercy of the West has been social revolution; the mercy of the East has been individual insight into the basic self/void. We need both. They are both contained in the traditional three aspects of the Dharma path: wisdom (prajna), meditation (dhyana), and morality (sila). Wisdom is intuitive knowledge of the mind of love and clarity that lies beneath one’s ego-driven anxieties and aggressions. Meditation is going into the mind to see this for yourself — over and over again, until it becomes the mind you live in. Morality is bringing it back out in the way you live, through personal example and responsible action, ultimately toward the true community (sangha) of “all beings.”

    This last aspect means, for me, supporting any cultural and economic revolution that moves clearly toward a free, international, classless world. It means using such means as civil disobedience, outspoken criticism, protest, pacifism, voluntary poverty and even gentle violence if it comes to a matter of restraining some impetuous redneck. It means affirming the widest possible spectrum of non-harmful individual behavior — defending the right of individuals to smoke hemp, eat peyote, be polygynous, polyandrous or homosexual. Worlds of behavior and custom long banned by the Judaeo-Capitalist-Christian-Marxist West. It means respecting intelligence and learning, but not as greed or means to personal power. Working on one’s own responsibility, but willing to work with a group. “Forming the new society within the shell of the old” — the IWW slogan of fifty years ago.

    The traditional cultures are in any case doomed, and rather than cling to their good aspects hopelessly it should be remembered that whatever is or ever was in any other culture can be reconstructed from the unconscious, through meditation. In fact, it is my own view that the coming revolution will close the circle and link us in many ways with the most creative aspects of our archaic past. If we are lucky we may eventually arrive at a totally integrated world culture with matrilineal descent, free-form marriage, natural-credit communist economy, less industry, far less population and lots more national parks.

    I think if one becomes too attached to labels, they could become set in their ways ....

    lobsterrocala
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited November 2020

    I would not buy a used car from Boris Bozo Johnson or Ex-Potato-Head DJ T-Rump Stake out

    I vote green
    I do not support a return to lame Lama Feudalism in Tibet or State Hinayana in Sri Lanka

    I am anarchic by inclination

    There is some form for you, prison or not ...

  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer
    edited November 2020

    Identity can give you a sense of direction and purpose; attachment to identity can give you dogmatism and tribalism. Mindfulness and non-attachment are key.

    On politics, I cannot agree with the statements of some Buddhists who seem to say that politics is not important and that you should just focus on your "practice"- even so far as to say that this is what the Buddha himself would recommend. I'd like to think more of the Buddha than that.

    I'd say it takes a certain degree of ignorance, privilege and comfort to think that politics is not important. To my ear, they might as well be saying that compassion for others is not important- in which case, what is their "practice" good for except for narcissistic self-involvement? If that's Buddhism, count me out. Thank goodness it's not.

    lobsterKeromeDavidコチシカ
  • DavidDavid Just another unique aspect of the same old thang The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @Jason;

    That was nothing short of beautiful. Thank you.

    Jason
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited November 2020

    Be part of any movement that seems good to support.

    That is the nature of Fluid Dharma. I wonder how far we can drift across the spectrums of our early alignments and points of stasis?

    @Sam8 said:

    I'd say it takes a certain degree of ignorance, privilege and comfort to think that politics is not important.

    Indeed. Guilty as charged.
    Having all those privileges, enabled me to engage in the comfort of The Search for Wisdom, independent of prevailing politics. That is a freedom.
    http://phrontistery.info/govern.html

    If only we had a wise horse ...
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houyhnhnm

    🤪

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @David said:
    @Jason;

    That was nothing short of beautiful. Thank you.

    I wouldn't go that far, but thanks.

    David
  • DavidDavid Just another unique aspect of the same old thang The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @Jason said:

    @David said:
    @Jason;

    That was nothing short of beautiful. Thank you.

    I wouldn't go that far, but thanks.

    It has been an interesting few months and I was not in any way exaggerating.

    Any and all insight into the nature of interbeing is like raindrops on the earth. The more drops, the deeper the penetration.

    It is very nice and I won't take any drop for granted.

    lobster
  • KeromeKerome Certainty is the enemy of wonder The Continent Veteran

    @Sam8 said:
    On politics, I cannot agree with the statements of some Buddhists who seem to say that politics is not important and that you should just focus on your "practice"- even so far as to say that this is what the Buddha himself would recommend. I'd like to think more of the Buddha than that.

    I'd say it takes a certain degree of ignorance, privilege and comfort to think that politics is not important. To my ear, they might as well be saying that compassion for others is not important

    There is having a political standpoint and there's being politically engaged, I would say the former is kind of a necessity in a democracy, but I am not very much for the latter. I generally think the less political debate one follows the better. The vast majority of one's political activity can be about voting - what party and what person one should vote for. To do that, one needs a standpoint and an informed opinion.

    But if you are going to be an activist, perhaps it might be better to spend your energy on engaged buddhism than on politics. Generally politics tarnishes what it touches, and one sees a lot of compromised thinking. People who might once have been idealistic but have since left it all behind in favour of money grubbing and addiction to power. It's rare that you see someone like Obama who still seems to have some impulse to do the right thing.

  • DavidDavid Just another unique aspect of the same old thang The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @Sam8 said:
    Identity can give you a sense of direction and purpose; attachment to identity can give you dogmatism and tribalism. Mindfulness and non-attachment are key.

    I identify by non-identification. My love is onmidirectional.

    On politics, I cannot agree with the statements of some Buddhists who seem to say that politics is not important and that you should just focus on your "practice"- even so far as to say that this is what the Buddha himself would recommend. I'd like to think more of the Buddha than that.

    I'd say it takes a certain degree of ignorance, privilege and comfort to think that politics is not important. To my ear, they might as well be saying that compassion for others is not important- in which case, what is their "practice" good for except for narcissistic self-involvement? If that's Buddhism, count me out. Thank goodness it's not.

    It isn't that politics is unimportant, it is that taking sides perpetuates the divide. You are right about Buddha in my opinion because he worked counter to the caste system and tried to influence royalty towards reconciliation and peaceful coexistence.

    Interestingly enough, H.H. The Dalai Lama has given praise to the Green Party earlier this month saying "Buddha would be green" although as he says, he is retired from politics.

    SuraShine
  • The Dalai Lama has given praise to the Green Party earlier this month saying "Buddha would be green"

  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer

    @kerome said:
    "I generally think the less political debate one follows the better. The vast majority of one's political activity can be about voting - what party and what person one should vote for."

    "But only activism can get us a party and a person worth voting for. Generally politicians have two forces putting pressure on them: the people-power and money-power. If people-power isn't applied to them then they will follow money-power."

    @David said:
    "It isn't that politics is unimportant, it is that taking sides perpetuates the divide."

    Some sides have to be taken. Take slavery, for instance. If people hadn't a strong stance against it, we would still have it. Just because people took that side didn't mean that the divide was perpetuated- it did end, and now every decent human being looks back on the days of slavery and shakes their heads wondering how their ancestors could ever think of doing such a thing.

    Today, climate change is a massive issue (among others). If we don't take a strong stance against it, it's game over for the planet. And I hope that one day our descendants will, as with slavery, look back and shake their heads wondering how we could ever think of doing what we are doing to the planet.

  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer

    @kerome I don't know why I put my reply to you in quotation marks but I can't edit it now lol.

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    I have to agree with Sam8. In the US, there's a possibility that neither women or black people would even have the right to vote if it weren't for the activism of those who championed universal suffrage. Segregation laws would very possibly still exist if not for the activism of civil rights protesters. Even today, those votimg privileges are being suppressed, and it takes activists along with legislators et al to help protect and expand them. Voting alone is almost never enough.

    lobsterSam8
  • DavidDavid Just another unique aspect of the same old thang The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited November 2020

    @Sam8 said:

    @David said:

    "It isn't that politics is unimportant, it is that taking sides perpetuates the divide."

    Some sides have to be taken. Take slavery, for instance. If people hadn't a strong stance against it, we would still have it. Just because people took that side didn't mean that the divide was perpetuated- it did end, and now every decent human being looks back on the days of slavery and shakes their heads wondering how their ancestors could ever think of doing such a thing.

    Still, only love beats out hate. If we work for love out of hate, it simply will not work. Martin Luther King knew that and took a few lessons from Thich Nhat Hanh on how to reconcile through peaceful means.

    Today, climate change is a massive issue (among others). If we don't take a strong stance against it, it's game over for the planet. And I hope that one day our descendants will, as with slavery, look back and shake their heads wondering how we could ever think of doing what we are doing to the planet.

    The planet will go on with or without us but I get your point. My point is that feeding the delusion of us and "them" only reinforces the divide.

    I am against the action, not the people and promote reconciliation, not opposition.

    lobsterSuraShine
  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer
    edited November 2020

    @David

    I (and Jason) just gave you examples where picking a side did not "reinforce the divide" but ended it.

    That said, no one said you have to hate in order to engage in politics. You can still "love your enemy" as it were, but you still have to pick a side, make your case and engage in activism- Martin Luther King Jr understood that, too.

    Otherwise, words like "peace," "love" and "reconciliation" become just nice ways of saying "surrender to evil." There's nothing that the ruling classes, despotic regimes and dominant groups of history have loved more than "peace."

    lobster
  • DavidDavid Just another unique aspect of the same old thang The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @Sam8 said:
    @David

    I (and Jason) just gave you examples where picking a side did not "reinforce the divide" but ended it.

    That said, no one said you have to hate in order to engage in politics. You can still "love your enemy" as it were, but you still have to pick a side, make your case and engage in activism- Martin Luther King Jr understood that, too.

    Otherwise, words like "peace," "love" and "reconciliation" become just nice ways of saying "surrender to evil." There's nothing that the ruling classes, despotic regimes and dominant groups of history have loved more than "peace."

    I quite disagree. Picking a side is to prolong the fighting. Supporting what we believe in is easy without feeding the notion of being against or a separate side.

    SuraShine
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited November 2020

    @David said:

    @Sam8 said:
    @David

    I (and Jason) just gave you examples where picking a side did not "reinforce the divide" but ended it.

    That said, no one said you have to hate in order to engage in politics. You can still "love your enemy" as it were, but you still have to pick a side, make your case and engage in activism- Martin Luther King Jr understood that, too.

    Otherwise, words like "peace," "love" and "reconciliation" become just nice ways of saying "surrender to evil." There's nothing that the ruling classes, despotic regimes and dominant groups of history have loved more than "peace."

    I quite disagree. Picking a side is to prolong the fighting. Supporting what we believe in is easy without feeding the notion of being against or a separate side.

    Sometimes it's necessary to pick a side or to engage in forms of direct action outside of voting (esp. when one is lacking that right, such as with the suffrage movements).

    While extreme examples, things like slavery in the US and the Holocaust in Nazi-controlled Europe required wars to end. The horrors of both would have been prolonged if they'd been left to continue on their own, and from my POV, not picking a side and just letting them continue is no virtue.

    The same is true with segregation and Jim Crow, which arguably required prolonged organizing and civil disobedience to finally end. I definitely think picking the side of ending racial segregation was a moral good, and that all the direct action encompassed by the civil rights movement was a necessary expedient to ending it.

  • DavidDavid Just another unique aspect of the same old thang The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited November 2020

    @Jason said:

    @David said:

    @Sam8 said:
    @David

    I (and Jason) just gave you examples where picking a side did not "reinforce the divide" but ended it.

    That said, no one said you have to hate in order to engage in politics. You can still "love your enemy" as it were, but you still have to pick a side, make your case and engage in activism- Martin Luther King Jr understood that, too.

    Otherwise, words like "peace," "love" and "reconciliation" become just nice ways of saying "surrender to evil." There's nothing that the ruling classes, despotic regimes and dominant groups of history have loved more than "peace."

    I quite disagree. Picking a side is to prolong the fighting. Supporting what we believe in is easy without feeding the notion of being against or a separate side.

    Sometimes it's necessary to pick a side or to engage in forms of direct action outside of voting (esp. when one is lacking that right, such as with the suffrage movements).

    While extreme examples, things like slavery in the US and the Holocaust in Nazi-controlled Europe required wars to end. The horrors of both would have been prolonged if they'd been left to continue on their own, and from my POV, not picking a side and just letting them continue is no virtue.

    Activism doesn't necessitate picking a side to the exclusion of people on the other side though. Pleading with leaders to see reason and try to work out differences requires allegiance to peaceful means and not being against anybody.

    The same is true with segregation and Jim Crow, which arguably required prolonged organizing and civil disobedience to finally end. I definitely think picking the side of ending racial segregation was a moral good, and that all the direct action encompassed by the civil rights movement was a necessary expedient to ending it.

    To end segregation is to bring people together and that means seeing sides as imperfect means.

    If we can see ourself in the other "side" and live as an example for peace we will have much better results than setting ourselves into further divide by simply opposing the other "side".

    My wife is from Cambodia and her Dad is her Moms second husband. Her first one was murdered by Pol Pots thugs because he refused to fight on their side. They came in the night, assassinated him and left the wife and 2 boys to fend for themselves after taking their land from them. They ended up in a refugee camp where the 2 boys starved.

    Many people that get killed by our "side" were forced into it through these kinds of cowardly ways.

    Ever watch MASH?

    I'd be like Hawkeye minus the womanizing, alcoholism and the resulting suffering that comes with lust and inebriation.

  • Oh dear. I have put this Sufi quote in the wrong place and not attributed it ...

    You have read for years, and where has it got you? Your head is filled with masses of ideas and concepts, and you yearn for experience that others on the path have had. Before your true nature is understood all those ideas and concepts must melt away. No books — the only book is the manuscript of nature, the lesson is life itself. Live passionately! Who said that this path should be so serious that there is no joy in it? This is the most exciting adventure possible, and it should be enjoyed.
    — Hamid

    ... and now back to the anarchy 🏴

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    Maybe it's just a sematic issue here, but it does seem sides need to be taken in many instances. You can plead with leaders to stop or change something, but when they don't, your choices are basically do nothing (allowing it to continue) or you do something to push them to stop and make systemic changes, opposing whatever action or policy you deem to be a source of inequality or harm. And very often, they will actively seek to stop you, often through violence, imprisonment, and even death. And the act of fighting for your cause is a form of action and it does put you on the opposite side, even if you refuse to acknowledge that separation. That doesn't mean there can't be reconciliation afterwards, or that violence is always required, but to say that you're not picking a side when you ideologically and actively diagree with and seek to stop some form of violence, injustice, oppression, etc. MLK Jr., for instance, didn't hate racists and segregationists, but he certainly opposed them and their agenda and worked hard until his murder to force those changes through his activism. The wave of protests and civil disobedience on the part of black Americans directly led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

  • DavidDavid Just another unique aspect of the same old thang The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited November 2020

    @Jason;

    MLK actually made it quite clear that he was not against people but their actions.

    "The end is reconciliation, redemption, and the creation of the beloved community. It is this type of spirit and this type of love that can transform opposers into friends. It is this type of understanding goodwill that will transform the deep gloom of the old age into the exuberant gladness of the new age. It is this love that will bring about miracles in the hearts of men.
    -MLK Jr.

    I do see the point being made and if the allies never went into the Vietnam strife, my wife's area would have been even further brutalized and she would not have gotten here and my daughter would never have been born. This is not an easy topic.

    I suppose the question is, how far are you willing to take it?

    Once we start seeing fellow humans as other, then we are a part of the problem as I see it.

    personSuraShine
  • DavidDavid Just another unique aspect of the same old thang The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited November 2020

    Sorry to bring this post up again but it is too late to edit my response, hehe.

    @Sam8 said:
    @David

    I (and Jason) just gave you examples where picking a side did not "reinforce the divide" but ended it.

    Well, it never really ended it, it just moved it around. The world is still full of hatred and animosity because of the disease of us and "them".

    Sure, enough people got killed that the less popular view went into hiding and started biding their time but people still kill each other every day because of ignorance and it's the same old story.

    That said, no one said you have to hate in order to engage in politics. You can still "love your enemy" as it were, but you still have to pick a side, make your case and engage in activism- Martin Luther King Jr understood that, too.

    It is good to promote what we think will help. We just live the example we wish to set. If we want the example we set to be fighting then we fight. If we want love then we love.

    Otherwise, words like "peace," "love" and "reconciliation" become just nice ways of saying "surrender to evil." There's nothing that the ruling classes, despotic regimes and dominant groups of history have loved more than "peace."

    Nobody said anything about giving up or allowing the abuse to continue but that peace is a means and not an end.

    To truly end the problem, we have to address the cause, not just go after the symptoms as they come up. The cause is the lack of compassion and valuing some lives above others. The disease of us and "them".

    "Hate begets hate, violence begets violence. Toughness begets a greater toughness. Through violence, you may murder the hater but you do not murder hate".

  • KeromeKerome Certainty is the enemy of wonder The Continent Veteran
    edited November 2020

    @Sam8 said:
    But only activism can get us a party and a person worth voting for. Generally politicians have two forces putting pressure on them: the people-power and money-power. If people-power isn't applied to them then they will follow money-power.

    Still, I find it hard to unify the idea of being a meditator and a spiritual seeker with political activism. It reminds me of certain sections of the sutras which encourage us to realise that human life is precious and we should focus ourselves on the path, not wasting time on things that are unnecessary. It’s often that these passages are cited as a reason to become monastics. But even for a lay practitioner there is the question of how much of your life you choose to spend on these other things.

    If you fill your mind with news at all hours of the day, and spend your weekends on political activism, and only meditate for 20 minutes in the morning, you could still call yourself a lay follower of the Buddha, but could you expect to make progress? I think it becomes doubtful, because you are confusing the path you have set as important in your mind. You are in effect saying this is important, but that is important too, and that. Your purpose and focus become diffuse.

    I’m not saying these political issues are not important, but it’s about what you choose to give your focus to. My impression from what I have learned the last few years is that progress in the path demands a certain purity of focus.

    @Sam8 said:
    @kerome I don't know why I put my reply to you in quotation marks but I can't edit it now lol.

    I tried to fix it in the quote, but I’m not sure that strikethrough works on quote marks... you’re welcome 😉

  • DavidDavid Just another unique aspect of the same old thang The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    Politics is basically the art of getting along.

    We can engage in politics without getting lost in dualistic and discriminatory thinking. We can stand for our ideals of social justice, compassion and reconciliation by promoting what we love without setting against what we find harmful. Taking sides automatically sets us apart while simply promoting what we love sets a good example.

  • I worked for a food charity in London that had been set up by an anarchist punk. I was in charge of the volunteer team so I thought I'd experiment with it. Basically, I showed them what tasks needed to be done, and then left them to it to organise themselves as they wished, and to perform the tasks as they saw best. It worked a treat! They were much happier and much more fulfilled because, I guess, it engaged and invested them in the tasks, and they felt a sense of freedom and responsibility... and adulthood. They felt respected rather than patronised, which is what tends to happen with authority figures.

    lobster
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited November 2020

    @David said:
    Politics is basically the art of getting along.

    We can engage in politics without getting lost in dualistic and discriminatory thinking. We can stand for our ideals of social justice, compassion and reconciliation by promoting what we love without setting against what we find harmful. Taking sides automatically sets us apart while simply promoting what we love sets a good example.

    Sure. But the question remains, what do you do when a group of people you want to get along with are actively seeking to erode your rights or continue to oppress you or even exterminate you. Not all relationships are healthy, and not all situations are going to be idealistic and not without some form of struggle. I hope people can realize this and see that there are times when one must act or pick a side to prevent/undo a greater evil and injustice. You can't always compromise and work with everyone without at times consenting to something you'd likely deem oppressive, immoral, or even evil. And even when things aren't quite that dire, there are times when people must do more than vote to change society.

    I'd also argue that, sometimes, dualistic thinking is necessary. For instance, there a lot of 'dualistic' concepts in Buddhism, such as the distinction between skillful and unskillful actions, and these sorts of distinctions are important/useful. As Thanissaro Bhikkhu puts it, "To think of 'skillful' and 'unskillful' desires is dualistic and judgmental. You don't want non-dualistic mechanics working on your car, or non-dualistic surgeons operating on your brain. You want people who can tell what's skillful from what's not. If you really value your happiness, you'll demand the same discernment in the person most responsible for it: yourself" ("Pushing the Limits"). And I think the same applies to areas such as political engagement as well. Just something to consider.

  • DavidDavid Just another unique aspect of the same old thang The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited November 2020

    @Jason said:

    @David said:
    Politics is basically the art of getting along.

    We can engage in politics without getting lost in dualistic and discriminatory thinking. We can stand for our ideals of social justice, compassion and reconciliation by promoting what we love without setting against what we find harmful. Taking sides automatically sets us apart while simply promoting what we love sets a good example.

    Sure. But the question remains, what do you do when a group of people you want to get along with are actively seeking to erode your rights or continue to oppress you or even exterminate you.

    I guess it depends on who we are and what we feel is worth saving. We can defend ourselves without taking sides because in reality it is all the same side. Keeping oppressors from oppressing is for the good of growth of the whole in my opinion so that's my personal loophole and it works for me. If I let somebody harm myself or others then they can continue to cause greater harm but if I stop them they can no longer cause harm which is to also harm themselves. The path of least harm for the whole is the intent and self defense is one thing while seeking revenge quite another.

    "I vow to save them all"

    Not all relationships are healthy, and not all situations are going to be idealistic and not without some form of struggle. I hope people can realize this and see that there are times when one must act or pick a side to prevent/undo a greater evil and injustice. You can't always compromise and work with everyone without at times consenting to something you'd likely deem oppressive, immoral, or even evil. And even when things aren't quite that dire, there are times when people must do more than vote to change society.

    That only works when we see that there is really only one side and then there is confusion. To change society, we need to change the conditions that give rise to that which is harmful. Like labeling other people as "other" or somehow "lesser than". The disease of us and "them" runs deep. I vow to upend it. That is Engaged Buddhism and it is the politics of non-violence.

    Only Metta is Metta.

    I'd also argue that, sometimes, dualistic thinking is necessary. For instance, there a lot of 'dualistic' concepts in Buddhism, such as the distinction between skillful and unskillful actions, and these sorts of distinctions are important/useful. As Thanissaro Bhikkhu puts it, "To think of 'skillful' and 'unskillful' desires is dualistic and judgmental. You don't want non-dualistic mechanics working on your car, or non-dualistic surgeons operating on your brain. You want people who can tell what's skillful from what's not. If you really value your happiness, you'll demand the same discernment in the person most responsible for it: yourself" ("Pushing the Limits"). And I think the same applies to areas such as political engagement as well. Just something to consider.

    Dualism is a tool and it is can be used skillfully or otherwise, however, that is convention and convenience. When we forget that and start labeling our sisters and brothers as "evil" or "other" even if they are blinded by rage and ignorance, we are being violent and using dualism unskillfully in my opinion.

    lobsterSuraShine
  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer

    @David @Kerome
    I think this has come down to words again. To me it's simple. Are you against slavery? Then you've chosen a side. Are you against dictatorship and genocide? Then you've chosen a side. Are you for peace and love? Then you've chosen a side. Everything else is just semantics.

    Shoshin1lobsterKerome
  • DavidDavid Just another unique aspect of the same old thang The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    @mindatrisk said:
    I worked for a food charity in London that had been set up by an anarchist punk. I was in charge of the volunteer team so I thought I'd experiment with it. Basically, I showed them what tasks needed to be done, and then left them to it to organise themselves as they wished, and to perform the tasks as they saw best. It worked a treat! They were much happier and much more fulfilled because, I guess, it engaged and invested them in the tasks, and they felt a sense of freedom and responsibility... and adulthood. They felt respected rather than patronised, which is what tends to happen with authority figures.

    I'm going to have to reread the definition of anarchy sometime because anything organized by an Anarchist seems patently absurd.

  • DavidDavid Just another unique aspect of the same old thang The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited November 2020

    @Sam8 said:
    @David @Kerome
    I think this has come down to words again. To me it's simple. Are you against slavery? Then you've chosen a side. Are you against dictatorship and genocide? Then you've chosen a side. Are you for peace and love? Then you've chosen a side. Everything else is just semantics.

    If you are for compassion and nurturing life then the rest is kind of implied. Plus, when you are pro instead of con, people may be against you but you don't have to be against anyone.

    Personally, I want to be as useful as I can and be happy at the same time. If I focus on what I love, enjoy and makes me useful, I'm going to do a better job than if I am always focused on what is wrong.

    The solution or the problem, now which is best to focus on, let me see...

    None of this means I won't join protest, I will and have. I will be the one holding the sign that says Love! Unite!, I won't be holding a sign that says Oppose! The other side is bad!.

    lobsterSuraShine
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @Sam8 said:
    @David @Kerome
    I think this has come down to words again. To me it's simple. Are you against slavery? Then you've chosen a side. Are you against dictatorship and genocide? Then you've chosen a side. Are you for peace and love? Then you've chosen a side. Everything else is just semantics.

    This.

    If our find ourselves defending ourself or others from the KKK or Nazis or the less extreme versions of them, then we've taken a side. If we stand between them and people of colour, LGBTQ individuals, etc., we've taken a side. If we work against those trying to disenfranchise and suppress the rights of certain segments of the population, we've taken a side. We can talk about nonduality and love all we want, but ww've still chosen a side even if we equally desire to redeem the other.

    I agree with David that, "To change society, we need to change the conditions that give rise to that which is harmful." And I agree that means doing our best to not cultivate hate for and a desire to harm others, whatever side they may find themselves on. But I think it's naive to think one can always remain neutral without being complicit, or that one can completely avoid dualistic thinking as a human being acting and operating in the world. Nonduality has its place, but it's not always the best tool for the job.

    Sam8
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited November 2020

    @David said:

    @mindatrisk said:
    I worked for a food charity in London that had been set up by an anarchist punk. I was in charge of the volunteer team so I thought I'd experiment with it. Basically, I showed them what tasks needed to be done, and then left them to it to organise themselves as they wished, and to perform the tasks as they saw best. It worked a treat! They were much happier and much more fulfilled because, I guess, it engaged and invested them in the tasks, and they felt a sense of freedom and responsibility... and adulthood. They felt respected rather than patronised, which is what tends to happen with authority figures.

    I'm going to have to reread the definition of anarchy sometime because anything organized by an Anarchist seems patently absurd.

    Yes. I don't think you truly understand the philosophy of anarchy, only the vulgar and popularized caricature of it, if that's what you think.

    David
  • DavidDavid Just another unique aspect of the same old thang The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited November 2020

    @Jason said:

    @David said:

    @mindatrisk said:
    I worked for a food charity in London that had been set up by an anarchist punk. I was in charge of the volunteer team so I thought I'd experiment with it. Basically, I showed them what tasks needed to be done, and then left them to it to organise themselves as they wished, and to perform the tasks as they saw best. It worked a treat! They were much happier and much more fulfilled because, I guess, it engaged and invested them in the tasks, and they felt a sense of freedom and responsibility... and adulthood. They felt respected rather than patronised, which is what tends to happen with authority figures.

    I'm going to have to reread the definition of anarchy sometime because anything organized by an Anarchist seems patently absurd.

    Yes. I don't think you truly understand the philosophy of anarchy, only the vulgar and popularized caricature of it, if that's what you think.

    Lol. That was a joke. The word literally means no governing authority or hierarchy so it tickles my funny bone to hear of organising Anarchists.

  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator

    @David said:

    @Jason said:

    @David said:

    @mindatrisk said:
    I worked for a food charity in London that had been set up by an anarchist punk. I was in charge of the volunteer team so I thought I'd experiment with it. Basically, I showed them what tasks needed to be done, and then left them to it to organise themselves as they wished, and to perform the tasks as they saw best. It worked a treat! They were much happier and much more fulfilled because, I guess, it engaged and invested them in the tasks, and they felt a sense of freedom and responsibility... and adulthood. They felt respected rather than patronised, which is what tends to happen with authority figures.

    I'm going to have to reread the definition of anarchy sometime because anything organized by an Anarchist seems patently absurd.

    Yes. I don't think you truly understand the philosophy of anarchy, only the vulgar and popularized caricature of it, if that's what you think.

    Lol. That was a joke. The word literally means no governing authority or hierarchy so it tickles my funny bone to hear of organising Anarchists.

    I guess the humour was lost on me.

    lobster
  • @David said:

    @mindatrisk said:
    I worked for a food charity in London that had been set up by an anarchist punk. I was in charge of the volunteer team so I thought I'd experiment with it. Basically, I showed them what tasks needed to be done, and then left them to it to organise themselves as they wished, and to perform the tasks as they saw best. It worked a treat! They were much happier and much more fulfilled because, I guess, it engaged and invested them in the tasks, and they felt a sense of freedom and responsibility... and adulthood. They felt respected rather than patronised, which is what tends to happen with authority figures.

    I'm going to have to reread the definition of anarchy sometime because anything organized by an Anarchist seems patently absurd.

    Anarchism is the absence of authority, not the absence of organisation. The organisation is achieved by collective agreement.

    David
  • KeromeKerome Certainty is the enemy of wonder The Continent Veteran

    @Sam8 said:
    @David @Kerome
    I think this has come down to words again. To me it's simple. Are you against slavery? Then you've chosen a side. Are you against dictatorship and genocide? Then you've chosen a side. Are you for peace and love? Then you've chosen a side. Everything else is just semantics.

    Perhaps if you choose to see the world as sides that is true. I tend not to make that distinction, I am not a fan of creating an ‘us versus them’ divide. I tend to see every person as unique and individual.

    David
  • DavidDavid Just another unique aspect of the same old thang The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited November 2020

    @Jason said:

    @David said:

    @Jason said:

    @David said:

    @mindatrisk said:
    I worked for a food charity in London that had been set up by an anarchist punk. I was in charge of the volunteer team so I thought I'd experiment with it. Basically, I showed them what tasks needed to be done, and then left them to it to organise themselves as they wished, and to perform the tasks as they saw best. It worked a treat! They were much happier and much more fulfilled because, I guess, it engaged and invested them in the tasks, and they felt a sense of freedom and responsibility... and adulthood. They felt respected rather than patronised, which is what tends to happen with authority figures.

    I'm going to have to reread the definition of anarchy sometime because anything organized by an Anarchist seems patently absurd.

    Yes. I don't think you truly understand the philosophy of anarchy, only the vulgar and popularized caricature of it, if that's what you think.

    Lol. That was a joke. The word literally means no governing authority or hierarchy so it tickles my funny bone to hear of organising Anarchists.

    I guess the humour was lost on me.

    Ok then. If I offended you, I apologize

  • DavidDavid Just another unique aspect of the same old thang The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited November 2020

    Double post

  • DavidDavid Just another unique aspect of the same old thang The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited November 2020

    The only anarchists I personally knew wanted to overthrow the government with no alternative plan and were willing to be violent about it. Since then, I always thought it was kind of a knuckle headed view.

    That was in the late 80s and I had no internet to look into it.

    Apologies to any I may have offended.

  • @David said:

    The only anarchists I personally knew wanted to overthrow the government with no alternative plan and were willing to be violent about it. Since then, I always thought it was kind of a knuckle headed view.

    That was in the late 80s and I had no internet to look into it.

    Apologies to any I may have offended.

    I think certain special interests did a very good job on 'anarchism'. In one sense you are right, because how you regard anarchism is pretty much how almost everyone does. In effect the word simply now means chaos. That, of course, is not at all what anarchism is. If I was an anarchist I'd ditch the word prompt.

  • DavidDavid Just another unique aspect of the same old thang The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran
    edited November 2020

    @mindatrisk said:

    @David said:

    The only anarchists I personally knew wanted to overthrow the government with no alternative plan and were willing to be violent about it. Since then, I always thought it was kind of a knuckle headed view.

    That was in the late 80s and I had no internet to look into it.

    Apologies to any I may have offended.

    I think certain special interests did a very good job on 'anarchism'. In one sense you are right, because how you regard anarchism is pretty much how almost everyone does. In effect the word simply now means chaos. That, of course, is not at all what anarchism is. If I was an anarchist I'd ditch the word prompt.

    I would have to agree if the label no longer serves, it would be best to use another one.

    Either way, I am glad to learn something new but one fellow had something he printed off the computer (again, this is before the internet when computers were still in the Commodor 64 days) called the Anarchists Cookbook which had all kinds of recipes for bombs and things like that. I got a recipe for ninja camouflage smoke bombs.

  • Sam8Sam8 Hamilton, NZ Explorer

    @David said "The solution or the problem, now which is best to focus on, let me see..."

    I'm still just seeing semantics here- to focus on a solution is to imply the existence of a problem, and to focus on a problem is to imply you are looking for a solution.

    @Kerome said "Perhaps if you choose to see the world as sides that is true."

    The sides exist whether or not we "see" them. And if we choose not to see them then no good would be championed, no evil would be opposed, and nothing would be done. Slavery, fascism, climate disaster et al can all happily continue unopposed.

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