Positive Thinking

Posted: 22/12/2012 by zandtao in Insight, ONE planet, Struggle
Tags: , , ,

I have just had a major problem with the “walking disaster area (WDA)”, my landlady. I called a plumber, Tep, because I had no water in the kitchen. The plumber was a local guy, and when I phoned he came very quickly. This pleased me, I want to get on well with locals here – it is a problem. He came round within 5 minutes, and I showed him there was no water in the kitchen. I have two sources of water, one from a nearby small lake and one from the state supply – bprapaa. I thought the lake water went into the kitchen so I couldn’t understand why I had water in the bathroom but no water in the kitchen. Tep told me the kitchen water came from bprapaa and that there was no bprapaa water, I didn’t believe him and was trying to explain why. Just at that moment the landlady turned up, she agreed with me and started arguing with Tep. He walked off. Whilst he had been here he fixed my toilet but he still walked off. I phoned him and offered to pay him but he refused. Bprapaa water later came on and I had water in the kitchen. Disaster area strikes again, let another local person I have a problem with.

Some people might say I need positive thinking with regards to the disaster area and local people, maybe but I do know this – these two factors the disaster area and employing local people will cause me to leave here. The WDA wants me to buy the house. I can only afford to buy one house – even in Thailand, so if I buy I am stuck here. Now that could be very nice but I need local people as workmen. I cannot find any because WDA has queered my pitch. She sees herself as looking after me – she just invited me for Xmas dinner, so she doesn’t tell me what I need to know. She wants me to call her, and then she complains to others that I am always calling her. I am convinced she says things to others, she once told me that she told people not to bother me. I have just had flu so she has given me stuff. This of course is very kind, and it would be good positive thinking to think of that kindness but she is consistent liar and I have now found out that virtually every question I asked her when I was negotiating the rental agreement was a lie. She is a WDA because of her karma. Her house is a disaster area because of her karma. Her karma is a reality; trying to put a positive spin on karma is not possible, karma happens. The trouble with karma is that as people we cannot know what karma is, but no-one can convince me otherwise – what happens around WDA is karma.

So I now have aversion to WDA, and when trouble occurs in the house I immediately curse the WDA and each problem becomes a crisis because of my attitude as I expect WDA’s karma. In reality some of the problems I can deal with when I calm down. Other problems require local people, and she has pissed them off or they can’t be bothered to come. I don’t know. I have been here less than 3 months so maybe it will be better when I have been here longer and get to know them. Of course that is difficult because my Thai is weak. Patience might help. Her karma is not my karma. Maybe I was not meant to move here, who knows? When you start to think in terms of Path, karma etc you cannot ever truly understand, you can only be good and true.

Some people would say forgive her. Now forgiveness is a good but difficult thing. Whilst I tried to do my duty with him I could never forgive my father because he was not a good man, now he is dead he does not do bad things. Do you forgive someone who continues to do bad things? I never could. If someone wishes to change and is trying, I forgive and try to help them. But if someone continues to do bad things, how do I forgive them? It just doesn’t seem right to me to forgive someone who is still doing bad. WDA continues to lie, and because of her lieing she continues to attract the karma that creates the disaster area. The disasters she creates still affect me although there is no doubt I make them worse because of my expectations of her karma.

This brings me to this RSA Animate clip by Barbara Ehrenreich. There is much in this clip that I agree with but she does not discuss religion, and my Buddhism says of itself that it is all about attitude of mind. Because I don’t have clarity it is a good clip to investigate:-

I am watching again now, it is only about 10 minutes.

At 1.08 minutes she said something like it is not skills or experience that the corporate world wants, it is a positive attitude. She then goes on to talk about what this positive attitude is, but basically in my words it comes down to ignorance or delusion. A corporate employee cannot see the truth of what a corporation does because if they come to terms with that truth they know they cannot work in that company, it matters not to the corporation whether the employee is ignorant of the truth or deceives themselves so long as they don’t act on the truth, and acting on the truth for a moral person usually means resignation. The corporate world cannot exist when people face the truth, what Barbara calls reality. Barbara saw a mandatory optimism in the US (the world – Z), I would call it mandatory ignorance or delusion. There is also a mass delusion of cheerfulness, mandatory cheerfulness within the deluded world of positive thinking.

She describes this approach as applying a force of will that will create what people think. She tends to dismiss this but there is much truth in it. The corporate world mandates delusion and cheerful ignorance, they get it and thus provide the environment that can produce dishonourable profits. Business people accept the bottom line is money, and excuse themselves from the social implications. They delude themselves that they don’t hurt others, but the fact is they do. In a recent Mandtao blog I discussed the delusion of separation and that if we saw unity there would be greater happiness. If business didn’t delude themselves about the bottom line then they would have to accept the social consequences of their actions, the humans in business need to accept unity. This mind control of mandatory ignorance and deluded cheerfulness is essential for business.

Basically Barbara dismisses synchronicity but it appears that she dismisses it because of the way business misuses it. However she came up with conclusions about the positive thinking approach which are excellent:-

1) Delusion is always a mistake.

In business terms she spoke of people who tried to destroy delusions and they were sacked.

2) Mandatory positive thinking is cruel

People who are sacked are told the problem is in their mind, this is cruel. She called it moral callousness.

Then she went onto quote the author of “The Secret” for saying people were sending tsunami-like vibrations. This is an extreme position and for Barbara to dismiss the power of the mind and thinking because of such an extreme quote is not sensible on her part. Mind has the power but how do we use that power?

To solve issues she says we are hardwired to be vigilant – awareness – excellent. She then said “What could be a better way of quelling dissent than to say it is all in the mind?” Mind control by mandatory ignorance and deluded cheerfulness.

And she concluded that we have collective power that could end a great deal of unnecessary suffering in the world – again tremendous.

So what am I actually critical of Barbara in what she says, and that is difficult. This could get “esoteric”.

I was accused of esotericism yesterday. Someone I know says that it is necessary to fulfil all desires, this is why spirituality takes human form. Because of this approach to his life he spends his time fulfilling desires and so is not sufficiently in touch with his spiritual self. I asked him about the 4 Noble Truths. I feel that the 4 Noble Truths says that we have desires but if we attach to them then there is suffering. I feel you should let desires go, and they will gradually disappear. For saying this I was accused of esotericism, in truth I believe that he is stuck in that he believes happiness comes from fulfilling desire, and he suggested that HHDL said this. But again he didn’t. For me HHDL says that by letting go of desire we gain spiritual happiness. It was easy to accuse me of esotericism, there was a 3rd person there who was not interested – just talking.

I think Barbara’s talk proves that there is a collected delusion of positive thinking, what I have called mandatory ignorance and deluded cheerfulness. This is needed for business to ignore the consequences of bottom-line mentality.

So then as a Buddhist I want to consider the power of the mind for the mind is powerful. Unity means there is synchronicity, but always with synchronicity it is concerned with recognition and when to apply it. But in considering this as an Engaged Buddhist I have to say that most Buddhists ignore what is essential in terms of the power of the 1%, and that is the power of collective organisation. With the 1% we do not live in a democracy, but democratic power is the power of Unity, and it is also the power that can come from the Unity of separate individuals as a collective body.

So my social understanding aligns me with Barbara, but spiritually I want to consider what she says slightly differently. First and foremost on the Path we must be truthful, the Path is Truth and hence Realism. Totally aligned with Barbara. The 1% are adept at using the power of inappropriate collective thinking, we must be vigilant of this, and try to make people aware of the power of this collective thinking in order to effect change through the collective power of the mass movement. When people employed in business accept the bottom line of profit, they do not attach to the implications of their decision. They accept the bottom line and ignore the social disasters. This is a lack of vigilance and awareness, and this is the purpose of rhetoric – to make people aware of these consequences. But awareness is not enough, the 1% do not fear awareness, they fear activity. Vigilant awareness on the part of humans has to lead to collective organisation and activity in the mass movement to fight the power of the 1%.

The internet is full of positive thinking, business encourages positive thinking, but real action is the only way forward for change. And understanding the necessity of this real change is currently part of the Path.

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