Conditioning is suffering

Posted: 06/06/2016 in Freedom, ONE planet

A fundamental of Buddhism is compassion, one way that compassion is described is that all people should be free from suffering (dukkha). Much is discussed about where this suffering comes from and how to achieve that freedom. From the 4 Noble Truths suffering arises from being attached to desire, and paticcasamuppada describes in detail how that attachment arises and leads to suffering. Paticcasamuppada explains how attachment and suffering arises from conditions in life. What our conditioning is the summation of all the lessons we learn from our interactions in daily life, however the usage of the word conditioning is not exactly all of the conditioning, it is a subset of the lessons we learn from the conditions that arise. In this case I am looking at the situation about the conditioning that produces the behaviour that is known as sexism in men, how the patriarchy imposes behaviour on women. This is of course suffering.

In response to this chauvinist or patriarchal conditioning that is suffering, there is a different form of conditioning that is used to counter the suffering that is caused by the sexism, and that conditioning is feminist. This is also a form of conditioning even though it is to counter chauvinism, and as such it also produces suffering. It is of course less suffering yet it is still suffering.

Why do I raise this? The methods of compassion to overcome suffering apply to both men and women, and these methods help with the understanding that develops in the mature stages of the development model I put forward. I fear there could be a boundaries issue between feminism, the mature stages and conditioning.

To understand this I want to discuss Jane Fonda again. From what little I know of what she says, she describes herself as a feminist, but this description is not meant to have any academic rigour – why should it? However this analysis of mine is far too academic here, discussing Piaget, Kohlberg and development models. It is not my intention to draw false conclusions but it appears that in describing herself as a feminist she is describing a person whose development spans the conditioning (Piaget – operational) and mature stages of my model (described in Kohlberg. She describes herself as filling-up with being, and the way I look at it this being would fall within the mature stages. Yet when she discusses manhood and the emptiness of her adolescence she is describing operational stages. Appropriate in her context she describes this filling-up of being and the operational stages as her feminist development.

Her feminism includes both again perfectly reasonable. However when I describe myself in terms of my development model, I would draw a distinction between the conditioned upbringing that includes chauvinism, and the mature stages that I contend my experiences have moved me into. My chauvinist conditioning is part of the suffering that I have grown up with, and the mature aspect is when I have attempted to remove conditioning including the chauvinism – attempting to free myself from suffering – compassion. I contend that Jane’s feminist model could be said to have two component stages (or three if you include the initial patriarchal oppression), the first would be the immature counter-conditioning component and the second would be the mature development consistent with her filling-up with being. Based on this comparison, in Jane’s case it would not be appropriate to describe Jane’s feminism as occurring in the same ball park as chauvinism – at the same stage.

In the patriarchal aspect of the 1%-system, I contend the leaders are not mature, and are still responding at a chauvinist level; yet there are men who have moved onto mature stages – and these men reject the chauvinism.

Drawing a distinction between patriarchal, chauvinist and mature in men for me is extremely important. Mature men, men who have awakened onto the Path in some form, legitimately resent that they are considered part of the patriarchy. Whilst in no way claiming that such men have removed all the chauvinistic conditioning that is part of our patriarchal system, to lump them in with all of manhood is not in my view appropriate. With regards to feminism I would ask that consideration for similar boundaries be applied. What I have described as mature in my model (described in Kohlberg) would I suggest apply to women, there are similar awakened mature women. In my own case my awakening developed as a conflict with conditioning, although patriarchal conditioning I received it primarily as academic. Because of the patriarchal nature of our society women would awaken as a conflict with patriarchal conditioning. In my terms that awakening would lead to the development of a mature woman (as opposed to a conditioned woman). At the beginning of that awakening the conflict naturally would be seen with men (with the patriarchy) – compared with my case of seeing conflict with the system and academia.

It is my view that the mature parts of the model apply to women and men, do women see it that way?

Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.


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