Conditioned Freedom

Posted: 23/02/2018 by zandtao in Buddhadasa, Democracy, Freedom, Struggle

An interesting podcast with the Martinez and Russell.

I want to begin with Francesca’s diatribe against the welfare system for the disabled which was clear concise but fundamentally flawed. All involved in the delivery of that welfare want to help the disabled become functioning workers – Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 23(1) right to work. But the 1%-system does not care. Their profits are best served with able-bodied wage-slaves so why bother with disabled wage-slaves? However an important aspect of the stability of 1%-exploitation is that it is caring capitalism, so some money trickles down to the disabled (and others) but with no intention of ever being effective.

Until we see the 1%-system for what it is, there is no possibility for change. Those who do well out of it – usually voters of the right of the two parties (see description of enemies in discussion on George Monbiot) will always be able to convince themselves and others that the system is caring. Until the trickle stops.

Raoul’s description of freedom is also apt. The system does want us to believe we have the right to choose so that we can be controlled and blamed accordingly, but he is also right that we don’t have a choice – mostly. From the Buddha this is best understood as conditioning, everything is cause and effect. The conditioning that made Theresa May is just that – conditioning. The conditioning that imprisons Joe Nicked and Leroy Banged-up is just that – conditioning. You grow up on the South London estates, crime is all around, helplessness is in the air, and the only way out is a blaze of glory in crime – and subsequent death.

Conditioning is about cause and effect, and if you live in the world of cause and effect the result is inevitable. But the Buddha’s point in describing this conditioning (known as paticcasamuppada) is that he describes a way out. This way out in Buddhism is known as detachment, and is a recognition that through meditation and detachment we do not have to accept the conditioning.

However this conditioning is not usually seen by Buddhists as the same conditioning that Raoul is talking about, but it is. Cause and effect leads to the same results whoever you are. If we consider this meme based on the teachings of Buddhadasa:-

then conditioning means attachment to the khandas and self. By detaching from the khandas and self, we create the conditions for sunnata.

This model applies socially. By not attaching to the causes and effects or our upbringing and environments we don’t have to become Joe Nicked, Theresa May, or Magnus 1%-Ceo. It is all conditioning, it is just that for some this conditioning is so much easier. And there I completely agree with Raoul. At the end of the podcast Raoul talks about ways out of this conditioning as well, and he says that they are discussed in his book “Creating Freedom”. Need to look.

I see this process of “creating freedom” as two-staged . First and foremost we need to detach from our own conditioning and so follow our paths. If we are attached we cannot see through the conditioning, and remain mired in the suffering. But once that path has started we then work to provide others with the freedom of detachment, although that freedom is not likely to be attained. Or we work for alleviation of the worst aspects of the conditioning – to try to provide some freedom from suffering, to help those who are born into conditions that will lead to poverty and crime. Understanding and detaching from conditioning would lead us all on the same path of freeing people from suffering; Theresa May, Tony Blair, Magnus 1%-Ceo, these are people still attached – it is just they are attached by a silver spoon and others, not free, are envious.

At one point in the podcast they discussed how religion often joined in the blame game tending to support society’s leaders as better people without pointing out the silver spoon they benefit from. To highlight this I want to talk about reincarnation, and its relation to privilege and the caste system in Hinduism. Hindu society is very stratified (the caste system), and whilst some argue it is disappearing there is clear evidence it isn’t. Such an unfair system ought to be criticised by a compassionate religion but with reincarnation Hinduism gives it a justification. If we live a good life we are reborn in a better position, and this is often interpreted as being rich.

It is important here to draw a distinction here between Hinduism and Buddhism. The Buddha was a revisionist, he saw weaknesses in the prevailing Hinduism and attempted to create change. But he often used the language of the time, and to avoid conflict used the language of rebirth when describing ego rebirth – the birth of self. Because of this language many Buddhists have also accepted reincarnation, although Buddhadasa amongst others describes this as an historical confusion (a mixture of Buddhism and Hinduism travelling out of India).

I accept Buddhadasa’s interpretation of the Buddha gospels, and for this reason I don’t accept reincarnation, and the inherent understanding, although not often expressed, that the rich deserve to be treated better because they have previously lived good lives and hence come back rich. There are so many assumptions made in this understanding but it is a clear example of how Hindus and most Buddhists support the class structure. It is my understanding that we must deal with the conditions in this life, and that’s it – there is no self to reincarnate how can there be reincarnation?

Later in the podcast involving Hugo Rifkind they began discussing elections and change. It has taken a long time in my life to reach the political conclusions I have reached. And it is a conclusion that hurts when I think of my family and the people I grew up with, my family and these people would be described as middle-class (not my definition of class). It requires two things for these people to accept the situation we are in:-

Greed for what they have
An ability to accept all the deprivation around them and accept all the reasons the system gives for that deprivation, reasons that do not require systemic change.

I will call these two acceptances:- greed and delusion. 10/3/18 I have reviewed these two acceptances and classified them as 3 – Fear Delusion and Responsibility.

Deep-down most middle-class people know how bad things are in the world, and what they want is to live life with what they have. Most accept the conditions they live in, would hope for some improvement but are more scared of what could be worse. To me this is the nature of conservative Britain.

Hugo Rifkind symbolises this. He doesn’t like the hardline of austerity Tories, but is more scared of the change that Corbyn represents. The by-word is economy, the middle-class use the word “economy” to mask their fear – although it is a giveaway. I surmise that Hugo knows the economy is fragile, and because of this fragility doesn’t want to rock the boat; attempting to change the economy risks instability with the ways the 1% would use to protect it. For me this is the slender grip on politics that represents middle-class Britain.

In other words they are bought off. They know that rocking the boat risks their jobs, mortgages, and way of life. They are happy to blame the poor for being in the position they are in. They accept conditionality vaguely, and know that they would behave the same way if they were in the same place. So they accept the greed and delusion that are the requirements for maintaining their own stability.

Often you hear clear-minded people describing the failure that our system is, rationale and logic would automatically demand change if decisions are to be based on any form of compassion. But in the end it doesn’t matter what arguments are presented to these middle-classes they just want the stability for their greed. Highlight the inadequacies of their delusions, and there will be an angry backlash – because of guilt. No person likes to have it thrown in their face that their greed and delusion are contributing to the deaths from state intervention in the Middle East. So they espouse caring capitalism when it blatantly is not true. This is not a rational position, it is a position of fear yet political arguments counter these fears with rationality. And then frustration and anger arises, and this gives the middle classes an excuse to blame – emotional, young, immature etc.

It is not the politicians who run the economy so the middle-classes don’t follow the pathos which is the neoliberal bipartisan game. They have faith in the economic establishment, Bank of England, civil service, and non-elected government. They cling to this faith even as the establishment is falling apart. And part of this establishment is voting Tory – or voting for Blair once they intuitively knew he was working with the 1%.

Hugo is a purveyor of this middle-class faith because of his support for “establishment”, economy and stability, hence he writes for The Spectator.

And the priests of this faith are the egotists (opportunists) who want power but should never have it. These system go-getters have always kept the stability. Middle-classes don’t like them even if their family becomes one, but they are willing to accept that they will continue the stability.

Meanwhile middle-class lives tick over, celebrity is followed within their fantasies to make life palatable. At the same time the impoverished, trapped in their own conditionality, follow the same celebrity, and hope that maybe that celebrity will offer them a way out.

And the glue that keeps all this together is the 1% and what they allow to trickle down. This trickle is sufficient to provide stability so they let the 1% get on with it. Occupy got support, pinpointed the 1%, primarily because the crash had taken homes. This was the 1% mistake, too many peoples’ stability had been taken away.

The greed and egotism of the 1% don’t matter to the middle-classes because they provide stability, they know their lives are underpinned by greed. Wars don’t matter so long as the war is not brought home like Vietnam. Africans and Muslims dying don’t matter, but refugees do because immigrants affect their lifestyles.

Academia is made up of intellectuals who are often middle-class. This is who most radicals come from, and it is hard to say “my parents are like that”. Maybe it is easier for me to say because my parents are dead. We have a world controlled by the 1% just so that they can increase their accumulation. The middle-class are bought off to support stability – the status quo. Out of this, life wondrously produces conscious people seeking change, but our own emotions can’t say the greed of our family is the cause. So we look to blame others, seek idealisms, seek new narratives.

But there aren’t any. Our family, our countries are able to see others die so long as they can live their protected lives. People have to turn on these middle-classes, these family members, but how can you do that to the people who have given you your genes and upbringing?

But until activists accept such truths about families and middle-classes there is no change, plenty of discussion but no change.

<– Previous Post “My Grassroots” Next Post “Power & Brad”–>

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

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Matriellez.

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