This one is personal.
My first teaching job was at Dick Sheppard school in Tulse Hill – to all intents Brixton; the school does not exist any more – for one reason after I left the Deputy Head was stabbed on the steps of the school. I really got into working there. The kids were difficult. Before I worked in China, I used to have an adage, the best and worst kids I taught were the black kids at Dick Sheppard. But the system was clearly failing these kids for all kinds of reasons but it was not the teachers. Undoubtedly there was the problem of teacher expectation but mostly the teachers worked hard. But the system odds they were fighting were just too much.
This part I am not sure of. At the same time as I was disillusioned with teaching, I began doing a part-time job helping the kids from the Youth Centre (mostly the same kids) with word-processing – wordstar whatever that was. The next thing I recall was resigning as a teacher and beginning work on a magazine – Young Journal – in the same building.
I remember only one thing about the first magazine, and that was just before printing. I knew a typesetter, and he agreed to do the typesetting. I had no idea what I was supposed to give him so I printed out everything, and the Friday before printing Monday gave them to him. He refused. For the next issues I learnt what was required, but for this issue I had to go home, get out my printer and spraymount, and layout the first magazine. I worked solidly and sleeplessly that weekend, and by Monday lunch-time took it up to the printers. I remember being pleased with myself for finishing it, and being pleased with the quality of the first magazine – a pleasure that soon went when I saw the typeset magazines 2, 3 and 4. I have put online 2, 3 and 4 but the first has gone.
The most important result of all that effort was that the magazine had gained some credibility. The Area Youth Office gave us a small budget that paid for future printing, typesetting and some photos, I continued to be paid as a part-time youth worker and the basis for the magazine was set. Publishing the first magazine also brought in new writers which was better as I was still “sir” to many. But perhaps most importantly there was a magazine to show the community. It brought in the first ads but more importantly it brought cooperation – they wanted to help the kids – black youth.
Typically I remember Angela Wynter. The interview had been arranged and the writer, Carol Billy, called in sick; I went to do the interview. Scared of losing the interview I expect I fronted up and tried to explain. I remember an unwillingness, then courtesy and a fascinating interview in front of the fire in her Clapham (?) flat – including learning about duppies. Carol was then able to write the article – Magazine 3 pp 6 and 7 – 1st pdf.
London was a metropole, and Brixton apart from having a Caribbean community also attracted African exiles who were always looking for print. In issue 2 I interviewed Omwony-Ojwok on Uganda – Magazine 2 pp 6 and 7 – 1st pdf, and for issue 3 I interviewed Ndeh Ntumazah – Magazine 3 p13-14 – 1st pdf. They both became friends and teachers. I worked often with Ndeh. He asked me to type up the interview with him, and I discovered when creating the Young Journal website and doing a search that the interview had been printed verbatim in the book “Ndeh Ntumazah A Conversational Auto-biography”. And I am suing them for royalties – joke. Seeing this google page was a great honour for me. When I think of injustice in life, I think of Ndeh, a wise and intelligent man I believe of royal descent, having to work in exile as a car park attendant. I have no concerns about giving back to my politics teacher.
I had visions for the magazine. I wanted subscriptions, more ads, to make it commercial enough to pay the writers. But all of that fell flat. In the middle of working on the fourth issue my personal life went through upheaval, and I left Brixton for Brighton. I committed to the fourth issue but it was a struggle. I heard rumours concerning a fifth issue but no more involvement for me. I believe there was a fifth issue but I am not sure – I lost contact.
Moving to Brighton made a trade unionist and activist but I sorely missed all the contacts I had made within the Brixton community. My personal life in Brighton remained in upheaval all the time I was there until eventually I started afresh in Botswana in 1993 where I was happy for 6 years before travelling further until retiring here in Thailand 11 years ago. The magazines have always been prized possessions, are now not in such good condition because of the travelling, and only now have I put them online.
One testimony to the writers the magazines are timeless and can be enjoyed now – except for 140-character culture not being able to read so much and demanding colour instead of black-and-white. Enjoy the Young Journal:-
Archive for the ‘Education’ Category
“Nice” white people is a crucial demographic that is being manipulated by the 1% across the world but by the very nature of the demographic they don’t see themselves as a demographic nor as being manipulated. They are crucial because they are what has caused Brexit and got Trump elected. These are the people who should be ashamed, and they make me ashamed because they are the community of my birth and in my life I have not helped change them. What is also important is that liberals do not try to “educate” them because they are the community of their upbringing or even their parents, and liberals are ashamed to admit this.
What are the characteristics of these “nice” white people? They are not rich but not poor, have worked (sometimes very hard) all their lives to provide an income for their families, and feel others should all work hard for their money. Whilst they might recognise that there are the 1%, they refuse to recognise all the problems come from the 1% because they cannot do something about them. They can blame scroungers. They would not see themselves as racists because they would be fair to the occasional black person they met. And if there were black people in their community they would treat them equally if the black people behaved the same way as them.
There is a level of arrogance to these “nice” white people, they have made a go of life and have survived, and this means something to them. Life is hard and the life they have made for themselves and their family is not to be sniffed at. Because of this survival they resent being told what to do by petty-minded bureaucrats, they have worked hard for their money – it is theirs, they care for their family friends and community, isn’t that enough? This is important because these people are manipulated into resenting everything PC. There are unnecessarily aggressive politically correct people (PC police) who demand a certain attitude of others and these “nice” white people don’t want to be told what to do by them.
Their anger at the PC is significant in how these “nice” white people are manipulated. Political correctness came in because of racist approaches like “he’s a good nigger” or “calling a spade a spade”. These “nice” white people used such derogatory language but when meeting black people they were fair and pleasant – not two-faced just ignorant. Because they were fair they did not see the need to change, and it became necessary to develop political correctness because the deplorables (not “nice” white people) took advantage of this. PC was a necessary step to control misuse of language, and bring in a more outwardly tolerant society. This use of the language was resented by these arrogant “nice” white people because they were arrogant and treated people fairly most of the time. There developed this PC police who became too focussed on the language and not enough on genuine fairness so there was a clash between PC police and “nice” white people. This clash was manipulated to alienate these “nice” white people from being compassionate; the PC police were ego-driven with their demands and this clashed with the arrogant egos of the “nice” white people. Because they were “nice”, “nice” white people kept this to themselves but it was underneath and came out with Brexit and Trump.
The damage this PC antagonism caused was significant because “nice” white people avoided all things PC including all the compassionate people who worked within the caring community that these PC police were connected to. If “nice” white people were thinking clearly they would identify with the caring community because they cared about their community, but to them the caring community became PC – this was the manipulation. Other than the caring that occurred within their “nice” white community, the wider caring community got tarred with the PC police brush. This meant that the “nice” white people did not associate themselves with compassion, did not want to call themselves liberal because of the PC police, and “nice” white people moved to the right.
“Nice” white people had their opinions, and these opinions were reinforced by the circles (community) they moved in. Opinions were repeated until they became held firmly as facts yet were not based in fact. PC people quoted facts, had the statistics to backup their opinions, but the ego-clash with the PC police meant that these “nice” white people avoided those that did not function in the same way as them – as a result facts did not matter if the opinions they held were confirmed in their communities and felt right.
To convince the “nice” white people that their ill-formed opinions are not foolish they had to prevent these people from wanting to access the truth. PC avoidance is key to this. Where is the truth? Truth lies with compassion, people should be compassionate, “nice” white people are compassionate as we can usually see in their interactions with neighbours. Where is compassion in our society? The caring professions. But where are the PC police? Intermingled within these professions. Because of PC “nice” white people avoid these professions and are fooled into avoiding compassion. At the same time these caring professions are employed by the government. Everyone blames government, that is what they are there for – politicians are thick-skinned liars who are willing to take the brunt of the distrust and anger for future reward. Who is really to blame? Everyone knows the answer to this – including “nice” white people – THE 1%. But the 1% cannot be easily accessed – and “nice” white people need their money (as represented by Trump) so government is the target – in the US paying taxes is the target because that funds government. The caring professions are paid by government so that is another reason not to listen to them. “Nice” white people have been tricked into avoiding compassion whilst at the same time considering themselves compassionate.
Because they believe they are compassionate it is easy to convince them of anything, Jewish conspiracies, black men and Mexicans raping their daughters. Normally facts would prevent compassionate people from believing this stereotyped rubbish but these “nice” white people do not listen to facts because facts are the domain of the PC – the caring professions.
And what happens if you try to tell these “nice” white people this? You are PC and have been fooled by the PC brigade so you don’t have to be listened to.
It is crazy how indoctrination works. All you need is arrogance, a belief in a set of ideas, and what is common sense – compassion – is thrown out of the window.
And if you ask these “nice” white people “who are the indoctrinated?” they deride other people – never seeing their own arrogance.
And how do I know the above is true? Because it serves the interests of the 1% to have “nice” white people not be compassionate – it serves the 1% not to have a compassionate society.
I don’t like the PC police personally but that does not prevent me from being compassionate because I see who is the real enemy first. But according to “nice” white people I would do that because I was in a caring profession.
And within all of this there is a nationalism. How these people have survived is a sense of pride and that pride includes nationalism. In Britain, it is because they are British that this demographic survived. There is no logic to this, it is a feeling and when you have this feeling of nationalism racism follows – because these “nice” white people are white. It is a feeling within their community “because we are British”, and although this emotion is not connected with why these “nice” white people live the lives they live it becomes a reality – it contributes to the racism as institutional racism.
When you don’t listen to fact-based arguments you have Brexit with the 350 million pound slogan on the bus. You have the all-powerful EU that were imposing on the will of the British people – the nationalism. And you have PC people giving you facts as to why these feelings about the EU are not true. You have the problem with immigrants without the blowback connection that it was British forces who were involved in the Middle East – causing the immigrants in the first place. Because being a “nice” white person is a feelgood arrogance based in fear, when the community talks with each other they do not discuss these facts, and when the PC do discuss them they have been marginalised by the PC-clash manipulation so facts are not heard.
With Brexit it is clear that the deplorables would increase their racist attacks, “nice” white people why didn’t this matter to you? You are compassionate people in your community, why didn’t it matter to you that innocent people would be hurt because of your vote? Why have you become so emotional about your nationalism, your hatred of the PC, that you don’t see the harm that will obviously be caused to other human beings? How can you allow your compassion to have been so manipulated that you voted for a campaign (Brexit) that has fascism written all the way through it?
And in America the deplorables are more extreme yet “nice” white people voted for a deplorable candidate, a man whose actions would cause him to be shunned by the very “nice” white people and their communities that voted for him.
And it is important to recognise you “nice” white people, you have been played. Your arrogance has been pandered to. As a demographic your trust in your own opinions (not based in fact) has been manipulated into believing “facts” that have no basis in truth. This happened more with Trump but the same was true with Brexit. How can anyone believe that an economic community would not respond and cause economic problems simply as a matter of self-protection? You “nice” white people who are so concerned by your little fortunes have stabbed yourselves in the foot far more than Labour ever did because your arrogance has been manipulated. And yet many of you “nice” white people complain that other people are manipulated because they are stupid.
And this is happening all over the world, this manipulation of the “nice” white people demographic manipulated by the 1% into a world that is more fascist.
I (would) vote with compassion, I put people first before profits – even though I maybe benefit from authoritarian regimes. I am afraid of the fascism that “nice” white people are moving towards.
I feel depressed because all my life I have worked towards a more compassionate society, and whilst within the compassionate branch of my society there has been much improvement because of these manipulations my whole society is far worse. My parents lived in fear because of the fascism that had blighted their upbringing, yet in my lifetime this fascism is returning because of “nice” white people.
I have begun revising the Treatise (Treatise of Zandtao). Whilst these small revisions are not going to be online for a while I should note that HHSR has been removed together with references to reincarnation. I have been studying Nagarjuna a bit– as being a link between what is Theravada (supposedly the original Buddha’s teachings and Zen/Tibetan). Reincarnation is really a Hindu belief that has become part of Buddhism according to Buddhadasa – I like that for the reasons that it explains the origin (Hindu India) of the belief and that proving reincarnation seems not to be possible. It is usually assigned to one of the Buddha’s unanswered questions. I was unsure of a lot of the references to unanswered questions, here is a summary that is from one of the Theravada suttas SN 44 explaining why the questions are not answered.
I am more concerned about Nagarjuna’s dependence on faith, I noticed this in the letter to the king in “The Good-hearted Letter” Section Two. Let me start by saying that faith is something I do not have. But before I get into that I want to surmise why Nagarjuna needed faith, and that is his belief in reincarnation. How can you accept reincarnation unless through faith because there is no way you can assert it through experience; having said that I cannot explain stories such as these without finding some disguised way of saying they are lies; the stories are not sufficient evidence to support reincarnation – just sufficient to create doubts. But for me the world is paradoxical enough to accept “exceptions to the rule”. But it matters not, I have not experienced it so I don’t accept it for myself.
Faith is a requirement for reincarnation yet it my view that the Buddha never asked us to have faith in him – or anything. Based on the Kalama Sutta, AN3, it is my contention that the Buddha asked us not to believe him but to come to some kind of personal conviction through experience that what he said is true. I often think of this as internalising an idea by deeply knowing it as a truth – or even experiencing the idea as an insight. Faith says here is a dogma, believe it – in other words here is a mindset, believe it. Are holy books factual? Or are they allegorical to bring home certain spiritual truths? My own view is the second, you must decide for yourself what is important.
This issue of “holding to a mindset” has been alluded to throughout the treatise, and is central to a perspective on conditioning. In an earlier chapter of the Treatise I looked at the book “The Four Agreements” demonstrating that we grow up with mindsets which we agree with because they are custom and practise for our societies, in effect this mindset of agreements could be seen more sinisterly as conditioning. The way we grow up could be seen as making agreements with our parents and society, or it could be seen in a more passive way as conforming to that conditioning that our upbringing requires of us.
The dogmas of a faith are a mindset, the agency of accepting that mindset separates a faith from a set of ideas, and I question that agency. I don’t dismiss the agency, I have used the term “internalising” as an acceptable agency, and I would also see insight as legitimate – although I find it difficult to see how a whole faith could be determined through insight. Debating the agency of one’s faith is an individual journey for each person to undergo, but without a suitable agency one’s faith is simply a set of ideas – a dogma – a mindset. Accepting a mindset without appropriate deep enquiry is for me a mistake that many make. It happens as we start to unravel conditioning especially amongst the young who reject conditioning but then seek to replace it. There is a charismatic figure, David Icke, who has politically dissected much that is wrong with our society. There is a strong body of younger people who follow him. There are two issue that I contend with him. The first concerns the Illuminati. I have never investigated the Illuminati because I don’t know them so how can I ascertain the truth about them. Throughout this book I have discussed the 1%, and I have no doubt that these bourgeoisie control our corporatocracy through finance and influence. But I have no experience to suggest that these people are masons – they may well be. I do however believe that groups such as Bilderberg meet and exert influence on our society. However the control of the 1% is in my view through convergence of interest and influence based on their own conditioning rather than a concrete plan or planning meeting. Second are the lizards. The only lizards I have come across are the ones that scuttle across my living room leaving small shit everywhere. If there are aliens as lizards I can accept correction but it has to be verifiable by direct personal experience. Icke-ists accept and feel they have to accept the full mindset. This is based on our miseducation in which indoctrination through accepting mindsets, ideas and facts stuffed in our minds to pass exams, leads to one mindset being replaced by another once we start to see through our conditioning – discussed throughout in Matriellez.
However this aspect of our conditioning, our mindset-replacing tendency, needs to be seen for what it is – another part of our conditioning (education methods), and it is only when this additional aspect is replaced by complete enquiry can we say that we have overcome conditioning.
Isms are a good way to begin examining conditioning. Consider nationalism. Is this a good thing? Many education systems foster nationalism as this produces stability within a society. By saying your own society is better than others you are immediately creating a lesser society, a group of inferiors. Once you have people seen as less than you, it is very easy for manipulative groups to misuse media to create a war for profit – can we kill our own? If we are all seen as equal, all societies seen as equal, then such excuses for war disappear – we do not make war on ourselves. This of course is a fundamental democratic principle that all people have equal democratic rights.
Racism is another ism well worth examining. I was brought up a white middle-class racist, and was fortunate enough to learn about my racism by good black people being willing to teach me and tolerate the racism I grew up with. When I reflect on things that I have thought and even said, I am somewhat ashamed despite knowing they are sourced in conditioning – conforming to the custom and practise of the white middle-class I grew up with. I would recommend all people of privilege such as white privilege to seriously examine themselves. In my professional biography as part of my M Ed I included a discussion of anti-racist training (ART), and would encourage people to examine themselves through such training approaches.
As a male chauvinism is another ism that I was born with, and therefore grew up being sexist. As an adult I intellectually accepted equality but I am not sure I always practised it because of my desires. Society is undoubtedly chauvinist, and we are therefore continually bombarded with media that promotes sexism. As males, especially younger males in whom the desires are stronger, constant re-evaluation is required. For example, what is anorexia and bulimia? Are these psychological conditions that a few women suffer from? Or are they natural consequences of a sexist society that portrays women as sex objects based on a body image that it is almost impossible to maintain – a situation made far worse by the way Big Food manipulates our foods for profit so that maintaining our health is so difficult. Should women have equal rights in the workplace? Or just in workplaces that do not affect my promotion?
Antisemitism is a particularly interesting ism for those on the left. When you consider history there is no doubt that Jews have been persecuted culminating in the atrocity of the Nazi Holocaust. Following the situation that has happened in Palestine where the homeland of Israel was created, on the left there has been much support for the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, oPt. Often that support has been vocal against Jews, is that antisemitic? At the same time there are wealthy Jews who could be called 1%, some such Jews have power in media. Is that then a Jewish conspiracy? I recommend a deep enquiry into one’s own antisemitism, and a suitable place to start are these 7 tenets of antisemitism.
Considering the ongoing barrage of media conditioning, enquiry is so important, it is integral that we continually re-evaluate our own conditioning because it is so easy to accept negative mindsets. When we add to this the dangers of attaching to mindsets once developed as insights the need for constant enquiry is a matter of ever-vigilance.
But we need to consider what is the purpose of this conditioning. It is conformity to what end. Certainly conformity is useful for providing a stable society but it does not begin to give a reason until we look at the 1%. They require a compliant and consuming workforce, they need consuming wage-slaves who can accept the various consequences of the current system such as climate change and wars for profits. Now the conditioning has a meaning because across the world we have people who accept working for money to pay the bills and consuming extras.
And where is the danger to this system? If for some reason the workforce refuses to be wage-slaves and discerningly decides not to waste money on consumerism. This is why so much effort is made to attack unions because when workers band together they demand the profits for themselves.
But more than unions they fear a unity of purpose, a unity of purpose that sees 99% working together for the interest of the Gaia – climate change, renewable energy, Dakota pipeline – and for the interests of all the people in the world – no wars for profits. Such division of peoples comes from nationalism – dividing nation against nation, racism diving white from black, sexism – dividing women from men, and antisemitism – dividing gentile from Jew.
Political unity in the interest of all peoples and for the interest of our planet is the way we can overcome the 1% manipulation of ourselves as consuming wage-slaves.
And unity or Oneness is what is sought through spiritual awareness. We are not separate people with individual interests, but we are One people with the interest of the One planet, our home. Even the very religions which are the systemic way of understanding this Oneness are used to separate. Wars have been fought with religion as an excuse yet religions when understood in depth seek only Oneness.
But what happens to people who seek Oneness, they become aware that we are not separate but One people. They transcend the separation and understand there is Unity. They overcome the conditioning that creates separation, they see through the delusion where we are conditioned as separate and accept the Unity.
This acceptance of Unity is usually associated with forms of bliss, and the transcendental process is often confused with the joy that people have during transcendence but the truth is that this transcendence happens when people end separation, when they end division, when they don’t accept the agreements their society and upbringing require of them, when they work to end their conditioning on all levels. Transcending conditioning is what brings Unity – anatta.
And this transcendence brings understanding on all levels. Once we throw off the shackles of our conditioning, by rejecting separation, by going beyond dogma and intellect, by fighting the hatred that comes with all the isms – often bringing wars with profits, by accepting Unity as Gaia where destroying the environment by climate change and industrial exploitation is understood as destroying ourselves. This is all transcendence. From the moment any part of our conditioning is questioned we begin transcendence. For some it remains political where the bliss is never experienced because new mindsets are clung to. For the spiritual the transcendental experience can bring with it bliss but instead of a mindset they cling to bliss and don’t move forward. But the process is the same – enquiry, removing the shackles that ignorance of our conditioning places on us bringing with it open minds that question, that naturally reject injustice, that reject climate exploitation, that want genuine peace, a peace that comes with the Unity of all peoples in Gaia.
This transcendence is what the three tenets of the Treatise of Zandtao are working towards. Healing the body so we do not become attached to the diseases that are a consequence of toxic intake whilst at the same time working with Gaia through whole foods that enable us to survive in harmony with nature. And the energy is the energy of Gaia of One planet. Once we open our minds and bodies to that energy that is Gaia then we begin to feel through that energy that this is not separation but Unity, the energy of the One planet that sustains us, making us feel vital when we accept the Path that is Gaia. We work together in Gaia, we transcend the conditioning that seeks division, and we accept Unity for what it is – the natural way.
In the Treatise I have looked at many ways that work towards this transcendence, this removal of conditioning. One way just mentioned are the three tenets, but much more importantly there are the 4 Agreements, and there is magga – the 8-Fold Path. All seek one thing – the removal of conditioning – the removal of agreements, the removal of the attachment to I and mine, the removal of attachment to the 5 khandas, the Unity that comes with the understanding once the conditioning has been removed.
There are many levels of this transcendence. When we see black people justifiably angry in “Black Lives Matter”, we might well see people who have transcended this political aspect but need more. When we see Momentum supporting Corbyn in his struggle against the 1% we see people who have transcended this aspect of conditioning but who seek more. When we see the monk who devotes their lives to meditation we see a transcendence that has overcome the conditioning of wage-slavery and consumerism, but needs more. On this diverse world there is much transcendence to varying degrees, it can only be hoped that these people do not rest on their laurels and that they work to seek a complete transcendence, a transcendence that comes from permanent enquiry, a transcendence that lacks conditioning on any level, a transcendence that brings with it a complete freedom from any shackles. Unity that is anatta.
Have enjoyed listening to Corbyn’s conference speech, I thought it was an excellent leadership speech and rallying call – function of conference (but I am biassed). It is refreshing to hear a socialist party leader actually discussing socialism.
Here are his “not-the-ten commandments” – well worth considering [25.56]:-
Who would not want this? 1%.
Feasible – the figures work.
Will they allow it to happen? Of course not. But it is well worth a battle to see how far we can win back rights for humanity in general, and not just the privileged few.
I saw these recent articles on “white privilege” – here and here, and it has been nagging me especially in view of my recent concerns about Brad. I have been trying to put this privilege in context to see how I respond to the articles.
What is privilege in general? It is a form of entitlement that the system offers:-
“a special right or advantage that a particular person or group of people has” [Oxford dictionary].
Somehow different people have privileges – special rights or advantages, but what is somehow? It is custom and practice, in other words it just happens.
But the dictionary gave another usage:-
“the rights and advantages that rich and powerful people in a society have
If we begin the analysis of custom and practise here we begin to see the importance of the word “privilege”. The entitlement for the rich and powerful (1%) – privilege – includes a legal system that works better for the rich, protection for business against the interests of the people/ Amongst many failings – why are taxpayers paying all the money for protection against copyright theft? How much money do individuals have to pay for security systems to protect their own small businesses – to protect their homes? And what is the police hierarchical priority – protect big business or burglary from our homes? This is all part of the custom and practice that comes under the umbrella “privilege”. Basically the custom and practise of privilege is “defined” by our political system – the 1%-system.
This places consideration of privilege in a proper context, when we consider privilege we are seeing entitlement based on what the 1% wants.
Historically the 1% were known as the bourgeoisie, and it was generally accepted that we lived in a class system. A fundamental Marxist analysis discussed an intentionally divided proletariat, this division is more commonly recognised in the context of “divide-and-rule” colonialism – not dissociated with the Marxist analysis! It is also known within such analyses that racial divisions are fostered by such a system. White privilege does not just “happen” it is a consequence of the political system we live in.
For many such an analytical approach (Marxist) is an emotive stumbling block, it was certainly not the direction of the article. Basically the article asked us as “white people” to accept that we are privileged, and then we could understand the anger of campaigns such as “Black Lives Matter”. If we are aware of the overarching 1%-system then as privileged groups we should start to consider our own behaviour. As a white male I have been privileged in two ways – being white, being male. Luckily enough my youthful immaturity allowed me to gain the qualifications of a miseducation, and I also became privileged because of this. Where was my country of origin? England, part of NATO. NATO is the world’s dominant military organisation, effectively the military of the West. So I have a privilege by being British.
Because life can contain suffering individually we have bad experiences, we become biased seeing the suffering and not the privilege. If you don’t question privileges it is hard to see the benefits of these systemic entitlements because we also suffer because that is part of life. Seeing the distinction is important.
The real sense of this blogpost is unwrapping privilege because privilege is entitlement that comes from the conditioning of the 1%-system. To be free is to be aware, and if we do not know whether what happens to us is systemic privilege or merited rewards then we cannot understand our conditioning. Removing conditioning has been discussed here and here.
I first questioned privilege when I hit bottom. I had been given privilege by being relatively successful academically. This miseducation had given me qualifications that have been beneficial, but it never taught me about genuine intelligence. I was arrogant with the entitlement, and hitting bottom helped remove some of that arrogance. Following hitting bottom there was emergence of genuine intelligence (limited), and when I participated in the Arts Centre I met people with the intelligence of creativity, people in many cases who put creativity first. This taught me about the privilege of academia, and the need to focus on creativity and intelligence.
My understanding of the entitlement that came from privilege was still very limited despite this. Soon after I began to question over race – white privilege, as I began teaching in a mixed race school. I was taught a great deal by that situation especially with the help of black friends who taught me to overcome my conditioning.
Much later on at 42 I began to travel for work, and living in different countries showed me some disadvantages as being an expat – I term this the suffering of life. Whilst there are also privileges for being an expat, experiencing disadvantages helps with an understanding of privilege. In Thailand, where I now live, there are many expats and there is a great deal of racism amongst the white people towards the Thais. In my view this is based on privilege. As English white people these expats have always been privileged in their own system, coming to Thailand some of those privileges have been removed and I feel this is the source of their reaction; it does not help that racism amongst many Thais also exists.
Male privilege is something I have recognised but has been the hardest for me to deal with. The big dilemma of course is in personal relationships because turning principle into practise every minute of the day is difficult; it is hard to remain detached. At the same time male privilege has another issue attached to it on a personal level, the male sexual drive is extremely dominating especially when younger. However much one wants to see a woman as an individual, those sexual needs can change your perception of a woman into a sexual object at times especially during the sexual act. With a man’s personal needs being so different to those of a woman this personal interaction creates much conflict which is hard to rationalise. I was never able to work these out to mutual satisfaction and I live alone. Such conflict can lead to violence, and whilst I can understand where the violence can come from it is never acceptable to use violence. This is also an issue of privilege. Men are conditioned to expect control, and in the home situation they can lose that control – “An Englishman’s home is his castle”. Because their privilege has been removed they respond with violence – not an acceptable response. These issues of privilege are nurtured by upbringing in which young men are taught to behave in a certain way as are young women, but when that cultural upbringing breaks down conflict within marriage becomes more prevalent.
I see this as a particular problem in the West where the culture (upbringing and miseducation) has broken down many of the traditions that produce stability in marriage. However in the West many of those traditions were also oppressive to women, and were quite rightly broken down. Unfortunately in this time of cultural change what has replaced these traditions is not working, thus explaining why so many marriages are breaking down in the West. There is further damage caused by increasing pressure on the home by the requirement for both to work, and consequently children are suffering – becoming more ill-disciplined.
I don’t have any disagreement with social issues of feminism although I do understand why many men do. There is an unwritten trade-off. Many men go out to work to provide for their families. In many of the home situations much of the responsibility is in the control of the women, and whilst for much of the time men are satisfied with this there is resentment towards the loss of control. Men cannot control their bosses in the hierarchy of work but this loss of control at home often leads to resentment in work towards women bosses producing stereotype comments such as “she slept her way to the top” (same applies to stereotyped views of black people higher on the ladder – affirmative action). Again this is an issue of privilege as previously men have had privilege in work, and since the rise of feminism in the 60s this has slowly begun to change – and will rightly change more because as yet there is not equality in the workplace. And why is there not this equality – the patriarchy aspect of the 1%-system, how many of the 1% are women? And will the Bilderbergers ever allow such equality?
Privilege and entitlement become egotistical issues for those on the Path. On a personal level many people on the Path are respected for their wisdom and Nature provides many merited rewards, but the system offers no such respect or reward. Do people on the Path seek social position or financial reward? Beyond sufficiency to survive this is rarely a motivation, and such motivations are frequently disrespected seen as “straying from the Path” by those who recognise the Path. There is a great deal of difficulty surrounding privilege and the Path. Those accepting the Path see the Path as part of Nature, and the greater the adherence to the Path is seen as concomitant with what Nature wants. In other words, such people are leaders in Nature or Natural leaders. But the customs and practices of society often marginalise such people who survive based on the respect of those who seek understanding of the Path from these people. Far from the majority respecting them oft-times these people are derided – by those who do not recognise the Path – for their lack of acceptance of materialist customs and practices; people on the Path usually lose this acceptance because they have moved beyond the conditioning that lauds these practices. Occasionally the Path crosses privilege, for example Eckhart Tolle gains that privilege through the efforts of the system represented by Oprah – without having to compromise his spiritual duty. But such examples are few and far between.
When a white person questions themselves concerning privilege this is a step in the right direction, but such questioning is not systemically encouraged. Privilege is an integral part of the rewards of the 1%-system and as such questioning privilege would lead to questioning of the system itself. And for those who do question a search for social justice is a usual response. And where does that conflict lead?
Unwrapping entitlement from privilege is part of the process of removal of conditioning. Unless the rewards we receive in life are merited we cannot know that we are doing what Nature intended, we cannot know that we are following the Path. Buddhist understanding that life can contain suffering – the 4 Noble Truths – is important to give context to our understanding of entitlement. We all suffer to some extent, and how we handle that suffering is the Path to Understanding that is the wisdom of the 4NT. Not to recognise the entitlement that comes from privilege also leads to suffering because there are rewards for not following the Path – the carrot leading us in the wrong direction. This is all part of conditioning, and awareness comes from removing conditioning and in doing so we are free to be who we are – to live compassionately.
I was always in conflict with the system as an adult. At school I was completely asleep, more asleep than my peers. In retrospect I see this as a defence mechanism, how would I have handled any form of awareness as a child. Alex became aware when young, fought the system, started his adult journey early, became aware of the outer world, and defensively shuts off his inner world. In my case I knew nothing of this fighting when I was young – only immature spats, became aware as an adult, and fought the system having been plonked on the Path by hitting bottom. That hitting bottom made me see the system as being at fault – repression, family, system and miseducation. Yet for most none of this conflict exists.
A keystone of the system is compromise. The 1% make profits, take advantage of all around, and make us all wage-slaves. There is a 1% directive – make as much profit as possible. As they are in control all the people working for them fit into that directive. A factory causes environmental damage, yet no one person makes a decision to cause that damage – except the directive (a directive many accept as business-is-business). The manager tries to make a profit. Down the line all follow what the hierarchy says, any decisions that are made are small. No-one decides to cause the damage, all will follow environmental guidelines, yet no-one says we will cause damage. But no-one says we will not cause damage because not causing damage will decrease the profits. There might be marginal calls, calls that would bring a certain amount of conflict – lack of promotion, loss of employment, people compromise on these margins. But no-one has to decide to cause damage. One might blame the environmental guidelines but these are under control through government lobbying by the 1%. Because the calls are marginal and because no-one appears to be responsible for the damage conflict rarely exists.
By nature I was brought into conflict in education, for me the clarion call of education was the very sword that brought me conflict in schools. Because schools were not about education – they are about providing a skillset that fitted into the 1%-system and about educating people for 1%-world. Having been given this skillset most people do not have conflict. They accept what is a “normal” way of life, struggle for their families and pleasures, and there is not a conflict with the system – only the struggle inherent within the constraints of normalness.
I have suggested to Brad (cajoled?) that his perception lacks the clarity that comes with conflict, that might be so. But if he has no conflict is his perception not clear? If I suggest that Brad educate for awareness of 1%-world, am I suggesting that he educate to create conflict?
When I say educate awareness my immediate answer is yes, I am suggesting he create conflict where now there is none. At present he does not educate for conflict, he puts forward the Dharma and does not expose 1%-world for what it is. Is that enough?
Previously I have said no. I have discussed here how important these 4 heinouses are:-
1) How important is #BlackLivesMatter?
When I argued this I suggested that monks including Brad should include awareness of 1%-world and how important these heinouses are. Awareness of these four and allowing them to be part of who you are will create conflict with 1%-world – if they are genuinely part of you.
I am now questioning that. Every part of my being says “make people aware of 1%-world”, but that is my being. Every part of my being says that it should be a part of everyone’s being but that is just me. I can’t answer this because for me personally there is no doubt.
Is awareness of these 4 a matter of choice?
NNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, maybe YES!
I still can’t answer it so I have to say let the teachers and the people choose.
Brad, a Zen monk, gets into daily life. As an aware person he develops an understanding of daily life, but how far does he go? As far as he goes. How far should he go? As far as he goes, the Dharma must guide him. I don’t understand why the Dharma doesn’t take him further. It is frustrating because I don’t understand but I must trust the Dharma.
It is arrogant of me to think he doesn’t know enough to be aware of these heinouses so instead of questioning him I have to question my frustration. QED
Tags: Eisenstein, ONEplanet
I have touched onto this topic many times – even downloaded the book ready to read, but never got into it; truth I don’t think I will.
Most of what he talks about in this clip, and I surmise, in his book I am sure I would agree with. But what he begins with concerns money, and he say money is the problem. Resoundingly money is not the problem. Using money to facilitate bartering is nowhere near the problem, but what money is has enabled the unscrupulous to create the problems. The problem is not money it is the 1%. The problem is not that we have a system in which goods are produced and that those goods are then traded usually through the exchange of money. This is not the problem.
The problem that money makes easier is that money can be easily accumulated, money can be easily printed, and now non-existent computer-money (zeroes) can be accumulated in bank accounts. To see money as the problem ignores trading that has functioned for centuries without causing the problems that are associated with Eisenstein’s money.
As we mostly agree why is this blog or criticism necessary? Because it targets all of us. His solutions are excellent but they target us all, and will not resolve the problems. We are not the problem, the 1% are the problem, accumulation is the problem. Whilst all that Eisienstein talks of is part of the solution, there is a a more pressing and immediate solution – de-accumulating. Preventing accumulation is the solution. Preventing the few from accumulating by capping them, preventing the puppets of these few from printing fiat money, redistributing the enormous fortunes back into the economy for people, preventing accumulation games of futures and other stock manipulations, these are the solutions – attack accumulation. Start with the richest and see how quickly the world gets better. If their accumulation were prevented then their power would dissipate, the problems of mass production would disappear because there be no benefits for those who accumulate. It is not products, the creation or sales of products that is the problem, it is the way those who have accumulated can use such production to increase their accumulation at whatever the cost.
Now my solution is completely idealistic but it does not ask for wholesale change – just a capping of the few. But Eisenstein talks of gift economy. Excellent – we give, and people will give back. Works a bit. In my personal case I look at my gift balance sheet and I give far more than I get, BUT and a it’s a big but people do give back, people do treat me well and life is so much better. I respect GAIA, and GAIA gives back to me. This is all true, so if you can manage to participate in some kind of giving then life will be so much better for you. But it is not an economic system, it is a way of making life better, you feel better, people treat you better, all this is true.
But you will be hit. In a system where giving is not respected there are plenty of people who see givers as a soft touch so you can’t be completely giving or you will be emptied out – not just financially but emotionally. However if you can work within giving networks then you will enjoy life so much, far more than any of those exploiters with zeroes.
Sacred economics is an interesting approach.
I am not a believer in the condition ADD or ADHD – I must state that before I write anything. At one stage in the Democracy Now talks below, Gabor Mate talks of students with concentration problems previously being described as “bad”, one of my standard report comments would have been “needs to learn to concentrate more” – not that they were “bad”. But if they were not concentrating on their work, what were they going to do? Meditate in silence? Concentration is a huge issue, I spend a lot of time trying to come to terms with concentration in meditation and otherwise, it is difficult. BUT I am not ill because I cannot concentrate at the drop of a hat, that is just a human inability – an inability to concentrate.
So Democracy Now discussed “the selling of ADD”:-
We have an increase in concentration problems because we have a decrease in classroom discipline. We have a decrease in classroom discipline because corporal punishment has not been replaced. Because it was not replaced teachers are blamed for the decreasing discipline, when institutional rules prevent punitive measures that can lead to discipline; this is not an advocation of corporal punishment it’s an advocation of discipline – discipline as a priority, not liberalism. With the increase in discipline issues we have an increase in concentration problems, and this has allowed BigPharma to peddle pills.
Alan Schwartz has written a number of New York Times articles on ADD -the “Selling of Attention Deficit Disorder”, his most recent, I found here – this is the one depicted in the Democracy Now interview. His focus was on BigPharma and inappropriate diagnoses by the medical profession, he often states that some pills might be helpful. In most cases I do not accept this position, if you become dependent on drugs to study when do you learn to concentrate?
Both Democracy Now talks discuss the attitude of BigPharma, and as such is worth knowing. Gabor Mate spoke a number of times about the limitation of the medical establishment to causality through brain biology and the need for this establishment to consider the environmental impact – very Bruce Lipton (discussed at Mandtao – see footers). Such an impact does not provide BigPharma with profits.
It is worth continuing to note BigPharma’s tricks.
Tags: compassion, Compromise, creativity, detox, diet, glands
Not everything is in order but I have turned the corner. Yesterday’s realisation was important, and once I had internalised that realisation things changed. Sauna is now part of my healing – I needed the sauna because of my cold body, a body that was cold because although I was doing good exercise with swimming I was not sweating. That was an obvious part but only a part of the problem. Last night I slept from 11-7.00, bitty sleep but sleep – balance at the right time (slightly late as I was out).
During the sauna I developed a chakra sauna (a version of the chakra meditation I often use). Taking each chakra in turn I breathed in the healthy air of the steam “box”, and breathed out detox. It felt a bit good, I say a bit as I don’t enjoy the saunas and feel uncomfortable; I will have to adjust as sauna is now part of my healing. Now today is the last day of my detox diet, and despite the earlier discomforts it was well worth doing. From the discomfort I know there is a need to detox every 6 months, but that should be helped by the detox process that occurs during the regular sauna – now part of my healing.
I have to prepare for sleep, it is evident that sleep can’t just happen at the moment. Answer – meditation and sauna. I put the two together here because when I sauna I don’t think there is a need to meditate as I detox. I need to meditate early evening so that I don’t take the effects of the day to sleep with me, and as part of the meditation I will be detoxing the pineal gland and others.
Hormones are regulators, and of the body the pineal gland is maybe king! And my body needed regulating. Just over 6 years ago I began a healing diet. Whilst I was not in desparate straights as many are because of our toxic lifesyles, I was well on the way to cancer with GERD. As my system has detoxed and healed, the organs have healed but what has happened overall? The body needed regulating. I suspect for many healing that regulating happens without a big problem like I had. But there were two other factors in my own regularising – stopping work and changing climate. I was very stressed at work. I got angry one time when someone said I should handle the stress, and my answer in retrospect is that I more or less did – as far as I could go. I was an educator forced to teach in the corporate paradigm schools (for more understanding of this see Matriellez link below). I had to be stressed, if contemporary teaching does not stress you you are part of the compromise instead of part of the solution. Working in education means an ongoing battle for education against indoctrination, and if that isn’t stress I don’t know what is. And if there isn’t the stress there the actuarial stats for teachers add weight, so many of my colleagues died without having a retirement (only a year or two). Without this stress of work my body had to regularise, was the reason these teachers died because the hormone system was not able to regularise in retirement after the stress? How did my hormone imbalance show – cold body? The hormones showed that way to reflect the temperature change they were forced to endure all year round from Manchester to Jangwat Trat. I am so convinced about this hormonal function I have decided there needs to be a hormone-regulating process included as a stage in the Zandtao Healing Plan.
Finally I come to an issue that I don’t properly understand as yet. This hormonal imbalance reflects a spiritual imbalance as well. During this period of hormone healing I have been thinking about the need to have more compassion and creativity. My creativity usually shows itself in scifi writing (see Wai Zandtao scifi link below), and it is more than 3 years since I have written. Compassion I don’t understand, am I compassionate enough? Insight for me forms a trinity with these two, and insight has occurred throughout. Working out the balance of compassion, creativity and insight can now happen now that I have handled the healing.
Malala is a well spoken young woman who has been through great difficulty. She is expressing her opinion, and she has a right to do this so what is wrong?
When you begin to ask questions a whole can of worms opens up. Rather than examine why she is saying it for herself, ask why is she getting so much “air time”, why was she being put up for the Peace prize. And you start to see the hand of the drone wars. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism report “Get the Data: Drone Wars”, the details on the Swat Valley are included in the following:-
Whether by intention or not Malala is promoting the message that the Taliban are active in the Swat Valley, and we need to do something – drones. Jon Stewart tends to present an anti-imperialist message, so “good-old-lefties” can watch when he breaks down:-
He begins by describing her as an advocate for girls’ education worldwide. Who can argue with that? What impression are we left with? This articulate young woman is heroic, and we must do what we can to protect her against the Taliban so drones are OK. Is that a conclusion that can be drawn?
Did the following get as much publicity? Read article.
A friend/ex-student, Ghada, put me onto this, it is a letter from a Taliban in an individual capacity asking her to return home and promote the interests of Muslim women. What do you make of that letter?
Malala’s publicity has been used by the Telegraph to promote fear of the Taliban in this article and those it references. Is this what she wanted?
My own knowledge of the situation is very limited but what is very clear to me is that the use of drones is wrong. With regards to this discussion that is the only thing that can be categorical, the use of drones is wrong. On everything else I am asking questions as people have the right to do. here is a clip from the Real News Network about drone deaths in Pakistan:-
Here is another question, is it morally correct to manipulate a 16-year-old for your own ends? Is Malala being manipulated to promote the use of drones?
This brings me to a wider point. I have recently criticised a tv series on socialism because it was produced by a neocon. I watched a bit of it, and it made me cringe but I did not offer an academic critique. Why would anyone interested in understanding the mass movement want to promote a neocon’s view? In this world of politics we have to be so careful with what we promote. If my word means anything I have to be careful what I circulate on the net or elsewhere.
On spiritual matters many people are equally blase – ill-considered. The Bhagwan and his followers were involved in criminal activities, so when he gets revamped as Osho, does that mean there is any less criminal involvement? Can anyone be sure that they will not be enticed by Osho’s words to drop from the Path – or follow the Bhagwan’s Path that included criminality?
I have discussed Sogyal and at the time I was greatly interested in him. But then I discover that there are many allegations of sexual misconduct taking advantage of vulnerable women who were seeking psychological counsel from him etc. I will not read his book or promote it again. Why? I cannot be sure I won’t be perversely influenced, I would hope not but I can’t be sure. But I can be sure there are genuine teachers around and I can study them. It is straight forward.
Be sure, don’t dabble.
When we share we are part of a publicity machine. It is essential we take responsibility for that part we promote. How many people who promoted the Malala-Jon Stewart clip would actually want to help promote the use of drones? Did their sharing actually help in such promoting? We all need to be so careful.