At least since the end of the second world war we have had a neoliberal system – probably since we had universal suffrage, now ordinary people are paying for this compromise. Neoliberalism allowed for public political parlour games in the West. Over regular periods (usually 4 or 5 years) we went through a sham of electoral democracy in which politicians stood up for marginally different versions of the same deal, neoliberalism, with the parties (usually two in each country) offering different levels of token support for ordinary people whilst carrying out 1% policies.
And the left has now paid for their own compromise with this neoliberalism.
Here is an example that happened to me. I don’t know what the current CP tactics are but back in the 80s the CP asked its members to compromise with the neoliberal system in order not to split working-class or union support. Typically this involved extremely distasteful actions. In my own case I attended the NUT conference, and at this conference I was asked to support the Broad Left which included the mainstream leadership. I attended their disco (I attended discos then) and watched a degree of sycophanticism that was so distasteful I walked out. It was undoubtedly true that the Trots, known as the Socialist Teachers’ Alliance then, were adopting policies that would have split the union if their conference motions had been passed. So I understood why the CP asked me to do what I did, but it was distasteful. More attempts at building bridges on the left against the neoliberalism could have been made but they weren’t, and there was an impasse with built-in stagnation. Such analysis concerning these bridges was not around then, so all of the left needs to accept responsibility for this. I think it significant that there was no recognition at the time concerning neoliberalism. The analysis was simply bourgeois and proletarian, and working within the labour movement, either in the unions or the labour party, to remove the impact of the opportunists. The weakness of this analysis, lacking any emphasis on the neoliberal system, was significant in the lack of bridge-building. Because the emphasis was on mass movement unity, battles existed on the left (typified by Trots vs Commies), and the direction of the discourse was always towards unity within the mass movement. However that unity, supposedly considered as unity of the proletariat, effectively meant unity on the left, and there was never any real efforts to unify with the right wing – whether in the union or the labour party. In the minds of the left the populist right, because of their politics lacking compassion for liberal issues were being identified with the 1% when in fact they were populist right and needed to be included within the mass movement against the 1%. To me this weak position was the early causes of the separation of the populist right and move to fascism that is indicated by votes for Brexit and Trump.
Soon after this NUT conference I left the UK so I don’t know how the CP and others on the left have dealt with neoliberalism since then, but I do feel this stagnation continued. Supporting the 1%-Labour, Blair Labour and Blair unions, might well have been CP strategy in order not to split the Labour movement. How awful – supporting war.
As a result populism, those on the right against the 1%, has taken the stage. Now we have a far harder battle, how to unite with this populist right, against the 1%. If we don’t accept that this is the way forward, then fighting against the 1% will be self-evidently impossible when the 99% are so divided. How many of the 99% could now be described as on the left and against the 1%?
I suggest that the left in the 99% have dissociated themselves from the populist right, primarily because of the platforms that I have assessed as being part of the populist right:-
1) Work against the 1%, its influence, the lobbyists that Trump described as the swamp.
Whilst the first two are clearly unifying the third is intended to be divisive by the 1%.
However if the power of the 1% is to be minimised, both the populist right and the liberal left need to compromise against the real enemy – the 1%. In the US such a compromise seems almost impossible but it has now become necessary otherwise people are in for a very difficult time with the increasing rise of fascism. This is a compromise that is far more distasteful than the compromise I had at the NUT disco but without it fascism will increasingly take centre stage.
It is my understanding that Trump supporters actually believe he will support them against the 1%. Undoubtedly he has strategic plans for buying off his supporters such as providing jobs in Trumpland, and it is conceivable that whilst adopting 1% and anti-liberal policies (racist, sexist and against LGBT) he will maintain his vote-base.
This division of the 99% between the liberal left and populist right can be laid straightforwardly at the hands of neoliberalism, what has neoliberalism done for these hard-working white people on the right – in Trumpland? Nothing, why would they? The 1% seeks only to exploit for their own profit. But what is far worse, what has the left done for these people? Nothing. The left has fought other legitimate battles, often involving identity politics, and as a result these working people whose personal politics have not been compassionate – such as racist, sexist and anti-LGBT – have lost their incomes and become attracted to the populist right. Yet our interests are the same, and it is self-defeating to turn around and demand that because they are part of the 99% they should change their views and join us. They haven’t, and in the US they have chosen Trump – been conned by Trump – been conned by the 1%.
Because the liberals have supported neoliberalism, have been myopic in the politics they have been involved in, and ignored a significant proportion of the 99% – a proportion that Trump has strategically manipulated, the US now has a 1%-government that will move the US towards fascism.
There is an aspect of US media that I have not seen discussed but is the practise. I watch US comedy progs such as John Oliver, Daily Show, Samantha Bee, Saturday Night Live – these are the only US comedies I find funny. When I am watching them I see nothing but pro-Democrat party propaganda. I see attacks on Trump – OK I agree he is preposterously funny, not attacks on the 1%, and I see the progs increasing divisions within the 99%. These progs add to the problem because they perpetuate and increase the divisions with the rest of the 99%. I can enjoy the humour without being sucked into the division, but can most of the watchers? Can they see that the intended divisions are also part of the 1% mainstream media strategy of dividing the 99%? Without discernment liberals and the left will continue to be part of the problem.
Similarly left-wing media in the UK are attacking and ridiculing Trump, they are perpetuating the situation. The populist white right who are inclined towards UKIP are being ignored by this left-wing, and the 1% are agitating against the 99% using similar tactics to the US. This situation is different to the US because the government is right-wing. However it is functionally the same. Divide the 99% – left against right. Identify the media as left wing, identify the mass movement – labour party and unions – as not being interested in white people. Not being interested in protecting the jobs of white people. Similarly there are attacks on PC in general thus the populist right are ignoring much truth that is spoken by professionals such as teachers, social workers and care-workers. Underlying the rhetoric of this populist right will be blame – blaming the left (liberals in general although the use of that term is not as common in the UK because of the Liberal party and their alliance with Cameron). Neither right nor left are sufficiently focussed on the impact of the 1% in the UK.
Because liberals have supported neoliberalism, the 1% has divided the 99% by financing the populist right. Because liberals have failed to persuade more white people that what liberals are doing is right, we now have a situation where the populist right has grown significantly; liberals and the left do not put forward uniting policies such as fighting the 1% and maybe morality and compassion, they simply promote their own dogma and expect the populist right to accept it. We now have a situation where the liberals, left-wing and populist right need to court each other in order to provide a united front against the 1%. For years the liberals and left have ignored this populist right, and the 1% have managed to cleave apart the 99%. The populist right have peddled preposterous statements such as left-wing mainstream media, and because the left has previously ignored this populism such statements now have significant traction. The 1% have financed this populism with their main purpose being to divide the 99%, and there is such a strength of rhetoric against the left-wing, much of it built on lies and propaganda such as the anti-PC movement, creating unity will be hard. Not all of the populist right can be won over as there is a significant proportion of deplorables, but amongst the rest are compassionate, moral people, who, because of the propaganda, in the US manage to support a horrendous man (Trump) who is immoral and lacking in compassion – being racist sexist and anti-LGBT. In the UK the pattern similarly shows support for the Tories and UKIP, both of which are parties for the 1%. These moral people, quiet white people, need to feel ashamed for supporting Trump and Brexit (and UKIP) but that also means that liberals need to eschew their neoliberalism, and show the non-deplorable on the populist right that there is a unity of interest against the 1%. Both populists and liberals need to change their focus away from each other and towards the real enemy – the 1%.
I have looked a little into the mindset of this moral populist right, and I do not understand it. Yet we must understand each other. Through unity of purpose against the 1% communication needs to be built between the left, liberals and the populist right. This will be difficult because of the years of antagonism, but if we don’t do this Trumps, and to a lesser extent Farages, will continue to arrive on the scene as fascism increases.
To my mind the onus of communicating lies with the liberal left. For all of last century the left has recognised the need to build the mass movement, yet after a century of such building in the US a member of the 1% standing for president has managed to divide the 95% in only one campaign. Not only is the candidate a member of the 1% he is an overt racist and sexist, yet he still split the vote. Why?
1) He promoted racism and sexism and other forms of bigotry. Voicing such enabled the deplorables. But those that should be ashamed also voted for him because they have been convinced that within the propaganda their compassion does not have to recognise racism and sexism.
2) Trump has managed to convince many on the populist right that he is the person to vote for in fighting the 1%. To people on the left this seems ludicrous but this is because the left has failed to see how they have been compromised by neoliberalism. Below I discuss Obama as an example of neoliberal failure. Because of this neoliberal failure leaders on the populist right have been able to convince members of the 99% that mainstream government and media is controlled by the left. How can the liberal left have been so remiss? Because they failed to identify and attack neoliberalism, even with Occupy opening the territory the left within the Democrats failed to take advantage. The Democrats did not identify themselves with Occupy, and so they lost the high ground with regards to attacking the 1%. Left-wing press clearly do such 1%-attacks, the Democrats don’t as a whole, and the populist right have identified the 1%-Democrats as the Left enabling a right-wing vote for the Deplorable.
3) And of course the main failure of the left has been its failure to embrace all in the 99% including those on the right. White racists and white disguised racists have lost their jobs as a result of 1% accumulation. Despite their lack of this compassion many of these people are hard-working trying to look after their families, and the left-wing have not represented them. This is shamefully ignorant as they have had years of analysis, understood that it is only through unity that the 99% can win yet such people have been ostracised because they lack liberal values – and compassion. If you genuinely believe in mass movement politics then you have to embrace white racism with all its faults. By being inclusive these people will hopefully see beyond the racism into recognising their interests are the same as all working people including liberals. At present they don’t and that has been as a consequence of the neoliberal system – a system that too many on the left have accepted.
4) The liberal left have become pre-occupied with identity politics. Rather than attacking the 1% the liberal left have focussed on legitimate issues such as gender equality, racial equality, LGBT equality etc Because they also failed to dissociate themselves from the neoliberalism, much of this focus worked on getting these identity groups better pay. From the perspective of the populist right all that appears is that the left agenda is to increase the pay of these identity groups at their own expense. Identity politics needs to fit into the struggle against the 1%, and this is clearly not the case. This is again a failure of the left to struggle against neoliberalism.
Voting a black man as president in the US alienated this populist right. This could have been alleviated if Obama had adopted policies that included the white right. When you consider the rise of Black Lives Matter, he didn’t even promote the interests of black people. When you examine with discernment, what he has done he has mostly acted as a puppet for the 1%. Prior to the elections and soon after mainstream left-wing media, what little I know of it, were fawning over Obama. But what has he done in the struggle against the 1%?
To conclude, the blame for the rise of the populist right and their manipulation by the 1% into accepting Trump and Brexit can be laid very clearly at the hands of the liberal left. They failed to focus on the real problem – the 1%, and the majority of them have colluded with the neoliberal system. The left have focussed their energies on identity politics thus alienating the populist right who have started to identify with neo-fascist groups. Even moral compassionate white people have thus identified because they have become alienated from the left part of the 99%. It is time for the left to change, re-orient their dominant strategies into fighting the 1%, and work towards including the populist right even though there is divisive racism and sexism within the right.
I would like to see a change in the use of the term neoliberalism – new liberals? How can the populist right recognise the difference between left liberal and neoliberalism? Without such a recognition how can there be a united 99%? A long blog!
Archive for the ‘Insight’ Category
Brexit and Trump have also brought home to me another important issue – what is truth? Speaking the truth is part of the 8-Fold Path, Magga (4 Noble Truths), and never has it been more important to recognise the truth when the representatives of the powerful are lying so much.
The first thing I learned about the truth as an adult was when I started on the Path and began to develop insight. At that time seeing people or knowing stuff was so important. Basically it was a reaction to all the lies that education and upbringing had given me. Developing insight is the most important tool for understanding the truth, and very few people discuss this. Insight is definitely not taught in schools!!! At the same time, in the search for truth recognising insight in others became an important aspect of discerning truth. It is not possible for one person to know the truth in all things. So a pre-requisite for truth is insight and the recognition of insight. One key aspect of recognising insight is that of sila – moral integrity. Recognising moral integrity is almost as difficult as recognising insight but there is an obvious corollary to this:-
If a person does not have moral integrity, then they certainly do not have insight and would not see truth as important.
Having moral integrity and talking about morals is definitely not the same thing. There are many people who use morality within religious institutions as a means of control, and yet they themselves do not have morality. In other words religion and morality are not the same although within the religious institutions there are people with insight and moral integrity.
Compassion is the most important fundamental concerning truth. Compassion means the freedom from suffering for all, and in this I include Gaia. So in seeking the truth the person must show compassion. Therefore a person speaking the truth will be working towards compassion, and therefore someone who is sexist, racist, or does not support LBGT rights is not compassionate, and is therefore not speaking the truth. So there are yardsticks, how compassionate is the person and how much insight do they have?
Of course these yardsticks are absolutes, and applying these absolutes in everyday situations especially in something as criminal as politics is very difficult.
But trying to use these yardsticks let’s examine the political situation but not as yet in terms of party politics. What politically exhibits the least compassion? Quite obviously the first political yardstick is war. Who benefits from war? People don’t but corporations do, the global MIC, Military Industrial Complex does. So we have a political question to ask as a benchmark concerning support for the MIC and the corporations – I will use the vernacular the 1%. The most heinous weapon of war is the drone, these are hugely expensive to make and generate huge profits, a definite plus for the MIC. The immigration crisis is blowback, a huge consequence of interfering wars and the heinous use of drones.
These corporations work hand-in-hand with global finance institutions such as banking and insurance. So for me the 1% of MIC, banking and finance are those that control global politics, and politicians who stand against the 1% are those who I support. I have not mentioned BigFood and BigPharma but these corporations have similar interests as the other corporations of the 1%.
For me Occupy stood against the 1%, so I support the Occupy movement. It is my understanding that the Occupy movement stood behind Bernie in the US and Corbyn in the UK. Whether this is true or not what Bernie and Corbyn say stands against the 1%.
But is what they say what they mean, are they telling the truth? Or is it just rhetoric?
In Corbyn’s case I have sufficient personal knowledge of the man to know that he is genuine although I haven’t always agreed with his tactics. In the UK in London from 1985 through to 1992 I was a political activist, and this brought me into contact with Corbyn’s sphere of influence – he was an MP and community activist in North London then. For me there was no doubt about his moral integrity and compassion, but at the time I was active I felt his tactics were mistaken. Now I support him, times change.
I support Bernie. His rhetoric is good, and I have a general feeling that he is moving in the right direction. But because of the lack of personal connection I cannot be so definitive. My intuition makes me feel he merits support, but I would not go beyond that because of my lack of personal contact.
What is most interesting about these two political candidates is that they are both struggling with their party hierarchies. There is a movie I often recall called Lifting the Veil. Whilst the movie does attack both the Labour party and the Democrats, it is more concerned with attacking the system. It is my understanding that the movie claims that the electoral system has been manipulated by the 1% as a media circus, and that there is never any intention of genuine democracy – government by the people for the people. This is in line with the approach of neoliberalism as most notably discussed by Noam Chomsky (for me).
Given that I accept that the political system of neoliberalism is the problem, the question then is how it is to be defeated and what is it to be replaced with? For me compassion means that I am seeking a system that treats people as equals without regards to “race creed or colour”; I would also now add gender preference. This is fundamentally the rights of all people over the few, the 99% compared to the 1%. At present we have governments directed by the 1% against the interests of the 99% who they want to exploit as their workforce. So the question is how do we organise for a government by the 99% (or 100% where the government treats all people as equal)? In determining veracity I would be investigating whether the politician is genuinely interested in a government of and by 100% of the people.
So far I have avoided political terminology in describing truth. And this is because of problems with the media and education. It is my view that western societies (and probably global societies) are inundated with propaganda that is directed by the 1% for their benefit. The terms 1% and 99% are very similar to the Marxist terminology of bourgeois and proletariat, and there has been continued propaganda against Marxists, socialists or any who subscribe to Marx’s theories. There is much to be learnt from Marx’s dialectical approach. But the main point of Marxism is that all the people need to work together against the self-interests of the 1%. In my adult years I have never seen people more divided, and I think propaganda and obfuscation by the 1%-media are the main causes. Typically I have seen mainstream media organisations described as left-wing when I have always described them as right-wing. In terms of compassion this site might well have the same objectives – healthy people, but in terms of the media our descriptions could not be further apart. In this the 1% have been so successful in dividing us.
There is another reason I have not promoted myself as socialist, I believe that sticking to ideas or an ideology is a mistake. While ideas can guide, holding to an ideal restricts the mind. Adhering to dogma stagnates an institution whether it is religious or political, people also become restricting if others are expected to fit in with ideals. So another point of truth is enquiry. Does the truth hold up to inspection of the enquiring mind? For many years dogma has been thrown at me either from the left wing or in religious circles, but none of this dogma alone produces clarification. It is only with insight that dogma moves beyond the idea. Examining a situation in the light of compassion and through enquiry examining the dogma and situation is a process to determine the truth. Does what is said fit a set of rules is not truth-determining?
I often draw parallels between US and UK politics, typically Republicans vs Democrats and Conservatives vs Labour. In the UK historically the conservatives have supported the 1% with token liberal rhetoric for the welfare of the people and nationalist populism in the interests of the white population, and whilst historically Labour grew out of the working-class its representatives are now simply opportunists. In the UK a nationalist populist, Nigel Farage, has arrived on the scene promoting racism, and this populism has recently been accepted by many people – a significant factor in Brexit; his party UKIP primarily attracts disillusioned working-class Labour voters.
The I in UKIP stands for Independence, and I think this term independent is significant. In UKIP’s case it maybe means independent from the EU – Brexit. But in character UKIP supposedly represents an alternative to the conservatives and labour (the neoliberal system). At the same time it discusses the people’s interests over that of an elite – again appealing to an understanding of those against neoliberalism, but its appeal to the British electorate is because it is white nationalist. In my view UKIP is an appeal to white popular racism, and although sadly they are increasing in popularity their only impact so far has been their contribution to Brexit which also included majority conservative influence. In the UK this populism has divided the 99%, and in the UK I believe that is why UKIP has been funded and given more coverage in mainstream media than is warranted for a small party.
In the US the situation is slightly different but the impact of nationalist populism combined with the conservative interests has led to the election of Donald Trump. Because of my compassion I cannot support either UKIP or Trump because of their racism – and in Trump’s case overt sexism. (I suspect also LGBT issues but I am not certain of that). Initially I said that if a person does not have moral integrity I cannot believe that they will tell the truth, that applies particularly for Trump although I also distrust Farage.
In the US many people rue the election because Hillary was not elected. However in the neoliberal system Hillary represented the 1%-system elite of the Democrat party, and so she lost the populist vote. For the same reason support from Occupy was not strong because of the same neoliberalism, and because of the way the Democrat party cut out Bernie.
In terms of truth it is worth examining how events have panned out in terms of the way they have benefitted the 1%. Particularly in the US nationalist populism has benefitted the 1% by splitting the 99%. The populists have however elected a member of the 1% to deliver an anti-1% platform, can that ever happen? We will have to wait and see. Is Trump a political “whistleblower”?
In terms of truth this splitting is very important because it explains much that goes on with populism. Within the framework of blaming the elite the primary purpose of the populism is division. When you examine much of the analysis in both camps it places the source of the problem with the 1%. Two important platforms of US populism were “draining the swamp” and “against Wall Street”, both of which any left-winger would be happy to support. But then comes the division because the most important attack politically is to blame the left. And here is the inconsistency, the swamp and Wall Street are not the Left.
When considering the populism we have to examine emphasis. The 1% have no problem with being blamed if their strategy of dividing the 99% works so the rise of this nationalist populism just benefits them. For me the main political truth is that the 1% cause our problems, and that we should all fight against the influence of the 1%. In blaming the 1% I seek unity against the 1%, and seek strategies that negate their financial power and influence. This strategy unites all working people, it unites small business owners who are trying to balance their books, but it works against people who manipulate financial laws for their own profit. Such small business owners do not go bankrupt and start up again. Such people pay taxes however unfair the tax system might be because those taxes provide education and infrastructure for ordinary working people. The 99% have all this in common, and if we all worked together then the 1% cannot exploit us.
However divided we become manipulable so it is in the interest of the 99% to divide the left and right. The internet has succeeded in doing this. By investing in the internet the 1% have developed websites that present their divisive populism.
At the same time populism has inconsistencies because the strategy is division and not the interests of the people themselves. The government is described as left-wing and yet a major popular platform is the swamp – the revolving door of the 1% that controls the government. How can the government be left-wing and 1%-controlled? And Trump himself is a major inconsistency, how can a member of the 1% be interested in fighting 1%-control? However these inconsistencies don’t matter if the purpose is division, that division is a consistent purpose:-
Consistency – division
Such inconsistency is for me a good measure of the truth.
Where next do I go in terms of the truth? Over the years I have developed mechanisms for determining the truth. These are based primarily on the arena of politics that I know – what has been called the “left”. I know these people, and have developed some insight into their degree of truth-telling. Over the years I have seen how important the truth is to the left wing, if there are any doubts in the veracity of a left-wing statement there is a huge mainstream backlash. More responsible left-wing people are very careful with the truth, but that is not all left-wingers for sure with some of the more vociferous getting carried away with rhetoric; so there has to be truth-discernment from within. Based on my experience and insight I would use certain left-wing evidence and avoid the rhetoric. This can only be a personal approach to truth.
Political correctness is also worth discussing when examining the truth. PC developed throughout my lifetime, and in my view it developed because language was a significant part of racism and sexism. Demanding that people were not racist or sexist in the language they used was a good position when trying to remove the embedded racism and sexism in society. As a result racists and sexists were expected to improve their use of language. This gave an illusion that people were less racist or sexist but in the UK Brexit showed that people had not truly changed. At the same time there has been a backlash against the “PC police”, people who have too vehemently reinforced the change of language without helping people change their attitudes. With UKIP and Trump those people who have been straitjacketed by the PC police have been allowed to express their racism and sexism. Because there was a repression there has been a backlash against PC in general, and as a result truth has suffered because much truth came out of the research those people did.
At the same time it is populist to reject what PC people have said because populism attacks the left wing. As I have said, this is a change that I find hard to understand as the government has always been a puppet of the 1% so for populism to claim government is left wing is difficult for me to grasp. Again this is an indication as to the ability of the 1% to influence. Look at what has happened. The 1% continue to dominate and their profits continue to increase despite the crash of 2008. Governments have applied austerity measures as a consequence, awarded bankers bonuses, and yet populism has divided the 99% so that there is an obfuscation concerning the left wing. The power of money is amazing.
So to conclude how I determine truth:-
1) Overlying everything else is compassion
Finally since this has been mainly concerning truth in politics, I ask that we recognise a political delusion that has been perpetrated. Most people vote for economic reasons ie vote in a way that they think will give them most money. Vote for greed. When greed is voted for we get manipulated by the greedy. Why not change the way we vote to that of compassion, vote for people who genuinely talk about caring for others and the environment. This would change the political arena.
“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.
When you meet the American ego it is obnoxious. When you watch Michael Moore in Trumpland you see that he has some grudging respect for them. It is like the realisation I had in South Africa, the majority of Trump supporters are like the whites in South Africa, they are like my father, they only care about what they can get for their family. Somehow they think Trump can get it for them.
For me Trump means “business as usual” but that is only in the strict meaning of the word. Business as usual not life as usual. Corporations will have a field day as the shackles of regulation and common courtesy will be taken off. If there is a Trump long-term people will die from environmental disaster such as Erin Brockovich.
Life is where things will change. In Thailand there are no regulations to protect the Farang, you take it or leave it. If you have money it is OK, if you don’t you take risks. Because Thai people are usually good to get on with, Thailand works as a place to retire – even with a military government. But in the US such lack of protection does not work. The bulk of the Trump election mobs are the worst shades of humanity, these racist sexist KKK morons will now be considered acceptable. The manosphere will rule.
But the bulk of Trump supporters are not this mob, they are ordinary white people looking after their families. What gets in the way? Short term – government and taxes. They do not feel they are against the corporations in general, business is OK for them. There are some business excesses of these corporations but mostly business is business is OK. They have not made the jump to understand that small business interests and corporate interests are not the same. They do not see that corporations have stifled them, they blame government rather than corporations or their demise. These people would deride me when I say socialists and small businesses have the same interests.
They see Wall Street as the enemy yet somehow they do not see that Wall Street and the Corporations are the same. They see Wall Street as Hillary – she probably was, Michael Moore – and the enemy to their small businesses. Hillary did not address any of these interests so she lost their votes – in Trumpland. On reflection Bernie stood more of a chance with their votes because he stood against Wall Street especially as voting for such a debased human as Trump with no sila will have hurt this type of Christian. But Trump appeared to stand for what they wanted, a government that will let them bring home the bacon.
But these people are deluded because America is corporate – not small business. Deregulation that will help big business will mean that the big fish will swallow up the small fish. Reduced taxes will hit the compassionate state sector and the standard of state education, healthcare etc will fall. This will hurt the poor and the small business. America is now for the unprincipled bully and poor people need to look out.
Why would foreign policy change? Trump is jingoist and business interests will control that jingoism to maintain the current foreign policy, drones make a profit, no US citizens get hurt, and America stays “great”. Jingoism does not require action, maybe it would require a response. But who would choose to go up against a fool like Trump – not even Putin.
The only thing that will change is US sila as the worst sorts of white humanity will be given their head. Whilst the small family tends to have good moral interactions with friends and neighbours they are ignorant of racism and sexism. The wife accepts the control that she maintains in return she does not promote feminism, black people and latins are unknown and the other – and fair game. These people have found it harder to make ends meet, and are hoping that Trump will enable that. Trump managed to detach himself from Corporate America in the campaigning but his corporatism will show in presidency – and his voters will miss out, ends will not be met. Tax reductions will buy them off for a short while. Any money saved in government expense will add to the profits of the bully boys – and not to these hard-working people. They have been duped.
They have been played, much like foolish Klaus. Why did regulations come in? Because Corporations can pay to implement them, and it helped break small businesses making them easy pickings. The regulations the Corporations want Trump will keep, the ones they don’t want will go – the ones that will help the poor. Regulations like that don’t come in because of pressure from the poor. Unleaded petrol came in when corporations could profit – not because it helped the poor, helping the poor was the sales pitch. Government is in the pocket of corporations, Trump will be as well. If he doesn’t fall in line they will squeeze him – or kill him; Trump is so obnoxious people will be lining up to kill him.
The American ego is just so stupid.
From way back when I was an outsider – even when I didn’t know it. Growing up I was a shadow, there was social participation but never commitment. I more or less conformed to what conditioning required but never with any determination. I remember upsetting my grandmother because I wasn’t interested in my studies, from what I recall when I said I would do enough to get through she cried. I had no determination, more exactly there was no motivation.
Somewhat romantically I associate this undisciplined approach to school as the Path, learning at school was necessary for some form of social conformity, survival or job attainment but it had limited connection to Nature – to the Path. Then as now there is little connection between what we learn at school and what is required for maturity – the Path. There have been times in my life where genuine study has dominated – including being a major motivation for early retirement; as I got older I was too tired from work and there was only time to study during the holidays.
The Path being outside what we learn at school, or what we are expected to conform to, is a reality that we must come to terms with; hence the Path and conditioning have little connection. Having said that we are conditioned when young – whoever we are, and as adults we are subjected to media barrage no matter how reclusively we live our lives. So even following the Path brings with it conditioning but being an outsider helps. Despite being a teacher, the very essence of whose job is promoting conformity, whatever my heart wanted me to do, my non-working self, was always concerned with the Path.
When I first hit bottom I gravitated to the Outside, those alternatives to the mainstream who make some attempt at non-conformity; most notably this was with the Arts Centre. Two things drew me back from the alternate. First of all my creativity was limited, and was not the driving force it was in others. Secondly once my time on the Path was sufficiently entrenched I sought compassion in my life, a compassion that eventually led to education as a means of amelioration of general suffering – as opposed to care helping others to cope. But the very nature of the job made me an outsider within a profession that imparted conformity, a profession that was a key conditioner along with the media and community upbringing including family.
The Path makes you an Outsider, the depth of the pervading conditioning means that overcoming conditioning moves one towards the Outside. To a certain extent this has advantages, overcoming conditioning gives one an edge. Seeing what is happening for what it is provides a choice. It introduces questions of integrity and compromise that don’t always exist for others. Such questioning leads to an understanding of conditioning, and helps move beyond it.
By considering “being an outsider” I am attempting to consider how to recognise and overcome conditioning – how to transcend to maturity. As an outsider I am basically saying that to a great extent I am outside conditioning. Within conditioning people accept community conformity and community pressure – I include family in this conforming process. As an outsider there is less pressure but there is usually pressure to conform to the “outside community”. This usually involves an “outside mindset” such as Icke-ism, replacing the mindset of our conditioning process with a new mindset is an improvement but very soon becomes a restriction. This is not a process of maturing to freedom but is simply adding a less conditioned chain keeping us within a conformed process. What matters is a complete rejection of any mindset, and replacing it with complete enquiry; and with that enquiry comes maturity and freedom.
Achieving that state of enquiry is obviously extremely difficult and requires continuous attention. The three agencies of conformity are family and community, media and education. When you consider these agencies you are always in contact with them, in other words you are always being asked to conform. It therefore requires great strength and conviction not to be pulled back into the conditioned existence that you have been hoping to transcend. It is no wonder monastics choose to take refuge. Spiritual transcendence brings with it strength and conviction that gives one a fighting chance, political transcendence less so because socio-political transcendence is much more intellectual – concerned with social assessment and does not have the conviction of spiritual insight, the strength that can prevent us from being swayed by the three agencies.
We are never free from the battle that is conditioning, and to understand this brings with it an awareness that is forewarning. Taking refuge, being a recluse, being an outsider, travelling are all means of separating from conditioning, but conditioning is a battle won beyond the mind – in transcendence. If we are fortunate enough to experience transcendence, then meditation is the tool that can help us. Through focus and insight, the mind can cut through the condition with deep enquiry that will free it – maintaining a transcendent state of mind. But this has to be ongoing because daily life through the 3 agencies is always trying to recondition. Energy work can strengthen the mind whilst a healthy body will not bring unwarranted distractions of disease etc.
But desire also brings problems that can lead to conditioning, how can lust not demean a man’s view of a woman and of himself however much love and respect is involved? BigFood manipulates food craving through taste additives such as MSG and refined sugar, and if we give in to those desires we provide the basis within our bodies for degenerative disease. With advertising the corporatocracy tries to manipulate desires to condition you into consuming. Human existence requires homes, food and water, which early humans got for free. Now the corporations make our food, a substantial amount of our income is spent on homes, and water is becoming increasingly expensive. Then our society develops (supposedly more civilised when we are not creating wars), and there becomes more essentials. Tax that pays for education and our transport, although perhaps we should say tax for wars and business infrastructure – whilst corporations avoid tax. In times of pure surviving, we used our time and energy to survive (home and food etc), now that we are more civilised we use our time and energy to earn money to pay for the so-called advantages of civilisation. This is wage-slavery for most, as few have any time to pursue their own interests outside the workplace. And yet cursory observation sees the few gaining huge amounts of money that brings with it leisure time and other advantages that can be bought. We are conditioned to accept this, yet why we accept it is really beyond belief. The level of conditioning that requires such acceptance is very high.
Can we see through conditioning from the inside? Only to some extent. Within we are expected to conform to conditioning, to a certain extent that conformity allows for certain leeway – some people are less sexist and racist than others. But whilst people are tied to conformity, their fear of being different prevents them from becoming sufficiently aware to transcend.
Therefore transcendence means trying to help people become outsiders. There are mechanisms that help towards that. Travelling is one such way, the sort of travelling that takes one outside one’s own society, and puts people in positions where they can see what their society is truly about. Of course within this there is a tremendous pull with the love of one’s family and the pull of the familiar that you grew up with and know. Being pulled back is easier in the short term, but because that pull leads to the restriction of conformity it is not easier in the long run. Yet for most travelling doesn’t do it, and it becomes a chance lost as the community conforms you once again. There is of course no simple way out. Spiritual teachings help, conflict in one’s own community – a conflict that stems from you being in the right, and the 1% and the conforming forces are in the wrong. For some study helps to see society for what it is, but intellectual comprehension is not enough the depth and conviction of insight are essential for genuine transcendence. Political activists deride spiritual people as the activists replace the conformity of their upbringing with conformity to the new restrictive mindset. The spiritual experience is often seen as transcendence yet those same spiritual have not developed political transcendence, perhaps because political activists who have transcended to some extent have not learnt the importance of peace etc.; the spiritual deride the political and this derision could tarnish the need to transcend politically as well.
Refuge is such an obvious answer but is the refuge free from conditioning? Does the refuge conform you to a new mindset or does it bring transcendence? Does the peace and tranquillity usually associated with refuges prevent one from seeing the conflicts and disadvantages that social conformity brings? Does the emphasis on the spiritual dogma prevent you from giving time to socio-political considerations? And do the institutional restrictions, such as charitable status and pandering to the rich because they donate more, prevent the refuge from being a place where socio-political understanding can occur? Can a renunciate understand socio-politically when they are not wage-slaves? Whilst taking refuge has many characteristics of “removing conditioning”, it is not 100% so.
Throughout all our societies exist outsiders. People’s Paths take them all over, and can lead them to make homes in new communities. Like Chinese monks they can be at the tops of mountains or on islands. But they are not likely to be where they should be – as elders and leaders. Yet even as outsiders their wisdom has influence because the conformed see wisdom in these people even though the conditioning prevents them from internalising this wisdom to any great extent. That is the way of wisdom and conditioning for the mature person who has transcended the conditioning and reached some freedom.
Embrace the Outside, can the Path be any other way?
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.
I have been looking into Nagarjuna to connect Theravada to Zen. On p7 of the-wisdom-of-nagarjuna there is this quote about Transcendence:-
I wanted to include this as a comment to the post on Transcendence but web tecnologies thwarted me. Basically if this quote cannot connect the spiritual and political transcendence I don’t know what can.
In “returning to love” Marianne Williamson talked of her “ego-death” in this you-tube clip (3.30 mins). In the recent blog on Miracles,I saw this ego death as temporary, and that ego has rebirth throughout life. Despite there being transcendence, which can be so powerful, it does not mean that conditions for the ego don’t arise again. We require constant awareness to see that after transcendence we do not attach to ego, through fear, new mindsets etc. Fortunately we have the tool of meditation to help keep our minds clear.
In my life there has been an ongoing oscillation between inner and outer emphasis. Do I focus on the spiritual, how much am I involved with the political? 100% awareness on both is ideal, both of which I am far away from – such might well be Nirvana. The transcendence might well occur dramatically as it did with me but developing awareness is ongoing and requires work; the battle to control ego, desire and attachment is equally ongoing however powerful a transcendence has occurred. It is a sense of recognition of this battle that made me quit study of ACIM, it is not fear of the power but control of the ego.
Making judgements about others is dangerous as one can never know what is in their heads; it is hard enough to try to know oneself with all the information that you have available to understand. So when it comes to considering someone else, making judgements really ought to be a no-no. I make an exception to this, an important exception, and that comes to my studies. Whilst I always try to learn from within, there has to be a tendency to adopt the mindset of the teacher in order to help understand. This is especially so when you are starting on something new. Understanding Soto Zen and Shobogenzo is such a new venture for me, and previously I was using Brad as a teacher but this is “written Brad”, the Brad that I read in his blogs and books. There is no personal contact, no feedback, only the written word. This is not a good situation, this is a statement of what is and not a criticism of Brad. When I see the lack of political transcendence and a degree of racism in the “written Brad”, the weak situation gets worse. Politically I cannot accept his mindset, and therefore spiritually I have doubts; perhaps that is better. To understand Shobogenzo I was intending to read Brad and maybe then look at Shobogenzo, now the emphasis has to be on Shobogenzo.
Buddhadasa talks about ongoing rebirth, especially with paticcasamuppada; Marianne’s use of the term “ego death” has helped me understand that a little more. Many Buddhists believe in reincarnation, and cite references in the suttas to support this. Buddhadasa did not accept that the Buddha advocated reincarnation. In the Kalama sutta the Buddha asks that we do not accept anything unless we can internalise and understand it as truth. Reincarnation falls into this category, how can it be proved, and it is my understanding it is considered one of the Buddha’s unanswered questions. Buddhadasa suggests that the reincarnation the Buddha is referring to is ego. Through kamma (conditions) ego arises and is attached to, but if we let go then there is ego death. No ego is permanent no matter how strong that ego feels. Perhaps the strongest ego we feel is the one of our upbringing. Society conforms us through education and upbringing, and this conditioning is very hard to break through – breaking through is described as transcendence in this blog. But that is not the end of ego arising, and we have to be continually aware. Whilst it is much easier once we have transcended to recognise and release ego, in some ways it is more difficult because egos that then arise are so much more subtle.
In my own past such egos have been numerous, the most obvious was the addiction to alcohol. In retrospect I do not understand how I could have deluded myself into accepting the drink. At a similar time I did not demand sila of myself. In transcendence I felt I had developed a soul that guided me. In discussion with others I saw their morality as being based on a rational justification ie reasons for conduct, whereas I trusted that my soul guided my conduct 100% truthfully. This was ego. Such a soul had some substance, a substance that I would now ascribe to sunnata and insight, but that substance I considered had some form of permanence. It was akin to notions like Self. Now I know it was an ego, an ego that I have now released. Another ego I repeatedly get trapped in is mindsets, or better described as insights that I later cling to as mindsets. When one experiences an insight it is so powerful, it is almost as if each new insight recreates the world. Once such light bulbs take hold, we experience Eurekas like any good Archimedes. But they are only thoughts that we need to let rise and fall away (unless they qualify as scientific principles!!), but because they are so powerful to us we cling to them. I regularly have had to remove the clinging of such insights, remove their egos. When I look at all the things I know I should do on a daily basis but don’t, I know that there are still many egos in play. Am I doing the best I can? Ego gets in the way, attaching to wrong conduct etc.
What I have said concerning Marianne Williamson is an observation that if it ever comes to her attention is up to her to discard etc., for me the decision has already been made when I was studying ACIM. Maybe if I returned to ACIM I could learn more, but I would rather work with teachings that I can trust – as explained I cannot trust ACIM.
As for Brad (as opposed to Marianne) my evaluation is for a different purpose because I had intended using his books for study as I do his blogs. I read this tweet of his “You’ll never be completely happy with it, or completely comfortable with it or completely satisfied with it. So why waste time complaining?” An ego part of me would like that it referred to what I have written – I would always welcome communication, but I will take it as synchronous. I know I am not complaining because making a complaint implicitly carries with it a hope for change. I am making criticisms because they matter to me and it is some form of evaluation as his being a teacher for me as described above. Such criticisms might form the basis for change if he so wished, that is up to him. But for me they are evaluations, and also learning points – I learn from the interactions. In this last case I have specifically learned about transcendence, and have realised the connection between spiritual and political transcendence. It is not a complaint that I see a shortcoming with regards to this political transcendence, it is a judgement with regards to the teachings. If I am to use “written Brad” to learn from, I must be clear what I can and cannot accept.
In the tweet there is the use of the word “completely”. The way that is written implies an over-reaction to minor differences (taken as on my part). In this blog I suggested that I would be too definitive if I demanded the Occupy view. But the failure to understand the power relations, in my view, contributed to the racism that has caused division.
Whilst I fully support Brad’s efforts to move away from the sutta quoting into day-to-day practical interpretations of the teachings, there is a danger of alienation. Hence consideration of “complete agreement” is a fair warning. But a good person cannot make racist comments, whether institutional or not. Whether Brad likes it or not, his words as a monk are under some form of microscope, and whether he likes it or not he is judged accordingly. There has to be circumspection.
7 years ago there was a disagreement with a monk who having read Tony Blair’s autobiography wrote that he understood Blair’s going into Iraq. At that time, and now, I could not accept Blair as anything other than a warmonger doing the work of the 1%. Despite Chilcott’s weak response, most now accept that Blair should not have taken Britain to war, that monk was out of step with most people. I commend that monk, now, for his attempts to be real, to apply the teachings to daily life, but he was deluded by a spin doctor, a man whose way of life was to lie and deceive. A monk cannot allow such deceptions or the monk will lose respect and people will not follow their interpretation of the teachings. Their lifestyle makes monks self-reliant but when it comes to understanding the ways of the 1%-system they need advice.
I still don’t know where I stand with Brad, but I am not as keen to study his books. Yet Dogen was not easy, and I can relate to Brad more.
Brad wrote this blog in response to an accusation of cultural appropriation. The Buddhist theme of the blog is one that I support, but I would also ask if what Brad did fits in within the category of cultural appropriation.
Firstly Brad described Buddhism as a “religion” that examined the approach that enables us all to be “Buddhas”. It is my understanding that at the root all Buddhisms accept this, so how can it be considered religious appropriation?
Secondly I do not consider that a religion is a culture. Religious practices might make up part of cultural practice but on its own I would not consider religion a culture. Therefore in my view description of a religion as “cultural” is a misdirection, how culture applies to Buddhism is discussed below.
I want here to discuss “western” Buddhism, and I have previously felt that there is appropriation going on there. Let me expand, but first I need context. There is what the Buddha taught. Theravada believes they go back to the source, and that others, such as Zen (including the Soto Zen of Brad), are all revisions. But there are even doubts about the Theravada claims because no-one wrote down when he was saying (no tape-recorders!). Theravada justifications that they follow what the Buddha taught are based on the integrity of oral transmission, and that is maybe 50 years after his death. If you read what Brad describes in Bendowa from “Don’t be a Jerk”, what travelled to China and then Japan cannot be rigorously supported. And if you read his opening to Chapter 3 on the Heart sutra, there is even less rigour for such an important work. If you describe Buddhism as what the Buddha taught, it is very hard to be definitive.
But the problems don’t stop there. If you examine the way Buddhism is practised in the East you have great differences, I personally describe these Buddhisms as cultural. There is a kind of underlying Buddhist ideology connected with what the Buddha taught, and different cultures apply that underlying ideology within their own cultural framework. Hence we have very different Buddhisms practised in Tibet, Japan, Thailand and Sri Lanka. I have seen Tibet and Thailand at first hand – I live in Thailand, and to be honest I find it hard to recognise it as Buddhism. Yet Thailand is proud to call itself a Buddhist country, and I would not dispute that – nor even judge the statement.
To suggest that there is cultural appropriation of Buddhism anywhere is not appropriate.
I noted in the Bendowa blog that Brad is guilty of describing his own Buddhism as Buddhism. At the time I noted that it might just be habit, he speaks to audiences interested in Soto Zen, it would be tedious to continually refer to it in the correct manner of “the Buddhism he follows”. If it is not out of tedium then it is arrogant and inappropriate. We all make a decision as to which aspects of Buddhism we consider the truth for us, it is natural to then call that Buddhism. But if we cannot see that there are multifarious Buddhisms and cannot show tolerance to them, then the question of tolerance and arrogance has to arise.
When I think of western Buddhism I do feel there is arrogance. There appears to be an intellectual abstraction process that goes on in what I perceive of western Buddhism. Intellectuals examine the cultural practices of Buddhism, abstract the culture from the process and then decide this is what Buddhism is. This is the intellectual arrogance I refer to. I believe this intellectual arrogance is at the root of what is loosely known as western Buddhism. And this type of intellectual arrogance is common within academia, and I am not surprised that someone might refer to it as white Buddhism with some truth.
Because of what I will be saying I do not feel Brad is doing this. I surmise that Brad has studied Soto Zen in Japan, has been a part of bringing it back to the West, and has been so immersed in his own version of Soto Zen Buddhism that he has developed an approach that says his version of Buddhism is Buddhism. I further surmise that his single-mindedness that his sect’s version of Zen is Buddhism is a sin of omission rather than arrogance.
I therefore disagree with the assessment that Brad’s “white Buddhism” is cultural appropriation as asserted in the facebook quote “No please white American dude ….”, but ….
And it is a big BUT I feel there is so much more to the facebook quote and response, and this is significantly worrying and discussed in the next blog.
Shobogenzo apparently usually begins with Bendowa, and is about meditation. In Zen meditation is called Zazen, and the method of Zazen is described in Fukanzazengi or here, and discussed in Ch2 in Brad’s “Jerk”.
I must first note that Brad describes what he follows as Buddhism, this is somewhat of a surprise to me. There are a myriad of Buddhisms, and within those Buddhisms there are disagreements, so for Brad to describe his Soto Zen as Buddhism is divisive – whether I agree with Shobogenzo or not. But for someone who lives his life as a Buddhist speaker, reference to this type of correctness is conceivably tedious as those who are listening to him are probably his branch of Zen.
Whilst always being attracted to the real-speak of Brad it was when I read that Buddhadasa promoted Zen that I got into it more. Having done so, once I had got into practising Zazen I looked into Shobogenzo. And when reading Bendowa I was attracted to the letting go of mind and body so reminiscent of Buddhadasa’s “removal of I and mine from the 5 khandas”.
I was already hooked on Bendowa – had not really read past it, and then Brad applied the “jerk” filter to that chapter. What grabbed me was that part of Bendowa which apparently is known as Jijuyo Zanmai and is “bradded” on page 4. This has helped me clarify meditation for the time being.
Because of the method of Zazen we have right concentration. Zazen makes us stare at the wall, and keep bringing the attention back to staring at the wall. This is just concentration – plain and simple. It reminds me of Dharma Dan whose meditation was using the breath as object and then focussing on extending the stage after breathing (stage 1 in, 2 hold focus, 3 breathe out, 4 hold focus) where there is just concentration.
I cannot recall there having been insight during my zazen. This is interesting in two ways. It shows things are not right yet. And it shows that maybe it was not right insight under the old method. I did not use breathing as an object of meditation – the usual vipassana object. Once the daily grind fell away, sometimes insights came – give link. Today in Zazen I kept thinking about the problem with my teeth as well as this blog the insight for which I had days ago.
Reading Jujiyo Zanmai [p4] brought some clarity but care needs to be taken. Jujiyo Zanmai is translated as “the Samadhi of Receiving and Using the Self” [p2], and here the Self refers to the whole universe of the quote above. There is an anatta issue here – no self. The Self is not personal, it is not I or mine. This “Self and self” issue is raised much with Hinduism, theosophy and that part of Buddhism influenced by it. For many Self becomes confused with the personal, perhaps that bit of Gaia or Unity that is apportioned to the person whereas anatta of Buddhism clearly talks of no self. Because of the capitalisation there is a clear intended difference (from self), but it is still open to misconception. Knowing anatta first helps understand this. There is an interesting meditation I occasionally used – breathing in sunnata – emptiness. I sometimes feel that the focus is a block – I am doing it wrong, but today I moved to natural focus moving away from focus that could conceivably be mind; receiving and using sunnata could be an alternative to this.
“Real Buddhists all say that zazen is the best thing ever” [p4]. This paraphrase is typical of Brad’s approach as a good number of Buddhists would not know what zazen is, possibly even some real Buddhists. However the intent is very straightforward – you must meditate. I met online a number of Theravada intellectuals who could not meditate, I surmise that attachment to the intellectual sankhara (khanda) got in the way. The only exception to the need for meditation is the one Buddhadasa put forward, that maybe there would be someone totally naturally in harmony and automatically receive the truth – conceivable?
Perhaps the most important is an understanding that comes from “If one person sits zazen, being right in body, speech and mind for just one moment, the whole universe enters this state”. I think of the whole universe entering this state as being a form of insight, or vice versa.
Brad talks about enlightenment – not a word I like. He has a specific meaning and it refers to this “whole universe entering this state”. This can happen for a moment, and any description falls short. I don’t mind this although I would prefer not to use the word “enlightenment”. This tends to obviate claims of enlightenment such as Adyashanti or U G, or maybe knocks on the head claims of enlightened being with implications of permanent enlightenment. “So-called enlightenment experiences are not the finishing line” [p8] leads me to think that this Brad enlightenment fits in better with enlightenment as jhanas rather than enlightenment as nirvana. Whilst I don’t understand all that is spoken of jhanas, the jhanas that I know are of deep insight, bliss, the muse presence etc – discussed here link to blog. Maybe the different levels of jhanas could reach up to the level of the whole universe entering. “And what, bhikkhus, is right concentration? Here, bhikkhus, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the first jhana, which is accompanied by thought and examination, with rapture and happiness born of seclusion. With the subsiding of thought and examination, he enters and dwells in the second jhana, which has internal confidence and unification of mind, is without thought and examination, and has rapture and happiness born of concentration. With the fading away as well of rapture, he dwells equanimous and, mindful and clearly comprehending, he experiences happiness with the body; he enters and dwells in the third jhana of which the noble ones declare: ‘He is equanimous, mindful, one who dwells happily.’ With the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and displeasure, he enters and dwells in the fourth jhana, which is neither painful nor pleasant and includes the purification of mindfulness by equanimity. This is called right concentration” [Samyutta Nikaya 45, as part of a description of the 8-fold path]. As in the quote bliss or rapture happens with jhanas, however the bliss is not to be attached to. This “enlightenment” that comes with right concentration of zazen is also not to be attached to.
The “whole universe entering” is not explicitly said in Theravada, but is very interesting. It adds to understanding of synchronicity and coincidence, and helps explain Unity “…. and receives the imperceptible mutual assistance of all things in the entire universe” [p4]. I am less likely to have a car accident or break my wrist if I am meditating!!
Attaining experience (jhanas) through concentration is meditation. What if you don’t get an experience? Keep going, zazen does you good. Just keep doing it.