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Russell’s 2nd Questions

Posted: 10/03/2018 by zandtao in Freedom, Insight, Struggle, Uncategorized
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These questions are taken from Step 2 of Recovery p77 of 444

He’s gone mad with the questions at this step, I’m not bothering with them all.

Do I believe that I need to change? Yes I do although my ego is ambivalent. My ego steps in and thinks that I am following the path to some extent, isn’t that enough? And the answer to that is no because I am still addicted to self for the “rest”. This ego aspect of apathy is something to be watched out for, but remember self-criticism does not mean “beat myself up”.

Do I accept that change means I must think/feel/act differently? Primarily act differently. In the past I know I should not be addicted to self, but I have allowed it to happen.

Is this change likely to be easy and driven by the ideas I already have, techniques I already use and support system that I already have access to? Such changes are never easy, but the issues are meditation and determination. I know that these are sufficient but I also know addiction takes me back. So as they are they are not sufficient. Things are better today but then tomorrow they may not be.

Here is a change that might help. Timeout. Every time I am going to start a self-activity, I must take timeout and ask “Do I really have to do this?”

What is my conception of a power greater than me? The power greater than me I call Gaia, the unity of the planet’s life and all life on the planet. Buddhadasa calls Gaia the God of Buddhists, Idappaccayata – sunnata. I believe Thay calls it interbeing, and Lao Tse used the word, Tao. Gaia does all kinds of things I can have no knowledge of such as kamma, etc. Gaia “decides” on the path and conditions of my life.

In terms of addiction it is necessary to understand that it is through my power that I change, and to understand where that comes from I use this meme:-

At birth there was no self. During my earlier life through instinct my consciousness attached to the khandas resulting in the self that I called my identity. As this self there was addiction to alcohol, and now there is addiction to selves that I indulge so that I am not always following the path. When I am following the path, I am not being conditioned, I am not addicted to self. When I am free from that conditioning, sunnata empowers me (presence), this sunnata could be called Gaia, Idappaccayata, Interbeing, Unity etc. It was sunnata that guided me on the path, gave me the power to overcome alcoholism, gives me (or not) the power to overcome addiction to self. Sunnata is ever-present but it my failure to overcome addiction to self that disempowers me.

That “power” sunnata is ever-present. It is a “power” far greater than I could imagine or have access to, but there is greater “power” that I could have access to if I could be assed. That “power” is not me, that “power” is sunnata, and if I were not addicted I could have access to it. But that “power” is beyond comprehension and cannot be measured, it is however there for me to access if I follow the path, if I can be bothered to remove addiction.

Do I have doubt about this “power”? None. That is why it is so senseless that I am sometimes addicted to self. There is no excuse. It is mind in life.

Mantra:- Don’t let the ego addict you, follow the path.

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There is a great deal of delusion concerning values in our society, examining how society evolved – even cursorily like this – can help place these values in context. I want this post as a “sort of reference” if people want to tell me society is based on freedom etc.

Undoubtedly people historically collectivised to protect themselves, this was the tribe. Tribes are depicted as having leaders although they also have tribal councils, it was a bit happenstance as to the benevolence of such leadership. I suggest that tribal ownership of land was originally an understanding, in other words lands were not owned. If you consider the approach of Native American Indians tribes used lands which had notional borders that tended to be respected, land was not owned – apparently.

As history developed ownership of land became the means of accumulation, and some countries established military to facilitate this. Greek and Roman empires were founded on military establishment. Other tribes did not have military and were swallowed up. The European model was tribes with militaries became countries. Within these countries people traded. Their produce was primarily agricultural and they traded these products, but around this production there developed skilled trades such as blacksmiths so trading took on a wider meaning.

European countries were therefore places which owned land – the measure of their wealth, and were often ruled by monarchs. Wars were fought when a monarch tried to expand their land ownership, and in the second millenium AD they often used religion as a means of recruitment. European countries became identified as religious – catholic or protestant, and this religion was used to expand the military and therefore the land accumulation.

As soon as we consider religion we have to consider morals and values. Chronological development of religion is not important to this post, but it is important to recognise different functions of religion. On an individual level religion can be highly significant. I consider myself a religious person, I usually use the word spiritual and for me the path has always been central to my life since I became aware of it. Having described myself as religious and that religion is a prime mover in my life, that does not mean that I accept the moral component of religion as a prime historical mover. When wars have been fought ostensibly for religion, my view is that was a delusion. The state and religion became linked as a mechanism for state expansion, if a war was considered religious it was because the state could recruit on religious grounds. And why was the state trying to expand – to gain wealth through greater ownership of land. Within a country a religion as an institution might well have been concerned with values but nationally it was concerned with military recruitment.

Empires were always significant historically but for some reason the word “empires” was changed to colonialisation, in Britain we still called it the British Empire. And the basis of colonisation was still the same, expansion to gain wealth using military. The ease with which the British Empire conquered was not based on favoured British values – it was technology. Although the Chinese invented gunpowder, it was British use which created their empire; their technology could kill better than the technology of others. Significant in the expansion of empire in later years was the misuse of missionaries as a means of expansion, whatever the personal values of these misguided zealots their function in the expansion of empire was to provide recruitment and justification for violent actions.

Partway through the second millennium the nature of wealth began to change. Colonisation was concerned with trade and land ownership, yet at the same time there developed finance. Banking became connected with colonisation, without finance the monarchies were not able to fund their expansion. There developed finance families such as the Rothschilds who historically have had tremendous wealth, and with that wealth were able to exert control on the development of empires. Their motivation was profit, accumulation of money, whereas for monarchs it was the accumulation of land. These interests were mutual, colonies expanded as did the wealth of monarchies and the finance houses.

Up until the 20th century wars colonial expansion drove the national wealth of European countries, Britain a small island had tremendous wealth and development as a result of its colonial expansion throughout the world. These two blogs, 1 and 2, give more details with links to reference texts.

When considering this history it is important not to be deluded by moral justifications, religious or otherwise. Colonial expansion was driven by a desire for increased trade, and this trade produced greater wealth for the monarchs and the financiers. Colonised countries had raw materials and cheap labour, and once developed also had money to buy the goods made in the homeland from the raw materials. When I was at school history was presented as Britain leading the world in development, we had great inventors, we developed railways and so much more that is now called “civilised”. But it was not invention that drove the expansion but the reverse. Inventions for the mills and cotton industry did not come prior to colonisation of India and the increased raw materials, but afterwards. Once we had the wealth from the invasions of the expanding empire, we had the time, money and necessity that led to education and invention. Personal advance was predicated on the wealth that came from expanded empire, that does not make the intelligence of invention any less of itself but that invention was a direct result of accumulated wealth. It is important not to be deluded, the only thing that is superior about “British” invention and education is the additional wealth from colonisation that founded it.

The length of history allows myths to develop. Expansion for profit becomes religious crusades. Mechanisation to increase profits from raw materials becomes intellectual invention of a superior education, making British invention special. Even in the 21st century British people are deluded by their education system not to see colonisation for what it was, despite the fact that there are many colonial peoples in the country, who have followed their money and resources, willing to say the truth.

The second world war saw a major change in the hegemony. What was once European colonisation changed to US hegemony, and this hegemony also changed the nature of the rulers. The US had no monarchy, there was only a financial oligarchy; once the US took over there was the birth of what Occupy called the 1% as rulers. A hundred years previous to the birth of the hegemony Marx had described the 1% as bourgeoisie in his attempt to show us that the world was controlled by accumulation, initially as land and then by finance.

Significant in this financial control is the anonymity of the rulers. Monarchs as leaders were always targets, and especially early on were not long-lived. Occupy was the high point in which these targets were named, and since then there has been a strategy of confusion BLOGLINK to denotarise these exploiters. But recognising the power of the 1% and the class identity that can fight them is integral to the struggle.

With the US hegemony the image of wars for profits has had to change. Under European empires there was a tradition of expansion and wealth from that expansion, there was no indoctrination needed it was in the European ethos. US expansion was different. Their expansionist history was based on slavery and the appropriation of lands from the native Americans, now their internal wealth is dependent on cheap immigrant labour.

Meanwhile they have expanded the wars for profits, but the nature of these wars has changed. Under European imperialism it was expansion and subjugation, under US hegemony it is concerned with control through puppetry. European imperialism imploded through the two imperial wars of the 20th century, and the cost of subjugating colonies. European colonial tactics were divide-and-rule to ensure the continued supply of raw materials. The US followed this through but without having originally been rulers. Their hegemony was simply economic but backed up by a military they used ruthlessly such as with Hiroshima. Affectionately this is known as the world’s police force but in reality if there is a democratic uprising that is not in the US interests in go the marines.

How does the US maintain this at the present time? Now US war is primarily technological, more deadly distant weaponry provide subjugation without the loss of US life. The US controls diplomatically with military enforcement, beneficial trade deals or else. Enforcement is minimal but deadly.

Hollywood is key to recruitment. How does the US find military to invade without just cause? Some form of misguided righteousness. Financially this is provided by the Christian Right. But this righteousness in movies presents the All-American hero who is strong moral and “the best”. This hero is a thinking person who is fighting for freedom and democracy against various morally-inferior enemies portrayed by Hollywood. These are the values the wealthy are using to ensure continued accumulation – Christianity, freedom and democracy.

How as a rational person can I argue that Hollywood is a key player in recruitment? Firstly it is not mass recruitment as has been the case in the past, only a few loyal people are needed to use the technology. Secondly there are significant groups of American who want to accept the “American Way of Life”. As with the greed and delusion discussed amongst the British middle-classes, greed and delusion also dominate in the US, Hollywood provides the delusions that the greed can focus on. And so there are recruits facilitating MAGA – Making America Great Again.

This is a description of how society evolved. It is primarily concerned with the 1%, the class enemies who support the 1% as described here:-

Included in the right wing and the opportunists are those whose greed and delusion (discussed here) also support the 1%-system.

But it is equally important to understand that within these societies there are tremendous thinking people. There are people who follow the path, people who believe in freedom for all, diverse peoples whose morality should be lauded. But they are not the powerful, and they are not the people who shape the dominant approach of these societies. To understand this you need history, not a moral perspective or a deluded desire that society reflects this perspective. Analysis needs to be simplistic and candid. Americans and Europeans need to face the fact that because of the way their societies are evolving they are the creators of war and instability on this planet. In our societies there are many dedicated people who give up their lives in the service of others, but because of the dominant ethos in the societies their efforts are relegated. In fact it is worse than that. These good people give credibility to societies whose destruction of the planet is frightening.

And it is families of these good people that are facilitating this with their greed and delusion.

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Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Mandtao, Matriellez.

Transcendence Corollary

Posted: 23/09/2016 by zandtao in Corbyn, Insight, Struggle, Uncategorized

I have been looking into Nagarjuna to connect Theravada to Zen. On p7 of the-wisdom-of-nagarjuna there is this quote about Transcendence:-

nagarjuna-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.

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

Blogs:- Ginsukapaapdee, Matriellez.

Where am I?

Posted: 26/03/2014 by zandtao in Uncategorized
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Just a brief note.

I am blogging almost daily about Thailand. I have made the blog private as the troubles in Thailand led to deaths the other week, and I began the blog with a post “not fanning the flames”. Even less of a point writing it than blogs which have one or less readers!!

I am also writing the “Arico Chronicles”