In Brad’s latest blog he discusses amongst others monasticism:-
“Yet Nishijima Roshi said that retreats lasting more than three days removed a person too much from what he called “daily life” and strongly advised his monks against participating in such practices, let alone making lifelong commitments to monastic communities. Instead, he wanted his monks to integrate their practice fully into their daily lives in the work-a-day world.”
This is noble but for me it raises two issues:-
• Monastic Training
On monastic training there are two sides, for the monk themselves and the lay they teach. Perhaps the monastic life is the most fulfilling it can be for that monk, developing her/himself and teaching others the Dhamma.
A monastery provides a place of learning and a place for retreats, these are both necessary for those in daily life. I note both of these points on monastic training, am judging from a distance and don’t feel I can say too much on these as it has to be a personal decision.
On mindful consuming in daily life I want to address the question of 1%-world. For most nowadays daily life means contributing to 1%-world. Most jobs are working for the 1%, and most consuming is also consuming produce made by the 1%. And what does the 1% do? Anything to make a profit – including starting wars. When a “monk” makes a noble decision to go back to daily life, he is making a decision to contribute to 1%-world and all its implications.
Can we then choose not to be a part of daily life in 1%-world? Off-the-grid communes. Amongst other things that Occupy did was to start organic communes, I think. Anyway that is what I mean – a commune in which people work for themselves and try to trade with like-minded individuals. Ideally this would be barter, (or even a community currency) but any monetary involvement with the currencies of 1%-world should be limited.
Monastic communities do not usually consider the economic implications of monastic existence as it is usually about the Dhamma or faith. In other words their priority is the teaching and they involve themselves with 1%-world to obtain the finance to continue their teachings. In this I feel there should be questioning, how much is their economic involvement contributing to the global damage caused by 1%-world? Can they fund their teaching in ways that limit their involvement with 1%-world?
In this day and age where economic relations govern all and are controlled by people who cause such suffering – the 1%, is it acceptable for monks to separate themselves from the economic implications of their lifestyle? In terms of seeing what-is-what, how much should they be presenting awareness of 1%-world?
And in the end what is the noble purpose of returning to daily life about? Helping people cope with life, helping people cope with the conflicts that are caused by working in 1%-world. I am no expert on communes either but coping with human frailty in relationship has got to be easier than dealing with the overpowering suppression of 1%-world to prevent a compassionate and caring society.
Posts Tagged ‘1%’
Tags: #O, 1%, BradWarner, Mindful Consuming
I was going to call this “A Man of Science” but this applies to all scientists and I couldn’t find an appropriate phrasing. A scientist has a field of expertise, and this field has usually developed through the scientist attending university moving into research, writing papers – even a book, and then being recognised as an expert. Effectively this scientist has become immersed in a field of study, and propagates that field of study by their way of life – papers lectures etc.
All of this is reasonable until you begin to question the context of this field of study. I am thinking of someone I know who would qualify as this type of scientist. He has become immersed in his field of science and the way he applies it. He is a strong man so this immersion is complete and shuts out those who don’t accept it. He appears not to have questioned axioms, and delivers his scientific knowledge unquestioningly. For most people he is extremely sure, and he brings that assuredness into his personal life where people admire his confidence and the assured way he deals with life and his family. I do hear him fend off inconsistencies such as chi with barbed wit and determined challenges, dismissing chi as non-existent and suggesting that those who exercise using chi somehow gain physical strength by “swatting flies”. A past master of this barbed wit is Richard Dawkins. His dismissal of religious understanding is completely destructive, and his popularity amongst intellectuals merely creates barriers to understanding rather than using his intelligence to develop a wider agreement.
I compare such scientists to thorn bushes. A thorn bush is strong and impenetrable. In its life its branches grow spouting more thorns that protect it. In a detached way a thorn bush appears isolated often distanced from other plant life in deserts or other barren surroundings, yet in reality this bush is an integral part of life itself. How does the thorn bush grow? In Nature. Underground its roots require water, its minimal foliage takes water from the atmosphere, and its breathing is as much a part of plant life as any plant. So whilst the thorn bush might profess insularity it is part of what Thay calls interbeing (For Thich Nhat Hanh, nonviolence is a natural and necessary part of Buddhist religion. To understand his teachings, then, one must start with the most basic religious foundation: “In Buddhism the most important precept of all is to live in awareness, to know what is going on…to be aware of what we do, what we are, each minute.” When we are totally mindful—in direct contact with reality, not just images of reality—we realize that “all phenomena are interdependent…endlessly interwoven.” This is the foundation of Nhat Hanh’s approach, not only to nonviolence but to all of life. He calls it the principle of “interbeing.”).
So what is the knowledge of the scientist? Even though s/he might be immersed in a particular discipline that discipline fits into a whole sphere of knowledge with integrated disciplines – an interbeing of knowledge. Whilst the scientist might focus attention narrowly that is a choice, an approach to learning, Whilst the scientist might be considered innovative within her/his field the reality is that the branches of the thorn bush are growing but the thorn bush still remains isolated. It is this separation that I characterise as important to much that is science.
But in truth this is not the way Capra sees science. In chapters 2 and 3 he describes a systems approach that perceives science as overarching networks that he calls “Web of Life”. This fits in with the deep ecology he described in Chapter 1, and that I have called ONE planet; it is not inconsistent with accepting ONE planet as axiomatic, but without asking I couldn’t say whether he would accept ONE planet in this way.
So if science is developing towards ONE planet where is the problem? The problem lies not with the direction of science but the direction that is imposed on it. Fundamentally systems thinking is an anathema to the 1%. The 1% likes a mechanistic model, a model of separation. This atomism allows business to create a plant and products that yield profits. But then it doesn’t have to be responsible for further consequences. I see this most obviously in the production of plastics. Science discovered the flexibility of using plastics, and business designed plants for productivity and profit. Over the decades as these plastic products have worn down there have been environmental consequences such as the gyra (see clip).
Once environmentalists determined that produced plastics were creating these problems they sought solutions. Unable to budge the 1% from their sole focus on profits the environmental lobby seeking some sort of solution targetted ordinary people in the hope that these people would improve the environment. But that approach can never be a solution whilst business continues to churn out all these plastics. So whilst a significant proportion of people have developed an environmental conscience concerning plastics the global environmental problems just worsen. World forums such as COP17 could seek solutions but rather than deal with the problems the 1% refuse to let go of their profits. To effect this the 1% have promoted climate-denial institutes such as Heartland, whose ambit is to promote the notion that the environmentally-damaging policies of their businesses are not causing “global warming” – and that they are not responsible for any damage that their policies in the past have caused. This is the exact antithesis of systems thinking in which responsibly lies with the totality of the systemic consequences.
What is worse in the case of plastics is that the problem can only be solved by business, because plastics are not biodegradable (like natural products such as made from wood). Plastics can only be recycled by production plant, and business as opposed to local authorities are the only people with the finance to create such plants. All that local authorities can do is remove the eyesores from one neighbourhood – and create eyesore landfills containing the plastics. These landfills are on the increase as are the numerous gyras.
Not only does business refuse to clean up the plastics they also ignore the alternative recyclable solutions, here are some examples.
The way the 1% dodge their responsibility for the environmental damage connected with plastics is atomistic thinking. Basically they examine their own little thorn bush, and determine that they need to do such-and-such to make a profit, and then they use their power and influence to blame everyone else.
Here is a bit of systems thinking that deals with plastics. It is a recognition that we are all part of ONE planet. It uses existing infrastructure, marginally increases the cost (thus excusing the 1% from participation), but would be clearly beneficial. The atomistic approach that is in place, for example with regards to bottled water, is that the 1% misuse government authority to go in and take the water they need from wherever they choose. Then they build plant to make the plastic bottles and then deliver the bottles to their supermarkets for sale. This is an atomistic process that enables them to make their profits, disadvantages the communities they collect the water from, cause lung disease where they are making the plastic bottles and leaves the bottles to be dealt with “by society” after they have been consumed. If it wasn’t so common place we would look at this process and wonder how we could have allowed it.
Note here, drinking water from plastic bottles is not a healthy option, and I don’t recommend it.
Given that we wish to continue consuming bottled water, what do we do? This requires an examination of the system which includes the consumer, sanitation, and the bottled water business. Once consumed the bottles are in refuse or in plastic bottle banks. The sanitation department takes the refuse and sorts it – this is an additional cost. The refuse is divided up into refuse that can be disposed of sustainably, paper products that can be used for recycling, plastics that can be stored awaiting collection. The sanitation department provides collection points where business can collect this “refuse” and business would collect it as part of its routine for delivering to the supermarkets. The materials for recycling are then delivered to plant where the new item for sales is manufactured. Here is a clip that talks of the potential of plastics:-
It is described as malleable but it is not malleable for you or I, however business can make anything if they invest in plant. So if business invests they can profit from recycling in coordination with sanitation and the consumer. As it stands at the moment, if this system were to be introduced business would get their puppet government to develop the new sanitation aspects, they would use the media to impress upon people the need for recycling and charge them more taxes, raise prices because of the increased costs due to recycling, and then make huge profits from the new plant and the new recycled resources. But by a system approach these additional costs would be shared as would the increased profits from the recycled manufacturing.
With a systems approach based around ONE planet we have an equitable solution, under the 1% approach the problem is denied until we are forced to act, then they take advantage of politics to profit from the outcome. System solutions exist but no matter what approach is offered the 1% can exploit, again pointing to a recognition that paradigms are not the solution when you are dealing with the 1%.
I have another example of a system that works, or at least I think it did. I had a friend who managed a company with a turnover of approx 1 and a half million a year. According to him, and I have no reason to disbelieve him, he worked hard as did his team of workers. In the end he was shattered and retired in his 50s to build a castle in the sky. Now I don’t know how ecologically sound his product was, and from that point of view how his production fitted into the wider system, but it sounded a fair system to work for based on mutual interest, respect and compassion. This man called himself a capitalist – as would many, but he was just running a small business. He made a reasonable living, worked too hard as probably did his workforce, but together they made it work. Within the business itself exploitation was minimalised.
Compare that with a transnational whose structure is based on coercion and exploitation. The transnational is run by the 1% but at all levels of management there is coercion based on career structure. If the middle and upper echelons of the transnational wish to progress they have to exploit the people under them on the ladder. The people employed in the factory are never encouraged to have loyalty, and they know there will be none in return – if the workers don’t accept exploitation, the low wages and try to unionise then the transnational moves its plant to another country. And who ensures that? The immediate manager, and if there are doubts the manager is pressurised up the ladder. 1% transnational companies function on coercion and exploitation, an approach that lacks a system that can work sustainably. It matters little to the 1%, they cut and run. That is the system, atomistic exploitation whose only guide is the profits of the 1%.
Contemporary science has begun to alter the axioms of science, and one example is Capra’s Web of Life. But even if science does alter this “worldview”, does it have any real impact on society? How connected is this new scientific knowledge to the reality of daily life? Clearly 1% influence is more powerful than that part of the scientific establishment that is recognising a systems approach. It is almost a clash – the atomism of the 1% and the systemic development of knowledge of ground-breaking science such as Capra. How do these forces exist together? That is the question that governs any paradigmatic change.
Tags: 1%, 4 Agreements, Lipton
It is clear that Bruce is extending his arms to understanding but does that mean that science is? Furthermore does it mean that science has left behind its baggage or even that Bruce has left behind his science baggage? At this point I can only ask.
However for understanding to fit into science there is much that has to change with science, and if we limit our understanding by that which science is willing to accept we miss out on much that is genuine. Cowtowing to science is restrictive. In the first part of his book, The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz described how our conditioning changes us and fits us in. We agree to accept the conditioning that parents provide in the home, teachers in school, and the keepers in religious institutions. Significant in this agreement is that we accept science as knowledge, and often measure our intelligence by benchmarks developed from this knowledge. Whilst I believe that the primary purpose of our school system is to prepare the 99% for wage slavery, it is an important secondary purpose to inculcate the 99% into the acceptance of the restricted system of knowledge that we have come to know as science. We agree to both these purposes because we have accepted that society has developed with the interest of all the people at heart. Whilst I have never accepted this I am pleased to hear the progress of the Occupy movement who in general do not agree with either of these purposes.
Rather than cowtowing to science with its dubious masters, what about starting from Nature? Where else better than the sea? How many seas are there? One with many names. It moves in and out, in and out, its motion is fundamental. At any point in the sea that point moves in the direction of the tide, but in addition that point would become part of a wave. The sea is a unity with dual attributes of point and wave.
Now what about light, through light we can see – it has a functionality. How does that light function? Some of physics would describe that light coming from a point source, and yet other physicists describe light as a wave motion. Through calculation we can determine that light has a speed, a speed at which the point emantaing from the source would be travelling.
Suppose we ask what is light? We get no answer, we only get a description of properties. What is electricity? What is sound? Again no answer, simply a description of properties. Can we not describe as fundamental properties of all a point and wave duality? So rather than not having a description which is the scientific position now, we start with an axiom that in all aspects of life there is motion or momentum that is both point and wave. This is not too distinct from established physics where the principle of conservation of momentum applies ie continuous motion.
So if we start from the sea, axiomatically we might start differently but quickly we join with established science through momentum. Point and wave as fundamentals is also accepted as scientific, but in both cases we would not describe them as axiomatic because the scientific framework is different. Science starts by postulating building blocks that it calls atoms. But then through scientific method the nature of those fundamental building blocks has been refuted, and yet science patches over this. It does not say let us re-examine our framework.
And with Bruce we have another fundamental axiom of biology exposed, that of genes controlling life. What do we have instead? The gene as a blueprint. Cells contain genes and protein, and this protein has receptors which receive information as signals through the cell membrane that then cause the genes to actuate. Where do these signals come from? Life in general.
What about man? Compare this with man, s/he has a blueprint. Through perception of what happens around her/him signals actuate the genes, and if there are no signals no actuation. Man, cell. The same process, is this unreasonable? But what if we start with man? Man is conscious of life through mind that perceives. Where does the mind get the perception, through signals that happen as a result of perception and these signals get passed to the brain to the cells. So the question is not where is the brain of man, the brain is a known physical central unit that transmits the signal to the cells in the body. The question is where is the mind of man, and here we have point and wave. The mind centres on a point often seen as resting in the heart, and yet through perception mind spreads out from the point as waves to perceive through the centres including the skin, the cell membrane of man.
There is no inconsistency with this new science and what can be considered from religion, however the framework is different because of the axioms. Yet the axioms of science have been exposed as false. There is no fundamental axiom concerning what is light, sound or electricity. There is an unresolved position concerning the building bliocks as to whether they are masses or energy, and in biology the central dogma is an empty shell. We are expected to cowtow to science not because science is based on axioms that then produce a well-integrated body of knowledge. No the agreement is that we accept science as our knowledge system and not question science’s inconsistencies.
Starting from life as motion which is both point and wave we have an axiom that meets easily with established science and prevailing religious knowledge – back to Bacon.
I have watched the talk “Biology of Perception”, and it is confusing. But confusing in a good way. It is a talk that appears to be holding its arms out ready to embrace spirituality. The talk can be downloaded here . It seems that Bruce has had the insight to see through the central dogma that the genes are in control, but then has a questionable approach to the brain. When I watch my mind starts reaching out to all kinds of possibilities. On a broad level it starts me to think about “what is”, what is man? As opposed to the “how to” that I have been working on in the Treatise.
This is interesting because science and religion have always been considered different, for me the two personally don’t meet and in society there is an uneasy alliance. This separation of course is a dilemma that in conception ought not to be happening. Starting from Bacon knowledge was divided – knowledge that could be ratified by logical proof and knowledge that required spiritual acceptance. In Bacon’s conception both were seen as knowledge, but as time has progressed knowledge that comes from logical proof has been reduced to that of scientific method – primarily hypothesis, experiment, conclusion. For example this would exclude empirical knowledge such as acupuncture whose tried and tested methods have worked for millenia, but the veracity of the rationale for the efficacy of acupuncture cannot be proven because science cannot build machines that measure chi. Other empirical conjectures such as those concerned with meditation are not accepted by science because although it is verifiable by repeated methodologies – empirically, meditation cannot be “proved” , again because it cannot be measured using scientific instruments.
As time has progressed the knowledge that was scythed in two by Bacon’s position has now been reduced to a scientific establishment that only accepts knowledge through scientific method and then relegates all other knowledge to “Faith”. This is why the two fundamental scientific premises that are referred to in this Mandtaonic exploration are so important. The first one is the one that was happening as I grew up, and came to my awareness as Fritjov Kapra’s “Tao of Physics” and Gary Zukav’s “Dancing Wu Li Masters”. In my 60s schooling I learned that fundamental particles were atoms with protons, neutrons and electrons. But earlier in the 20th century science was exploring the atom, and postulated that inside the atom were smaller particles. And then these particles became indistinguishable from energy, the motion within the atoms could not be determined as particular or energetic (wave-form). It is my understanding that such knowledge is now incorporated into the education system as quantum mechanics. Lipton referred to all this as fundamental particles being energy, I am not sure whether that is accepted by the science establishment. Such energetic considerations are not accepted by the science establishment as chi, and this is something I have difficulty with. When we talk of kinetic energy, this energy of movement is accepted. There is an accepted notion of potential energy – “energy that hasn’t happened yet”, but such energy that hasn’t happened can be used in calculations and scientific method – a postulated requirement of the scientific model. Why couldn’t we hypothesise that there is energy all around and that we can tap into it? Such a hypothesis doesn’t exist, and for science neither does chi, yet for many established religious systems chi or prana is a fundamental. When considering “what is” I need to re-investigate chi and its connection with energy as defined by science. Vibration?
This is the problem with people like Bruce reaching out, established method does not want to change. Whilst science can accept irrational concepts such as potential energy because it suits the realm of calculation and therefore fits in with the methodology, science does not accept chi – seemingly boundless global energy that can be accessed through energetic exercise such as Tai Chi or Chi Gung. After Chi Gung I feel invigorated but can I measure that energetic level?
In the talk Bruce was envisioning that what he had to say would become established science within 10-15 years. Will it? Science is not now driven by the enquiry for knowledge per se. Knowledge is now governed by those that pay for the research – primarily the 1%. This blatant control of knowledge is most obviously seen in the field of sustainable energy, especially those providing alternative fuels for the car. Whilst their research is of great benefit to the ecology and therefore humanity, it is marginalised by the influence of the oil industry whose profits would be slashed if sustainable power was introduced.
Perhaps the 1% will not try to marginalise Bruce’s work, but the conclusions that follow from his dismissal of the central dogma of biology could open the door to healing of cancer and other degenerative diseases through mental signals of health as suggested by transmitting change to protein structures. If such a healing were possible the 1% are not going to be willing to stand by. What has happened to Gerson, macrobiotics, Healing Cancer from the Inside Out, Burzynski, cannabinoids and B17 where cures are suggested without providing BigPharma with profits? These potential cures are marginalised at the expense of those who could benefit – who could live or at very least not die the sad death of chemotherapy as with Farrah Fawcett.
But then is Bruce’s position always sound? In this examinations of genes he discusses the assumption of the central dogma. As the brain is the centre of the human isn’t the gene the centre of the cell? He then refutes the cellular hypothesis by pointing out that genes can be removed from cells leaving complete functionality whereas brains cannot be removed. Therefore genes cannot be brains; click the Mandtao gif for the clip “Where is the brain of a cell?”
But can brains be brains? What is the connection between brain and mind? Is it the brain that controls the body or is it the mind acting through the brain? What is mind? And then he starts looking into perception. Does the brain perceive or does the mind perceive? He promotes a complementary speaker, Rob Williams, who is looking at the “Psychology of Change” or here. Perhaps he goes into all this? We will find out.
To my mind academia leaves many of these questions intentionally unanswered. I blame the 1% but I blame the 1% for everything quite rightly. But what am I blaming them for here? Now that is difficult to answer. First science is basically used for profit-making. Therefore directing science into the search for profit through technological and weapons research can without any huge leap be attributed to the 1%. I would also expect the 1% to have encouraged research into particle physics as there has to be the potential for the generation of huge energy. And yet such energy would destroy the oil industry. Apart from BigCancer and BigPharma would science be that concerned about Bruce? But I feel more the 1% sponsor the status quo, because in the status quo the 1% have control, so perhaps I blame them little more than for maintaining the status quo. Mind you when you consider global analyses of war an climate change the status quo at the moment is pretty horrendous.
So apart from the status quo how does one connect spirituality with science? I suspect that is what HHDL’s mind and life is aiming for. Meditation, chi, Unity, soul etc. Comparison of scientific method with spiritual understanding as different forms of knowledge – or just poles apart. We can “physically” measure the world we are in, but as we cannot measure that which is not physical the knowledge of that which is not physical cannot be accepted as scientific knowledge. Individually we live with these two forms of knowledge without achieving forms of integration into one knowledge. To me mind has created this schism, can it unify knowledge? “What is?”
Key Facts from Oxfam
UK’s five richest families now own more wealth than the poorest 20% of the population.
Oxfam said the poorest 20% in the UK had wealth totalling £28.1bn – an average of £2,230 each.
The latest rich list from Forbes magazine showed that the five top UK entries – the family of the Duke of Westminster, David and Simon Reuben, the Hinduja brothers, the Cadogan family, and Sports Direct retail boss Mike Ashley – between them had property, savings and other assets worth £28.2bn.
Major General Gerald Grosvenor and his family had more wealth (£7.9bn) than the poorest 10% of the UK population (£7.8bn).
The wealth of 85 global billionaires is equivalent to that of half the world’s population – or 3.5 billion people.
Since the mid-1990s, the incomes of the top 0.1% have grown by £461 a week or £24,000 a year. By contrast, the bottom 90% have seen a real terms increase of only £2.82 a week or £147 a year.
Since 2003 the majority of the British public (95%) have seen a 12% real terms drop in their disposable income after housing costs, while the richest 5% of the population have seen their disposable income increase.
People still speak about the power of government. They attack the government blaming the government for what is happening. The governments are employed puppets, and their individual payment depends on how much they do for the 1% – look at Tony Blair. The struggle is not just against government but also in the workplace. Against the government we can make their lives uncomfortable and perhaps change some policies. But when we force a change they redirect their aims, there cannot be genuine democracy whilst the people in power do not have democracy as their agenda. Politicians need to be trusted to act in the interest of the people, but they are not they are working for the 1% paying lip-service to democracy and/or morality. Activists cannot mobilise against every action these puppets do. This Trans-pacific partnership (or this) is going to provide huge benefits for the 1%, how can activists mobilise against this? Who even knows what it does? (I don’t).
Trade unions now have little bite. Union action used to be able to halt production lines, but now they just move the plant. But who make sthe decisions to move the plant? Who does the work to provide the bosses with the information? Who researches where such plants are viable? These working people make daily compromises that damage the state of the planet and fellow man. It’s all fair in business is what is killing us, killing the planet. It is individuals who have to find a way to live their lives in conscience – not as puppets. I am a politician, I am a puppet, I am a teacher, I am a puppet, I am middle management, I am a puppet. No I am not a puppet, I am a person of conscience, I live my life by truth and compassion. Foolish rantings, maybe. But sadly it is the only way forward.
I am mainly writing this because this blog can be a resource of recent publications:-
Oxfam have written a report about the 1% – Working for the Few
The Transnational Institute have written State of Power
and have given some infographics:-
You don’t have to know these numbers, if you know the 1% you know the truth. But maybe some people pretend they want convincing, in reality they are living with their compromise.