Clearly I have to consider my own role in this “mindful ignorance”. To briefly recap I became angry because instead of listening I thought someone was using mindfulness techniques to remain calm when what was being discussed referred to Thailand. And in the mind of the Thai person I was equated with one of the expat perma-complainers.
Based on the above assessment I was disturbing this Thai person, how do I now assess this Thai disturbance? I was trying to develop a process of enquiry into what I had observed as Thai racism. Why? Because it was the truth, and people should know the truth. What should this person do with the truth? I have a vague notion of “pass-it-on” when appropriate. But this person appeared not to want to see the truth otherwise why invoke the mindful ignorance technique. I had thought this person wanted to learn as this was often said, but maybe they do not want to learn about Thailand and its racism. That clearly seems to be threatening. Based on this awareness that has to be the end of enquiry into Thailand racism with the person concerned, I have no desire to disturb them.
But that leads to a clear observation about education here. The dream that is Thailand’s racism is very strong, there are clear examples of it in schools and the above example of “someone who has a certain element of enquiry but becomes disturbed when the example of Thailand’s racism is threatened” adds to the recognition of the power of this dream. Let me also be clear about this racism. It exists, it is a problem for non-Thais, but overall it need not affect being here unless you let it. And in truth when I see the behaviour of many of the western expats I could understand if that racism exhibited itself far more forcefully.
But there are things more important than social racism here. For the person concerned there is the question of their own mindfulness. For mindfulness to have any meaning with regards to the Buddha’s teaching then it is not a therapy technique to be used to support chauvinism and to enforce a personal dream that includes chauvinism. L P Munindo used the description “100% judgement-free awareness” (to me in person). Let us examine that. TOTAL awareness. That means awareness of the inner and our relationship to the outer. And no judgement – no self just awareness. In this case that leads to letting go of enquiry because I now observe disturbance.
For the person concerned there is a genuine need to come to terms with the meaning of mindfulness. But that is their journey. Their process of enquiry used to include listening to me, now that has changed and I must change with it; it is necessary for me to assess that change. To begin with I need to step back from discussing enquiry unless I see enquiry on their part again.
But the real issue is what is a meaningful understanding of mindfulness? In meditation I decided it was mindfulness from the inside out, and then it improved to mindfulness from the insight out. 100% judgement-free awareness comes from an inner journey that brings with it insight, and therefore free from judgement, and awareness follows naturally. In this mindfulness there is a gatekeeper function, and this function helps us deal with emotion.
Yesterday I got angry. There is a scrounger on the beach, and it is time he moved on. Because he is affable some people give him time, and I was speaking with one such yesterday. “He has not done me any harm,” was his approach. And then he mistakenly compared my position concerning the scrounger with a dogfight – the dogs had just been fighting. I got angry quickly, and said I can see his position but that of compassion is the highest. To explain the scrounger is quite affable but takes advantage of many people including the local Thais who feed him. I feel he is taking advantage of other people’s compassion, and compassion is in such short supply I don’t like it. Reflecting I was amazed at what I said when I angered – compassion is the highest. Well it is, but I said it in anger – amazing. My friend tried to ameliorate calling it a playground squabble between me and the scrounger, that didn’t help. We eventually agreed he should be more careful with his words. My gatekeeper worked well as I didn’t retain the anger nor internalise it. I see that as mindfulness and as it is not an argument – compassion is the highest – that I have reflected on it came from insight. All this now makes me feel good – I should let that go – possible arrogance.
But it illustrates – at least for me – mindfulness from the insight out, and how that mindfulness can function well as a gatekeeper. But this is not mindful ignorance, this accepts emotions, expresses and deals with them, and does not ignore any form of awareness. So what happens if we try to build mindfulness without insight? That is the issue of the mindful ignorance, and it is quite scary. What if mindfulness is sought without meditation? I believe but I am not sure that that is something that some monks teach – maybe even this guy – Phra Pramote.
What about populist mindfulness? I remember Brad having a pop at mindfulness, at the time I wasn’t enamoured by that – some people translate one of the 8-fold Path as Right Mindfulness. No, I’m not going to investigate the populism, there is too much of it. Mindfulness and meditation are words that are often interchanged – messy.
Posts Tagged ‘mindfulness’
Tags: 4 Noble Truths, Buddhism, mindfulness
Upbringing is a belief system, it is the dream that is imparted by your society. It includes all that education offers, it include the customs and mores of a society, and it can also include its religion. Enquiry wants to break the totality of this belief system so that we can see the truth that lies underneath, so that we can experience insight; this is an enquiry that usually comes with a process of meditation.
However fear and ego are clever in the way they misuse upbringing. Once the process of enquiry begins then upbringing is questioned, as it should be. Then there is fear of the truth, and unless that process of enquiry is backed up with insight there is no strength to counter that fear of truth, and the ego will seek ways of returning to the upbringing – returning to the original dream.
It is interesting how this package of ego fear and upbringing can fit together, and how belief systems can work with it. Remember a belief system is a set of ideas, and they can be ideas that appear to be the truth. But when those ideas are not found through insight – they are ideas of intellect, these ideas can easily be approriated as part of the dream.
I met someone whose mind resisted enquiry; her upbringing included chauvinism – a pride in their country, something that is instilled through education. I was able to demonstrate that there were weaknesses in the chauvinism through enquiry backed up by rationale. This was because at the time the person trusted my little insight into Buddhism. However they did not develop the insight necessary to give real strength to that development through enquiry – they were unable to develop a meditation routine. Then they discovered a Buddhist belief system that fit in with the chauvinism and that allowed them not to pursue enquiry. The belief system with its lack of emphasis on enquiry and insight has rekindled the upbringing. The dream that was the upbringing was developing leaks, but the belief system which was created by a member of the society has blocked those leaks and has brought the person firmly back into the dream of the society.
This remembering of the upbringing process has been happening for a while, but it came home to me yesterday. She had met someone whom she had helped but who continually attacked Thailand – conflicting her chauvinism, this sort of attack is not uncommon amongst the expats. She was extremely surprised when I said “why doesn’t he go home?”; this is also what the chauvinism of her upbringing says. But she said I said the same thing as this expat, and her changing belief system was filling the leaks of the enquiry that I had tried to build in her and she had equated me with this complainer. She had not remembered the enquiry and the rationale, she only wanted to return to the chauvinism because it was comfortable – she could remain in the dream. And the tool she was using to do this was an intellectual version of mindfulness. Instead of the mindfulness being 100% awareness that started deep within as insight, this was a mindfulness that was brought in to reinforce the chauvinism. When enquiry threatens the belief system opening people up to the possibilities of the truth, there is an emotional reaction, maybe anger or frustration, leading to personal discomfort. In this case I surmise that this is anger directed to me because I am the source of the enquiry. Positively mindfulness calms the anger, but if misused it can ignore the enquiry. So this intellectual version of mindfulness ended up protecting the dream, protecting the upbringing, and protecting all that is wrong with that upbringing espcecially the chauvinism. This is disappointing, and could possibly lead to a break in contact something practically I don’t want. I have to stop introducing enquiry into the chauvinism.
And then horror of horrors I realised what this intellectual process of mindfulness had done, it was a false practice of mindfulness used as mindful ignorance to protect the upbringing, the dream. This is the Land of Smiles, and what is happening behind the smiles? The chauvinism wants to reject any criticism of itself so when there is criticism there is a process “mindfulness, focus on mindfulness, don’t get angry, stay calm”. This sounds good, eh? Keep calm. But what isn’t happening? Listening and learning. As soon as the chauvinism is under threat, in comes the mindfulness and out goes the listening. This is not mindfulness but mindful ignorance – horrific. Thailand has much to talk about that is positive, but there is much chauvinism that is negative. I stay here because the positive balance suits me as compared with what happens in the UK – and elsewhere. In the UK there is their own version of mindful ignorance – indoctrination. This indoctrination is much more dominated by the corporatocracy, but the justifications that British people use to describe what is better with their own lifestyle under austerity are getting more and more tenuous. I make the comparison only to clarify that Thailand has its advantages, but there is chauvinism and there is racism, and there is mindful ignorance where deaf ears are turned onto the truth. There is never an excuse for not listening. And mindfulness cannot occur if there is not enquiry and there is not truth. I am absolutely certain that the monk who described this mindfulness did not have the intention that his focus on mindfulness would be turned to mindful ignorance but from what I have read of his work there is not enough emphasis on insight and enquiry, so mindful ignorance is a likely consequence. Judge for yourself – Phra Pramote.
This issue of mindful ignorance masquerading as mindfulness has been troubling me. I could not leave it alone. It was only when I meditated that it became clear. I had focussed this understanding of mindful ignorance on the chauvinism I had met, on the way in which her practice of mindful ignorance had returned her to the dream, her upbringing that incuded chauvinism. But this is not where the problem ends in Buddhism. Removing Avijja, ignorance, is one of the key elements of Buddhism, so why is there so much debate about being Engaged? In our daily life Buddhists should be at the forefront (not necessarily leaders) for any movement for change because that awareness of global suffering comes with mindfulness. But I do not mean this in a “ranting and raving” intellectual sense. Struggle is calm, it is natural, it stems from recognition of suffering, it stems from the calm acceptance that there is suffering, it comes from a recognition of the origins of suffering in the mind, and that cessation of suffering comes through the good practice of magga – 4 Noble Truths. But in that practice there is compassion, and compassion means the end of suffering, and to do that action is needed. This is mindfulness, and leads to Engaged Buddhism.
But what if we become selfish and see this mindfulness only in terms of our own suffering. We feel our lack of calm daily, our minds suffer through interactions with others who are also suffering so we want to calm down. And along comes a monk who teaches us mindfulness. So whenever something disturbs us we use mindfulness. Sounds great until you ask the question “Does truth disturb us?” And that is the crunch, how can we be mindful if the truth disturbs us? Mindfulness as mindful ignorance has come to be used as a tool mindful repression, we choose to repress dissent because it causes personal suffering. For some it becomes easier to accept the norm, the dream, and when truth comes along we use mindfulness to repress it – “mindfulness, focus on mindfulness, don’t get angry, stay calm”.
This is even more horrific than I had originally thought because this is a problem endemic in the religion. Buddhism teaches mindfulness. But sometimes this mindfulness doesn’t have to be mindful of the truth. Mindfulness as removing avijja can be rephrased as learning about the suttas, learning about abhidhamma, learning about all kinds of mental proliferations. Mindfulness can fill the minds with endless ideas and theories and Gods and stuff, depending on which version of Buddhism you accept with mindful ignorance, and this mindfulness never gets to see the truth.
So we must start to look at the teachers of Buddhism – the monks. At one stage I had contact with a particular monk, and I began discussing that contact here. Eventually there became a dissociation because the monk believed Tony Blair. In some ways this monk was moving in the right direction, but his approach was wrong. Primarily the function of the monk is to meditate and then promote the teachings. This monk recognised there was a need for engagement, this is positive but monks cannot know about engagement unless they had been working in daily life before ordaining. Monks who have lived in cloisters cannot know the issues of daily life as their lifestyle is bought and paid for. This means there needs to be a symbiosis between the monk and lay Buddhists in which the monks learn the meaning of engagement. This monk’s mind had deluded him that he could be aware of life outside cloisters by applying his dhammic mental training. Equally lay Buddhists have to know that they cannot understand the dhamma without having the time to be in cloisters to devote themselves to the practice. This is a lovely dilemma, without the symbiosis between the teachers and daily life there can only be avijja.
For their humour (usually) I like some commencement addresses, the most interesting-to-date is J K Rowling. I have not come across others that matched her but I checked this one out – Nipun Mehta.
Generosity is wonderful but difficult. I like to think that I am generous, but many of the occasional women in my past said I am not – a good sample? I have never accepted the adage that what a woman earns is hers and what a man earns is theirs. I hope I have a reputation for giving, but I refuse to give to the tramp who lives on the beach I go to (for 3 years) as I see him spending his life exploiting others; he has chosen this life and is not someone seeking help because he is down “on his luck”.
I treat liberal movements of generosity with a pinch of salt. I suppose it is because I have seen the bottom line for most liberals. This came out of my significant contact with black people in the UK between 76-86. To begin with I couldn’t see why they were so disparaging to the white middle-class who were often verbally tolerant. However when it came to the bottom-line these white liberals were in it for themselves, at the bottom line demonstrated their racism, propped up the system when they make their living and when it comes right down to it can be as selfish as any Rothschild or Rockefeller. The pound in the Oxfam envelope does not forgive the sins even though every little helps.
So I have never been attracted to movements such as Nipun Mehta’s service space, here is a promo clip:-
The generosity of these people is beneficial but how does that add up in terms of their daily life? Some would argue that Bill Gates’ philanthropy benefits others. Certainly the money he “donates” to promote Monsanto is a business tactic. In his case I see all donations as a business tactic but if there are ordinary people benefitting I can’t argue with them. At Service Space there are some good stories of hope, I should relax my cynicism and let that be enough. After all I know that generosity makes me feel better although my self angers at being used occasionally.
We cannot do anything about the prevailing paradigm of the uber-rich, such political movements are tilting at windmills. Solutions lie within community, and a significant part of community is generosity to one’s neighbour. Financially-independent communities are the way to happiness, this is true. Generosity is good for the “soul” but might well be doing nothing more than propping up the uber-rich. I still end up back at cynicism based on analysis, but it is always good to help others
Tags: Compromise, Corporatocracy, intellect, mindfulness
Political awareness is an integral part of personal development, and therefore needs to be integrated into your way of living. Put another way, political awareness means activity. I have just discovered an Al Jazeera programme "Activate". It is concerned with activity, and the first one I watched focussed on a group of Argentinian women who campaigned against a mining company and won.
Now of course what they did did not solve anything globally, they just protected what was theirs – their mountain, their water. The mining company presumably went somewhere else and inflicted their damage on some other less resourceful community. But what it did show was that their political awareness becoming active had an impact. Their activity had an impact.
When I was active myself we always fought the apathy and arrogance of the “armchair socialists”. Unfortunately that battle was drastically lost because discussion has proliferated leading to “internet socialists” who can point to a signed petition, a discussion on facebook, a pretty website, as a means of expressing activity. Whilst these are better than nothing they are marginally so, having the t-shirt does not fight the power of the 1%. In reality the 1% are more than happy with the majority of the internet discussion as it is mere wind whistling through cyberspace, and has very little to do with the exploitation they perpetrate on the ground in real life. The internet should be recognised for what it is, a means of communication and not a “place” where socialism can defeat capitalism or the 99% defeat the 1%.
In reality no such “place” exists at the present time, and maybe in the conceivable future. The machinery the 1% has in situ through its control of the workforce and the control of politics means there is very little chance that the democratic movement can do anything significant to dislodge it. Sadly the catastrophes endemic in capitalism and its fiat money have to eat far more into the liberties of ordinary people before they are prepared to become personally active. We are left with the activities of those strong people who “activate“.
The term awareness is more a spiritual term rather than political, and as such is often misinterpreted as not having an encumbent practice associated with it. This mistaken approach is much more stark when political awareness is considered. Political awareness is only the beginning, and it is not a beginning that takes great steps to reach. It is quite obvious that politically the world is in a mess, people who don’t recognise this choose not to do so. And therefore those, who claim political awareness as a justification of who they are, are not claiming much. To measure politicisation is to measure activity as it is only in activity that politics is enacted. “Internet socialism” means little because it does not imply activity. Even the least novice who joined the Occupy movement on the streets has gained greater politic than the many sophists who inhabit the cybersphere of internet socialism.
And wherein is this political awareness they speak of, it lies in the manipulation and control of money, those that do not see this are not being politically aware. It is for the creation of profits that wars are fought, political elections are not fought based on ideology but the control of politicians is bought by campaign contributions and this control then leads to profits through government regulation on behalf of the vested interest. Profit-making is the purpose of those that exploit and financial control is the purpose of politics.
For the political aware their first activity is how they earn their money and how they spend it. Traditionally for most people on the left their expenditure is not considered, and whilst on the one hand they might campaign against transnationals, they might do so over a coffee at Starbuck’s. Whilst organic coffee at an independent health food cafe might be beneficial, contributing to the coffers of a transnational however minimally is not an act of political awareness. As with the conclusion of the movie “Ethos” our personal power lies with how we spend our money. And that means all our money especially our investments such as pensions. To live a life of consumerism whilst claiming political awareness shows a lack, sustainable consumption is the mark of awareness.
The actions of the politically aware begin with an examination of their personal expenditure, and then their actions move onto street activity; awareness is not an intellectual pastime, it is not “internet socialism”.
Tags: Compromise, Corporatocracy, meditation, mindfulness
We all have a common enemy – the 1%.
It sounds kind of stupid to say this, doesn’t it? I am going to use some war parlance now. I have discussed this issue of collaboration before, and it probably sounded stupid then as well. I was reminded of this issue when I was reading about the Mind and Life Institute holding their annual symposium at the Hyatt somewhere. Now the work that Mind and Life is doing is very important, it is trying to alter the boundaries of what is accepted as knowledge and science by the establishment and trying to include meditation. In many ways this is upside-down but we have to work with what is. It struck me that this was going on despite the fact that the 1% are screwing the world and being responsible for many deaths throughout the world.
Here’s the rub. Was this mentioned at the symposium? For the sake of argument let’s assume it wasn’t. Is it right that the religious and academic bury their heads in order to continue work that in truth can only be beneficial in attacking the 1%? For me the answer is no, and the issue is collaboration. Let us consider the drone war that is being fought now. The biggest advantage of drones for the 1% is that no soldiers from the homelands of the 1% get killed. Therefore the politicians don’t feel any feedback from the drone strikes (maybe blowback later). Because these atrocities are being carried out without any homeland consequences, it does not affect daily life. It is accepted as a normal part of life that murder is committed throughout the world, and yet people normally go to business. And when the many people like me say this especially when those people are young they are described as hotheads immature and told to grow up. If you are compassionate you are told to grow up.
What has this got to do with Mind and Life? The people there just get on with what they are doing ignoring the atrocities effected by the 1%. And yet I know there were people there such as HHDL who know that whilst they were at the symposium the 1% were continuing with the atrocities.
What can be done about the 1%? Very little. Something can happen only when sufficient people recognise what the 1% are doing, and even then what can be done? So if very little can be done do we turn our backs on the murder and destruction that is happening through the offices of the 1%.
What could have been achieved by raising the issue of the 1% at the symposium? This was a symposium of religious people and scientists. All those people are members of institutions who collaborate with the common enemy – the 1%. None of those people will shoot the guns the 1% want soldiers to fire, but all of those people work for money the stock and trade of the 1%.
How much of an improvement to the world situation would have happened if throughout that symposium the attendees were saying that whilst we need to recognise that meditation is empirical knowledge and that meditation can produce measurable benefits – not measured by current science’s machines – we need to do what we can to lessen the influence of the 1%? These people are the common enemy of Mind and Life as they are the rest of the 99%, Mind and Life just happen to be people who will not be killed by the 1%. Unless they are Iranian scientists?
It was one of those meditations where I had to keep myself sitting when I wanted to come and write. The washing is in the machine, and I am raring to go.
The first one is the Internet eBookshop, unfortunately something like this might already exist. I have seen different schemes about how writers might make money through the internet, but in truth if you are making money the chances are you are only contributing to the 1%. So what about the writer who is also a mindful consumer? Then this writer does not want to be a part of the monetary system or would want to be part of a community currency.
Let’s bear this in mind as we examine how the 1% publishers work. They decide whether the work is to be published based on commercial interests. They control the distribution and sales outlets. And readers as consumers spend their leisure time going to bookshops deciding which book will decorate their bookshelves. And for this the writer is paid a small royalty, and the 1% exploits through monetary profit based on distribution and sales. Now what the writer also gets is access to distribution, and this is important. As an unread internet writer I have no access to distribution. I am convinced that my work is as good as some that is in bookshops (what writer isn’t). Objectively I actually have no idea how good my work is, but as I am driven to write at least Nature must feel it has some value. Of course every writer in the blogosphere would say the same thing.
Distribution is the first key. And with the internet one aspect of distribution is absolutely no issue – download, and for non-commerical writers like me free downloads are the order of the day for Zandtao, Wai Zandtao – SciFi writer, Matriellez and eventually Mandtao. I have no idea how strong Creative Commons is, but hopefully copyright is also covered. But the other aspect of distribution covered by the browsing in bookshops is getting your work recognised. Now this is determined by the publishers who own or liaise with the sales outlets, have book tours – to be honest I don’t know enough about this but they sound awful; they are all part of the 1% control. As a result of these processes books are displayed in bookshops, people buy the books, some writers make an income, the whole process is exploited and the 1% make their profits.
An internet eBookshop would cover these aspects of a publishers’ control. Browsing in an internet bookshop would be no different to browsing in a bookstore, you can even choose your own coffee!! Distribution would be the download, OK the books on your bookshelf would get old! But this is a small price to pay for mindful consuming.
Now publishers have editors. I have no contact with these people so the following might be doing them a disservice, my apologies if it is. An editor’s job is to choose the books and make the books saleable because the business they are in is selling books. So of course populist novels are a safe choice and the taste of the consumers is oriented to this popularism. Whilst there are books available that expose the 1% for who they are – because these books can also make a profit, they are not chosen for their content. I would personally not enjoy an editor’s consideration of my work because I would not trust their outlook, however I do believe in the process of editing because no matter how may times I revise my own work I find mistakes. But an editor whose livelihood depends on profit-making for the 1% does not encourage me to seek their services.
Perhaps the internet eBookshop would have editors, or maybe peer review would help. Being eBooks a writer would have easy access to be responsive to such peer reviews. Who knows how this could develop? But the point is that there is nothing here that would warrant writers enslaving themselves to publishers.
The main problem is of course payment. And so we come to mindful consuming. In my own case I begrudge paying for anything that I could possibly download because of who gets the profits. But when it comes to an author we need to be making an exception, but not an exception that involves paying the 1% through publishing. We could however pay royalties directly. This could be organised through the internet eBookshop where the writer could be connected to the eBookshop, and a means of paying royalties be established by them.
But this is still not the solution. The eBookshop might use Paypal, but in using Paypal they are still using dollars – a currency of the 1%. I once proposed #O as a currency of Occupy, and here is another example where #O would come into play. Making an intitial dollar payment to establish your #O presence, you could then pay the author royalties. But now if this transaction was part of a wider possibility of transactions such as crafts, organic produce and other mindful economic ventures this #O presence can establish a meaningful transactional base. As Occupy is also talking of alternative banking, this community currency, #O, could integrate into that.
Occupy Internet eBookshop is also a possibility because Occupy has the computer expertise to carry this out – OWSinternteBookshoponline.com is well within their capabilities.
And there is one final possibility that could make this work. Occupy has many famous writers who are associated or support it. These authors such as Naomi Klein, Cornel Wilde, Michael Moore and many more could be the names that build the platform. Once consumers get used to paying #O royalties rather than paying the 1% or searching for free eBooks, this #O internet eBookshop has a possbility of growing, especially if it were part of a wider #O mindful consumer network.
21/9/13 – Maybe Bitcoin is positive?
Tags: Corporatocracy, mindfulness, sila
Here I discussed the 1% breaking the rule of law. This rule of law is more important for them than it is for the 99%. Law and order means that everyday the wage slave goes to work earns their money spends it in consumerism thus providing more profits for the 1%. I have advocated and continue to advocate withdrawing from the money that creates that 1% enslavery.
But piracy is an action which does not use money. The 1% created the internet because it was cheaper, organise people to spend their money electronically and that is fewer wage-slaves to work in the sales sector. But what has happened on the internet? People have developed the means of giving away consumer products electronically, and this means of transaction is out of the control of the 1%. Yes we buy computers and our internet connection, but after that we can consume outside the 1% system.
There is an excellent feed at Torrent Freak which is worth subscribing to. The moralist in me initially saw this as people justifying breaking the law, but the 1% have broken the rule of law. We must be moral with each other, sila is primary, but what about this alternative means of trading that is outside the control of the 1%? We pay taxes, 1% don’t; we accept we have to work to pay for homes, banks foreclose and take government money for solving the problem as bonuses. This is a fundamental breakdown of our financial system. So whilst being moral with each other, we must survive – outside the rule of consumer law that protects the 1% businesses.
Piracy is an act of grass roots democracy, empowering ourselves within a system that is exploiting us. The pirate party is developing itself based on the anger at consumers being exploited at the lack of privacy and so on. These are political positions that also represent grass roots democracy. Whilst pirates also tend to reject all of the traditional political organisations including those of grass roots democracy, their actions are those of empowered grass roots democrats.
What is most interesting to watch with regards to the piracy is the inability of the 1% to control human endeavour. They closed megaupload, and there is an outcry from all the people who have been abiding by 1% law, and were using megaupload “legally”. The 1% are not responding to these people who are suffering from 1% policies but are not the intended targets. The 1% want the computer industry to police according to the 1% desires. They want the ISP’s to provide their own policing. Why? Because the ISP’s will do it better? No, because the 1% don’t want to have to pay. But why should the ISP pay? If they do the cost of the internet will sky-rocket and the 1% will lose their internet consumer-base. Torrents continue to exist because one site is closed and another opens. Law targets individuals so individuals use the impersonal anonymity that initially the 1% liked to circumvent the control that the 1% are losing. Breaking consumer law is becoming easier, and because the 1% have broken the rule of law it is open season. In the end no rule of law is frightening for society, but the 1% are addicted and have gone too far.
Participating in democracy is becoming a pirate, go pirate.
The US government heavy-handedly went in and closed Megaupload on behalf of Hollywood. According to this article the judge says the US had not legal right to close a company from outside the US. So the case against Megaupload was never proven but they closed them down, they are preventing Megaupload to have access to money to create a defence, and now it appears it wasn’t legal in the first place to close them down. I did hear that the White House had rapidshare marked down for drone attacks, watch out Switzerland and cyberlockers everywhere.
Tags: Buddhism, Compromise, Corporatocracy, mindfulness, NUT, Occupy
In my first school I made good career progress. At that time in education I was focussing only on the inequalities in education towards the black students, and as the school was majority black I was actually beneficial to the school despite focussing on education. In that case because I was just starting out, I had not reached the level of power where careerism comes more into effect. At the same time the school was hard so few wanted to be there. So at that time my dedication to education (of black students) was positive and fitted in with the prevailing paradigm of the school.
I should have made Deputy HOD there but I got knocked down by politics, a politics of a strange variety. My HOD was on the NUT Exec, and because of his union activities – he was officially released one day a week but often took more – the education in the department suffered. He also played control games so that people “needed” him. The game that always annoyed me was that during department tests he would insist on writing the markschemes, and because he was so busy with the union the markschemes were often not ready. Being young and vehement I would argue about this, I can’t remember other arguments but arguments were regular. His office was large so the department often worked there – and then it was too small. Conversation, laughter, whatever would occur, and if he was busy he would demand quiet. It was tort with tension, and after one argument I removed myself from his office and moved my workbase to the staffroom – a good distance away.
I was at the school nearly 8 years. The school had big staff turnover, people using it as career stepping stones. My HOD and I were fixtures, he had got himself a situation where he could be HOD and do all his union work and I was immersed in “being black” at the time (not that bad but too much) working in the community as well. Working with the head of the remedial department (or whatever it was called) we had established a well-run team teaching lower school programme. So the next step up the ladder was deputy HOD, and when the position became available it was expected for me to apply. Now the Principal and my HOD were at loggerheads – she was a careerist, so in normal circumstances of my promoting “education” we would have been in conflict. But because of my known conflict with the HOD we were unnaturally aligned. She told me she wanted me to do the job – not appropriate for her to do that, but she told me in private so not that bad.
In most normal schools that nod from the Principal would have been enough but there was also conflict between the Principal and the head of governors, Janet Boateng wife of the black MP Paul Boateng. Now my community work should have been enough for her as well, but then manipulative politics and duplicity came into play. There was a Zimbabwean guy I drank with, I considered him a friend but on reflection that was stupid as mutual actions indicated there was no friendship. But I was a drunk and people who drink think that their drinking buddies are friends – one of the many delusions the drink gives us. He came round to my house one Saturday night – that was unusual in itself. I later realised, after working in Africa, that he was motivated by career in coming round, and that he was pumping me. He was a drinking friend and it was in my house so I felt sacrosanct and told him what the Principal had said. I was in my early 30s and naive. This opened the door for my HOD. Another drinking buddy who was NUT was also teacher governor told the governors about this conversation, so the governors were aware that the Principal had told me she favoured me, I knew this because the Principal was quite rightly angry with me for breaking a confidence. I didn’t get the job and when the position became available again I didn’t apply sticking to working with the kids. On the third occasion of the position becoming available the Zimbabwean got the job, and the HOD paid for this. This incident caused a lot of ructions in my life. It should have stopped me from drinking but it didn’t, I just kept away from those drinking “buddies”. I continued to manage the lower school team teaching, and focussed on the kids. The union conflict reared its head again, and I joined the NAS because of this HOD’s political manipulations that at that school disadvantaged the students.
So I have vented about this annoying incident in my life but it does show that this was a time when my education aligned me with career progress, but that was the only time – and when I was young. I was an angry young man but even with this lack of control I was more aligned with career than at any other time in my life – even though I was HOD three times.
At my next school the opposite happened. I became an NUT activist (union rep and association secretary), and because of the Principal being a bully and incompetent I was in direct conflict with him. This school was in suburbia, was a less difficult school, and the teachers did not stand up for themselves against this bully. I however did as union rep, and remained on main grade for all the time I was there – 6 years. Was this a personal conflict or a paradigmatic conflict? First impressions it is personal but in reality I was against the paradigm, and the paradigm was “suburban jobsworth”. This man was not a competent bully, he was incompetent, but the teachers fundamentally kept their heads down keeping their jobs and accepting the financial inducements of career. Many of the teachers worked well but very rarely did they conflict with the head, and the head used this. There was one time when they stood up. There was a science trip and the teachers were forced to send some of the best students home because they behaved so badly. The parents complained, and the Principal rebuked the teachers formally. Now these teachers were typical “suburban jobsworths” and did not usually conflict with the Principal so everyone rallied round, and the formal rebuke was withdrawn. By this time the Principal had forced me out of the union rep job, and in retrospect is a clear example of how consensus democracy rather than representative democracy works. So here I was against the paradigm and career-wise got nowhere.
In my next job I worked in Botswana where there was a localisation policy for appointments so I never considered career, but applied myself educationally with the many integral extra-curricular positions that were unpaid. Then I joined international schools as a HOD. As a HOD I had much more influence on the schools, and as a result that was where I really learned that schools were not about education. I found myself becoming a buffer between the careerism of Principals (and profiteering of owners in private schools) and education practice in my department. The paradigm in these schools was profit, and because they were not good schools penny-pinching affected educational standards – there were 2 such schools where the penny-pinching profit paradigm was dominant. In the third school as HOD I was sacked because I was in conflict with the paradigm that the rich kids were right – profit and influence being paramount. I was brought in to change the educational approach, did so, impressed the Principal with my approach, but because rich kids complained the administration supported them and I was sacked. This was a “rich kid” paradigm that I was in part aware of, but in interview I had asked if I would get administration support if there was a conflict and they said yes!!
Apart from my first school where my youth and educational approach aligned me with the overall paradigm in schools exemplified by career, educational imperative has brought me in conflict with the places I have worked in. By this I recognise the importance of that conflict, if you are in conflict with the paradigm then competence is not going to get just rewards. But if you are not in conflict those rewards will come. Understanding how conflict works is important in understanding how the 1% control. They don’t care what you believe in so long as you don’t act in conflict. They do not care about intellectual assessments, in fact they can profit from the same by turning them into products – music books and movies. But if you start a movement such as Occupy in which you are actively in conflict then they coral the waggons. This is what has happened to Occupy in the US where the police have become a military defending the 1%. It demonstrates the true nature of the system as a whole and the police force in particular, the system is the 1% – it defends the 1%.
I speak to many people about this, and I am particularly thinking of a Buddhist group I used to belong to. When I describe the system (in summary the 1% and the 99%) they don’t see the problem, they have had careers, done well from it, and mostly lived their lives with integrity. But what they have done is avoided the conflict with their particular paradigm, and avoided the conflict with the 1% paradigm. I now contend that in my life I should not have compromised as much as I did – even though I had conflict. I should have embraced the conflict because the 1% are destroying ONE planet. Instead of avoiding the conflict – intentionally or otherwise – these people who were successful and Buddhist should also have embraced the conflict. Individually they would have suffered in terms of career and therefore financially, the results of their conflict will have had minimal effect but they would in some way have restrained the 1%.
Conflict avoidance within their institutions is a major strategy of the 1%. War is now expanding because ordinary people in the metropolitan countries are not being hurt. Drones are a wonderful example of this. No-one flying the drones gets hurt, the MIC makes huge profits, and they have the illusory enemy of the terrorist as a target. Troops on the ground now in Iraq are not soldiers but mercenaries, and these mercenaries provide profits for their transnationals so the 1% are happy. Whilst people are still being murdered for profit, no-one is risking death and there is no conflict for the 1% and their wage-slaves. Drones and mercenaries are completely evil but they are optimal tools of conflict avoidance. Unless you are a target of the profits from war.
It is now essential that conflict avoidance or compromise becomes a thing of the past. The power and addiction of the 1% is increasing, and the damage they are doing is worsening. At COP17 a global conference to discuss how to deal with climate change was circumvented by a 1% strategy of denial of truth. Whilst every citizen in the world becomes more aware by observation that climate change is affecting their daily lives these addicted fight over profits. And we don’t confront them – well most of us don’t. Global recession is dodged almost daily by huge amounts of money being “invented” to create an illusion of stability, and then they pretend that austerity is the solution. We go to work for small amounts of money, huge amounts are given away ending up in the Cayman Islands as figures, and gradually what we earn buys less and less; there is a global strategy of devalueing the money we earn because they cannot reduce our wages. Eventually such a system must collapse. A conflict strategy that seeks to withdraw ourselves from the prevailing system of the 1% needs to come in. We can begin to work in barter networks, community currency systems, buying growing and selling organic produce through local forums, skill trades, any form of trade and income that reduces our contact with the 1% monetary system. Such ways will bring us into conflict with the 1% system but we will maybe help to prevent the catastrophes the addicted are taking us to.
Ironically acting in this way of conflict will bring us greater harmony and happiness.
Tags: Corporatocracy, mindfulness, Occupy
Watching “The Economics of Happiness” I became a little angry. The movie clearly points out all that is wrong with what is happening with globalisation and then goes on to promote localisation well, but it fails in an important point for me. Prior to Occupy the terms 1% and 99% were not in common usage, now they are – the film was made before OccupyWallStreet. Fundamental to the concept of 1% is the control of government by the corporations and finance, this appears to be mentioned in passing in the movie. Without grasping this fundamental concept of 1%, we ask pointless questions. Why doesn’t the government regulate the corporations? Why does the government give bailouts? Why does the government subsidise the already wealthy corporations?
Would we ask the question “why do puppets pay homage to their masters?”? Not at all, it is expected. Would we then work for a strategy that asks the puppets to change their masters? Of course not, that is not in the nature of puppet-master relationship. When we seek solutions to the control of the 1% we do not turn to their puppets for answers, politics is not an answer. Do we ignore politics? No, we use it as a limitation process, trying to limit the damage of the 1%, but in no way is politics a solution. The movie showed an occasional politician being supportive but politicians are not the answer, we the community are, people acting, living, buying and selling locally.
One essential that Occupy has brought to our understanding is that our economic transactions are in the hands of, and benefit, the 1% through Wall Street. The 1% strategy is to deregulate internationally calling it “Free Trade” and regulate nationally to force smaller businesses to be co-opted into transationals. Individually we need to counter that by buying local, to counter globalisation we need localisation. And the film goes into this well, even showing a community in Japan that has its own currency; the localisation section of the movie is maybe the best part.
How individually do we spend our money? Is it spent locally? Is the money that we earn taken out of the circulation of the 1% and placed in the circulation of ordinary people – for example with a community currency? These questions are not petty. When I ask myself these questions I fail miserably. My income is now pension, and pensions are completely encompassed within the 1% system. Once I receive my pension, how is my money spent? Fail again. I buy local produce using their currency, sometimes organic, I also have a house full of technical gadgets that are run off the mains and are completely part of the 1% system. I want to change this. Can we all change this? Can we all begin to ask these questions? That will begin the change. Go alternative.
The movie is very good and well worth watching – download here.
Taking her lead from this, in the second part of the article Naomi accepts that the 1% will not attempt to solve the problem and she takes that recognition as a charter for grass roots organisation on the climate. The 1% will not solve the problem so grassroots democracy is the only option. This of course makes so much sense. Business has to exploit the environment in order to profit. Business is dependent on oil and has demonstrated a lack of willingness to invest in renewable energy such as the wind and the sun. The business strategy has also been to turn the onus onto individuals to be ecologically more sound, and after a long period of such strategies there is no change as carbon emissions rose to 5.9% in the year 2009-2010.
Here are her ideas for wholesale change. They fit clearly in with the Occupy movement as you would expect, but I think it is important to say that we need to do something about climate change and by doing what is needed we get people back to work whilst renovating the planet. The only loss is the profits to the 1%. Her charter is therefore revolutionary but we have to understand that the 1% are addicted, and such a solution is not going to come from them. Nor is it going to come from piecemeal strategies that have characterised the Climate Change Movement so far. No compromise, no patching, confront, accept Naomi’s charter and “get it done”.
I have uploaded this charter here.
There is no doubt that this charter is ambitious but a charter needs to be that in our world in which exploitation is so endemic and common-place. But it is important to recognise that grass roots movement have already moved towards this:-
“As Occupiers ask themselves what kind of economy should be built to displace the one crashing all around us, many are finding inspiration in the network of green economic alternatives that has taken root over the past decade—in community-controlled renewable energy projects, in community-supported agriculture and farmers’ markets, in economic localization initiatives that have brought main streets back to life, and in the co-op sector. Already a group at OWS is cooking up plans to launch the movement’s first green workers’ co-op (a printing press); local food activists have made the call to “Occupy the Food System!”; and November 20 is “Occupy Rooftops”—a coordinated effort to use crowd-sourcing to buy solar panels for community buildings.
“Not only do these economic models create jobs and revive communities while reducing emissions; they do so in a way that systematically disperses power—the antithesis of an economy by and for the 1 percent. Omar Freilla, one of the founders of Green Worker Cooperatives in the South Bronx, told me that the experience in direct democracy that thousands are having in plazas and parks has been, for many, “like flexing a muscle you didn’t know you had.” And, he says, now they want more democracy—not just at a meeting but also in their community planning and in their workplaces.
“In other words, culture is rapidly shifting. And this is what truly sets the OWS moment apart. The Occupiers—holding signs that said Greed Is Gross and I Care About You—decided early on not to confine their protests to narrow policy demands. Instead, they took aim at the underlying values of rampant greed and individualism that created the economic crisis, while embodying—in highly visible ways—radically different ways to treat one another and relate to the natural world.”
Accepting this need for climate change fits clearly within a mindful consumer network and the individual approach that says no patching, no compromise and confront the dishonesty. Such individuals work within communities built on ecological lines such as Thay’s Plum Village. Or they work within the main system with a dual approach minimising the ecological compromises imposed by the corporate workplace, and maximising the ecological harmony in their private lifes, in the alternative skills they develop, and in the home that is ecologically as sound as possible. Once the corporate sector perceives the sea-change that such uncompromising workers can induce, they will initally try not to employ them. But as the correctness of such lack of compromise is recognised and becomes part of mainstream thinking corporations will be forced to alter their own platforms. They need a workforce, they need us to cooperate for their profits – and they signifcantly need collaboration.