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McMindfulness article in the Guardian Daniel M. Ingram 4/16/19 11:57 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/16/19 12:55 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Andromeda 4/16/19 1:14 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/16/19 2:43 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Andromeda 4/17/19 6:45 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Andromeda 4/17/19 8:56 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Daniel M. Ingram 4/18/19 2:30 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/17/19 5:31 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Andromeda 4/18/19 6:17 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Daniel M. Ingram 4/18/19 9:19 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Andromeda 4/18/19 11:22 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/18/19 11:27 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Daniel M. Ingram 4/20/19 11:26 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/20/19 5:15 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Andromeda 4/20/19 6:11 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/20/19 6:16 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/20/19 9:56 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/20/19 11:22 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/20/19 11:27 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/20/19 1:33 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/20/19 1:40 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/20/19 2:42 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/20/19 3:15 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/20/19 5:20 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/20/19 7:42 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Daniel M. Ingram 4/21/19 9:02 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Daniel M. Ingram 4/21/19 4:08 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/21/19 9:49 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/21/19 11:29 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/21/19 2:17 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/21/19 5:06 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/22/19 2:23 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/22/19 8:19 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/22/19 1:09 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/23/19 7:04 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/23/19 1:46 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Andromeda 4/21/19 1:55 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Daniel M. Ingram 4/21/19 4:20 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/21/19 5:35 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Daniel M. Ingram 4/22/19 2:59 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/22/19 4:04 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/22/19 9:17 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/22/19 9:23 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/22/19 3:45 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/22/19 3:58 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/22/19 3:44 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Daniel M. Ingram 4/23/19 3:33 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/23/19 4:42 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/23/19 8:38 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/23/19 10:58 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/24/19 5:55 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/28/19 8:17 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/28/19 8:28 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 5/1/19 12:06 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/28/19 11:57 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/28/19 3:06 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 5/1/19 8:12 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 5/1/19 9:42 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Andromeda 4/21/19 5:41 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/22/19 4:40 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/22/19 4:56 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/22/19 5:11 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Gus Castellanos 4/22/19 10:20 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/22/19 12:50 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/22/19 3:51 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/22/19 4:04 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/22/19 5:23 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Andromeda 4/22/19 8:31 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/22/19 9:13 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/22/19 12:08 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/21/19 3:33 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/6/19 11:01 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/21/19 10:20 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/21/19 9:58 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/21/19 10:28 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/21/19 11:31 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/20/19 1:07 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/20/19 1:10 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/20/19 1:18 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/20/19 1:29 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/20/19 2:28 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/18/19 10:12 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/18/19 10:34 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/18/19 11:29 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/18/19 11:55 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/18/19 2:12 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/18/19 2:41 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/18/19 2:24 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/18/19 2:28 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/18/19 2:43 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/18/19 2:38 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/18/19 4:34 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Andromeda 4/18/19 4:29 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/18/19 4:33 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/18/19 10:21 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/18/19 6:50 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/18/19 11:03 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/19/19 12:25 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/19/19 12:59 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/19/19 6:09 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/19/19 7:18 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/19/19 7:38 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Andromeda 4/19/19 7:39 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/19/19 7:56 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Andromeda 4/19/19 4:13 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/19/19 4:43 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Andromeda 4/19/19 5:01 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/19/19 5:19 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Andromeda 4/19/19 5:40 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/19/19 8:01 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/19/19 7:50 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/19/19 8:05 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Andromeda 4/19/19 9:10 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/19/19 10:39 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Andromeda 4/19/19 10:49 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/19/19 12:10 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/19/19 12:25 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/19/19 12:36 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/20/19 6:25 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Andromeda 4/19/19 12:58 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/19/19 3:05 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/20/19 5:57 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/21/19 6:37 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/20/19 6:56 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/20/19 7:36 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/20/19 7:47 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/20/19 7:58 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/20/19 8:02 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/20/19 8:16 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/28/19 11:33 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 4/28/19 11:59 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/29/19 4:50 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 5/24/19 6:00 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/17/19 3:21 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Andromeda 4/17/19 3:46 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Gus Castellanos 4/17/19 6:12 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Demoxenos 4/17/19 6:32 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Paul 4/18/19 7:22 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Daniel M. Ingram 4/18/19 3:01 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Paul 4/18/19 7:02 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 4/18/19 7:10 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/18/19 7:17 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Andromeda 4/18/19 8:27 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Demoxenos 4/18/19 4:20 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/18/19 6:06 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Demoxenos 4/19/19 1:15 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/19/19 2:26 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/18/19 7:30 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Gus Castellanos 4/19/19 1:07 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 4/19/19 1:11 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 4/29/19 4:52 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Bianca 5/25/19 3:38 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 5/25/19 5:13 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 5/25/19 12:00 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 5/25/19 3:05 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 5/28/19 4:24 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 5/28/19 6:46 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 5/29/19 3:04 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 5/29/19 7:03 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 6/13/19 2:42 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/13/19 5:53 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Stickman2 6/14/19 3:05 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 6/14/19 7:38 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Chris Marti 6/13/19 6:24 AM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Ryan 5/27/19 9:04 PM
RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö 5/28/19 4:08 AM
McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/16/19 11:57 AM
Found this great article on McMindfulness in the Guardian, and was thrilled that this topic is getting wider press. My anti-corporate dharma, anti-for-profit dharma, anti-ethics-free dharma, and anti-watered-down dharma, anti-cubicle-adaptation dharma, and post-modern-revised-leftist buttons of joy and agreement were all pressed at once, leading to delight.

I really look forward to treading David Forbes' book, and to also reading the soon-to-be-released book by his blurb-writer, with a write up of it here.

May these books and work lead to much good in the world.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/16/19 12:55 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
YES!

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/16/19 1:14 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I do appreciate McMindfulness critiques. But here's my problem:

"Mindfulness, they argued, needs to reclaim an ethical framework that goes beyond privatized adjustment to a society based on market capitalism that contributes to stress and other sources of unhappiness.... McMindfulness thus forfeits the moral demand that follows this insight: to challenge social inequities and enact universal compassion, service and social justice in all forms of human endeavor."

These statements gets awful close to implying that the purpose of mindfulness should be sociopolitocal action, which would fit with other things David Loy has written. I do not agree with that. To me, mindfulness is for spiritual practice and I do not want politics (especially someone else's politics, given that mine have never fit neatly into a left- right dichotomy) in my practice. That is my personal choice. And I think others should be able to make that choice as well. Who are they to dictate what the moral imperative of someone else's life is? They aren't living it. 

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/16/19 2:43 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
I do not like the term "mindfulness" being used in the context of not deeply investigating what the human mind is and how it works. That's what this meditation thing is really about. Anything less is just a game of mind whack-a-mole. 

Phooey.

YMMV, of course.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/17/19 6:45 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
From the linked review of Purser's book McMindfulness: How mindfulness became the new capitalist spirituality:
Purser would like to see mindfulness reformed into a social consciousness - “bearing witness to shared vulnerabilities, actively acknowledging social suffering, collective trauma and other cultural experiences of oppression” - that recaptures some of its original meaning of remembrance and, in particular, remembering of the causes and origins of our discontents leading to collective action to do something about them. The author clearly has a leftist political agenda in mind. Even this may well prove inadequate given the difficulties that the human race currently faces, but his critique of mindfulness as currently retailed certainly gives one pause and invites serious thought.


I may well agree with a lot of this guy's critique of McMindfulness. However, he makes what is to me a similar error and seems to be redefining mindfulness for his own agenda (or so the book review implies). How is that really any better than McMindfulness? Also, one doesn't need to meditate to be socially conscious or part of collective action. These two things aren't necessarily related. 

Call me old-fashioned, but IMO mindfulness is about emptiness as traditionally understood.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/17/19 6:12 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Thanks for the article. Here are 2 other recent ones on the topic:
  The Trouble with Mindfulness 
"...
many people have made a career of mindfulness promotion in research, teaching, practice, and act as gurus. Too often they ask for enormous fees and perks, have glamorous photos of themselves to promote their work, and only offer training at posh and expensive hotels, retreat centers, and spas. Generally, you don’t see this promotional and almost celebrity approach regarding most other areas of behavioral health interventions
."


Mindfulness meditation in America has a capitalism problem (interview with D Forbes) 
"I think it’s a good thing that people are getting tools to help them cope with difficult circumstances. I don’t want to dismiss that. My problem is that it ultimately doesn’t go far enough because it reinforces the sources of our unhappiness. As long as mindfulness is focused on the individual and not on our social situation, it will not help us change the conditions that are making us unhappy, namely a hyper-competitive, ultra-individualistic culture that separates and alienates us."

and coming July 9th, Ron Purser's book,  McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality 

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/17/19 8:56 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
While we're on the subject of religion and politics, I can't recommend enough the book The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathon Haidt. It really helped me see some of my own cognitive biases, blind spots, and cultural conditioning. FWIW it was listed as one of the best books of 2012 by The Guardian, which published the original article in this thread.

A quote from the book:
Morality binds and blinds. It binds us into ideological teams that fight each other as though the fate of the world depended on our side winning each battle. It blinds us to the fact that each team is composed of good people who have something important to say.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/17/19 3:21 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
... IMO mindfulness is about emptiness as traditionally understood.

And anything else is just a game of mind whack-a-mole.


emoticon

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/17/19 3:46 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
... IMO mindfulness is about emptiness as traditionally understood.

And anything else is just a game of mind whack-a-mole.


emoticon

Does this mean that we now have the option for both solo whack-a-mole and whack-a-mole as a team sport? =D

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/18/19 2:30 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Dear Andromeda,

Downloaded the book, will listen to it soon if travel permits. Thanks for the recommendation: all his books look very interesting.

Here's the huge problem with the religion/spirituality/politics debates, and that is the nebulous Venn diagrams around each of those terms and how they intersect with Ken McLeod's favorite concept, ethics. Ethics is obviously very important.

I truly believe that there is some core of ethics around which most of us would agree, and then it just comes down to the fine points of where we diverge and how we believe those ethical principles are best implemented at the level in question, that of politics. True, there would also likely be some surprisingly large voids and divergences of belief around what were fundamental ethical tenets and how they would best be operationalized.

That is my set up to my belief that it is ok for me to express my joy at someone whose ethics and its operation appear at least superficially to very much align with my own from the individual to the governmental level. However, that doesn't mean that anyone else should necessarily have the same reaction. There is a reason I posted this on the Dharma Battleground, and that was to honor the controversies that would likely arise.

I also am very much not one to try to impose my politics necessarily, but I do like arguing for my ethics, and I do enjoy the debates about how to best operationalize those ethics from the personal to the geopolitical, macroeconomic, etc. levels. A debate that simply ends, "Yeah, I don't like mixing my politics and my spirituality," is at once possibly skillfully avoiding a lot of drama and unresolvable controversy, and yet it also lacks that sense of satisfaction of good, thoughtful people really getting into the details and seeing what can come from that.

It may be that some people really do believe that Mindfulness should be corporatized to a multi-billion-dollar degree, that cubicle and factory workers should be given tools to peacefully adapt to their situations regardless of other considerations, that considerations of ethics should be utterly stripped from mind training, that perceptual wisdom should not lead to political action, that there can't possibly be any connection between such a secular thing as paying attention and humanistic paradigms, that notions of social justice are incompatible with spiritual practice and to put them together is to commit some sin of category error, etc. I am perhaps exaggerating a bit, but perhaps not? Clearly, a very large group of people have decided those things are all just fine and even preferable, as that is what is happening on a large scale globally. Am I so weird for believing there is a problem here?

I welcome any serious debate, but could let it go also and keep my views to myself, for a while, anyway.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/17/19 5:31 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
For what it’s worth, I think using light versions of mindfulness as a pacifier to keep social change at bay is distorting the dharma, especially when accepting inequality becomes a moral imperative and a sign of spiritual advancement.

That being said, exactly how the world should develop according to the dharma is probably up for debate. I am wishing for a world with less fear and suspicion and less need for fear and suspicion, a world where people trust each other and take only what they truely need, because they know that when they need more they will also receive.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/17/19 6:32 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Just want to register my interest in this topic. I'm 2 years into my meditation practice. I'm entrepreneurially-minded, have worked within various funding structures, am currently at a non-profit corporation of 200+ people.

I generally avoid debates about "capitalism" because that word itself has all sorts of associations and meanings, many of which are lost on me. Some people would call it an innate cooperation framework. Others would call it a sort of commodifying (and thereby corrupting) alien invasion. 

From my own experience being a non-profit is no guarantee that the impact will be greater, or the motives nobler, than being a for-profit. In either case, any organization sufficiently large starts to develop survival instincts. It will be incredibly difficult for Calm or another organization (even a non-profit one) with that scale to slam on the brakes and say, "Oh shit, we've become 'a trendy method for subduing employee unrest, promoting a tacit acceptance of the status quo, and an instrumental tool for keeping attention focused on institutional goals.' Let's change things up!"

A few observations and questions:

1. I do have a high level of distrust for writing that "sympathizes with the Worker" and says (as this piece does) that McMindfulness is a new kind of opiate for the masses. This POV continues to treat the masses as such, no? It feels lazy and patronizing unless backed up by research.

2. I'm so curious what it must be like to be a teacher navigating upaya. A word I learned through some conversation with Michael Taft and Shinzen Young. Aren't these companies big experiments in upaya? When will we know if the experiment is successful? Who's going to stop them if they're not? Put the capitalism thing aside for a second — is this just one big battleground between pro-upaya dreamers and anti-upaya radicals? (Language meant to provoke controversy, I don't really know if there's anything to this.)

3. One thing that resonates with me from the piece: "By negating and downplaying actual social and political contexts and focusing on the individual, or more so, the individual’s brain, McMindfulness interventions ignore seeing our inseparability from all others." Anecdotally I see this to be painfully felt among my friends: people so badly want community, belonging, and maybe underneath that some relief from the myth of individualism in society. This is its own "monster opportunity" with big $$$ associated with it, I'm sure.

Ken McLeod distinguishes the three paths of: mindfulness to make your life better, mindfulness to be part of a community, and mindfulness to find "a fundamentally different relationship with life." We are monetizing the heck out of the first stream. I don't know if things get inherently brighter as businesses crop up around the other two, but I'm curious to find out. I also don't know how the streams intermingle further down the path of practice.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/18/19 7:22 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
It’s a worthwhile topic and a good one to share, but it’s also entirely unimportant in the bigger picture. Take an example: China took somewhere around 500 years to get to grips with the Buddha’s teachings. During that time all kinds of horrendously inadequate translations and versions of his teachings abounded, and people spent their lives practicing and pursuing all kinds of funny stuff. 

Complaining the West has not yet fully grasped and begun to practice to its full profundity the Buddha’s teachings is a bit like complaining that a teenager hasn’t fully grown up yet. Give him/her time! The West is getting to grips with the Dhamma through the two lenses it knows best - science and commerce. If it has a reputable-looking study extolling its virtues, people will take interest. And they will pay money to people ready to take that money to learn more about it. Welcome to the Wild West and its adventures in the early stages of Dhamma acceptance. 

Personally, I’m excited to sit by and watch how the Dhamma arises in an entirely new civilisation. Some day, possibly after we’re all gone, there’ll be some awesome stuff going on. (For clarity, of course the west has had contact with Buddhism for centuries, but I’m referring to the period since the late 60s when sizeable numbers of westies began going high up the path and learning for real the Buddha’s teachings).

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/18/19 3:01 AM as a reply to Paul.
Discussing the teen growing up analogy, it is true that parents of teens are prone to complain, yes, and understandably so. Hopefully, along the way, they also do more than complain, and have dialogues with their teens that help them grow up and navigate skillfully in a complex world, as well as set good examples for those teens so that they have appropriate role models of what more mature adult behavior looks like.

I realize that by mentioning that parent-teen role, I play right into the argument that is made in point 1. found two posts above that we shouldn't patronize "workers", and that mentioning "workers" is in some way intrinsically wrong and degrading to "workers", an argument that I believe falls into the same sort of category as lines such as, "Unions are always bad and create disruption and division in a body that should be unified, and we can trust the head of the body, the corporate boardrooms and stockholders, to do what is in their employees' best interests, as they will do what is in the companies best interest, and thus the company is one and whole, and all is well in the world."

By making discussions of class and power disparities unavailable by dismissing the sorts of terms that are required for those discussions as patronizing, we can entrench the very social structures we wish to pretend don't exist or to glorify. Would you say that we can't use the term "management" for similar reasons? Would you say that we can't use the term "investors" for similar reasons? I find such arguments a deflection from the real issues.

I have volunteered in some non-profit NGOs and so from first hand experience agree that non-profits also can be very territorial and have powerful survival instincts and have similar blind spots to for-profit businesses, and we must be watchful for this, but this is an argument for more care and more thoughtful discussion of these issues, not less.

As to the opiate for the masses argument, I have some colleagues that work in for-profit dharma, and, while they might be relucant to say "opiate", might definitely sell their product by stating things like, "makes employees more calm, more focused, more productive, less emotionally volatile, and more healthy, thus reducing healthcare and insurance costs, as well as management difficulties." So, perhaps "opiate" is the wrong word, and perhaps one might use words like "benzodiazepine", "mild amphetamine", or "antibiotics in the feet lot". However, here's the obvious problem: being calm, focused, productive, and more healthy, and having lower insurance costs are things that we likely can all agree on. The question then becomes what side-effects, such as political or vocational passivity, might result from the methods used to acquire those desireable outcomes, and what forces and factors modulate the way those methods are presented and utilized to help create those specific side-effects, and are those possible side-effects worthy of discussion?

I have been in middle management of a few corporate entities along the way, and if you think that managers are not thinking along these lines, and carefully thinking about how to have docile workers that they can get maximum productivity out of for minimal cost and hassle, you have been misinformed, as they definitely do. That workers might similarly be having the discussion from their side about whether or not McMindfulness helps management gain an edge over their interests is perfectly reasonable, and the same could be said in the world of politics. If you believe that there is not an intrinsic conflict of interest between management and labor, or the rich and the poor, let me tell you, as someone who has been on both sides in many jobs over 30+ years, and been rich and been poor, there definitely is, and to imagine otherwise seems naive in the extreme to me, the sort of argument only someone rich and in management could make, but I am happy to listen to counterarguments.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 6:17 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
In the spirit of Dharma Battleground, may the debate continue emoticon

I absolutely share your concerns about McMindfulness and am glad people are talking about it. However, I do not see how McMindfulness+Explicit Political Ideology is necessarily an improvement. Maybe it is, but I'm not at this point convinced and as such am in no hurry to jump on that bandwagon. It is not just the decontextualizing of mindfulness from ethical training that concerns me, but the removal of its purpose as a tool for liberating insight in the traditional sense of individual soteriology.

If this is just another McMindfulness 2.0 that paints awakening as something mythological or inaccessible, or redefines "awakening" as a sort of collective salvation as has been seen in Christianity, that's incredibly disempowering for the individuals who encounter it that might have an interest in waking up as we understand it on this forum. If McMindfulness creates more complacent cogs for the capitalist machine as suggested by the authors, will their McMindfulness+Explicit Political Ideology create productivity-optimized leftist sociopolitical cogs for the political arena? That would be similarly dehumanizing for the individuals, if you ask me. Would that even be good for society? I do not know the answers to these questions. 

Even if Mindfulness+Explicit Political Ideology is aiming to help people wake up in the traditional sense, it seems to me that political ideology and identity would be just more conditioning and artificial duality to deconstruct along the way. Awakening requires a significant amount of time/energy/resources, so why add to the work list and put pressure on people to wake up in a hurry so they can fix samsara according to someone else's inherently limited vision of the future? If people wake up, they do so in the context of their individual lives in a particular place and time. Only they can see and live their truth--no one else can do this for them.

Maybe someone's truth is waking up and becoming a leftist political activist. Or maybe they wake up embracing the best of conservative values and go on to heal the divide between Left and Right, allowing our government to function in a more optimal manner. Maybe their truth is waking up and remaining largely apolitical while expressing themselves in painting or music or poetry. Or simply going deeper and deeper into spiritual practice for the rest of their lives, and maybe (or maybe not) helping others to do the same. To a certain extent, having a body is in itself political and we cannot escape making some sort of statement in how we choose to live our lives, but how we do so is highly personal. I've never wanted someone else to tell me how/what to think and feel, or what the purpose of my life should be, and so I try not to do this to others.

Anyway, that's my very limited perspective at this particular moment in time and it may have changed by the time anyone replies. What I do know is that I don't know very much, and the more I learn the more this becomes clear. The challenges facing the world are complex, multifactorial, and many. Unfortunately, I don't think there are any easy or simple solutions.

I look forward to hearing more thoughts on this.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 7:02 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Wow! Hey, what happened? Haha. I saved that post as a draft because I wasn’t comfortable it was ready for public viewing yet, and it still is labeled Draft. Then in my email inbox I got 2 emails labeled Dharma Battleground, consisting of your (Daniel) and Andromeda’s replies. Can anyone explain? What’s the battleground about? And does this mean Save as Draft doesn’t work and instead just publishes the post?

Thanks

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 7:10 AM as a reply to Paul.
I was wondering, too, becuase I can’t see your post, Paul. Only moderators can, so I believe they just missed the fact that it was only a draft.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 7:17 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Paul, yes, your post is still listed as a "Draft" and DhO members can't see it but the moderators can. It was replied to by someone with moderator credentials. You can post it publicly to clear up the confusion, or you can decide to leave it the way it is now. You have the power in that regard.

Chris Marti
DhO Moderator

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 7:30 AM as a reply to Paul.
Paul --

It’s a worthwhile topic and a good one to share, but it’s also entirely unimportant in the bigger picture. Take an example: China took somewhere around 500 years to get to grips with the Buddha’s teachings. During that time all kinds of horrendously inadequate translations and versions of his teachings abounded, and people spent their lives practicing and pursuing all kinds of funny stuff. 

I'm in the camp of trying to fix a problem if you have identified it. So why should we let people flail around in mindfulness when they'll do just that, flail around? If we know something and can help, we owe it to ourselves and to others to speak up.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 8:27 AM as a reply to Paul.
Sorry about the confusion with your draft, Paul.

As for "Dharma Battleground," that's just a reference to the fact that it is acceptable and expected that contentious topics may lead to debate on this forum. We do our best to keep things civil and avoid flame wars, of course, but a thoughtful engagement with ideas and spirited discussion among members is encouraged.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 9:19 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
I see these things in a slightly broader sense, that being the reduction of suffering, to which end I believe all Three Trainings have a role. The Buddha clearly did also.

The Buddha himself was also quite the activist for his day, if the Pali Canon is to be believed, discoursing on all sorts of political topics, debating the ruling Brahmins of the day, advocating for the rights of various oppressed groups, including people from all casts and levels of society in his Sangha including women, which was a radical move for that time (though perhaps excluded eunuchs? ok, so perhaps not so good on eunich rights, and perhaps not those who were intersexed either, a complex topic, see Wikipedia article here), but still, the Buddha was clearly an outspoken proponent of making the social system more fair, and making the reduction of suffering much more widely available.

I firmly believe that ethical training helps reduce suffering of various kinds, in general terms, as does training in concentration for its own scope, as well as training in wisdom for its own scope, and, while these may interact, they have distinct realms of suffering reduction.

I also believe that the selective presentation of very stripped-down aspects of meditative trainining with very specific agendas that might not all be in those receiving the training's best interest is worthy of discussion, particularly if those doing the selection are in positions where they are likely to have agendas involving dominance and control and even be explicitly incentivized to have those agendas, as is essentially intrinsic to any position in management.

I also don't think that everyone needs to identify as a leftist or hold all of my leftist ideals. Are there particular parts of leftist ideology highlighted by that article that are the specific cause of object, and, if so, which ones?

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 10:12 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
I'm very much of the same mind as Andromeda. That the practice of sila is crucial to personal/spiritual realization is a common thread across many of the Buddhist tradtions, but how that should or shouldn't be manifest in the human being as political animal isn't in any way clear. As soon as we leave the domain of how we directly interact with other beings, such as we must do with things like economics and geopolitics, the framework of sila loses much of its usefulness. These are Dynamic Systems, in the technical meaning of that phrase, and it is not clear that we can predict which changes to these types of systems are good (much less optimal) at a system-wide level. And yet, those with political agendas really do believe that their take on things is correct, dispite evidence to the contrary. I think this is one aspect of what the Buddha was referring to when he purportedly said that people with opinions just go around bothering each other. 

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 10:34 AM as a reply to Ryan.
I think there is a difference, though, between going around bothering each other with opinions and standing up against cruelties and/or raising a warning that certain interests are distorting the dharma. There may be differences among us as to what we consider cruelties and distortions of the dharma, but not caring at all is not a valid option for me. I’d like to see the good in all people, but that does not mean that I find any actions okay, and I’m not going to pretend that I do. All actions may be understandable in some sense because of the karmic formations that led to them, and people only do what is possible for them at any given time, but that is also exactly why it is important to plant seeds for a better world. How to do that is indeed a complex issue, but I don’t think it is reasonable to ignore the importance of it.

I believe compassion is the key. It may sound very banal, but sometimes the banal trumps the elaborate. Compassion doesn’t give a shit about principles for the sake of principles. It just genuinely cares.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 11:22 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:

I firmly believe that ethical training helps reduce suffering of various kinds, in general terms, as does training in concentration for its own scope, as well as training in wisdom for its own scope, and, while these may interact, they have distinct realms of suffering reduction.

I think we need to be really careful about making broad, overly general, far-reaching, or decontextualized recommendations about these things and be very specific about what we mean by suffering. Just to use one example, it is well-known that many cults use concentration training to keep members placated, under control, and dedicated to the cult's mission which typically has some sort of save-the-world flavor. Steve Hassan describes his experiences as a cult member and leader in the Unification Church (aka the Moonies) in his book Combatting Cult Mind Control and Freedom of Mind website. Are we to conclude that cults are good (either for members or society at large) because their current members feel their suffering has been reduced by membership and practices? 

This may be a somewhat hyperbolic or exaggerated example, but you get my drift. 

Also, as Ryan points out, "As soon as we leave the domain of how we directly interact with other beings, such as we must do with things like economics and geopolitics, the framework of sila loses much of its usefulness. These are Dynamic Systems, in the technical meaning of that phrase, and it is not clear that we can predict which changes to these types of systems are good (much less optimal) at a system-wide level." With wisdom, we may be able to see the present moment clearly, but we are still quite limited in what we can actually know, especially in this day and age of information which is vastly more complex than in the Buddha's time.
Daniel M. Ingram
I also don't think that everyone needs to identify as a leftist or hold all of my leftist ideals. Are there particular parts of leftist ideology highlighted by that article that are the specific cause of object, and, if so, which ones?

Let me start by saying that I cherish many liberal values and ethics is extremely important to me, but in my opinion liberalism is in trouble and it's not just me who is thinking this. I'm currently reading the historian Yuval Noan Harari's most recent book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century and I'll share a quote from the introduction:
However, since the global financial crisis of 2008 people all over the world have become increasingly disillusioned with the liberal story... snip... The year 2016--marked by the Brexit vote in Britain and the rise of Donald Trump in the United States--signified the moment when this tidal wave of disillusionment reached the core liberal states of Western Europe and North America. Whereas a few years ago Americans and Europeans were still trying to liberalize Iraq and Libya at gunpoint, many people in Kentucky and Yorkshire now have come to see the liberal vision as either undesirable or unattainable. Some discovered a liking for the old hierarchical world, and they just don't want to give up their racial, national, or gendered privileges. Others have concluded (rightly or wrongly) that liberalization and globalization are a huge racket empowering a tiny elite at the expenses of the masses.

There is also the current situation on college campuses which is well-described in Jonathon Haidt's (he wrote The Righteous Mind) other book, The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting a Generation Up for Failure

I don't have any solutions, sadly. These are troubled times and the world just doesn't make sense. But I would rather sit with the not-knowing and uncertainty, no matter how scary, than embrace or endorse any particular ideology that might have harmful downstream effects that I cannot see or control (control is an illusion, anyway). And so I keep reading and asking questions and trying to understand these issues at the macro level, while trying to do what little good I can do at the micro level to make my tiny corner of samsara a slightly less bad place.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 11:27 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
I think it is very important to have sila in mind when we build and reproduce systems, because of the effects that a system has beyond the individual person’s control. In my opinion, mankind needs to reflect more on what really matters and how to prioritize when resources are lacking. As long as people act from a paradigm of scarcity and with grasping, any system will be corrupted, though. We need to evolve beyond that. Unfortunately, that might take a while. In the meantime, there are urgent matters that we need to deal with first. Otherwise there will be nothing left to deal with.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 11:29 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
There is a difference, but it's a subjective one. None of that is to say that we shouldn't care however, not at all. But that insofar as we are not talking about being compassionate, kind, etc. in a particular situation with specific people, we're no longer in the domain where these trainings are as useful. At that point we've left the realm of the practical spirituality/dharma and entered politics. Knowing the limitations of something as fundamental as compassion is more skillful than not knowing them.

What is the most compassionate way to tax the import of durable goods? What is the most ethical implemenation of representative democracy? See what I'm getting at? 

IMHO, a skillful dharma practitioner may or may not have very strong views and beliefs about the answer to these and similar questions, but they will see that politics and dharma are, at the pragmatic level, orthogonal to eachother. To put it another way, a good-faith practitioner could be a fascist, a communist, or subscribe to any one of a hundred other ideologies. The post-modern, reform, leftist ideology as manifest in the West is just one such option. 

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 11:55 AM as a reply to Ryan.
The dharma teaches us not to crave for and cling to stuff in the first place, so that one is actually pretty easy. To everyone according to their needs, from everyone according to their ability. But unfortunately, humanity is not ready for that yet. We tend to think that we need lots of stuff.

It’s funny how people can spend hours every day on meditating on emptiness and still take it for granted that there is essence to concepts such as property.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 2:12 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
To everyone according to their needs, from everyone according to their ability. 

Karl Marx was a Buddhist?

emoticon

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 2:41 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
To everyone according to their needs, from everyone according to their ability. 

Karl Marx was a Buddhist?

emoticon

I thought that was Spock emoticon

Question: what is the enlightenment rate in various populations with various political economic systems ? Anyone gathered that data ?

Comparing Sweden with the USA could be most instructive in finding out whether social safety nets, or collapse prone capitalism, makes any difference.

A good survey would tell us what the enlightenment rate is in
Liberal capitalist democracies (USA)
Mixed economies (Sweden)
Authoritarian capitalist communism (!!!) (China)
Authoritarian theocracies (Iran, Saudi)
One party communist (N. Korea)

& etc go down the list.

Or is it as simple as looking down the list of world's happiest countries and assuming that's where the enlightened people probably live ?

And then there're all those people who have awakened in the miserable pits of their crap lives, in the doss house, in jail, in war, in a gruelling monastic regime - which doesn't fit well with the narrative that a kind and gentle society is always best for spiritual development (though I'm quite keen on that myself).


{soz for late edits}

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 2:24 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
Spock was an American pediatrician who wrote a famous book titled "Baby and Child Care" in 1946. It was read by millions of new mothers and fathers.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 2:28 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Him too.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 2:38 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
It’s funny how people can spend hours every day on meditating on emptiness and still take it for granted that there is essence to concepts such as property.

Can you explain this more fully? It appears to be a political/economic preference hiding behind a Buddhist concept.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 2:43 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
>> collapse prone capitalism...

I'm going to write a script so that everytime the word 'capitalism' gets mentioned on a dharma board (Dho, r/streamentry, etc.) it gets automatically replaced with 'Beelzebub-worship'. I posit that any change in meaning or intelligibility will be de minimus. emoticon

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 4:20 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram

"However, here's the obvious problem: being calm, focused, productive, and more healthy, and having lower insurance costs are things that we likely can all agree on. The question then becomes what side-effects, such as political or vocational passivity, might result from the methods used to acquire those desireable outcomes, and what forces and factors modulate the way those methods are presented and utilized to help create those specific side-effects, and are those possible side-effects worthy of discussion?"

Yes, this, exactly. I think what I want from the McMindfulness discussion (and maybe this is delivered in the book) is research that explores these questions. 

The good news is this seems doable. For example, imagine Business Unit A in a company adopts Headspace/Calm for ~10m a day (some proxy for "McMindfulness"). 

Over time we'd look at managers and observe changes in activism (eg., $ donated, time volunteered, etc.) as well as workplace impact (eg., satisfaction at work, co-workers evaluation of the person, etc.). We'd do the same thing for the people who report to them.

This would give us some sense of:
  1. What impact "McMindfulness" has on activism / taking action: whether it suppresses or unleashes it
  2. Whether this impact is evenly or unevenly distributed across power structures
Andromeda

If McMindfulness creates more complacent cogs for the capitalist machine as suggested by the authors, will their McMindfulness+Explicit Political Ideology create productivity-optimized leftist sociopolitical cogs for the political arena? That would be similarly dehumanizing for the individuals, if you ask me. Would that even be good for society? I do not know the answers to these questions. 



To Andromeda's point: if "cogs are gonna cog," and "orgs are gonna...org," what then? Let's say the findings of this fake study are as bleak as we can imagine: corporate McMindfulness has broadly liberating effects on managers while suppressing unhappiness/creating docility at the labor level. Then what? Do we try to salvage it with a shot of ethics? Do we condemn it? Does mindfulness have no place in corporate structures?

FWIW this topic fires me up in part because I made the transition from "boss" to "laborer" and initially found it incredibly difficult, imprisoning, unjust, etc. Basic meditation helped me realize the psychic prison I'd put myself in, get out of it, and see the bigger prisons more clearly. I became a higher-functioning worker (delivering more value to the org) and saw the system in which I operated more clearly (delivering value to me). That's a path I believe in and want fellow "worker bees" to be able to experience. I hope mindfulness programs can at once make corporate sense financially and serve laborers, even if not uniformly or reliably.

But again, that's just my hypothesis. It's possible if the workplace had handed me a "meditation plan" I would have seen different results. And, I duno, maybe after a few more prison breaks I'll have changed my tune? More research needed!

Appreciate the discussion.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 4:34 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
It’s funny how people can spend hours every day on meditating on emptiness and still take it for granted that there is essence to concepts such as property.

Can you explain this more fully? It appears to be a political/economic preference hiding behind a Buddhist concept.

It’s just my humble opinion that it makes little sense to spend so much time meditating on the emptiness of all sorts of stuff and on how craving and clinging create suffering and then talk about money and property in a way that suggests that money and ownership in the way they are constructed now are to be taken for granted. Don’t you see the irony?

”There is no essence to anything and craving only causes suffering but STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM MY MERCEDES!”
”Everything is impermanent and I consider this cup broken already when I buy it but DON’T YOU DARE UPSET THE STOCK MARKET!”

I think Stickman was referring to Spock in StarTrek. That Spock rocks.

There is no modern society that has tested the idea, no political movement that has come close to it, but I’d like to think that it’s possible for humanity to evolve beyond greed and fear some day and live in a way that is sustainable. It’s a long-term wish of mine. What’s the point of awakening if humanity remains stuck in territorial thinking and grasping after what is ”mine”?

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 4:29 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:

What’s the point of awakening if humanity remains stuck in territorial thinking and grasping after what is ”mine”?

My answer? So that we do not add to the misery by thrashing about in our own confusion. 

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 4:33 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
Fair enough. It’s just that I wish for a radical decrease in suffering for all sentient beings, or at least some degree of... what shall I call it? Psychological and spiritual maturity? ...for the human race. But maybe that’s asking too much.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 10:21 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
It was "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few",just before he snuffed it saving the Enterprise, which is more like utilitarianism than communism, but hey ho anyway emoticon

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 6:06 PM as a reply to Demoxenos.
See attachment for Gurdjieffian factory majick fun + insights.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 6:50 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
It’s just my humble opinion that it makes little sense to spend so much time meditating on the emptiness of all sorts of stuff and on how craving and clinging create suffering and then talk about money and property in a way that suggests that money and ownership in the way they are constructed now are to be taken for granted. Don’t you see the irony?

I'm not interested in injecting politics and economics into the debate about mindfulness, or vice versa. It's ill-conceived, in my opinion, to use spiritual practices to take sides or justify specific ideologies or actions in politics. I do agree that there are good and bad ways to define happiness and well-being and health, and good and bad ways to govern human beings and manage economies. I just don't want to use religion or spirituality to make those judgments. I guess I want my dharma to have clean hands.

Backstory: I was at West Point (the U.S. Military Academy) earlier this week and was talking to a general who led an American army division during the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Bosnia-Kosovo. His stories about the nature of the Serbian-Croatian religious conflict and how religion was used to justify literal genocide left me cold inside. I know you weren't doing that or anything even close but I see the inclination as a slippery slope. Everything is empty. Emptiness does not take sides. Kind of like God.

I think Stickman was referring to Spock in StarTrek. That Spock rocks. 

I know. I was joking around. 

emoticon

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/18/19 11:03 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
To an extent I think people are claiming mindfulness for their belief systems in the same way they claim sports. (Particularly during the cold war) any given athlete could be running for the sake of the glories of the Soviet system, to prove that the free West is best, for God, for the sponsorship deals. All will benefit from the actual practice of running, and may find themselves losing their sense of self.

I do think though, that some poitical outlooks are more dependent on a rigid sense of self than others, and likely more compatible with, or more likely to result from, mindfulness practice.

Also there may be aspects of crowd psychology that lend a transcendent potential to any mass movement, from the light to the dark, manifesting in ecstasy, loss of self and conversion experiences - but I'm not acquainted with that field.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 12:25 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I definitely did not do anything like that.

I just pointed to the irony in living according to the dharma and yet clinging hard to ”mine” and taking for granted that we should have an entire economy that is built on the notion of me and mine.

I’m dreaming of a future where the entire humanity has waken up and realized - fully voluntarily, of course - how futile that is. But since even awakened people still cling to me and mine in their daily lives, it seems rather hopeless. That’s depressing.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 12:59 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I have a friend who due to illness is unable to leave his bed. He is also deaf and extremely sensitive to stress due to trauma and autistic wiring. He is in a lot of physical pain and can barely lift a halffull glass of water. He can’t walk or move to his wheelchair or even sit up in bed on his own. He is too cognitively exhausted to read and write more than a short period once in a while. In a stressful situation, such as having to assert his needs, all languages but sign language fails him completely. The authorities have decided that he is entitled to five minutes of home aid per day. Five minutes. They use those few minutes to take out the trash. When he uses those five minutes to plead for some water, he is accused of manipulation. They refuse to let him use a sign interpreter, because they maintain that’s not necessary. My friend doesn’t even get to use a proper toilet. A shower is unthinkable. He is dependent on friends who come around to bring him water and foods that he can store in his bed. Why? ”There are no resources”. Yeah, right. And that’s Sweden for you, folks. Haven’t seen any socialism around here for a loooooooong time. Everyone talks about the market.

We live in a world where large amounts of resources are invested in making sure that nobody gets more than they have earned. What if those resources were put in better use, like making sure that people get their most basic needs met? Would that be so bad?

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 4:13 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti
Backstory: I was at West Point (the U.S. Military Academy) earlier this week and was talking to a general who led an American army division during the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Bosnia-Kosovo. His stories about the nature of the Serbian-Croatian religious conflict and how religion was used to justify literal genocide left me cold inside. I know you weren't doing that or anything even close but I see the inclination as a slippery slope. Everything is empty. Emptiness does not take sides. Kind of like God.

Exactly--that slippery slope frightens me. I've never met anyone who's achieved anything close to moral perfection, and certainly not myself despite a lot of work. It's been nearly 30 years since I first sat down to meditate and by now it's clear that I'm not much more than a particularly clever monkey who could do terrible things if I don't pay close attention. When we hold tight to ideals and beliefs, this is a subtle attempt to manipulate reality rather than see it clearly. Seeing clearly may be our only defense against inadvertently doing terrible things. Having good intentions simply isn't enough.

My own backstory: a few years ago, I visited The Palace of the Inquisition in Cartagena, Colombia, which was the seat of the Holy Office of the Inquisition in the 18th century. Showcased there were a variety of historic torture implements that were used on victims and there was a guillotine in the courtyard. Approximately 800 people were tried and executed there for crimes of heresy. I have no doubt that most of the people involved had good intentions and believed they were doing the right thing.

So... I prefer to keep politics out of my spirituality as much as possible. That's my personal preference.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 4:43 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
I’m not saying that we should force any politics on anyone. Wherever did the two of you get that idea? I’m just saying that for me it’s pretty evident that systems based on craving and grasping for me and mine cause suffering in the world, and therefore I hope that humanity eventually gets the chance to evolve into that realization. You get to have your own dreams, and I get to have mine. Also, I get to plant my seeds, and you get to plant your seeds.

Unfortunately, the way humanity treats this planet, all seeds may be wasted anyway.

Is freedom of speech too political all of a sudden? Should I just shut my mouth about what I think causes suffering in the world because I embrace the dharma? That is not something that I signed up for. Also, implying that I should would be a political action.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 5:01 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
I’m not saying that we should force any politics on anyone. Wherever did the two of you get that idea? I’m just saying that for me it’s pretty evident that systems based on craving and grasping for me and mine cause suffering in the world, and therefore I hope that humanity eventually gets the chance to evolve into that realization. You get to have your own dreams, and I get to have mine. Also, I get to plant my seeds, and you get to plant your seeds.

Unfortunately, the way humanity treats this planet, all seeds may be wasted anyway.

Is freedom of speech too political all of a sudden? Should I just shut my mouth about what I think causes suffering in the world because I embrace the dharma? That is not something that I signed up for. Also, implying that I should would be a political action.

This is not about you or your comments (which have been a valuable part of the discussion), so don't think you're getting ganged up on. I'm speaking generally and was here addressing Chris. You and everyone else here is not just free but encouraged to say what they will. IMO that's kind of the point in these kind of threads. There is not just one right view, but a plurality of legitimate perspectives and hopefully by sharing them we can all learn from each other.

For that matter, if Buddhists/spiritual practitioners want to get into politics I wish them well in making the world a better place including the people in the original article in the thread. It's just not for me and I do not believe it is a superior moral or ethical position. 

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 5:19 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
I’m totally fine with your decision to stay out of politics. It’s just that it sounded like having ideas about suffering was somehow a threat to other people. If that’s not what you meant, then good.

I haven’t seen anyone here argue that all meditators should fight for a common cause. As far as I have seen, the argument was that it should be okay to problematize when the dharma is used for the purpose of supporting injustice. I also made the argument that it is okay to dream of a world where the entire society is not based on the kinds of craving that the dharma teaches us only causes suffering anyway. IF that is threatening somehow (please note that I said if), then maybe we should just take the suffering part out of the dharma altogether. That would spare us the inconvenience of anyone waking up to pointing out this sort of thing. Maybe we should take out the parts about impermanence also, to spare us the inconvenience of having to think about possible social change. Oh, and the part of no self, because that just might be an inconvenience to the notion of property and accumulated wealth.

Just sayin’. But to each their own. I’m not going to force my interpretations on anyone. That wouldn’t work. Either humanity manages to wake up and let go or it doesn’t.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 5:40 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
 I also made the argument that it is okay to dream of a world where the entire society is not based on the kinds of craving that the dharma teaches us only causes suffering anyway. 

Fortunately at least for now, there is no such thing as the thought police and we are all free to dream of anything we like. emoticon

Now, whether or not such a society is realistic is a completely different question. Some might call that vision of society utopian. My understanding is that it is just this sort of vision that inspired Chogyam Trungpa to found the Shambhala organization. So here we have at least one modern attempt at realizing such a vision.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 6:09 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Then maybe I need my world view updating, I'm sorry to hear about your friend, it does sound like poor treatment and difficult life.
From what I read Sweden still, compared to other countries, has a generous welfare system and more equal incomes. I think much of Europe compares favourably with the rest of the world, though it's taken a big hit and the trend is austerity.
For the question about whether having a more economically fair society means having more enlightenment, we wouldn't necessarily have to even compare countries, we could look at changes in one country.
So we could ask if the more supportive/socialist conditions of the past, in Sweden, produced more awakened people than the more austere/capitalist times of the present ?
I'm inclined to think that probably overall, yes, but not massively. Flicking through google scholar, there seem to have been studies done on religiosity and economics, but enlightenment and economics hasn't been on the sociologists radar.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 7:18 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Sorry to disappoint you about Sweden. I’m pretty damn dissappointed myself. There are even nazi-affiliated people and other organized rasists in the riksdag. Horrible.

I was thinking more along the line that a fair society is more likely to be developed if people are awakened. And yes, as Andromeda says, that is a utopia. It might never happen. Haven’t resigned completely, though, even though the possibility of so many people waking up in time to save this planet seems rather improbable. And when so many awakened people (generally - I’m not talking specifically about DhO or this thread) prefer to compartmentalize their insights from the suffering that occurs in this world, then I’m not even convinced that it would make a difference if the majority of humanity would suddenly awaken.

I can see why it might be tempting to just get into one’s own spiritual bubble and never think about the rest of the world (I’m not saying that people here are doing that!), but I don’t think I could live with that. I’m trying to find some balance in caring enough to let go while at the same time letting go enough to care.

Thanks for caring about my friend! 

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 7:38 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
However, what looks to you like 'compartmentalizing of insights', may look to others like a skillful understanding of the limits of those insights. These understandings are profoundly powerful in alieviating a certain aspect of our own individual suffering, but how do we apply that to others? Spread the dharma to anyone else that's interested, sure. But what about those that aren't? 

This is a complex topic, too complext to give a full treatment of here, but there is a hidden assumption in some dharma circles that these understandings must lead one to think certain things about the wider world. For instance, that a certain strain of western liberal ethics is the only correct ethical viewpoint. This belief becomes part of how these circles distinguish their in-group from the out-group, tribalism on the zafu if you will. For instance, you mentioned "saving the planet". Noble idea in the abstract, but any specifics would necessarily be a political position as it is not self evident what that even means, much less how to actually accomplish anything implied by it. 

I say this not to flame or denigrate anyone else's opinions, but just to point out that having attained some level of realization does not make one an expert on how to "fix" the world. I feel like I see awakened people with the best of intentions fall victim to the Duning-Kruger effect here constantly, and it undermines the actual spreading of the dharma. It's like Hamlet said to Horatio, "There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 7:39 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
 And when so many awakened people (generally - I’m not talking specifically about DhO or this thread) prefer to compartmentalize their insights from the suffering that occurs in this world, then I’m not even convinced that it would make a difference if the majority of humanity would suddenly awaken.


What makes you say that this is happening? Where are you seeing this?

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 7:50 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Is freedom of speech too political all of a sudden? Should I just shut my mouth about what I think causes suffering in the world because I embrace the dharma? That is not something that I signed up for. Also, implying that I should would be a political action.

I think you need to speak your mind and definitely encourage you to do so. When you do that you may encounter differences with other people. It's all good. You're a smart person and a great message board contributor.

Also, just to comment on the effects of awakening on human beings: There have been times in the past when I was certain all humans could awaken and then we'd have global nirvana, a perfect planet, peace in our time. Well, I know a lot of awakened people and doggone it if they aren't still just people. 

emoticon

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4/19/19 7:56 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Andromeda:
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
 And when so many awakened people (generally - I’m not talking specifically about DhO or this thread) prefer to compartmentalize their insights from the suffering that occurs in this world, then I’m not even convinced that it would make a difference if the majority of humanity would suddenly awaken.


What makes you say that this is happening? Where are you seeing this?


I’m hoping that it’s just an erroneous feeling. Please say that it is!

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 8:01 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
That would spare us the inconvenience of anyone waking up to pointing out this sort of thing. Maybe we should take out the parts about impermanence also, to spare us the inconvenience of having to think about possible social change. Oh, and the part of no self, because that just might be an inconvenience to the notion of property and accumulated wealth.

I tend to agree with your general political leanings from what you've said here but I wouldn't justify them using the dharma.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 8:05 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Is freedom of speech too political all of a sudden? Should I just shut my mouth about what I think causes suffering in the world because I embrace the dharma? That is not something that I signed up for. Also, implying that I should would be a political action.

I think you need to speak your mind and definitely encourage you to do so. When you do that you may encounter differences with other people. It's all good. You're a smart person and a great message board contributor.

Also, just to comment on the effects of awakening on human beings: There have been times in the past when I was certain all humans could awaken and then we'd have global nirvana, a perfect planet, peace in our time. Well, I know a lot of awakened people and doggone it if they aren't still just people. 

emoticon


Thanks!

I’m far from certain of that. I just have to believe that at least somewhere in a parallell universe there’s a slight chance that it will happen before that planet is ruined. Otherwise I might just try to dwell in the formless realms until I starve, and that would not be very responsible of me since I am a parent and also responsible for the lives of three cats and I have promised to help that friend of mine, to the best of my ability, so that he just might not die from lack of care. That sounds depressing. Sorry. Anyway, I choose to be naive because that is more beneficial to all sentient beings concerned than the alternatives. If we are all convinced that people will never evolve, then we are preventing the sort of magick that might just do the trick.

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4/19/19 9:10 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Lots of people are evolving--look at you! But we never evolve beyond being just people. At least, I haven't found anyone who has managed and I've met a lot of awakened people. And none of them has found anyone who evolved into a superbeing. There's a new interview with Michael Taft where he also says as much--he's actually the one being interviewed here for a change: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHAW4wGqbu0

Pardon me if I'm wrong, but it sounds to me like you've gotten an awful lot of insight in a short amount of time and have gotten to a point where you need to digest, assimilate, and integrate. I know when that has happened to me, and I've felt overwhelmed, it has been good to step back a bit and take care of myself. Then I get back on track and things seem much more manageable.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 10:39 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
The superbeing utopia is far-fetched, I know. But I think it would be possible for awakened beings to at least cling less to material wealth, right? That would make a difference if it happened at a large scale. Wouldn’t it also be reasonable to assume that most awakened beings would at least hesitate before starting a war? And maybe realize that if you sell weapons to people, they might use them?

Both yes and no. It’s not like I have seen any shocking news. It’s all in line with what I have already believed for several years. I tend to be over-expressive in my language, but I’m actually not very surprised by any of it. Well, yeah, I guess I’m a bit surprised to have had it confirmed with my senses in a tangible way, and some question marks have been straightened out. Many others remain. But I don’t feel overwhelmed. Ordinary reality is more overwhelming than the insights. I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant. It’s more like an anti-climax. Not the difficult sort of anti-climax, followed by depression. More like ”Oh, well, I guess that was all the parcels for this Christmas. Time to clean up and call it a night.” But sure, maybe it comes later. I know many things do. I did feel overwhelmed for a day or so. Then it bounced back to normal. I’m pretty used to dealing with chaos. By now, the coping mechanisms for it are habitual. Ugh, I don’t know how to respond to this without sounding arrogant. I’m so sorry if I do.

If by integrate you mean keep working with the layers of it and making all parts of ”me” accept the insights in order to maintain both direction and as much of the benefits as I can, then yes. There is much work to do. And many further insights to uncover. This was just a baby step.

These thoughts about the world are not new. I have had them for a couple of decades. And yet I brought a child to this world. There are kittens too, and spring flowers and stars and mountains and oceans and even a few islands that at least look unpolluted on the surface. And I do take this with some humor. It hurts, though, that there is so much suffering in the world. Maybe it is ”perfect” from an emptiness perspective, but those who suffer do not know that, and many don’t even have the luxury to ponder about it, and they matter.

Thankyou for your compassion! And thanks for the link! I hadn’t seen that one.

(I do have pms now, though, and that usually affects my writing.)

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 10:49 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Good, I just wanted to make sure you were okay.

I've learned that it's generally just as bad to make assumptions about awakened people as it is to make assumptions about non-awakened people. It usually just leads to trouble. Even the assumptions that I used to make about my future self turned out to be totally wrong.

Yeah, there is a lot of suffering in the world and it hurts. It hurts a lot, and in my experience the more I've learned the more acutely I've felt that pain. One of the famed Bill Hamilton's one-liners was "suffering less, noticing it more." But you know? I wouldn't change it for the world.

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4/19/19 12:10 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
I could tell you were checking, and I appreciate it. ❤️

I agree that it’s best not to assume too much. I just think humanity could do better than this and I don’t buy the notion that you would have to be a saint to make a difference. I mean, look at the world! In the supermarkets we have the shelves full of thirty almost identical substandard products of this and twenty almost identical substandard products of that, all wrapped up in three layers of plastic and sold under false pretences by the same two or maybe three multinational corporations. Most of those products do not make anyone happy (well, none of them). Many of them are thrown away sooner or later, not to mention those three layers of plastic packages, contributing to the destruction of our planet. Meanwhile, we reject to give shelter to children who are running away from wars - wars made possible because we sold weapens for profit - and deny people health care, food and water. Is there no middle ground between superbeing saints and that?!

I don’t regret the path either. No way. It’s worth it. And it’s awsome.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 12:25 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
I’m watching the interview with Michael Taft, and towards the end of the interview he actually says that in his opinion it is ridiculous not to use one’s awakening to improve things, to grow up and show up and clean up. One can do that in many different ways, of course, but if I’m naive because I think it is reasonable to have at least some expectations for awakened people to work with themselves, then at least I’m not alone. I appreciate that both Daniel and Michael are brave enough to adress this sort of spiritual by-pass, albeit in rather different ways.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 12:36 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
It's true - awakened people are generally better able to see their own bullshit and are thus in a much better position to fix it. That's one great benefit of awakening. There are more, of course. But we have to keep in mind that awakening doesn't bring perfection. If it did there'd be fewer sex scandals at Buddhist practice centers.

Another benefit of awakening is to be able to see how what one experiences of one's own mind is what others experience of theirs. Seeing that engenders compassion and wisdom, and goes a long way toward helping us get beyond assumptions about others that can lead us astray. Awakening is being grounded in how things are and acting from the compassion and the wisdom inherent in that view. It's an "eyes wide open" middle way that helps us navigate between the angelic and the demonic in our nature.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 12:58 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Oh, absolutely. I definitely agree with that and don't know anyone who doesn't. But even awakened people who do the work on themselves are not superbeings and they may not be in any better a position to fix society's problems than the next person. Maybe even less so because they've spent so much time on highly specialized training that isn't good for much in the "real" world. Another Bill Hamilton one-liner on enlightenment: "Highly recommended. Can't tell you why."

I have not infrequently in my life been frustrated and indignant about problems in various situations and thought, "Why are things so screwed up? We can do better!" And then gone on to be in a leadership role only to discover that changing things for the better was actually extremely difficult or even impossible. I had only thought things could be changed because I wasn't seeing things clearly from that earlier perspective. 

This is not to say that we shouldn't do our best to contribute to the world in positive ways, of course. But IMO this is just a human thing which has little to do with awakening. Why should we feel that we are special or better than the next person up the street? Sure, we may well be better versions of ourselves thanks to practice, but it's all relative.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 1:07 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
And now this from Mr. McMindfulness himself--a teaser trailer for his upcoming book, McMindfulness...commodification the problem of commodifying mindfulness???
McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality, Ronald E. Purser - A Book Trailer.


RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/19/19 1:11 PM as a reply to Gus Castellanos.
And here's his website:

http://ronpurser.com/

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4/19/19 1:15 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
Thoroughly enjoyed this, thanks for sharing! The phrase "cosmologically restructured through persistence" will rattle in my head for some time emoticon

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4/19/19 2:26 PM as a reply to Demoxenos.
It's from Sabazius by Douglas Lockhart. Totally obscure author but a great yarn.

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4/19/19 3:05 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
But even awakened people who do the work on themselves are not superbeings and they may not be in any better a position to fix society's problems than the next person. Maybe even less so because they've spent so much time on highly specialized training that isn't good for much in the "real" world.
Exactly! Anyone can feel free to correct me, but as I see it the path promises us three things: 1.) the utter cessation of a fundamental category of our own suffering, 2) the falling away of fundamental delusion, and 3.) the realization of, and access to, the most sublime form of human happiness, independent of external conditions. Cheese and Crackers! Is that not enough? Is it unacceptable if world peace isn't part of the bargain? I mean, yes, you do what you can to ease the suffering you can, but there are limits. What do they say in AA, something like "the courage to change what you can, the equanimity to accept what you can't, and the wisdom to know the difference"? 

To wrap this back to McMindfulness - here's an interesting point of view: While McMindfulness is just shallow end of the pool stuff, and could be implemented with less than pure intentions, doesn't it also have the potential to introduce millions of secular cubical workers to contemplative practices that might never have actually tried them without that? How many of those may like what they've seen so far, and google "meditation", ultimately landing in places like this?? Shooting it down because we don't like what some corporate boogey-men might do with it could rob untold thousands of people from liberation, all in service of an empty ideology. These things are complex enough that that's a plausible scenario. 

Edit - anyway, I'll stop ranting if this is not adding to the discussion or isn't at least helpful to someone

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 11:26 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
@Andromeda:

We are on exactly the same page, it sounds like, being concerned that cults lull people into being passive yet happy and so to become subserviant and controllable. That is exactly the sorts of concerns raised in the original article I mentioned. I get your drift entirely, which is why I posted that article. Yay! Agreement.

Regarding complex dynamic systems and the breakdown of sila in the face of that complexity, ok, yes, we argree to a point, in that macroeconomic systems are very complex, and any action taken to regulate or deregulate any macroeconomic system will create benefits and also problems, winners and loosers, but I reserve the right to be skeptical of arguments that take this too far, and that would, for example, say that massive wealth inequality and that measures to readjust that a bit in favor of those with less money and thus less power is just too complex to understand in the light of ethics/sila.

That some people have somehow become convinced that up is down, black is white, right is wrong, war is peace, robber-barron capitalism is prosperity, rising stock markets and corporate profits are the best indication of how the economy is doing for the ordinary person, government regulation of things like factory emissions is terrible, that daddy, I mean the fascists are going to make everything better for the ordinary person, and that liberal policies are not in their best financial interest and that globalization and liberal politics are somehow intrinsically connected is not a fault of liberal policies being bad, necessarily, not nearly so much, I believe, as the massive corporate media propaganda machines being wildly successful at making words like "liberal", "worker", "union", "collective bargaining", "class consciousness", "wealth redistribution", "taxing the rich", "regulation" and the like seem somehow like sinister evils that must be avoided at all cost so that we have "free markets" regardless of consequence.

While I agree that there are always some bad downstream effects to any policies, I am willing to wager that having the wealthiest 0.1% of Americans gain 1000% more actual spending power while the bottom 1/3 of Americans have lost 70% of their actual spending power in the last 35 years, as they have, with this trend continuing to widen, is a recipe for disaster on many fronts. If this seriously needs defense beyond its obviousness, then I welcome any well-reasoned arguments against my view, and will be happy to address them point by point.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 5:57 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Andromeda:
Oh, absolutely. I definitely agree with that and don't know anyone who doesn't. But even awakened people who do the work on themselves are not superbeings and they may not be in any better a position to fix society's problems than the next person. Maybe even less so because they've spent so much time on highly specialized training that isn't good for much in the "real" world. Another Bill Hamilton one-liner on enlightenment: "Highly recommended. Can't tell you why."

I have not infrequently in my life been frustrated and indignant about problems in various situations and thought, "Why are things so screwed up? We can do better!" And then gone on to be in a leadership role only to discover that changing things for the better was actually extremely difficult or even impossible. I had only thought things could be changed because I wasn't seeing things clearly from that earlier perspective. 

This is not to say that we shouldn't do our best to contribute to the world in positive ways, of course. But IMO this is just a human thing which has little to do with awakening. Why should we feel that we are special or better than the next person up the street? Sure, we may well be better versions of ourselves thanks to practice, but it's all relative.

I seem to express myself very unclearly. I did definitely not mean that awakened people should dictate what others should do. I was just questioning Stickmans’s assumption that a relatively more fair society is what makes people awaken. I don’t think it’s that simple, and I wanted to turn the question around. I think people need to make society more fair in order for it to be fair, and that has not yet happened. In order for it to happen, humanity needs to grow up and mature in one way or another. Of course a narrow growth stemming from a certain meditative practice is not enough for that. That would be ridiculous to believe. We need a broader maturity. What we don’t need is super powers, though. We just need for humanity to realize that bigger TV:s, or flatter TV:s, and smaller phones and faster cars and redecoration and this and that do not really make anyone happy. Water and some food and shelter, on the other hand, saves lives. Guns kill, and keeping them for the sake of safety is misguided. Saying that there are no resources to give food to someone who needs it while at the same time throwing away food because nobody buys it is misguided. Things like that. As simple as that. We don’t need to be super beings to see that. We definitely do not need to awaken to see that, but if we are awakened I think there are no excuses for not seeing it. With awakening comes responsibility.

The TV:s were just an example, by the way. Someone that I love deeply has a huge flat TV and I don’t think he’s a bad person for that. I’m not talking about individual very human choices. I’m talking about the greater scheme of things, what humanity needs to prioritize.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 5:15 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
While I agree that there are always some bad downstream effects to any policies, I am willing to wager that having the wealthiest 0.1% of Americans gain 1000% more actual spending power while the bottom 1/3 of Americans have lost 70% of their actual spending power in the last 35 years, as they have, with this trend continuing to widen, is a recipe for disaster on many fronts. If this seriously needs defense beyond its obviousness, then I welcome any well-reasoned arguments against my view, and will be happy to address them point by point.

And that. As simple as that.

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4/20/19 6:11 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
The specifics of the politics aren't my point, Daniel. 

I may be just as much a tribal monkey as the next person, so let me make my tribal allegiance here known: I care deeply about that minority of monkeys who are like myself called to deep spiritual practice, regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum (if they even care about politics at all). This is the reason I agreed to help moderate this forum and the perspective from which I am engaging this thread.

There have been years of my life in which I completely ignored politics and current events in order to dedicate all of my spare time and energy to teasing apart the threads of my reality and getting closer to the mystery of life. Or just to work on myself and my issues. This was the best, most ethical decision for me and I am grateful to have taken that opportunity. No one should be made to feel that prioritizing politics over practice--or having any interest in politics at all--is necessary to be a good person or a spiritual person. In fact, in my experience the opposite was true--I had to turn away from all of that to go deeper into practice, for many reasons. And I still do for periods of time even now after decades. Samsara has been burning since at least the Buddha's time and the fires won't be going out any time soon, so it will always be there for us after a time-out if we want to jump into the fray. If some people want to dedicate their lives to making the world a better place via political engagement, I wish them the very best. But it isn't the only way.

Elsewhere in this thread, I have stated some of my reasons for wanting to keep politics out of my practice. People have to figure this stuff out for themselves. As the Sufi saying goes, "There are as many paths to God as there are souls in the universe." It has been more spiritually nourishing for me to explore multiple political viewpoints than join any particular political collective (which is not to say that I don't vote). A rogue academic friend studying colonial theory spends months at a time living with the indigenous Miskito tribes of Central America and he says they are bewildered by our Eurocentric left-right dichotomy. There are many ways to be. Your postmodern-revised-leftist box is just one that people can choose to put themselves in if they want to be in a box at all.

As for the original McMindfulness article that you posted, it's good to see that people are taking a critical look at this phenomenon. However, I think it's way too soon to come to the conclusion that it needs to be "fixed" by adding "ethics" (an oft-debated term), especially "ethics" specifically in the form of leftist ideology. The only thing we seem to know for certain at this point is that McMindfulness has been released into the wild and it is affecting our society, which is a complex dynamic system (or perhaps better said many interrated complex systems). In my opinion, we should study and discuss further what is happening before jumping to any further conclusions. For some reason, I cannot help but think of the documentary Cane Toads: An Unnatural History, about how Australia introduced cane toads from another continent to solve their sugar cane beetle problem. The cane toads became an invasive species that screwed up the ecosystem and ate pretty much everything except the cane beetles they were brought in to eat. Samsara is burning, but it's important to make sure we don't inadvertently throw water on a grease fire and make things worse. We all know the saying about the road to Hell being paved with good intentions, don't we?

These are just my personal opinions.

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4/20/19 6:16 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
A former coworker had an impossible work load. She was expected to accomplish things that she did not have the resources or support or even remit to do. When she told her supervisor that she was stressed out, he sent her on a very expensive intensive course in mindfulness. She was to spend five weeks listening to raisins (I’m not kidding!) while her work load was not in any way diminished. She had no more support than before, but now she was expected to be fine with it, because they had sent her to this very expensive course and invested in her. She had five weeks less to do her impossible work load, but now she was expected to make it because she’d had the luxury of spending five weeks listening to raisins.

That is McMindfulness to me.

I don’t assume that all forms of mindfulness courses on work places are framed like this, though. I don’t need to throw out all of it to critisize the above. Just to clarify.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 6:25 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
It's true - awakened people are generally better able to see their own bullshit and are thus in a much better position to fix it. That's one great benefit of awakening. There are more, of course. But we have to keep in mind that awakening doesn't bring perfection. If it did there'd be fewer sex scandals at Buddhist practice centers.

Another benefit of awakening is to be able to see how what one experiences of one's own mind is what others experience of theirs. Seeing that engenders compassion and wisdom, and goes a long way toward helping us get beyond assumptions about others that can lead us astray. Awakening is being grounded in how things are and acting from the compassion and the wisdom inherent in that view. It's an "eyes wide open" middle way that helps us navigate between the angelic and the demonic in our nature.



No argument there. I don’t see how this contradicts anything I said. It’s quite possible too be compassionate towards people going about their daily lives with their oh so human fears and cravings and still try to plants seeds of trust and of priorities that go beyond cravings.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/21/19 6:37 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
"I was just questioning Stickmans’s assumption that a relatively more fair society is what makes people awaken. I don’t think it’s that simple"

I weighed it up for five seconds in my head thus
People can get enlightened purely due to stress and trauma - a relative minority, but nobody seems to have numbers for this.
People can get enlightened by having a relatively stable life with their basic needs met, and regular practice of some sort - the majority I would guess.

OK, we all have seen the claims that more and more people are awakening, that "something is happening" to the mass of humanity. Yet at the same time we're entering political instability, economic austerity.

So if you were to plot stress, social problems, and awakening - wouldn't the awakening curve follow the social stressors curve ?

Some people claim it is the internet that makes the difference, we're all getting connected. So in that case the awakening plot would mirror the PC and phone ownership plot.
The more routers and cell phone towers, the more enlightenment, and thanks IBM, microsoft, Samsung etc. let's hear it for the IT industry.

If I was to be cynical about this, I would add coltan mining and resource wars to the plot, and would have a causal chain something like

military strength --> territorial control --> capitalist wage labour (maybe slave labour too) --> mineral extraction --> electronics manufacture --> increased communications --> corporate profits --> increased awakening

And I would also note that communications tech depends on quantum and relativistic physics - both of which challenge the commonplace/Newtonian views of time, space and self.

I would wonder if (quoting McCluhan) the media is the message, and the media is integrated circuits and satellites, then the message is therefore, somehow, the mind bend of advanced physics.

ie, you might not undersatand it, but if you're using it enough then your mind will lose it's ground in what amounts to an 18th century way of thinking of the world.

And that's my thought for today.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 6:56 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Or maybe people just wake up because they are ready for it. When we are, awakening will find its way to us regardless of circumstances. But I don’t know.

Sure, internet has been extremely helpful for me. Does this mean that I think it’s okay that the industry puts poor people in the position of harvesting toxic dumps for metals? No. I don’t get to say that other people’s suffering was worth it because of the benefits I have received.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 7:36 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
We can't necessarily confine awakening or a spiritual life within the bounds of off-the-grid, fair trade, organic living - but if you can do it then all the better.

You could take this all the way back to the original Buddha and ask - who grew his rice and under what working conditions, and what difference did it make ?

I wonder, also, whether people in what's called the Axial Age, when we got the founders of so many religions and philosophical schools, also thought there was a mass awakening underway - what with all these philosophers cropping up all over the place.

Come to think of it, I can update my list

A good survey would tell us what the enlightenment rate is in

Liberal capitalist democracies (USA)
Mixed economies (Sweden)
Authoritarian capitalist communism (!!!) (China)
Authoritarian theocracies (Iran, Saudi)
One party communist (N. Korea)
Ancient Indian Tribal Oligarchal Vassal Republic (Shakya)
Ancient direct democray (classical Athens)

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 7:47 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Have I said anywhere that only perfect people who live without doing no harm whatsoever should get to embrace the dharma? Anywhere?

There are no such people. Jeeze!

What I am critisizing is the idea that we should not embrace any kind of ethics because everything is perfect as it is. It’s not. We don’t get to say that about other people’s suffering.

And what’s the point to that kind of survey? What are you going to do with it? If it were to be the case that most people find awakening through torture, would that mean that we should engage in torture?

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 7:58 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Why is it that as soon as somebody says that we need to talk about ethics in the dharma, people start imagining brutal force, dictatorship, violence and/or shutting out everyone from the dharma? Does that sound ethical to you?

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 8:02 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Have I said anywhere that only perfect people who live without doing no harm whatsoever should get to embrace the dharma? Anywhere?

There are no such people. Jeeze!

What I am critisizing is the idea that we should not embrace any kind of ethics because everything is perfect as it is. It’s not. We don’t get to say that about other people’s suffering.

And what’s the point to that kind of survey? What are you going to do with it? If it were to be the case that most people find awakening through torture, would that mean that we should engage in torture?
I didn't say you had said those things. I'm just questioning the idea, which some people seem to have, that a social justice revolution is a necessary condition for enlightenment either personal or en masse. You might not hold this idea, but certainly some people do. I just want to know what the evidence is for this.
Thing is, many people do have a vantage point from which everything seems perfect. It's an age old thing - the divine perfection of an imperfect world, why is there evil in a world created by God, why did God create suffering & all that. Whether an awakened perception of constant perfection makes people indifferent to people's situations or not, I think sometimes yes and sometimes no, but why that should be I don't know.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 8:16 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Okay, good that you are not assuming that I said things that I didn’t say.

I have never ever heard anyone state that a ”social justice revolution” is a necessary condition for enlightenment. Is that a thing? I just thought people advocated for social justice because oppression and bigotry kind of sucks.

Yeah, that indifference is what I’m talking about. Seeing dependent origination is one thing, ignoring that suffering sucks for those who suffer is quite something else. Spiritual by-pass is a real danger.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 9:56 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
Agreed. It is so hard to actually know anything, and our intuitions are terrible guides to truth. We're just crude, pattern-matching monkeys after all. We hear so much concern about income inequality, but thats such a narrow concern, i.e., income inequality between families within one nation. What about the wealth gap between young and old, or the beautiful and the ugly, or the truly dynastic wealth of the Saudi Royal family? Where is the outrage there? Is it possible that this narrow concern is a political shibboleth, and a dangerous one at that as its proponents imply the threat of violent uprisings if not addressed? I don't know, but an argument can be made.... Meanwhile, the actual history of our time is paints a very optimistic picture. I'd recommend anyone that hasn't read Steven Pinker's 'Better Angels of our Nature" do so. It will warm your heart. 

-Metta

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 11:22 AM as a reply to Ryan.
I believe income inequality is actually a very big deal. Highly concentrated wealth, in the hands of a very few who also manage thereby to maintain control over the levers of government, is a recipe for disaster. We can see it happening right now in the U.S. It has become a racial, social class and age-related phenomenon. Since the 1970s there has been a bifurcation in who among us is sharing the wealth in our economy, with the rich getting a massive share of our economic growth and middle and lower income folks getting much, much less. We continue not only to let this situation fester but to make it worse, granting massive tax advantages to those whose wealth is in non-wage related areas. This situation cuts across all kinds of social boundaries. The income distribution in the U.S., with a tiny percentage of the population controlling a huge percentage of the assets, will have to change before we will ever be able to take on the other major challenges that we face.

Just to get blatantly political for one post  emoticon

BTW, one thing I would offer to folks here is that there is a difference between using the dharma on a personal level and using it as a model for governing. Personally, I'm very much for the former and very much against the latter. I see that we are at times conflating these two very different domains, causing some of our disagreements.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 11:27 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Just to present some evidence and backing for my comments in the last post, Nobel winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has done a lot of research on income inequality and has concluded that income inequality is an economy killer. He is by no means alone:


http://evonomics.com/joseph-stiglitz-inequality-unearned-income/

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/11/stiglitz-heres-how-to-fix-inequality/413761/

https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/author/joseph-e-stiglitz/


That was two posts. Sorry - back to the dharma.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 1:07 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
For the record, I haven’t suggested using the dharma for governing. I was asked about how compassion can inform tax politics. I answered according to my personal belief, one that I have had since long before I even had heard about the dharma. Then I just pointed out the irony in how somebody embracing the dharma at the same time was so invested in certain empty constructions.

I think it is important to talk about ethics in all kinds of circumstances, because it is important. We don’t get a free ticket just because we are engaged in the dharma. For instance, abuse within a sangha is a serious matter that has to do with ethics. Shutting people out because of the color of their skin or their gender or their sexual orientation would be very problematic in a community like this, just like in other contexts. That has to do with ethics. And if a professor uses a low quality mindfulness course to pacify a doctoral student who has an unreasonable work load and poor supervision and has her spend five weeks listening to raisins in addition to her already impossible work load, then I think it is reasonable to critisize that. That is an authentic example. If other work places do the same thing, I think it is reasonable to critisize that, too. The dharma should not be used as a way to individualize structural problems and take away responsibility from people in power. That happens. It’s a real problem, and we need to talk about it internally.

How that transformed into some kind of arahat dictatorship or buddhist government, I haven’t got the faintest idea.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 1:10 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
For the record, I haven’t suggested using the dharma for governing.

I was making general comments not aimed at anyone in particular. 

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 1:18 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Okidoke. I just wanted to clarify, in case there were misunderstandings.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 1:29 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Also, I think you made a good observation there. I do believe the discussion has been confused because people at least to some extent have been talking about different things.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 1:33 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I appreciate your thoughtful reply, but I wasn't actually saying we should or shouldn't care about income inequality. I'll leave my own actual politcal views out of it as they were weird enough before I started shredding my reality with vipassina practices. I was making a different point, namely that kind, compassionate, well-intentioned people could have a very different opinion about something which you clearly care a lot about. Stating that only one side of that is ethical is needlessy alienating. 

Of course, Stiglitz won his nobel for work on climate change, not wealth inequality. He was also fired from the World Bank for disagreeing with consensus thinking on policies in place at the time, so it's not like his is the default view of all economists. See, e.g., Robin Hanson: http://www.overcomingbias.com/2013/08/inequality-is-about-grabbing.html

Again, that's not to say there is or isn't a problem there. But these things are never simple, and not seeing that ethics taken beyond person-to-person interactions necessarily equals politics caries with it the danger of turning off people who might have otherwise been liberated through the dharma.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 1:40 PM as a reply to Ryan.
People can have different opinions in ethical matters, yes. Is that a reason not to talk about ethics at all? Or to close our eyes to ethically problematic situations? That kind of relativism is not my cup of tea.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 2:28 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
BTW, one thing I would offer to folks here is that there is a difference between using the dharma on a personal level and using it as a model for governing. Personally, I'm very much for the former and very much against the latter.
Greetings citizens, as your new president I have decided that you are to give up your cravings and materiality forthwith. Everything but a few cushions will be confiscated and burned. All citizens are to receive a stipend that will cover basic living expenses and no more. A PA system will be installed in every street to call you to meditation, which you will do all day from 6am until 7pm. No beer, no porn, no holidays, no gossip, no TV, no phones, no meat.

... nah, can't see it lasting.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 2:42 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I didn't say either of those things. I'm saying that issues like inequality are more a question of politics than ethics. While ethics is crucial to the dharma, politics is at best counter-productive. 

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 3:15 PM as a reply to Ryan.
Well, philosophers dedicated to the study of ethics do not seem to agree with you.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 5:20 PM as a reply to Ryan.
I'll leave my own actual politcal views out of it...

Are you, really?   emoticon

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/20/19 7:42 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
emoticon Fair point. I was referring to my actual views on income/wealth inequality, which I haven't expressed, however I suppose my skepticism of some of the ideas in vouge on the American political left has clearly crept in. C'est la vie. Again though, none of this is to say that you or anyone else shouldn't do what you think is right. Be your own northstar and ease whatever suffering you can in this world. Nevertheless, just speaking for myself, I'm still saddened when I see political opinions get clothed in terms of "right view" or sila, for all of the reasons Andromeda and I have already given. 

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/21/19 9:02 AM as a reply to Ryan.
I think that a number of debates are occurring here, sometimes intermingled, and sometimes people imagine that they are intermingled in another poster, even when that poster has gone out of their way to exploicitly not intermingle them.

Debate #1: Mage vs Sage. In the Mage vs Sage debate, the question is basically, "Should one engage with the world of politics, of cabbages and kings?" The hypothetical Sage says, "No, one should not engage with the world of politics. There will always be greedy kings and wars. There will always be the poor. The world is a quagmire, full of conflict and stupidity. Best to withdraw, to practice alone, to wander lonely as a rhinocerous, to avoid all of that. It is agitating to the mind, unresolvable, endless, a thorny thicket of views and difficulty. Best to enjoy one's wisdom in solitude." Lao Tsu exemplified this well, and many other great Sages have also. We find the ideal of the Pratyekabuddha as one valid option. The Buddha practiced this way for years, and advocated his monastics generally do the same, said that right speech for monastics avoided gossip about wars and kings, though there were exceptions. The Buddha however, after reaching enlightenment and being tempted to be a Sage by Mara, himself switched to he other path, that of the Mage.

One on the path of the hypothetical Mage answers the question differently, saying, "This world is integral to what we are. We are a part of this world. There can be no reduction of suffering without reducing the suffering that is in the world, as they are all interdependent, all a part of the whole. We who have wisdom should go forth, care, act, and use what we have learned to make the world better. Yes, there will be difficulties. Yes, there will be unforseen consequences. Yet, to know and not act is to shirk responsibility, as if we don't, who will? This is the path of the Bodhisattva, of the Buddha after his renunciate phase, of numerous Saints and other advocates for wise service. While it is pretty much guaranteed that not all Mages would agree on the right things to do, they would agree that engagement is warranted.

I don't believe that there is a right, one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether each individual at any moment should be more Sage or Mage. In reality, we all walk up and down this spectrum all the time. At night, when we retire from doing whatever we do in the world and sleep, we are going more Sage. When we get up and start acting in the world, we go a bit more Mage. It is really a spectrum between extremes, and, in each instant, we may be going more one way or the other, So, the debate is really more about how far should one lean in either direction as a matter of of moving average.

I personally have had significant Sage and Mage periods, and think they have helped contribute to each other. I still vascillate moment to moment.

There are days when I think, "Being a public figure is a pain in the ass. Dealing with psychotic people threatenening me and my family is too much to deal with. Debating other puffed up alpha-teachers is a pointless chore that just entrenches views and causes further fortification of camps. Let this mad world crash along as it does. It is unsavable. The forces working to destroy through greed, hatred, and delusion are so vast than me that my actions are mere dust blowing in the wind, all absurd vanity and pathetic noise, all doomed to failure. My resources are limited, and I should not waste them on such stupidity. I should save them for myself and the few who are very close to me. I will follow the advice in Candide and cultivate my own garden with a few friends far from the insanity, meditate, and enjoy what is left of this short life in the company of a few like-minded people, as anything else would be at best a farce."

Other days I think, "No, truly this world can be helped, and to not help would be a true abdication of responsability. There are little things you can do, and doing those little things is worthwhile, even if it is all possibly doomed to cataclysmic failure. To hoard your resources would be miserly. To keep silent would be selfish. The risks and costs, while real, are still worth it, etc."

So, I totally understand about those who, at this moment, or perhaps go long term, are more Mage or Sage. I don't think that anyone should try to force anyone to be more Mage or Sage, though others do think that others should hold to their side of the debate. However, that brings us to the next question:

Debate #2: Should a community be aligned around one pole of this Mage vs Sage debate, or even any debate, and, if not, should such discord be discussed?

Some people like their communities and tribes a lot more consistent than others. Some people clearly don't like the sense that their views on this debate (or any other significant or even insignificant debate) might be in conflict with others in their community, as they prefer the feel of a much more coherent tribe whose views are much more aligned with theirs, and feel something is lost or even threatened when their views are not mirrored by those around them. This is understandable. Clearly, it feels better to be around those who agree with us. Clearly, it feels more uncomfortable to be around those who challenge our views. This might manifest here along the lines of, "We should all hold the same views on the Mage vs Sage debate and other debates, and to raise other views is to challenge the coherence of the community, so it should not be done."

Others may be much more focused, with a higher degree of tolerance for a wide range of views as long as a few core views are sufficient to create some cohesion in the community that is aligned around a specific, more narriow topic. They might think, "Ah, a community that appreciates debate and discussion is a healthy one, so let us all bring our views and best wisdom to topics to help us explore them and draw on the range of perspectives here so as to enrichen us all."

Others might feel that, while they might be more tolerant of a range of views, a community that is aligned around a more narrow topic should not introduce or discuss topics that might cause decoherence and threaten the community, as they realize that many who might be in that community, or in this case on a specific forum, might have less tolerance for divergent views that are not on the core topic of the community and so that, by discussing views that they might tolerate, still see danger to the community, as in, "Don't mix politics and the dharma on a forum, as, while I can tolerate it, others might not be so tolerant or appreciative."

Debate #3: If we agree that we can discuss the path of the Mage, and if we agree that the community can tolerate debate about topics other than those in a narrow range, such as politics, then how does the Dharma possibly inform politics?

This is obviously already excluding a good bunch of people, as some clearly feel that the path of the Mage shouldn't be discussed, and that possibly divisive topics that are not focused more narrowly on very specific subjects and dedicated to very specific ends shouldn't be discussed, and that topics that might split the community along political lines shouldn't be discussed, as to discuss these risks community coherence, and risks some feeling that they have to hold certain views to be a part of the community, and that particularly those who have some sort of leadership role or persona shouldn't post their individual views on politics, as that might alienate those who relate to them in some sort of more parental way rather than them just being some other person with their own views, etc.

So, once we get past all of those other debates, we get to the question of various political views, of which just one is the leftist vs rightist debate. In fact, political debates can break down along a number of axes.

I am going to guess that a reasonable proportion of people on this forum would advocate for rights like free speech and religious freedom, as without those this forum couldn't exist, at least without the state that was limiting religious speech and freedom being in some way aligned with a pretty unusual range of religious views for a police state. Thus, posting on a forum like this could be viewed as a political act. In fact, I have wondered if I could even gain entrance to various countries if they knew I ran a forum like this one, as religious tolerance and free speech tolerance are nothing resembling universal. I routinely wonder if one day I will have to leave the US if the fascists ever take over and realize that my view are not aligned with theirs. Such things are more the norm in the world and in history than the exception.

I am going to guess that a reasonable proportion of people on this forum would advocate for kindness over cruelty, peace over violence, helping people over harming them, etc., but exactly how they would advocate for helping people, being kind, and bringing about peace might vary widely, and that's ok, and part of the interesting discussion to be had by those who like such things, I believe.

Still, when it comes to more specific policy debates, such as wealth redistribution, taxes, the role of government in the economy, the role of government in individual rights, and the like, it is likely that a wide diversity of views exists, and that, again, is where I find the conversations interesting, but clearly not everyone is comfortable with this. If you are not comfortable with it, I also agree that you should feel welcome to express those views, but this is a forum with open debate as its purpose, so, past a certain point, views that advocate for not debating certain topics will run up againts the forum's explicit purpose, which is to be able to discuss topics related to wisdom and the reduction of suffering through various means. Should some of these debates make you nervous or uncomfortable, consider sticking to threads that are more focused on topics you enjoy and are comfortable with.

As a curious synchronicity, just this moment while I was typing this post my wife just showed me a picture of a restaurant menu from her journey in Laos, an explicitly communist country. Below the sections on Main Dishes, Steaks, and Desserts, there is Food for Thought section, which says, "Cultivating a non-discriminating mind provides the serenity for practitioners to let go of afflictions, wandering thoughts and attachments. It is difficult for us to let go due to the injusticies we feel we have suffered and the grudges we thus hold. However, feeling this way only puts us at more of a disadvantage because then we suffer the consequences of our grudges. Inequalities exist in this world because of our discriminating mind. -Venerable Master Chin Kung." Then below it is the quote, "Go Along with Conditions. Do Not Seek Them. There is Nothing to Seek, for All is Unreal, Merely Illusion."

While one could clearly use this quote to gain peace, to accept circumstances, to cultivate Equanimity, detatchment, and possibly wisdom, one could also use this quote to rationalize accepting horrible circumstances, injustices, and indignities that one did not have to accept, to go along passively with the powers that be, and to abdicate responsibility for what occurs. In that same way go the debates of Mage vs Sage, of whether or not topics of cabbages and kings should be discussed, etc. That I personally am at this moment in more of a leftist, Mage, discussion-positive phase shouldn't be taken to be anything more than what it is, and, should you be thrown by that, then follow your own advice, and cultivate a non-discriminating mind that lets go of the world to provide serenity and wisdom for yourself.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/21/19 4:08 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
And then there is always Tutteji to help us maintain perspective on these discussions and ground them solidly in reality and common sense. ;)

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/21/19 10:20 AM as a reply to Ryan.
Ryan --

Nevertheless, just speaking for myself, I'm still saddened when I see political opinions get clothed in terms of "right view" or sila, for all of the reasons Andromeda and I have already given. 

And... I agree with this and said so a few times "up there" in this thread. I'm sure you've heard Jesus' saying, "Render unto Ceasar the things that are Ceasar's and render unto God the things that are God's." Religion does not belong in politics, IMHO.

EDIT: I'd quote more secular texts on keeping religion out of politics but I thought the idea might have more impact coming from a revered religious figure. 

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/21/19 9:58 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
That Jesus quote is wise insofar as it helps one to stay sane under oppressive circumstances. It was probably also a way to ensure that one’s advice did not get people into trouble (for the sake of simplicity I’m now assuming that it is a real quote) while still subtly pointing to the difference in priorities. Still, there are many examples in the Bible where Jesus took political action, such as lashing out to people who were making profit of the teachings and making the stance the women were just as welcome to his talks as men, which was very radical at the time. He did that while at the same time not shutting out rich people from learning from him. That’s the sort of balance that I admire.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/21/19 9:49 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
And then there is always Tutteji to help us maintain perspective on these discussions and ground them solidly in reality and common sense. ;)

I'm a fan of Puppetji, too:   https://puppetji.blogspot.com/ 

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/21/19 10:28 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
That Jesus quote is wise insofar as it helps one to stay sane under oppressive circumstances. It was probably also a way to ensure that one’s advice did not get people into trouble (for the sake of simplicity I’m now assuming that it is a real quote) while still subtly pointing to the difference in priorities. Still, there are many examples in the Bible where Jesus took political action, such as lashing out to people who were making profit of the teachings and making the stance the women were just as welcome to his talks as men, which was very radical at the time. He did that while at the same time not shutting out rich people from learning from him. That’s the sort of balance that I admire.



Although lashing out violently in anger was probably not the most constructive way to take a stance. Unfortunately, frustration does that, and we need to watch out for that so that we do not become what we fear. I thank the universe for ADHD medication with regard to that, because it does make a difference for me (although the suffering of the test animals is something I feel bad about).

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/21/19 11:29 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
I agree with most everything you’ve said here and thank you for taking the time to clearly and directly state much of the nuance in this discussion that may have been unclear. I certainly had a time where I was of the mage mindset, so your mage/sage framework rings true to me. As a new poster here, I should maybe explicitly state that my intentions are not to shut down debate or tell anyone else what should or shouldn’t be said here or anywhere else.

It was in fact the community coherence concern that motivated my posting. There just aren’t that many places where someone can get the kinds of conversations that happen here and, based on some of the earlier posts, it didn’t seem there was much cognizance of the echo-chamber/tribalism phenomenon that can happen when specific topic groups like this start getting into overtly political issues. This post suggests you’ve given it quite a lot of thought, so I will have to adjust my priors in this regard. I’ll take it as a given that, at least so long as it’s done respectfully and only in these types of threads, there will be truly open discussions of these types of issues, even if they challenge people’s views. Okay then.

First, just to clear up any semantic confusion, I am here defining politics as the process by which it is determined who gets what, when, and how (Lasswell). Things like fairness and equality play a role in this of course, but they are not the primary concern, as indeed they couldn’t be as it is not possible to get everyone to agree on what is for example fair in every case (one person’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter, after all). You earlier asked if anything in the article you posted was problematic. The article claims that McMindfullness contributes to “keeping existing social injustices and inequitable power structures intact.” This is either trite (injustice and inequality are bad, boo!) or uselessly vague and naïve (which injustices and power structures need to be changed exactly and how). Should we shelter the homeless and address the terribly underrecognized epidemic of untreated mental health problems? I’d say yes, absolutely, but those aren’t the types of mostly apolitical things this article is referring to. It is presupposing an ideology that portrays the ills of society as explained only by the division of oppressor and the oppressed, the haves and the have nots. This is endemic on the left (and yes, I know there are many axes, but some simplification is required) and every bit as corrosive to the social glue of a pluralistic society as the xenophobic nationalism endemic on the right. It’s just another cynically political framing that claims far more than it can prove and solves nothing. I’ll pass on both, thanks.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/21/19 11:31 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Yup, I don't think we actually disagree very much. And I'm cool with quoting JC, I'd like to do some superaquatic perambulation myself one day. Alas, so far no luck. emoticon 

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/21/19 2:17 PM as a reply to Ryan.
I would say that inequality in the sense of accumulating wealths for some while others do not even get their most basic needs met is inherently bad. I don’t know what exactly is ”boo” about that. Maybe you could clarify that?

As for injustice, that would depend on the definition of justice. I don’t support the kind of justice system that has death penalty, for instance. In fact, I believe in rehabilitation rather than retribution. I would say that systems with priveleges built in them, such as structural racism, are bad. Is there something that is ”boo” about that?

For me it is important to focus on what kind of world different kinds of systems foster. I would want the kind of world where compassion and loving kindness and trust comes naturally for people. I see no point in hating or judging people who are conditioned by their karmic formations to behave in ways that are less kind, less juste, less equality-cultivating, less compassionate. That would only make things worse. Given how the world is, I believe that we need to talk about consequences of different kinds of systems, though. So far, nobody has managed to come up with a system that is sustainable and works with people as they are conditioned now. Maybe if people could find ways to talk about what is most important and forget about prestige and territorial fights, it would actually be possible to come up with such a system before we make this planet uninhabitable.

(EDIT: Once again I find myself as a non native-speaker missing those important parts of words that make all the difference. Corrected - I think. *sigh*)

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/21/19 1:55 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:

This is obviously already excluding a good bunch of people, as some clearly feel that the path of the Mage shouldn't be discussed, and that possibly divisive topics that are not focused more narrowly on very specific subjects and dedicated to very specific ends shouldn't be discussed, and that topics that might split the community along political lines shouldn't be discussed, as to discuss these risks community coherence, and risks some feeling that they have to hold certain views to be a part of the community, and that particularly those who have some sort of leadership role or persona shouldn't post their individual views on politics, as that might alienate those who relate to them in some sort of more parental way rather than them just being some other person with their own views, etc.


I'm all for things being discussed, which is why I jumped into this thread knowing full well it was very likely to get messy. Nice overview of debate topics covered above, Daniel. 

In reference to the bolded part in the quote above--using you and this thread as an example, I think the risk is not that you alienate people who relate to you in some sort of parental way (maybe that happens, I dunno). The risk is that you alienate people like myself who may respect your knowledge and experience when it comes to circumscribed areas of expertise but beyond that see you as just another dude with an opinion. As they say, opinions are like assholes--everyone's got one and they all stink (I'm certainly no exception). But in this thread, you tied your political opinions to your spiritual expertise and said it was about ethics (which comes with an implicit "should"). That gets dicey in my book. Growing up, it bothered me when Christian leaders tried to tell people who Jesus would vote for. Both left and right did a lot of cherry picking to support their views and it struck me as both paternalistic and disingenuous, not to mention crass and utilitarian. It's no different for me with the dharma now. 

Still, given the highly sensitive nature of debating the intersection of religion and politics, I think things went surprisingly well overall. It was fun and no schisms occurred. Success?

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/21/19 3:33 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Wow.... does Jill Stein need a speech writer ? emoticon

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/21/19 4:20 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
Sure, so far moderately successful. Thanks for the kind reply.

Still, one point I can’t seem to let go:

Let’s say that some Christian leaders were telling people whom to vote for, which they have by the thousands for decades. It could be that telling people what to believe politically is just wrong, and whom to vote for is just as wrong. It is an interesting point that has many aspects. One might conclude that all instances of someone advocating that one vote for a candidate are wrong. One might conclude that only religious leaders doing this are wrong. One might conclude that doing this is wrong if one uses religion to justify doing this. One might also conclude that Christian leaders telling people that Jesus would be behind candidates who are big into guns, supporting the rich, police states, fascists, war machines, big banks, not supporting the poor and sick, and the like are simply out of their fucking minds. You say tomato, and I say tomato.

Except here’s the practical problem, at least in the US: there is no real left to vote for, even if you wanted to, which you don’t have to, obviously. Our “left” candidates look positively center to center right from a European/South American/Asian point of view. Our candidates considered moderate “right” candidates are abject fascists, a point I would be happy to debate for a hundred posts if one really wants to go there, as, while some might not consider me an expert in poltiics, it turns out I can hold my own when I get going to a degree that might be surprising. Since I am sitting in the UK as I write this, in point of fact, and going into depth policy by policy, war by war, and action by action, Barak Obama looked like a Tory (yes, I know they don’t call them “Tories” any more, but it sounds good to my older ear), as did Hillary. Bernie looks at best centrist, but his gun policies would be shocking to many europeans. So, even if one decides to vote for the candidate that the Christian leaders didn’t tell them to vote for, the theoretically “left” candidate, they are still, in practice, voting for fascist-lite.

They are all bought and paid for. They know who funds their re-elections. They know which side their bread is buttered on, and vote accordingly. The war machine will crash on, and I know all about the war machine, as the town I live outside of is high-tech war machine central for the whole world, truly. The big banks will continue to intentionally create boom-bust cycles for their own gain and nobody will go to jail for it under any administration. The endless “War on Terror” will continue no matter who is in office, as both Democratic and Republican admistrations have proven beyond doubt. The health insurance and pharmaceutical companies will continue to gain influence and do what they wish whomever you vote for. The energy industry will crush anyone and anything that attempts to get in their way. The rich will get richer, and the poor will get poorer, and the middle class will continue to be squeezed, mostly downwards. I am not so naive as to imagine that there is really much of anything that can be done about this, and, while I tend to vote for fascist-lite over more unabashed fascists, it disgusts me utterly to do so, and I have no illusions about the insignificance of the gesture. Ok, got that off my chest. Thanks for reading if you made it this far. You don’t have to hold any of those views, but I reserve the right to express mine.

However, bringing this all back from the brink, I hope, the article in question that started all this was about McMindfulness and sila, and somehow issues of “awakening” got mixed into this. I believe that the chances of someone waking up in a serious way from their corporate meditation program are so infintesimally small that it is laughable to seriously discuss the possibility. Cross the A&P? Yeah, it will happen some, and there is a whole other ethical issue. Stream entry? Only the rarest talent with the most expedient karma would be able to pull that off. I have no idea how the idea of “awakening” enters into this, really. We are talking about spiritual kindergarten at best here.

Similarly, to call corporate office meditation programs “religion” is similarly wildly off base. Similarly, to call the Dharma Overground forum a “religion” would be similarly problematic.

Further, I never once said anything to patently absurd as, “I am a Buddhist leader, and so I know that the Buddha would have wanted you vote a certain way for this specific person.” However, I do believe that, were Uncle Sid to believe that some of his tech was stripped of its ethical components, watered down, and possibly being used by managers to keep employees more docile and herdable for higher corporate profits regardless of how the profit was made such as in the weapons industry, and whether or not it was in the employee’s best interest, and regardless of whether or not it really did reduce suffering, it is hard to imagine that he wouldn’t have had something negative to say about this, though possibly this is entirely my own projection and misguided views.

I get that there is a long-standing suspicion, particularly in the US, of mixing politics and religion. That is largely what our country was founded on after 500 years of nearly continuous european war over religion mixed with politics. It is a sobering lesson, and one that seems to have faded from many peoples’ memories over the last few decades. Thus, I entirely get the extreme caution on this topic. I have been touring some cathedrals here in Europe over the last week, and you can see the history written in the bullet and cannon holes in the stone walls of these churches. During January I was in Egypt, and the story of religious war and conflict there is the same, just vastly older.

That said, while I am extremely reluctant to be sure that I know exactly how to make the world a better place, and pretty damn cynical about politics in general, I still believe that spiritual insights can inform politics in some way that actually makes things better overall. I would hate to fix this in stone, or be sure that I could enumerate exactly how and how this should be implemented at the political level in all circumstances, as that is not at all my style. I come to essentially the same conclusion on this as I do with the Emotional Models of awakening, that, yes, it makes something better, but describing exactly what that is how or how it should manifest in any given situation is a serious problem.

My two cents. They don’t have to be yours. Thanks for reading.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/21/19 5:06 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I’m sorry Linda, I did not know there were non-native speakers in this thread. You’re so fluent I had no Idea. emoticon I’ll try to clarify. The “boo” was a joke, something someone might say about inequality as if it were a cartoon villain. My concern about focusing on wealth or income inequality (the two are quite different actually) is that it confuses the real problem, poverty, for what I think are cynically manipulative purposes.

Put simply, whether Richard Branson or Bill Gates is worth one billion euro/dollars or one-hundred billion has no negative impact on my life, or on that of the person struggling to make ends meet. All that really matters is a person’s absolute standard-of-living. While the relative aspect is a cause of envy and such, that’s not what we’re talking about (I don’t think). This is true because money is not real in the way a ham sandwich is real (that should be a trivial concept here, I think). Just like Law and beauty, it is a purely social construct, and one person becoming fabulously wealthy does not shrink the size of the pie available for everyone else (Economists and game theorist would say Economics is a non-zero-sum game). In fact, between central banks and the balance sheet accounting sleight of hand that occurs when retail/commercial banks create a new loan asset, trillions of dollars of new money is created every year. Yes, if we could wave a magic wand and make everyone equal without consequence, we should do that. But said magic wand does not exist, and the economic efficiency created by the incentives of a market-based economy alleviates far, far more suffering that the “problem” of some people becoming stinking rich causes, even though some of those people didn’t deserve it, at least according to what still other people may think.

As for justice, I am very much for certain criminal justice reforms (at least in the USA, I don’t know enough about other countries to speak intelligently on the subject there). Although, there does have to be a retributive/deterrent aspect to criminal justice. Even though people’s actions are actually just dependently arisen phenomena, at the conventional level they must be treated as responsible agents, or else society simply couldn’t function.

Finally, I also wish more people could see through their samsaric delusions and let go of things like status-seeking and territorial fights. However, we didn’t evolve to see the world clearly, and a system of government/economics can no more stop those things than it can make us stop craving sweets or sex. Whatever solutions exist to the problems mentioned above will have to accept us as we are, because basic human nature only changes at a snails pace, where it changes at all.  

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/21/19 5:35 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Of course you’re entitled to these opinions, although now I’m very curious as to what exactly you think a “fascist” is, but that’s a sidebar. Since we’re venting on these things, you have a lot of concern about things like the insurance industry, the energy industry, and the big banks. But you ignore the societal good these industries do, while (as far as I can tell) at least implying that those involved in those industries harbor sinister motives. It’s a similarly conspiratorial worldview to the former birther movement in the US. These industries are just full of people, no more, no less. A few saints, some psychopaths, but mostly just normal people trying to get by and take care of themselves and their families. What really happens is that various societal carrots and sticks just fall out in unfortunate ways sometimes, and bad outcomes simply manifest themselves. See, e.g., Scott Alexander's Meditations on Moloch: https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/07/30/meditations-on-moloch/

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/21/19 5:41 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:

However, bringing this all back from the brink, I hope, the article in question that started all this was about McMindfulness and sila, and somehow issues of “awakening” got mixed into this. I believe that the chances of someone waking up in a serious way from their corporate meditation program are so infintesimally small that it is laughable to seriously discuss the possibility. Cross the A&P? Yeah, it will happen some, and there is a whole other ethical issue. Stream entry? Only the rarest talent with the most expedient karma would be able to pull that off. I have no idea how the idea of “awakening” enters into this, really. We are talking about spiritual kindergarten at best here.


That's good, Daniel, just the kind of rant to drive home my point that your political opinions are only marginally better than what my drunk uncle posts on Facebook. emoticon Seriously, though, our political views aren't that far apart and I agree with most of your criticisms of the world. It sucks. I don't have any solutions either.

To get back to McMindfulness--it's just a stress-reduction tool unlikely to lead to awakening, as you say, so why would it necessarily be improved with sila? How would that be helping the individual? I can think of so many ways that this could go wrong. Lipstick on a pig at best, 1984 at worst. "You're stressed because you don't meditate AND because you aren't a moral enough person." That seems cruel. Could it create a Borg-like society? Will it indoctrinate a new generation of PC warriors that will come for us with our filthy sailor mouths and love for freedom of speech? We could be just one step away from an episode of Black Mirror... 

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/22/19 2:23 AM as a reply to Ryan.
Ryan, I get that money are not real. They are just a construction. But in this world of constructions, the differerence would be remarkable if those fictional numbers were to enter poor people's bank accounts instead. When I talk about enequality, that’s what I refer to: the accumulation of wealth for the few while others do not even get their most basic needs met, something that happens even in Sweden but is a more widespread problem on a global scale. I also got that ”boo” was supposed to be a joke, but since one of my friends is one of those people who doesn’t even get his most basic needs (such as getting up from bed and to the bathroom) met, I didn’t see the fun part. Thanks for your kindness anyway!

Law systems that are built on the idea of retribution do not work. Retribution does not diminish crime. Meaningful and supportive contexts that give real alternatives to criminality and foster the better parts of human beings do. That actually makes people feel like they have a choice and the responsibilities that comes with it.

Maybe I’m just naive, but I’d like to think that people can actually mature beyond the behavior of three year olds in a sand box fighting over some toys. We are all connected. What we are doing today is like keeping a pinky toe nice and clean and well manicured and safe and cosy and adorned with jewellery while the rest of the body is starving and cold and only gets to wash in the same pud of water as it drinks from.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/22/19 2:59 AM as a reply to Ryan.
What I think a "fascist" is:

Fascism, a word coined in Italy with Mussolini, related to the bound bundle of wheat (or sticks) shown on their symbol. While the classical fascists of the early to mid 20th century all had their own personal quirks, there tended to be common themes. I list them in no particular order, and this is not a complete list:
  • Xenophobia used to justify the unbridled power of the executive aspects of government (particularly over the courts and legislators) and deny human rights. The War on Immigrants and the Wall are contemporary examples.
  • The State and Business were one. Instead of the State being there to regulate, check, or moderate business, the State was Business. This might be summarized by the famous misquote, "The business of America is business." The fascists always came in with great approval of the business community, as they do today.
  • The rights of the State were more important than the rights of the Individual. Curiously, governments have gotten a lot more sophisticated about which rights to remove and which to maintain to avoid unrest.
  • The constant state of righteous war for the Great Cause of the State, and to bring their superior way of life to others, to fend off demonized others, to prop up the economy, to increase hegemony and glory, and justify the continued need for additional police powers. Contemporary perpetual vaguely-mandated wars, such as the "War on Terror" and Congress' abdication of the power to declair war and writing basically blank checks for endless war is an example.
  • The subversive use of the dominant religion to justify the actions of the State. Franco was the classic for this, always saying, "God is on my side!" This differentiates them from the authoritarian "leftist" governments of the 20th century, who typically demonized religion, but did so for the same reason: to consolidate power. NB: I am no fan of the abusive, authoratarian "left" governments of the 20th century either, and they often used very similar tactics to the fascists, looking almost entirely like them at their extremes. Many governments who have claimed to be on the "left" actually were far more on the "right" in many ways.
  • Intense propaganda to justify the actions of the State, and the suppression, manipulation of, and demonization of a free press for that same end. This apparently is no longer needed in the same way today, owing to the large mix of noise, corporate media, and the lack of any ability to overthrow the State by traditional means. 
  • Great reductions in personal privacy, including extensive intrusions into mail, telegrams, as well as bugged offices, apartments, phones, etc. Contemporary parallels are obvious, as revealed by Snowden and others, and these have been voted for by both the far right and slightly less far right.
  • Increased jailing and marginaliztion of political dissidents. The War on Drugs is a classic example, leading to the US having the largest prison population in the world with their voting rights permanently stripped. John Ehrlichman finally admitted this was all to suppress people of color and the left. The War on Drugs has been supported by both the far right and less far right in the US.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/22/19 4:04 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
The corporatism of fascism doesn't just refer to businesses - common misconception. In the fascist sense it just means body of people, really. Which means, I think, that you can have a revolving door between business and government while still not having a fascist state. You have to tick a few more boxes than cronyism or government control of business.
There's a utility to being pernickety about definitions of fascism because the tendency to stretch the definition eventually leads to people on the right calling the left fascist, often for propaganda reasons. Even fascists get annoyed at this. (no, I'm not an annoyed fascist)

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/22/19 4:40 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
My criticism of McMindfulness is not that it offers relaxation exercises to people. That’s great. I have a problem with those instances when it is used deliberately as a way to get away from the responsibility, of those in authority to do so, to diminish the causes of stress. I also have a problem with the attitude that somebody is not allowed to complain about working conditions because they once were offered the possibility of listening to raisons for a few weeks on top of their regular workload.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/22/19 4:56 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
And for all I know, even listening to raisins might be a great exercise under the right circumstances and for the right purposes. It’s the framing of it as a solution to poor leadership, too heavy work load, lack of support and lack of resources that bothers me, especially when the ordinary work just piles up in the meantime.

As for spiritual kindergarten, I wouldn’t go that far. Personally, I often find myself being aversive to stuff that is too neatly packaged, but for some people it seems to work miracles with regard to life quality. Sometimes I even use some of those neatly packaged guided meditations with sweet voices and binaural beats and cool sound effects because they make me relax. Before my son got melatonine, they were the only thing that helped him fall asleep. Maybe they also help some people realize that slowing down and facing one’s sensate reality is not such a bad idea. I’m all for the idea of making meditation more accessible to people on a large scale, although I think there is need for more information on what the insights may entail and more readiness to support people who encounter difficulties.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/22/19 5:11 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Also, I happen to know that there are people who use Shinzen Young’s system for corporate mindfulness. I don’t know how that is framed. I sincerely hope that it is not something that the bosses just add to the regular work load and use as an excuse for avoiding other responsibilities. If they do, that is not the intention of the teachers. Shinzen’s system does take people to at least stream entry, and there are even experienced meditators like Michael Taft who finds it very beneficial. So I do think it is possible to find one’s way to awakening through a corporate mindfulness program. I just do not believe in the sort of framing that my former colleague was exposed to.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/22/19 5:23 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
And to clarify: I don’t think sila should be imposed on people who meditate. I do believe, though, that we should be careful in how we use the dharma. If people in power are deliberately using mindfulness exercises as a way to pacify people and guilt trip them into silence about poor working conditions or whatever, then we need to problematize that. It is harmful and it gives the dharma a bad name.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/22/19 8:19 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
But in this world of constructions, the difference would be remarkable if those fictional numbers were to enter poor people's bank accounts instead.

The only problem with this sentence is the last word, which I’ve bolded. If you want to propose a program to fight poverty, I’m a big supporter of any and all good ideas on that front. But poverty is a structural problem, not simply an issue of “not enough money”, although that is a proximate cause of the suffering inherent in poverty, obviously. Something like Universal Basic Income might work, but we don’t have enough data on it yet to say if it is a viable solution, much less what the unintended consequences are, and even the best implementations would probably only work in countries that are relatively rich. Artificial General Intelligence may eventually find enough efficiencies/hacks to solve this problem, but that’s a totally unknown distance in the future and AI has its own serous risks.

My point is just that it’s a hard problem. I sympathize with your dissatisfaction with what seems so unfair though. Some have so much while others have nothing at all… However, the ‘take from the rich and give to the poor’ framework is dangerous because it feels so righteous to us that it is easy to miss that 1.) it won’t work at any serious scale (time or number of people), and 2.) the thinking behind it logically supports things like the French Revolution, and I don’t think anyone here wants to see the return of the guillotine. Alas, life is not fair. Old age, sickness, and death are our fate (unless we die young). And like aging, I would rather have weath accumulation, ills and all, happen than not. 

I am just going to respectfully disagree with you on the issue of retribution. Retribution is not just a moralistic cudgel; it serves two vital functions: 1.) it is the threat of retribution that acts as a deterrent. This should be obvious – there will be less theft and assault in a society that punishes those crimes than in one that doesn’t, and 2.) it takes away much of the impetus for victims to take justice into their own hands and seek revenge. That “only the state has the right to the legitimate use of coercive force” is one of the best ideas mankind has ever had, and the retributive side of criminal justice is kind of the where the rubber meets the road there. Now, I wish we lived in a world that needed neither police nor jails, but that’s not our reality and I don't see how contemplative practices will change that. So, we will continue to have the need for retribution against those that would break the law (assuming those laws are just of course, but that’s a very different topic…).

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/22/19 8:31 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
It's such a complicated subject. I've read many criticisms of and can think of many more, but of course there are also people who have been helped by it. I don't have any personal experience with it as my meditation practice has always been a spiritual endeavor. Most of the research I've seen on the subject has been of poor quality.

It makes me sad to see what is to me something sacred reduced to an antidepressant/antianxiety treatment with a denial that anything more is possible. It seems like if it's going to be taught, people should be educated on the traditional purpose of the practice, but instead awakening/enlightenment seems to have been relegated to the status of myth. People are ignorant about mystical experience. Even in a lot of Western Buddhist groups, it isn't thought to be "real" or possible, though.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/22/19 9:17 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Exactly this. I didn’t mean to imply Daniel didn’t know the historical background of the term, but that he was stretching it in an unskillful fashion. We can get into a name-calling game where everyone to the right of you is a Fascist and everyone to the left is a Communist. Translation: you’re either Hitler or Stalin. That is terribly divisive and unhelpful, although to make my own biases plain I'm more concerned about political polarisation than I am about most of the actual non-sense that passes for policial discourse these days. FWIW, my definition of fascism is just: right-wing, ultranationalist authoritarianism. While some aspects of this are on the rise in the West, e.g. increasing nationalism, others are effectively dead, specifically actual authoritarianism, although I acknowledge there is some debate on this point.

I’m reminded of a theory I saw some time ago that, in the early 20-th century, the fascists and the communists were not fierce enemies because they were so diametrically opposed, but because their basic worldviews were so similar – a super strong, centralized economy/authority run by someone with the RIGHT ideas will fix everything – that they were in effect competing for the same hearts and minds. I think it was Hayek that first pointed out this worldview similarity (and rather elegantly debunked it, I would say), but I can’t recall who it was that argued for the competition aspect. In any event, it is interesting that the right/left framework eventually doubles back on itself, forming more of a circle than a linear spectrum. These things are so darn complex (I keep coming back to that, don't I), maybe a multi-dimensional idea-space is better; we can all think in multiple dimensions simultaneously, right??  Ah, the frailties of human cognition - "all that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream..." 

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4/22/19 9:13 AM as a reply to Andromeda.
I'm more optimistic. "Hardcore" dharma/contemplative knowledge is vastly more available now than it was in the 90's, and it was vastly more available in the 90's than it was in the 50's. The trend seems to be that those who want to know, increasingly can. Those that don't, well... maybe just give them more time. emoticon 

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4/22/19 9:23 AM as a reply to Ryan.
I’m reminded of a theory I saw some time ago that, in the early 20-th century, the fascists and the communists were not fierce enemies because they were so diametrically opposed, but because their basic worldviews were so similar – a super strong, centralized economy/authority run by someone with the RIGHT ideas will fix everything – that they were in effect competing for the same hearts and minds

Fascism and communism have similar philosophical roots in Europe beginning with the idea that humanity is "perfectable" under certain utopian conditions and that there is a purpose to history. Rousseau, Hegel, and Marx all figure into the mix.

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4/22/19 10:20 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
@Linda, there is an increasing amount of physician and healthcare worker stress and burnout in the US, perhaps in Europe as well. Mindfulness is being offered as an antidote. Cleveland Clinic has come up with a Code Lavender to add to the established hospital “codes” (eg, code blue = cardiac arrest, code red = fire). Code Lavender is a program for practitioners and caregivers offering emotional support through Holistic Rapid Response that includes not just mindfulness, but such modalities as healing touch, massage, playing recorded music, journaling. And there is a significant amount of push back mainly from interns and Residents (physicians in training), who rightly so, are concerned that this is in a sense blaming the victim and is one more thing for them to do...making make the 'canary in the healthcare coal mine' more mindful while doing nothing to stop the 'poisonous gas' of the toxic and ailing Healthcare system.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/22/19 12:08 PM as a reply to Andromeda.
Andromeda:
It's such a complicated subject. I've read many criticisms of and can think of many more, but of course there are also people who have been helped by it. I don't have any personal experience with it as my meditation practice has always been a spiritual endeavor. Most of the research I've seen on the subject has been of poor quality.

It makes me sad to see what is to me something sacred reduced to an antidepressant/antianxiety treatment with a denial that anything more is possible. It seems like if it's going to be taught, people should be educated on the traditional purpose of the practice, but instead awakening/enlightenment seems to have been relegated to the status of myth. People are ignorant about mystical experience. Even in a lot of Western Buddhist groups, it isn't thought to be "real" or possible, though.


I do agree with you in my heart.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/22/19 1:09 PM as a reply to Ryan.
Ryan, regarding retribution: as far as I know, research says otherwise. It was a while since I read about it, though, so if you can point me to new meta studies that prove that retribution is more effective than systems that try to rehabilitate prisoners, please let me know. This is not a matter of opinion, but a matter of facts.

As for the money issue, I couldn’t care less about those fictional numbers per se. The problem is that there are people who can’t afford to eat properly because they don’t have the money to pay for food while at the same time huge amounts of food are thrown away because nobody paid for it. There is no way to justify that. In a similar vein, there are lots of services that are urgent, such as taking care of people with illness and severe disability, but none of it gets done because ”there are no resources”. At the same time many people are unemployed because ”there are no jobs”. In the meantime, there seem to be plenty of resources for annoying advertisements that make people crave crap that destroys our planet. All of this because those fictional numbers dictate our living conditions, which is absurd.

As I said above, humanity would need to mature enough to realize what needs are real and what ”needs” are only cravings that make us unhappy. We don’t exactly have the kind of society that nurtures such maturity, though, but rather the opposite. Maybe it will turn around before it’s too late, maybe not. Clinging to the current conventions is not going to help. As for AI:s solving that problem... I have seen too many sci-fi movies on that theme to set my hopes to that. Any sufficiently intelligent independent entity would figure out that humanity is the problem. It would solve the problem, allright, but not save humanity.

I do not want to see the French revolution all over again. That’s another reason to do something about the escalating inequality, because I’m afraid that is what will happen if this continues. I don’t believe in violence, but when people are desperate enough, that’s usually what happens.

I’m not going to encourage anyone to take things by force (like the settlers did, not to mention colonialism, imperialism and oil wars). That’s not my cup of tea. I do think that clinging to the idea of private property as something holy is the biggest delusion ever, though. There are no separate selves, for crying out loud. Nobody ever really owned anything.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/22/19 12:50 PM as a reply to Gus Castellanos.
Gus Castellanos:
@Linda, there is an increasing amount of physician and healthcare worker stress and burnout in the US, perhaps in Europe as well. Mindfulness is being offered as an antidote. Cleveland Clinic has come up with a Code Lavender to add to the established hospital “codes” (eg, code blue = cardiac arrest, code red = fire). Code Lavender is a program for practitioners and caregivers offering emotional support through Holistic Rapid Response that includes not just mindfulness, but such modalities as healing touch, massage, playing recorded music, journaling. And there is a significant amount of push back mainly from interns and Residents (physicians in training), who rightly so, are concerned that this is in a sense blaming the victim and is one more thing for them to do...making make the 'canary in the healthcare coal mine' more mindful while doing nothing to stop the 'poisonous gas' of the toxic and ailing Healthcare system.



I’m sorry to say that I’m not surprised. Relaxation and emotional support are not bad per se, but when they are used instead of real measures that would make a difference in the working conditions, that is screwed up.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/22/19 3:44 PM as a reply to Ryan.
I'm sure I'm being needlessly pedantic to Mr Ingram.

I think the  commonalities between nazism and communism were well discussed before Hayek, particularly by the protagonists of the time.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/22/19 3:45 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
I’m reminded of a theory I saw some time ago that, in the early 20-th century, the fascists and the communists were not fierce enemies because they were so diametrically opposed, but because their basic worldviews were so similar – a super strong, centralized economy/authority run by someone with the RIGHT ideas will fix everything – that they were in effect competing for the same hearts and minds

Fascism and communism have similar philosophical roots in Europe beginning with the idea that humanity is "perfectable" under certain utopian conditions and that there is a purpose to history. Rousseau, Hegel, and Marx all figure into the mix.
Yeah I think the basic difference is between national and international.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/22/19 3:51 PM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Gus Castellanos:
@Linda, there is an increasing amount of physician and healthcare worker stress and burnout in the US, perhaps in Europe as well. Mindfulness is being offered as an antidote. Cleveland Clinic has come up with a Code Lavender to add to the established hospital “codes” (eg, code blue = cardiac arrest, code red = fire). Code Lavender is a program for practitioners and caregivers offering emotional support through Holistic Rapid Response that includes not just mindfulness, but such modalities as healing touch, massage, playing recorded music, journaling. And there is a significant amount of push back mainly from interns and Residents (physicians in training), who rightly so, are concerned that this is in a sense blaming the victim and is one more thing for them to do...making make the 'canary in the healthcare coal mine' more mindful while doing nothing to stop the 'poisonous gas' of the toxic and ailing Healthcare system.



I’m sorry to say that I’m not surprised. Relaxation and emotional support are not bad per se, but when they are used instead of real measures that would make a difference in the working conditions, that is screwed up.

I think the demands placed on physicians can be extraordinary. I'm mindful that when I see a GP I have no idea whether he/she has just given the previous appointee three weeks to live, and so to be nice and respectful.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/22/19 3:58 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
I haven’t seen anyone here propose that communist regimes were any better.

Perfectable seems rather unlikely, but if we don’t shape up, humanity isn’t going to make it much longer.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/22/19 4:04 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
Yeah, keeping in mind that someone may have had a really tough day is always a good idea. That’s wise and compassionate.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/23/19 3:33 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Yes, the commonalities between the Far Right and Far Left regimes have been noted again and again. And yet, that the US so preferrentially backed fascists over communitsts does argue for some functional difference, particularly when it comes to issues like wealth distribution, property distribution and even conceptions of property, the role of the managing classes in the economy, and the relationship between capital and labor.

Yes, both tried for some sort of increased cooperation between labor and capital that removed artificial barriers to progress and profit, and both achieved some successes in those regards, though those successes did tend to have a very different aesthetic quality to them, as Mussolini's grand somewhat opulent projects vs massive grey, boring concrete communist housing projects demonstrate. Both clearly have their points and downsides.

Just as you mention the valid point that the right didn't and doesn't like being artificially categorized when it comes to its Modern Era or contemporary flavor of economic vision, neither does the idealized Modern Era or contemporary progressive left.

Linda's points about ethics and wealth distribution are very much in line with my personal view also. Given that there is only so much wealth, and given that much of wealth inequality and the suffering and death caused by it is determined by economic systems and laws, and given that economic systems and laws are much more influenced by those with billions than those with negative wealth, and given that this influence clearly continued to increase the power and property of the wealthy, and given that, with current government-owned weapons and their cataclysmic destructive power, traditional social revolution, however previously destructive, now risks total destruction of the species, and so is untennable, I believe we must focus on how to bring about some rebalancing of the system that also avoids environmental collapse and unbridled anger against the system and the likely resource wars and massive social unrest that will likely cause. I feel that pondering these points about suffering and imagining ways to reduce it are very much allowed when training in sila as I understand it. When one reads the old texts, one sees a differentiation between good kings and bad kings, between good merchants and greedy ones, etc. I hardly believe these references are purely for entertainment and not recorded and transmitted to have no didactic value.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/23/19 4:42 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
"Yes, the commonalities between the Far Right and Far Left regimes have been noted again and again. And yet, that the US so preferrentially backed fascists over communitsts does argue for some functional difference"

Indeed, US/Western support for various regimes particularly in South America was/is basically for the benefit of business corporations, and it's harder to establish a national/racial cult in the German and Italian style in the modern West, though plenty are trying.

Touched on Fascist architecture as part of my degree, but the field tends to be about institutional buildings rather than mass residential. I'm not sure there was a demand for new housing or urbanisation in the same way there was in the USSR, or you might have had similar dull apartment blocks sprouting up in Rome. Certainly the Soviets developed architectural spectacle too - the Moscow Metro and Seven Sisters. Hm, dunno.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/23/19 7:04 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
I’m not disagreeing with you that people convicted of crimes need to be rehabilitated. Long sentences that serve only to punish are needlessly cruel and don’t serve our best interests in the long run anyway as those with only mildly criminal inclinations often come out much more dangerous than they went in. The data is clear on that point. But a criminal justice system’s primary output isn’t the minds of the people that have served their time, it is the reduction of criminal behavior in society generally. Effective rehabilitation is clearly part of that, but so is deterrence and protection (after all, some people are too dangerous to ever be released). On a promising note, there is more and more focus being put on reforms that emhpasis rehabilitation and compassion in the US. Things like drug-courts are becoming very popular, and some state systems have/are experimenting with programs like MBSR, McMindfulness for the incarcerated if you will. emoticon 

I also agree with you that it is in a way absurd that resources get spent on things that are ultimately a waste, while real needs go unaddressed. And yes, no one can actually “own” anything and we waste resources trying to satiate the cravings of an illusory separate self. All true. But most people don’t know that, and I’m just not very optimistic that it will change. It seems unlikely that more than small fraction of people will ever see through the untold ages and ages of biological and cultural conditioning that keeps them blinded in delusion and bound to the wheel. What do you think? How could we ever get to a place where society has ‘matured’ enough that most people see these things and can coordinate efforts accordingly to, for example, teach them to the young in a structured way?

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/23/19 8:38 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Well, on the far-right vs far-left front, I’ll just say: “Today I learned…” Could you point out a few examples of other pre-WW2 thinkers discussing both fascist and communist implementations of centralized collectivism as a response to the shortcomings of liberalism/free markets? It sounds like maybe my horizons could use some expanding. I can’t say I know much about the architectural differences either, but that seems interesting as well.

The US has indeed supported a number of unseemly regimes; realpolitik is a dirty business it would seem. However, I don’t think the facts prove that most of this was done specifically for business interests, the banana-republic affairs notwithstanding. It all seems rather amorally calculated to achieve a single aim – the preservation of liberal democracies/market-based economies in the West. Based on what they knew at the time, this was not obviously wrong, see, e.g., Maoism or Stalinism. Now, to Daniel’s points, the US has always had a strong nationalism aspect to its culture, as well as racism of course – although, there are plenty of racist/nationalists in the rest of the world as well, so that seems more a human nature problem to me, but I to each their own. Either way, I don’t think it’s fair to characterize any of that as indicating a preference for fascism. Outside of the “Good Book” most Americans find few things more “holy” than the US Constitution, which strongly protects separation of powers, political freedom, and many other concepts totally at odds with fascism. Hell, the guiding American myth is “Freedom”, and while obviously ideas can be subverted, that’s going to be a tricky one for any true Totalitarianism.

Now, all that said, I am not fetishizing free markets or advocating for some Ayn Randian-hellscape. The systems in place have their problems, clearly. But again, these are exceedingly hard problems, and the devil really is in the details. So, let’s maybe talk specifics. I think UBI is the best idea on fight against poverty front in ages, but we need a lot more data which will take pilot programs. It can be pitched to the libertarian/right as a replacement for current wasteful government redundancies, and to the left as the most compassionate way to help those without the skills to thrive in the current society. Thoughts? Any better ideas??

Maybe the more pressing moral/ethical concern is future generations. After all, if things continue on long enough their numbers will eventually dwarf that of those alive now. What then? Well, I suspect we may already be screwed on that front. Eventually, some technology as destructive as atomic or biological weapons is going to become available to anyone so inclined to use them. Imagine if you could make an A-bomb from the spare parts of a microwave and a blender, and the instructions were freely availalbe on the internet/dark web. Something of that flavor may well be in our future, making this effectively the last golden age before the fall, the final solution to the Fermi paradox. Or, maybe not! Maybe AI will save us. If we ever find a physical explanation of consciousness and awakening, maybe forced awakening for the global populace could do the trick. Would that be ethical, how would it be implemented, and who get's to decide??? Lo and behold, another ethical dilema and complex systems/coordination problem, just like everything else. Verily I say, it's not turtles all the way down, but unknowable complexity... 

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/23/19 10:58 AM as a reply to Ryan.
 Could you point out a few examples of other pre-WW2 thinkers discussing both fascist and communist implementations of centralized collectivism as a response to the shortcomings of liberalism/free markets?

Nope I'm totally making an assumption from vague impressions, that there plenty of intellectuals at the time to chew on this from all angles.
However, I don’t think the facts prove that most of this was done specifically for business interests, the banana-republic affairs notwithstanding. It all seems rather amorally calculated to achieve a single aim – the preservation of liberal democracies/market-based economies in the West. Based on what they knew at the time, this was not
obviously wrong, see, e.g., Maoism or Stalinism.
Well, Smedley Butler was tasked to go do it, and that's what he thought, and that before the Soviet Union became a superpower inspiring fear of falling communist dominos and gulags on the American doorstep. Coups like Chile were basically to protect investments. Would Latin America be full of Stalinist regimes if steps weren't taken ? Don't know. I suppose N Korea shows that dominos can fall, but the activities of Pinochet et al don't go very far to dispell people's worst fears about capitalism either.
If we ever find a physical explanation of consciousness and awakening, maybe forced awakening for the global populace could do the trick.

You just described a Jeffery Martin novel.
Verily I say, it's not turtles all the way down, but unknowable complexity.
Me too.

cheers.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
4/23/19 1:46 PM as a reply to Ryan.
Ryan:
I’m not disagreeing with you that people convicted of crimes need to be rehabilitated. Long sentences that serve only to punish are needlessly cruel and don’t serve our best interests in the long run anyway as those with only mildly criminal inclinations often come out much more dangerous than they went in. The data is clear on that point. But a criminal justice system’s primary output isn’t the minds of the people that have served their time, it is the reduction of criminal behavior in society generally. Effective rehabilitation is clearly part of that, but so is deterrence and protection (after all, some people are too dangerous to ever be released). On a promising note, there is more and more focus being put on reforms that emhpasis rehabilitation and compassion in the US. Things like drug-courts are becoming very popular, and some state systems have/are experimenting with programs like MBSR, McMindfulness for the incarcerated if you will. emoticon 

I also agree with you that it is in a way absurd that resources get spent on things that are ultimately a waste, while real needs go unaddressed. And yes, no one can actually “own” anything and we waste resources trying to satiate the cravings of an illusory separate self. All true. But most people don’t know that, and I’m just not very optimistic that it will change. It seems unlikely that more than small fraction of people will ever see through the untold ages and ages of biological and cultural conditioning that keeps them blinded in delusion and bound to the wheel. What do you think? How could we ever get to a place where society has ‘matured’ enough that most people see these things and can coordinate efforts accordingly to, for example, teach them to the young in a structured way?


I wouldn’t use the concept McMindfulness for meditation programs in prison. I think that’s a good idea. That’s not something that prevents change, but rather the opposite. It’s compassion and believing in people’s ability to grow.

By showing good examples and real alternatives, I suppose. I’m not overly optimistic either, but what alternatives do we have? Withdrawing? Yeah, most people don’t know that there are no separate selves, and that includes a vaste number of people who are suffering from oppression and poverty.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/24/19 5:55 AM as a reply to Ryan.
Outside of the “Good Book” most Americans find few things more “holy” than the US Constitution, which strongly protects separation of powers, political freedom, and many other concepts totally at odds with fascism. Hell, the guiding American myth is “Freedom”, and while obviously ideas can be subverted, that’s going to be a tricky one for any true Totalitarianism. 

This was my take, too, until fairly recently when it became clear that what's actually in the Constitution is no longer taught in many schools and our collective knowledge base about the way our government works, at least on paper according to our founding documents, has eroded. I'd be thrilled to be proven wrong on this point so someone please do so!


RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/28/19 8:17 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Outside of the “Good Book” most Americans find few things more “holy” than the US Constitution, which strongly protects separation of powers, political freedom, and many other concepts totally at odds with fascism. Hell, the guiding American myth is “Freedom”, and while obviously ideas can be subverted, that’s going to be a tricky one for any true Totalitarianism. 

This was my take, too, until fairly recently when it became clear that what's actually in the Constitution is no longer taught in many schools and our collective knowledge base about the way our government works, at least on paper according to our founding documents, has eroded. I'd be thrilled to be proven wrong on this point so someone please do so!

Is it true that the US constitution was in part influenced by native American political methods ?

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/28/19 8:28 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Is it true that the US constitution was in part influenced by native American political methods ?

I think there was some influence from native sources, especially the Iroquois, but the framers of the Constitution were if nothing if not pragmatic (sound familiar?). Most textbooks will say the framers were mostly influenced by ancient Greek democracies, but they didn't set up a democracy based on ancient Greek principles on purpose. There is a lot of detail to the story and it's been a long time since I studied political philosophy formally. I do know that the framers weren't of one homogeneous mind on how the US Constitution should work. To get a real flavor of the people involved and the various concerns they had about the nature and structure of the US government I suggest a start by reading The Federalist Papers:

http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/documents/1786-1800/the-federalist-papers/

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/28/19 11:33 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
I made a excellent scientific chart to illustrate my point
https://pasteboard.co/IceBtB2.jpg



As depicted, and according to Global Awakening Theory, the rate of awakenings is rising along with internet enabled devices, global total mining output, CO2 emissions, and debt (both personal and national).

However awakenings are negatively correlated with income - which I forgot to graph.

A couple of other things I could add to the chart are privatisation (capitalism eating into the public commons), and urbanisation - people migrating from country to city.

Oh, and military spending.

Lot's of things, really.

I am confident that this is as thorough an analysis as any you will find surfing the web.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/28/19 11:57 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
I don’t know if I can totally disabuse you of that notion, but I will say that I’m not coming from a place of naïveté here. While theoretically any society that popularly elects its leaders should have a well-informed voting population, in a nation of 300+ million that’s just not what society looks like writ large. However, you don’t need everyone to believe in those things. The people that actually make those values matter are the civil servants, lawyers, and similar professionals who care very deeply about these things and work hard every day to fight for them. While no single one of them has the power that certain politicians that are known to be idiots have, taken together they greatly outpower any would-be authoritarian. Not to say that could never change, but the US is much, much safer from true Authoritarianism than most Republics. To vastly oversimplify, my mental model is that: Markets are bigger than governments, and cultures are bigger than markets. The US has an unusually strong cultural norm of belief in the rule-of-law, and everything else flows from there. 

As usual, Shakespeare gives us some insight here as well. In Henry VI, Dick the Butcher’s line “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers” works on many levels. Of course, it’s funny because it’s understood that no one would miss them all that much. On the other hand, his gang is basically plotting to overthrow the government, and that’s a logical fist step.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/28/19 11:59 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
I think you forgot to plot the compelling link between the rise in household debt and the proliferation of Super Hero Movies. emoticon 

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/28/19 3:06 PM as a reply to Ryan.
To vastly oversimplify, my mental model is that: Markets are bigger than governments, and cultures are bigger than markets. The US has an unusually strong cultural norm of belief in the rule-of-law, and everything else flows from there. 

I think we're going to test your theory on the resilience of this republic over the next few years. I hope you're right, of course. I do think the majority of us maintain a level of respect for the rule of law but I'm not sure we agree on what that phrase actually means in the context of how this government should function. The rule of law (not of men) is, I assume you would admit, under some amount of stress.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/29/19 4:50 AM as a reply to Ryan.
Ryan:
I think you forgot to plot the compelling link between the rise in household debt and the proliferation of Super Hero Movies. emoticon 

Well, yeah, for the price of a one movie visit you could buy a comic book that you can read over and over for the rest of your life. No wonder people are in debt.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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4/29/19 4:52 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel, is there any sort of epidemiology of awakening ?

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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5/1/19 8:12 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
How the government functions vis-à-vis the rule of law is fairly straight-forward. While discretion is necessary and built in for edge cases, the functions the government serves are explicit, as well as the methods for changing those functions to fit changing needs. That this is hard to do is a feature rather than a bug. We gain stability in exchange for some instances where the law is out of synch with reality, such as with the Electoral College, the 2nd Amendment, etc.

I think the rule of law is always under stress. That it holds up in the face of those who would try to evade its logic and consequence is perhaps its chief virtue. And we can be myopic about how much stress it is actually under right now. Compare the current time to the late 60’s and Watergate for example. Or, more powerfully, the Civil War when Lincoln suspended habeas corpus; clearly breaking the law in order to save it.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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5/1/19 9:42 AM as a reply to Ryan.
And we can be myopic about how much stress it is actually under right now. Compare the current time to the late 60’s and Watergate for example. Or, more powerfully, the Civil War when Lincoln suspended habeas corpus; clearly breaking the law in order to save it.

The Civil War is certainly the most extreme example. The nation was almost literally ripped apart and had to be re-assembled after the war. I think the rule of law is under more serious attack right now that it was during the Watergate era, mainly because the current administration is not taking an absolutist stand on oversight by Congress. This will end up in the courts and we'll see what comes of that but that process feels less certain than it did in 1973 and 1974.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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5/1/19 12:06 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Is it true that the US constitution was in part influenced by native American political methods ?

I think there was some influence from native sources, especially the Iroquois, but the framers of the Constitution were if nothing if not pragmatic (sound familiar?). Most textbooks will say the framers were mostly influenced by ancient Greek democracies, but they didn't set up a democracy based on ancient Greek principles on purpose. There is a lot of detail to the story and it's been a long time since I studied political philosophy formally. I do know that the framers weren't of one homogeneous mind on how the US Constitution should work. To get a real flavor of the people involved and the various concerns they had about the nature and structure of the US government I suggest a start by reading The Federalist Papers:

http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/documents/1786-1800/the-federalist-papers/

Ah. Here's why I ask, it's associated with my dharma readings.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
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5/6/19 11:01 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
I think that a number of debates are occurring here, sometimes intermingled, and sometimes people imagine that they are intermingled in another poster, even when that poster has gone out of their way to exploicitly not intermingle them.

Debate #1: Mage vs Sage. In the Mage vs Sage debate, the question is basically, "Should one engage with the world of politics, of cabbages and kings?" The hypothetical Sage says, "No, one should not engage with the world of politics. There will always be greedy kings and wars. There will always be the poor. The world is a quagmire, full of conflict and stupidity. Best to withdraw, to practice alone, to wander lonely as a rhinocerous, to avoid all of that. It is agitating to the mind, unresolvable, endless, a thorny thicket of views and difficulty. Best to enjoy one's wisdom in solitude." Lao Tsu exemplified this well, and many other great Sages have also. We find the ideal of the Pratyekabuddha as one valid option. The Buddha practiced this way for years, and advocated his monastics generally do the same, said that right speech for monastics avoided gossip about wars and kings, though there were exceptions. The Buddha however, after reaching enlightenment and being tempted to be a Sage by Mara, himself switched to he other path, that of the Mage.

One on the path of the hypothetical Mage answers the question differently, saying, "This world is integral to what we are. We are a part of this world. There can be no reduction of suffering without reducing the suffering that is in the world, as they are all interdependent, all a part of the whole. We who have wisdom should go forth, care, act, and use what we have learned to make the world better. Yes, there will be difficulties. Yes, there will be unforseen consequences. Yet, to know and not act is to shirk responsibility, as if we don't, who will? This is the path of the Bodhisattva, of the Buddha after his renunciate phase, of numerous Saints and other advocates for wise service. While it is pretty much guaranteed that not all Mages would agree on the right things to do, they would agree that engagement is warranted.

I don't believe that there is a right, one-size-fits-all answer to the question of whether each individual at any moment should be more Sage or Mage. In reality, we all walk up and down this spectrum all the time. At night, when we retire from doing whatever we do in the world and sleep, we are going more Sage. When we get up and start acting in the world, we go a bit more Mage. It is really a spectrum between extremes, and, in each instant, we may be going more one way or the other, So, the debate is really more about how far should one lean in either direction as a matter of of moving average.

I personally have had significant Sage and Mage periods, and think they have helped contribute to each other. I still vascillate moment to moment.

There are days when I think, "Being a public figure is a pain in the ass. Dealing with psychotic people threatenening me and my family is too much to deal with. Debating other puffed up alpha-teachers is a pointless chore that just entrenches views and causes further fortification of camps. Let this mad world crash along as it does. It is unsavable. The forces working to destroy through greed, hatred, and delusion are so vast than me that my actions are mere dust blowing in the wind, all absurd vanity and pathetic noise, all doomed to failure. My resources are limited, and I should not waste them on such stupidity. I should save them for myself and the few who are very close to me. I will follow the advice in Candide and cultivate my own garden with a few friends far from the insanity, meditate, and enjoy what is left of this short life in the company of a few like-minded people, as anything else would be at best a farce."

Other days I think, "No, truly this world can be helped, and to not help would be a true abdication of responsability. There are little things you can do, and doing those little things is worthwhile, even if it is all possibly doomed to cataclysmic failure. To hoard your resources would be miserly. To keep silent would be selfish. The risks and costs, while real, are still worth it, etc."

So, I totally understand about those who, at this moment, or perhaps go long term, are more Mage or Sage. I don't think that anyone should try to force anyone to be more Mage or Sage, though others do think that others should hold to their side of the debate. However, that brings us to the next question:

Debate #2: Should a community be aligned around one pole of this Mage vs Sage debate, or even any debate, and, if not, should such discord be discussed?

Some people like their communities and tribes a lot more consistent than others. Some people clearly don't like the sense that their views on this debate (or any other significant or even insignificant debate) might be in conflict with others in their community, as they prefer the feel of a much more coherent tribe whose views are much more aligned with theirs, and feel something is lost or even threatened when their views are not mirrored by those around them. This is understandable. Clearly, it feels better to be around those who agree with us. Clearly, it feels more uncomfortable to be around those who challenge our views. This might manifest here along the lines of, "We should all hold the same views on the Mage vs Sage debate and other debates, and to raise other views is to challenge the coherence of the community, so it should not be done."

Others may be much more focused, with a higher degree of tolerance for a wide range of views as long as a few core views are sufficient to create some cohesion in the community that is aligned around a specific, more narriow topic. They might think, "Ah, a community that appreciates debate and discussion is a healthy one, so let us all bring our views and best wisdom to topics to help us explore them and draw on the range of perspectives here so as to enrichen us all."

Others might feel that, while they might be more tolerant of a range of views, a community that is aligned around a more narrow topic should not introduce or discuss topics that might cause decoherence and threaten the community, as they realize that many who might be in that community, or in this case on a specific forum, might have less tolerance for divergent views that are not on the core topic of the community and so that, by discussing views that they might tolerate, still see danger to the community, as in, "Don't mix politics and the dharma on a forum, as, while I can tolerate it, others might not be so tolerant or appreciative."

Debate #3: If we agree that we can discuss the path of the Mage, and if we agree that the community can tolerate debate about topics other than those in a narrow range, such as politics, then how does the Dharma possibly inform politics?

This is obviously already excluding a good bunch of people, as some clearly feel that the path of the Mage shouldn't be discussed, and that possibly divisive topics that are not focused more narrowly on very specific subjects and dedicated to very specific ends shouldn't be discussed, and that topics that might split the community along political lines shouldn't be discussed, as to discuss these risks community coherence, and risks some feeling that they have to hold certain views to be a part of the community, and that particularly those who have some sort of leadership role or persona shouldn't post their individual views on politics, as that might alienate those who relate to them in some sort of more parental way rather than them just being some other person with their own views, etc.

So, once we get past all of those other debates, we get to the question of various political views, of which just one is the leftist vs rightist debate. In fact, political debates can break down along a number of axes.

I am going to guess that a reasonable proportion of people on this forum would advocate for rights like free speech and religious freedom, as without those this forum couldn't exist, at least without the state that was limiting religious speech and freedom being in some way aligned with a pretty unusual range of religious views for a police state. Thus, posting on a forum like this could be viewed as a political act. In fact, I have wondered if I could even gain entrance to various countries if they knew I ran a forum like this one, as religious tolerance and free speech tolerance are nothing resembling universal. I routinely wonder if one day I will have to leave the US if the fascists ever take over and realize that my view are not aligned with theirs. Such things are more the norm in the world and in history than the exception.

I am going to guess that a reasonable proportion of people on this forum would advocate for kindness over cruelty, peace over violence, helping people over harming them, etc., but exactly how they would advocate for helping people, being kind, and bringing about peace might vary widely, and that's ok, and part of the interesting discussion to be had by those who like such things, I believe.

Still, when it comes to more specific policy debates, such as wealth redistribution, taxes, the role of government in the economy, the role of government in individual rights, and the like, it is likely that a wide diversity of views exists, and that, again, is where I find the conversations interesting, but clearly not everyone is comfortable with this. If you are not comfortable with it, I also agree that you should feel welcome to express those views, but this is a forum with open debate as its purpose, so, past a certain point, views that advocate for not debating certain topics will run up againts the forum's explicit purpose, which is to be able to discuss topics related to wisdom and the reduction of suffering through various means. Should some of these debates make you nervous or uncomfortable, consider sticking to threads that are more focused on topics you enjoy and are comfortable with.

As a curious synchronicity, just this moment while I was typing this post my wife just showed me a picture of a restaurant menu from her journey in Laos, an explicitly communist country. Below the sections on Main Dishes, Steaks, and Desserts, there is Food for Thought section, which says, "Cultivating a non-discriminating mind provides the serenity for practitioners to let go of afflictions, wandering thoughts and attachments. It is difficult for us to let go due to the injusticies we feel we have suffered and the grudges we thus hold. However, feeling this way only puts us at more of a disadvantage because then we suffer the consequences of our grudges. Inequalities exist in this world because of our discriminating mind. -Venerable Master Chin Kung." Then below it is the quote, "Go Along with Conditions. Do Not Seek Them. There is Nothing to Seek, for All is Unreal, Merely Illusion."

While one could clearly use this quote to gain peace, to accept circumstances, to cultivate Equanimity, detatchment, and possibly wisdom, one could also use this quote to rationalize accepting horrible circumstances, injustices, and indignities that one did not have to accept, to go along passively with the powers that be, and to abdicate responsibility for what occurs. In that same way go the debates of Mage vs Sage, of whether or not topics of cabbages and kings should be discussed, etc. That I personally am at this moment in more of a leftist, Mage, discussion-positive phase shouldn't be taken to be anything more than what it is, and, should you be thrown by that, then follow your own advice, and cultivate a non-discriminating mind that lets go of the world to provide serenity and wisdom for yourself.


Hi! I’m wondering, as I chose to post a thread that was in line with the mage position despite the fact that some find it uncomfortable, should I have marked the post somehow differently to be more clear about the purpose of the thread? Is there a way to have mage threads that do not end up in discussion about whether or not the mage position should be expressed at all? And is there a way to have them without making people in the sage position uncomfortable? I certainly would not want to be the cause of a schism on the forum. I have the deepest respect for anyone’s personal choice with regard to being more of a mage or a sage. I just need to go through my mage phase in peace, even if it is utterly naive. Should I do that somewhere else instead? Or in a different way? There seems to be at least one person that worries about an upcoming schism because of my thread, so if I was wrong in trying to initiate the kind of explorative communication that I was aiming at, and in insisting that the conversation stayed on topic, please tell me. I’m sure that I could have chosen my words in a a more skillful way, and I wish I had found a way to do that, because I certainly do not want to hurt or be disrespectful towards any of the wise and kind-spirited people of this forum. That’s why I ask if there is a way to frame such topics in order to be more clear about the purpose from the beginning. Or should we just keep debating whether the mage position is okay in all these threads?

If it is unfair of me to ask you, or if you believe that it would only make matters worse, feel free to ignore this or erase it if needed.

May this forum continue to be of benefit to all sentient beings.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
5/24/19 6:00 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
An addendum on the subject of social stress and spiritual zeitgeist -

https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/dr-persingers-god-machine-1589465.html



"Until very recently, visionaries, whether aesthetic or transcendental, have been marginalised in the West. Yet that marginalisation is being dramatically altered in our time: back in the early 20th century, there were virtually no Christian Charismatics at all; by the Nineties, no less than 25 per cent, or 400 million, of the Christian communion worldwide; by the end of the century, an estimated 30 per cent, almost one in three."

"The really crucial question is whether there is actually some fundamental cultural shift taking place, something beyond the mere strains and stresses of uncertainty. Some kind of refashioning, if you will, of consciousness itself: something that will make Charismatic experience that much more readily available to everyone. Marshall McLuhan's been underestimated. His essential thinking, intuitive though it was, seems to me to be scientifically sound: yes, we are moving from a culture of literacy to what one might, indeed, call an aural/tactile culture; and, yes, that does involve profound changes of awareness."

So, OK, the idea is our culture is more anxious, and also more audio/visual.

Anxiety can produce spiritual experiences.
More audio/visual means less textual and therefore less discursive and less imaginative, more immediate.

So maybe if it's true that more people are having awakenings then this is relevant ?

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
5/25/19 3:38 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
Found this great article on McMindfulness in the Guardian, and was thrilled that this topic is getting wider press. My anti-corporate dharma, anti-for-profit dharma, anti-ethics-free dharma, and anti-watered-down dharma, anti-cubicle-adaptation dharma, and post-modern-revised-leftist buttons of joy and agreement were all pressed at once, leading to delight.

I really look forward to treading David Forbes' book, and to also reading the soon-to-be-released book by his blurb-writer, with a write up of it here.

May these books and work lead to much good in the world.

Why is everyone acting like going into politics is dirty? If other people are dying of poverty, global warming has potential to flood the entire Earth, and thousands of people are discriminating on different races, shouldn't the solution would be to participate in the community to help out then? The main cause of evil in the world is not politics, but people being completely apathetic to doing anything. If a politician made laws around making the world more green, allowing fair laws around minorities and all that, is that going to be a bad thing? I have no idea what in the world you're talking about. 

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
5/25/19 5:13 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
It would be interesting to know what the author's vision of the world is, apart from citicising the negative aspects of capitalism. Hopefully it wouldn't look like the Chinese attitude to feudalist Tibetan buddhism.
Being anti-capitalist doesn't necessarily make someone a brutal communist, and I'm sure the author isn't a raving Maoist and simply wants social reform along New Deal and European welfare state lines, rather than tanks on the streets. Won't know until the book is read I suppose.

Looking at a brief interview with the author
David Forbes
Buddhism has ethical values and practices such as non-violence. Its deeper moral stance is that we are interconnected with all beings, to all our social relationships and institutions, and with the earth itself.
People will argue that you become kinder and more compassionate just by practicing mindfulness. But I believe people need a moral framework in addition to mindfulness, some social vision to guide them.

But is that moral framework supposed to be a legally enforced moral framework ? Moral guidelines laid down by law, which is the practical aspect of a social vision, means violent enforcement, whether by socialist or capitalist.
Nobody but those living off the grid can avoid being herded or protected by state violence in some way or other, not in the modern world, and you could probably make a sounder argument for buddhist anarchism than socialism.

When the buddha, in the story, sits down under a tree and watches the workers in the fields, he seems to think the key to liberation is developing jhanas, not collectivising the farm and liberating it's workers from the chains of the fuedal parasites, which were his family, after all. Or did all the revolutionary land reforms get edited out of the scriptures in later years ? emoticon

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
5/25/19 12:00 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
Your choice of words is interesting. What do you mean by "state violence?" Do you mean the power of the state to enforce laws? Do you mean that the state is illegitimately using its power to enforce the law?

Really just curious...

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
5/25/19 3:05 PM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Your choice of words is interesting. What do you mean by "state violence?" Do you mean the power of the state to enforce laws? Do you mean that the state is illegitimately using its power to enforce the law?

Really just curious...


Yeah I mean the basic violence needed for enforcement whether legitimate or illegitimate. Or in this case whether it's used by left or right wings to enforce policy.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
5/27/19 9:04 PM as a reply to Stickman2.
Looking at a brief interview with the author
David Forbes
Buddhism has ethical values and practices such as non-violence. Its deeper moral stance is that we are interconnected with all beings, to all our social relationships and institutions, and with the earth itself.
People will argue that you become kinder and more compassionate just by practicing mindfulness. But I believe people need a moral framework in addition to mindfulness, some social vision to guide them.

But is that moral framework supposed to be a legally enforced moral framework?

Lordy, I hope not. While the Buddha’s teachings clearly do lay out a spiritual path that should, in theory, lead one to greater kindness and compassion, at the societal level that’s not often how it has turned out historically. Look what’s going on in Myanmar right now, or the Zen influence on the Japanese kamikaze, or even the terribly tumultuous history of Tibet. Just like buddhist training doesn’t negate human physiology, it doesn’t appear to do much to negate our tribalistic instincts either, at least not at scale. For my money, I think Buddhist training in Sila can very much instruct us in terms of Axiology and general Morality, but it tells us very little about what the Law should be. Conflating these domains when extolling the virtues of Buddhism/meditation/mindfulness is a recipe for trouble.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
5/28/19 4:08 AM as a reply to Ryan.
(Responding to the latest post in order to adress the discussion about the latest question and the discussion as a whole, not to comment specifically on one post).

I haven’t read the book either, but I just assumed that enforcing new laws was not part of the concept. As I see it, there’s a huge step between engaging in ethical discussions on the one hand and making laws on the other hand. Most spiritual traditions have a deeply problematic history and/or present when it comes to power, and it’s important not to go there. I believe it to be possible to discuss ethics without enforcing anything. As we cannot fully predict the consequences of any action or principle, any discussion about ethics needs to be humble and explorative and open to many different perspectives. Deciding once and for all what is ”right” or ”wrong” would be dogmatic and contraproductive for spiritual growth. That doesn’t mean that we must ignore the topic altogether. As long as we live together in this world, I think some kind of ethically oriented approach is unevitable for the individual, and I also believe that there needs to be some kind of common ground with regard to what approaches are reasonable. Ethical discussions can be helpful in this matter.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
5/28/19 4:24 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Do you not agree that government policies of all stripe are predicated on violence ?

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
5/28/19 6:46 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Do you not agree that government policies of all stripe are predicated on violence ?

Are you picking a fight?   emoticon

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
5/29/19 3:04 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
Chris Marti:
Do you not agree that government policies of all stripe are predicated on violence ?

Are you picking a fight?   emoticon


Are we going to do it in a barn at night or are you going to squeal to the cops ? emoticon

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
5/29/19 7:03 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Maybe I'll use the courts, the legal authority of the state, to get an injunction so that you can't come within 50 ASCII characters of my location.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
6/13/19 2:42 AM as a reply to Chris Marti.
...and thus the property of the state warns it's owner that it's taxation value is endangered. Good doggy. emoticon

Really, though, how do we persuade ourselves that we are living lives of non-violence ? Isn't it plain that we actually can live as part of a violent system and still be enlightened ? All the gurus pay their taxes, and if they don't the law turns up with the cuffs.

But furthermore, there are hints that people living in isolated egalitarian communities don't need meditation - ie some tribal people. So maybe further furthermore, contemplative practices are an adaptation to our sort of societies, that it's civilization that is the problem. In which case McMindfulness is just one iteration of a long adoption of contemplative practices which compensate for the effects of living in whatever society we happen to be in. In Gautama's day people had to deal with the sense of disconneciton and self that his agrarian, clan society produced, but modern people have to deal with the consumerist 9-5 grind.

ie, unenlightenment is a social construction, and it wasn't always there.

So, how far can living in right community take you ?

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
6/13/19 5:53 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Interesting perspective.

Not paying taxes could be seen as violent too, though, if it means that there is no support for those who need it. Unfortunately, living outside of civilization is not an option for people with certain disabilities and/or illnesses.

I don’t think it is possible to be completely non-violent and part of our society. There are so many structures involved in society that contribute to oppression. The fact that we have this conversation online means that we have contributed to an industry that deals with metals in a way that hurts both people and the environment. Living outside the society probably excludes people and hurts the environment because we would still pollute it. We can’t even grow our own vegetables without killing at least some insects, but living from local production and without any luxury and sharing with those who need it would probably be less violent than our current civilization. We wouldn’t be able to have this conversation, though.

For what purpose do those people not need meditation? For dealing with suffering or for learning some fundamental truths about consciousness? Both? How do we know that they are not meditating? They could hypothetically be meditating non-stop but not call it anything because it is their default mode of action.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
6/13/19 6:24 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Stickman2 -- I'm really not interested in having an argument about the source of government power. Just not at all.

Peace   emoticon

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
6/14/19 3:05 AM as a reply to Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö.
Linda ”Polly Ester” Ö:
Interesting perspective.

Not paying taxes could be seen as violent too, though, if it means that there is no support for those who need it. Unfortunately, living outside of civilization is not an option for people with certain disabilities and/or illnesses.

I don’t think it is possible to be completely non-violent and part of our society. There are so many structures involved in society that contribute to oppression. The fact that we have this conversation online means that we have contributed to an industry that deals with metals in a way that hurts both people and the environment. Living outside the society probably excludes people and hurts the environment because we would still pollute it. We can’t even grow our own vegetables without killing at least some insects, but living from local production and without any luxury and sharing with those who need it would probably be less violent than our current civilization. We wouldn’t be able to have this conversation, though.

For what purpose do those people not need meditation? For dealing with suffering or for learning some fundamental truths about consciousness? Both? How do we know that they are not meditating? They could hypothetically be meditating non-stop but not call it anything because it is their default mode of action.

(I don't know how you break these quote boxes up for point by point reply)

re: Not paying taxes - that's where non-aggressive libertarian arguments come in. Americans are much better versed in that than I, not as many libertarians in Europe.

Re: phones and coltan. There are legit coltan mines all over the world, probably with health and safety and unions etc. But we never know whether our stuff was got by fair means or foul because of the secrecy around supply chains, and the diffusion of responsibility in taxation systems. It all goes in a big pot for NATO, Africom, MI6 or whatever, and they don't like to give the details of how it's spent. Plus, the nicest unionised labour forces are still policed and enforced, and when it comes to the weapons industry are some of the most stubbornly resistant to peace. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuPrrdRzlxc

Re: people naturally at peace, certain tribes like the Penan - I'm just getting into it so don't want to say much before I know what it's about. (Some say) their lives provide them with all the attention practice and sila they need.

RE: McMindfulness article in the Guardian
Answer
6/14/19 7:38 AM as a reply to Stickman2.
Thanks for replying! I think this is an interesting discussion. I know how to split up the quotes (when you click on source you can see how it is done) but it takes too much energy from me to actually do it. Too challenging for my motor function and too many steps for my poor executive functioning. I can do it, but it affects my mood. Sorry.

Yeah, I have discussed this with libertarians, although those particular ones didn’t seem very non-aggressive. I believe that if people were really able to trust each other enough to never take more for themselves that they needed for the moment, then there would be no need for any formal system for distribution. Unfortunately, we are not there. Nowadays it seems like suspicion is the default mode. I want a world where those who are week for some reason are not abandoned and not seen as parasites. Everybody cannot be productive enough to manage on their own. Some people can’t get out of their bed, if they have a bed. Some form of distribution is needed. Voluntary distribution doesn’t cover the needs. Charity has some violence to it too, I think, at least if gratitude is expected (depending on how violence is defined, of course; that’s a very broad definition). Voluntary distribution without any form of entitlement from those who ”give” would be another thing. It wouldn’t be giving, then. It would just be the natural thing to do, and a matter of logistics only. Unfortunately, I don’t think most people are capable of that today. A system based on such ideals would probably just be in denial of how some people are really abandoned. As long as people separate between themselves and their loved ones and others, and ascribe some essence to that, and also have some kind of scarcity based thinking, there will probably be some power dynamics at play. Then we need to be aware of power dynamics, and compensate for them. That could probably be done in different ways. Taxes are just one way of doing it. But I think it has to be done. I wish there were no need for it.

Thanks for the information! I’m not as up to date with the details as you are, regarding phones and metals and the oppression that goes on there. I totally agree that the secrecy is a great problem. Even if it wasn’t a secret, there are many ways to make it difficult for people who are relatively low on resources to make a choice that wouldn’t be oppressive. I don’t think taking away the secrecy is enough to make a significant enough change. There would be a need for some kind of investment either collectively or by those who have enough resources to make ethical choices available for those who currently lack resources.

Sounds like the Penan have a way of life that we could learn a lot from. I agree that it is wise not to speculate. Still, I think that meditation is not necessarily limited to formal practice. I think being in awareness is meditative regardless of how it is done. But yeah, the very idea of meditation as a special thing, separate from other modes of being, is probably a construct that we need because of how our society manifests. It’s hard to distinguish the chicken from the egg when it comes to human beings and their societies, though, but clearly the variation that can be found between societies gives some clues about what is possible.