The World Transformation Movement (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Wednesday, November 04, 2020, 15:52 (25 days ago) @ xeno6696

Matt: I would say cooperation started even earlier than hunter-gathering as it's fundamental to several of our relatives, Bonobos being one example.


David: Very true. But I can't say the bonobos epigenetically taught us about cooperation in small groups. humans had to learn it on their own.


And this I think is where we diverge: I don't think we had to 'learn' it as a part of culture that we then pass down. We have natural instincts and emotions that conspire to push us together into groups like this. If you'll allow me a digression:

In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition there is a meditation they teach called "Tonglen." The theme of the meditation is to absorb the negative emotions in various circumstances of the world and send that energy back out in a sense of loving-kindness and compassion. In Buddhist psychology practices like this are important as with human beings, we tend to amplify whatever we tend to ingest cognitively and emotionally. one of the common themes that comes up is wishing compassion to oppressors as well as the oppressed. Well alright, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said the same thing in different language. But why the oppressed? King also had an answer if you've ever heard his speech about when he worked to "convert" the county jailers. The answer struck me when watching my own daughters: 'Oppressive' behavior doesn't exist. You might get some teasing, but you're not going to get the kind of behavior from children like you saw in North Carolina with that White Supremacist rally back in 2017.

There's three cases where I can imagine someone willfully engaging in oppression.
1.) They are more afraid of someone else that is somehow coercing that behavior. (Warlord/Organized Crime)
2.) The societal system that encourages oppression due to some sort of scapegoating (Hitler's Germany, The Spanish Inquisition) or even through institutional habit. (slavery itself)
3.) The level of Greed or Lust in that individual is strong enough to give them the emotional capability of committing oppression. (Medieval Crusaders, Human traffickers, Slavers)

Of course there's plenty of room for all three of these to meld and blend with each other, but my thinking has found these three as the loci for what's necessary to foster oppressive behaviors.

So we wish compassion for the oppressors because if they had their legitimate spiritual needs met, there would be no need for oppression. And... in short that's the primary goal of Buddhism in all its forms.

As a final note, and this is where the raw strength of my belief on the innate 'goodness' of human beings lies: ethics, language, and morality mean absolutely nothing from the perspective of a solitary individual. It IS true that these systems began with a tribal nature and I'm not denying that there isn't a tribal impulse in us that pushes back against 'the other,' but that impulse isn't as strong in all places and amongst all peoples. Genesis 18 and 19 both demonstrate this in pre-Moses culture, and it is still practiced today in Bedouin cultures. I know you're not necessarily a big Bible guy David, but I think it speaks volumes that the Hospitality culture of the ancient pre-Israelites encapsulates a value towards 'the other' transcending tribe LONG before Moses and Solomon. There's hints of this everywhere where some sort of surviving record still exists. My own Viking ancestors also had a grand tradition of hospitality that also predated Christianity.

First, thank you for the education in Eastern thought. at my age I can still continue to learn. Yes we all have an innate goodness, empathy and sympathy as shown in your first sentence. I once knew Genesis 18,19 and you've recalled it for me.


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