illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)
One of the mechanisms of samsaric perpetuation is via 'culture', which is one of the karmic mechanisms most people can understand: culture passes from one generation to the next, via 'appropriation' —making 'mine'— by each new generation (e.g. no one feels of a particular nationality until one appropriates it as his/her own).
The way current culture practically imprisons people is via the threefold trap:
1. 'formatting' by education (both at home and at school), creating pre-defined and well-shared anticipations, promoting the status quo and the de facto not only as 'inevitable' but also as an 'achievement', the "culmination of progress" (or at the very least the challenges one 'has' to go through in order to achieve progress);
2. the promotion that 'comfort', 'ease', 'well-being' are valuable in and of themselves (regardless of their costs for oneself —e.g. stupidly over-paying while shopping for unneeded stuff— and for others —e.g. ignoring whoever isn't 'useful' to you at any given time;— regardless of ethics; regardless of ecology…).
This is pernicious because sentient beings are naturally comfortable with what they know (regardless of how good or bad this is), what somehow conforms to their expectations (predictability allows planning and improves one's ability to act on the world in order to achieve 'goals')… and not so naturally comfortable with what is unanticipated, regardless of how ethically right or how wholesome this might be;
3. the politically-correct insistence that one shouldn't do what one feels uncomfortable with, that one is 'entitled' to one's comfort, that being pushed into the uncomfortable automatically is a form of 'abuse' (gplus.wallez.name/gTX5UsiVBeA).
The above works in relation to the economic model, to the ruling model (not only politics but also household dynamics), to the role of people in society (based on gender, colour, age, class, caste, education, etc.)…
This is the perfect threefold recipe for people to perpetuate a system, even if it's unsatisfactory! Simply because people strongly prefer what they can somehow predict rather than what is acknowledged as mostly or fully unknown.
The trauma of everyday life is real… « life is dukkha » is the first of the ennobling truths… but to wish life to 'be' different does not Liberate from dissatisfaction, from dukkha, it's too passive. Responding differently in order to 'make' it different might Liberate. The Middle Way is a practice engaged in the world.
A wholesome response is any response (you can be creative, there is no one-size-fits-all, context-less recipe) that is not based on lust, aversion or ignorance (ignorance of impermanence, of selflessness, or of the dissatisfied nature of the craving mind).
Accepting things as they are (gplus.wallez.name/iHfe1Jgx9ZM) is not passivity: it's the opposite of "wishful thinking", it's the recognition of a starting point from which one takes responsibility for wholesome change (gplus.wallez.name/Z38n35NGvyB).
This is not about pretending that "everything is perfect", but this is simply stating that "things are as they are right now, and there's no point in telling long stories about how they 'could' be different right now"; this is perceiving life itself instead of a dream of 'full' life (gplus.wallez.name/U8HTPrRcHNW); this is the root of engagement.
Phenomena are as they are, but you can constructively reflect on how they could wholesomely evolve! Don't wait not to be 'challenged' or 'stressed' anymore, don't wait for a better starting-point (gplus.wallez.name/Gnbsbi5Bmgy), engage with phenomena as they are, without a self-serving agenda!
Spiritual warriors (gplus.wallez.name/KW8EX6VBh1m), although wounded themselves, care for the wounded.
This is not about whether they've been 'abused' or not, but about what they can do now for all (for others and themselves)! They don't limit themselves by the unpleasantries of the past.
To care for others, when your own life isn't 'sorted', is not comfortable… and the status-quo might thus push you to believe that you shouldn't care "too much" (if at all)… but never consider 'abusive' the ethical imperatives you need to respond to!
If you wish to live in a better world, with less suffering, you're responsible (along others) for creating it!
#TimeToAct ! To decrease true abuse, it is necessary to decrease violence, which requires decreasing weapons… no matter how profitable the business is, or "good for the economy", or how narratives on self-protection push towards "take the weapons away from 'others' first, I'll keep mine for now"!
That is to say it is necessary to accept an increase in vulnerability (gplus.wallez.name/VncF6stVDyN). Sharing requires one to make the first step: if we wait for others to do so, everybody will wait forever!
It also is necessary to condemn abuse, no matter how 'close' one is from the abuser (but without falling into witch hunts, nor into labelling everything 'abuse' gplus.wallez.name/gTX5UsiVBeA): sending one's family member or friend to prison might not be joyful, reporting "brothers in arms" for unethical behaviours might not be joyful and might even feel 'treasonous', but the law of silence is perpetuating a painful world! Making exceptions for those "closer to home" —e.g. exempting them from justice— sends the wrong signals (gplus.wallez.name/JPFt9VDF1Dy), maintains the world under the law of the strongest, perpetuates saṃsāra… This notably applies to military and police, i.e. the 'lawful' violence! The highest ethical standards are to be requested, and failures to maintain them should be responded to as not to be repeated (this is not about retribution, but about prevention: breaking the cycle). Forgiving veterans simply because they took risks for your benefits is not wise; it could be wise if you took responsibility for sending them, but that's never done. Soldiers say they followed orders, and citizens as well as politicians say they didn't give such specific orders (or simply that they're not the ones who pulled the trigger), everybody hides behind ambiguities… and violence based on selfish motives goes on (e.g. for an exclusive access to resources… or via 'preventive' violence against whoever one imagines 'could' potentially threaten one's prior appropriations, as if past appropriations could never be ethical mistakes, as if they could never even switch from acceptable to unacceptable when the context evolves).
There are practical resources on non-violence (e.g. aeinstein.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/How-Nonviolent-Struggle-Works.pdf), this isn't just a pipe dream.
'Uncomfortable' isn't automatically 'abuse', and isn't automatically "to be avoided". Working towards Nirvāṇa is 'uncomfortable', simply because it challenges the status quo…
Sure, we can blame the situation on others (Samuel L Jackson Blame) … or we can reflect on how we participate in the perpetuation and grow up (gplus.wallez.name/A8krz9MFA47)!
True freedom requires freedom from lust, but also from aversion! Nirvāṇa is freedom from cyclical discomfort. When you're ready to be uncomfortable, when you're ready to face your fears, by questioning what needs to be (e.g. your preference for your 'own' safety… used to 'justify' turning a bling eye on civilian "collateral damage" —what a nice desensitising label for killings!— after sending attack drones), i.e. when you have no aversion towards 'constructive' discomfort (without falling into righteous 'sacrifice', i.e. without lust for discomfort), you're on the path.
Illustration © Satish Tayade ? (to be confirmed… Found many copies over the internet but without trustworthy attribution)
Karmic continuations series:
• capitalism: gplus.wallez.name/SLgQ2hJGMAn
• dualistic views: gplus.wallez.name/evMACwQksZ2
• the end justifies the (feral) means: gplus.wallez.name/XGaDUdTtNhH
• arms race: gplus.wallez.name/ZmNDupECQJ7
• news (Newtown, MA): gplus.wallez.name/VncF6stVDyN