The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby danieLion » Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:45 am

Everywhere you looked there was confusion, violence, drama and drugs
So many righteous revolutionaries spouting utopian love
Everyone shrouded in purple haze
Then one day they woke up from their dream state
They found themselves no more at peace than before
Older, meek, and conformed

Empty causes
A bluster for the soul, a fix for the mind
Empty causes
Cling to everything you find

Well, the shots rang out like popcorn and the Chief was hit and rushed out of sight
The mohawk-chain, leather brigade rejoiced maliciously on that night
Someone cried out "f**k the government"
His mates couldn't define what he meant
So no one gave him the time of day
And the scene died away

Empty causes
A war for the body, an army in the mind
Empty causes
Losing steam as time goes by

Could it be that everyone selfishly desires their own personal retinue?
And that causes are just manifestations of too much time and far too little to do


Empty causes
Direction for the soul, conviction for the mind
Empty causes
Cling to everything you find
Empty causes
You've got yours and I've got mine

-Bad Religion, Empty Causes
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby danieLion » Thu Nov 24, 2011 6:20 am

Thanissaro wrote:We read the early Buddhist attacks on the caste system, and aside from their anti-racist implications, they often strike us as quaint. What we fail to realize is that they strike right at the heart of our myths about our own past: our obsession with defining who we are in terms of where we come from — our race, ethnic heritage, gender, socio-economic background, sexual preference — our modern tribes. We put inordinate amounts of energy into creating and maintaining the mythology of our tribe so that we can take vicarious pride in our tribe's good name. Even when we become Buddhists, the tribe comes first. We demand a Buddhism that honors our myths.

From the standpoint of karma, though, where we come from is old karma, over which we have no control. What we "are" is a nebulous concept at best — and pernicious at worst, when we use it to find excuses for acting on unskillful motives. The worth of a tribe lies only in the skillful actions of its individual members. Even when those good people belong to our tribe, their good karma is theirs, not ours. And, of course, every tribe has its bad members, which means that the mythology of the tribe is a fragile thing. To hang onto anything fragile requires a large investment of passion, aversion, and delusion, leading inevitably to more unskillful actions on into the future. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... karma.html
Nietszche wrote:
Let us at once say again what we have already said a hundred times, for people's ears nowadays are unwilling to hear such truths--our truths. We know well enough how offensive it sounds when any one plainly, and without metaphor, counts man among the animals, but it will be accounted to us almost a crime, that it is precisely in respect to men of "modern ideas" that we have constantly applied the terms "herd," "herd-instincts," and suchlike expressions. What avail is it? We cannot do otherwise, for it is precisely here that our new insight is. We have found that in all the principal moral judgments, Europe has become unanimous, including likewise the countries where Europe an influence prevails in Europe people evidently KNOW what Socrates thought he did not know, and what the famous serpent of old once promised to teach--they "know" today what is good and evil. It must then sound hard and be distasteful to the ear, when we always insist that that which here thinks it knows, that which here glorifies itself with praise and blame, and calls itself good, is the instinct of the herding human animal, the instinct which has come and is ever coming more and more to the front, to preponderance and supremacy over other instincts, according to the increasing physiological approximation and resemblance of which it is the symptom. Morality in Europe at present is herding-animal morality, and therefore, as we understand the matter, only one kind of human morality, beside which, before which, and after which many other moralities, and above all higher moralities, are or should be possible. Against such a "possibility," against such a "should be," however, this morality defends itself with all its strength, it says obstinately and inexorably "I am morality itself and nothing else is morality!" Indeed, with the help of a religion which has humoured and flattered the sublimest desires of the herding-animal, things have reached such a point that we always find a more visible expression of this morality even in political and social arrangements: the democratic movement is the inheritance of the Christian movement. That its tempo, however, is much too slow and sleepy for the more impatient ones, for those who are sick and distracted by the herding-instinct, is indicated by the increasingly furious howling, and always less disguised teeth-gnashing of the anarchist dogs, who are now roving through the highways of European culture. Apparently in opposition to the peacefully industrious democrats and Revolution-ideologues, and still more so to the awkward philosophasters and fraternity-visionaries who call themselves Socialists and want a "free society," those are really at one with them all in their thorough and instinctive hostility to every form of society other than that of the autonomous herd (to the extent even of repudiating the notions "master" and "servant"--ni dieu ni maitre, says a socialist formula); at one in their tenacious opposition to every special claim, every special right and privilege (this means ultimately opposition to every right, for when all are equal, no one needs "rights" any longer); at one in their distrust of punitive justice (as though it were a violation of the weak, unfair to the necessary consequences of all former society); but equally at one in their religion of sympathy, in their compassion for all that feels, lives, and SUFFERS (down to the very animals, up even to "God"--the extravagance of "sympathy for God" belong to a democratic age); altogether at one in the cry and impatience of their sympathy, in their DEADLY HATRED OF SUFFERING IN GENERAL, in their almost feminine incapacity for witnessing it or allowing it; at one in their involuntary beglooming and heart-softening, under the spell of which Europe seems to be threatened with A NEW BUDDHISM; at one in their belief in the morality of mutual sympathy, as though it were morality in itself, the climax, the attained climax of mankind, the sole hope of the future, the consolation of the present, the great discharge from all the obligations of the past; ALTOGETHER AT ONE IN THEIR BELIEF IN THE COMMUNITY AS THE DELIVERER, in the herd, and therefore IN "THEMSELVES".

-Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good & Evil, "The Natural History of Morals" (S 202). Italics are Nietzsche's. All other emphases are mine.
Daniel :heart:

Daniel :heart:
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby mindfullmom » Fri Nov 25, 2011 2:11 pm

Thank you for that Daniel.

Why is it important for you to know this?
Daniel :heart:


I asked what party people align with or who they voted for to understand where you or the people participating in the movement stand, what your thoughts are. I wanted to know if the 99% is a blend of people of all political ideologies together or not.

So, what does any of this have to with the Buddha-Dhamma? :popcorn:


I would like to have a discussion about Occupy that includes the Buddha and our practice and not just have a political discussion.

So, I asked what occupiers would like to see happen. Jason answered with some very concrete ideas of what he would like to see changed. He would like to see the US move to a system that more closely aligns with Socialism, popularly defined or otherwise (unless he would like to elaborate further). I countered by referencing the Buddha's thoughts that leaders and/or governments should take care of the people in a variety of ways outlined by him and that our government already has programs in place aimed at accomplishing this very thing. So my question is/was for anyone, do you think more government involvement limits our personal liberty?

You have added definitions for us of political philosophy which every discussion definitely needs and relevant quotes from some very influential thinkers. :twothumbsup: But I'm wondering what your thoughts are based on your studies and your personal experiences, not what other thinkers, as great as they have been, have philosophized about.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Kim OHara » Fri Nov 25, 2011 9:54 pm

mindfullmom wrote:I would like to have a discussion about Occupy that includes the Buddha and our practice and not just have a political discussion.

Hi, mindfullmom,
I think you joined this discussion fairly recently. Did you go back and read the first few pages of the thread?

:namaste:
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby cooran » Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:11 pm

hello mindfullmom,

This was the article that triggered this thread. For your delectation (click on link at foot of article to see graphs mentioned in article):

The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

The Buddha’s concerns with politics — or at least those what found their way into his teachings and have been recorded — were very limited.
Perhaps this isn’t surprising, since he lived at a time when kingdoms ruled by absolute monarchs were expanding their territory at the expense of clan-based republics and other kingdoms. The rise of monarchies was probably unstoppable, and there was little chance of any alternative for the foreseeable future.
Some of the kings were notoriously paranoid, placed spies in religious communities, and would literally kill their own parents to consolidate their power. It would have been very dangerous to criticize them directly, and so the Buddha’s emphasis in talking about politics tended to be on presenting models of how kings could rule well. And often those — no doubt for protection — were framed as myths.
In one of these myths, the Buddha indicated that one of the duties of kings was to prevent social unrest and to promote economic well-being through making sure that wealth was fairly distributed in society. He has no communist — he clearly recognised that there would be wealthy people and people with less wealth, and he was after all talking about a monarchy — but he recognized that a fair distribution of wealth was essential to a healthy society. The alternative, he suggested, was a repressive regime that kept people in line through heavy-handed law and order tactics.

Do you see any relevance to Occupy Wall Street?
As Frank Reynolds observed: “When the very large volume of the early Buddhist Dhamma literature is taken into account, it is evident that the amount of material devoted to kingship and political affairs is actually rather modest. Nevertheless, the presence of these elements in the early tradition is significant in that it indicates that even among the supposedly world-renouncing monks who were responsible for the preservation and extension of the Buddha’s teaching, such matters constituted one important focal point of interest and concern.” [1]

As for the actual content of the material on kingship and political affairs, Gombrich has pointed out that there are two approaches to kings in the Pāli canon. The first deals with real kings, and is literal and historical, while the second approach is what Gombrich calls “fantasy,” although the latter might better be described as a “mythic” approach. Uma Chakkavati makes a similar two-fold distinction, referring to passages describing “the actual or existing exercise of power by contemporary kings” versus “the ideal or normative exercise of power by the king.”[2] The two categorizations are broadly equivalent. The passages dealing with real, historical kings tell us much about attitudes to and interactions with royalty at the time of the Buddha, including the “exercise of power.” The mythic passages are also normative in that they posit an ideal society where rulers are themselves governed by Dhamma.

Mythic Kings in the Pāli Canon
A number of texts (suttas and Jātakas) deal with the topic of with kings in a non literal and mythic way. Such suttas include the Kūṭadanta , the Cakkavatti, and the Agañña. As myths, precisely in what manner they are to be interpreted is, and no doubt always will be, open to question. While the stories are fantasy, these stories can still, I believe, reveal useful perspectives on broader ethical and social issues that Buddhism concerned itself with.

Northrop Frye posited that there are two social conceptions that can be expressed only in terms of myth. “One is the social contract, which presents an account of the origins of society. The other is the utopia, which presents an imaginative vision of the telos or end at which social life aims.”[3] Buddhist texts contain elements both of a social contract and of Buddhist utopias. Frye continues: “ These two myths begin in an analysis of the present, the society that confronts the mythmaker, and they project this analysis in time and space. The contract projects it into the past, the utopia into the future or to some distant place.” We may also add to this that utopias could even be projected into the distant past in the form of a myth of a “golden age.”
If social contract and utopian myths do, as Frye puts it, “begin in an analysis of the present,” then an analysis of them may be useful in throwing light on the views of the Buddha. I argue here that the utopian elements in these myths may cast light onto the telos — and the social contract — that the Buddha saw as being desirable.

The Kūṭadanta Sutta and the 99%
The Kūṭadanta[4] frames a Jātaka tale concerning the realm of King Mahāvijit (Great Victor). The Jātaka is framed by the story of a Brahmin, Kūṭadanta (we could translate this as “Gnasher”), who comes to ask the Buddha’s advice on the correct way to perform a sacrifice. Since the social role of a Brahmin is to perform sacrifice, and since the Buddha was known to oppose animal sacrifice, the scenario is absurd, but the story allows the Buddha to get some points across.
In his reply to Gnasher, the Buddha tells the tale of King Mahāvijit, who wished to make a sacrifice “which would be to his benefit and happiness for a long time.” Instead, Mahāvijit’s purohitaṃ (minister-chaplain) persuades him that he should rid his country of a plague of robbers. He should not attempt to do this “by executions and imprisonment, or by confiscation, threats and banishment.” These methods would only postpone the problems because of future retributions from survivors of the punishments.
Instead, he should distribute grain and fodder to those who are engaged in cultivating crops and raising cattle; give capital to those in trade; and give proper living wages to those in government service. As a result of implementing these policies, the king is able to announce: “I have got rid of the plague of robbers; following your plan my revenue has grown, the land is tranquil and not beset by thieves, and the people with joy in their hearts play with their children and dwell in open houses.” The Buddha later admits that he was the purohitaṃ who gave advice to the king.

This sutta, with its utopian elements, is interesting for the specific policy objectives that are advocated by the Buddha, in his previous life as minister-chaplain to Mahāvijit, as well as for the results of those objectives. Peace, harmony, and freedom from crime are posited as the telos of the social policies of redistributing wealth and paying living wages to government employees. More conventional policies such as “executions and imprisonment,” and “confiscation, threats and banishment” are abjured.

There is a clear suggestion that crime arises from poverty, and if prosperity were achieved, then crime would be eliminated. This might seem paradoxical as part of the belief system of a religious tradition which has full-time property-less practitioners, but there are, as Mavis Fenn has pointed out, two notions of poverty in the Pāli canon.[5]
One is the practice of what could be called “voluntary simplicity,” and represents “the rejection of human relationships based on differentiation and hierarchy.” As Fenn puts it, “poverty undertaken for religious ends can promote spiritual development.” This it does by creating a life-style of such simplicity that ample time is created for self-developmental pursuits such as reflection and meditation.
The second form of poverty that Fenn discusses is “deprivation.” Involuntary material poverty, far from conducing to spiritual development, “results in dehumanization that severely restricts, if not destroys, the possibility of spiritual progress.” In terms of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs,[6] if the individual is struggling to meet the most basic needs for food and shelter, the need for self-actualization is unlikely to be a priority.

A fair distribution of wealth and investment in infrastructure are advocated, and since this wealth comes from the King’s own surplus, which can only have come from the people themselves, there is an implication that over-taxation has resulted in poverty-related crime. A fair and moderate taxation system which protects the poor would be logically consistent with the moral of the sutta. As a result of these policies, everyone benefits. Citizens are no longer forced by poverty into criminal activity, and therefore escape the risk of dire punishments. Ordinary citizens enjoy peace of mind, and can “with joy in their hearts play with their children and dwell in open houses,” and the King’s job of maintaining a stable society is made considerably easier.
There are strong resonances here with the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon, which has moved far beyond Wall Street, to over 1500 places at the time of writing.

The corporation is king
We no longer have a literal king, but the corporation is now our metaphorical monarch. The mechanisms of the Republic are now controlled, in large part, by the rich, and by the corporations that made them rich. More than half of congress-people are millionaires. It can cost literally tens of millions to run for Senate, and our incombent president is likely to spend a billion dollars running for reelection. Where does this money come from? Much of it comes from corporations. You do not accept the money of the rich without making an implicit promise in return. That promise is, in effect, “I will represent your interests.” Our political system has become a subsidiary of Wall Street. We live in a metaphorical monarchy, and the corporation is king.
What kind of monarch do we have? A rapacious one, it would seem.

Ordinary people are being asked to tighten their belts. Although the country as a whole has been getting morse prosperous (see “US GDP per capita” on the graph above) ordinary people’s income has stagnated. Meanwhile, costs have risen. Just to take one example, according to Time,
Today, the average cost of a family health insurance offered by an employer is $13,375. That’s up 131% over the last decade—a period in which inflation rose only 28%. And one estimate says that if costs continue on their current trajectory, premiums will go up another 166% in the decade ahead.
The cost of a college education has been soaring as well, also by much faster than inflation.
Look again at the graph above, and you’ll see that the incomes of the richest — those who control the corporations who control the government — have been rising faster than GDP, or the nation’s wealth as a whole.
It gets worse when you look at the incomes of the top 1%:

Compare the lines for the top 5% and the top 1%. Since 1992, the bottom 90 percent of Americans have seen their incomes rise by 13 percent in 2009 dollars, compared with an increase of 399 percent for the top 400.
So we have greedy kings, and the people are suffering.

Compassion before anger
What is our response to that? Obviously there’s no one response. Some will watch the incomes of the top 1% soar skyward, and cheer — even as their own incomes stagnate. Americans like to think of themselves as temporarily distressed billionaires. Some will look at those who are suffering, and scold them for a lack of initiative and entrepreneurial spirit. As presidential aspirant Herman Cain said, “if you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself … it is a person’s [own] fault if they failed.”
But more and more people are living in anxiety, in this culture where GDP has been growing, insecurity has been mounting, and median wages have been falling. And more and more people are realizing that our economic and political system is not working for them.

It behooves us to look at a website like We Are the 99%, and to see that even if we’re doing alright just now, we’re one crisis away from disaster. And if you’re not, most of the people you know and love are. Lose your health and you lose your job. Lose your job and you lose your health insurance. Lose your health insurance when you’re sick and you may well lose your house and your savings. Lose your house and you may lose your family. It can happen to anyone — anyone in the bottom 99%.

Some people may feel anger, and anger can be healthy. I’m not advising people to get angry, but it may happen and it’s natural. The thing is to handle anger skillfuly. Anger is energy, and handled properly our anger can lead us to accomplish much good. Listen to Martin Luther King, Jr., and you hear an angry man — one who helped transform a political system that was not working for all people, but only for those with white skins (and not even all of those). If the energy behind our anger (a desire to overcome injustice, for example) is handled properly, it can be used constructively. But if it’s not channeled properly, anger can turn into hatred. Anger doesn’t necessarily want to cause harm — it can just want to overcome an obstacle. Hatred wants to hurt people, and anger can turn into hatred. This is the danger that faces us.

How do we handle our anger? Anger needs to be experienced within the context of compassion. Compassion is a natural response to other’s suffering. Read some of the stories on We Are the 99%. Feel for those people. Then if you’re still angry, feel compassionately and angry. Let compassion soften your anger so that your desire to change things is “clean” and free from the desire to hurt, despise, or belittle. Let go of hatred. Despising the 1% isn’t going to help.
It’s about the hundred percent
And realize that Occupy Wall Street is about all of us. Despite the language of “We are the 99%,” realize that this is not about the 99% versus the 1%. It’s about the 100%.

The king was troubled by robbers. Kings should be worried about robbers, because the king is the wealthiest and has the most to lose. What’s happening now, with the incomes of the richest soaring and those of ordinary people falling — is unsustainable. No economy can endure under those conditions. What happens when cutbacks to education leave us without enough skilled people to create a vibrant economy? What happens when our crumbling infrastructure hinders commerce even further? What happens as fewer and fewer people are able to buy the goods that allow the corporations to flourish? What happens when the economy is milked dry, and plunged into a depression?

Perhaps the 1% will then take their wealth and flee to tropical islands, investing in the now-vibrant economies of India and China. Do the wealthy really want to destroy the largest country in the world? Do they want to have that on their consciences (and I assume that they have consciences)? Perhaps they’ll hang in here and make do, staying within gated communities, protected from the rabble by private police forces, and scraping by on $5 billion instead of $10 billion. Is that how they want to live?
Are they even happy? The 1% are getting richer and richer, but they’re not getting happier. Economic dissatisfaction arises when we compare ourselves to others. Most people would prefer to earn $50,000 when others earn $40,000, than to earn $60,000 when others earn $70,000 — even if the cost of living is the same. Who do billionaires compare themselves to? Other billionaires. The top 1% are in a race to the top that has no end. Or it will end, because the economy will be destroyed. It’s in the interests of the happiness of the rich to inhibit their craving. This has long been recognized as one of the benefits of progressive taxation.

The king recognized that for the good of the entire country — and for his own good — he needed to pay fair wages and invest in the infrastructure of his country. As a result, the king himself becomes more prosperous, and so do the people. Both the 1% and the 99% benefit.

What Occupy Wall Street is about
I’ve heard many people say that they don’t understand what Occupy Wall Street is about. Here’s what it’s about: Our corporations, and the rich, own our political system. Nothing that protects ordinary people from the harm that unrestrained corporations can cause — whether it’s protecting people from pollution, ensuring a fair minimum wage, or even just making it easier for people to get access to health care — can go through Congress without enormous sums being spent on lobbying to prevent those benefits from coming about. Even a modest tax increase on the top 1% will be met with a tsunami of money sweeping over Congress. Politicians depend on money from corporations in order to run for office. If they displease the rich, they know that corporate money will be used in attack ads, which frequently twist the truth out of all recognition.

Our corporations are king, but they shouldn’t be. I don’t believe the framers of the constitution had our current system in mind. They wanted government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Right now we have government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich. [Actually, this is wrong. For further details see the comments below. The framers of the constitution despised the idea of democracy as we undertand it today, but as the US evolved socially, the understanding of "government of the people, by the people, and for the people" -- as expressed by Lincoln in the Gerrysburg Address -- emerged.]

That’s what Occupy Wall Street is about. Thomas Jefferson talked about a “wall of separation between church and state.” And the constitution itself, realizing that religions could co-opt entire political systems in order to further their own agendas, creating theocracies, prohibits government from from becoming a subsidiary of any church. It’s time to erect a wall of separation between corporate money and state. It’s time to stop our political system from being a subsidiary of Wall Street. It’s time that the economy worked for the 99% as well as the 1%. It’s time for government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

That’s what Occupy Wall Street is about.
________________________________________
Notes
1. “The Two Wheels of Dhamma: A Study of Early Buddhism,” in Gananath Obeyesekere, The Two Wheels of Dhamma, AAAR Studies in Religion Number 3, AAR Chambersburg, Pennsylvannia 1992.
2. Uma Chakravarti, The Social Dimensions of Early Buddhism, Dehli, OUP, 1987, p158.
3.Utopia, Robert M. Adams (tr. and ed.), Norton, (NY 1992), p205.
4. DN 5.
5. Mavis Fenn, “Two Notions of Poverty in the Pāli Canon,” Journal of Buddhist Ethics, Volume III, 1996.
6. The American psychologist Abraham Maslow devised a six-level hierarchy of motives that, according to his theory, determine human behavior. Maslow ranks human needs as follows: (1) physiological; (2) security and safety; (3) love and feelings of belonging; (4) competence, prestige, and esteem; (5) self-fulfillment; and (6) curiosity and the need to understand.
http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/on-practi ... all-street

with metta
Chris
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby danieLion » Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:55 pm

mindfullmom wrote:Thank you for that Daniel.... But I'm wondering what your thoughts are based on your studies and your personal experiences, not what other thinkers, as great as they have been, have philosophized about.


Why do you prefer my thoughts over someone else's? The quality of a thought is not necessarily connected to the thinker.

You're not one of those people who believe in "original thinking," are you?

Separating understanding "what others think" from personal experience is a false dichotomy.

What do you mean by "philosophize"?

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby danieLion » Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:57 pm

Another false dichotomy: 1% versus 99%.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby mindfullmom » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:26 am

Thank you Kim.

I did actually read that first and I have just re-read it and the first few pages of the discussion and no one has put forth the question, do you think that more government involvement limits our personal freedom?

Jason would like to see us move further into a socialist type of economic system. Jason would like to see more government involvement in the form of more programs like universal health care. More government programs requires more money from the taxpayer. And as the article pointed out:

A fair distribution of wealth and investment in infrastructure are advocated, and since this wealth comes from the King’s own surplus, which can only have come from the people themselves, there is an implication that over-taxation has resulted in poverty-related crime. A fair and moderate taxation system which protects the poor would be logically consistent with the moral of the sutta. As a result of these policies, everyone benefits. Citizens are no longer forced by poverty into criminal activity, and therefore escape the risk of dire punishments. Ordinary citizens enjoy peace of mind, and can “with joy in their hearts play with their children and dwell in open houses,” and the King’s job of maintaining a stable society is made considerably easier.
There are strong resonances here with the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon, which has moved far beyond Wall Street, to over 1500 places at the time of writing.


Maybe I should re- phrase the question. At what point do you think that more government involvement limits our personal freedom? How much is too little? How much is enough? How much it too much?
This question is turning into a real show stopper :shrug:

Daniel, I'm getting the feeling you would rather not answer this one and that's okay. It's just a question, I'm not baiting you. :meditate:
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Nov 26, 2011 12:41 am

Greetings,

mindfullmom wrote:Maybe I should re- phrase the question. At what point do you think that more government involvement limits our personal freedom? How much is too little? How much is enough? How much it too much?

Government should be there to serve society.

Freedom as it is popularized in the U.S. is interesting - it seems to be promoted as being synonymous with "economic choice", as if somehow that is the pinnacle of all freedoms.

So stepping back from that part of your question and focusing on the too little / enough / too much aspect, in a market-based economy it's "enough" at the threshhold where incremental economic benefit equals (and stops exceeding) the incremental economic cost... that is the theory of public consumption, which the state should facilitate.

However, that is premised again on the underlying assumption that "money" is the proxy for all that is good, positive, and desirable... and whilst it's a contributing factor to benefit, raw aggregated dollar-benefit is not the be all and end all, despite what many neo-classical economists will tell you - there are many other factors, most less tangible and less material - funny enough, just like human experience.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Nov 26, 2011 3:58 am

mindfullmom wrote:Maybe I should re- phrase the question. At what point do you think that more government involvement limits our personal freedom? How much is too little? How much is enough? How much it too much?
This question is turning into a real show stopper :shrug:


Hi mindfullmom,

The issue might be that one could believe in a high level of personal freedom and at the same time a high level of government involvement. It would be sort of a libertarian-socialist position sometimes called "left-libertarian." The Libertarian Party in the U.S. is "right-libertarian" in that it favors less government involvement and a high level of personal freedom.

And then there are socialists who favor few personal freedoms and high levels of government involvement, perhaps similar to the former communist nations.

Here is a political test that places a person's views to one of the four quadrants: http://www.politicalcompass.org/

To go directly to the test here: http://www.politicalcompass.org/test

Take a look at the graph and analysis below and you can see that it is possible that one could be for high government involvement but still support personal freedoms (bottom left quadrant).

Image

http://www.politicalcompass.org/analysis2
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Nov 26, 2011 4:40 am

mindfullmom wrote:Thank you Kim.

I did actually read that first and I have just re-read it and the first few pages of the discussion and no one has put forth the question, do you think that more government involvement limits our personal freedom?

Jason would like to see us move further into a socialist type of economic system. Jason would like to see more government involvement in the form of more programs like universal health care. More government programs requires more money from the taxpayer. ...

Without disagreeing with retro or David, I will suggest another useful approach - looking at the societies which produce the greatest well-being and happiness for their citizens rather than merely the most money. I have forgotten the details (Googling 'Affluenza' should get you some useful results), but basically the countries that do best on this index are centre-left by European standards (radical left by US standards :tongue: ) and include the Scandinavian countries. 'Social welfare' programmes (health, education, pensions) make up a big part of their spending and taxes are relatively high to pay for them. They are not, of course, Buddhist-inspired but they are compassion-inspired, and that is a great first step.

:namaste:
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Nov 26, 2011 4:54 am

David N. Snyder wrote:Here is a political test that places a person's views to one of the four quadrants: http://www.politicalcompass.org/

Their quiz is a good one: http://www.politicalcompass.org/iconochasms
:reading:
:jawdrop:

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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby danieLion » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:10 am

mindfullmom wrote:Daniel, I'm getting the feeling you would rather not answer this one and that's okay. It's just a question, I'm not baiting you.


That doesn't sound like a feeling I'd trust.

I'm trying to help you rephrase or re-frame the question(s), or make better questions. I wouldn't trust your suspicion that I feel baited either. If there's actually something substantive involved with your question making and asking, I'd like to see it uncovered.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby danieLion » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:12 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:
mindfullmom wrote:Thank you Kim.

I did actually read that first and I have just re-read it and the first few pages of the discussion and no one has put forth the question, do you think that more government involvement limits our personal freedom?

Jason would like to see us move further into a socialist type of economic system. Jason would like to see more government involvement in the form of more programs like universal health care. More government programs requires more money from the taxpayer. ...

Without disagreeing with retro or David, I will suggest another useful approach - looking at the societies which produce the greatest well-being and happiness for their citizens rather than merely the most money. I have forgotten the details (Googling 'Affluenza' should get you some useful results), but basically the countries that do best on this index are centre-left by European standards (radical left by US standards :tongue: ) and include the Scandinavian countries. 'Social welfare' programmes (health, education, pensions) make up a big part of their spending and taxes are relatively high to pay for them. They are not, of course, Buddhist-inspired but they are compassion-inspired, and that is a great first step.

:namaste:
Kim

See Walden II, by B.F. SKinner.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby danieLion » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:22 am

David N. Snyder wrote:


This is just a new spin on old misunderstandings of moral-political philosophies and doesn't stand up to the scrutiny of actual moral-political philosophy and it's concurrent history.

David (and Retro),
Isaiah Berlin's The Four Freedoms/Liberties is a good place to start informing yourself about "freedom" in addition to the books previously mentioned (Nozick, Sandel, Rawls). You should also avail yourself of Habermas' work on freedom and democracy.
D :heart:
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:29 am

Greetings DL,

Nah, I'll just settle for nirodha as an understanding of freedom.

8-)

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby Kim OHara » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:42 am

danieLion wrote:
Kim O'Hara wrote:Without disagreeing with retro or David, I will suggest another useful approach - looking at the societies which produce the greatest well-being and happiness for their citizens rather than merely the most money. I have forgotten the details (Googling 'Affluenza' should get you some useful results), but basically the countries that do best on this index are centre-left by European standards (radical left by US standards :tongue: ) and include the Scandinavian countries. 'Social welfare' programmes (health, education, pensions) make up a big part of their spending and taxes are relatively high to pay for them. They are not, of course, Buddhist-inspired but they are compassion-inspired, and that is a great first step.

:namaste:
Kim

See Walden II, by B.F. SKinner.

*Why* see Walden II, DanieLion?
I don't know the book, although I know about about Skinner, so I looked it up (http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/walden2/summary.html) and I can't see any useful connection between what I mentioned and what you mentioned.
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Nov 27, 2011 5:29 am

Greetings,

retrofuturist wrote:....despite what many neo-classical economists will tell you - there are many other factors, most less tangible and less material - funny enough, just like human experience.

Further to that...

Economics is lost – it must rediscover life's values - Victoria Chick
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... schumacher

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby cooran » Sun Nov 27, 2011 6:13 am

Thanks Retro.
Agree.

‘’…..But it is the Occupy movement that goes furthest, for, however varied its demands have been, its underlying rebellion is against the untrammelled self-interest that has brought us to this pass. What we have is not only an economic crisis but also, much deeper, a clash of values. A sense of the greater good appears to have survived and is at last making itself heard.’’
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... schumacher

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: The Buddha and Occupy Wall Street

Postby rowboat » Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:47 am

cooran wrote:Thanks Retro.
Agree.

‘’…..But it is the Occupy movement that goes furthest, for, however varied its demands have been, its underlying rebellion is against the untrammelled self-interest that has brought us to this pass. What we have is not only an economic crisis but also, much deeper, a clash of values. A sense of the greater good appears to have survived and is at last making itself heard.’’
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... schumacher

with metta
Chris


Indeed.

In Capitalism Hits the Fan academic Richard Wolff gives a most cogent assessment of the present crisis.



Chris Hedges talking about "interverted totalitarianism" and the work of Sheldon Wolin, whose book Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism I was introduced to in an interview with Bhikkhu Bodhi. It was one of the books Bhikkhu Bodhi was currently reading.

Rain soddens what is covered up,
It does not sodden what is open.
Therefore uncover what is covered
That the rain will not sodden it.
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