Moral decline in the west

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Moral decline in the west

Postby pink_trike » Fri Oct 30, 2009 10:13 pm

poto wrote:You think that since archeologists didn't find evidence of violence for certain periods of time, that somehow these eras were devoid of violence?

IMHO, humans are born as ignorant beings. That ignorance gives rise to suffering and violence. Through the Dhamma, we are able to overcome our ignorance and subdue those violent impulses.


The conclusions are those of highly trained archeologists using impeccable standards and subject to peer review over decades. I trust that they know what they're talking about.

If Buddhist ideology is inconsistent with modern research data, then it us up to Buddhism and it's believers to disprove the evidence. As you explore this subject, it may be helpful to set aside your belief that all human civilizations have been violent because humans are violent by nature and because only the Dharma prevents violence. The notion of "human nature" is a myth used to justify any number of unskillful and destructive habits. It is conditions that create violence...external and internal. Buddhists aren't the only people in the history of civilization that have learned to create the conditions that give rise to non-violence.

As for proof, I've learned about this in various settings and by reading over the last 30 years. If you want proof, you'll need to do research.

Also, you'll find that the field of anthropology will have even more evidence of (particularly autochthonous ) cultures that have had and do have an absence of violence and the infrastructures of violence.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

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Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Moral decline in the west

Postby poto » Fri Oct 30, 2009 11:27 pm

pink_trike wrote:
poto wrote:You think that since archeologists didn't find evidence of violence for certain periods of time, that somehow these eras were devoid of violence?

IMHO, humans are born as ignorant beings. That ignorance gives rise to suffering and violence. Through the Dhamma, we are able to overcome our ignorance and subdue those violent impulses.


The conclusions are those of highly trained archeologists using impeccable standards and subject to peer review over decades. I trust that they know what they're talking about.

If Buddhist ideology is inconsistent with modern research data, then it us up to Buddhism and it's believers to disprove the evidence. As you explore this subject, it may be helpful to set aside your belief that all human civilizations have been violent because humans are violent by nature and because only the Dharma prevents violence. The notion of "human nature" is a myth used to justify any number of unskillful and destructive habits. It is conditions that create violence...external and internal. Buddhists aren't the only people in the history of civilization that have learned to create the conditions that give rise to non-violence.

As for proof, I've learned about this in various settings and by reading over the last 30 years. If you want proof, you'll need to do research.

Also, you'll find that the field of anthropology will have even more evidence of (particularly autochthonous ) cultures that have had and do have an absence of violence and the infrastructures of violence.


I did not say that the Dhamma was the only way to overcome violence, nor did I say the Dhamma prevents violence. I apologize if you mistook my statement to mean that. I was merely stating that it is one path to non-violence.

As to "human nature", I speak of causes and conditions. Humans are born ignorant, and that is a condition which can give rise to violence. It is natural that we humans are born with these causes and conditions and must work to overcome them. That is what I mean by human nature, the natural state in which we all come into being in this world.

While I recognize that some past peoples and civilizations may have created conditions that led to non-violence, that is still a far cry from being completely free from violence. You mention Autochthonous cultures, and this is likely where you are going wrong. Many of the indigenous cultures, were not peaceful. While they lacked the "infrastructures of violence" found in many other more developed civilizations, they still had crimes, violence and wars/conflicts within their societies. The noble savage myth is an invention of popular culture, not archeology.

This will be my last comment on this subject. Several times I asked for proof of your claims and you failed to provide it. Please understand that it's very unreasonable to expect me to do in depth research on a broad field of study like archeology, without providing specific references to investigate.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." -- C. S. Lewis
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Re: Moral decline in the west

Postby pink_trike » Sat Oct 31, 2009 12:06 am

Many of the indigenous cultures, were not peaceful.


Obviously. I didn't suggest that all lindigenous cultures were peaceful...I said that some were peaceful. And I said that some civilizations in the archeological record have no evidence of violence or the infrastructures of violence. But if you're going to go legalistic and say that there likely was some sort of crime (an assumption on your part) then it will be hard to have a general conversation with you about this subject.

You might start your search in South America where there are still remnants of a couple of these peaceful cultures.

And I'll offer this for your consideration...I spent my summers growing up in a medium sized working class town in Northern Minnesota that built it's first official jail about a 15 years ago. For about 200 years this town had no need for a real jail. If someone got drunk and rowdy they'd stick em in the basement of the library until they sobered up. Murder and assault with intent to kill was unheard of, people left their doors unlocked day and night for decades. Cars weren't stolen. Kids didn't disappear. Robbery was unheard of. It was safe to walk the streets at all hours of the night, even for women. This was true for most of the 3 state area in that region at that time. There's no reason to believe that this wasn't the norm across broad portions of the world for extended periods of time, and this would be reflected in the geological records...as it is in many places.

Please understand that it's very unreasonable to expect me to do in depth research on a broad field of study like archeology, without providing specific references to investigate.


This expectation that you attribute to me is a complete fabrication of your mind. :rofl:
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.
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Re: Moral decline in the west

Postby jcsuperstar » Sat Oct 31, 2009 5:07 am

even extreamly violent cultures can go through periods of no violence, or limited violence,just look at japan, theyed have civil wars then centuries of peace then centuries of civil wars. also there are(were) matriarchal societies that dont even have the word for war in their language too and reseach into mother cities show that the ideas that people originally grouped together for power or by conquest is a mistake, people seemed to have orginally grouped together for reasons of trade

you dont need the dhamma for people to get along, pretty much all religions and some philosophies create whats needed for that, the dhamma isnt about us getting along in samsara but rather getting out of samsara.
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Moral decline in the west

Postby Popo » Sat Oct 31, 2009 10:36 pm

Here's a neat little page on the topic:

http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/006259.html

Steven Pinker wrote a good book showing that humanity has become significantly less violent over time. I've read Pinker and Singer on the topic and found their data and arguments convincing, but I haven't read any opposing arguments..
Is there any specific ancient culture that was without violence? Because the tendency seems to be far more violent deaths the farther you go back.
Theoretical approaches have their place and are, I suppose, essential but a theory must be tempered with reality.
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