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Forums > Social Discussion > Trying to be a better person.

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TinklePants
GOLD Member since Jul 2005

TinklePants

Clique Infiltrator, Cunning Linguist and Master Debator
Location: Edinburgh burgh burrrrrr

Total posts: 4217
Posted:I've been thinking lately (no laughing in the back!) How wonderful the world would be without war, famine, hatred and greed.

I had a dream the other night where I was a superhero. Invincible. I brought the means to help the under privilaged feed and clothe themselves, I stopped disasters happening, etc. I tried to stop a war but I had a choice to make. Do I kill all the people who've killed others? do i take all their weapons away? or do i drop them into the nearest jailhouse, so they'd drain the economy? I believe this world's problems are caused by one thing. Greed.

What makes a person crave something that badly that they are willing to kill someone for it? What makes soldiers kill other soldiers and even civilians just to follow orders, even if their better judgement tells them its wrong? Why do people ignore all the bad things that happen around them, only the few helping, but when it happens to them, its the end of the world?

After watching loads of apocalypse movies, and movies where a great evil is being done, killing loads of innocent people, I've come to the point when I think that the human race is a lost cause. You cant brainwash the evil doers with new "love every man" programming as it would be morally wrong. We as people are dooming ourselves and there is no way out of the mess we've made unless a huge catastrophy occurs where we will forget our differences and band together for the good of mankind.

It's impossible to create a perfect world. People who try to do this are labelled either as Hippies or dictators. Ok dictators are at the other end of the spectrum, but it was just an example.

Is there any hope for us? We're killing our planet, our neighbours and ourselves in various ways, bad diet, excessive consumption if drink/drugs and it really worries me! Sometimes I lie awake at night wondering if we can make it another day before blowing our planet up.

My question to you all is, can one person make a difference?


Always use "so's your face" and "only on Tuesdays" in as many conversations possible

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BansheeCat
BRONZE Member since Jul 2005

veteran
Location: lost

Total posts: 1247
Posted:Oh, and FireTom, I did like alot of what you said...

But would caution that what we see, light or dark, may just be some kind of conversation between our eyes and our brains...;-)

And I personally doubt the Dalai Lama is suffering in a pathological fashion- certainly not any more than the inherent human condition. He seems like a pretty happy balanced funny guy to me. Perhaps you may be projectiing something from your own vision of the world on to him?!


"God *was* my co-pilot, but then we crashed, and I had to eat him..."

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:well well, the voices have told me some utter crap as it seems... shrug

But maybe you're so kind to change the (conditioned) perspectives for an instant:

As people act according to their faith and philosophy (doesn't matter where or whoever indoctrinated them) they believe their actions to be righteous - justified by the higher goal. How you dare to tell them that what they do is wrong or right? How you know? Some are talking about "hardwired" instincts inside the human brain - to some extent this might be even fact, but as I cannot look into a extremists brain, how can I know?

Some of that, what is regarded as "good and evil" is often a self centered and culturally conditioned (mainstream) thinking.

Fortunately enough only a few people blow themselves up, maybe only because they believe the world's a better place without them... shrug I personally would appreciate it, if they'd do that in the middle of an empty field and not inside an occupied citybus, or subway...

However to cut a long story short: look back in history only a few decades or centuries - cruisades happened to "better the world", industrialisation happened for the same reason and nuclear power too. Some even believe that with control over a nuclear arsenal, they'd be able to improve the planet... but according to whom and what?

To go even further: Many people and organisations have recognised the urge of mankind "to improve the planet" (or only themselves) by setting up treadmills and systems to exploit this urge (see scientology, the roman catholic church, the dschihad...only to speak of political/ religious organisations - in the field of personal development you will find an even larger number of individuals and organisations that are tailored to exploit this aspiration).

I am certainly NOT picking on the Dalai Lama - not at all and my statement has been somewhat provocative. To specify with a methaphore: While we only notice the piece of gravel inside our shoe and try to get it out, a sensitive person would feel the same while walking on a grain of sand. Personally I have the highest respect for the Dalai Lama, but whilst others ("normal"/ ordinary people) would forgive themselves for getting upset and loose their temper, he would clearly critisize himself for the same.

It's a merry go round and will never end - therefore continue the cycle of "Samsara".

As to Jesus: I guess when dying on the cross in pain and with nails driven through hands and feet, everyone would start having doubts and when suffering of "fisto in ano", like the condition that the Buddha died from, certainly and especially an "enlightened" person would review the actions that led to this event.

With sympathy and all due respect to each and everyone (of you), but when you are talking about projections (of which I am certainly full of, no doubts about that) then maybe you try to recognise whether or not the definition of the "ultimate good" that you project on people and circumstances is the image that was created for a certain reason.

IMHO to accept reality, the status quo AS the ultimate good, as perfection and to act according to the present and to those circumstances without any attempt to "improve" anything, might be a very interesting concept (certainly not a new one) don't you think?

Progress - in whatever direction and motive - has been the cause of great suffering in the past and present. It's the focus on some illusionary goal under which collateral damage is justified and even necessary...

To close my statement: I admire, respect and love any of the previously mentioned characters (Buddha, Jesus, Ghandi, etc) I do also have the idea of global peace and living life in harmony with the planet. Just I emphasize that (to me) everyone who is detaching from all kinds of readymade concepts and stops thriving for "the ultimate", everyone who drops the baggage and is acting according to the present, the persons and circumstances right in front of her/ him - already makes GREAT DIFFERENCE and improves the condition under which we all exist...

"But maybe I'm just talking BS" said the voice. However I hop ethese words speci and clarified what I meant... wink

hug I ubblove U peace biggrin


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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ickleMatt


ickleMatt

enthusiast
Location: L.O.N.D.O.N.

Total posts: 242
Posted:I do question those people who act out of fear and hatred, and it is my right to question them. I don't question their motivations - for we all want a better world for ourselves and our families. But I do question their judgment to be swayed by those you encourage fear and division.

I agree with you FireTom; too much has been destoyed in the name of progress. But to say progress is the enemy is self defeating. Sure samsara will continue, but not to have compassion and act upon that compassion is nihilism. Progress is a struggle that holds many traps and only those who are fully aware will avoid them.

Those who you mention who have fought under the banner 'a better world' are selfserving and power hungry. Yes, we should question those who claim to be for 'a better world', but no we shouldn't question the idea of 'a better world'.

Those who truly are working for a better world do so with awareness. Awareness is the full understanding of the consequences of ones actions. Awareness is not assuredness; be suspicous of those who are so sure that they have 'the truth' for they will be willing to step on many to maintain their version of the truth.

So work for a better world, don't doubt that this is possible but be aware of your actions.

Everyone can make a difference, some big, some small, some at the material level others at the consciousness level. We are all blessed with different attributes and we can all use them in the name of compassion and a better world.


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Sethis
BRONZE Member since May 2005

Sethis

Pooh-Bah
Location: York University

Total posts: 1762
Posted: Written by: Andrealee


Sethis, why is only the big picture important?




Because the small picture doesn't affect anything? The ocean will not notice if a drop of water evaporates. It won't make a difference if I throw a bottle in it.

(I'm aware that if everyone threw a bottle in then it would make a difference, but not "everyone" does, so that argument is a bit silly)

 Written by: Neon Shaolin


'I don't care if the world is going to censored, I'll be dead by then...



Congratulations, you've just described the attitude of nearly every political leader since about the industrial revolution.

 Written by: Stone


Sethis you can make a difference by involving other people in your eco-friendly and green life. Get other people involved, start a community project. Simple!




In a world of 6 billion (or more by now, something like 6.2) then the difference between one person (me) and 10 (the maximum number of people I might get to have a sustained interest in living an eco-friendly life) is somewhat academic. It still won't make a difference. I appreciate it will help, but given a choice of spending my life doing what I love (seeing new places, and finding new beauty in this world) and spending my life organizing a green movement in my town, then quite frankly I would prefer to live my life as I want to, rather than in a way I would not enjoy, and that would change nothing.

Andrealee's second post: I find a lot more individual happiness with isolation. I've never really felt any yearning to be part of a group (maybe because of my attitude to religion and certain other organized "movements") and the greatest happiness I've ever experienced has been by myself or with people I love deeply i.e. my family and dearheart. What I like is to be alone (or with maybe one or two other people) to appreciate the beauty of the world. It's a wonderful thing that you find fulfillment in social groups, and I bet you make a lot of people happy... I'm just too much of a lone wolf to be able to do that very well.

 Written by: FireTom


IMHO to accept reality, the status quo AS the ultimate good, as perfection and to act according to the present and to those circumstances without any attempt to "improve" anything, might be a very interesting concept (certainly not a new one) don't you think?




An interesting idea, but one I think that would result in stagnation and decay. Someone will always be unhappy with the way things are, that's the way of life. Change is constant and without it there would be no concept of time, no advancement in technology, philosophy, medical methods, language or ideas. A life without creation is ultimately useless, which is why I think having children is very important, as well as doing the best you can to improve what you can.

 Written by: ickleMatt


Awareness is not assuredness; be suspicous of those who are so sure that they have 'the truth' for they will be willing to step on many to maintain their version of the truth.




clap


After much consideration, I find that the view is worth the asphyxiation.
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I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear

Total posts: 4693
Posted:maybe its just me, but all these posts, when it boils down, are just pessimist and optimists perspectives.

you may not have a problem with this fact, but to me it seems that everyone is just acting as they are taught, showing their views that they have been socialised into. (again words fail me to express what i think). whatever we say is just rhetoric, and as we talk about it and say what we think nothing is achieved.

I'm assuming by now you've realised i lean to the pessimist side of the discussion and agree with all that firetom and Sethis have said.

it seems to me that people, humans and humanity have no control. as sethis said governments only care about keeping themselves in power(which of course is short term thinking) so we cannot honestly hope that they will ever put in place things to make "a better world" (in the grande sense).

Even our desire to express our greif and sorrow about things(as i'm starting to feel now, and you all are discussing in this thread, cause you are unsatisfied with life now) results in talking to other people about it. and somehow that talking to other people about it doesnt solve the problem, but makes us feel better and forget for a while(which is what i think tinkLpants was doing when she created this thread). frown

Ok, now i know you guys will just think "wtf" after reading all this, whatever. my mind is a samsara which causes me endless trouble but oh well, no doubt those of you with an optimist view will consider me mad shrug i'm alive and thats all that matters.

(and i've talked about it, so i'll be ok for a while)

*le sigh*


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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ickleMatt


ickleMatt

enthusiast
Location: L.O.N.D.O.N.

Total posts: 242
Posted:I disagree with the optimistic / pessimistic dichotomy.

I know plenty of people who are pessimistic about the direction of life on this planet, yet they spend their lives working to benefit those who are less fortunate than themselves.

Conversely there are loads of people who are optimistic about life yet they are so caught up in their stuff they tread all over other people.

What I hoped to convey in my last post is that those who think hope is lost, who are racked with doubt can help contribute to making the world a better place. They may ask why? Well for one it makes you feel better; and you know: if you help people, people are more likely to help you!

People created the governments and companies which control the world, people can bring down / change these governments and companies. Real progress (forget technology) is the development of a mass consciousness that new forms of government and companies are possible. It isn't optimistism making me say this it is a realisation that this is the destiny of human kind (optimism is saying that not too many people will have to die before this is realised).

Sethis: Regarding your choice of doing what you want to do and helping to make the world a better place. This is a false choice - all you need to do is find where what you like to do intersects with helping the world/other people. Its not easy to find (see my post on performance and empowerment), but when you do it feels just super biggrin FInd your own path.


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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear

Total posts: 4693
Posted:migh, thats an optomistic view. wink

"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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TinklePants
GOLD Member since Jul 2005

TinklePants

Clique Infiltrator, Cunning Linguist and Master Debator
Location: Edinburgh burgh burrrrrr

Total posts: 4217
Posted:Wow i started a really deep thread ubblol

Always use "so's your face" and "only on Tuesdays" in as many conversations possible

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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear

Total posts: 4693
Posted:was that your intention? i'm of the opinion that you just wanted to vent.

"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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TinklePants
GOLD Member since Jul 2005

TinklePants

Clique Infiltrator, Cunning Linguist and Master Debator
Location: Edinburgh burgh burrrrrr

Total posts: 4217
Posted:I just wanted to see if people agreed with me or not. I was also bored and my mind was racing with the discussed problem. I thought i'd share it!

Sharing's good - i like to share smile

People KNOW whats right and wrong, People KNOW how to live in an idealistic manner, but of course, very few people do. Be it because of laziness, fear of what others may think/do, "i havent got time/money" or just plain selfishness. It's life, i guess.

I guess as I grew up being the middle child, and stopping my sisters from fighting, its only natural for me to feel the urge to be a peace keeper/negotiator.

And in an ideal world, I'd live on a farm, live off the land, grow and eat organic foods, use only reusable energy, help out anyone I could, buy fair trade products, not let myself worry over things, etc.

But its not an ideal world - I'm a mum of two young children, i have no job, organic foods are really expensive, and I cannot fit a wind turbine out the back as there's no room (centre of town!) I have a very small budget and cant do the things i'd like to that will make me feel like I'm doing the world a favour. Thats where my courtesy kicks in, and I try to help anyone who's in need. smile


Always use "so's your face" and "only on Tuesdays" in as many conversations possible

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BansheeCat
BRONZE Member since Jul 2005

veteran
Location: lost

Total posts: 1247
Posted:Yes, Icklematt, you nailed it, imo--" Regarding your choice of doing what you want to do and helping to make the world a better place. This is a false choice - all you need to do is find where what you like to do intersects with helping the world/other people. Its not easy to find (see my post on performance and empowerment), but when you do it feels just super FInd your own path."

Magestic, you make so many assumptions in your statements, I find it hard to know where to begin. I am not an optimist, in the sense I dont have a better vision of the future. I have only very practical expereince in what my capabilities allow me to do now, and how that makes me feel...

Sethis, you did get my point though, didn't you? I mean yes, the cummulative effect is relevent, but more than that I wanted to point out that there just may be an organism in that single drop of ocean water, that "cares" very deeply about whether it gets evaporated or not? And we may not be able to manage the ocean, but we may be able to manage our own grey water systems...

Firetom, i rarely use good or bad or evil as reference points. You can come up with a definition of better person that works in different paradigms if you want!

Tinklepants, few of us are in an ideal world. Just enjoy doing what you can, use your creativity to get around financial limitations, and support those that you are able to... I really do feel that is hugely important, no matter how small!

smiles
Andrea


"God *was* my co-pilot, but then we crashed, and I had to eat him..."

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dream
SILVER Member since Jul 2003

dream

currently mending
Location: Bristol

Total posts: 493
Posted: Written by:

why is only the big picture important?





This and other talk which somehow divorces the 'big' and 'little' pictures creates a nonsenical binary. The global is a vast network, local at evey point. They, like other dualisms are poles of a continuum not incommensurable oppositions.

 Written by:

In a world of 6 billion (or more by now, something like 6.2) then the difference between one person (me) and 10 (the maximum number of people I might get to have a sustained interest in living an eco-friendly life) is somewhat academic. It still won't make a difference.



confused

you think you can affect 10 people? A little like Gandhi saying I'll only get a maximum of 10 people to resist British occupation or L. Ron Hubard deciding no more than 10 people would ever see the glorious light of scientology wink

This thread alone has probably made more than 10 people think about their relationship to the environment and how they can and cannot work towards their subjective vision of what is good.

 Written by:

whatever we say is just rhetoric, and as we talk about it and say what we think nothing is achieved.



Its amazing how lightly we take freedoms of speech and expression along with our ability to communicate to a global audience in a reciprocal (virtually) non-hierarchical manner over the internet. A few centuries ago you'd most likely be arrested for spreading anti-government rhetoric. Despite the very real dangers people risked their lives to print and distribute radical newspapers to a relatively tiny number of people. Only a few decades ago across South America the Third Cinema founders risked excecution and voluntarily impoverished themselves to make left wing documentary films - the costs of shooting on film were roughly $250,000 - this could only be met by a group of people who dedicated their lives to stand up for what they believed in, to try and prevent their peers and future generations from the oppression they were suffering... They felt that the ability to communicate to others was the ONLY way this could be done (and even then within a rigidly hierarchical centre to margin model of mass media which in many ways contradicted their political aims - but i digress)


These media activists, along with most successful grassroots activist campaigns had a long, bitter struggle to change their worlds (only a miniscule part of the Earth as a whole, but huge changes to the lives of millions of people nonetheless)... The suffragettes campaigned for nearly 20 years (albeit with a bit of a break over WW1) before they won equal voting rights... The civil rights movement in the US is often accredited as being active between '55 and '68 but there had been campaigns for decades beforehand... The sort of global changes you're talking about are the sum of thousands of small actions, events, happenings and changes spread over periods of years or decades. They are result of the blood sweat and tears of thousands (at the very least - often millions or tens of millions) of people who decided that they could and would make a difference. This sort of prolonged political pressure seems at odds with much of contemporary consumer models of society, which reward short term gains and fetishize instant gratification, and maybe thats a part of why so many people seem to give up on their ability to affect their society.

Change is constant. Political change is dependent on people's will and desire. If you decide you can't change things; that you want to concentrate on things that make you happy; and that you prefer being isolated from others; then all that happens is that your ability to affect changes around you is reduced. Essentially you allow others - who you display little love for here and elsewhere on the forum, corporations and governments - to dictate the ways in which human society and its environmental impact will change.

A lot of my friends who aren't activists ask me about what difference/changes I think I'm making. How do I know that I'm not just wasting my time?

My answer has always been that i don't. While eveyone's actions inevitably change things, the only way that these local changes contribute to bigger changes is if lots of individual people actively decide to make little changes. Whether other people follow steps you take will always (I hope) be up to them. However if no one campaigned against climate change/Neo-liberal globalisation/Anglo-American neo-imperialism/debt cancellation/civil rights/universal suffrage/abolition of slavery/ending the Vietnam war/ 5 day working week/etc then the big changes everyone here has expressed a preference for, or currently enjoys will not/would not have happened. Maybe I am wasting my life. But I'd rather die have tried to do something beyond having a laugh with my mates and getting stoned.






 Written by:

Regarding your choice of doing what you want to do and helping to make the world a better place. This is a false choice



For most people this isn't the case. Risking arrest on actions which bring no personal benefit is not what many people would choose to do with their time. Equally many people would rather go to events like Falmouth and Play even if it means getting in a car than staying at home because its better for the environment. I fail on the latter.

 Written by:

Real progress (forget technology) is the development of a mass consciousness that new forms of government and companies are possible. It isn't optimistism making me say this it is a realisation that this is the destiny of human kind



So the destruction of most of the forms of governance around the globe by Occidental culture in the name of Empire contributes to anti-progress. Or perhaps regress.

Seriously though, any talk of the destiny of human kind is frankly frightening. It's just a cultural expression of the bible's promise of the second coming and the return of humanity to eden - for a prime example see Marx. It also makes it hard to take the good points you make seriously. Talk of human destiny/innate human nature carries the same misplaced concreteness as the (notso)good book it descends from. We are not destined to achieve utopia or destroy the planet (do you really mean the planet or just the conditions for human survival), if we were than any changes we effect really wouldn't matter as the outcome of human society is somehow predetermined.


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:eek how come my post is regarded "pessimistic"? confused

Another misunderstood and -interpreted post of mine... frown

All that I was stating - btw - was a personal reflection, not applicable to anyone but myself. If you can take something for YOURself, please consider to re-arrange it so it really suits your individuality.

Do not follow other peoples footsteps - leave your own!

And when you walk this planet, try to find what you enjoy and enjoy what you find = smile on the face, peace at heart/ mind = improve the world with just THAT...

To become a better person, or to improve the world should mainly start and basically focus on those 2 cubic metres of experience around yourself... anything further is................................. far... wink

I have met a few, who did nothing but sitting on the corner, looking at their bellies and smile all the time. I felt they did a lot more to improve the world than a dozen activists...

If you really want, you can make a change by only looking the cashier directly in the eye and truely mean it when you say: Thanks, have a nice day!

My world improved on a daily basis, when I recognised that I am able to notice the beauty of nature/ life AROUND ME... it never stopped since and I am looking forward for it to grow even more...

To quote: The richest man is not the one who has the most, but who needs the least and it doesn't matter how old we get, but how we get old...

Therefore I wish you a happy weekend and nice warm weather so you can improve your spinning world - unless you are just happy as you just are... hug peace


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear

Total posts: 4693
Posted:I'm not saying everything you have ever posted has been pessimistic FireTom, nobody is that committed to one point of view!

 Written by: FireTom


My point is: Striving and aiming at something illusionary is causing suffering. I am certain that even the Dalai Lama is suffering from pathologically becoming "a better person". I am certain that Jesus did NOT regard himself a saint and that Buddha had strong doubts when he died.

We are comparing ourselves with wo/men who we regard as the "ultimate good" and are making attempts to follow their footsteps, in order to BECOME someone - instead of realising who we actually already ARE. This is a ratrace, as is every other.

To stop, sit back, relax and to open the eyes and see...
To see what is actually really there, right in front of you...
To recognise who is in front of you and to behave in the appropriate manner - not to aim for anything, just because it's what is necessary...
To enjoy doing just THIS - I am certain that this is as much difference as the world needs right now.




i agree with all this, but i find that much of it is self defeating, all it does (for me, as this is where MY interpretation comes in wink) is mean i sit around and think about it some more, attempting to "see what is actually there". and if i apply this thinking to everything then as you say i will just sit back, watch everything go by and simply be....well.....alive. thinking that i dont want to achieve, dont want to desire to achieve, but still recognising that i cant not have a goal, because that in itself would be a goal.

does that make sense?

 Written by: FireTom

It's a merry go round and will never end - therefore continue the cycle of "Samsara".



i agree.

 Written by: FireTom

Progress - in whatever direction and motive - has been the cause of great suffering in the past and present. It's the focus on some illusionary goal under which collateral damage is justified and even necessary...



so at the same time as sitting down and thinking is selfdefeating, actively wanting to progress is also ultimatly pointless. so then you're stuck there, thinking some more, and getting nowhere.
I find this situation to be pessimistic because your stuck in a somewhat endles cycle, but i'm sorry for putting words in your mouth, you may not see it this way.

I'll agree that this is MY interpretation of your writings, and that it may be vastly different from YOUR view in reality, but thats what I get from it. wink

 Written by: Dream

 Written by: mjk

whatever we say is just rhetoric, and as we talk about it and say what we think nothing is achieved

............etc



Yes things do happen on a macro level, which then affect large scale things. But, there is no guidance or collective goal so while some people may work for positive change on one thing, other people might work for positive change which negatively affects the other groups positive change, so all these groups competing to get their own ideals, at the same time as making their views better, make other views worse.

i think its wrong to just look at all the good change and say 'glad it happened' without seeing that THAT good change affected other potential good change.

This is why small scale things are so ineffective on a grand scale, they perpetuate the small scale by undercutting other small scale groups. so while you may think that they do make change on a grand scale i question how effective that change is, its just one small groups ideas getting popular, which is no different to a politican creating 'change'.

------this isnt finished, i've just got some small scale change that needs attending to wink-------


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

jointly owned by Fire_Spinning_Angel and Blu_Valley

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ickleMatt


ickleMatt

enthusiast
Location: L.O.N.D.O.N.

Total posts: 242
Posted:Dream:

"Risking arrest on actions which bring no personal benefit is not what many people would choose to do with their time."

Your right and therefore they don't, however plenty of people do - so the protests continue. What was your point again?

My point, which relates to what FireTom is talking about, is that there are plenty of ways of making a difference. One way maybe to be the best listener in the world: helping all your friends (and strangers) work their own problems out. Some would say this is just sitting around doing nothing, but this is looking at it at a purely material level and devalues what they are actually doing.

"Equally many people would rather go to events like Falmouth and Play even if it means getting in a car than staying at home because its better for the environment."

Its better for the environment to eat raw vegetables and live in a cave. Are you suggesting this is somthing we should do? I flew to India to work do some work on human rights, flying is one of the worst things you can do for the environment - should I not fly and therefore not help to promote human rights in India? Life is full of hard decisions.

Regarding my mention of destiny - it is a word that has so many negative connertations. Maybe I shouldn't have used it. But wha I was meaning was that it isn't then end of history - we are not stuck with the social and political structures, history and struggle (like you highlight) WILL continue.

Empire is one side of the coin which is destroying former models of governance, new social movements (and other forms of social development) are the other side. The struggle will continue.

Mr Majestik:

Yes there is a deeper interrelated connectivity to everything and every action affects all future actions. So are you advocating inaction?
It isn't possible to know the total consequences on one actions until you are enlightened. However the state of enlightenedess isn't a binary state; it is possible to become more enlightened and have a better understanding of consequences. In fact through awareness in action it is possible to become more enlightened.


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Mr Majestik
SILVER Member since Mar 2004

Mr Majestik

coming to a country near you
Location: home of the tiney toothy bear

Total posts: 4693
Posted:i'm not neccissarily adovcating inaction, just suggesting that its no more or less harmful than action.

I suppose TOTAL inaction, like staying in bed, isnt going to help anything or one because you will be dependant on others. but i beleive if everyone was as inactive and passive as me there would be much less trouble in the world, althought of course thats impossible.(that said, its questionable whether trouble is trouble, or whether its the status quo) And anyway, saying that is assuming the world is meant to be in a perfect state, which although is a nice thought i dont beleive to be a reality.


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

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dream
SILVER Member since Jul 2003

dream

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Posted:Matt

 Written by:


Written by:

'Regarding your choice of doing what you want to do and helping to make the world a better place. This is a false choice'

For most people this isn't the case. Risking arrest on actions which bring no personal benefit is not what many people would choose to do with their time.



 Written by:

Your right and therefore they don't, however plenty of people do - so the protests continue. What was your point again?



That your statement doesn't hold true for the vast majority of people. I don't understand how you failed to grasp that.

 Written by:

" I flew to India to work do some work on human rights, flying is one of the worst things you can do for the environment - should I not fly and therefore not help to promote human rights in India? Life is full of hard decisions.




Life is full of hard decisions and often you need to compromise some ethical values to acheive goals which support others. However, you set up a false choice between flying to India and not going there. There are several alternative and far greener (in fact you'd struggle to find a less green method of transport) ways of getting yourself to India to promote human rights. However you chose not to take them for whatever reason - cost?, speed?, convenience?, - just don't claim it was the only or greenest way to do so.

I also struggle to see how your trip to promote human rights compares to my statement

 Written by:

many people would rather go to events like Falmouth and Play even if it means getting in a car than staying at home because its better for the environment."




The point being that Falmouth and Play are events where a group of spinners have fun together. Yet I am willing to pollute the environment to get there and enjoy myself. Its another example of what people want to do being antithetical to environmental concerns.


Mr majestik...

 Written by:

i'm not neccissarily adovcating inaction, just suggesting that its no more or less harmful than action.




I suppose you could possibly argue this on the basis that inaction from Hitler, Pol Pot etc would have been less harmful than action... However it displays an alarming tendency to divorce yourself from reality in order to justify your apathy.

 Written by:

if everyone was as inactive and passive as me there would be much less trouble in the world



But they aren't. So being passive and inactive simply means you have no voice in the changes that occur around you. The desire to let other people rule for you is one of the central tenets of fascist philosophy.

 Written by:

things do happen on a macro level, which then affect large scale things. But, there is no guidance or collective goal so while some people may work for positive change on one thing, other people might work for positive change which negatively affects the other groups positive change, so all these groups competing to get their own ideals, at the same time as making their views better, make other views worse.

i think its wrong to just look at all the good change and say 'glad it happened' without seeing that THAT good change affected other potential good change.

This is why small scale things are so ineffective on a grand scale, they perpetuate the small scale by undercutting other small scale groups. so while you may think that they do make change on a grand scale i question how effective that change is, its just one small groups ideas getting popular, which is no different to a politican creating 'change'.




This comes over as entirely meaningless... There are so many ways of interpreting your abstractions that I'm not even going to try - inevitably it would have no bearing on what you were thinking when you wrote. Please could you rewrite this with some clarity and examples as to what you are talking about... try to avoid terms like big/small micro/macro good/bad without giving us a context in which to understand them.

Remember that truly macro levels of change on Earth are things like ice ages and the comet that wiped out the dinosaurs... If the Earth's life was a day long humanity would only appear at 23:59:30 so changes in recent human history such as universal suffrage, the end of slavery, the industrial revolution etc which may/may not seem massive to you are still largely insignificant on a planetary level.


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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ickleMatt


ickleMatt

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Posted:Dream, sorry I won't let this go cause I think its important:

'Regarding your choice of doing what you want to do and helping to make the world a better place. This is a false choice'

What I'm saying is that it CAN hold true. It is purely a lack of imagination or opportunity that makes it not.

I have been on plenty of protests risking arrest, for no personal benefit, because, on one level, I enjoy protesting. But protest is only ONE form of action and if it was the only form it would fail. But luckily there are other people who enjoy writing websites and write issue websites which raise awareness regarding the same issue.

Can YOU not grasp that there are as many ways to work for a better world as there are people in the world. Each one has only to find the right way.

On the second point. I would suggest that maybe having fun is not the only thing that happened at Falmouth; the people there are building social relationships this in its self has innate value which should not be dismissed. Who knows where these social relationship will lead? This is why I relate it to my decision to fly - both decisions have negative (environmental) impacts but positive (social) impacts. how to balance them - this is the question.

Funnily enough I have travelled tto India without stepping on a plane and I can highly recommend it - if you have the time and the money.
I won't go into the reasons why I flew this time - rather boring - but surfice to say when opportunity beckons THEN we have to make the hard decision.

If you have personal quarms about getting in a car to go to a festival or what ever. Then whats wrong with trying to minimalise the environmental impact? Buy a diesel car and fill it with bio. Or find out how much it would more it would have cost by train and spend the spare cash on planting trees?

Mr Majestik:

Have you ever thought that maybe you are super priviledged to be able to be as inactive as you say you are. What about those who are oppressed in the world? Do you advocate that they should be more inactive?


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Mr Majestik
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Posted:
k, Dream.......

 Written by: dream

it displays an alarming tendency to divorce yourself from reality in order to justify your apathy



how am i divorced from reality? i would really appreciate you alaborating on this, i fear it to be true.

 Written by: dream

 Written by: mjk

if everyone was as inactive and passive as me there would be much less trouble in the world

But they aren't. So being passive and inactive simply means you have no voice in the changes that occur around you. The desire to let other people rule for you is one of the central tenets of fascist philosophy



yeah, because i am a pawn of society? for this reason i have problems deiciding whether i'll vote in next years federal elections. at the same time as i distrust politicians and the 'democracy' if i DONT vote i'll have no say at which polly is the lesser evil. its damned if i do and damned if i dont.

 Written by: dream

Please could you rewrite this with some clarity and examples as to what you are talking about... try to avoid terms like big/small micro/macro good/bad without giving us a context in which to understand them.



ok, here goes........no promises right? wink

what i am saying is people who attempt to affect change in their immediate world are a dime a dozen, each going toward a slightly different goal. while one person may believe stopping logging is of great importance, another might see that logging is curcial to the economy and is crucial to us. which person is right? Say the economist ends up achieving their goal, they believe they have made the world a better place. but at the same time the person against logging has had their goal crushed. would you say that was the right outcome?(to continue what i'm saying, lets say no) so now you will fight for the 'right' outcome, and maybe oneday you win. but skip 50 yearsafter you winning, and maybe someone else will believe you were wrong, and they will commence a change yet again.

can you see how this is perpetuating the individuals desire to change? so basically, if all you keep doing is commencing new changes, you arent really changing anything are you?

does that make more sense? i'm not to sure myself.

 Written by: icklematt

Have you ever thought that maybe you are super priviledged to be able to be as inactive as you say you are. What about those who are oppressed in the world? Do you advocate that they should be more inactive?



yes, i conceed that i am priviledged to be able to be inactive. yet that very inactivinty causes me great troubles, sometimes i just wish i had something to do so i wouldnt think about my inactivity. but there in lies the REAL problem, that being "why?".


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

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ickleMatt


ickleMatt

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Posted: Written by: Mr Majestik


yes, i conceed that i am priviledged to be able to be inactive. yet that very inactivinty causes me great troubles, sometimes i just wish i had something to do so i wouldnt think about my inactivity. but there in lies the REAL problem, that being "why?".



When all other kids where bugging their parents with the question 'why?', I was asking 'why not?'.

If you wish to do something because you are troubled by inactivity, then why then hell not do something to make the world better? So you're worried that your actions may have negative consequences, join the gang. Its human to doubt (like Thomas in the bible). In fact, as I argued above, its healthy to doubt. But if your action is with awareness and awareness flows through your action then you can act with a clear consciousness. Just find the best way for you to act.

One way to find a way to act is to think of one thing creative thing you really like doing and one cause that you think is truly valid. Now be imaginative and see how these intersect. See my post under Performance and empowerment for an example.


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Mr Majestik
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Posted: Written by: dream


 Written by: mjk

i'm not neccissarily adovcating inaction, just suggesting that its no more or less harmful than action.



I suppose you could possibly argue this on the basis that inaction from Hitler, Pol Pot etc would have been less harmful than action... However it displays an alarming tendency to divorce yourself from reality in order to justify your apathy.



thats why i would like clarification about "divorcing myself from reality".

i dont understand how you consider yourself aware. is there some kind of scale to measure yourself upon?


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

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BansheeCat
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Posted:How to be "aware" is probably the most interesting question that anyone has asked so far! I think awareness is the soil that lets response- ability grows in. How to find it? Lots of buddist practices are good ones to cultivate it in yourself. Paying attention would be the most basic way.

Applying awareness often lessens the paralysis of doubt, because if you pay attention all along the way you are flexible and ready to respond as soon as your awareness suggsests a better course, indicating a change in your behaviour/path. Essentially, constantly and subtly fine tuning your process as you know more and see the results of what you have done. That way it is no big scary drastic anything, just one step flowing to another...

How to measure it? Why would you want to measure it? But if you did, I am not really sure how to approach that. I'll think on it...


"God *was* my co-pilot, but then we crashed, and I had to eat him..."

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Mr Majestik
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Posted: Written by: andrealee

How to measure it? Why would you want to measure it? But if you did, I am not really sure how to approach that. I'll think on it...



why wouldnt you want to measure it? can you be sure you are aware 'enough' to make the right judgement? what i was illuding to was asking if there is some standard level where somebody changes from "unaware" to "aware". so, is there?


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

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dream
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dream

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Posted: Written by:

Regarding your choice of doing what you want to do and helping to make the world a better place. This is a false choice



my reply:

 Written by:

your statement doesn't hold true for the vast majority of people



your response

 Written by:

What I'm saying is that it CAN hold true



What you initially said is quite clearly not what you said in your last post. The word CAN is a quantifier - it delineates that in some cases the statement is true while in others it is not. Which is what my reply to your initial statement says... if your statement does not hold true for the majority it does hold true for a minority. If you're part of that minority then good on you...

 Written by:

I won't let this go cause I think its important



By changing your statement so that it no longer contradicts my critique you already have. Or do you expect me to argue with statements that agree with the position I have taken up in this thread?

You then feel the need to go on with statements such as

 Written by:

Can YOU not grasp that there are as many ways to work for a better world as there are people in the world



which creates a strawman position which neither I nor anyone else on this thread has advocated at any point.

I'm sorry you feel the need to behave in this way - its why I'm off to go and do more productive things than post on this thread.


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.

Nietzsche

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ickleMatt


ickleMatt

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Posted:Awareness is of the self before it is of the context. Therefore the more aware you become the more you know you are making the 'right' judgment. (This is a crude way of putting it because in awareness right and wrong disappear and you cease to make judgements. But more about that later, if you want) This isn't to be confused with ego, in fact it is the loss of ego. Once the ego is reduced there is an increased clarity of awareness.

If you stop and observe your thoughts, see how they flow independent from the self. Stand back from your thoughts and see how they change according to things happening in your life. See anger rise up and watch it flow away again. Do not become anger just see it and watch it go. This is the beginning of awareness. Through this you will begin to be aware of the impact of thoughts on yourself and others.

I could go on but I won't.

If you want to investigate awareness further then Buddhism is good start or read something by Eckhart Tolle.

Wow! What a deep conversation we have going on here. Thanks Tinklepants for starting it (however unintentionally).

Big hug to all involved. Especially those who I disagree with smile


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Mr Majestik
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Posted: Written by: icklematt

If you stop and observe your thoughts, see how they flow independent from the self. Stand back from your thoughts and see how they change according to things happening in your life. See anger rise up and watch it flow away again. Do not become anger just see it and watch it go. This is the beginning of awareness. Through this you will begin to be aware of the impact of thoughts on yourself and others.



so you're saying that instead of BEING angry, BE AWARE that you are angry?

gosh, could you have put it in more confusing terms? wink

what if the best way, according to your awareness, is not to act? or is that not factored in? as you say below with higher awareness there is no right or wrong, so how do you justify any action?

 Written by: icklematt

Therefore the more aware you become the more you know you are making the 'right' judgment. (This is a crude way of putting it because in awareness right and wrong disappear and you cease to make judgements. But more about that later, if you want)



do continue............. how do you know not making judgements is right? or that making judgements is wrong?


"but have you considered there is more to life than your eyelids?"

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ickleMatt


ickleMatt

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Posted:Ok so I admit my langauge isn't the clearest, its a diffcult subject and language itself isn't really up to the job.

Following the example of anger.

Yes, be aware that you are angery and see how that anger stays with you for a little while, and if you don't hold on to it, disappears. Do not associate yourself with the anger; do not BE the anger.
Anger as an emotion is not useful, it clouds the mind and causes more problems than it solves. So the best way is to realise that you feel anger, let it go but understand why you felt anger. You are therefore more aware of the best course of action to deal with why you felt anger.

Awareness of thoughts and emotions is best practiced through meditation - in fact that is what meditation is, watching thoughts appear and disappear impassionately.

Sit comfortably and let your thoughts drift through but pay no heed. A very good Zen saying is: 'let your thoughts in the front door and out the back door but don't entertain them with tea'.

If you find this difficult then focus on the breath. When you inhale think to yourself 'rising' when you breath out think to yourself 'falling'. Breath is a fantastic focus because it is something we all do all the time, but pay no notice. So to focus on the breath takes you to a different mental state that is very different from the normal.

Yes, often through awareness you realise that the best way is not to act. Indeed, if you misread what the Buddha taught you will perhaps decide that never acting is the best course of action. However, in my opinion and in the opinion of the Dalai Lama, this is devaluing compassion. Compassion compells us to act. Compassion is at the heart of Buddhism and Christianity ('love thy neighbour'), but this teaching of Jesus has been lost under the piles of history.

Ok, so the disappearance of right and wrong and the disapearance of judgment... Difficult to explain... mmmm... I'm afraid that my langauge fails me to do this justice. I guess I'll have to direct you to my teachers the Buddha, Jesus, the Dalai Lama, Deepak Chopra, The Maharishi, Osho, Rumi and my current fav Eckhart Tolle.


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BansheeCat
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Posted:icklematt, I think you are actually very clear, and offering a consise explanation , one that I was not even going to attempt! Way to go!



I think the problem in understanding for some people is not your choice of words, but rather a lack of experience with the concept(s) in general.



So go on people, try it!



Magestik, awareness is a continuum( sp?). Enough is not a relevant term...



A buddist story that would explain why I say that might be the following:



A monk holds up a stick in front of his students, and asks, students, is this a long stick, or a short stick?



Each student came up with their response, long or short, and the monk just kept his silence.



Eventually, a student responded with an answer that brought a smile to his face: " The stick in itself, is neither long or short. Those terms only apply in relation to what you want to use it for. If you want to clean out your ear, that stick is going to appear a very long stick. If you want to clear cobwebs off a ceiling rafter, it will appear much too short a stick. "



So how much awareness is enough? for you? for me? When? What are you intending to do with it... Thats why I express uncertainty about whether measurement would be useful.



*Sorry I left this half finished earlier, had to run out the door to catch a ferry!*

EDITED_BY: andrealee (1146459739)


"God *was* my co-pilot, but then we crashed, and I had to eat him..."

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Stone
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Posted:I'm just catching up after the weekend smile

So Fire Tom, you must be very close to the Dalai Lama to be able to say,

 Written by:

Personally I have the highest respect for the Dalai Lama, but whilst others ("normal"/ ordinary people) would forgive themselves for getting upset and loose their temper, he would clearly critisize himself for the same.



otherwisw you just make that up. Like it's your interpretation of what you think he would say or think.

Ditto with Jesus on the cross. More stories Fire Tom.

smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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ickleMatt


ickleMatt

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Posted:Dream, please don't get personal here.

Basically I think it comes down to a simple misunderstanding.

The way I look at it can be descirbed as a venn diagram. What you want to do is one area made up from a number of different possibilities (we all want to do many things) and ways that you can help the world is another area made up from a number of different posibilities. These two areas intersect each other. It is up to us, if we want to help the world but not depress ourselves, to find where these two areas intersect.

I don't see how this description disagrees with any statement I have made. It is a false choice between doing what you want and helping the world because there is a third choice - doing both. Or as the Buddha put it 'right livelihood'. This can only hold true if you are conscious enough to search for it - it is up to the individual.


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