Friday, October 25, 2013

Who's To Blame?

Scott Bradley

A friend with whom I have extensive debates on the general state of the world recently visited; he is the eternal optimist, and I the pessimist. However, my political pessimism is tempered by a belief that, in the end, everything is just fine, whatever happens. If humanity manages to destroy the earth and itself in the process, that will have just been the way of it, part of the unfolding of this great Mystery which will not itself be any worse for wear, and really has no vested interests in that or any other outcome, in any case. All is well.

Nevertheless, humanity itself does care, as it rightly should, given that it does. That we all die does not obviate the essential impulse to life that we all share. However, when the inevitability of our death informs our living, we live more authentically, if not "better". Similarly, that humanity, earth, this solar system, and this particular universe shall all eventually come to an end should not dissuade us from enjoying the living moment or the historic trajectory of the human experience, but should, nonetheless, inform that moment and that history. It's simply a question of keeping things in perspective, which, to my thinking is what the view from Dao is really all about. Walking two roads, in this instance, is caring, on the one hand, and being free from care on the other.

In the context of caring then, the question arises, if humanity is itself on a trajectory toward a death of its own making, who is to blame? This assessment of blame is simply to identify the root cause(s) so as to ameliorate the situation if possible, not to pass moral judgment. In the American context, is the 'government' to blame? Or is it the multi-nationals and ultra-rich that have bought and paid for that government? Or is it the American citizens who have ultimately accepted this turn of events? We hear that Americans are 'upset', but very few indeed have taken to the barricades.

Part of the reason for my personal pessimism is that I see the root cause of our self-destruction, earth-destruction and others-destruction as being the building blocks of these larger entities, namely human beings, humanity itself. It is true that the institutions of organized humanity take on a life of their own, but I see the expression these 'lives' take as being a reflection of humanity itself. Therefore, though we must certainly work to change the character of our institutions into expressions of the better side of ourselves, the most essential work, it seems to me, is to transform humanity itself. And although this too must involve a dialectic between the individual and his or her societal institutions (for they do indeed mold human beings), that cannot take place without a change in the human character.

And changing humanity, of course, requires changing individual human beings. And this means changing myself — which is probably why I am so pessimistic.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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