Christianity is Killing Us; Buddhism (and socialism) can help…

IMG_2234By ‘Christianity’, of course, I mean the entire Christianity-Capitalism-Democracy (CCD) complex, aka ‘Military-Industrial-Consumer’, that will one day put this entire civilization on its knees, and begging for sweet mercy, if it hasn’t already, because of the fact that most people want their cars, and NOW, rather than some vague undefined future with or without cars, that may or may not drive themselves…

Why people identify with their cars—and their guns—is slightly beyond my comprehension, but so it is, and must be dealt with, the genie long out of the bottle, and begging for food, if not mercy. That means oil, of course, the essence of Earth’s lower layers, and severely limited, if you believe the Western interpretation, or self-sustaining, but nasty, if you believe the Russian geologists, and ever-percolating upward from a nearly inexhaustible source (consider extra-terrestrial petroleum before laughing too hard)…

But the oil is not the main problem, of course, nor our incessant attachment to it, nor even all the cars and the trucks and the tractors and the vans, all self-mobile—automobile—and going nowhere fast, around and around in circles, where they stop, and where it all ends, no one really knows…

And that is the problem, that no one really knows, since there is no plan, and no self-sustaining system of guidance, so that all we can rely on is growth itself, constant mindless growth, more more bigger bigger, because that is all we know—and it leads right over the cliff. What was once understandable, advisable and even necessary in our infancy is now ill-advised in our capitalistic heyday, and soon will be catastrophic, UNLESS we change our ways and change them fast…

And this is where Buddhism can help, with its paradigm of non-aggression and ‘less is more’. So if you’re one of those people who loves the old ‘cup half-full or cup half-empty’ brain-teaser, with the implication that cups half-full are better, then let’s put it this way: yes, the cup is half-empty in Buddhism, BUT—that is good, as a working hypothesis, to operate within limits, partially known and constantly revised, per science, in a peaceful and respectful union of the two disciplines…

So how is that overly-optimistic ‘cup half-full’ ‘sky is the limit’ capitalistic rap (c-rap) working out for us these days? Not so good apparently. It seems the ‘small planet’ people from back in the 1970’s were right, before the Digital Revolution bought us some time and another day playing in the sunshine…

And so while the last fifty years have brought great technological advancement, they have also brought three-billion-plus more people (double that previous), an increasingly hectic lifestyle, and a Global Warming epidemic that just might extinguish us. Fortunately all is not lost and there are possibilities not only for survival but also renewal…

Socialism: Take Two—and action!

This is where Buddhism helps, and so does socialism—planning—its political counterpart IMHO. Humans need something to believe in, to rely upon, whether they acknowledge it or not, whether religion family alcohol drugs or sex—something anything—but preferably something healthy and sustainable, and a visionary government and religion are good places to start…

Have you ever noticed the similarities between Buddhism and socialism? No? Well, I have. And no, I’m not talking about Soviet Bolshevik BS, which is never what Marx intended anyway, something of a Russian shortcut which didn’t quite work out as intended. But socialism was foreseen by Marx as a post-capitalistic phase, and that makes perfect sense, the big-boy phase following our wild reckless balls-all youth…

The problem is that many people are attached to that reckless transitory phase of development, like the old geezer with his Viagra, honey blonde and a pocket full of tissues. Grow up, dude, and accept your limits! Don’t kill yourself for one more roll in the hay. Try meditation instead. That’s Buddhism. Try sustainability, planned and executed with clear intent. That’s socialism. Put the two together for yourselves and society. That’s the future…

Of course, there’s an ancient socialism that predates Marxist Communist Bolshevik totalitarianism, and that’s what I call ‘village socialism’, in which simple social pressures serve to keep any one person from getting too far ahead of any others in the village, at the risk of social ostracizing. And if this sounds a bit too much like government by gossip, well, the upside is that it works…

Sound familiar? No, I didn’t think so, not if you’re American, where greedy pigs are generally rewarded handsomely, and simply move on to the next town, or the big city, if the natives become restless. This is the advantage of a rootless mobile society, individuality to the ‘inth’ degree. There usually is no one ‘back home’ to shame us into submission, so imaginations run wild, and elections are for sale—that’s democracy!!

But village socialism starts in the central market, where you can see all the sellers of a certain product lined up next to each other, so that no one has the advantage of ‘location location location’, no more than an aisle seat, at least, that is. And this spills out on to the streets of ‘old quarters’ like Hanoi’s or Damascus, where a certain product is only to be found in a certain part of town, whatever to be lost in convenience to be gained in fairness…

And if one person does manage to get head and shoulders above the rest, then he is at least expected to share and share alike. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett know this. Donald Trump doesn’t. So maybe we should be shaming our greedy interlopers, not rewarding them. And maybe we should be reforming the Communism and socialism that still exists, not rewarding the newfound Mafia—and drug cartels. Now I just need initials for the new Buddhist Socialist movement that I imagine, something better than BS…

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