One of the more interesting things about history is that it seems to be changing all the time. I live in theOne of the more fascinating qualities that distinguishes Buddhism from the three other major religions on the planet right now is each groups attitude toward change. Christianity, Islam and Judaism all seem to have at their core a basic quality that seems to align them with the term or a label we call conservative. That is to say they seem to be extremely fearful of and resistant to change. Buddhism on the other hand has at its core the teaching that change is the very nature of reality. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that modern Buddhist are more often than not considered liberals while members of the other three religions seem to be conservative at their core and only liberal around the edges.
a country which seems to have become in the last 20
years extraordinarily polarized.
One of the more irritating facets of American society is that we let individuals and newsroom reporters and so called think tanks tell us who and what we are and what we are supposed to think. They are constantly
applying labels to everyone and everything.
Probably the two most irritating labels that I’ve run across of late are
the terms conservative and liberal. The
primary quality that’s assigned to the term conservative seems to be a strong
fear of and resistance to change. The
primary quality assigned to being liberal is to encourage change, usually
concerning social and political behavior. United
I am I think a member of a class of people in the west and especially in the United States, that usually makes up the core of the conservative groupings, both politically and religiously. That is to say I am male, white, moderately educated, and pretty much in the middle of the middle class economically . Change very often means for my group a lessening of respect, a lessening of power both socially and politically as well as a deepening anxiety that this lessening will increase in crescendo to an all-out collapse of our privileged status in society. Whether this is true or not is really irrelevant because it’s what is perceived to be true by most of the members of my group. And one of the things I’ve noticed is that it doesn’t really matter if it’s actually happening or not. The fear that this is what’s going on is more than sufficient to drive members of my class to become more and more afraid of change and of the future, and of other people.
A short synopsis of recent history in the west I think can be illustrated here to explain this fear. For several hundred years members of my cast group told themselves and everyone else that God had appointed certain people to be our rulers, these people usually looked and acted just like me. Many people in my group historically made their living’s by exploiting other people. While this is not true of our group as a whole there certainly were sufficient numbers of people who believe this way to create thousands of years of misery and Empire going from Genghis Khan to the
British Empire. My groups belief in their own natural
superiority allowed them to own slaves, have children work in their coal mines
in their factories for 12 to 18 hours a day, and conquer and destroy the
cultures of just about everybody in the world who wasn’t white. In almost every society regardless oof race or religion for thousands of
years males have dominated females in just about every way imaginable. The
conservative white male opposed women’s suffrage and still to this day many oppose
women receiving equal pay for equal work. Hell we even told people, and ourselves that animals
couldn’t feel pain so when we worked them to death we wouldn't feel guilty
about it. I am not joking about this I’ve actually read historical papers were
so-called scientists argued that animals couldn’t feel pain or suffer like humans do. To me that’s just
was started by some people that believed that the citizens of a nation should
have control over how that nation was run. I think people forget that good old
King George believed in the divine right of kings. This was an unheard of idea, at least for the last thousand years. United States of America has a lot of guilt on its
doorstep, hundreds of thousands of Americans killed each other because about
half of us wanted to own slaves. The Supreme Court of the America
upheld the right for corporations to have 10 and 12-year-old children work
themselves to death in their factories and actually saying that this was good
for their character. We all but wiped out the native Americans that were here before we were. The men that started our country were of course both
practical and more than a little bit hypocritical. They wrote wonderful poetry about the quality
of man while upholding slavery and basically consigning women to the status of property.
But that in no way changes what a great and wonderful idea America was and is. Politician's like Donald Trump harken back to the days when people like him were the undisputed ruling class of every one else here. This he says will make America "Great Again". He is unable to see that America is now greater than it has ever been, closer to the dream that it was founded upon than it has ever been. United States
Right about now most of the members of my class are calling me a traitor and saying that I hate my nation, that I am un-American to my core. That I don’t love my country because I’m willing to admit that in the past my country did things that I don’t think were very nice. This is an outrageous argument and untrue.
started as an experiment in
equality and liberty and that experiment is still ongoing. It is a dream that has just begun to unfold. We Americans are a
very young group of people as a nation. For that matter nationalism itself is a
fairly new concept on the stage of history. There is no way to go back and undo
what’s been done, and certainly when at some point there has to come an end to
dwelling over it birth pangs. I really don’t think that if women get equal pay I’m going to
be somehow made to suffer for it. I
don’t think that if people of different colors and races and religions all have
an equal say in how our government is run.that I
have any great thing to fear from that.
Of course when you look back on history and you see what my own group
has done to the other folks in the world you certainly do have a valid reason
to fear that they might do the same thing to you that was done to them, even expect it to be so. . But the goal here, the hope and the dream is progress not history repeating itself, a nightmare with each group taking it's turn to exploit the other. The simple fact is all those issues that
arose leading to a Civil War in the America are still playing themselves out, not
only in our country but all over the world.
All of the economic and social class issues that led to the French Revolution, the Marxist revolution in
and class war across the world are still playing themselves out on the world stage. The opposing ideas of a theocracy verse a secular government are still killing thousands. The amazing thing is that almost
everyone in the Russia really believes in that wonderful
poetry that the founding fathers wrote about liberty and equality. But all of them have their own blind spots,
areas in which they just can’t see what the real problem is. That applies to
both conservatives and liberals and to Christians, Muslims, and Jewish people. There is this horrible mental and emotional disease that humans have that tells them that if everyone doesn’t act look and behave the way they do they are under threat and that fear blinds us. United
States at least
There has been more change in the world in the last hundred years then there was in the last 10,000 years of human history. Scientists tell us that as the environment changes those species that learned to change with the environment and to adapt to it survive and those that don’t become extinct. It’s really fascinating and horrifying to see an entire race of people almost 7,000,000,000 strong constantly at war with each other when at their core they all want the same thing or at least the same thing for themselves, if not for those others they perceive as "different". I have no answer to this nor do I have any explanation for it. But I do believe it is a fact. It is this fact that may well kill us all.
But I do have an opinion, just as I’m sure you do. My opinion is that any religion or society or a nation that isn’t willing to accept and adapt to change is going to go extinct and perhaps take everyone else on the planet with it. Of all the religions on earth the only one that I know of that embraces change is Buddhism. I think we all accept that the thing that we call Buddhism is going to change that this change is inevitable. The other religions must adapt to change or parish. But if I were to pick a survivor, that is to say pick out which set of beliefs will still be around in a 1000 years my bet is on Buddhism. I think our fundamental belief in change will put us on the right side of history.