Friday, November 4, 2016

People around the world, party of one

The Buddhists have a concept they call "Intellectual Materialism".  They use the term to describe the state of mind of people who absolutely MUST be right.  They MUST win any and every argument. They don't amass wealth or material possessions.  They live to chalk up the wins and "creds" for being "right".  It is a goal for them to make converts of others to their "side".

The prime example they use is when a number of years a ago, in the news was a story about a prison guard who supposedly flushed a "Holy Book" of a Muslim inmate down a toilet.  The world was agog.  Not only did it briefly unite people across religions to condemn such an act, it was seen as just being "Not Right".

Another recent example is that of the "Sad Puppies" campaign in the literary world.  A group of authors having more conservative leanings rallied against what they perceived as a liberal slant to literary awards for books that ignored unfairly those of conservative political views.  That was "Wrong".  What the "Sad Puppies" were condemning as "Wrong" was not liberalism or that the panel of judges and supposedly the voting system were politically biased.  Their declaration of "Wrong" was that there should be no prejudice in literary awards based on an authors political views.

The response by the leadership of the organization holding the awards was to condemn the "Sad Puppies" as being undeserving of recognition because their opinions and ideologies were, according to the organizers, "Wrong".  They engage in "wrong think" and those people who buy their books were "wrong fans".  If the Sad Puppies were going to think and hold the political views they purported to hold or were believed to hole by the leadership, then they did not deserve credit or recognition.

That is "Intellectual Materialism".

Buddhists and those of us who follow the IE path share the understanding that there is very little to be "right" or "wrong" about.

For IE, it ALWAYS goes back to the knowledge that each person is their own person having Free Will inherently within each of us.  The fact of existing is itself confirmation of the Creator of All Things giving us Free Will and having the Natural Rights which are resultant of that Free Will.

To put it into the context of this discussion about Intellectual Materialism, There is no such thing as a collective "right" or "wrong" because we as people do not exist as a collective.  We exist as individuals.  What is right or wrong for me is not necessarily the same for the next person.

Intellectual Materialism also loses sight of the truth of things.  It focus so heavily and emphatically on having facts and evidence that can be used as ammunition to win argument points or be stacked up as "evidence to support their "right-ness" that it completely misses the point of things.

People will so vehemently create situations designed to be polarizing, they go about forcing others to pick sides or to think that if they do not walk in lock-step agreement, they are automatically caste into the role of opponents and enemies.

The truth is that they are arguing about the extraneous and are losing complete sight of what is inside.  It's like hating a book because of the title, the color, the author photo, the language and so on but not actually discussing or judging the book based on it's content.  What it is actually about.

Going back to the first example, if someone were to flush or otherwise destroy a "holy scroll" to us in IE, what would our response be?  I would say to you that if I had been truly paying attention to what the book was about, what it was saying and what it's context was, then losing the book itself while unfortunate, isn't that big of a deal.  Certainly not something to argue about or start an argument over.

Arguing is for those who do not believe.  Those whose Claimed faith and piety is weak.  They need to be convinced themselves and the best way to do that is to show how well they can defend it.  To defend requires seeing anything that isn't in full agreement as an offense.  In other words, they go looking to start arguments and fights in order to defend their sense of being "Right" in order to prove to themselves, if not anyone actually paying attention, that they are faithful and pious.

We do well to recall that God does not care what everyone thinks.  God knows what he/it is and does not require the adoration and recognition of people to exist.  He exists regardless.  Whether people believe, agree, have faith or not.  He does not need to be convinced of his existence, he does not need others to be convinced of his existence in order to exist.  Thus we do not need to defend him, to defend what we have come to understand about him and nature and the ways of life and the world.

All that matters is that we individually believe and have have faith and are true to him and his ways (being pious).  If we have faith and believe then we do not need others to agree to make it more "real", more believable.  Thus, there is no need to defend, argue and convince others of what we think of as right or wrong about things.  It truly doesn't matter what others think, believe or concur with.

Building consensus does not guarantee that something is right or wrong.  It just signifies if something is popular or not.  Millions of people bought pet rocks.  Because they were so vastly popular, does that mean that it is "wrong" not to have gotten one?  Of course not.

Let them toss the books and tear down the statues and monuments to our ideals.  The representation of the ideal is not what is important.  The ideal itself is what's important.  More books can be made, more statues and monuments can be built.

Let us not argue about what is universally "right" or "wrong".  Ultimately, it doesn't matter how many people agree or disagree.  It ALWAYS come down to each one of us, as individuals born with and having Free Will to decide what is right or wrong in our own lives.

Will that coincide with other peoples views?  yes, and that's fine.  It's a wonderful gift to know we share the same ideals, faith and understanding of the world as others.  We feel that we are not alone in the world then.  It's just fine.  However, it isn't necessary for that which we believe in, have faith in and have come to understand to be any more or less than what they are.

Arguing about it, trying to convince or convert others to seeing our way as the "Right" way does not change what it is.  It is a waste of time, effort and energy that would be better spend on increasing the understanding and faith we already have and by practicing those things we know are the things we should be doing in our own lives.

God gave your your own mind and the courage and conviction to live your own life.  Conformity with others is nether desired or required.



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