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It’s the System, my Dear! — 4 Comments

  1. Listening to a talk by Gil Fronsdal on right livelihood, i was struck by the ethical dilemma i missed in the above post: Do the ends really justify the means? And are the means of being part of the system harmful? Sigh. And is it even possible to live fully ethically in our world today, as Lisa Tessman so eloquently questioned. After all, deciding to live without money means i have the privilege to make that choice! More pondering to do! I do appreciate Gil’s point at the end: This is one of the most difficult parts of the eightfold path… Gil’s question echos in me: If i were not afraid (and ashamed and caged – i might add), what would i do?

  2. Yes, that is what I meant by “locked in a cage”. And if you absolutely refuse to let somebody lock you into that cage, and you are willing to fight to not be put in there, then chances are you will be killed.

  3. You wrote: “These hierarchies are maintained by privileges and shame.”

    And a lot of guns. Keep in mind the presence of the police, security guards, militaries, and prisons. That is a whole lot of massive organized violence right there that exists as a very real physical force to threaten people.

    This is exists so that if people are not kept in place by “privileges and shame”, their fear of being killed or locked into a cage does the trick instead. Mao Tse-Tung is quoted as saying “power grows out of the barrel of a gun” and I think that to some extent he’s right.

    • Yeah, very good point, Ian! And there’s also the threat of prison if you don’t comply, like, if you don’t pay rent, for example… Although many of us have so internalized the systems that we don’t even notice these things anymore…

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