Thrasymachus wrote:Today you cannot even create a social movement, unlike in the past, due to the much increased power and omnipresence of escapism thanks to the increased means of technological transmission, etc. In the past it was much more difficult for elites to get everyone else to believe and think the same, today we have massively centralized schooling and media to make it easier for them.
Couldn't disagree more on that. In the past, when monarchies and dictatorships were more the norm (yes, I'm aware there are still dictators, but as whole the world is more democratic now), and with the lack of anything but
religion ruling in many places, it was actually much easier
than now to make everyone believe the same. I'd like you to take a look at Europe a few hundred years ago, and then Europe now, see which one has a larger percentage of the population conforming to the same ideals and beliefs, and which one the elite seem to have more control over.
And you can't create a social movement now, due to media and technology? Really? Heard about what happened in the recent Iranian revolution? Social media and technology played a gigantic role, that probably would not have been possible without it. Also, just to remind you, this forum you've willingly posted hundreds of posts on could be called "technology", and more or less "social media".
Instead of just disagreeing with you though, I will say I at least understand what you mean that Buddhism can occasionally lead too far towards escapism. Obviously the goal is to escape suffering (a good escapism), but it does seem like practitioners, especially those just starting out, can sometimes get escapism/ignoring problems mixed up with renunciation. There is a subtle difference between the two. And sometimes it is better for everyone's happiness to engage things in an active way, instead of "escaping" into prayer or meditation. But overall, because Buddhism is a very compassionate religion, it often engages the real world in a very legitimate, non-escapist, and beneficial way. And since you're talking about how religion effects the world, I believe earth's population is better off with Buddhism specifically than without it.