Raises a disturbing prospect. The relentless pursuit of enlightenment (or a reasonable facsimile) by the quickest, easiest and preferably cheapest means available might produce a Buddhism lacking the characteristic joy of the Tibetans, or the warmth of Shunryu Suzuki. Would you call this a reasonable worry?
I think most people are not relentlessly pursuing enlightenment.
agreed. most people want some kind of optimization (happiness, sharpened intellect, steadiness of concentration, freedom from daily troubles) from Buddhism, similar to what we hope to get from cycling. yoga suffered the same fate and became weight-loss in most cases.
i don't know whether this is merely a result of a physicalist/materialist bent on our part, the obsessive western focus on technique and technology, the loss of (and consequent yearning for) native yogic techniques in the west, or the inevitable end result of "...this logic of utility", described earlier. probably some combination of all of this.
personally, i find it interesting that the two traditions that have such overwhelming popularity both appeal to the technique-obsessed mind. zen was presented to the west (initially) as a technique system, one that - according to d.t. suzuki - could be separated from "Buddhism". and Vajrayana, while emphatically not divorcing itself from Buddhism, is often presented as merely the most comprehensive catalogue of different techniques.