How Heeding the Dalai Lama's Advice Could Have Prevented the BP Oil Spill
And prevented the abuse of cows & horses
By Matt McDermott | Wed Jun 2, 2010 16:36
This morning while surveying the overnight news I came across a statement on the Dalai Lama's Facebook page which seemed particularly apropos in regards to how both the ongoing tragedy in the Gulf and the recent expose of horrendous animal abuse at an Ohio dairy farm came about. Here's the quote:
Because self and others can only be understood in terms of relationship, we see that self-interest and others' interest are closely interrelated and there is no self-interest completely unrelated to others' interests. Due to the fundamental interconnectedness which lies at the heart of reality, your interest is also my interest: in a deep sense, "my" interest and "your" interest basically converge.
The Broader Your Self, The More You Consider the Impact of Your Actions
Take that notion of interconnectedness—your interest is also my interest—further, beyond human to human interaction and out to human to non-human interaction, and out to human to ecosystem-level interaction. Consider where your identification of self ends. Is it at the individual level, the family level, the community level, the national level, the species level, and so forth.
If you identify with a self that is particularly broad, identifying with life itself, seeing the literal and metaphorical interconnectedness of it all and practicing compassion at that level of identification (as much as you can, it becomes more difficult as you go out, to be sure), you naturally begin to consider the impact of your actions out to that level of self identification. You naturally will try to minimize harm to everything that you identify as part of the self, through this internalization of interconnectedness. It's in your self-interest. As the Dalai Lama says, my interest and your interest converge.
Bringing this back to earth, back to the specific:
Animal Abusers' Self-Interest Minutely Narrow
In the case of the animal abuse at the Conklin Dairy Farm, and in another horrific example which Elephant Journal is highlighting where a live horse was dragged behind a pickup truck, in both cases the sense of self of the perpetrators obviously stopped well before concern for other forms of life other than human. The correlation of perceived self-interest and compassion obviously was tightly constrained.
We Wouldn't Even Consider Offshore Oil Drilling...
With the BP oil spill things are obviously not as clear cut, but still a restricted sense of self-interest is present. You can see it in the coverage of the event by most media. The focus is on economic loss to BP, to the fishing communities and to the tourism industry primarily. The implied identification here, the implied self-interest, stops with the human impact in most cases. There is certainly mention of the impact on wildlife and on marine and coastal ecosystems, but this is often secondary, particularly in mainstream media.
If there was a broader sense of self-identification, a greater recognition of the converging self-interests of the human and non-human elements in this drama, it very likely would not have happened in the first place.
Obviously we've got a long way to go, a marked evolution of consciousness has to occur, before this would be the case: With the potential damage in the event of an accident so enormous, we simply wouldn't undertake this sort of venture. Even a minute chance of risk would be too high.http://planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/heeding-dalai-lama-advice-could-have-prevented-bp-oil-spill.html