Nemo wrote:The essence of our current system, modernity if you like, is competition. This is the main problem IMO. Competition and practice are in total opposition.
Competition, by definition, takes place under circumstances where participants have common norms about the allocation of resources; without the common agreement about norms, we have conflict over resources. Conflict between humans is older than history and is certainly in opposition to practice.
One feature of modernity is the proliferation of "secondary" relationships with others. Secondary relationships are impersonal, often do not involve face-to-face contact, and are mediated by sets of written rules. One may not agree with the rules but, the moment one enters the relationship, the rules govern the allocation of resources. This forum is a prime example. So, I post here, but if I do so and knowingly disagree with the rules, then break the rules, this "resource" can be made inaccessible to me. From the moment I disagree with and break the rules, conflict ensues.
In modernity, our lives are dominated by these secondary relationships. HHDL suggests that, in practice, one should cultivate gratitude for all the resources our secondary relationship bring to us: our homes, our clothes, our food, the Internet, etc. Without the hard work of all these people I do not know, I would be homeless, hungry, naked, etc. When I first read that, it changed my attitude about all these relationships I am in that, truly, I did not appreciate and sometimes cursed and brought myself to grief over. Now, I am mindful of what I do consume and practice appreciation for the hard work of others (work that is, too often, not compensated by a living wage) and their contribution to my well-being.
These small forms of practice, at least for me, are more difficult to cultivate than ritualized performance. However, it is these small practices that are the most transformative of daily life in the modern world.