The Distortions We Bring...

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Re: The Distortions We Bring...

Postby mañjughoṣamaṇi » Tue Dec 25, 2012 5:49 pm

Huseng wrote:
However huge numbers of Asians remain whose attitudes are those of misogynistic, medieval peasants.


This assumes a narrative of progress where those huge numbers of Asians should eventually naturally progress and adopt liberal western ideas, but for whatever reason are "stuck in medieval times" in their thinking.


You might be interested in the works of Johannes Fabian, specifically Time and the Other. He specifically focuses on the use of time in ethnographic representation, calling the type of narrative you are critiquing "allochronic" in that it privileges the observer's vantage point by placing himself outside of history in the present and everyone else in the past.

I'm not quite so with the rest of your, since the ethnographic record displays a dramatic diversity in gender roles not so easily reduced to the domestic vs public spheres as you present it. Even in many cases where there are now similar gender roles, the colonial records give quite a bit of information where contact with colonizing powers, British, Chinese, American, altered traditional gender roles dramatically. For example, in many areas of Africa women were the principal traders, but due to British refusal to trade with women, their own standing was reduced. Additionally, if you read 20th century Guomindang or Chinese Communist accounts of Tibetan border regions, the Han Chinese were scandalized by Tibetan women's work outside the home. Or in the Sudest in Papua New Guinea, older male children are often primary caregivers for younger children. It just doesn't break down into traditional or modern practices here either.

You should consider that gender roles often fulfil practical and necessary functions. If they did not, then natural selection would quickly see to their elimination, but the traditional roles assigned to women throughout history east and west (childcare, housekeeping, etc...) have existed for a lot longer than our present system in the west. We'd like to think we're more enlightened and better off than medieval peasants as you would pejoratively call them, but for all the faults of the latter they didn't have the same problems we do (for instance people killing themselves at Christmas just because their family life sucks).

Traditional family models and gender divisions might actually contribute to social stability and in the end make people more content rather than these new liberal ideas we got running which have clearly failed to produce anything more stable and fulfilling.

Those Asian cultures which are adopting western liberal ideas maybe only do so because of the west's economic hegemony, not because they are inherently better or more moral. If it were the other way around, we'd be adopting their social ideas and models. Throughout all of history it tends to work like this. If you are an economic and military juggernaut, satellite cultures adopt much of your practices and ways in an attempt to emulate the same road to prosperity in their own cultures.
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“In order to completely liberate the mind, cultivate loving kindness.” -- Maitribhāvana Sūtra
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Re: The Distortions We Bring...

Postby futerko » Tue Dec 25, 2012 9:33 pm

Huseng wrote:Here in Taiwan dogs are treated horribly everywhere (guard dogs tied to a two foot leash, or pet dogs stuck in outdoor kennels for most of the day howling out of loneliness), and yet a lot of people are Buddhist.


In name only! Probably they are going to temples and making offerings out of fear of a low rebirth for themselves, really they are clueless.

Huseng wrote:You should consider that gender roles often fulfil practical and necessary functions. If they did not, then natural selection would quickly see to their elimination, but the traditional roles assigned to women throughout history east and west (childcare, housekeeping, etc...) have existed for a lot longer than our present system in the west.


The original protest of the Christians against the Roman Empire was on the basis that the romans generally saw women as providers of fodder for their legions. If the Eastern majority is still that backward then they deserve nothing but sympathy and contempt. I think maybe pity is the right word in this instance. Let's hope natural selection does its job in their case.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: The Distortions We Bring...

Postby uan » Fri Dec 28, 2012 5:07 pm

Huseng wrote:
Raksha wrote: Likewise animal rights, and environmental concerns were completely absent in Buddhist countries until very recently, when one would have assumed that such things would be widespread.


Such concerns are largely restricted to highly industrialized wealthy countries where people have the luxury to worry about stray dogs and pollution. Environmental concerns only become serious when a country has a sizeable middle-class to demand clear air and water. Until such time most people just scramble to get by and would sacrifice their health and the environment to earn a comfortable living.

Animal rights is likewise limited to prosperous and wealthy societies. Buddhist countries nowadays tend to be poor and hence have little time and will to really worry about animals or abusers of animals. Here in Taiwan dogs are treated horribly everywhere (guard dogs tied to a two foot leash, or pet dogs stuck in outdoor kennels for most of the day howling out of loneliness), and yet a lot of people are Buddhist.



I wouldn't consider Taiwan to be a poor country. Though the ascendency of mainland China may have eclipsed them.


Huseng wrote:
However huge numbers of Asians remain whose attitudes are those of misogynistic, medieval peasants.


This assumes a narrative of progress where those huge numbers of Asians should eventually naturally progress and adopt liberal western ideas, but for whatever reason are "stuck in medieval times" in their thinking.

You should consider that gender roles often fulfil practical and necessary functions. If they did not, then natural selection would quickly see to their elimination, but the traditional roles assigned to women throughout history east and west (childcare, housekeeping, etc...) have existed for a lot longer than our present system in the west. We'd like to think we're more enlightened and better off than medieval peasants as you would pejoratively call them, but for all the faults of the latter they didn't have the same problems we do (for instance people killing themselves at Christmas just because their family life sucks).

Traditional family models and gender divisions might actually contribute to social stability and in the end make people more content rather than these new liberal ideas we got running which have clearly failed to produce anything more stable and fulfilling.

Those Asian cultures which are adopting western liberal ideas maybe only do so because of the west's economic hegemony, not because they are inherently better or more moral. If it were the other way around, we'd be adopting their social ideas and models. Throughout all of history it tends to work like this. If you are an economic and military juggernaut, satellite cultures adopt much of your practices and ways in an attempt to emulate the same road to prosperity in their own cultures.


You should check out the news coming out of India. There have been massive protests in New Delhi by women because of a brutal rape of girl on a bus (and who is in Singapore right now fighting for her life).

The protests aren't due to just this single incident, it's because the culture is one of constant degradation of women. Here's a firsthand blog on what it's like to be a woman in New Delhi:

http://daddysan.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/the-subjugation-capital/

Let's not idealize medieval peasants because they didn't kill themselves during Christmas. Lots of slaves don't commit suicide either. Peasants and the poor are at the bottom of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Yes, they don't have the luxury to adopt liberal western ideas, nor to they have the luxury to spend time in a Buddhist practice that may lead them to enlightenment and end their suffering. But often times they don't adopt something new because they don't realize they have a choice. But as you see how others live, that gives you an option as to whether you want to stay the way you are or to change.

Samsara is a messed up place and there are many things that haven't been filtered out due to natural selection. War. Poverty. Subjugation of the have nots by the haves. Just because natural selection hasn't eliminated them, doesn't make those things right.
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Re: The Distortions We Bring...

Postby Rakshasa » Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:40 pm

As an Asian myself, I can see lots of prejudice in that author's article (although I haven't read it completely yet). Relatively underdeveloped countries (compared to western world) tend to defend their culture and traditions as opposed to the more dominant western culture out of inferiority complexity. Here in India, most of the people, including Hindus and Muslims, are against the concept of lover marriages (and love itself) and see the western idea of having freedom to choose one's own spouses as being a form of perversion. Indians becomes defensive against western development and modernization by showing their "spiritual culture" which most of them do not have any idea about either. In fact, to be honest, all this talk of India/Hindus being full of spirituality who do not care about materialism is complete cr@p. I can bet you have people more materialistic here than anywhere else. And this is precisely why people are poor.

Buddha Dharma is a great gift to this world and even though many great people accepted it, cherished it and preserved it in ancient times because they were "progressives" in their own cultural environment, doesn't mean that every one in Asia is supposed to be spiritually superior to the westerners. Quite contrarily, they are usually materialistic with more amount of "three poisons" in their hearts compared to the westerners.

"Every dog has his day". Asians have had theirs. Now it is time for the Westerners.
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Re: The Distortions We Bring...

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Dec 28, 2012 7:58 pm

Rakshasa wrote:As an Asian myself, I can see lots of prejudice in that author's article (although I haven't read it completely yet). Relatively underdeveloped countries (compared to western world) tend to defend their culture and traditions as opposed to the more dominant western culture out of inferiority complexity. Here in India, most of the people, including Hindus and Muslims, are against the concept of lover marriages (and love itself) and see the western idea of having freedom to choose one's own spouses as being a form of perversion. Indians becomes defensive against western development and modernization by showing their "spiritual culture" which most of them do not have any idea about either. In fact, to be honest, all this talk of India/Hindus being full of spirituality who do not care about materialism is complete cr@p. I can bet you have people more materialistic here than anywhere else. And this is precisely why people are poor.

Buddha Dharma is a great gift to this world and even though many great people accepted it, cherished it and preserved it in ancient times because they were "progressives" in their own cultural environment, doesn't mean that every one in Asia is supposed to be spiritually superior to the westerners. Quite contrarily, they are usually materialistic with more amount of "three poisons" in their hearts compared to the westerners.

"Every dog has his day". Asians have had theirs. Now it is time for the Westerners.

:good: :good:

Maybe it's fair to say that authenticity of spiritual effort, or authenticity of beliefs is not really owned by any one culture?
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits
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