Ben Yuan wrote:
Or a reflection of your knowledge about how hopeless politics is. In politics, no matter who you support, it is the people who suffer. One man rode with General Juarez against Maximillian, he lost many chickens but he thought it was worth it. When Porfirio became president, he supported him, but he stole his chickens. Then came Huerta and he stole his chickens. Then came Carranza, and he also stole his chickens. And then Pancho Villa came to liberate and free him, and the first thing he did was steal his chickens. All over the world revolutions come and go, presidents rise and fall. They all steal your chickens. They only differ in name.
By this logic it is not possible to ever improve things.
You are turning my claim about politics into a universal claim about all things. This is dishonest misrepresentation at its finest. I'm just being honest here, I mean nothing personal by it, but I think you should try to be a bit fairer to my message and not automatically assume I am being nihilistic about everything in the universe.
So - what about the gains of the last two centuries: the labour movements, the civil rights movements, the human rights movements, the green movements, the gender movements?
Labour movements, I support - so long as they don't force people into unions without their consent. A lot of labour movements just turned into pure thuggery, and many unions in the United States and United Kingdom are run like mafias.
Civil Rights I support. But the average person had little role in establishing them. In fact, their foundations are in Lords who wished to protect their landholding rights and Kings who wanted to maintain their legitimacy. That being said, I think that Magna Carta
is one of the finest documents in human history. But you must also realise that the vision of civil rights we have today descends from this distinctly English institution, and we should not be so hasty to assume that all people and all cultures would do better with our own institutions. This, to pre-empt Indrajala perchance, is a form of intellectual imperialism. Personally, I think China and India would be better off with their traditional forms of government rather than these unnatural impositions called "Republics." Human rights also, I think one should be careful with. Obviously there are instances in Zimbabwe or China, which have outrageous aggression towards humans, but other definitions of "human rights" are often just cultural imperialism. Traditionally in Chinese culture, for example, it is not so that all people are naturally equal before the law, nor that they be presumed innocent before found guilty. Some people are assumed naturally superior or inferior, and at times it was believed that to be the subject of a legal proceeding disturbs society enough to make you worth punishing anyway, which also acts as deterrence in general, regardless of relevance to the crime.
The green movement, I personally don't support. This is a big issue, but I don't think we should waste our time 1. if the problem is not as urgent as we think (which is my opinion), and 2. if the solutions proposed won't do anything anyway (as Indrajala pointed out).
As for the gender movements, the same issue applies as with human rights. It is a cultural paradigm that genders should have the same roles. I don't think genders should have the same roles, we are different and society functions better when everyone has a well defined place. I know I sound like I am from 1900 to you, but I think that gender equality destroyed a lot of essential elements in our society. In terms of liberation, I concur with the Vimilakirti Sutra, men and women are equal, but in terms of society, I think things work better according to traditional structures (patriarchal or matriarchal depending upon ancient cultural norms).
All equally samsaric and unwise?
All equally samsaric, yes. Unwise in the sense of not prajna, yes.
Isn't it better that women can earn equal pay, negroes can vote (or become president), children don't work in coal mines anymore (in the west at least) etc, etc etc....??
In the west, generally speaking, women could
earn equal pay at any point in history. The question is, will people be willing to pay them the same? There are different risks involved with employing different genders, and it also depends upon the job and the age of the woman in question. Supply and demand is the best way to determine wages. Which also means, if we have traditional family structures in the west and mothers do not work full time jobs like they do today, there will be more spaces open for women-specific jobs in general, and therefore higher wages.
Of course as for race and voting, I support equality where voting is part of society. Not all societies traditionally use voting however. This issue really arises from the historical atrocity which was the slave trade, without this we wouldn't have this issue - and moreover, it wasn't an issue in the UK or Canada where the slave trade was either non-existent or illegal. But suppose you land in India (not as a slave)
in the Classical Age, and you're an Anaryan, i.e. non-Indian. Do you really expect to be able to be admitted to the Ksatriya caste? All such values are relative to time and tradition - of course in English speaking tradition, races must be treated equally in politics.
As for child labour, this is also relative to time and culture. In the west we have the luxury to disallow it, but in some countries you either have children work or you starve.
So all of life, ultimately, will not availe a permanent, lasting happiness. Thus 'samsara is hopeless'--for lasting or permanent happiness. But yes, you've got to solve problems and improve conditions as you can too.
Yes, all actions will be marked with one kind of suffering or another, except for those that lead to liberation.
You should indeed act in the way you see fit for this world, do what you think is right of course, but don't think that you are doing it to accumulate merit or in the name of the Dharma. These are two very different things - one is the world of samsara, the other of nirvana.