So…I’ve decided that in addition to my blog about music and gigs on my website (www.joeferris.co.uk) I’m also going to use this blog from blogger.com to share my thoughts and things I find online relating to the topics of Anarchism, Socialism & Buddhism. These three schools of thought may seem contradictory to you, but I aim to use this blog to show you that they do in fact walk hand in hand. I think if I share with you what I learn about these topics, the relations between them will become fairly self-evident.
It might be handy to start by defining what I mean by some key terms, as well as what I do not mean:
I do not mean to refer to a state of chaos or violence. “Anarchism
as a political philosophy has nothing to do with violence” but the belief that a society can have community cohesion without state coercion. To imagine that chaos would result from Anarchism is to assume that the anarchist is opposed to order and organisation, when in fact he only opposes hierarchy and dominance. Organisation and hierarchy are not the same thing. I don’t like taking orders, but that doesn’t mean that my life is without order.
The sentiment of the social anarchist is that people are not the emotionally childish, naturally competitive, violent barbarians that the media conditions us to fear but are in fact naturally co-operative and inclined toward mutuality and reciprocity. The media message becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when we buy into it and allow them to pit us against each other. Inequality and the enforcement of redundant laws are a way to make criminals of us all.
Philosophies like Anarchism are scorned as dangerous, violent and radical ideologies when in fact it is the adherents to the Capitalist economic system that wage wars and make massive profits from their industries of instruments of death. Anarchism is against such violence, promoting pacifism until physical resistance is your only defence left against oppression. It’s not about reverting back to a stone age system by throwing all human advancement onto the scrapheap, but about using that advancement for the benefit of humanity. And recognising that our technological advancement is not a product of Capitalism but of human endeavour. In the same way, the moral advancements we’ve made are not the product of instruction from God/s or law makers but of our own hearts & minds.
We can behave in a manner conducive to common goals without seeking external justification for our feelings towards what is wrong and what is right. Why do you suppose you’ve never murdered your neighbours and stolen their possessions? Because you fear going to hell or prison, or because you recognise that you yourself would not like to be a victim of such immoral behaviour and that it’s more beneficial for you as a social creature to conduct yourself in a way that is sensitive to other people’s needs? We should be able to take pride in our own good conduct but instead we are taught that the credit for our behaving well belongs to the super egoic deities and law enforcers while the responsibility for us behaving badly is solely ours to bear.
By Buddha I’m not necessarily referring to an historical character, but to the optimum state of consciousness for a human being, the seed of which lives within us all. I have no idea whether the historical Buddha ever existed and I don’t think it’s particularly important. When you receive your mail you tear the envelope open and throw it away don’t you? The existence of the envelope ceases to be of any relevence when you have the message in your hand. Bodhi mind is a potential that we can all reach rather than being the reserve of one super human of the past who may or may not have existed at all.
At the temple I bow before the statue of the Buddha, prostrating and thinking to myself “Buddham saranam gachami, Dhammam saranam gachami, Sanghang saranam gachami”. (I go to the Buddha/Dharma/Sangha for my refuge”. My homage to the Buddha is about a respect for that state of mind. By Dhamma I mean truth and the ability to see things for what they are in that state of mind, the perfect vision. By Sangha I refer to a perfect sense of community that comes from equalising oneself with others through loving kindness meditation as well as an understanding of the interconnectedness of existence.