Politics and Hysteria

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This was a sobering article I found in the Atlantic:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/03/watertown-new-york-tops-scale-political-tolerance/582106/

In particular, this quote really disturbed me:

This matters because political disdain has begun to distort our perception of reality. Democrats now think Republicans are richer, older, crueler, and more unreasonable than they are in real life, according to multiple studies, including one by Douglas Ahler and Gaurav Sood published in The Journal of Politics in April. Republicans, meanwhile, think Democrats are more godless, gay, and radical than they actually are. The more righteous we get, the more mistakes we make.

As is the case anywhere else in the world, demonization eventually bends toward violence. Already, nearly 20 percent of Democrats and Republicans say that many members of the other side “lack the traits to be considered fully human,” according to a 2017 survey by the political scientists Nathan Kalmoe and Lilliana Mason. Even more chilling: About 15 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of Democrats agree that the country would be “better off if large numbers of opposing partisans in the public today ‘just died.’”

The Buddha, Shakyamuni, had a few things to say about this subject.  In the Metta Sutta is the famous quotation:

May all be well and secure, May all beings be happy!

And in the Aggi-Vacchagotta Sutta he talks about how he does not cling to self-centered views:

“A ‘position,’ Vaccha, is something that a Tathagata has done away with. What a Tathagata sees is this: ‘Such is form, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is feeling, such its origination, such its disappearance; such is perception…such are fabrications…such is consciousness, such its origination, such its disappearance.’ Because of this, I say, a Tathagata — with the ending, fading away, cessation, renunciation, & relinquishment of all construings, all excogitations, all I-making & mine-making & obsessions with conceit — is, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released.”

What the Buddha is saying is that it’s really all just inside our head.  The more we build up these things in our mind, the more we cut ourselves off from reality.  This is the opposite of liberation.

In other words: CTFD.

Published by Doug

🎵Toss a coin to your Buddhist-Philhellenic-D&D-playing-Japanese-studying-dad-joke-telling-Trekker, O Valley of Plentyyy!🎵He/him

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