futerko wrote:Yes, my point exactly, good versus evil is a totally dualistic way of looking at things. To me, the term evil suggests an intent to harm without benefit when it is more complex than that.
You can participate and support evil without knowing about it.
For instance buying an iPhone and giving it to a friend as a present is supporting a company and industry which brutalizes and exploits workers in China.
Unfortunately in saṃsāra you have to create negative karma just to survive, but be that as it may we should not rationalize it away as anything other than what it is. It might be hard to swallow, but we're all accessories to horrific suffering inflicted on fellow humans and sentient beings. I might think I'm more pure for not eating meat, but nevertheless how many bugs died in the production, processing and transportation of the rice and tofu in my bowl?
This "evil" that society does cannot really be attributed to an intention of the thing called "society" but rather seems to be a side-effect, like an unintended consequence - take for example the idea that anorexia is a result of the social demand for us to be thin, is that something which "society" has intended, or merely the result of certain general categories of thinking? Also, who is it that imposes this demand? Is it society that forces us to be that way, or is it the person who cares what "society" thinks that makes it into a rule?
Societies and civilization arise because of affliction. As I pointed out it is not so much that there is an intention to commit misdeeds in order to establish society, but just that for a society to exist there must be violence and exploitation, the results of which are quite handsome to enough parties to justify the disagreeable sides to the project.
As the Buddha taught initially humanity was without ideas of property and ownership, but some men decided they wanted more rice than the others and from that people started demarcating land and property, which required kingship, laws and administration. The whole evolution of society arose from increasing afflictions in humanity. This is incidentally the principle behind kaliyuga: increasing afflictions in people means gradual degeneration.
Yes, no doubt some good is done here, but this raises certain issues. What is being done to help these people generally?
Most people back home, even the poor, consume countless times the amount of energy the rural poor in the Third World do. If they decide they don't want to work, the state gives them enough money to live on. Poor people in Canada are well-fed and many are obese. They don't need much more material aid.
Is it possible that the charity makes it appear as if some good is being done when really it is just the tip of the iceberg, and the fact that it is only at Christmas when anyone cares when the rest of the year they are forgotten or worse? Is it not the case that the people donating because they can afford it precisely an indication of the sustained inequality that created the poverty in the first place?
Most of the "poor" in Canada are not really poor. I say this as someone who grew up in the lower working class and thought for the longest time I was poor. In a country like Canada the poor are part of the global aristocracy, though they're unaware of it in their gilded cages. If they get sick, they have world class medical care available for free. If they need food but have no money, there are food banks. Without working a day in your life you can still have a comfortable heated apartment with fridge, hot shower and 24/7 electricity plus maybe air conditioning. That's considered poor where I come from, though elsewhere in the world it is what their upper middle-class get to enjoy.
It is within such decadence that mental illness arises and people fall into perpetual neurosis thinking they've got it rough while building a long narrative about how either society or their family failed them.
Meanwhile their government is responsible both directly and indirectly for murdering foreign nationals...