Politics and Toxicity

Discuss the application of the Dharma to situations of social, political, environmental and economic suffering and injustice.
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justsomeguy
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Politics and Toxicity

Post by justsomeguy » Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:40 pm

Just want a little insight and advice from other Nichiren Buddhists on the topic of politics. I promise, this is NOT a political discussion so much as it is about how to deal with politics.

It's no secret that the political situation in the U.S. has become toxic. One of the reasons I came to Buddhism in the first place was to cultivate a deeper tolerance for negativity in general. Not that I ever was a violent person or anything, but I did often let my anger run out of control, for example. Depression was another element that Buddhism seems to effectively address. But being under a constant barrage of BS really makes the positive trend I've experienced continue. I should note that I live in the Washington D.C. area and work for the DoD, so I don't have the luxury of simply ignoring it like some do (I envy those that can to a degree). It's reaching the point where I'm avoiding contact with my family down South because it's just so damn volatile.

I'm posting this because I want a Buddhist perspective. How do you all manage it? Something inside me tells me this is an opportunity for development, and I want it to be. But how?

~Bobby

Edit: Some spelling.
Last edited by justsomeguy on Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Queequeg
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Queequeg » Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:19 pm

If anyone knows the answer to this, they need to write a book and get it placed front and center at Barnes & Noble.

This is how I deal with it... I've tried to stop getting my news from hot take sources - TV, Video, Twitter, etc. and instead, try to read long form articles. I also avoid newspapers except to get a run down of the headlines. I try to stick to weekly and monthly sources, being careful about the editorial voice.

I try to avoid directly discussing that man who shall not be named with people who have settled into their tribal views - whatever area on the political spectrum they inhabit. I try to keep an objective stand when discussing things, focusing on the issues and policies rather than personalities and the knife fighting going on in DC.

I also diligently practice to comb all that stuff out of my hair and reorient myself to what matters (to me).

I'm not successful. This does not work. Its the best I can manage so far. Its like sticking your finger in the dyke while leaks spring everywhere.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

Simon E.
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Simon E. » Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:33 pm

Well its not going to be successful Q.Q. None of us can be in this sphere. Politics is the social engineering dimension of Samsara.
But not engaging is even worse.
Perhaps we need great care in applying our energy in terms of where and when.
But we 'can't leave it all to the serpent', not responsibly.
Gone fishin' :smile:

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justsomeguy
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by justsomeguy » Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:36 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:33 pm
But not engaging is even worse.
That's the predicament. As much as I would lost to stick my head in the sand (like many do), I know that that could make things even worse down the line. But jeez... this is exhausting!

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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by amanitamusc » Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:50 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:19 pm
If anyone knows the answer to this, they need to write a book and get it placed front and center at Barnes & Noble.

This is how I deal with it... I've tried to stop getting my news from hot take sources - TV, Video, Twitter, etc. and instead, try to read long form articles. I also avoid newspapers except to get a run down of the headlines. I try to stick to weekly and monthly sources, being careful about the editorial voice.

I try to avoid directly discussing that man who shall not be named with people who have settled into their tribal views - whatever area on the political spectrum they inhabit. I try to keep an objective stand when discussing things, focusing on the issues and policies rather than personalities and the knife fighting going on in DC.

I also diligently practice to comb all that stuff out of my hair and reorient myself to what matters (to me).

I'm not successful. This does not work. Its the best I can manage so far. Its like sticking your finger in the dyke while leaks spring everywhere.
I don't know for sure because i have no children but when you put the kids in the mix
the furure looks very dire.This alone could be a very heavy load i would imagine.
Add to the equation a dolt in power = :rolleye: even with Buddhadharma.

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PSM
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by PSM » Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:19 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:19 pm
If anyone knows the answer to this, they need to write a book and get it placed front and center at Barnes & Noble.

This is how I deal with it... I've tried to stop getting my news from hot take sources - TV, Video, Twitter, etc. and instead, try to read long form articles. I also avoid newspapers except to get a run down of the headlines. I try to stick to weekly and monthly sources, being careful about the editorial voice.
Please read Trust Me, I'm Lying by Ryan Holiday: https://www.amazon.com/Trust-Me-Lying-C ... 1591846285

It is a perfect description of the manipulation the media has undergone thanks to changes introduced by the internet/social media. You will see exactly how the media has become toxic and has nothing to do with the objective reporting of events. It's very liberating from the perspective of tribalism, but you can also start to see how the current media environment is so conducive for social engineering. There's a simple formula to it all.

Also kind of related is Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products which explains how the human dopamine circuit has been hacked and is deliberately exploited. It's actually a manual on how to do so, which renders it one of the most disturbingly immoral books I've ever come across. https://www.amazon.com/Hooked-How-Build ... it+forming
"The only virtue which cannot be faked is courage" - Nassim Nicholas Taleb
"Not practicing dharma is painful" - Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
"We don't want to feel the weirdness of life." - James Low

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justsomeguy
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by justsomeguy » Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:24 pm

PSM wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:19 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:19 pm
If anyone knows the answer to this, they need to write a book and get it placed front and center at Barnes & Noble.

This is how I deal with it... I've tried to stop getting my news from hot take sources - TV, Video, Twitter, etc. and instead, try to read long form articles. I also avoid newspapers except to get a run down of the headlines. I try to stick to weekly and monthly sources, being careful about the editorial voice.
Please read Trust Me, I'm Lying by Ryan Holiday: https://www.amazon.com/Trust-Me-Lying-C ... 1591846285

It is a perfect description of the manipulation the media has undergone thanks to changes introduced by the internet/social media. You will see exactly how the media has become toxic and has nothing to do with the objective reporting of events. It's very liberating from the perspective of tribalism, but you can also start to see how the current media environment is so conducive for social engineering. There's a simple formula to it all.

Also kind of related is Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products which explains how the human dopamine circuit has been hacked and is deliberately exploited. It's actually a manual on how to do so, which renders it one of the most disturbingly immoral books I've ever come across. https://www.amazon.com/Hooked-How-Build ... it+forming
Thanks for the book suggestion, just ordered it. I've been needing something to read lately. :)

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PSM
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by PSM » Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:34 pm

justsomeguy wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:24 pm
Thanks for the book suggestion, just ordered it. I've been needing something to read lately. :)
Cool. You'll find it eye opening, maybe not in a comforting way. Might give you the final kick to emotionally disconnect from media totally. :techproblem:
"The only virtue which cannot be faked is courage" - Nassim Nicholas Taleb
"Not practicing dharma is painful" - Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
"We don't want to feel the weirdness of life." - James Low

Simon E.
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Simon E. » Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:51 pm

Emotional detachment from the media might well be a good thing. It might be a necessary thing.
But that should not stop engagement with the issues.
Last edited by Simon E. on Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Gone fishin' :smile:

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Queequeg
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Queequeg » Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:55 pm

It's nice to commiserate.

It's not that I disengage, but the 24h news cycle only irritates the nerves. I'm trying to tune into the deeper waves, so to speak.

I'm engaged at the local level - involved in local government, coach my son's soccer team, buy local, etc. I try to help people when I can. I vote for people I think will do their job responsibly. I try to instill good values and standards in my children, nurture their good habits.

What else can we reasonably do?

We have a problem that 1. People in general just aren't that bright... The average IQ is what, 100? Oo boy. 2. People are near sighted and often can't see beyond their nose or the next five minutes. What do you do with a being so short sighted and impulsive, and frankly, stupid?

There are no quick fixes. These are long term things. Generational. To the extent that we face environmental existential threats, things are now beyond urgent.

It's going to be bumpy in the least.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Queequeg
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Queequeg » Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:01 pm

Actually, one reason I practice Buddhism, and Nichiren in particular, is because it is consciously a generational project to bring about awakening for all beings. Practice for oneself and for others. I am taught and I find compelling that by awakening to, mine and everyone's Buddha nature and causing others to know of Buddha nature, their own and that of all beings, things will tend to shake out for the better.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:06 pm

My influence is severely hindered by my karma and others'.
But I can try to develop empathy for adversaries, as well as confidence that my practice will actually lead to good results.

I try to remember: What would be more useful than speaking of others' errors and faults?

If people can at the very least not fall into negativity themselves, that's a good thing.
Amitābha Buddha!
OM MA NI PE ME HUNG
TAYATA OM BEKANDZE BEKANDZE MAHA BEKANDZE RADZA SAMUDGATE SOHA

Pure Land Buddhism resources
* Teachings of Hōnen
* Jōdo-shū North America Buddhist Missions
* Free Pure Land books
* Taming the Monkey Mind
* Buddhism of Wisdom and Faith
* Pure Land Teachings of Master Chu-Hung

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Queequeg
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Queequeg » Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:12 pm

Being in DC at the DoD... That's like ground zero...

Cowboy up, Bobby. :guns:
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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justsomeguy
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by justsomeguy » Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:55 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:12 pm
Being in DC at the DoD... That's like ground zero...

Cowboy up, Bobby. :guns:
Ha! Yeah, it's a bit hard to escape. Headphones can only do so much sometimes. ;)

boda
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Post by boda » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:05 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:55 pm
We have a problem that 1. People in general just aren't that bright... The average IQ is what, 100? Oo boy. 2. People are near sighted and often can't see beyond their nose or the next five minutes. What do you do with a being so short sighted and impulsive, and frankly, stupid?

There are no quick fixes. These are long term things. Generational. To the extent that we face environmental existential threats, things are now beyond urgent.
Your theory is that average intelligence is inadequate to know the difference between right & wrong or attain any significant degree of wisdom? Or perhaps that high IQ folks are naturally virtuous? It seems to me that people with high IQs tend to use their intelligence for personal advantage, gaining wealth and power at the expense of the less advantaged. Maybe where you live it's different.

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Queequeg
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Queequeg » Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:17 pm

boda wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:05 pm
Your theory is that average intelligence is inadequate to know the difference between right & wrong or attain any significant degree of wisdom? Or perhaps that high IQ folks are naturally virtuous? It seems to me that people with high IQs tend to use their intelligence for personal advantage, gaining wealth and power at the expense of the less advantaged. Maybe where you live it's different.
Nothing to do with right or wrong, virtue or non-virtue. My theory is that stupidity makes you a better rube. Rubes can be manipulated to do all kinds of things including rabidly fight with each other in the streets.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

boda
Posts: 1910
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:40 pm

Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by boda » Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:44 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:17 pm
boda wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:05 pm
Your theory is that average intelligence is inadequate to know the difference between right & wrong or attain any significant degree of wisdom? Or perhaps that high IQ folks are naturally virtuous? It seems to me that people with high IQs tend to use their intelligence for personal advantage, gaining wealth and power at the expense of the less advantaged. Maybe where you live it's different.
Nothing to do with right or wrong, virtue or non-virtue. My theory is that stupidity makes you a better rube. Rubes can be manipulated to do all kinds of things including rabidly fight with each other in the streets.
We're all influenced by the culture we live in, and consciously manipulated to some degree by others. Might be time to get off that high horse.

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Queequeg
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Queequeg » Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:15 pm

boda wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:44 pm
We're all influenced by the culture we live in, and consciously manipulated to some degree by others. Might be time to get off that high horse.
Are we all participating in the toxic political culture? Last I checked not all of us were sucked into it. I stand by my argument, stupidity is one of the factors that goes into it. Are you really trying to erase distinctions about intelligence and susceptibility to manipulation? There's a reason we require a minimum of capacity to make legal decisions for ourselves.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

boda
Posts: 1910
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:40 pm

Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by boda » Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:08 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:15 pm
boda wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:44 pm
We're all influenced by the culture we live in, and consciously manipulated to some degree by others. Might be time to get off that high horse.
Are we all participating in the toxic political culture?
Do the people you're calling stupid support the same policies and have the same or similar values and political views that you do?

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Queequeg
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Re: Politics and Toxicity

Post by Queequeg » Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:42 pm

boda wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:08 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:15 pm
boda wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:44 pm
We're all influenced by the culture we live in, and consciously manipulated to some degree by others. Might be time to get off that high horse.
Are we all participating in the toxic political culture?
Do the people you're calling stupid support the same policies and have the same or similar values and political views that you do?
Yeah, you put the horse before the cart. Some do, some don't. Stupidity is non-partisan as far as I can tell so far.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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