If you listen to this radio programThe world this weekend (from 18m:30s onwards) you will see the initial statement ‘we will kill all the terrorists’, given as the simple solution to the ISIS issue, being followed by a more thoughtful response to this very complex situation. Everyone who is killed has friends and relations who will be impacted, they have memories which are passed down through generations, and many people look to revenge as the appropriate response. So this is like cutting off the hydra’s head with many more spring up in the place of the one cut off. At the end of the program the suggestion is that politicians are taking as simple what is an immensely complex situation.
Just as it is for Aung San Suu Kyi with the treatment of the Rohingay muslims. The guardian says ‘this is something about which “mother Suu” remains virtually silent, no doubt in part because the recognition of this people’s plight would amount to political suicide in a country where racial prejudices run deep.’ So should she speak up for them and loose any opportunity she might have to benefit Myanmar in other ways? Being in opposition to the governing party and with the army holding the veto in Parliament her freedom to act is constrained… so it also is complicated, as she has said.
Ann Applebaum in ‘The world tonight’ (from 7m:55s) asserts that President Putin is deliberately engineering a crisis. The contrary view of Sir Tony Brenton, former British ambassador to Russia, suggesting that her view is incoherent and that Putins actions are a response to what he sees as western subversion and aggression, unsurprisingly cuts no ice with her; it was clear that she had no interest in his viewpoint.
If you see a simple cause to a problem you’ll offer a simple solution but if the problem is complex then this simple solution will bring no resolution.
With a dharma perspective, the truth of dependant co-origination is plain to see… with the links of cause and effect reverberating through time, each event being both the result of and the basis for an infinite number of others. There is a ceaseless movement which is driven by assumptions, beliefs, fixed views and dogmatic assertions arising from a sense being truly individuated, being disconnected from each other. So we see from a particular standpoint, ignoring some events and over-privileging others, disconnecting the links between them.
Not seeing clearly we feel able to stand apart and judge without the understanding that everything arises due to causes and conditions. Yesterday a friend who was asking my opinion said ‘never mind about the past what do we do now?’ Lucky for me that i do not have to decide, but i do know that the present is predicated on the past and that as a country we are implicated historically in may of the current troubling events, they are not a bolt out of the blue. What i can do is not add to global warming by wasting my time with pointless opinions and speculation. I know that i cannot remove the assumptions, pride, greed, anger, jealousy and grasping from the “external” world but regarding the “internal” world there is work i can do which will benefit me and others with whom i am connected. I and each of us, who may feel disempowered, can make some moves towards greater tolerance, to offer a greater curiosity and hospitality to the world as it presents itself…looking at our own prejudices and seeing through their origin.
In adding the definition ‘good’ or ‘bad’ to situations we seal them, fix them, and make them less easy to work with. A situation is as it is … so what will be best for all concerned both now and through time? This is a level, unbiased approach. And when we define people as inherently ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we have become foolish. They are not inherently anything but they are complicated…. behaving differently with different people at different times, under different circumstances, their behaviour arising due to a complex matrix of conditions for which they are not directly responsible but within which they are embedded. As a practice… developing generosity, patience, humility and other virtues is beneficial; if we can understand that we are always affecting ourselves as well as others by our thoughts and actions then it may be easier to practice… but understanding the truth of the open nature takes the heat out of “things” and then, with lessened attachment to fixed views and outcomes, reactivity decreases…. and precise and attuned responses become more of a possibility…