Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Comments...

There I was, yesterday, wondering why the silence--and this morning find a welter of welcome comment, all thoughtful, smart, and focused. Thanks to everyone who joined in. Welcome, Lindsey. I'm not sure I fully understand the distinction you make between tolerance and acceptance--though perhaps acceptance goes a bit further in the positive direction. And I think I see some common ground in this with Carly's rejection of "disengagement" as not viable in today's world, and his proposal instead of "non-action" engagement. In Buddhist terminology, I think the concept of equanimity is a good analogy to what he's talking about. As I understand it, this is a kind of compassionate non-attachment. Cardozo's "isolation"--whether personal or geopolitical--sounds to me impractical, as Carly suggests. The dinner conversation that started this discussion--concerning the differences between twin sisters at opposite ends of the political and social spectrum--reminds me that it is possible to maintain a close and loving relationship even with those with whom one profoundly disagrees. My wish is to learn to better see things from the other person's point of view: too often I find that I'm simply blinded to their angle of vision by my own.

8 comments:

carly said...

P and C: Well, if you have an equanimity clause which dispels my concern, there you go. It works out.

Many similarities in perspective.

Carly said...

P: Dottie went home today, Carly watched her leave with some sad concern. But, tommorrow, they see each other again, at a Cavalier Champion meet in Long Beach. As spectators. Because they are slightly below Best of Breed. Ha.

Carly said...

Cardozo: I've been thinking about it, Peter's Buddhist teaching," the concept of equanimity is a good analogy to what he's talking about. As I understand it, this is a kind of compassionate non-attachment".

It's not a good analogy to what I wrote yesterday. Compassionate non-attachment leaves you right where you were with disengaged, because it really goes nowhere in the outer world. It only satisfies you, as to how you treat reality, as attachments. Even if the "entity" as you coldly described another person, knows of your compassion, what kind of offering is that? Even if you were taken for sincere, it does the recipient no good, really. It's passive.

The difference is, the sage is not "non-engaged". He is attached to others. He does regard the outer world as real. "Attachments" to him are not hindrances. He is involved in shaping them. Non-action in this sense is not - not doing anything. It is active. It is wise MOVEMENT which watches over things while it allows them to develop. Furthermore, other ramifications of the complete philosophy, has the sage doing certain things which ramify his non-action in other ways. This was suggested in my quotes about exerting invisible influence in the world. I don't think the Buddhist advocates this.

Peter does this with his writing. He is a sage working within an available framework. And is most definitely exerting an influence on others using existing forms. Consciously.

You could do the same thing from within Catholicism or even the Communist Party. The sage can exist in any societal structure, even the most dogmatic. He hides his light and exerts his influence, without being noticed. This, I believe, is quite different from anything in buddhism. For that is not the goal of enlightenment. Buddhism, I believe, hopes to exert that influence by example. The role of the sage, sets up the circumstances for change in a way that it is inevitble. He looks for ways to further affinities without trying to own them or take credit for his role.

There is more to it. But I haven't got all night. You simply must take my word for it. It's not like Buddhism. Buddhism strives for standstill. My philosophy strives for naturally correct movement. From this perspective, everything you do or do not do leads to success without blame. Buddhists repudiate this.

To answer your original question.

lindsey said...

Peter- I believe that the main difference between tolerance and acceptance is that acceptance is actively engaging with those different from ourselves. It's not non-action.

But to respond to Carly: I'm not sure which sect of Buddhism you are referencing when you say-

"This, I believe, is quite different from anything in buddhism. For that is not the goal of enlightenment. Buddhism, I believe, hopes to exert that influence by example."

That might be true for the Theravada school of Buddhism, which contains the idea of arhats (Those who have made it on to nirvana and serve as beacons for the rest of us lost in samsara).

But other schools of thought, like Mahayana, support the idea of "skillful means" used by bodhisattvas (and those following the bodhisattva path) working within the world.

Personally I see this more active approach as beneficial in the long run. The more we actively engage in conversation and loving kindness the closer we are to peace and understanding.

carly said...

Cardozo. I can't stop now. Suppose you are a wise sage, who exerts an invisible influence by your presence. Yet outwardly, you seem ordinary. You do not have a shaved head, nor piercings, nor any garment which sets you apart, tattoos, etc.

You walk into a situation where two sisters are diametrically opposed in a tense yin yang. You quickly penetrate the situation with understanding, because you are wise and dispassionate. You do not move. They see that you understand. If the tension of the two sisters is in dynamic equilibrium, all is well. If one is too strong and the tension of opposites is upset, what would you do or not do?

You would have a whole range of options, based on the situation. But you would not detach yourself or simply say how much you care about the sisters.

Here's the point. If you find nothing insurmountable, you would exert your influence in a way completely appropriate for the situation, FROM THE STANDPOINT OF the EASIEST WAY TO SUCCESS. This may be to do nothing for the moment, or it may mean saying one small thing to restore order. Or any of a host of other options according to your ability and wisdom to find an easy or just solution. But you would always seem inactive. And by this your influence would be felt and honored.

A simple example of how the sage works in the world.

carly said...

L: You are absolutely right. "The more we actively engage in conversation and loving kindness the closer we are to peace and understanding."

But you must admit this is a fairly passive stance.

And given the real world, that is not going to work on many people.

lindsey said...

Carly: You'd be surprised how big of an impact simply spending a moment of mindfulness with someone can make.

Being truly present with an individual and actively understanding and listening isn't passive at all.

Am I not understanding your definition of passivity?

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