Day by Day



05 February 2007

Zen and the Art of War...



If you haven't yet, please check out this hilarious set of vignettes about Mr. Deity on YouTube. I am unaware of the origin but it's well crafted and executed. YouTube has become the new media of choice for the wireless generation, or as I like to call them - the impatient ones. I suspect that Citizen Primus and Secundus will quickly assimilate knowledge and wisdom at a rate that makes drinking from a firehose look simple by comparison.

Where does that leave the parents? We are desperately trying to keep up with changes in our society as it affects our children. Thas has been the challenge since the advent of the 20th century. When I was growing up it was easy, the Soviets were the bad guys, we would soon be living on the moon and professional atheletes were some of the most respected role models around.

Now we have an amalgam of "bad guys", some of whom are our own citizens, entertainers are defining socially acceptable behavior and we'll likely be able to custom order replacement organs within the next two decades. What's a parent to do? How do you convey your morals and beliefs to children when they very well may be wrong?

Some time ago children grew up in an age in which racism and religious intolerance were the norm. In some parts of the world, this is still true - google Islamic Madrassa. But as time changed and more information and awareness spread, the changes in belief evolved.

What we face in our world today is nothing short of miraculous. We have achieved levels of wealth and prosperity unheard of in our history. We have access to information beyond the dreams of the greatest librarians to have existed. Our science is reaching into realms in whihc the average layman has no hope of comprehending.

And here is the problem. Arthur C. Clarke once stated that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable form magic". This presents a real challenge for our world. Will we, as science races away from the realm of understanding of humaity attain a priesthood like quality? Most people today have only a rudimentary understanding of how things work or the fundamental laws behind our universe and engineering. We have become a planet in which we no longer care how our world operates only that it does.

And thus my personal dilemma. I admire pure spiritualism. This is, in my opinion, defined by a true humility of intellect. It represents a frame of mind that there is much to learn and we are far from knowing everything we can know about our existence. I have a firm belief in a higher moral precept. We should strive to look after our fellow humans and seek to better our planet for all. However, our actions should not suffer injustice and threats to the innocent.

Call it a warrior spirituality. Bill Roggio had a great post on his site about the nature of our changing society. There are spiritual luddites out there who seek to retain their influence of thought and doctrine through fear and intimidation. They include many sects and groups - including some you may not originally consider.

Rather than dive into a diatribe of who I think they are, I choose to offer my vote for the first law of techno-spirituality.

In all your actions, seek to affirm life and the means to sustain and improve it

This is a ripoff of the Hyppocratic Oath, Ten Commandments and the first tenet of Zen Buddhism. We are bombarded by so many messages, how we help our children to understand what is right and wrong becomes an increasingly tough challenge.




9 comments:

Lauren said...

Your precept is good... just remember WHY Zen Buddhism has the EightFold Path: it says that life is already inherently difficult (the word "dukka" = suffering; but really means "like a broken bone or a broken axle") so be careful and compassionate with others as to not add to the suffering in life which is already there.

Citizen Deux said...

I like that as a possible second...sort of like the do no harm tenet of medical practicioners.

Nice to see you again, I'm not nearly so acerbic as I was earlier.

;-)

Scootmaroo said...

As the end of this vignette states, the existance of Celine Dion makes it very difficult for me to believe in God....(I know, I know...my people are supposed to love Celine, but....)

Major John said...

"Love thy neighbor as thyself" works for me...although if I ever met Gulbuddin Hekmatyar....hmmm.

Citizen Deux said...

Yes, the alternate "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you" gives one the option of smacking the tar out of those who seek to deliver smackage upon thee!

I am not in favor of a "turn the other cheek" approach to life.

RevRon's Rants said...

My interpretation of the "turn the other cheek" admonition is that by doing so, you tell the smacker that he/she has inflicted no harm upon you. Recall the look in someone's eyes when, after dealing what they felt must have been a devastating blow, you just smiled at them. How better to take an enemy's power away! :-)

Citizen Deux said...

Ron, perhaps. I view it as more of an invitation to more harm. Regrettably, our human nature is rarely one of restraint.

A little negative reinforcement is very potent! Aside from the super cool "is that the best you got" response, it also implies that a woeful portion of whup ass is on the way.

sonicfrog said...

I had these thoughts on theology.

RevRon's Rants said...

My own experiences, both in combat and on the mats in the dojo, are that smiling at an opponent is very unnerving to them, and when one proclaimed their intent to do me harm, I was well on my way to emerging the victor.

Nowadays, I tend to avoid the confrontation wherever possible. Even refusing to engage on the same level as an aggressor seems to rattle them horribly, an observation that has been reinforced of late on other blogs. :-)