In yesterday’s DM we shared Mahatma Gandhi’s list of “seven social sins” that are “internal forces” that can crash society. Drawing on his wisdom, we might ask the following questions:
Is a big chunk of our current politics a politics without principle? (Other than the principle of hating others and showing them up? Or riling up peoples’ anger and hatred? Or making common cause with the rich and powerful who give lots of dark money to particular causes?)
How much of our economy rewards inherited wealth more than work? Is that at the heart of the effort to create loopholes so that some of the wealthiest individuals and corporations pay no taxes? (And that has been recently corrected with a 15% tax on rich individuals and corporations.)
Not to pay taxes means certain individuals and corporations choose not to support building and maintenance of roads, highways, bridges, public transport, education, police and fire and first responders (it would seem that the recent Infrastructure bill did address some of these issues).
Does it often happen that we entertain commerce without morality in American culture? Consider radio, TV, and social media platforms that traffic lies and hatred and division-making.
Does pleasure without conscience constitute much of the advertising that fills our television sets 24/7? And magazines? And social media?
Does education actually include learning about value systems and value choices? Is education without educating for character endemic in a learning process that claims to be value neutral? How does one teach the development of character? And especially in a pluralistic society?
Does being ‘value-free’ not lead to accepting the status quo?
Does science sometimes ignore the consequences of its own inventions and thus create a science without humanity, a science that leaves humanity’s survival behind in its calculations?
Is the social media, born of new electronic advancements, an example of that—an invention that can do good things in connecting people but also do evil in connecting and promoting hostile, hating, self-hating people and organization and in spreading lies rather than truths?
One thinks of neo-Nazi groups and of crazy Q-anon fabrications that spread on social media and make an impression on weak minds and souls. This includes the notion that President Biden did not win the last election. Big Lies make for Big Divisions. A democracy cannot survive without an effort to find and speak and share the truth.
To be continued.
See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, pp. 183-374.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: “Mahatma Gandhi Memorial, Washington DC” by AlbinoFlea is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.
Queries for Contemplation
How do you address the questions raised here by Gandhi and applied to contemporary American society? How can we do so together and thus create community?