Gandhi’s Wisdom on Social Cohesion, continued

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:

Florida governor Ron DeSantis’ cynically transporting roughly 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard raises questions of federal felony. MSNBC.

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).

Atlantic commentator David French speaks with Mika Brzezinski on the rising danger from conspiracy theories and hatred promulgated by far-right media. MSNBC.

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? 

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Il., discusses the former White House tenant’s impact on the Republican Party and what is needed to save democracy. MSNBC

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?

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8 thoughts on “Gandhi’s Wisdom on Social Cohesion, continued”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, In yesterday’s Daily Meditation we shared Mahatma Gandhi’s list of “seven social sins” that are “internal forces” that can crash society. Then you do your own commentary on how these “social sins” are not working for the most part in our society–with the exception of the 15% tax increase on rich individuals and corporations. Then to point out one of the seven social sins, you ask: “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?” Think of the science that makes bombs–the atomic bomb and the hydrogen bombs–not to mention all of the conventional bombs. And the arms dealers are conscienceless selling just for the money–regardless who they kill, and making fighter planes, all made to destroy and kill. Its time that science had ethics. No more weapons and somehow we have to do something to stop all of the violence !!!

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    While terrorism may be the overt manifestation of the insanity of passing pain onto others, hidden terrorism continues in us whenever we use one another as containers for our pain and carelessly discard them. Everyone’s light is dimmed, and lessons are lost when we use our pain as the new weapon of mass destruction. This, “passing of pain” creates a dampening of consciousness. Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions said, Science advances by paying attention to all anomalies (all data). As I see it, we must particularly pay attention to the anomalies of these covert terrorists. Their prevarications/propaganda rally others, in prejudices towards innocent human beings as they shame and blame them. This is avidya (from Theravada Buddhism: spiritual ignorance or misconceptions about the nature of metaphysical reality) Vidya (non-dual intrinsic awareness) breaks this vicious cycle. History repeats until finally broken. The narcissists say: Mirror, Mirror on the wall tell me I am the fairest of them all & if you don’t, I will go after you, interfering with my Holocaust. Fortunately, we have journalists bringing their actions to our attention and we still have laws protecting everyone’s free speech on these matters. It all eventually boomerangs back to the perpetrators/covert terrorists…Hatred begets more hatred…Love begets more Love. Additional thoughts:

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    TAXES—a morning moose message

    Reflecting on that which produces fear and loathing in man, I am reminded of what my father taught me about taxes. Although those with power and authority have abused taxation systems throughout history, he said that as a citizen of the United States we should view paying taxes as a privilege and blessing. Yes, many will try to cheat the system, especially the wealthy and greedy, but we must consider it a gift toward a better life for all. Instead of focusing on the abuse and cheating of others, we should view our own giving like a charitable donation, giving freely and cheerfully. This from a staunch GOP veteran of WWII, but a man of faith and love too. }:- a.m.

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    Matthew, thank you for another profound meditation and analysis of humanity’s historical problem with personal and social evil, especially the last 6500 years with the growth of unbalanced, toxic, destructive patriarchy/patriarchal values which separates/disconnects us from the Sacred Presence in our inner/outer lives, compassionate/communal values, and our sacred connection to Mother Earth, All Living Creation/Cosmos… Historically the consequences for humanity and human suffering have been devastating such as wars, racism, social inequities, and social/environmental destruction… Now, one of the many consequences/reckonings for our present humanity is existential in nature because of our environmental/climate crises we have created with our polluting earth destroying global industrial Western ‘civilization’ the last several several hundred years. In order to understand this historical and psychic growth of evil more deeply, I’m looking forward to reading your “Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society.”

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    As a textbook writer for National Geographic School Publishing and a host of other educational publishers I was shocked at the Right’s objection to the well-written national standards. I was intimate with the standards as publishers had to follow them to have their texts adopted by individual states. In all areas, one of the things the Common Core stressed was critical thinking, including backing up one’s opinions and thoughts in writing. I wondered why the Right (sic), who claimed they wanted to improve education, were against national standards that clearly did just that. I now see that the Right #1 does not want students to think clearly and critically and back up their opinions because then they can’t be easily indoctrinated, and #2 wants to destroy public schools so that only white students get a good education (in private and charter schools), hence widening the gap between “thems whose got and thems who don’t.”

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    Our educational system needs to teach critical thinking and humanitarian values–the value and natural rights of all people. As Michele points out and as I am experiencing here in Florida, these threaten indoctrination and the destruction of the public school system. Politics without principle has always been a factor, but today it is proudly and openly and defiantly practiced by those in power. For the majority, who know better but fail to speak up, I propose a new book, “Profiles in Cowardice”. And what should we do? First, recognize the dangers. Then look into our own darkness. And join with others in action, whether it be political activism, writing and teaching as Matthew does so profoundly, or whatever is within your powers and abilities to do—knowing that we are all working to the same ends. I have not read the Q-anon propaganda but it is infecting some of the churches and seems to be the exact same extreme demonization that the Nazis used against Jewish people—and, by the way, other groups. We need to speak up against this evil in every way.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Sue, Today you end your comment by saying: “the Q-anon propaganda is infecting some of the churches and seems to be the exact same extreme demonization that the Nazis used against Jewish people—and, by the way, other groups. We need to speak up against this evil in every way.” I totally agree. Calling Mystic/Prophets and Justice Makers !!!

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