Alien Anthropology

Fighting for Peace?

I am really quite endlessly fascinated by the many ways that these political, cultural and spiritual traditions (both near and far in time and space, it must be said) become so readily or easily detached from their original motives and inspirations to become quite the opposite of their intended or asserted goals and often become little more than aspirationally self-propagating patterns of information and behaviour that seek continuity and participatory self-validation by any and all means or association.

I remember once watching a television news story regarding Buddhist monks in South Korea violently rioting and fighting amongst themselves over the distribution of power and wealth after the death of a senior abbot. A belief system so overtly committed to peace or detachment from worldly or material matters becoming so ensconced in them indicates no unique, rare or simple fault of humanity. Human beings just can not help themselves and as though by cognitive or cultural reflex become swept up in the symbolisms of continuity and political power games as dissociative adversarialism. We are not as a species and on the whole as secure, emotionally well-balanced or aloof as we might choose to believe. In each instance, a microcosm.

Disclaimer: I am actually quite find of Buddhism and Buddhist psychology. It is a very powerful explanatory tool in understanding human behaviour and seeking catharsis and freedom in life. The example referenced above is just one instance in one just one religion and to become attached to it over the generalised failings of humanity as a whole in regards to war and peace or asserting the importance of belonging and temporal, transient power over the undefined (and arguably undefinable) value of peace and compassion – well if you think I am criticising Buddhism you have missed the point. I am criticising humanity, of which I myself am also a deeply, irreducibly fallible and incomplete part.

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