The actual western development model is to steal from the rest of the world, which obviously isn’t going to work for the rest of the world. So they made some shit up about a development model which they never followedand used it to gaslight us into another few decades of exploitation.
The actual western environmental model is to steal from the future, which obviously isn’t going to work for the future. So they make some shit up about a ‘green’ capitalism which isn’t possible and are using it for another few decades of degradation more.
The actual enemy is, of course, them, the people that have invaded multiple countries, couped innumerable, dropped nuclear bombs on civilians, tortured quite publicly, and even impoverish their own people. But these oligarchs hide in plain sight, their reputations laundered by expensive universities and presses and think tanks. The governments they bought get branded as democracies and any alternative is autocracy to be feared, sanctioned, and ideally bombed.
The actual enemy is actually within, because we let this shit happen, just as my people let colonialism happen, because we like the stuff and we’ll sell out our poor neighbors to get it, even if it kills even us in the long run.
Indeed the actual enemy is no one because we actually have no control as a species, even our wiser indigenous cultures genocided megafauna as we spread across the continent, and even the arrogantly named homo sapiensseemed to kill the other conversational species of homo. The past few centuries of industrialized genocide have certainly been a crescendo of destruction, but geologically speaking, not an entirely different song.
Then, however, you have to unwind this train of thought to understand the contradiction that while you cannot change anything and while you cannot ultimately blame anyone in particular you must still fulfill your dharma. Like Krishna explaining to Arjuna why he must fight even his relatives, it is yet our duty to fight western civilization for all we’re worth. Because understanding our insignificant place in the world is not a call to do nothing, it is simply a call to fulfill your role.
People often ask me what I think they should do, what we should do, and it’s a very question. So good that I don’t have an answer. I honestly feel ashamed when anyone asks me, like the first time I went to temple as an adult and tookthe temple flowers people were asking me to bless instead of just waving my hands over them and letting them pass on. I’ll answer it anyway because I’m a hopeless pandit like that. Such is my role.
I think we need to overthrow everything that passes for a ‘rules-based’ order these days, American hegemony, the entire White Empire they preside over (from Europe to Australia) and all of their vassals. I think there has to be, essentially, communist revolution all over the world and power taken by the global majority and the poor. And while non-violence is certainly a strong weapon in this fight, it’s not the only one. I think violent revolution is called for not by me but just by reality. Read history. See the color ink it’s written in. There will be blood.
People often ask me how I reconcile this with my (primary) religion of Buddhism, and the answer is that I’m a bad Buddhist. And I’m certainly not on track to be a Buddha. Even the Buddha we know went through hundreds of lives before getting peaceful. I’m nowhere near that. Indeed, I’m not even trying. I’m not a stream-enterer, I’m just watching from the bank, like I watch everything else.
What I’m saying is not a recommendation, it’s an observation. Historical forces are already brewing, I’m merely the whistle on an already bubbling pot. The White Empire is quite assiduously destroying itself, provoking bigger and bigger powers, practically begging for another World War. Its ruling oligarchs are imposing more and more suffering on everyone, leading to a hotbed of demand for something else. The ruling class is simply ignoring non-violent protest, so people will inevitably get violent to get their demands heard, in the only language power really understands.
These are all the ingredients for huge, bloody, historical change on the scale of well, this exact time last century, but what really turns up the heat is that the heat is literally turning up. What we face—and what we didn’t face last century—is that the climate gods themselves are angry and things around about get geologically fucked up. This is an observation I hesitate to make because it seems impossible even to me, but going by all of these conditions, we are sailing into a period of historical fuckery worse than last century, and last century was bad. I shudder.
This is the same song I sing all the time, and I wonder if it’s boring, but honestly it’s been the same story for millennia, not a few blog posts. The Hindu pantheon is full of evil rising and good (violently) rising up to defeat it. Then it zooms out to show how everyone is trapped by their dharma and how the shit just cycles and good and evil are largely meaningless. The Buddha showed a way out of this churning just as Jesus promised to speak with his father, but most of us don’t actually want to go. We still think there’s a way out. For us. For the species. For the planet.
Whenever I write something for another publication they always ask me to end on a hopeful note and it’s something I try to avoid doing. Hope is the mind-killer. Just as much as fear. The truth is that we are each going to die, everyone we love is going to die, the species as we know it will certainly wither and writhe, and the planet itself will eventually be destroyed. It’s all a matter of time, and hope is just a postcard from a parallel universe. Nice place to visit, but you can’t live there. You live here, and life is suffering.
Nobody wants to hear that and, indeed, even I don’t believe it as I write it. In the South, we just want to get our own appliances and own cars and live like the colonizers. In the heart of the Empire, they just want to switch to electricappliances and electric cars and carry on like before. None of this is remotely possible, but the alternative is even more impossible. Overthrow our governments and upend the world? Who wants to start that? I totally understand having drinks and playing music as the Titanic went down. It’s a perfectly reasonable reaction. Honestly, cheers, carry on.
There are no answers here in this blog post, or hope at the end of it. I still think it’s worth pointing out the great evil in the West cause people still think they’re the heroes, and I think it’s worth quoting esoteric knowledge because it’s interesting, and I certainly think it’s worth girding your loins because shit is about the get really real. But I have nothing to offer you to tie these thoughts up in a bow. Increasingly I just find meaning in the meaningless, so that’s all I can leave you with.
Today in the encroaching winter I saw purple flowers poking out of the ground. Pointlessly, hopelessly, but there they were. They’re certainly going to die—it’s fucking freezing—but they’re alive and my children ran out to pick some and give to their mother. What does this mean? What does it have do with anything? I don’t know. I was there. I saw. That’s all I have to offer you. Just touch these flowers and let them pass on.