Our society reflects a lack of self-reliance (Part 1) | Worship

By Sal Barba, Ph.D, a local Buddhist | Jun 18, 2014

“Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members. Society is a joint-stock company, in which the members agree, for the better securing of his bread to each shareholder, to surrender the liberty and the culture of the eater. The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think that it is outrageous that our society reflects a lack of self-reliance. In correlation, we have seen a rise in violence.

We have recently witnessed this violence upon one of our beloved Seattle universities.

I don’t think that we are teaching many of our children how to become self-reliant when we can observe so many youth with broken selves, walking around homeless.

For the convenience of the parent, the child is left for hours perusing the Internet, and subject to an imagination that becomes frozen in a dark spiral of danger and violence.

Also recently, a Wisconsin girl was stabbed several times by two of her friends so that her two friends would not become victims of an imagined evil slayer they read about on a website. The two girls are being tried as adults, and the friend survived.

Conformity does not welcome self-reliance. Conformity rewards the one who thinks he or she will be protected by the bogeyman, or the authority figure.

Cameras are all around us, spying on how fast we drive, what we entertain ourselves with on the Internet, what our habits are, what we tend to purchase. Many of us are oblivious to what is happening around us.

Three weeks ago, I was driving home and crossing an intersection on a green light. A woman on her cellphone stepped into the street and walked across without any awareness that vehicles had the right of way.

Her attention was completely immersed in her phone conversation. When I alerted her with my horn, she looked up with indignation. She continued to cross the street while remaining on the phone.

Something is seriously wrong with our society. We are losing contact with our self-reliance, and we struggle to even consider how to become self-reliant. There are no 12-step programs to help us realize the nature of our mind.

To develop self-reliance, we have to do the hard work required to understand what the true nature is of our mind.

This means getting deeper into our personal process to get clear about how we are managing our self in daily life, even if it means finding a very good health care professional to work with. In other cultures, it’s the Rinpoche, the priest, etc.

Until next time, and Part 2 of this discussion, do one kind act each day for another and do no harm!

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