Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Congress returns amid sour mood over slow economy

Congress is reconvening this week for what could be a painful confrontation over how to put Americans back to work.
Lawmakers returning after a monthlong recess are in accord on at least one thing: Jobs policy must be at the top of the agenda.
But there's little hope they will be able to put aside their differences long enough to come up with legislation that makes measurable improvements either to the unemployment rate or Congress' dismal approval rate.

A community psychologist responds.  
The following is a comment made yesterday by a psychologist in Minnesota. It was so thoughtful and provocative I am using at as an example of a practical Buddhist perspective.

I'm not the first to say the Buddhist/Eastern perspective and tradition is often wanting and forgets its Taoist roots. In other words, as far as grand societal or historical trends, even a Dalai Lama comes off as naive and uninformed.

Both/and needs to be added to transcending and living in this (impermanent) moment. History, whether individual or collective, cannot be ignored, and here we must turn to the West for balance.

Indeed, his holiness states "it's not easy" to change one's attitude, but it would be easier if one had a historical and deep understanding about why there are no "jobs" or how "unemployment" became one's reality (not to mention a concept).

Without integration or "appropriation" (see Hans Loewald) of our history, we get the classic shadow elements becoming obstacles to higher/deeper development (and, of course, the spiritual gurus exploiting others). This also happens on a grander scale: without knowledge of the history of money and debt, morality and social relations, simply changing one's attitude to acceptance and non-judgment in order to manage the stress of economic survival does little to change the conditions that keep creating a class system dependent on exploitation, dominance, and fear. See David Gaeber's "Debt: The First 5,000 Years" or this post: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/08/what-is-debt-%E2%80%93-an-interview-with-economic-anthropologist-david-graeber.html

As what some call a "community psychologist" or even a radical (gasp!), I think keeping both individual and collective and, as Ken Wilber would say, interior and exterior perspectives is the most practical approach to helping and fostering change, despite the luxury of a spiritual realization while on the cushion that everything's
 September 5, 2011 5:45 PM

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