Monday, September 5, 2011

On Labor Day Obama to sell jobs creation

(CBS News) President Obama could be under more pressure than ever to produce an effective new jobs proposal after Friday's bad unemployment report.

CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante reports the president will be in Detroit this Labor Day. Unemployment there is about 14% - that's five points above the national average. Michigan is a state he won by a huge margin in 2008. Today things are not looking as good, particularly on the jobs front.

The Dalai Lama on Unemployment (part one)

Among Tibetans, at least traditionally, the economic conditions are such that this nine-to-five daily employment isn't really an important part of [working life]. In Tibet, either you are a farmer or a nomad or a merchant. The work is seasonal.... During the season they work very hard, and when they finish they come back and don't have any modern society, and particularly in industrialized nations, the issue of unemployment is a very difficult situation. There are no easy answers. One has no choice but to try to cope, and make one's best effort to find new work. There is just no other solution.

However, the basic attitude of the individual plays a very significant role, and can make a big difference in how someone responds. While we may not have control over our situation, our attitude is something that we have some control over. So first, what we need to realize is that uncertainty and change are very much a part of the modern economy, particularly with regard to employment. That is a serious problem, but a fact that we have to accept. There is no guarantee that there will be a job tomorrow if you are working today. So, if we understand this ahead of time, it may change how we respond when that happens. Then we won't feel so surprised, as if we are singled out. We understand that the loss of a job has many factors, the result of many causes and conditions. We will understand that, in many cases, it may even have roots in global economic issues. This way, we won't become so upset by taking it personally, or looking around us for someone to blame for our problems. This alone may help reduce our mental agitation. Of course, here we are talking about unemployment due to some wider causes or layoffs, not due to being fired because of one's own incompetence.

--from The Art of Happiness at Work by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Dr. Howard C. Cutler, M.D.


Anonymous said...

I love this idea: today's news and some Buddhist comments.

Allen Nohre said...

My comment got lost in cyberspace. This is what I think I wrote. I am looking forward to a Buddhist perspective on daily events. The economic news is so discouraging an alternative way to think about our reality is needed. By your writing and by your example you are providing a new vision. Stay connected to a friend like me - imbedded in the newly struggling professional middleclass.
Allen Nohre
Carefree, Arizona

MJ said...

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:

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 O.K. and not the "true self," anyway...