Peter Russell on Buddah at the Gas Pump

#2
Steve,

I'm not quite sure why you posted this and sent me a PM drawing my attention to it. Anyway, I watched and was greatly enjoying it up to the point where they got into climate change. I wondered then whether you had posted it because you wanted me to see that, and if so, why.

I've done climate change to death and said all that I can say about what a crock I think it is: vastly over-hyped and actually the cause of much unnecessary suffering for humanity, particularly the poor.

I don't want to go down that avenue again, but take a sideways glance at it and try to keep it in the fold of spiritual discussion. If AGW actually were a serious issue (and I once thought so myself), then I'd have been with them. In fact, I thought along very similar lines at one stage. In general, I agree with the idea of our becoming less attached to accumulation of possessions and using available resources sensibly. That said, it's important, if we are going to take some cause célèbre to help drive some such aim, that it be one that actually is a problem and not a crock.

Now some people here may not think it is a crock, and that's their prerogative, but if perchance they are wrong, what then? It could be perverting the framework within which spiritual truth is being pursued. Near the end, Archer bangs on about the way some people insist that conditioned beliefs, arising from current scientific paradigms, are true, and how stupid that is. He forgets that earlier on he's been quoting consensus as justification for his views on AGW. He doesn't see the irony of being against paradigms in one setting, and for them in another, in both cases using conditioning by consensus as the justification. So why does he go with non-consensus on materialism, and consensus on AGW? I suspect it's because he sees AGW as fitting in with his spiritual worldview. Maybe he doesn't see how it might be possible to hold a similar worldview and reject AGW.

Neither of them seemed to see either that there's much of a place for commercial activity in human societies; that a society can be spiritual and yet still allow for such activity. Personally, I'd go so far as to say that a society can't promote spiritual activity without allowing for commercial activity. I'd insist that such activity be principled and ethical, of course (which currently it often isn't), but even at the present time, we see many examples where it benefits humanity and actually helps provide a milieu in which people can lead reasonably comfortable lives and pursue spiritual aims in their free time.

There's a Sufi tale about a student of a master who spent all his time following his studies to the neglect of his family obligations. Hearing the complaints of the student's wife, who had too little food to put on the table for his family, the master put some food in the pencil box the student used to carry with him so he could take notes. The student got the message: you can't live by bread alone, but you do need bread to live, and you should in some way earn that bread. It's very difficult to earn a living in a society where commercialism is frowned upon: it's been tried, and such societies have usually ended up as tyrannies where a privileged few rule over impoverished masses. Masses which fairly naturally have to be more concerned about keeping alive than devoting some of their time to spiritual pursuits. There is often also disproportionate environmental degradation in these societies.

I'm avoiding issues of left vs right as far as I can, being a moderate myself. I think a healthy society needs a balance between liberalism and conservatism. Too much of one or the other is in my view a bad thing. There are examples of both that have led to environmental problems, injustice and suffering. Currently, I think the focussing on AGW is, perversely, increasing all three through the law of unintended consequences, and that the real catastrophe will strike if it goes on much longer. Now some here might disagree with that conclusion, but they can't say that I hold my opinion because I'm an uncaring bastard who has no interest in spiritual issues or the well being of mankind. I care very much about such things, at least as much as anyone here. It's precisely because I have such concerns that I give a damn: and, doubtless, those who disagree with me will feel the same way about their views. I don't think they're uncaring bastards, just ill-informed and insufficiently sceptical about AGW.

It's regrettable, but only one of the two views can be right, and because I think the way I do, I voice my opinions against consensus about AGW just as strongly as I do against consensus about materialism. In due course, the truth will out, whichever way that goes.
 
#3
Steve,

I'm not quite sure why you posted this and sent me a PM drawing my attention to it. Anyway, I watched and was greatly enjoying it up to the point where they got into climate change. I wondered then whether you had posted it because you wanted me to see that, and if so, why.
WTF are you on about ? I knew you liked Peter Russell, it had nothing to do with climate change.

Don't worry, I won't PM you again.
 
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#4
Right then. I wondered why you had posted it and now you've told me why. So WTF's up with your WTF? My reaction to the video is no different: a perfectly good discussion ruined by two people talking on a topic they know little about.
 
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