One in three British children is obese, according to the British Heart foundation. I am not sure that I have really noticed that. Obesity is a problem. But the main problem is cancer & Alzheimer’s.
The majority of people alive in the UK at the moment will die of cancer – if present trends continue. At the same time we are bombarded with consumerism. We have evolved in this, the first part of the 21st century when (at least in the rich & wasteful West) to the people who control us (the big corporations & makers of gizmos & other technology), the only thing that matters is how we understand modern technology, to what extent we have come to grips with it, whether we are able to use it to earn a living.
In the seventies & eighties we used to talk about personal growth; these days football is talked about as though supporting this team or that is a matter of psychic development.
Of course everything is a balance or at least it should be. It even says in St Matthews gospel, in the sermon on the mount; you need material things, God knows that. Even monks & nuns both Christian & Buddhist embrace material things. By that I mean mobile phones, computers, nice watches & other accoutrements of the times we live in.
Lab food meat is wrong. In fact is just as wrong as eating meat from dead animals. Lab food meat emanates from living creatures.
People have said to me (many times) what is the difference between eating cows & eating plants? Maybe they have feelings as well. So much in life is a guess. My guess is that it is ok to eat vegetables & fruit but not ok to eat animals.
I come back to Buddhism. I come back to respect for sentient beings. Lab food meat is animal food. It is for all that meat. Teilhard de Chardin talked about man evolving spiritually. In fact there is little evidence of that. But surely it’s what we should be aiming for. Apart from anything else, it is only by respecting the planet, our planet, planet earth, the wonderful blue ball in the cosmos we inhabit, that we can hope to save it & the life within it.
Fracking is another example of the rush to insane materialism. The total insanity of causing deep explosions to release what… gas or something… just makes no sense.
We are sleep walking into what used to be known as a police state. It is curious,
The East & Central European countries were known primarily as police states. In East & Central Europe, people didn’t have much freedom. They didn’t have many civil liberties. The judiciary didn’t appear to be independant, well it wasn’t. Dissidence wasn’t tolerated. The people were spied on by the neighbours & others.
We are being watched all the time by CCTV. Generally we are frightened of terrorism, specifically Islamic terrorism. There seems to be good reason for this. Fundamental Islamic groups do seem to plan their operations meticulously & include suicide bombers. They seem to be meaningless, inasmuch as the question is, “What do they want?”
Lenin said that freedom is so valuable it should be limited. In the Soviet Union, nobody had much freedom, including the leaders, the members of the politburo even. They had to watch their step.
But whether it is Lenin or whether it is Buddha or Teilhard de Chardin who we listen to, the fact is that what we have these days is a society in which a man’s worth is judged by whether he has a job & what that job is. He is also judged by the amount of money that he has.
We tend not to judge people by how good they are as people. We tend not to judge people by how much good they do. We tend to judge people by how much money they make. We don’t even judge people by their talent, though even that would not be fair.
A question often asked is, is there any meaning to life? It is a good question & the answer is almost certainly, no.
In the Buddhist Himalayan kingdom of Kanskar, the land is never divided & women have 2 husbands, brothers in fact & neither of them know which one of them is the father of the children. But this is not my point. My point is that they have a large monastic community, which gives meaning to their existence. It may be an existence which is illusory but it is meaning nevertheless. Monastic communities do provide meaning. The jobs society doesn’t. The jobs themselves become the raison d’être, no matter how useless or indeed how destructive they might be. The jobs are meaningless & thus life becomes meaningless.
Society is not rational, if it were the human race would have evolved a better system, a better civil society.