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Audio | view transcript
And the award for best title of 2007 goes to: 'Building an Ethical Underworld - Lessons from the Mafia'... Ever wanted to know about ‘General Systems Theory’ - one of those subjects you always hear vague things about yet never quite know what it actually is? Ever wondered why we seem to love a good gangster? Well, then this talk is for you! And, groovy title aside, this happens to be an excellent and very full short talk on a growing area of contemporary Buddhist philosophical thought. This one requires a bit of concentration - but it pays off with Khemasuri's passionately argued case for embracing personal responsibility and community engagement as a way of effecting social change in our troubled world. Just like “going to the mattresses”. But in a good way…
Includes a question-and-answer session. Please note, the sound is a little punky in places.
Talk given at the Buddhafield Festival, Devon, 2007
|1.||'Evolution or extinction' by Sangharakshita (1971) - this talk as a response; the Buddha's basic teaching and experience; conceptual constructions of a specific time and culture - 'pratitya samutpada' ('dependent arising') and 'general systems theory' (3:22)|
|2.||Differences between causality and conditionality; Cartesian thinking; conditionality through human culture and experience; properties of systems; feedback mechanisms; systems evolving in complexity - change; instability, non-predictability and synergy (4:51)|
|3.||Repercussions for how we act; the Cartesian model of the world and its effect on behaviour; systems theory, actions and consequences; means and ends as the same thing (4:05)|
|4.||Social networks, systems and change; 'event-triggering process' - shocks to the system and creative response; change within a community of individuals; the properties of a living community (4:48)|
|5.||What the Mafia can teach us about supporting change; Fritjof Capra's ideas on the criminal underworld's success; what the Mafia does well as a community; towards an ethical underworld (4:01)|
|6.||What we can do individually and collectively; the revolutionary nature of the 'metta bhavana' meditation ('development of loving kindness'); actions and consequences again; taking risks; different ways of doing community; collective change is not comfo (4:50)|
|7.||The importance of passing on knowledge and promoting another vision of the world; diversity; don't leave your values and principles at home; acting from the heart; the 'infinite game'; profound personal feedback from your efforts (4:07)|
|8.||Questions and answers - being subversive; practical examples; exemplifying values; with the Network of Engaged Buddhists at the Faslane nuclear weapons base; not being unpleasant - personal responsibility (3:47)|
|9.||People and systems resisting change; patience and perspective; do what you can now (1:44)|
|10.||Things seeming to change fast; instability over time (1:17)|
|11.||The tendency of activist organisations to plarise with each other; competing Utopian visions (2:00)|
Total running time: 38:52