Tell a friend about this talk!

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Google Buzz

other talks in this theme

Building an Ethical Underworld - Lessons from the Mafia

by Khemasuri

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

Tracks (click play to listen)

Play All

click play to listen
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' (3:23) 
click play to listen
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) 
click play to listen
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 (4:06) 
click play to listen
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 (4:49) 
click play to listen
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 (4:02) 
click play to listen
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 (4:51) 
click play to listen
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 (4:08) 
click play to listen
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 (3:48) 
click play to listen
9. People and systems resisting change; patience and perspective; do what you can now (1:44) 
click play to listen
10. Things seeming to change fast; instability over time (1:17) 
click play to listen
11. The tendency of activist organisations to plarise with each other; competing Utopian visions (2:01) 


Total running time: 39:00

close