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Native American Jedi? Part 4 - Gross National….Peace?

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20 Sep 2017 17:26 #301914 by SamThift
Gross National….Peace?

I do not think the measure of a civilization Is how tall its buildings of concrete are.
But rather how well its people have learned to relate
To their environment and fellow man.

- Sun Bear of the Chippewa Tribe

For some reason, after reading this it instantly reminded me of the country of Bhutan’s “Gross National Happiness”.

For those that don’t know Gross National Happiness, or GNH, was a term coined by Bhutan’s then current king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, and used as the nation’s new metric for determining the prosperity of the country. It was created to promote the development of the countries Buddhist spiritual values (i.e. happiness) as opposed to the Western materialistic centered GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

Essentially, it was them saying, “Hey, we want to value the well-being and happiness of our people instead of material ‘stuff’.”

Pretty cool right? Well, to me, Sun Bear is backing up this very same ideal, except perhaps in a slightly different sense. In this way, he’s describing more our ability to live in harmony with the world around us- both nature and humanity specifically.

Placing that as the major guiding principle of any nation (or our own individual lives), to me, is both a powerful and revolutionary idea.


[From a blog post by Matt Valentine at Buddhaimonia.com]

*************

Commentary: Perhaps it remains fitting that this Temple lacks a physical edifice. Would it be the stone of our building by which we are defined? Or should it be the very nature of our roots as a wider community built on the world's web through the transmission of mere pixels on the edge of tens of thousands of years of technological advancements in human communications (paraphrasing Reacher from his Knighthood Ceremony :) )? Thus, judge not our Temple by How we interact in our community, but How Well we understand our role in the same, and what we do with it from there.

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20 Sep 2017 21:33 #301921 by Kyrin Wyldstar
But we are living in a material world and we are material beings, so why should we not look to material things to make us happy? Are not food and shelter material things?

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20 Sep 2017 21:44 #301922 by SamThift

Kyrin Wyldstar wrote: But we are living in a material world and we are material beings, so why should we not look to material things to make us happy? Are not food and shelter material things?


Fair point.

I understand the Bhutan example to be more symbolic of a better measurement of "happiness" in the spiritual sense where one would attempt to judge the effectiveness of national policy on the whole population where economic prowess were not particularly thriving. So for illustrative purposes I think the GDP vs GNH issue was simply on the spiritual plane, not the physical. Wherein our access to worldly or materialistic things certainly have influence over our general spirit, in the mood and satisfaction sense, sure...those would probably account for deviations in such measurements. One could be the happiest person any of us know, but without food in the belly or a roof over head, maintaining that attitude long term is certainly a challenge.

Yet, I have also read somewhere recently that a "happiness" poll conducted in the U.S. (?) found homeless people to be generally "happier" than people who work jobs that they despise. So there is that. The West is known for its consumeristic materialism...does that define us? Should it?

*Insert some form of Jedi attachment theory here...

I took the larger point of the original quote presented from Sun Bear to be speaking more of how we are defined by our actions towards our fellow-beings, and not by the scale of that which we create. I can be the best most influential commercial real estate developer NYC has ever seen...building incredible structures that will last for decades...but be a total jerk to all who work for me, and all who I interact with. What will my legacy be?

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20 Sep 2017 21:50 #301923 by Adder

Kyrin Wyldstar wrote: But we are living in a material world and we are material beings, so why should we not look to material things to make us happy? Are not food and shelter material things?


The materialism mentioned might be about behavioural possessiveness and how it distorts ones frame of self identity, by shaping focus as an owner, by and of the group of possessions. Which I'd suggest disrupts the potential to relate to the process of change in a more 'happy' way, since we're talking about happiness. New things get old, useful things get used, etc, but that having a possession is not necessarily bad, rather being possessive usually is because the value is not related to the object but how we perceived it at acquisition, but if not just because we think and live in a social context of comparison to a pretty decent extent seemingly, eg consumerism. So engineering reward (happiness) into things like curiosity rather then social competition unlocks a new ocean of light, to put it into new ageism. That's at the behavioural level, but down to the personal level the shift might be in a different context away from body giving mind pleasure (substance abuse) to mind giving body pleasure (actual happiness) :blink:

Knight ~ introverted extropian, mechatronic neurothealogizing, technogaian buddhist. Likes integration, visualization, elucidation and transformation.
Jou ~ Deg ~ Vlo ~ Sem ~ Mod ~ Med ~ Dis
TM: Grand Master Mark Anjuu
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20 Sep 2017 22:01 #301925 by Kyrin Wyldstar
Well I would disagree. Respectfully of course. I don't think the GNP exists on a spiritual plane and I think competition breeds curiosity, which in turn breeds excellence and that equates to happiness.

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20 Sep 2017 22:22 #301926 by Adder

Kyrin Wyldstar wrote: Well I would disagree. Respectfully of course. I don't think the GNP exists on a spiritual plane and I think competition breeds curiosity, which in turn breeds excellence and that equates to happiness.


Of course the risk of relying on anything to get happiness runs the risk of being sad when you don''t get it eg nothing to be curious about, or getting happiness from excelling over others could easily generate sadness when one gets excelled over by others. But the process of boiling down the process, into concepts from behaviour AFAIK, is an opportunity to explore how a simpler and more mobile model of happiness could in theory respond more dynamically to circumstance, and be more accessible in theory. Like water can fill a funny shaped container better then ice blocks. But anyway if sticking to behavioural manifestations then I''d say competition 'can' be a reason for curiosity (or perhaps an environment of it), if it did indeed create happiness like I suggest, but I don't think that means its result (excellence) is necessarily the cause of happiness or necessarily the only cause of happiness. A way not the way, but what is the best way so that it can be promulgated into a community to increase the GNP? I usually take the approach of breaking things down into functional units and then trying to exert that function more broadly, but that is me being curious :pinch: :S

Knight ~ introverted extropian, mechatronic neurothealogizing, technogaian buddhist. Likes integration, visualization, elucidation and transformation.
Jou ~ Deg ~ Vlo ~ Sem ~ Mod ~ Med ~ Dis
TM: Grand Master Mark Anjuu
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20 Sep 2017 22:27 #301927 by JLSpinner

Kyrin Wyldstar wrote: Well I would disagree. Respectfully of course. I don't think the GNP exists on a spiritual plane and I think competition breeds curiosity, which in turn breeds excellence and that equates to happiness.

Is that happiness stemming from joy or pleasure?
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21 Sep 2017 01:37 #301940 by SamThift

Kyrin Wyldstar wrote: Well I would disagree. Respectfully of course. I don't think the GNP exists on a spiritual plane and I think competition breeds curiosity, which in turn breeds excellence and that equates to happiness.


I really like that line..."competition breeds curiosity, which in turn breeds excellence and that equates to happiness".

I notice that to be particularly void of material things, but instead wholly speaks of those experiences and qualities of character Sun Bear was pointing to in what we would be "measured" by. Not the collection of "things" but the collection of our collective self?

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21 Sep 2017 05:07 - 21 Sep 2017 05:14 #301944 by Kyrin Wyldstar

JLSpinner wrote:

Kyrin Wyldstar wrote: Well I would disagree. Respectfully of course. I don't think the GNP exists on a spiritual plane and I think competition breeds curiosity, which in turn breeds excellence and that equates to happiness.

Is that happiness stemming from joy or pleasure?


Why can't it be both? Competition is not a win lose scenario as in all or nothing and the place you come in does not correlate to happy or sad. Meaning if another exceeds you in some area that does not mean automatically one is sad. In fact that position can also be a position of pride and joy as long as you did your best. And it is also a position that promotes growth and perseverance to be better next time. This has to do with material Things just as much as any other. Beating the competition out for that job promotion brings in more money and that produces the ability to provide better for family which produces happiness in them. Not winning that promotion causes suffering which produces growth and the drive to try harder next time. But that suffering is not automaticslly sadness. It can be rededication as well. Nature is designed this way, it is a competitive state of existence whether it is humans in society or the lion and the hyena competing against the gazelle.

The funny thing about these American Indian quotes is they base themselves on new age ideas that the Indians were peaceful all loving communities in complete cooperation with one another and nature and this is just not true. These tribes were always in brutal competition with one another over land and other resources. Wars were more commin than not. In fact sun bear was ousted from his community because he betrayed his tribes sacred ways in the pursuit of profit by selling books and new age ideas that he erroneously packaged as Indian tradition.

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Last edit: 21 Sep 2017 05:14 by Kyrin Wyldstar.
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21 Sep 2017 05:27 #301945 by JLSpinner
I suppose you could claim both, but generally speaking the two aren't created in the same way. Pleasure being caused by external stimuli and being of a temporary and superficial nature. Joy is an internal state. Pleasure usually leads to desire which is not cohesive with joy. But perhaps you have a different experience.
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