Same old nationalism

I keep asking a simple question. When has nationalism, of any type, ever been a positive influence? I haven’t yet had an answer, from anyone, of any type.

People talk about “political engagement”. As in – feminism, fight against global poverty, fight for democracy. All good, noble, positive. But “political engagement” combined wtih nationalism and you have what –  Isis, the BNP, National Socialism. The point is that the concept of  “nation” is dangerously intertwined with that of  “race”. Easy to tip from one to another. A cheap way of harnessing base prejudice to a politician’s particular interest. Did I say cheap? Expensive in the end. A bill paid in hatred, division, further prejudice. Ask Jim Murphy.

So I repeat. When has nationalism, of any type, ever been a positive influence?

And living as I do in Scotland – part of a rich peaceful democracy – and nationalism seems to me to be self-indulgent at best – given the quiver-full of real issues that cry out for our political engagement.

Henry Kissinger wrote a telling and thoughtful piece in the Sunday Times Review today – about the dangers that could engulf the world. Look only to Russia and Ukraine, almost anywhere in the Middle-East and much of Africa.

And in Scotland our attention is where exactly? And why?

I would understand some of this if I had an answer to my question. When has nationalism, of any type, ever been a positive influence?

 

 

 

Anatta and Reincarnation

Let us, as a postulate, embrace the “illusion of self” that is central to Buddhism. There are  powerful intellectual supporters for that statement. David Hume and neuroscientists for example.

Why then, and on what basis, do Buddhists need to claim re-incarnation. What is being re-incarnated? No soul, no self – what then keeps coming back? This seems to me to be a fundamental inconsistency.

Surely, if our self is an illusion – then this is a release from self. Indeed a release from death. What is not there in the first place cannot presumably cease thereafter?

Teilhard de Chardin would have it that all of matter is evolving toward consciousness. Separately he has it that there will be an “Omega Point” where each realises that we are all-in-all to each other – and that all energy is Love and God.

In that case surely our “self” is an illusion. We are already part of what Martin Buber would call the “eternal Thou”. We only have to realise it. Put another way, for Buber our “I” does not exist except in relation to “Thou” – with a reality of “I-Thou” that opens us to our relationship with the “eternal Thou” (I think I have that right?). In that case our “self” doesn’t exist. Indeed ignoring the “Thou” only gets you to a kind of Freudian thinking – “I-It” materialism –  the self-reflective dead end of narcissism.

So. I am attracted to Buddhism, but don’t buy their take on reincarnation. Anatta yes, but only because we’re already all-in-all.

(This by the way is I believe a fundamentally Christian viewpoint).

 

 

 

 

 

Sch-issorism

All that is appears to us divided

There is me and you or rather

so it seems.

But I, I alone, am dead, for what enlivens

is the fullness of the space between

Vibrating with knowl – edge

It is our boundaries that hum as they connect

Ours alone self-centred on neglect,

The reason we are apart, you and I is

just so

That we can see each other and thus – us

we be

wholly, wholly, wholly. Whole.

Lord God Trimegistus. Ich und Du. Wir Danke.

Consciousness arises from integration, which.

Is possible only with separation