24 Aug 2007

Anyone got a soapbox handy?

I had an e-mail from my friend Jojo a couple of days ago. It was about this. The insanity of the basic premise left me speechless.

This e-mail seemed to crystallize a lot of thoughts that have been rolling around in my head for some time. The future of China can go either way in my view - at the moment we (western democracies) seem hell bent in exploiting every last bit of cheap labour and in part payment we are fairly happy to 'overlook' the horrific way in which they treat their citizens in general and their workers in particular.

China worries me, a lot. But maybe what worries me more, is the way western big business is flooding into China. I get the distinct feeling that we are giving fuel to our own destruction, not today and not tomorrow but nevertheless we are helping to build an economic powerhouse that shares NONE of our values of freedom and democracy (no matter how much they spend on PR, I'm not buying 'China-lite' one bit).

When I get wrapped up in my own problems and preoccupations I try to remind myself that things can ALWAYS be worse... how lucky am I to live in a country where I have pretty much total religious and political freedom. There are lots of things wrong in ALL countries, but we pretty much have the basics taken for granted by now. I live in a country where state and church are for all intents and purposes separate. A country where I can babble on about anything and everything and not fear state persecution.. not everywhere can say this....

For those of you who are new to this blog, I started this journey for 2 reasons. One, to get fit for my family and two, to find a spiritual direction for me to follow The welding of mind and body is central to my philosophy of wellness.

A book by HH The Dalai Lama was the initial motivation for this journey - the Buddhist way seemed right for me and it just 'clicked' into place. A book so simple in its philosophy but so profound in it's affect, it has fundamentally changed every aspect of my life (I haven't flipped out, I just got a bit excited - fear not..)

I am really looking forward to a new film next year about him (trailer below).

Everything he seems to utter makes crystal clear sense to me but by a perverse logic actually makes my situation worse. The WAL-MART Movie is a perfect example of this paradox - the more I grow and develop my Buddhist understanding, the more I get depressed by the suffering and greed around me.

The film shocked me in some ways and not in others. The awful way WAL-MART go about their business in China was to be expected - I am no longer surprised by the ways of international commerce. What did shock me was the way this company treats it's staff and customers in the US - incredible!

In essence, I feel utterly impotent to effect any change in the world - I have neither the time nor the resources to jump off the 'exercise wheel' of corporate life to REALLY make a difference (I also lack the courage if I am honest...).

Perhaps I should just 'GET A GRIP' and heed the great mans words....

'If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them'. HH Dalai Lama.

If only WAL-MART felt the same way!


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