Since patriarchy is atrocious, and capitalism is currently driving the earth to a very real catastrophe, we can get passionate about these issues. We can get angry. We can get self-righteous.
However, as one of the most famous verses of Dhammapada goes:
Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.
Dhp I:5, translated by Acharya Buddharakkhita
We may ask: why should we be patient and kind while we are the ones who are being oppressed and wronged? I don’t have an answer for that, only that through history positive change has ever been affected only by people who made more effort than the ones who wanted to keep the status quo.
Abolitionists, Suffragettes, Socialists and Civil Rights activists all had to be more altruistic, better educated, and more open-minded than their contemporaries. Continue reading “Babies and Bathwater by Oxana Poberejnaia”
I once heard an educated non-feminist say that it would not matter if women came into positions of power. He gave examples of Margaret Thatcher, Indira Gandhi and other women and pointed out that once in power they started wars and engaged in other aggressive tactics, just like men politicians.
Firstly, the obvious logical mistake is that not every woman is a feminist, in the same way as not every man is an agent of patriarchy. Secondly, when talking about systems and key positions within these systems, one can see that these posts will play the role that is predetermined by the system.
It would not matter if a head of a patriarchal organisation is a feminist or not. She or he will play a role of a head of a patriarchal system. That is, unless she changes the system altogether and it ceases to be patriarchal.
This reminded me of verses from The Dhammapada, a collection of ancient Buddhist verses, which speak about having no home and leaving no trace. By behaving thus, we remain independent of the dominant systems and give our opponents no opportunity to control us.
Continue reading “Like Birds in the Sky by Oxana Poberejnaia”
What is, would you think, one of the foremost problems that my Russian friends and relatives mention to me? Economy? Politics? Personal and family issues? Nope. It is immigrants in Europe. I hear genuine concern and aversion when my friends mention the number of Muslims in the UK or the fact that there are predominantly black arrondissements (city districts) in Paris.
This mystified me. I sensed that although they were talking about countries foreign to them, they perceived the situation as a personal threat. Why should this be so?
I postulate that it is my old frenemy, identity (or “ego”, or “self” – whichever you prefer) that is at work here. I also realised that the same mechanism works wherever people protest against feminism, contrary to all and any rational arguments. Very often, even women protest, to their detriment.
Continue reading “Whose life is this: yours or your identity’s? By Oxana Poberejnaia”