Sunday, July 4, 2010

Interdependence Day (4th of July)

Macpherson & Wells, Wisdom Quarterly OPINION

FOURTH OF JULY - We fancy ourselves independent, depending on no other country. In fact, we are one of the most dependent countries in the world. For example, we awarded China "most favored nation" trading status for years in spite of their terrible human rights record and genocide in Tibet, exactly because we wanted to draw them into capitalism where we could wipe them out. (The plan hasn't exactly worked, but it did leave us in debt to them). Not just China, we need every nation engaged in trade and arms -- that's how we exert control. When money can't, war can. It's not only our history; it's the way "empire" has been done for millenia (and in space for who knows how much longer).

"The core principle of the precepts is the practice of non-harm, which is based on the recognition that we're all interconnected. The precepts provide a very wise guide for living in relationship with others" -- Michael Liebenson Grady

The fact is, we were never independent. We have always been interdependent. How does an ecosystem survive in the absence of its elements? Which leg on a stool is the most important one? Interdependence recognizes that we need each other and are partially dependent on one another, just as everything in one system depends on everything else.

Our JudeoChristian mores may have been twisted to make it all about the nuclear family. But Buddhist teachings suggest a much broader scope of extended relations. Love (metta) ultimately is to be extended universally to all beings without distinction. So it's time our country starts treating others the way it would want to be treated. The tables will be turned, and how will we demand fairness if we were never fair?

Wouldn't it be nice not to be the most violent nation in the history of the world? Most of us celebrate without knowing what this country is doing in our name. Other citizens celebrate by burning Old Glory to make a point. We are citizens of the world first, bound by borders second. The only ideals we have to remain true to are the ones that bind us all.

Echo Park Lotus Festival (Los Angeles)
The bright outlook of the summer festival season dimmed considerably last year when, due to budget issues, Echo Park's Lotus Festival was abruptly canceled. But the event -- celebrating Asian culture and timed to coincide with the annual blooming of the lotus flowers on Echo Park Lake -- is back on this year. More >>

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