Robert Thurman – Cool Revolution

Robert Thurman talk entitled: Cool Revolution and the Age of Wisdom. This is engaged Buddhist activism covering analysis of the problems that led to the frustration that fuel the Occupy Movement, the importance of compassion and non-violence as the basis for protest (plus how meditation fits in).

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  1. Haven’t watched the video yet but they have my full support. Closer to home.

  2. Robbie says:

    I just watched this all the way through and it is inspiring, articulate, positive, uplifting and optimistic. In any debates I’ve seen about the Occupy movement, on ‘highbrow’ shows on our supposedly free mainstream media, I’ve never seen anyone like Thurman given airtime. It is usually someone who used to work for Goldman Sachs, a gormless Tory show-pony , a presenter who struggles to chair the debate with any insight and then someone via a link to the protests who may be genuine and enthusiastic but doesn’t have the experience or focus to cope with the political doublespeak and is forced into submission by the rest because they are in control and demand that questions are answered according to their rules and in their terms. Occupy seems to be a more direct form of democracy and will take time to develop but it is important that they keep the pressure on, remain a broad church and don’t engage on the terms of the politicians, mainstream media and bankers, whilst they decide upon an agenda amongst themselves that can keep them united and focused. In the meantime, peaceful but determined resistance, focus and a bit of silence towards agent provocateurs can and has made a massive impact. Violence is not necessary to make the powers that be so fearful that lasting changes can occur. Enough people on the streets will make it happen. A massive amount of effort is put into making us believe that there are no viable alternatives to the way things are just now and if you raise a voice of dissent then you are ‘the enemy’, ‘disloyal,’ ‘part of the problem’, would rather live in a Communist gulag or a cave in Afghanistan or other such infantile and nonsensical arguments. As Zizek says, millions of us are willing to believe that an alien invasion from outer space could occur at any time but still cannot believe that a relatively minor change to the Capitalist system can ever occur. On a slightly different but connected note, I wonder what space and respect would be given to this type of democracy and protest in an independent Scotland? I believe that some of the principles Thurman talks about should be the basis of our new independent nation and it would break my heart if I saw the same mistakes repeated perpetually so that future generations suffer in our country. I believe that Alex Salmond and his team are of a far superior calibre than most in Westminster or Washington, but I hope that they’re keeping a keen eye on what is going on with this global movement.
    Personally speaking, I feel that , despite my own best efforts and despite overcoming a lot of personal hardship, I’m a member of a generation that has been thrown into the bin by the UK Westminster system. It might be too late for me personally to get a fair kick of the ball here but I hope that in an independent Scotland, appropriate safeguards are set down so that decency, equality, justice and compassion are always at the forefront of major political decisions. These things are maybe idealistic but we seem to live in a world now where we actually have to be taught to love and respect each other because it has been drummed into us for so long that it is survival of the fittest and the laws of the jungle, hence the ‘I’m alright jack’ and ‘no such thing as society’ , greed , ignorance and intolerance that have persisted for all my life, from Thatcher through to her protege Blair and now raising its ugly head again thanks to another Tory government. But at least in the Occupy movement there is the potential for something really powerful that appeals to logic, human decency and equality and our duties to each other. Of course, true equality etc are ideals but they should always be at the forefront of what a nation is striving towards I think, rather than being brainwashed by ideologies based on greed, corruption and murder. Most of us just want a decent kick of the ball and a chance to live in peace and be happy and there’s more than enough to go around if we stick to our principles and force those who are supposed to represent us to do the same in everything that they do.
    We need to stop playing their game and engaging on their terms and work it out together as people; it’s all about us. In those terms, flags, nations, etc are distractions; toys given for us to play with so that we are divided and ruled. By peaceful means, I want to demand that in an independent Scotland there are some really fundamental changes; I don’t want more of the same. A lot of good democratic principles are set down in a document like the declaration of Arbroath but can we adapt it so that the sovereign people of Scotland can hold government, banks, business etc all to account and not just the Monarch? The argument about whether a Monarch can be the head, however symbolic, of a democracy, is perhaps for another time. Working hard to create a better world is more important than any flag, even the Saltire. But I hope we can fly it proudly when we’re independent knowing that it means something really positive and powerful for us and the rest of the world. Anyway, I hope Occupy keeps the pressure on and gets stronger globally. One Love

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Thanks for your comments Robbie, very important.
      Thank you!

      1. Robbie says:

        No problem Bella: it’s a pleasure. Blessed Love.

    2. Con says:

      This post was a fantastic read and really inspiring. Thank you.

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