extracts from an “exchange” with a “Quantum Buddhist” aka Western Buddhist Idealist

Me:
I have a question sir. Is there a particular tradition that your practice is embedded in? Currently I follow the Vajrayana based Shambhala Path, though my personal theoretical orientation is closer to the Prasangika-Madhyamaka of the Mahayana.


Graham Smetham :
I have…noted something you mentioned about the ground of being and Capitalism which I think is absurd, but you seem like an intelligent person and would like to understand why you believe this. As to my tradition, do not really have one, spent time with the NKT – Gelug Prasangika merchants – but I consider – after a great deal of research that Asanga’s / Vasubhandu’s Yogacara is metaphysically superior

Me:
Capitalism and the ground of being? Are you referring to the comment I made to Jackson Peterson, about the structural affinity between Capital accumulation and the notion of a “contentless consciousness”?

Smetham:
That’s the one …

Me:
It’s a complex topic but I can try to explain it simply:

In the Marxian critique of political economy, it is unraveled that profit does not come from the inherent nature of capital: it comes from the exploitation of workers. Said in simple terms, a worker is payed only a negotiated wage in which the capitalist pays the worker for her laboring potential, while the worker is producing all the value in the products that are sold with her actual labor. This exchange between the capitalist and the worker has a contradictory temporal and circuitous dynamic: the capitalist pays in advance, what the worker is expected to produce. The sequential order of actual and potential is reversed (potential is “remunerated” prior to the actualization of said potential). The calculus can only occur through the discounting of expected future return to present value, which necessarily reduces the particularity of the worker’s individual capabilities to a general social average of past labor. Since the particularity of each worker’s laboring capacity is not properly accounted for, the worker’s wage falls short. This “falling short” of the worker’s wage is simultaneous with a surplus, which is the value that has been subtracted from the worker resulting in her “fallen short” wage—this surplus is profit.

So what appears on the surface as the accumulation of positive value is really exploitation and subtraction from others: capitalist wealth is only grown through the expense of others, which causes suffering in the form of alienation from one’s own creativity and life-process and general social instability and cyclic (samsaric) economic crises.

Now, what does this have to do with Guru Jackson Peterson‘s speculative consciousness-only Idealism? From an apoha linguistic perspective (of the likes of Dharmakirti or Dignaga), all positive conceptualizations necessarily exclude or subtract other elements in order to gain intelligibility. This is the principle of exclusion in the linguistic assertion of *any* and *all* forms. Now, hopefully you have noticed that this structure of addition-by-way-of-subtraction is basically what I just went over above about the means by which capital additively accumulates at the subtractive expense of non-capital elements. The Buddhist Idealist notions of “substrate consciousness” or “pure luminous mind” when reified as ultimate realities function as occult objects unaffected by the “impurities” of conventional existence which it also generates. This absolute is glorified in causal and logical efficacy, at the expense of the non-absolute elements occluded from this glorification. Some absolute entity is glorified and privileged at the expense of dependent co-origination.


Those, like Mr. Peterson, who hold on to dogmatic views grounded on concepts are doing so at the expense of their own potentiality, essentially limiting themselves at the outset from further progress in their spiritual path. In the worse case scenarios, these dogmatic views can become tools by which dogmatists, advertently or inadvertently, exploit others too, in order to make a profit.

Smethem:
Sorry – incoherent leftist nonsense …Every socialist society has ended up with murderous psychopathic dictators murdering thousands of people – the result of left wing narcissistic dangerous infantile delusional bullshit …

Me:
Please sir, be sensible. I do not do discourse lightly, because I have faith that you are intelligent enough to understand what I am saying with a little bit of effort on your part. You can give a more reasonable answer than that, and give actual criticisms that I can take into consideration.

Smethem:
Name one major country run on large scale socialist non-capitalist (not Scandinavian countries which are only pretend socialist) which have not descended into famine, dictatorship and mass murder – Stalin, Pol Pot, Ceausescu (Dont know the spelling) Venezuela now etc. etc.

Me:
I agree with you. Many self-identified communist and socialist nation states were brutal dictatorships. But guess what? Structural abuse and sexual exploitation of devotees and practitioners is endemic to Buddhism, especially after its encounter with and transmogrification by the Western society. This does not mean that the Buddha himself is suspect. Likewise, those going under the name of Marxism have committed some of the worst of historical atrocities. But this does not invalidate Marx just as exploitation and abuse by gurus does not invalidate the Buddha himself.

Now, how about actually having a dialogue and engage with my arguments? rather than side-stepping with points that are really besides the point.

Smethem:
To compare the small – but regrettable – degree of ‘structural abuse’ and sexual exploitation within some Buddhist circles with the mass murder of thousands is laughable – I am engaging with you and I am laughing – it is hilarious – grow up God’s sake! Girls taken advantage of by Buddhist charlatans generally give their consent – they are not dragged off and raped – as good old Che was fond of doing – Jesus – what utter drivel.

Me:
I see this is going nowhere. Farewell.

______________________________

Prior to this particular conversation, after I responded to someone’s question about the relationship between free will and determinism, in which I included a quotation of Marx’s, Smethem interjects to suggest I “refrain from citing political thugs and sexual predators as philosophical gurus, especially in the context of a spiritual discussion!!” Then he proceeds to recommend to me this video by Stefan fucking Molyneux.

Is it really that surprising though, that a reificationist “quantum metaphysician” aka sophistic New Age Idealist would have crypto-fascist sensibilities?

It is not just the history of Western philosophy and soteriology that is eminently phallogocentric—”Dharma”, this hegemon of the asiatic mode of production is just as guilty of founding modes of thinking and living based on exploitative infrastructures and hierarchical superstructures. Actually, it can be said that Dharmic thought is most suspect to this perniciousness due to the fact that it presents itself as a thought which is concerned with the non-thought. The discourse of its own self-understanding presents itself as the praxis of enlightened liberation which de-privileges theoretical reflection. This self-positing self-understanding closes off theoretical refutation from advance, with appeals to some “pure” “experience.”

Yet personal experience with the most self-righteous and pompous guru or lay practictioners reveal, in the very mode of their speech and conduct, dependence and attachment to views based on Absolute Ideas. All this, and they have convinced themselves that they are not seeking the empty referent of this empty referance but seeking something actually real. This becomes the most delusional of all delusions, and delusion or ignorance is one of the contributing factors of the genesis and perpetuation of suffering, for self and others.




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