THURSDAY 7 July ~ Politics and alienation

While doing quite a lot of physical work in the course of the day, my mind has been much occupied with the political developments. This is both intellectual and emotional. Like many others I feel a profound sadness at the Brexit vote and each day we are seeing further signs of deterioration as a result. The next Prime Minister of UK will be a woman, but by the time she takes up her job, the pound may have already fallen to somewhere near parity with the dollar. The uncertainty created by having a leaderless country that is committed to disrupting its more important alliances and trading arrangements will be enormous and a string of international figures - today it was Christine Lagarde - have been saying how alarming this situation is. At the same time, I appreciate that there are people who think Brexit is a wonderful thing and that it is going to lead to great results. One can only hope they are right while fearing the worst and, for the moment, observing it happening. Then there are other people who seem not much, if at all, interested. All of this can leave one feeling alienated on several dimensions at the same time: alienated from those who voted xenophobially as well as alienated from those who do not take the situation seriously. I have found myself feeling also alienated from those of my Buddhist connections who send me tweets saying things like "The time to meditate is always now" and other platitudes that seem quite fatuous in the circumstances.

So many things are connected. The Chilcot Report takes our attention to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 in which UK was swept along on the coat tails of USA. That invasion led to the disbanding of the Baathist army which in due course led to the alienation of Sunni Muslims and the formation of ISIS which intensified the war in Syria and elsewhere leading to the refugee crisis that exacerbated the xenophobia that then led to the Brexit vote, and here is the UK now with no effective government speculating about what sort of deal it might get in negotiations that have not even started with the EU. I saw today a little satyrical film that made me laugh depicting the absurdity of it all.

At the personal level, one sees one's savings fading away and wonders about applying for permanent residence in France. The bureaucracy of such things deters. All the while, the sun shines and the cut grass looks very handsome. The newly white washed wall similarly. The cat grows bigger and has more adventures. Life goes on and one can understand those who prefer not to think about it all even while being unable to join them.

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  • Thanks, tam. yes, my comment about platitudes was not aimed at meditation itself. I approve of prayer, but many of the slogans for it that you see outside evangelical churches make one cringe. I hope Buddhism will not fall into the same kind of thing too much.

    The video that you refer to is excellently well informed.

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