Three poisons & our neoliberal economy
Date: Saturday, August 19, 2017 (1:30 to 4 preceded by morning session with Adam Brock and BYO packed lunch)
Location: Rocky Mountain Ecodharma Retreat Center, 8941 Overland Rd. Ward, CO.
Speaker/Facilitator: Jeff Hohensee, Boulder Ecodharma Sangha
Cost: None. Donation (dana) for RMERC will be much appreciated.
RSVP: Please RSVP via eventbrite. We will send driving, parking and carpool instructions.
There has been tremendous wonderful progress towards a better world over the past generation. Most businesses practice sustainability, some exceptionally well. Many communities offer recycling, encourage water conservation, support “alternative” transportation and incentivize energy efficiency. Organic food is available in most grocery stores. Renewable energy is now cheaper to produce than fossil fuel electricity. The tipping point on cost and quality of electric vehicles has reached the point where they should replace most internal combustion engines over the next decade.
And yet, for all this progress, the world remains in dire straits. Every major ecosystem is in decline. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase causing extreme weather and increased natural disasters. Persistent toxic chemicals are bioaccumulating in almost all human tissue to a level that is damaging immune systems and increasing mortality. There are 15 major wars raging on the planet killing hundreds of thousands a year and forcing 65 million people to flee their homes and search of any country that will allow them to safely live.
Why should Buddhists care about economy? Our modern economy is based on a neoliberal paradigm that values individual self-interest over all else. It fulfills this primary goal by producing good, bad, and the unacceptable without concern for the difference. In early 1970s, the Powell Memo consolidated the roadmap for systematic removal of all possible hindrances in the path of widespread adoption of neoliberal ideology. Neoliberalism is not a conspiracy theory: GDP grows when nuclear waste is created and ambulances clear carnage from our streets. If we look carefully, the three poisons of delusion (confusion), ill will (aversion) and greed (attraction) are assumed societal norms hidden in the neoliberal economic narrative. To be happy consumers, we are taught delusions about who we are, reminded that any discomfort is unacceptable, and seduced to desire identity building brands, goods and services. The social norms, inculcated by the 5,000 advertisements and brand impressions that each of us receives every day, are unhealthy. The cumulative impact of brand marketing’s ubiquitous messaging and our overall neoliberal economy encourages the three poisons to thrive within each of us as individuals as well as all of our societal organizations.
How can we empower ourselves? In this gathering, we will explore the nature of our current global economy. Jeff Hohensee will share a brief history of how our economy came to be. He will then lead a discussion to identify the problems with our economy and its underlying principles are translated into our daily lives. He will also present the Meadows Memorandum which is a collective response to The Powell Memo and advocates for aligning our economic system with the wellbeing of the entire planet. Jeff will lead the conversation on what role Buddhists and contemplatives help manifest the overarching Meadows memorandum. He will then lead us in reflection and meditation in wilderness of the RMERC. From each other and wild nature, we will learn about enlightenment, and the burdens to enlightenment inherent in our current economic society.
Who is Jeff? Jeff Hohensee has been working to align the practices of business, government and community with the principles of the Eight Fold Path for forty years. He is a longtime Zen practitioner and shamanic apprentice. Jeff works closely with Hunter Lovins to transform the global economy. He is an honored member of our EcoDharma Sangha. Please find more details of his professional work here.
The circular economy
**Photo credits: Image includes graffitti art by Belgian artist Eyes-B (Used with permission; http://www.eyesb.be/)