Hardcore Zen and the Nature of Domination

So I’ve been reading Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate by Brad Warner, who also writes the blog Hardcore Zen. I just came across this passage that I wanted to share with you.

One of the basic human desires is the desire to be dominated. Dictatorships and cults arise from the desire of certain communities to be dominated by some powerful figure. Our primate relatives often live in small packs dominated by one unquestioned leader. Maybe this is how we’re programmed to respond. In any case, a dictator doesn’t come into power by his personal force alone. He comes into power when people want to be led, when people want to transfer responsibility onto some supposedly greater person.

Warner is writing about the problem of spiritual leaders and teachers abusing their positions of power, but the parallel he draws with political dictators is particularly interesting to me right now.

How do you think we got to the state we’re in these days? I think there’s been an awful lot of us rolling over and letting The Man make decisions for us because, frankly, being engaged in the world at this time is mentally and emotionally exhausting.

I’m not going to say that we need to fight every fight — one thing I learned the hard way with my Not an Activist experiment is that I just can’t be super-aware all the time and make all the right decisions and save the world.

But it’s an important reminder: This is how it happens.

memories like dreams
Congratulations to Tom French and Zoo Story

2 thoughts on “Hardcore Zen and the Nature of Domination

    1. Really?! Wow, I’m surprised. As much as I do agree with some of his ideas, he also is opposed to same sex marriage on a basic level, which I support, and he’s anti-choice (I’m pro choice obvs). The opinions that he has that I agree with are not likely to get through a Republican congress, but the ones where I disagree with him are sadly more mainstream, meaning if he had a bill on his desk such as DOMA he would probably sign it. I can’t vote for that. Not to trash talk your opinion… I just don’t agree. :-p

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