14 Febbraio 2013

Human tragedies in the light of the oblivion of Being

From Gaza to Lhasa, wanderings in the mystery
Tags: News, Society

From Gaza to Lhasa, wanderings in the mystery

Over the years, we have offered movies concerning some fields of human suffering, directly caused by political events as it happens in Tibet and Palestine

My aim is not to speak about the history of these countries and the current conflicts, although I have  clear opinions on the issue, but I only would like to think over human nature in the light of “being” and of the Buddhist message.
Could you who are reading me claim, now, not to exist?
No. If you deny it, you would adhere to the denial, and this would prove that you exist.
But what does existence mean?
Using Heideggerian language, “being” means differing from the mere “nothing”.
This is a great radical clarification: we all differ from “nothing”, which means that we are not “nothing”, but we find ourselves “being here”.
What characterizes us?
Knowing it and suffering from it.
Finding ourselves “being” means to suffer from this thrownness, as no one could have chosen to be. We are subjected to it.
In the rawness of this knowledge we feel lost, we do not understand what is happening to us – the fact of “being here” – and, with astonishment, we mumble “why...?”, “What is the point?”.
The awareness that “being” means to find ourselves “being”, beyond our decision or acceptance, shows our common destiny: we all share the fact of “being”, being cast into existence, suffering from it.
Buddha explain our condition in the Pratitya-samutpada, the “dependent origination”, where he affirms that the adherence to existence through passion is a hoped, but illusory, antidote to the tormented impossibility of an existential answer (avidya, the nescience related to the unfathomable mystery of the fact that we find ourselves existing).
Buddha says that desire (trishna), planning, passion and the appropriative placement in the human condition are strategies to mitigate, with their all-involving warmth, the irremediable non-sense of existence; at the same time, however, these strategies hold us to the illusory and arbitrary belief to own the prison where we find ourselves.
No one chooses to be born as Italian, Palestinian, Israeli, Tibetan or Chinese. We find ourselves as such.
Why do we identify ourselves so much with a destiny that we must suffer?
I do not know what such untouchable awareness of being thrown into existence evoke in you; I feel a sense of absurde, of dis-identification from the role of a human being belonging to a nation and history; at the same time, the realization of a common destiny of suffering of sentient beings, suffering that is generated and nourished by the obtuse adhesion to a never chosen game. 

In the image, the Earth from Mars 

Imagine to find yourself in an extermination camp and to totally identify yourself in the prisoner or in the guard. Actually, neither of them chose that condition, because both were forcibly sent there. Life is the same.
What does fuel a conflict?
I would answer the inability to surrender, which uses fear and desire as protection. We use these forces to neutralize the sense of “nothing” in his voices of lack, limitation, ignorance, denial, frustration, disappointment, powerlessness... 

To alleviate this, we seek power that materializes into  control.
Those with power fear to lose it; those without power want it to avoid being helpless.
On what is our alleged "power" based?
If we analyse in thorough this issue , according to subtleties of which only those who practice phenomenology in meditation are capable (but that everyone can learn), we see that we cannot control anything.
No one is free to choose.
My fundamental thesis, that I engourage you to criticize, affirms that every thought, every emotion and, therefore, every "decision" that occurs to us, spontaneously appears, because we find ourselves in it without having chosen it.
I want to emphasize and make clear that we never choose anything.
We did not choose to exist, to be born in Italy, in Palestine, in Tibet ... we do not decide any single thought that crosses our mind, not even any single emotion; on the other side, an action can not be distinguished from the heartbeat or peristalsis, if it does not have, as a root cause, free and evaluated thought and emotions: it has no moral value.
I suggest you to check it with a truly critic mind: are you really free?
Does not it happen that you find yourself in a thought or an emotion that is always already occurred when you realize it?
My answer again is: yes, it happens in this way. It might be shocking, considering for our self-esteem, but it always and only happens in this way.
Suffering, said the Buddha, is the pillaging of a condition - we ourselves do not belong to us.
This understanding, itself, is the basis of non-violence.
Israelis, Palestinians, Chinese, Tibetan... and all of us; we happen to exist, we find ourselves existing,  certainly not by choice, but thrown into existence.
We were born already Italians, Israelis, Palestinians, Chinese, Tibetan ...
We are thrown in our condition.
Is it not absurd to identify ourselves so strongly with such a condition?

History itself goes towards the full awareness of the unity of being in the light of the fact that we find ourselves existing.
All the revolutions, all the great movements for social and racial equality, for human rights and increasingly for animals rights, too, are generated by, and grow from, this truth that, more or less consciously, we all feel and share.
There are no superior population, in the light of the thrownness in the existence.
And this is not controvertible.
Anyone who thinks that there are superior or elected races or population, like Aryan, Jewish, Han, northern population compared to southern population, he is simply running towards the day wherein, throughout history, he will be disproved by the “being” with a hard lesson.

Not even a creator God could be on a higher level, if he existed.
Being, indeed, God himself would be thrown into existence, without the possibility to give meaning of self creation.
Even God would find himself “being” - despite his will. 

Let's try to be aware of that, looking into our eyes to find the jewel hidden in such awareness: the compassion for the brother who lives our own absolute condition of a pilgrim in the mystery.
Only in this awareness there is the end of all oppression and all Auschwitz.
Being, this is the meaning. 

Franco Bertossa 

Translated from the original Italian version by Marianna Turriciano 

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