once more on Chopra

(For a complete one-sentence evaluation of this man whom i’ve not read, please mozy on down to my previous post.)

In the below-mentioned article, Mr. Chopra offers 10 steps to peace consciousness. I only want to take exception with number 8. In it he encourages us to “try to be tolerant of the intolerant”. (sorry, i can’t find the article online so no link) This is a pretty bad idea.

Not that i want to encourage us to be intolerant of the intolerant either. The solution is rather to step out of the game the intolerant are playing and out-fox them: we must figure out why certain people are intolerant, how they are rendered so and lay our axe to the root of the problem. We must learn to influence the intolerant so as to make them become tolerant. Fighting fire with fire or simply giving in are both easy and doomed solutions.

Practically speaking, we need our social scientists to start studying the development in individuals of (religious and sectarian) intolerance so as to propose new solutions to this age-old problem. The intolerant are being manipulated; and we must manipulate them back, with, say, the truth. If the religious and other leaders of our times are finding the right words to convince people to blow us all up, we ought to be able to convince them not to (you’d think ours was the easier task). But that requires some good, old fashioned (social) science and perhaps a bit of rhetoric – but certainly not peaceful but short-lived indifference.

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4 Comments to “once more on Chopra”

  1. I’ve never heard much of his works but do think that he’s too pompous.

  2. This is, I think, is our most difficult problem. The great moral genius’ (Buddha, Socrates, Mohommad, etc.) tried to out-fox (using metaphor and story) the intolerant yet devout-stone-spirited… being, themselves, examples of compassionate tolerance, while also being sad and sometimes angrily intolerant (Jesus and the money changers, etc.) at the intolerance of the human mind and spirit. Yet, those who think they “follow” these teachers often take their similes, metaphors and stories literally rather than as keys to another consciousness, and become amongst the most intolerant throughout history.

    Why is this? Perhaps our social scientists/psychologists/neuro-biologists can shed some light, but I imagine it is linked to innate intelligence and/or temperamental propensities.

    If this is true, what might be the evolutionary role of this? That when one thinks in black and white terms, it makes daily life easier? (no need to think (or doubt) about the big questions, freeing up time to tend to business, plant crops, raise children, etc); that it gives one purpose?; that it provides a tribal support system?…

    It seems the only answer is a open-hearted embrace of life w/o dogma, arising out of an apprehension of the interconnectedness of all things. But, those who follow this way, are often martyred…. having suggested ways to make the world more just by tearing down the social structures which give power to some, subjugation to many.


    Perhaps “living in the world w/o being of it” is an answer, but it raises other difficulties, by causing us to deny parts of our animal nature, which, when repressed, manifest themselves in sometimes pathological ways.

  3. we need to teach ourselves to search for meaning and mystery in life w/o being adamant about our answers. we need to carefully distinguish between all important questions and our very shaky answers.

    Humans are often religious and the questions we ask are important for our well-being and our happiness. where we go wrong is when we claim to have found the one and only possible answer to a question that will perhaps forever remain beyond our abilities to know the answer – though we must persist in asking it and trying answers out.

    Jesus christ most likely is NOT the son of God and most likely did NOT raise bodily from the dead. However, the fact that we did come up with that answer at some point in our history is most important and interesting. But now that we know its wrong, we must look for another answer – perhaps one that modifies this old idea and fixes some of its absurdities. Or am i being too much of a religious engineer?

  4. I agree… but we humans seem to like certainties… we like to know where we will find shelter and sustenance, both physically and spiritually. To do so we establish structures to assure that happens, and are willing to then defend them with our lives. Security. To change these is by nature revolutionary, until enough people realize the old ways no longer work.
    Let us hope for the more evolutionary change which education can sire. It all requires so much patience.

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