Iran News ...


10/20/03

Zorba the Buddha

After living for two decades in a country where laughter is a sin - at least in public places - where mourning is a norm and celebration a rarity and now quite suddenly finding myself in a place not much less than a Garden of Eden - before the commitment of the Original Sin of course - where only joy and celebration is taught, propagated, cultivated, I can not help to be anything other than absolutely amazed. And when I think that according to the famous Iranian mystic, Atar, one of the seven Cities of Love (or the path to Enlightenment) is Amazement, I tend to think that if the kind of amazement I am experiencing is really of the same nature, then I should be grateful for that compulsory asceticism that the religious rule imposed on us all these years! Perhaps for the same reasons there were so many wise women and men (witches) during the Middle Ages in the West!

After living for two decades in a country where anxiety and fear and insecurity have been a part of our 'daily bread', and like the 'daily bread' we have been swallowing it down mechanically and somnambulistically; after living for two decades in a country where hypocrisy, pretension, dishonesty and lies (recently under the cover of reformation and democracy) was the daily practice of all the ''heavenly'' (clergies) and "earthly" preachers (teachers and theoreticians of Islamic Utopia), I can only be overwhelmed to experience the space-time of a man who taught, preached and practiced only blissful genuineness, truthfulness and authenticity.

After living for two decades in a country where the rulers seized power and stayed in power by promising to build the Islamic Shiite Utopia and in practice, hand in hand with the world's politicians and rulers only paved the way for the emergence of their Absent Twelfth Imam (Messiah) who apparently should emerge when there is no longer any hope left for humanity to be and live humanly (mainly due the domination of evil), I can only be absolutely amazed of seeing a mini-Utopia actually present on the earth.

As mentioned before I like to call it a Garden of Eden where people constantly come and go to study, to learn self-help techniques, to meditate, to rest and have fun and not only that but also to live and work if they wish. So there is a system at work to provide all this. There should be an organization if you like to use a more familiar word. Yet both words - system and organization - create a deadly fear in me. Show me an organization or a system in the history of humanity that has not transformed to its opposite with the passage of time. Show me a system or an organization that didn't betray its own ideals after being established! Do I need to mention some examples? French and Russian Great Revolutions, United Nation, and perhaps the most tragic and comic of them all, the Islamic Revolution. Yes, let us very briefly review its history of raising to power and transformation. Islamic Republic came to power with the promise of Freedom of speech and choice, Freedom from tyranny and dictatorship, Independence from all superpowers and the only thing they beautifully managed to do was to take away even the most personal freedoms that we enjoyed under the Shah's regime and to maintain their rule by sheer intimidation from the most barbaric to the most advanced sense of the word. So you can guess how suspicious and almost paranoid I can be about everything in this Garden of Eden. And it is only by the virtue of living for so many years under the most hypocritical ruling system, that I can trust myself to have grown enough intelligence and subtlety to differentiate hypocrisy from authenticity and to distinguish an egoistic lust for power from compassionate love for humankind.

In any case regardless of my fearful suspicion in regard to systems and organizations, there is surely a system at work here that I would like to look at it from a scientific objective point of view. As far as it can be observed from outside it appears to be very fluid, with no hierarchy in the usual sense of the word and with the least amount of practical rules and regulations that any gathering has in order to guarantee safety and security and freedom for all. To be short, it appears that unlike other systems that like the physical systems are essentially closed, it is an open system, something similar to the living organisms with an intrinsic self-correcting mechanism. This is in fact the main quality that differentiates open systems and living organisms from the closed physical systems that are organized and managed by a set of constant solid rules and regulations - no matter whether they are intrinsic or externally imposed. And as there is always some kind of ideology or world view behind any system, let us define the underlying ideology or world view of this system as the ideology of Zorba the Buddha (an integration of the western and eastern virtues, knowledge and wisdom) as its founder described the new man that the world is badly in need of.

And I think any individual who has pondered upon major human political, social and psychological problems of our contemporary world and feels a compassionate love toward humanity in general can agree that this is most probably the only hope left for both the west and the east. In fact the necessity for the emergence of a new species of mankind was first raised by Neitzche more than a century ago, but Neitzche only managed to describe his new man, Zoroaster from a philosophical and theoretical point of view while Zorba the Buddha as even the term suggests is a human being who has integrated the rather practical, pragmatic, utilitarian western approach to life with the idealistic, mystical, spiritual approach of the east. S/he doesn't renounce this world for the attainment of an imaginary other world, but by going through a deep process of de-conditioning and dropping all the forcefully injected and imposed moralities, s/he becomes closer and closer to that innocent, blissful loving core of existence that is one in all. And s/he needs no god, no organized religion, no holy scripture for that. The only requirement is to do everything in life whole heartedly with total awareness.

Now let us go back to the system that the visionary of Zorba the Buddha has put down its foundations. Its first distinguishing characteristic or feature mentioned before is that it is an open system. Its second characteristic and again unprecedented feature is that it is based on trust, trust in the beautiful and loving core of human being and trust in human potentials. Thus it is the first time in history that one of the oldest human beliefs, which is: Human Being is essentially Good, Innocent and god-like is being put into practice and not just preached. (In the past (and still today, for that matter), although this is what was preached, but it was as though reserved only for a very few rare exceptional individuals called prophets, saints, Imams, masters, gurus and so on. The rest had to be considered 'evil and devil-like sheep', otherwise how could those innocent good and virtuous Shepherds come to life?)

When a system is based on trusting its liquid like corner stones, building blocks (participants, members or followers using the more familiar terminology) then immediately the most monstrous and energy consuming useless feature dominating all the systems, i.e. bureaucracy disappears and with it other numerous useless subsystems such as secret or intelligence or information services and offices and ministries and so on and so forth. And because the system is based on trust in human essential god-likeness, everybody is seen and is regarded the same. As the result there is no need for any hierarchy found in all existing systems and organization throughout the history. There is also no division of labor in the old sense of the word. Everybody does what needs to be done plus his/her specialty if he/she has one or is interested to gain one. Most probably because of this lack of hierarchy and division of labor in the old sense of the word together with the common social evaluation of regarding certain jobs and professions better than others, there is no need for competition, for rivalry and other similar endeavors. Thus the will - to - power loses its willpower. And with it the raging flame of the desire and the will to be the best subdues and extinguishes. And with it the old historical fear of poverty and illness, which is the most basic human fear, can finally disappear. On the other hand, as we no longer act and come out of fear, we can be more creative in practice. There is nothing inhibiting and suppressing our talents and potentials. Either we are our words or we lie, either we can do what we claim to be capable of doing or we are just deluded about our personal talents and powers, either we are who we think we are, or we are not, either we take the responsibility for our reality or we go on blaming the outside (our parents, social norms and valuations, political systems, social relationships and...) for not allowing us to be who we think we are. It is all up to us to decide whether to develop the courage to see the truth or not. And considering the fact that fear and love are the two sides of the same coin, when the energy is not wasted on fear and thus on all kinds of self-defense mechanisms, it can be used for love. And the more love we discover in ourselves, the more creatively we use our energy and the more satisfaction and contentment we feel. And there is a big difference between the nature of this feeling of satisfaction and contentment and the one we feel when we become first in a competition, in one word in what we describe today as success. Nobody has to lose and feel discontent in order for us to win and feel contended.

And as the world view of Zorba the Buddha is naturally a non-judgmental view with no good and bad, right and wrong, virtue and vice, one feels safe enough to be oneself. And immediately the question of "who am I?" arises more strongly than ever. Who am I? What are my talents, potentials, dreams according to me and not to my parents and social, cultural, religious beliefs? Unfortunately no school, no college, no university in the world even deal with this most basic human question, let alone helping us to find a complete answer for it - with the exception of philosophy departments and even that in a very limited way. The Zorba the Buddha needs another system of education, a multiversity, instead of a university. And if I am right to think that the root of the word university comes from universe, Zorba the Buddha can no longer live satisfactorily and joyously only in the single universe of the west nor of the east alone; he/she needs multiple universes in order to be able to develop that real human potential that so far we have seen so little of it in the history of mankind. Hidden underneath thousands layers of historical, religious, cultural, social, familial conditionings, the first step toward discovering who we are, is to shed all these skins of conditionings in an effective way. It is only after this repetitious shedding of the skins of the past enforced conditionings and programming that the true metamorphosis can take place

There is a purpose of not disclosing openly where this space is. I do not intend to write a propaganda, or advertisement, but as always to invite everybody to have the courage to free our imprisoned bird of compassionate desire from any conventional already tried and experimented cage, even if it is a golden one to create a better social system and a truly human society.

After living for more than twenty years under the most hypocritical 'spiritual' rule, I found it still quite difficult to believe what I see. Deep down I still have my doubts whether what I am observing is true or just a dream and if true can it last? I have these doubts because I don't know whether it is really and truly possible to go beyond these past six thousands, seven thousands years of all these inhuman barbaric social religious conditionings and programming, that is now our genetic make up. I don't know whether we can ever stop this fetish humiliating desire to find something to worship and cling to and become dependent on. I don't know what the use of this human intelligence has been so far, except in being used largely in developing more efficient tools and means of intimidation, torture, domination, mass killing and in one word for The Will to Power.

However what I do know now is that if there is any hope for humanity it is to change all its closed fear based systems of managements and rulership to open systems as it is only these systems that may have and develop the capacity and the power to allow intelligence, spontaneity, individuality and creativity -- the unique characteristic traits of human beings -- to grow.

And for this we need a whole process of historical, social, religious and even 'human' de-conditioning. In other words we need more Zorba the Buddhas coming to life. Whether the vision of the man who created this Garden of Eden on the Earth is powerful enough to keep this place working as an open system or not is what the future will show. But leaving the future alone, the place can surely be a research center for searching sociologists, economists, psychotherapists, spiritualists and anybody interested in discovering a promising human system at work.

... Payvand News - 10/20/03 ... --



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