December 12, 2008

American Dreaming; Lama Zopa Rinpoche

In a recent column in The Nation, Patricia Williams comments on the front page of the December 8th New York Times, which features a photograph of Detroit churchgoers praying to three gleaming white SUVs in hopes that the auto industry might be saved. While these parishioners undoubtedly provoked haughty disbelief over no small number of breakfasts—a delighted bit of disdain at such base veneration for a "once-golden, now dried-up cash cow," as Williams puts it—what does it say of the Times and the national appetite that the piece made for headline news? Following an election played out on CNN by Joe the Plumber and "the black vote," as Wolf Blitzer would have it, it's important that we pay skeptical attention to the ways we personify the economic crisis. As Williams writes,

If this recession/depression is not the work of a deity hungry for sacrifice, it might be good to take a look at the stories we tell ourselves, the ones that bind, and blind, us to the stupidity, arrogance and corruption of those who rule from the heavenly pinnacle of top-down corporate, as well as Congressional, governance.

Speaking of the currently compromised American Dream, I've been reading How Things Exist by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, who has this to say about gaining insight on emptiness:

It's as if you are dreaming but the difference is that you recognize the dream as a dream.

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