Hooh boy I think I caught myself in the middle of my first "internet argument" over at Jane's post about a Tibetan Nomad. I thought I'd just write about it here instead of dragging it on on someone else's board. It's kind of nice when I have the opportunity to mention something else outside of fashion here once in a while.
So the gist of it is, some people were offended because "blase" comments were being made about the nomad's attire, which isn't a choice of style but rather a necessity imposed on him by his living conditions. Yes, yes I agree.
Then, because sometimes political correctness annoys me (far too knee-jerk), I stupidly barged in saying that "you can choose to see tragedy everywhere or you can choose to see life as a whole. If we're talking tragedy, I think Western culture, with it various substance abuse problems, full bellies but undernourished bodies, and increasing rates of depression, is equally tragic. You never know, underneath that weathered old skin could be a man sublimely happy and accepting of his condition. In that case he's better off then the rest of us miserable fools who can't even be happy living in the lap of luxury."
Unfortunately me equating spiritual deprivation to material deprivation didn't sit too well with people, and I was called a whiny over-privileged first-world kid (ouch).
Now the funny thing is, spiritual deprivation actually is a serious problem, and it often goes unacknowledged. These days many of us were taught to believe that if the external environment is perfect, life would be perfect. That change can only come from outside of you, brought to you by various political ideologies whether they be communism, conservatism, liberalism, etc. We argue over ideologies because we believe that we can arrange the outside world in a way that could benefit everyone. Well in my opinion, the external world is a reflection of the internal world. All of the corruption and inequality we see in the world sprung out of the internal, our thoughts, our own choices, our own actions. It's a collective disease.
In my opinion, which obviously isn't shared by all but it's still worth an honest consideration, spiritual deprivation is far more tragic than material deprivation. Material over stimulation is far more tragic because it causes so much harm in the world, including causing the deprivation of the freedom and material needs of others.
I wasn't dismissing the fact that this particular Tibetan might have had a hard life, I was trying to get people to think about why this may be so. I'm trying to question why we automatically assume that if other people had the many things we in the west call necessities, they'd be better off. Isn't that a bit ethnocentric too?
Anyways, if there's anything I want to share with you all out of this, it's that to change the world you have to change yourself first. Approach things with compassion and an open mind. Question everything. Don't hate people because they hurt others. Feel compassion for them too. Feel compassion for everyone, even spoiled western kids, because we're all in this together, and we're all a bit lost together.
I very much look forward to hearing your insightful comments as well. Just no knee-jerk hateful comments please.