Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh: only love can save us from climate change

(Justin Brown) #1

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the world’s leading spiritual teachers, is a man at great peace even as he predicts the possible collapse of civilisation within 100 years as a result of runaway climate change.

The 86-year-old Vietnamese monk, who has hundreds of thousands of followers around the world, believes the reason most people are not responding to the threat of global warming, despite overwhelming scientific evidence, is that they are unable to save themselves from their own personal suffering, never mind worry about the plight of Mother Earth.

Thay, as he is known, says it is possible to be at peace if you pierce through our false reality, which is based on the idea of life and death, to touch the ultimate dimension in Buddhist thinking, in which energy cannot be created or destroyed.

By recognising the inter-connectedness of all life, we can move beyond the idea that we are separate selves and expand our compassion and love in such a way that we take action to protect the Earth.

(ACD) #2

I think that we can address much of climate-affecting pollution by consuming less and differently. Coal-powered electric generation is the source of most man-made carbon dioxide pollution. Most of the power generated in electricity stations is lost through transmission. Most electricity is used to power factories making the stuff with which we fill our lives. Most of the manufacture takes place in China. Most of the consumption takes place outside of China. Consumers outside of China could pay to implement carbon sequestration technology which is readily available. Is this the sort of love to which Thay refers?

(Bill Ames) #3

In a hundred or so years most all of the current 7 billion people will have passed on to a better environment. The new population, guided by the AIs, will no longer be doing anything that will harm mother earth; it will just not be permitted. We may have a lot of time to address our own thoughtful needs; many of the worlds religions will have a significant increase in their members. People will have a lot of time to spend listening to the leaders of their chosen place of devotion. People will be a lot healthier as the general food sources will be designed to benefit people and the health of the world. People will discover each other, love thy neighbor is a good thing. The AIs will not permit war as it would cause bad things for the planet. All people will be educated well into their twenties as poorly educated people are a danger to the earth. No one will be suffering as it will not be permitted. Everyone will have their personal AI to counsel them on their minute by minute decisions. No one will be allowed to make the wrong decision. If some people appear to be suffering from a health issue, body or mind, their genetic code will be modified to eliminate their problem. Everyone will be happy, as long as they live.

(ACD) #4

This harkens back to the ideal communities of the British utopians. Watch out!

(ACD) #5

" Nietzsche’s philosophical contemporaries tended to see themselves as participants in an impersonal, cumulative process of intellectual evolution, under an obligation to articulate what they took to be the most advanced ideas of their time. But this approach struck Nietzsche as disastrous—servile, conformist and hypocritical—and after finishing The Birth of Tragedy he embarked on a set of essays called Untimely Meditations in which he raised a banner for cheerful anachronism as opposed to up-to-date modernity. Wisdom was at its best, he said, when most erratic and evanescent."

(Bill Ames) #6

Seems to be a brilliant man born too soon. Do we have any like him today?

(ACD) #7

The hoi poloi would say Jordan Peterson. I am not sure there is a modern equivalent.