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Schouborg, Gary (2003).

"A Need for Mindful Diversity".

 

 

A Need for Mindful Diversity

 

Gary Schouborg

 

A few issues ago, Inquiring Mind (IM) expressed a desire for greater diversity among its readers and authors. However, it focused only on ethnic diversity. I suggest that IM is also in need of political diversity, one that would move beyond IM's strong gravitation toward Bay Area Political Correctness. There is an all-but-universal assumption in IM's pages that the Buddhist insight into interrelatedness necessarily commits one to liberal solutions to socio-ecological problems. Perhaps that is true, but I would hope that the beginners' minds of IM readers would want to examine that assumption by entertaining opinions that propose conservative solutions as well. In the clash of socio-ecological disagreement, we might drive to yet deeper understandings of interrelatedness and avoid confusing inner peace with a cozy feeling of like-mindedness.

 

Consider Kalle Lasn's proposal for "true cost" markets in your Fall 2002 issue. It is a revealing example of how a liberal perspective can bias even attempts to search out a balanced view on an issue. Lasn proposes "true cost" markets as a way of honoring ecology while saving the free market. However, his understanding of "true cost" is inherently incompatible with free markets. Their assumption is that there is no "true" or objective cost of anything other than the price that the producer and the buyer mutually agree to. Yet Lasn expresses uncritical trust that "expert" opinion can determine what the "true" ecological costs of a car are. That "experts" rather than free market participants as a whole determine prices is an assumption of socialism. This is not the place to argue the comparative merits of free market and socialist economies. I wish only to observe that Lasn's proposal is either na´ve or disingenuous in claiming that his socialist assumptions are compatible with free markets in any meaningful way.

 

Mindfulness does not tilt toward liberal or conservative, but helps us address issues honestly. If IM is intent on mindfully addressing socio-ecological problems, I suggest that it will have to move beyond its currently dominant political framework in order to present beginner's mind with a true clash of opinion. Right now, IM is unmindfully creating the illusion that a narrow range of political opinion is backed up by mindfulness.

 

* * *

 

[Below is an abridged version.]

 

Schouborg, Gary (2003).

"Mindful Diversity".

Inquiring Mind, 19(2), 49.

 

Mindful Diversity

 

I would like to suggest that Inquiring Mind is also in need of political diversity, one that would move beyond its strong gravitation toward San Francisco Bay Area political correctness. There is an all-but-universal assumption in IM's pages that the Buddhist insight into interrelatedness necessarily commits one to liberal solutions to socio-ecological problems. Consider Kalle Lasn's proposal for "true cost" markets in your Fall 2002 issue. It is a revealing example of how a liberal perspective can bias even attempts to search out a balanced view on an issue. Lasn proposes "true cost" markets as a way of honoring ecology while saving the free market. However, his understanding of "true cost" is inherently incompatible with free markets, in which there is no "true" or objective cost of anything other than the price that the producer and the buyer mutually agree to. Yet Lasn expresses uncritical trust that "expert" opinion can determine what the true ecological costs of a car are. That experts rather than free market participants as a whole determine prices is an assumption of socialism. This is not the place to argue the comparative merits of free market and socialist economies. I wish only to observe that Lasn's proposal is either na´ve or disingenuous in claiming that his socialist assumptions are compatible with free markets in any meaningful way.

 

Mindfulness does not tilt toward liberal or conservative, but helps us address issues honestly. If IM is intent on mindfully addressing socio-ecological problems, I suggest that it will have to move beyond its currently dominant political framework in order to present beginner's mind with a true clash of opinion.