I want you to know that I hesitated when I thought about where to put this review of the Dalai Lama's speech given November 12, 2005 at the Society for Neuroscience. Do I put this in the public and endure the nature of criticism that it will evoke from the people who will see this as blasphemous? Will there be riots because I have criticized his holiness?
Then I thought, what would his holiness have me do?
So, I'm posting this here for you.
I apologize because in general I've used a coding system that only a few people will understand, although if you read my comments you'll get the idea that I'm trying to put across here...that we need to be able to view NOT just what our leaders say, but "how" our leaders say what they say. We have to be careful not to be hung upon their content, but really be able to view deeply the problem-making and solving operandi they use in saying what they say.
In a complex future, we have to begin to identify the complexity of our leaders and the capacities, capabilities and potential of those leaders to lead effectively in view of an ambiguous future.
I will say for the record that my remarks are critical of the suppositions made and how they are made...and I've tried to give you a window into why I think so.
For the review, I used the following attractors, colored, so I could point to a specific constellation of values first identified in the book Spiral Dynamics (R). My work uses some of the terminology in that system, but expands the work to Spiral 2.0.
Here are the oversimplified attractors and their colors so you can identify the review and my comments below:
Beige-Survival System (not used)
Again, you will want to note that there is no particular agreement of the systems I use and those offered by Clare Graves and Spiral Dynamics...in fact, I'm sure they would say I've oversimplified and adulterated them, but then again, that's pretty good protection for me in that they certainly don't represent anyone's ideas but my own.
My attempt at review is done with irreverance, but with compassion.
Science at the Crossroads
By Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama
This article is based on a talk given by the Dalai Lama at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience on November 12, 2005 in
The last few decades have witnessed tremendous advances in the scientific understanding of the human brain and the human body as a whole. Furthermore, with the advent of the new genetics, neuroscience's knowledge of the workings of biological organisms is now brought to the subtlest level of individual genes. This has resulted in unforeseen technological possibilities of even manipulating the very codes of life, thereby giving rise to the likelihood of creating entirely new realities for humanity as a whole. Today the question of science's interface with wider humanity is no longer a matter of academic interest alone; this question must assume a sense of urgency for all those who are concerned about the fate of human existence. I feel, therefore, that a dialogue between neuroscience and society could have profound benefits in that it may help deepen our basic understanding of what it means to be human and our responsibilities for the natural world we share with other sentient beings. I am glad to note that as part of this wider interface, there is a growing interest among some neuroscientists in engaging in deeper conversations with Buddhist contemplative disciplines.
I just want to say that I find this type of leadership at a relatively low level of complexity. In the end, the agenda of the speaker comes to the forefront, which I marked in red…that the religion of Buddhim is as important as science.
Using fancy content and big words does not promote an effective argument for leadership. Nor does it mean that the person is functioning at a more complex level. In some ways, I’m not surprised that these things are said by a leader of more than 1 billion people in the world. And as long as these things are continued in the forefront of a dialogue in the manner in which they have been offered here, we are going to remain polarized. I see no real attempt, either in the content, the context, the conditions or the code here to move current culture into a non-polarized state.
I still see emphasis on “preserving human species” instead of viewing the human species as possibly the worst thing to ever happen to other sentient beings. We killed them in every fashion imaginable, made most extinct through our footprint, but at the root, the DL speaks but doesn’t represent sentience, but the human cause. So, that idea proffered in some circles about the role of our nature in our nurture is completely illogical to remain a valid argument of any kind for the preservation of our species.
In final review, I find the speech interesting, but ill-formed and indicative of lower level problem solving where the “ills” noted by the speaker are cast as bad, without a full representation of perspectives that could be taken and in some cases, a reliance on what appears to be science and fact to undergird the speaker’s agenda.
I did note one yellow, or 2nd tier particulate, and to me, the only way to code that content was yellow. However, I would be careful to project any 2nd tier thinking here, either in terms of science or morality , no matter how you put this speech, it attempts to advance the Buddhist agenda or compassion, but only in the way in which it is understood by low-level thinkers with an a personal or collective agenda.