Saturday, January 3, 2009

Morning Meditation - Suffering is born out of stupidity

Life is full of suffering. How does Unitarian Universalism account for it?

Christians say that suffering is the result of Original Sin. Buddhists say that suffering is the result of attachment.

I suggest that Unitarian Universalists develop a theology that says that suffering is the result of stupidity, ignorance, and lack of awareness.

As I get older, but I think I always knew this, I am utterly amazed at how stupid people are. They are narcissistic, arrogant, willful, full of hubris, and then wonder why they suffer.

Suffering is different from pain. Pain is a symptom or sign that something is wrong, but suffering is our interpretation of pain and most suffering is unnecessary and nonsense. Of course you can't tell suffering people that because it would not be helpful and so suffering should always be dealt with compassionately. And yet it is our lack of awareness which brings about suffering.

And Unitarian Universalism already offers many ideas to counteract or prevent suffering like the idea that every person has inherent worth and dignity and should therefore be treated as such. How much human suffering is caused because we, humans, fail to act on this simple principle. We demonize our enemies and make them "less than human" which gives us permission to torture, abuse, and kill them.

When the President of the United States uses terms like "Axis of Evil" to demonize the people of whole countries and the congress of the United States rises to its feet in a standing ovation, this country is seriously fucked. I heard nary a word from our religious leaders when the World leaders vilifies the people of North Korea, Iran, and Iraq as if they were subhumans.

Unitarian Universalism has other principles which could explain and reduce suffering which I will write about in future articles. For now my basic point is that we have a Unitarian Universalist theology which can save the world if only we would preach it and act on it instead of staying politely silent.

Whenever our politicians would divide the world into us and them, and in our personal lives we divide our families into us and them, and at work we divide the world into us and them, we are contributing to the suffering in the world.

We need to remember or become aware that we are all in this together and none of us gets out alive. Our human problem is not Original Sin, or Attachment, but human stupidity, and from an evolutionary perspective, I would like to believe that we are becoming more aware.


  1. ah yes!
    you have it right, where you say it is this basic division of "us and them" that brings about this suffering...

    this Morning Meditation has sparked some seeing of my own- rather lengthly, so I put it in as a post on my own page...

    we may be seeing much of the same things

  2. "For now my basic point is that we have a Unitarian Universalist theology which can save the world if only we would preach it and act on it instead of staying politely silent."

    U*Us can "preach it" all they want. Only actually acting on it, i.e. genuinely practicing what U*Uism preaches, can help to "save the world". From where I stand U*U religious leaders can't even do what it takes to save the U*U World from its own injustices, abuses and other failings let alone save the real world. . . How can U*Us realistically hope to "save the world" if they are chronically unready, obstinately unwilling, and apparently even pathologically unable to at least practice what they so emptily preach within the microcosm, and I do mean *micro*, of the U*U World?

    Whenever U*U religious leaders divide the world into us and them they are contributing to the suffering in the world. . . Here is just one glaring example, courtesy of a minister of the "Church of the Far Left", but there are plenty of others examples out there in the U*U World.

    How much human suffering is caused because Unitarian*Universalists, fail to act on their Seven Principles? U*Us quite regularly demonize their own perceived enemies and make them "less than human" which gives U*Us permission to "torture", abuse, and kill* them.

    *in the sense of character assassination at least. . .

  3. Hi Tom:

    Thanks for you comments. I enjoyed reading your blog.

    All the best,

    David Markham

  4. Hi Robin:

    You make excellent points which are worth being taken seriously and appreciated.

    There are all those wonderful proverbs like "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones" and "The pot calling the kettle black" etc.

    I would like to think that UUs would be the light to the world, the salt to the earth, but alas we leave much to be desired and it is hard to practice what we don't preach.

    However, there are some of us, at least you and me, who are willing to identify our faults and call ourselves and others to do better.

    A friend accused me yesterday of being "humble" because I rejected her praise of me as a "miracle worder". She meant is as a compliment, but I know that I am an idiot who just has fooled a lot of people, or least some people who think well of me, although there are so many that I have to be worried about keeping up to much of a pretense.

    Thanks for your comments and reminding us all of our sins less we get too cocky and arrogant.

    All the best,

    David Markham

  5. U*Us who get too cocky and arrogant with the dreaded Emerson Avenger usually live to regret it. ;-)

    I'll take that "miracle worder" compliment if you don't want it Dave. Some of my picket sign slogans are real zingers. UNSAFE SECT? is a perennial favorite with the public. :-)

  6. Hi Robin:

    You are welcome to the "miracle worker" appelate, and I like your "unsafe sect". I think that is good.

    All the best,

    David Markham

  7. You mean "miracle worder" was yet another one of your typos David? ;-)

    I did mean "miracle worder" with reference to my picket sign slogans and other bon mots, not "miracle worker".

    Almost everyone, other than its targets of course. . . likes my UNSAFE SECT? picket sign. It is very popular with the public. It references the false and malicious labeling of Creation Day as a "cult" by intolerant anti-religious "Humanist" U*Us, the fact that U*Uism fits the dictionary definition of the word "sect", and the fact that in my own experience (and that of other people who have been harmed by U*Us) the U*U sect is not safe according to its own definitions of what constitutes being a "Safe Congregation". Needless to say it also references the phrase "safe sex" so it would be particularly apt when protesting against clergy sexual misconduct which, with the blessings of the now defunct UUs For Right Relations group, I added to the concerns that I shared during my protest in Boston. It has much broader application of course and I lent it to Anonymous when they protested in front of the Church of Scientology in Montreal last year.