The Reproduction of Neoliberal Globalization
by Dorje Shedong
The irony is: on the “spiritual,” “psychological” level, we have “dualistic fixation.” According to Samir Amin, World System Theorist, Communist, on the “temporal,” “global political economic” level we have “center-periphery polarization,” a more sociological terminology for the same thing–which could provide a much needed way for Buddhists to get across to sociologists, of all sorts, the usefulness of the Buddhist problematic to their endeavors, not just to “convert” them–if, of course, we were to actually wake up: in the Shambhala sense.
“Dualistic fixation” and “center-periphery polarization” are two terms for precisely the same thing. As Trungpa Rinpoche pointed out in several places, once you “dualistically fixate,” produce “this” and “that,” “subject” and “object,” a fight to the death ensues: we see it all around us.
The point I’m making is: the boundary between the “spiritual” and “temporal,” the “psychological” and “political economic”–that sense of separation between the apparent “two”–is a false one, illusory, a fabrication. It is a “well thought out pattern designed to hypnotize itself,” to borrow another insight from Trungpa Rinpoche.
“Once the distinction is made between the interior and exterior, the problem of how they are related to each other may–and perhaps must–be developed in terms of the externalization of the internal and the internalization of the external. But, strictly speaking, there is no such distinction: the distinction itself is a delusion.” (Toshihiko Izutsu, The Interior and Exterior in Zen Buddhism, Eranos Lectures 1, Spring Publications, Dallas, Texas, 1975, p. 36.)
Another way to say that: so-called “egoism” and so-called “capitalism” are born at precisely the same instant, the instant of “dualistic fixation.” Moreover, we could say so-called “egoism” and so-called “capitalism” are two words for one and the same seamless “psycho-social” totality, an “order vs. chaos” bubble within the larger “orderly chaos” universe.
In fact, if we were to take a peek at Trungpa Rinpoche’s “The Development of Ego” chapter of Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, where he describes the birth of ego as a sand grain sticking its neck up in the middle of a desert, and coming to the conclusion of its separateness from all that out there, if we look closely, we can see he/she/it has on a little red t-shirt. On the front it’s got “Maximize Profit, Minimize Loss.” On the back its got “Accumulate, or Die!”
So, that secret agenda involved in the self-hypnosis process–a secret buried deep in our minds, it is so precious to us–is kept there so we can cut through “spiritual materialism” with one hand, and do the opposite with the other hand, when it comes to “material materialism”! Cut through “private property, profit motive, and competition” on the “psychological” level,” but pamper and augment “private property, profit motive, and competition” on the political economic level! It is intentional. It is our intention to be hypocrites! It constitutes what we call “common sense,” “pragmatism.”
So to go back to my initial point: do we think “center-periphery polarization” on the macro level of the global political economic system is a coincidence, or does it have something to do with our “habitual tendency” (Trungpa Rinpoche, again) to “dualistically fixate” on the micro “psychological” level? Can it be that micro level “dualistic fixation” ultimately, over millennia, has determined macro level “center-periphery polarization”? Can it be the Thatcherite view that there are only “individuals,” no such thing as “society,” be nothing but neoliberal cornpone?
To sum up: as long as we continue to reproduce (thinking of Structural Marxist Louis Althusser’s famous “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” essay) the current conditions of production–namely “private property, profit motive, and competition” via our “habitual tendency” to “dualistically fixate”–all our talk about “compassion” and “protecting the earth” is useless, pretentious jabber–jabberwocky!
As long as we continue to cut through “duality” on the micro “psychological ” level, but maintain “duality” on the macro “social” level–one hand does know what the other hand is doing, by the way, but it is carefully veiled due to the adherence of our so-called “leaders” to neoliberal ideology–what we are left with is our actual gift to the world: a non-dualistic cherry perched atop a dualistically fixated turd cake!