« Spirituality is experienced, not proven | Main | My can't-miss meditation approach: "Whatever..." »

October 19, 2012

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Yip freedom of speech - one of the great American virtues

Well said Brain, I endorse your view. However, the recent political exposés by Arvind Kejriwal and his team are refreshing, though what comes out of them is yet to be seen. How much does it take to shut someone up in this nation !

India has had a long history of religious conflict and thus the concept of " free speech " in a pot-pouri of religious beliefs amongst a billion plus ( out of which 25% are still illiterate ) most often turns out into a war-like scenario. In a world of Gurus, Gods and Goddesses the law has arrived at preventive clauses that aim at reducing inter-religious intolerance which is almost always on the brink when something even mildly controversial raises its head. Of course, internal critique is equally badly tolerated and the guy above who presented his opinion in all likelihood must have been threatened and " dealt with " by the Church reps.

But, India is ever surprising and I was very happy to read this ...

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-08-22/india/33321501_1_gurdwara-muslim-community-namaaz

Interestingly, there has been a 100% increase in the divorce rates here in India in the last five years. In marriages that seem to work for other reasons, I think that economic security has now become as important a factor as tradition.

I do believe that a certain degree of conditioning goes into the Indian mindset that prevents it from changing course. A well defined sense of belonging and conforming is nurtured which is quite the opposite to a free-spirited journey of self discovery. It is about dependency in the macro sense of it and may find its roots in the subjection-syndrome that we as a race have in our DNA.

"Free speech in the United States is guaranteed by the First Amendment to our Constitution. In Oregon, where I live, the state constitution provides for even greater protection of free speech. So here again, we Americans are accustomed to a more free-wheeling culture than is common in much of the rest of the world."

Free speech is guaranteed in almost all dictatorships too. You were probably thinking about back before 2001 with this "free-wheeling culture" idea. I have lived in a number of countries in the past 10 years and I can tell you the USA has probably the least amount of free speech in the world, certainly much less than India.
http://www.freewarehof.org/speech.html

Also the highest percentage of its people in prison in the history of the world ... more than Stalin, more than Hitler, more than Pinochet.

Other less than free-wheeling cultural milestones? Indefinite detention without charges, ordering the assasination of citizens, stop and frisk policies, warrantless searches, secret courts, gps devices to monitor citizens, warrantless renditions from other countries, torture interrogations, childrens lemonade stands illegal (what to say of someone selling something without required permits), free speech cages/zones.

Pretty much anyone walking or in a car may be arbitrarily searched and held without charges. About the only thing they are not doing now days in USA is going door to door and examining everyone's "papers" and that is probably coming.

2 months left, your impression of the United States is much different from mine, and I'd lived here all my life. There's very little sense of government oppression, spying, intimidation -- the stuff you mention.

Going through screening security lines at the airport are just about the only time people get bothered by intrusive measures. And these are happily tolerated, though I personally find some of the screening senseless.

You really didn't give any examples of speech being less free in the United States than elsewhere in the world. Our freedom to criticize religion is definitely stronger than most other places. Try standing on a street corner in Saudi Arabia and scream "Islam is a stupid religion!" over and over.

Blogger B. You are comparing two value systems and implicitly placing your own higher then the other. True, there are human rights violations everywhere around the world. Violence on a global level is exercised mainly by the US & UK Army of Guns & Pharmaceuticals, violence on a state level is exercised by the state, in the household by the patriarch/matriarch of the family. Within each person by the negative tendencies of the mind.

Saying that the constitution of the USA guarantees 'this and that' is hot air really. It creates an imaginary division (a duality) in a world which is characterized by complexity, multiple centers, arbitrary borders, cultural differences and particular cases. As well as a recent Colonial past and a post-colonial present.

Particular case? Saudi Arabia is called Saudi because the UK/US governments placed their chosen family, the Saudis, in power, after they "decolonized" the Region that was to become "Saudi Arabia." That is why Bush was holding hands with that pervert looking man outside the white house, and that is why Obama also fully supports his regime. A regime which keeps the people poor and suppressed so that Americans can fill up their cars with cheap gas and go to the mall or on nature walks. So next time you see Saudi Arabia on the map remember its a mirror of your society.

The same applies for many other places/regimes around the world.

This article of yours contains elements of cryptonationalism and as a spiritual writer that you are you should avoid it. Go read the available literature. I would recommend you begin with Said's "Orientalism."

Going through security lines at the airport is not happily tolerated when the "officer" tells you that your nail-clippers and 125g Bubble and Bubble conditioner are potential national threats and need to be confiscated.

Also do not forget, that the USA has 4.5% of the worlds population and 20% of its prisoners.

That means that one out of five prisoners in this planet are in US jails. Guess which ethnic groups make the largest percentage of inmates and go check how many people are in jail for smoking weed, or because they owed $1000 to the government or some other like minded corporation.

You are comparing value systems and implicitly placing your own higher then the others. I do not know why.

It was a nice read Brian, It real helped in clearing my mind which is always filled with so many questions about the differences in India and other countries.... India is different in lot many ways some good some bad.... But the need of the time is to rise above the religious differences and think about the humanity as every religon says so.... http://dilkhichdi.blogspot.de/2012/10/do-you-know-your-religion.html

Blogger Brian:


You said that freedom of speech is greater in USA and gave no examples of any way in which it is greater. As far as Saudi Arabia goes that is an oppressive dictatorship/monarchy that wouldn't last 10 minutes without USA support and even so I would feel safer in Saudi Arabia in western clothes screaming “Islam is a stupid religion” than I would going to USA in middle eastern clothes and traditional beard, and standing on a street corner shouting “Allah ho Akbar”!


As far as your having very little sense of government oppression, you may also note that fish can find very little evidence of water. Whether it is spiritual freedom or political freedom … our lack of it goes unnoticed because our conditions seem normal. Someone with the freedoms taken for granted in Europe or Asia would be appalled to find federal taxes at 50% of take home pay and property taxes another 10% lest their house is confiscated by the government. If you told them the government can confiscate their house and property just by the accusation of drug use with no due process they would be shocked, and yet you and most of your neighbors would consider such things perfectly normal and nothing like government intrusion.


Anger, jealousy, revenge, bitterness, grudges, emotional hurt, ambition, lust, treachery, fright, guilt, shame, all seem normal to the ego, certainly not oppressive... yet a sage would find such conditions appalling. You made the comparison saying you are freer in America and yet admit to having lived no where else and are unable to offer any way in which you have more freedom of speech or other freedoms.


I don't doubt USA is a wonderful place to live... all cultures have their strengths and weaknesses. But to say it is in some way freer than India is nothing short of laughable.

Then we have to ask, what is freedom? What is political freedom? Are you politically free when anyone can file a lawsuit against you as a form of harassment as is common in USA? Is that a type of government sanctioned oppression? Perhaps cultural oppression?


Are people on Prozac free or are they oppressed? Many would argue they are free through government sponsored drug relief, others would say government sponsored drug relief (Prozac) is oppressive. Yes, you could argue the government isn't directly involved and yet how involved is the government in medical care in USA? How about tax breaks and subsidies? Is there any area of USA life not influenced by government tax breaks and subsidies? Is the government intruding by telling you you must buy allopathic health insurance from a private company even if you abhor allopathic medicine? Again, you can find little evidence of government oppression yet others from other countries would be shocked. This is not to say you are wrong and they are right... it is only a matter of what seems normal.


Political and spiritual freedom is a big and nuanced topic that is hard to do justice in an internet post … but let's just say a lot of your international audience may have accidentally spit their coffee through their nose when you announced that you in USA are a free speech/free-wheeling society unlike India.


Hey, commenters. read this post, then comment on what i said. Don't make stuff about what you think I said, and then comment on what your own mind has substituted for my actual words.

I said that the United States has stronger free speech guarantees in its constitution than most other countries. That seems inarguable, since people get in trouble for criticizing religion in India, in European countries, elsewhere around the world.

If you want to critique other aspects of American culture/society, feel free. Just don't connect them with this blog post. I've got lots of criticisms myself. Yes, we have way too many people locked up, etc. etc. But those are issues separate from free speech.

Blogger Brian, you wrote:

"I said that the United States has stronger free speech guarantees in its constitution than most other countries. That seems inarguable, since people get in trouble for criticizing religion in India, in European countries, elsewhere around the world."


You said that USA has stronger free speech guarantees than India. Let me just quote you something from India's constitution
Section:
19. Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech etc
(1) All citizens shall have the right
(a) to freedom of speech and expression;
(b) to assemble peaceably and without arms;
(c) to form associations or unions;
(d) to move freely throughout the territory of India;
(e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India; and
(f) omitted
(g) to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business


So where did you get the idea USA has stronger constitutional guarantees of free speech?

The Republic of China also has constitutional guarantees of free speech.

'Article 35 of the 1982 State Constitution proclaims that "citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession, and of demonstration." – wikipedia

Stalin guaranteed free speech in 1936:
“Article 50. In accordance with the interests of the people and in order
to strengthen and develop the socialist system, citizens of the USSR are
guaranteed freedom of speech, of the press, and of assembly, meetings, street
processions and demonstrations.”
---http://www.constitution.org/cons/ussr77.txt

Even the constitution under Hitler guaranteed freedom of speech, though in 1933 as in America it was noted that:
'The Reich President was authorized, "if public safety and order in the German Reich are considerably disturbed or endangered," to take steps to protect public safety.' --http://fcit.usf.edu/holocaust/resource/document/DOCNAC9.htm


In your post you noted that the Indian nationalist faced possible arrest for debunking a miracle.

Here's an article about nine men in New Orleans who actually were arrested (not faced possible arrest) for religious free speech.
http://christiannews.net/2012/09/02/nine-men-arrested-at-new-orleans-decadence-festival-for-religious-speech-after-sundown/

So please tell me one country in Europe or Asia in which the laws do not expressly guarantee freedom of speech.

2 months left, it took me about two minutes to find lots of countries where blasphemy of some sort is an offense. You should try using Google and Wikipedia more. Facts are wonderful things. See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law

The United States doesn't have any blasphemy laws, because of our First Amendment. These countries are some of those that do:

Australia
Austria
Bangladesh
Germany
Greece
India
Indonesia
Israel
Italy
Netherlands
Pakistan
Poland
Spain

i think the US is pretty conservative in many ways, but its constitution insofar as freedom of speech is concerned is quite amazing - the original forefathers were way ahead of their time and actually drafted an incredible secular consitution (hitchens writes all about them), in the Us even the most bigoted KKK can have a rally - most countries, which are aguably even more tolerant, have limits on freedom of speech such as not to incite violence or religous offense.

Only think i must ask, is upon what grounds is 'Ashy The Vulgar' banned? that is not free speech. Can he not be put on a trial period, say 3 strikes and he's out?

Welcome to defensive straw man central. Did anyone read your words Brian? I'd actually be MUCH more harsh if I were to criticize india so I can't see what these peoples problem is in your tame comparison. This is why I left my leftist dogma behind with religion. It creates controversy out of everything and all words become pc taboos.

Brian Wrote: "Yes, we have way too many people locked up, etc. etc. But those are issues separate from free speech."

What the FUC* ?!?!??

My first reaction was - of course Americans have a more " free wheeling culture". You most often hear them before you see them! - Using their rights of free speech, loud and clear wherever they may go.

This side of the globe sometimes look upon Americans, as to use different words than Brian's "wild and crazy", we would use words as" loud and arrogant". Not implying of course that there is any truth in all this, but different values accepted and seen as a privilege may not be seen that way by other countries with different cultures and values.


But that may not mean they are more of a free wheeling country than other countries. They may, as pointed out have more freedom in openly criticizing a religion but that is only because they haven't got the cultural heritage regarding Gurus and holy men that India has.
USA's 'sacred cow' maybe their 'free speech' rights. Tell them they don't have any and they'll argue down your throat. This may have had something to do with how Americans all through education pledged allegiance to the flag and all that it stands for - pride in their heritage and their the promise of their liberties.

I don't see how you can separate the freedom of speech from the cultural values of your society.

If a parent wants to do the best for their child they may grant them certain rights - free speech, a right to their viewpoint etc etc. But within that framework they are conditioned by the very same parents to what is good and bad, acceptable not acceptable values according to that particular household and it's .....ahem.....managers!
Little Johnny when the neighbour calls around happens to exert his free speech rights and say to the neighbour innocently "You have a big nose" to which the parent quickly tells Johnny to go to his room and all privileges will be withheld until further notice.

So you can indeed say the children have free speech rights but only in the structure of that particular family culture. It being all learned, turns into an illusion of freedom.

Abide by the structure, and life seems good. Step outside that and god only knows what could happen!


Marina

toure ali, the "excess" people locked up in American prisons aren't in jail because they were arrested for saying something that violated a free speech law.

They are there not because they said "I feel like using drugs" or "I feel like stealing something." They're in jail for using/selling drugs or for committing a property crime.

I don't like our high incarceration rate. I don't like putting non-violent people in jail who have a low risk of committing another crime. But I stand by my assertion that a lack of free speech isn't the reason there are so many people in American jails.

You're confusing freedom of action with freedom of speech. There's some relation here, because speech is an act. But not every act is speech. Stealing from someone isn't free speech; it is feeling free to take what doesn't belong to you.

No I am not confused at all. It is a very very complicated matter that requires a more sophisticated analysis of the nature "us and them", "we are like this & they are like that."

where you write "I don't like putting non-violent people in jail who have a low risk of committing another crime." I would write " I am 100% AGAINST....."

Where you write "I don't like our high incarceration rate."
I would write " That our incarceration rates not only reflects our lack of civil liberties but its indicative of what a military state we have become. Recent example being Arizona with its profiling"

You write 2 me: "You're confusing freedom of action with freedom of speech. "

No. Neither I nor you is confusing anything. you are not confused. Yoy have your opinion on the matter and I have mine.

Your write: The "excess" people locked up in American prisons aren't in jail because they were arrested for saying something that violated a free speech law.

I say: I found your use of "excess" condescending and inappropriate. Apart from a few categories of truly malevolant humans, 90% of people in jail should be released ASAP. And 1% of the elite who instigate wars should get locked up. Also, last time i was in an American Airport the sign was everywhere "Inappropriate Jokes may lead to Arrest" :PATRIOT ACT

As far drug selling is concerned: Cannabis for example is not a drug but its ilegal, Zanax and Prozak are and they are legal. My opinion and of many others. Cocaine in turn is a rather complicated drug cause everyone, including the government, is in it.

Peace out dude.

Brian, I am sorry... You need an immediate spiritual healing. You are obsessed with RSSB. You are unable to decide whether you love or hate RSSB. You are unable to get RSSB out of your mind. Your days in, days out are filled with RSSB only.

Definetly you have landed into dangerous metaphysical sphere while meditation which was not allowed. You have put yourself so much into this that you have got mentally paralysed.

I feel sorry to see your state everytime I come here. I will wish for you to Baba ji whom you criticise due to your immaturity. It is indeed a deadly immaturity that you are not able to cultivate spirituality in your life. You are a complete FAILURE.

God Bless You.

Sudeep, thanks for providing another example of how religious believers like you don't know what you're talking about. Wow, you couldn't be more wrong about me. Maybe you should examine what else you could be wrong about (god? guru? heaven?) since you're so mistaken about me.

On a daily basis I spend VERY little time or energy pondering RSSB. Essentially zero. I write about RSSB now and then on this blog because it is the religion I know most about. If I'd spent 35 years as a practicing Catholic, I'd be writing about Catholicism.

My obsessions are many, but they don't include RSSB. I've gotten rid of almost all of my RSSB books. I rarely think about my history with RSSB except when someone like one brings it up. So you are more obsessed with my supposed obsession that I am, obviously.

What I'm obsessed with at the moment actually includes...

The upcoming election in the United States. I check polls and web sites often.

My longboarding. It's not raining today. Yay! Soon I'm going to head off and try some flat streets that doh't have many cars on them.

Otherwise keeping in shape. I go to Tai Chi classes three times a week, work out at an athletic club another three times, either take a dance lesson or practice dancing regularly.

TV! I've become obsessed with "Homeland." Started watching last season; can hardly wait to get into the current season, which I'm recording.

The Oregon Ducks and Oregon State football teams. Both are undefeated. Go Oregon! Either college.

See, I've got lots of obsessions. RSSB isn't one of them.

But thanks for spending so much time thinking about me and judging me. I like attention. If you can't bring yourself to like me, I'm flattered that you dislike me so much.

Brian,you are obsessed with long boarding. It has obviously landed you in a state where you can't direct the much needed attention to the Ducks. I will wish and pray to Chip Kelley Ji that you give proper support to your local team. You are a complete WINNER.

Bless yourself.

Brian, You are bound to be judged; the way you have taken up the project to melign RSSB. Just finding faults and criticising others does not make you 'Intellectual'.

And by the way, Are you not also judging RSSB and its Guru's each activity ? Once you are out of RSSB, what is your business to spread confusions among other seekers by showing your so called logical and reasoning capabilities ??

Are you not upto something ? Any hidden agenda.... Why dont you declare this openly ?

And once you do this, you cant stop people come here and express their judgement about you. We know you are not that dumb as you appear.. you like to play... :)

And yea, we also know you like attention. This is the only reason behind this blog. No logic otherwise..

Sudeep, yes, I have magical powers which make people like you visit this blog and pay attention to what I have to say. You are powerless! You must obey!

Actually, no. You choose to read my posts, just as I choose to write them. Who are you to judge why I enjoy my blogs? Each to his or her own. You live your life, and i'll live mine. Deal?

Of course I like attention. Just like you. Why are you leaving a comment on this blog, signing it with your name and leaving your email address?

If you were a humble satsangi who was purely devoted to the Sant Mat teachings, you'd be spending your free time in meditation and other spiritual pursuits, wouldn't you?

So thanks for visiting this blog. Hope you're enjoying what I and others have to say. If you visit regularly, you'll note that RSSB and Sant Mat don't come up very often. I'm much more interested in other subjects, like modern neuroscience.

Again the way you replied, the language you used and the attitude you shown in your reply; all are evidences of underdevelopment of your spiritual life.

You talk about Sant Mant ?? You lack the basic fundamental of Sant Mant - Love and devotion, both unconditional. Realised yet or not ?

Mentioning my email with my name was for some purpose which you will not understand.. So keep thinking.

I am not a satsangi, have not been initiated yet... but have full unconditional love and devotion for Sant Mant which you lack.So in a way, I have more potential than you.


So long as your takes on RSSB are visible on this blog, you will keep getting attention(Judgements) from satsangies. So you cant stop anyone coming on blog.

You decided to attack our Guru, you cant direct us not to come here and criticise you.You know it and you are playing....

Magical power you are talking about is our Guru, for whom people like me keep visiting this blog. This is not your power, Guru's power. You are nothing more than immature kid who is crying and cribbing because you got nothing.

Poor.

Sudeep, your comment made me think about how Nate Silver, a noted analyst of polls and political trends here in the United States (he runs Five Thirty Eight, at the New York TImes) is being treated by conservatives who don't like the 85% or so odds he is giving Obama's re-election chances.

They call him names: short, gay, bad dresser, effeminate. But they don't critique what he is saying, just the guy who is saying things they don't want to hear. Naturally they should be arguing about why his analyses are wrong, not attacking the guy personally.

But this is what people do when they don't have good arguments. They attack the messenger, rather than the message. So if you disagree with something I've said in some of my posts, you should be specific and describe why I'm wrong, and you're right.

Just calling me names, that isn't productive.

Well said Brian!- they always shoot the messenger! I am sure you knew before starting blogging you would be criticized by the RSSB groups.
I do think East will be East and West will be West.. and will not meet. With real differences allowed in freedom of speech - if you speak your mind - your ex-communicated in RSSB as was Brian - I have seen speakers being told what they can say or not say in their discourses!! (NO FREEDOM OF SPEECH)! I've seen changes in RSSB follower's around the Globe- and followers leaving the flock with new team managers and speakers taking over within the organisation in there centres. Don’t know how they get chosen? Unfortunately no evidence of spirituality experiences around the world I have seen, have you Brian? I see RSBB Speakers dictating their thoughts, practices, beliefs, for 30 minutes sermons within guidelines set by RSSB higher management with no practical spiritual evidence that they have and are going into inner spiritual regions seeing the guru shabd or karmic load emptying nor can they show outwardly or say they go within daily to the different spiritual regions
" Can someone say they do??
Hey even noticed racism between the Indians and westerns too more cult like day by day.
Books written nowadays have changed style, content to what they think people want to hear - or removed from print previous editions.
Different Study Centres around the world which are mushrooming - I am told "You can attend satsang", donate MONEY but - you cannot do mediation practising within the grounds, unless you are a sevadar registered to stay overnight. They don’t want you to stay - even if you put 10% of your wages monthly in to the organisation! -I have never seen "groups" encouraged doing meditations together or classes to teach after they have been initiated, if they are doing it wrong - I am told it's big NO - "go home do it there" -
If practically you don't see someone or followers going into a deep trans or share experiences, how do you know this is genuine path, if you’re a seeker looking for evidence? or proof it will happen to you? These Master's don’t seem to control the other country’s science of soul centres until things go wrong, complaints, financial discrepancies.
RSBB Management heads who are qualified only with administrative, legal, accountants seem to have these posts Seva they call it, with no inner enlightenment experiences "if any" - even reps say they haven’t gone within! But encourage you do Bahjan Simran -
I have seen things go badly wrong in management or cover-ups issues at meetings, but not informing the followers in the sangat.
I still cannot get over or find out why in the Western world they changed the name from Radha Soami Satsang Beas (British Isles) as an example changed to "Science of the Soul” or in there newsletters don’t see “Radha Soami” words used at start of writing they have been dropped, and yet at onetime they said these were powerful words - I notice also copyrighting of the Science of Soul http://www.trademarkia.com/trademarks-search.aspx?tn=science+of+the+soul
The list can go on and on and nothing will change with the RSSB and new seekers will attracted as usual, since they will be thinking it’s going to be the chosen ones.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Welcome


  • Welcome to the Church of the Churchless. If this is your first visit, click on "About this site--start here" in the Categories section below.
  • HinesSight
    Visit my other weblog, HinesSight, for a broader view of what's happening in the world of your Church unpastor, his wife, and dog.
  • BrianHines.com
    Take a look at my web site, which contains information about a subject of great interest to me: me.
  • Twitter with me
    Join Twitter and follow my tweets about whatever.
  • I Hate Church of the Churchless
    Can't stand this blog? Believe the guy behind it is an idiot? Rant away on our anti-site.

Posts compendium

Teeny-tiny Collection Plate

  • Brian Hines: Return to the One

    Brian Hines: Return to the One
    If you'd like to support the Church's efforts in a small way, and also learn about a great Greek mystic philosopher (Plotinus) who wonderfully embodies our creedless creed, consider buying our unpastor's book, "Return to the One: Plotinus's Guide to God-Realization."

Blog powered by Typepad

Become a Fan

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...