virus: Re:Buddhism

D.H.Rosdeitcher (
Sun, 19 Oct 1997 18:57:09 -0400

Eric wrote:

>I actually don't see Buddhism as that selfish a meme. It's called "The
>Middle Way" because Buddhism involves a sort of compromise between the
>asceticism of the previous braminical religion and the normal lay
>population. The Buddha said "how are we to achieve insight by starving
>our bodies?" (paraphrase) In fact, as the story goes, the Buddha only
>achieved enlightenment *after* he gave up asceticism[1]. Perhaps part
>of the success of Buddhism was do to this "relaxing" of the stringent
>requirements for "religious" experience.

Whether Buddhism is ascetic, hedonistic or somewhere in between, doesn't
necessarily determine whether it benefits its hosts. I suspect that
Buddhism is a selfish meme because even though it has been around for many
centuries claiming to relieve suffering, it hasn't actaully relieved
suffering as shown by the fact that cultures where Buddhism is popular have
as much suffering as other cultures. The way Buddhism supports the
State,for instance, indicates that instead of being any kind of cure, it is
just part of one big social control system--a control system which seems to
evolve by itself. .
Buddhism has something in common with the Extropian/PCR idea system in
that it takes a not-so-cocky position that we're infinitely ignorant and
that we should focus on minimizing suffering instead of gaining happiness.
But the Extropian system takes the confident active stance that we can
still do things--we can make progress toward improvement while Buddhism
uses the complacent passive attitude, that we should just accept things as
they are and not strive for something better. If Buddhism isn't a selfish
meme, why would such an attitude which hasn't seemed to work, spread
throughout society?
--David R.