Oct. 25, 2007

Does Capitalism Have No Shame?

Apparently not. Check out this column by SF Gate's Mark Morford, "Lets Get Drunk and Meditate." By the way, if you haven't discovered Morford's quirky writing yet, you are in for a treat.


E-B-E said...

The answer is no, Capitalism has no shame. That is because according to its own assumptions it did nothing wrong. If your point in this very life is to buy or to sell, and if the mall is your temple, then actually by using the "enlightment visa" you will go to heaven.

Sad but true.

Anonymous said...

While capitalism has no shame, it has ignorance aplenty, and we all know where that leads. I was in Las Vegas recently and passed by this place on my way out of town to enjoy some quality desert isolation:


"Tao", likely because "Zen" was already taken… by something you can probably order at the Monk bar.

Dhamma81 said...

It's laughable in some ways to see a credit card with an image of the Buddha on it but tragic in others. Ajahn Geoff once said advertising was a form of wrong livelihood if it pandered to peoples greed, hatred and delusion, and this is about as far as it gets. On the flip side, maybe someone with lots of accumulated merit will cut up his/her credit card and practice the true Dhamma after seeing the Buddha's image. It's possible for some I suppose. The sad thing is that the credit card companies themselves have only one intention, and that is to make money, even if it means exploiting religious figures and peoples pop culture understanding of Buddhism. As a mail carrier I can't begin to tell you how relentless these companies are in advertising their greed. I sift through tens of thousands of credit card ads weekly, and that is not an exageration. Infact, most of the letter mail I have to case and deliver is a credit card ad. I'm convinced that most of the trees in the world are cut down to be processed into junk mail ads for credit cards! If you really think about it our whole culture is focused around money and accumulation and the credit card companies will stop at nothing to increase their greed.The insane thing is none of the material things people are so focused on getting will ever lead to true happiness. Another thing I remember Ajahn Geoff saying was that in our culture, most people don't even have room in their imagination for a deathless hapiness at all, so they settle for less. Just remember that the Buddha said that even if it rained gold coins people wouldn't be satisfied. That statement still rings true over 2000 years later. may you all be well in your practice.

James said...

Who really cares? "Buddhism" is so severely degenerated at this point in history that it is difficult to do any additional damage to it.

Dhamma81 said...


It's true that there are some that are not practicing well these days but to say that "Buddhism" itself has degenerated doesn't seem fair. The Dhamma is still there for all who wish to practice and see it, and there are plenty of good monastics and lay people out there who are upholding the standards. You may not see it because they just aren't in the business of advertising it. Be well in your practice.

Tom said...

In the Morford vein, perhaps the Enlightenment Visa Card should have a companion for Christ-inanity. Picture this: Christ, bleeding on the cross, but wearing a new suit, with a Macy's Department store visible in the background.

Dhamma81 said...

I can picture Tom's vision of Christ quite well, including the Macy's im the background. Outrageous but quite funny.

Nirodha (Bill Gray) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nirodha said...

As far as I'm concerned, only religious fanatics get upset over things like Zen liqueur and the Enlightenment Visa cards.

To a mystic these things are just businessmen doing what they've always done; selling products.

By the way, I have drank alcohol and meditated before, and was able to overcome it's effect and attain Samadhi/Jhana. Therefore, a mystic can and does transcend these worldy things and pays no attention to them.

Tom said...


As individuals, or isolates, it is healthy if we can transcend everything. But in so little are we islands.

A degrading culture skews things, adds unfortunate connotations to words and fogs up ours and everyone's view of things. While it is certainly true that overly defensive and offended people can lessen liberty for everyone, overly lax cultural norms are just as dangerous.

Sometimes by defending words' meanings and ideas we keep them from shrinking away, making them available in the future.

You have gotten drunk and meditated, but the spirit of that combination is not central to the idea of Buddhism and how the idea should be promulgated.

"Capitalism" shouldn't be fully unfettered, free to plow through everything. Allow that and Misery Triumphs.

Nirodha said...

God! I hate preachy Buddhists! LOL

Tom said...


I wasn't meaning to sound insistent, nor even instructive. It was just my opinion.

I appreciate a panoply of opinion, and speak humbly only for myself.

You prefer hearing only from those who agree with you while you speak on behalf of all mystics.

I bow to you.

Zack said...

I agree with Tom, and add that it is counter-productive to react to capitalism with anger or disrespect. Simply use, as Ghandi always said, non-violent non-cooperation. Educate those who wish to know to the best of your ability, and lead them to others who may be able to teach them more. It's not about being a 'preachy Buddhist', its about being skillful, always. This is something that all people can understand.