Chanting with Steven Seagal is a blast, but it doesn't make the world safe.
Oh to be young, idealistic and not know what really makes us the civilized, loving race of people that we are today. That is the Matrix in which I would plug myself back into again in a second if i could. But I can't.
I've been a big NGO guy for a while now. NGO, for the internationally uninformed, is the acronym for Non Governmental Organization. It is also called charity, non-profit organization, tax-exempt giving, 501(c)(3) and The American Red Cross. I'm all about the charity and removal of suffering in all its forms and I've been lucky enough to work for a few of the heavy hitters in this category, though I won't name-drop until absolutely necessary. I've also chanted and prayed for World Peace like a mental patient.
Here's something that might ruin your buzz: I'm also all about Guns and Money. People like to compartmentalize their ideals to feel better about things in general. Its cleaner. Its nicer. Its warm and fuzzy. While you are sitting at home depressed or anxious at 3 AM you turn on the TV. And in between Jersey Shore reruns and public access programming you see a commercial for Save The Children. You know the one: poor emaciated children in the street, hungry, gaunt, sad eyes. Their despondency turns into your despondency. You get out your check book. You want the baby to eat. Eat, baby, fill your belly. You try to think of ways to send a cheeseburger directly to the poor fly-ridden 4 year old sitting in the muddy streets of Juba (Sudan). Even though you know its probably not culturally palatable, who wouldn't like a cheeseburger. You feel better and you get some sleep.
Now how would you feel if you knew that some of your hard earned wages are going toward Guns and Money? Try not to knee-jerk reflex your response because I'm going to tell you how it works and when I'm done, I promise you will feel better about the AK-47 AND the cheeseburger you've sent abroad.
As a student of human nature (and an LA buddhist) I've tried to experience and analyze the effectiveness of chanting for World Peace all over the world. Chanting is awesome and prayer and meditation make you feel like a million bucks and I wish I did it more often. But when it comes to creating World Peace, it seems about as effective as using Morse code on the internet. When the Mormons came to Africa to "spread the Word" they advocated that the locals close your eyes and start praying. When they opened their eyes there was a bible in the hand and the pockets were emptied. And a gun was to their collective head. World Peace: not achieved. I single out the Mormons, but there's certainly similar culprits from all denominations. When you want World Peace, you need order.
Now this is an obvious questions, but what creates order? Guns and Money. Avoid the Guns, get the Money.
See, you feel better already. Nobody is shooting at you and your pocket is full. World Peace: achieved. Babies are fed, prosperity has diminished need and created stability. It's human nature, my friends. How would you feel if any of our heavy hitter international charities (still not going to drop names) disclosed that a few of your hard earned cents are going to support the ne'er-do-well militias, child soldiers, drug kingpins, crooked politrickers, monomaniacal generals and sneaky Kazakh arms dealers? You'd have a big problem with it. What about that frigging cheeseburger I thought I was purchasing? If you knew how it really worked you'd still be awake, more despondent that you were at 3 AM and would eventually switch back to useless public access TV. But in reality, you've sent that metaphorical cheeseburger on its way to arrive safe and sound in a place where a 4 year old orphan can safely walk the dusty streets, fearlessly, with a full belly.
Guns and Money, people. Don't discount the charity in them. I don't think I will live long enough to see the Utopian world society where chanting makes it safe, but I've already seen the place where guns and money have done it.
Now meditate on that.