Saturday, October 13, 2007

General Betray Us?

On Sept 10 ran a full page add in the NY Times. There was a picture of General Petrarus, the man who’s heading up the military operations in Iraq, with the caption: General Petraeus or General Betray Us?

It seems the ad unleashed an outburst of criticism against both the Times and MoveOn.Org. And I also say, why pick on the General? He seems to be a decent guy. Aren’t we just making him the scapegoat? Indeed, the real culprit all along is not the General, but something far more sinister. The big news, which no one dares to consider let alone print, is that we are all being betrayed by our own senses.

Back in the 50’s and 60’s one company broadcast a catchy slogan: Progress is our most important product. For a while it seemed that way to many people. People were hyped up by the “fact” that all the new technological advancements would enable everyone to work less and make more money. Remember, we were supposed to have tons of free time on our hands. But that’s not the way it worked out.

And the war is not working out the way it was suppose to. The pattern repeats itself. I can hear the General say, “Be patient. We just need a little more time. It can still work out.” And just as the military tries to seek victory in Iraq, our senses try to extract some pleasure from material nature. We cannot help but to fall victim to material allurements. And we will even convince ourselves that it all will work out. But ultimately, any selfish pursuit for pleasure turns sour and we are left only with a sense of frustration.

Our senses are imperfect, prone to err, and they fall under illusion. The senses get fooled over and over again. How can we trust our senses if they continually betray us? And on top of that, people reach all sorts of conclusions and make all sorts of authoritative statements based on their fallible sense perception. Does that make any sense?

“An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. Such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.” Bhagavad Gita 5:22