The Incredible Lightness of Being Google, Amazon, Goldman Sachs

Companies and their felon bosses look to Buddhism for more lightness in their global reach to control us all

Been listening and watching Mucho Mucho people of the white persuasion, many from those elite and so inflated follow-the-great-white-professor Ivy League schools, talking about, hmm, Kenya, Middle East, Blacks in America, undocumented from Latin America. You get the picture.

A sensibility, a common narrative, upbringings sort of liberal white Jewish (some non-Jews) but still keyed into their own internal story-telling, these novelists and playwrights, something about how their rhetoric is subsumed by so many unsuspecting folk. I never knew how collectively worthless in a very real sense all that education and all those millions of shelves weighted down with their tomes and treatises and dramatic legal analyses, all their histories and sociological studies, all those quasi-Marxist or free-market or Great White-Zionist Brother-Sister postulations have been to mankind, to the very reality of people cut out of their communities, their homes, their cultural rooted geographic place.

Lump them all together – the language of business and of articulated calculations, whether feeding the industrial military-environmental-education-economic-artistic-legalistic-civic-cultural-consumer-spiritual-psychological-agricultural-information-IT-Surveillance-Servitude complex.

I guess there are no African-Latino-Asian-Middle Eastern people writing books, or getting them published in the great huff-and-puff media madness of mainstream or academic realms. I see it daily on Democracy Now. Daily! Jewish intellectuals or Jewish filmmakers or Jewish journalists or Jewish artists or Jewish tycoons lecturing and parsing out what it is the world has become and will become and should have become.

I’m not against smarts or articulate dialogue or people with unique or powerfully revolutionary ideas or who happen to be of the same color and cultural persuasion. But it is interesting to see that skew, on the daily roll call in political circles, business circles, artistic circles, media circles, medical and scientific circles, all sort of filtered through a more narrow and accepted quasi-liberal (middle of the baseline) lens.

All punctuated by Jon Leibowitz Stewart in a blip of an insipid and Vaudevillian mauling joke!

But I am trying to find the art of power, the art of communicating,, peace in every step. Reading Thich Nhat Hanh while fomenting revolutionary zeal for a culture so far removed from the pacific nature of the Buddhist monk’s line of spiritual and classical mindful listening healing.

His human and humane cadence is vibrant in a very violent and volatile world where millionaire and billionaire company bosses learn the path to enlightenment and internal calm while still selling the guts to and software for and marketing glean about what it is that makes those companies evil – the linkages to smart bombs: the bombs of flesh burning war; the bombs of bank accounting robbing war; the bombs of education killing war; the bombs of the pop culture splats; the bombs of medical and debt war. These companies, no matter how many retreats and mediation lifetimes spent in capturing the CEOs’ or middle managers’ shakra, these non-profits and educational warehouses, if their job is to move capital, to trade labor, to imprison minds in the consumer addictions of Madison Avenue, and if they work to prop up the infinitesimal products of satellite or drone warfare, or bio-metric mapping, or punishment castes, or sacrifice zones, from sea to shining sea, no matter how distant their business plan is to the actual Reaper doing a triple-tap on medical workers picking up the baby torsos or no matter how intellectualized the Ivy Leaguer may be in her NSA-CIA-IMF-CFA work, they are still parasites, leeches, carnivores boring into the heads and hearts of humanity, and that rot, in their own rotten-to-the-core existences, their sickness spread, they’re continuing that pathogen, no matter how many massage sessions, healing yoga hours and retreat weeks they spend on rationalizing their own self, self-actualizing/self-absorbing/self-meditating/self-healing/self-reflecting/self-realization evolutions.

But, they are fooled, even the Thich Nhat Hanhs, when Fortune publishes the top 100 companies to work for. Fooled by the green-washing-blood extraction services of what they do, we celebrate these punishers, and give them awards, kudos, big pay-offs for their patronizing philanthropic ways.

When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That’s the message he is sending.

Suffering is not enough. Life is both dreadful and wonderful… How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow? It is natural–you need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow.

Sure, talk to those CEOs – The Guardian

Why on earth are many of the world’s most powerful technology companies, including Google, showing a special interest in an 87-year-old Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk?

The answer is that all of them are interested in understanding how the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, or Thay as he is known to his hundreds of thousands of followers around the world, can help their organisations to become more compassionate and effective.

In a sign that the practice of mindfulness is entering the mainstream, Thay has been invited later this month to run a full day’s training session at Google’s main campus in California.

Thay, who has sold over 2 million books in America alone, is also meeting more than 20 CEOs of other major US-based technology companies in Silicon Valley, to offer his wisdom on the art of living in the present moment.

Look at the list of the top companies to work for – companies whose very existence relies on slave labor, exploitation, killing mom and pop stores, exploiting land, air, sea, forest, destroying community. From Whole Foods to USAA, from Google to Genentech, from Twitter to Goldman Sachs, American Express, CarMax, Roch, Hyatt, Hilton, General Mills, Mars, Capital One, Nordstroms, well, you get the picture.

Lobbyists in pockets, hedge fund investments, off-shore banking, Swiss accounts, anti-union fervor, exploitation of humanity, all there, and, thus, we have more lists, and the Buddhist monk, Thay, is here to help those soul-searching CEOs and managers on how to make those exploitative sales and those inroads into the human Matrix easier to palpitate.

Again, crocodile tears, for, this human – The Guardian, again

While most business leaders find it difficult to talk openly about the pressures they face, there are high profile examples of executives who share Thay’s concerns.
Erin Callan, the former chief financial officer of Lehman Brothers, who resigned months before the bank’s bankruptcy, put her head above the parapet earlier this year to write about how work had completely consumed her.

“When I left my job, it devastated me,” she wrote in the New York Times. “I couldn’t just rally and move on. I did not know how to value who I was versus what I did.

“When I wasn’t catching up on work, I spent my weekends recharging my batteries for the coming week. Work always came first, before my family, friends and marriage — which ended just a few years later.”

Indeed, another little narrative, in the New York Times, book deal, and a cool few tens of millions stashed away for Erin, I am sure, and her well-deserving family. Yep, how many live on $2 a day? How many?

So, these Americans retreat to the 8,000 square foot mountain cabins, all solar and and green, all those lovely mornings waking up to pines and loons, and they get to live the dream, and think about how they once were in a rat race – but, unfortunately, they never think about the suffering their actions unleashed to millions of people, to ecosystems, to the cultural systems, or how many indebted clients they helped to create of Economic Hit Men and Murder Incorporated they help to seed.

Enlightenment, deep breath, and, wow, they are transformed.

Funny how some of us always started their lives in a run for truth, for social justice, for not making a cool million on the backs and intestines of humanity. Some of us took vows of poverty because we pursued educating the poor, the sick of mind, the colonized. Some of us stayed our course, and what do we show in this Point One Percent and One Percent and Twenty Percent country?

More struggle, and, yes, Thay, some of us find peace in the day, in the moment of the rush of a ruby-throated hummingbird, on a white water river, in a pine or cedar forest, under the shadow of eagles and blue herons.

But, Thay, but world of vacillating, co-opting, colonizing Madison Avnue iPhone-iWatch distractors, and human detractors, where profits are amassed, we have to move on from the corporate amassing of power, control, data, information, political force. We have to put them away. They are weapons, Thay, like AK-47s, in the hands of felons, sociopaths, these corporations, these billionaires and millionaires and up-and-coming techies.

*****

How many trillions have been stolen, how much land has been raped, how many systems have been bombed? Try the World Bank out for size:

Global Hunger, a la United Nations:

925 million people do not have enough to eat – more than the combined populations of USA, Canada and the European Union.1

There has been a slight fall in total numbers of hungry people in the world, down to 925 million in 2010 from over a billion in 2009. The percentage has dropped from 18 percent to 16 percent and while this drop is welcome, the overall picture remains grim and the total numbers are unacceptably high.

Nearly half the world’s population, 2.8 billion people, survive on less than $2 a day.

About 20 percent of the world’s population, 1.2 billion people, live on less than $1 a day.

Nearly 1 billion people are illiterate and 1 billion do not have safe water.
98 percent of the world’s hungry live in developing countries.2

Asia and the Pacific region is home to over half the world’s population and nearly two thirds of the world’s hungry people.2

Women make up a little over half of the world’s population, but they account for over 60 percent of the world’s hungry.3

65 percent of the world’s hungry live in only seven countries: India, China, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan and Ethiopia.2

*****

A few years ago, for every $1 received in aid, developing countries spent $13 on debt repayments.

So, all these fandangos and studies and prognostications – again, go to the top of this piece, on who is writing and studying and financing and white-papering the data – have little reality in the converging forces of resource stealing, climate change, wars, Diaspora, water shortages, disease, blights, blood-sweat-and-tears labor.

Really, Thay, talking to the CEOs to help them refine their exploitation, their reach, their feel-good spirit, to improve the little fun parties of their workforce? Cease and desist – end your existences.

We often think of peace as the absence of war, that if powerful countries would reduce their weapon arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds- our own prejudices, fears and ignorance. Even if we transport all the bombs to the moon, the roots of war and the roots of bombs are still there, in our hearts and minds, and sooner or later we will make new bombs. To work for peace is to uproot war from ourselves and from the hearts of men and women. To prepare for war, to give millions of men and women the opportunity to practice killing day and night in their hearts, is to plant millions of seeds of violence, anger, frustration, and fear that will be passed on for generations to come. ― Thich Nhat Hanh, Living Buddha, Living Christ

  1. Source: FAO news release, 14 September 2010. []
  2. Source: FAO news release, 14 September 2010. [] [] []
  3. Source: Strengthening efforts to eradicate hunger…, ECOSOC, 2007. []
Paul Haeder's new bio is about suspending all those credentials, all those titles, all those in-the-trench experiences he's acquired and worked hard on in his 64 years (2021): Novelist, essayist, journalist, social worker, college and K12 educator, environmental warrior. Terms and avocations more meaningless as cancel culture rises and rises from left and right insanity. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 16 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.