The end of history

Zen master Gudo Nishijima (pictured) believes in a world government run by the US military (post).

I can’t tell you how often I’m tempted to write about politics in this blog. I always try to resist that temptation—after all, there are people with much more insightful things to say on such topics than I. With his recent post, however, Nishijima-sensei has given me an opening I could drive a truck through.

Musing on where we find ourselves in the cosmological sense—sitting here on the third planet from the sun—Nishijima hits on the topic of the Cold War, and its remarkable, peaceful conclusion. But his thinking then takes an unexpected leap:

…what I feel so grateful for, is the fact that the USA and USSR reconciled with each other without fighting World War 3 in 1991. Before the reconciliation I could never have expected such a so happy reconciliation of the two countries at all. At that time I thought that, if World War 3 had occured, major parts of the surface of the Earth could have been destroyed easily…therefore it was such a thankful fact that because of the enormous efforts of the USA and USSR World War 3 has been avoided. We could become very joyful in such happy conditions wholeheartedly, we can enjoy so enormously that we, human beings, were not so stupid as to destroy ourselves with the atom bombs which we, human beings, had produced after so long and so eormous efforts.

Gosh. It’s true that we would have had a hard time enjoying ourselves, wholeheartedly or otherwise, if we had been vaporized in a mushroom cloud, but the mere fact of that not having happened does not, alas, suffice to give me “enormous joy”.

I have a rather peculiar idea on human history, that the world history of human beings seems to be similar to a sports tournament of some kind.

Not peculiar at all. Entire schools of thought and professional careers have been based on this idea.

And thinking about the real situation of the world, we can think that the Final Game of the World Tournament has ended without fighting, already. And I guess that the Winner of the Final Game might be USA.

This is a remarkable short-sighted and uninformed viewpoint, which just demonstrates that Zen masters probably shouldn’t be providing us with their political views.

First, there is no “final game”. I’m surprised that an advanced practitioner of Zen would speak in such apocalyptic terms. Dogen himself said in Bendowa that those talking about the “final” period were wrong. The US simply happens to have emerged as the strongest nation at this particular point in time, due to the convergence of a number of historical and economic factors.

But the US has not just won, says Nishijima; it will transmogrify into a world government!

Therefore in such a situation, USA has the possibility to change her Army into the Police of the World, and All Countries in the World will have the possibility to change their Armies into Branch Offices of the World Police. In other words I think that we, Human Beings, are able to begin to have the possibility of establishing the Government of the Whole World.

OK, but only if Donald Rumsfeld can be World Emperor too.

Seriously, America has no idea how to deploy its strength for good in the world. We’ve seen what happens when it tries to be the global policeman. Luckily, other countries won’t even consider changing their armies into “branch offices” of the US military. Long before that happens, the US military itself will implode, as it is already starting to; the US will be unable to continue to support it; and your “global winner” will finally begin to reap the fruits of years of incompetent management (especially during the last five years), neglect, and carelessness as it spirals down the drain economically, ethically, and spiritually.

[Note: Quotes from Nishijima’s blog have been edited for grammar and spelling without changing their meaning.]

4 Responses to “The end of history”

  1. Greg Hooper Says:

    I don’t know. Some days you’re a Zen master, and other days you’re a retired business man with too much computer on your desk. Either way, I thought
    was a great response, even if it was posted a couple of days early.

  2. Oliver Nielsen Says:

    Interesting read.

  3. Nancy Baker Says:

    Thank you. I came across your blog by accident, and could feel the frustration building as I read the quotes from Zen Master Nishijima. Your response freed me from the compulsion to express a similar reaction, and you did a far better job
    than I could. I wish I had your restraint regarding political commentary. I’ve been struggling to create a blog covering both cosmic and mundane matters, but nearly every post has been a less-than-brilliant political rant. I can’t bring myself to offer urls to my efforts.
    I’ll return to read more of yours, however.

  4. Daniel Kochanik Says:

    Very interesting conflict of views. I agree with you that USA can’t be a policeman to the whole world and even the recent history proved that. But maybe this is just the cas of now.

    I mean, no one knows what happen in the far, far future, maybe a lots of things will change. And somehow the world might need a policeman at some point. In that case, USA will be probably the first candidate.

    So as I say, it’s hard to say. So far you are right. Just in case, check my blog , maybe you find some interesting thoughts there as well.

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