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The middle way between the City and the Church

Madeleine Bunting says, in today’s Guardian, that “Space” is the theme that runs through much of what the Occupy London Stock Exchange protesters say: “they want to create the space to think of alternatives. First that means taking key symbolic public space –this is the politics of geography – to use it for conviviality, living, learning and participation… The protesters’ aim is to open up space, physically and socially, for people to connect and thereby open up space in people’s imaginations.”

The location of the camp between the City and the Church is fascinating from a Buddhist viewpoint. The Buddha spoke of finding the middle way between nihilism (materialism) and eternalism (God). What better embodiment of this than Occupy LSX? In an age where neither the City nor the Church seem to have a solution to our individual and societal ills, the camp is to be warmly welcomed for opening up this space of creativity and challenge.

What would the Buddha say? That instead of appealing to invisible hands or deities in whom we no longer believe, we need to take responsibility for ourselves and for our communities. He would say that every action and non-action by each of us collectively and individually creates our future selves and the society that we live in. And I think he’d say that our collective and individual karma is the only thing that can really occupy this ‘space between’, and address what Bunting rightly calls “the ethical bankruptcy of our age.” Share

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