Rep. Weiner admits at last that his denials last week were false, apologizes but refuses to resign.
This is a fine mess he’s gotten himself into. It’s almost chilling to think of that as he was thinking about how he could lie his way out of it, Weiner might have caught a few minutes of news coverage of the Casey Anthony trial where her videotaped lies were played in court.
Two different situations but the same behavior of denial and deception.
Politicians and other celebrities engage in bad behavior partially because of a sense of entitlement that we, addicted to culture, give them. They want more power, more love, more glorification. One of the women who received photos from Weiner stated he needed to know that she wanted him.
On MSNBC, Chris Matthews said, “We expect people who govern to be able to govern themselves.” Instead of a sense of entitlement, politicians should be motivated by a sense of responsibility. I think most start out that way, but then they find out it’s easy to take shortcuts. They discover they can get away with stuff. Because they are entitled to. Because they are famous. Because people like them and want them.
We’ve turned politicians into rock stars. Well, the media has. It’s something they’ve sold to us and we’ve been willing buyers.
It’s not a new problem. In the Tao Te Ching it is written,
If you do not glorify great men
Then people will not quarrel
If you do not cherish possessions
Then people will not steal
If you wish to be rid of desire
Then do not look at objects of desire.
If we only glorified the great . . . but most of the people we exalt aren’t even near great.
On the surface, it seems like a form of narcissism. After all, what could be more vane than sending out pictures of yourself to women in that manner. However, I don’t think that’s what is going on here. It’s more like, if I can get this person to like me, glorify me, give more power, then I’ll be happy, or happier.
These obsessions stem from the fact that we look outside of our own lives for happiness. We think happiness can be found in other people, in acquiring money, having sex, being glorified by others.
I think religion is the major cause for this condition. From the very beginning of life we’re told to look to something external for happiness and salvation. This supernatural being will reward us if we are good, punish us if we do bad, but most of all, this being wants us to love him, want him.
We’re conditioned to look outside, counting on friends, lovers, jobs, cars, money and so on to bring us the satisfaction that already exists within, if we would only look there and tap into it.
This is why I believe that Buddhism has a unique message and a real answer for this problem. As far as I am aware, Buddhism and Taoism are the only two major religious philosophies that teach self-power. The rest are all looking to some other-power to save them.
That doesn’t mean that Buddhists are necessarily immune to the syndrome. We certainly do our share of placing certain people on very high pedestals. We need to pull back on the glorification of teachers. If we don’t give them power (beyond what a teacher should reasonably have), then they cannot abuse their power.
The sage leads by opening the mind of people,
And helps them to satisfy their needs
by weakening their attachments
and strengthening their spirit.
The sage helps all people to let go of their desires,
and then, confounds those who think
they possess superior knowledge.
By practicing doing nothing,
Everything is in harmony.