Dienstag, 27. Mai 2014

Left and Green or Green or Left and Left or Green or Green and Left

I1 am rather reluctant to write this, for I am quite aware that we have more serious problems than some minor unpleasantnesses on the far Left, but then again, I am sort of saying this exactly because of those more serious problems - in times of a horrifying leap towards the political Extreme-Right, as we have just seen it in the European parliament election, we should perhaps start to think about how we can make "Leftist" values or programs more attractive and strong, so that there might be an alternative to frustrated votes on the Right.
To clarify: I have long called myself a Leftist, although I got more and more hesitant to call myself in such a way over the last years. This is not because I have alienated from Leftist values. It's just that it seems to me that there is a lot of Christian Messianism in Marxist thought (on bad days I am feeling like Marxism was the second big reformation of Christianity after Lutheranism - heaven descended unto earth as the proletarian state, but everything else stayed the same2) and that the political term Green can incorporate every useful notion of the Left and at the same time justify it better - the survival of the planet seems to me a much more convincing motivation than the resolution of some economic "contradictions" - leaving aside all the potentialities for Leftist violence, as we have seen it too much in the last century.
Of course I am not exclusively talking about the established Green parties - but with "Green thought" in it's various forms you can argue very well against inequality, exploitation and many other "Leftist issues" in a very radical way without undergoing the usual Marxist dialectical twists. Left was the term of the 20th century, Green is the one for the 21st - that's how I'd like to put it.
Is Green the new Left?
I've been to the demonstration against Police Violence in Vienna last Thursday. Quick summary: there has been a demonstration against a march of the Identitarians the previous Saturday which resulted into some horrible, nasty police violence in which a lot of unjustified pepper spray, police brutality happened and allegedly a pregnant woman lost her child. This - and knowing from own experience as from that of others that for most part Viennese police sadly is some racist, far-out-right scum  - made me go to this demonstration against Police Violence.
I did go to the demonstration because I wanted to take a stand against the dangerous abusive ills of the Austrian police system, but being there, I quickly started to feel annoyed. Because most of the (not more than 1000 protesters) were waving some red flags around - Leninist-Trotskyists, AntiFas and other Far-out-Left groups were the majority and the speeches that were given at the stage were the usual leftist triteness with all the "solidarity", "antifascist" and "class struggle" buzzwords I've heard a thousand times before. I wanted to go to the demonstration to show my discontent of how the Police System is structured, but being there I quickly felt I have to assume one of the Marxist (Leninist / Trotskyist ++) identities that were advertised on the numerous flags around me as well as by the speeches. This gave me the creeps, because I am personally opposed to Identities or Identitarians, whatever colour their flag is and I feel alienated very quickly from any form of gathering if I feel I have to affiliate to some of those to be a part of it.
Please never wave a green flag.
Of course, I am much more happy to be surrounded by people waving red flags than yellow, or brown or blue flags, but still I felt sort of abused while standing in the crowd of that demonstration. Because I wanted to show my discontent against Police Violence, and not my solidarity with some leftist movement and I have the feeling I am not the only one who feels that way. Many people are very dissatisfied with the way our contemporary society is structured and would like to change it. But far less people are attracted to old-fashioned leftist ideals - at least in their dogmatic, reflected version, as you mostly find it among everyday-protesters. But since their presence is usually omnipresent at those kind of demonstrations, I think this scares away a lot of these people. To me it seems, there is this huge confusion of problems and solutions - many, maybe even most people today would agree that our society has huge problems that do require a major change, but far less people believe that we have already found the solutions for those problems.
That's why I found the #occupy-movement - at least in its idealized form, for I am aware there have been quite some problems with it - so inspiring. To me, there was something novel in that movement, for its basic message seemed to be "We are discontent with the current situation - we do not have a solution to it yet - but hey, let's try to work on it - let's try to change the situation - let's try out other things and see how it goes - let's dare to do an experiment other than sticking to an old rotten system of which we all know, how bad it is." I liked this so much, because it seemed to have the courage to stop to cling onto some hastily postulated Marxist better-world ideals and admit, that we do not know how to save or better the world. It did not require all of its attendees to have the same ideology to be a part of the #occupy-movement, it was enough to simply say "I am discontent - let's try to stir things up."
In the early phase, #occupy has been criticised for precisely this reason, but I do frankly think, that this is its inherent strength. Because the problems of our time are so complex, that there is no solution at hand. Our institutions and we, who are stuck in between them, are so old and rigid - we need to shake them up, to become free of them first and then see, if a "solution" (tricky word) is at hand. To postulate that we do already have the solution at hand since it was first written down in a book by a German émigré in London some 150 years ago has too much of those Messianic traits that I have hinted at earlier.  Life is a organic process and there is no solution a priori to it (a heaven), it is something that needs to be continuously reworked, rethought, redone....lived. This fundamental notion seems to me to be the (un-Christian, un-Monotheistic and un-Platonistic) realization of the #occupy-movement as well as a core of Green thought. And yes - I am idealizing things a lot here...it is required to envision some ideals to acquire some change.
Green is un-Christian, un-Monotheistic and un-Platonistic.
I've heard that Simone Weil said, that if a Nazi and a Communist would have met in Berlin 1932 and would have started a conversation instead of throwing rocks at each other, they would have been surprised about how much they have in common.
I am opposed to identities because they encourage people to gather in groups, install fronts and fight each other instead of the problem, they both originate from. A person without identity (Mann ohne Eigenschaften, corps-sans-organes, ...) can have empathy with every body, because we all are 99% the same, if our identities wouldn't get in the way of our heads. This is why I feel uncanny, when I go to a demonstration and feel I have to acquire a pre-given identity, where I only wanted to show discontent with and opposition to something. I don't want to be a part of some specific political or other group, I am part of humanity and believe we have to change quite a lot to maintain it. AND I believe many people feel like that and would like to show that but are scared away by those identities that are still dominant in almost every demonstration. So I believe that demonstrations would get more attendees, if they would be more open, if they would not advertise with red flags, banners and speeches so much. People would like to change something, but most people do not fall for the old-fashioned dogmatic bullshit any longer.

It took me a lot of effort to write this, for I know there are so many things in it to be criticised, which are only half-true and were quite painful for me myself to write. But I would like the reader to see this as some desperate attempt to postulate some idea(l)s of how we could improve the world - how (old term:) Leftist (new term:) Green values could reach a higher popularity. Because that is what they would need, for we do live in a democracy (or Ochlocrazy?) and we have just seen a terrible leap towards the Far-Right in the European election, with which the world will clearly be going to shit, if they keep on growing...that is...if we do not manage to postulate a much more attractive, progressive alternative to this conservative backlash.

1 the ideas for this article arose from a conversation with Alix Deneault - thanks Alix!
2 to investigate further along those lines, I recommend to read the last two chapters of Peter Sloterdijk's Gottes Eifer - especially page 191 and 195 in the Verlag der Weltreligionen hardcover edition of 2007.

Mittwoch, 7. Mai 2014

An die Grünen

Liebe Grüne Partei,

seit ich das Wahlrecht habe, bin ich grüner Stammwähler. Warum ich dieses Mal nicht die Grünen wähle, möchte ich hier kurz zusammenfassen.
Ich selbst bin ziemlich dunkelgrün eingestellt und wäre persönlich für eine viel progressivere grüne Politik, als sich wohl heute mit demokratischen Mitteln durchsetzen ließe. Dass parlamentarische Politik machen, realpolitische Kompromisse machen bedeutet, lass ich mir einreden und ich gehöre nicht zu denen, die aus Frust über zu wenig Radikalität dir den Rücken zukehr(t)en - so finde ich zum Beispiel, dass in Wien sei der rot-grünen Stadtregierung einiges weiter gegangen ist. Natürlich, für mich bedeutet dies nur einen kleinen Anfang und letztendlich sollte die gesamte innere Gürtelzone bis auf wenige Zubringerstraßen autofrei werden, doch dieser Anfang ist sehr gut gelungen und Parkpickerl, Mariahilferstraße, Carsharing, Radwegausbau und Co machen wirklich hoffnungsfroh.

Aber zur kommenden, wichtigen EU-Wahl kann ich nicht mehr als mir an den Kopf greifen, wenn ich durch die grausam von Wahlwerbung zugepflasterten Straßen Wien spaziere.
Bei allem was recht ist: was ist das für ein scheiß Plakat? Als eines der Hauptthemen für deinen Wahlkampf machst du ein unsinniges Gurkenkrümmungsgesetz, dass seit 5 Jahren nicht mehr in Kraft ist? Neben dem "Lieber Menschen retten als Banken"-Plakat, dass - sehr vorsichtig, sodass es keine der RassistInnen unseres Landes affrontieren könnte - die EU-Flüchtlingsproblematik thematisiert, kommt keines der grünen Wahlplakate über süße Tierbilder und stupiden Paradeiserpatriotismus hinaus. Haben wir nicht größere Probleme als diese? In der EU wie sonstwo?

Hier sind zur Erinnerung einige brennendere Themen, die mir in spontanen fünf Minuten eingefallen sind:
  • Weitere Regulierung und Eindämmung der Finanz- und Börsenspekulationen. Die Finanztransaktionssteuer, die übrigens eh wieder am abkacken ist, kann nur ein erster Schritt gewesen sein.
  • Endlich weg vom verkrusteten Paradigma der Wachstumsgesellschaft kommen! Sogar einer der Chefentwickler des modernen Finanzkapitalismus, John Maynard Keynes, hat voraus gesagt, dass in ca. 5 Generationen (= ziemlich genau heute) der auf Wachstum basierte Kapitalismus seine Grenze erreicht haben wird, und wir uns dann ein neues Wirtschaftssystem überlegen werden müssen. Mehr als vierzig Jahre nach den "Grenzen des Wachstums" vom Club of Rome muss ich mich wirklich fragen, warum es noch immer keine Partei gibt, die sich traut mit diesem Thema in den Wahlkampf zu gehen. Man könnte doch auf zumindest eines der drei Ernährungspolitikplakate verzichten und stattdessen ein Bild von einem wuchernden Krebsgeschwür und einem fetzigen Warntext verwenden. Ruft mal die Leute an, die die Zigarettenpackungen gestalten, die können euch sicher helfen.
  • Forcierte Umstieg auf grüne Energieressourcen, verstärkter Ausbau von alternativen Verkehrsmitteln, Eindämmung des Autoverkehrs etc. - wie beim Ernährungsthema wissen auch bei diesen Themen alle, dass sie die eurigen sind, dennoch, warum so ein manischer Fokus auf die Gurkerl und die Schweinderl?
  • Soziale Gerechtigkeit - eigentlich auch ein Stammthema der Grünen, auch wenn ich mir schon langsam nicht mehr sicher bin, ob sich dies nicht in Bio-Boboismus aufgelöst hat.
  • "Was für eine Krise?" Diese Krise ist doch nur ein Produkt wie Signal des Ablebens des gegenwärtigen Wirtschaftssystem. Lassen wir uns nicht von diesem konstruierten Krise-Begriff alles aufzwingen sondern feiern wir ihn und leiten ein anderes Wirtschaftssystem ein! Auch sehr populismustauglich.
  • Weg von blinden Arbeitsbeschaffungspolitik! "Arbeitsplätze schaffen", "Arbeitsplätze sichern" - es scheint kein größeres, unhinterfragbareres Dogma in gegenwärtiger Politik zu geben, als jenes. Ist schon mal jemandem eingefallen, dass Arbeit kein Selbstzweck ist? Wenn eine wirkliche Notwendigkeit im Sinne von Bedarf an Arbeit besteht, wird es diese Arbeit auch geben. So weit ist der "Markt" im Sinne von Gesellschaft tatsächlich in der Lage sich selbst zu regulieren: wenn Nahrung benötigt wird, werden entsprechende Jobs entstehen. Selbiges trifft bei Verwaltung, Verteidigung, Gastronomie, Handel und und und zu. Wie Michel Serres es ausdrückt, befindet sich die Menschheit im größten Wandel seit dem Neolithicum (=beginn der Sesshaftigkeit und des Agrarwesens). Vor gut hundert Jahren waren in allen Ländern der Welt noch 95% der Bevölkerung im primären Sektor beschäftigt, heute sind es in den meisten Industrieländern 5%. Wundert es uns da noch, dass wir massive Beschäftigungsprobleme haben? Anscheinend haben wir mit moderner Technik einen Status der Verwöhnung erreicht, der nicht mehr ansatzweise so viel Arbeit erfordert, wie vor der Industrialisierung. Wozu arbeiten wir also noch so viel? Die Burn-Out- und Überlastungsleitartikel werden von Jahr zu Jahr mehr, aber wofür arbeiten wir denn noch so viel? Die meisten sitzen doch eh in Jobs, die der Gesellschaft mehr schaden (Werbung, Bürokratie, Finanzwesen, Lobbying, Coaches) als nützen. Natürlich könnte man hier einwenden, dass jeder Mensch eine Beschäftigung, einen Sinn braucht und hierbei stimme ich selbstverständlich auch zu. Doch die Jobs, die das Wifi oder sonst wer schafft (was für ein seltsamer Ausdruck - Produktion von Arbeit?!), werden wohl die wenigsten glücklich stimmen. Ich bin mir sicher, dass die Menschen mit der zusätzlichen Zeit, die bei einer Arbeitszeitverkürzung herausschaut, umgehen können und sie sinnvoller nützen werden, als es in einem geschaffenem Beruf möglich ist - mit Bildung und eigenen Projekten, die der Gesellschaft gleich einen riesigen Innovationsschub bringen wird. Deswegen ist eine Abkehr von der stupiden Arbeitsplatzbeschaffungspolitik und eine radikale Arbeitszeitverkürzung anzuraten. Dies erfordert aber selbstverständlich einen größeren politischen und gesellschaftlichen Wandel, als der Kampf gegen abgeschaffte Gurkenkrümmungsgesetze. 
Nochmals, ich bin mir durchaus bewusst, dass eine gewisse Adaption an die "breite Masse" (die leider viel zu oft als Diskursobjekt selbst mehr ein Konstrukt der herrschenden Macht, denn eine Realität ist) nötig ist, aber mit dieser Wahlkampfpolitik glaube ich nicht, dass ihr jemals über die stagnierenden 12 oder so % hinauskommen werdet. Die Gesellschaft ist mittlerweile relativ konsensuell grün eingestellt - es ist vielmehr das gängige Wirtschaftssystem, das mehr Wandel verhindert. Deswegen ist eine klarer fortschrittliche Politik erforderlich, als eine s(t)imulierte Paradeiserempörung. Populismus funktioniert sehr gut in der Politik, wie wir an diversen blauen Geschmacklosigkeiten sehen, und ist vielleicht auch ein wesentlicher Teil der Politik. Doch wenn eure Werbeleute nicht mehr als diesen Gurken- und Paradeisersalat zustande bringen, dann solltet ihr vielleicht Leute engagieren, die nicht zuvor bei der Bravo gearbeitet haben.
Ich bin der Meinung, dass Populismus auch im linken Spektrum funktioniert, wenn er klug ist und sich eben nicht ans Bravo-Niveau anschmiegt. Wie wäre es mit einem Plakat à la "Warum arbeiten wir uns alle in den Burn-Out?" im Sinne des letzten Punktes oben? Damit könnte man sich so richtig austoben.
Jedenfalls ist die derzeitige Kampagne lächerlich und ich kann mir nicht vorstellen, dass die in irgendeinen Spektrum ankommt. Der Frust und die sogenannte "Politikverdrossenheit" ist extrem groß in diesem Land und findet zur Zeit nur Ventil in steinzeitlichen Rassismen am rechten Rand. Die Menschen sind aber nicht so gestrig, wie es die Höhe des blauen Prozentbalken suggeriert. Sie sind nur frustriert und finden dies nur auf der einen politischen Seite erwidert. 
Ich würde mir wünschen, dass die grüne Partei wieder etwas kantiger wird, als sie es derzeit ist. Dass sie einen echten Wandel propagiert und sich nicht in Anbiederungen an eine imaginäre breite Masse verliert. Mit Wahlplakaten von jetzigen Format wird die Grünenpartei in der Lächerlichkeit untergehen - und nicht in der "breiten Masse" ankommen.
Langer rede, kurzer Sinn: ich werde bei dieser Wahl zum ersten Mal nicht die Grünen, sondern Europa Anders wählen und ich lade jeden dazu ein, dies auch zu tun, sodass sich zumindest eine geringe Chance ergibt, dass diese Stimme nicht an die 5%-Hürde verloren geht. 
Mich, liebe Grünen, habt ihr auf jeden Fall bis auf Weiteres verloren. Und dies liegt nicht daran, dass ihr zu wenig breitentauglich seid, sondern zuviel oder: ungeschickt breitentauglich, konformistisch breitentauglich. Und ich bin nicht alleine mit dieser Meinung.

Dienstag, 6. Mai 2014

Cold Souls, Altered States, Super-Organisms

soulless people
The film Cold Souls (2009) by Sophie Barthes is a beautiful movie about an almost-extinct term within philosophy: that of the soul. In it, main-role actor Paul Giamatti plays himself to be some New York theatre actor in an inspirational crisis with Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, that he is supposed to play. Chekhov's dark, Russian timbre touches Paul in a way that he has troubles dissociating from the role and gets more and more tangled up in a thick downward spiral of emotions. His soul gets infected by Russian melancholia, he has difficulties discerning his feelings from the ones injected by his role - he merges with Uncle Vanya which causes severe distress in Paul.
To overcome this problem, Paul handles it the American way and goes to some clinic where they amputate and store your soul for you in safes, so it doesn't bother you any longer. The doctor offering these services puts it in the following words: "If you've got a tumour - you get rid of it. If your soul is twisted - you can now also get rid of it". "Believe me - when you got rid of your soul, everything becomes more functional and...purposeful." He presents it as the latest bliss of scientific progress and says that for most people, their soul is just in their way to happiness.
After some reluctance, Paul Giamatti agrees to get his soul removed. After the successful procedure he is asked about his feeling. With a somewhat blank look he replies "Hollow" and - after some reassurance by the doctor - adds "Well...I feel light...light and empty and ...uh...bored maybe. ...overall I feel great, I feel great" he concludes in a soulless, monotonous voice.
He exchanges blank but smiling looks with other patients in the waiting room and then commences his soulless life. In the beginning he feels great - a soul just seems to be in the way of a super-functional post-modern life of a New Yorker. His everyday tasks are completed with much less heavy-headedness, he can enjoy the soulless small talk with strangers and the soulless friendliness one receives at high-end stores and spas. He's able to babble the entire Chekhov text on stage without a single wink of his eyes and has a much more nonchalant, light-minded way of interacting with his wife and other friends. 
(In the rest of the movie we see that, whereas most New Yorkers would be more than happy to live life the soulless way, Paul, as an artist, eventually gets in serious troubles with it: his wife complaints about his shallowness, his director about the terrible dullness of his performance. The rest of the movie is dedicated to the hunt for Paul's soul, which bizarrely got kidnapped to Russia. It loses a lot on it's way, but still is worth watching - much more for the brilliant initial idea, then the plot that carries it.)

light-speed vs. soul-speed
There is an old Arabic proverb saying that the soul doesn't travel faster than a camel. So when - for example - Ibn Battuta in the 14th century, who did immense journeys for 28 years, thought that he travelled faster then his soul-camel, his caravan set camp until he believed that the soul has eventually caught up to him. Then they could move on.
In today's world & following the lines of this proverb, most of us must have lost touch with her or his soul. If you travel very infrequently and only by train or bus, there is some chance your soul will arrive where you are with some weeks delay. But if you ever took a long-distance flight, I guess you'll need to get acquainted to the idea, that your soul is irretrievably lost. 
Or: at least your soul as an definite entity. To get rid of your soul, you don't even need to go to some fancy New York clinic, it suffices to travel your soul off on the way there. Soulless travellers, soulless businessmen, led by stewards and pilotesses who have lost even the last bit of soul - an army of post-modern, soulless vampires ceaselessly swarming out of our airports, getting into cabs, buses and trains to arrive nowhere.
That would be the old-fashioned way of seeing it. The soul as a clear-cut entity is being lost to jet engines and speed-travelling.
But we could also see it that way: yes, our soul is loosing its clear-cut entity, but it is not lost to - it is dispersed by jet engines! Like a clump of salt that got wet, our wet and frozen soul is being dried and scattered into soul-dust that can expand around the globe. In times of frequent long-distance flights and globalisation our souls are merging with the stratosphere - are becoming a part of the atmosphere. So we might not have our hard soul entity in our home or some other construction like that, we become ultra-fast nomads that can retrace particles of their souls everywhere on the globe. Everywhere we are, we can be sure to breath in some of our soul-dust. But we won't be able to establish any kind of unity with it that excludes the entire globe.

the primordial self
In the movie Altered States from 1980 directed by Ken Russell the main character Edward Jessup is a young professor experimenting with hallucinogenics at the abnormal psychology department of Columbia university. He doubts that schizophrenia is a mental disorder and believes that there is some primordial or fundamental truth hidden in our minds, which can be traced down with the help of the above-mentioned.
In a very paradigmatic scene there is a discussion about Buddhism1 at a house party, in which Edward insists that Buddhism isn't really a religion, because there is no importance projected into the role of god and it's just about retrieving and improving your self. To this statement, his hopelessly-in-love girlfriend replies rather unnerved, that this is just replacing the term "god" with "self" - and so it is still a religion which hunts after some transcendence, which is - very dangerously - placed within the individual self. 
But Edward can't be dissuaded from his fixed idea of some primordial or transcendental truth and pursues his Faustian hunt even more recklessly, so that they eventually break up, although she can never fall out of love with him. Later he discovers Ayahuasca in Mexico and manages to synthesize it at Columbia. This takes his experiments to a whole new level - for the voyages to a more fundamental form of being that he experiences while tripping aren't purely mental any more - he is actually starting to degenerate physically as well. After much scepticism, the two scientists that assist his experiments are forced to confirm that he really degenerated into an ape-like being, adopting the physical bone structure as well as the DNA-Code.
Enticed by this revelation, Edward can´t be stopped from taking the experiment much further and he - against the concerned advices of his girlfriend and co-scientists - takes even higher doses of the synthesized drug and devolves into something much more primordial than a primate: for the time of his trips he becomes some strange, highly energetic light field which actually destroys most of the laboratory. 
In awe as much as in shock about this discovery, Edward's entire attitude slowly starts to shift. He loses his manic obsession for some kind of truth. But the drug visions hunt him physically as much as mentally. In the closing scene, Edward finally declares his loves to his girlfriend but, in the same sentence, adds that he is too deep down the rabbit hole to still be able to get out of it. His hunt for some transcendent essence actually was successful and he managed to become the long-searched for primordial self, only to find that it is pure horror and terror. By this vision he is so deeply disturbed, that he has eventually been able accept and even admire the beautiful shallowness of life without transcendence. Transcendence, the idea of some fundamental truth is revealed to be pure horror and it now seems like a blessing to him, that the humans have lost touch with their origin, are living disconnected from their primordial selves. In this, the movie is to me some kind of perfect guide to post-modernism, in which humanity has unlearned to hunt for some essence or fundamental meaning.
super-organism dissolving an organism
 Recently I have been quite obsessed with the concept of a super-organism. The terms of super-organism is commonly applied to ants, bees, termites and other social animals. As a individual (organism) those animals have a very limited intelligence, but as a collective (super-organism), they are able to solve and act in very complex manners. For example: some years ago my girlfriend-at-the-time and me played around with an ant colony on Sicily. Some ants of the colony transported material (little sticks and so forth) to the entry holes, unloading in there for others to take in. We for our part "helped" the ants by bringing a lot of those materials directly to the hole. In the beginning, this created chaos: an immense traffic jam evolved in front of the entry holes and nothing seemed to be moving any longer. But, after a few minutes, the ant adapted to the new situation and more of them were occupied with carrying the material inside, so that the traffic went back to a normal and fluent status.
Sometimes I believe we as humans are a super-organism as well - consider London, Jakarta or any other megalopolis. All those cities work on a much higher level then that of individual, intentional decisions. Also the most promising currents in philosophy try to grasp social or other development on a super-personal level. I believe that the human organism has the potential of evolving into a super-organism and - given the immense growth of population since the age of industrialisation - this might be the only alternative we still have. It should be clear that we - as individuals or organisms - have no chance to face the problems of our age (environmental, social, etc.) Maybe we should try to find the hidden potential that lies in the collective or the human super-organism. The problems of our age are too complex to be dealt with as individuals, we have reached a point, which the ants have already long since reached: we have to bond into one super-organism to be able to deal with the complexity of our world. The occidental idea of the strong subject is precisely contrary to that notion and as long as our cities are inhabited by those subjects, they will be in much disarray, because all the tiny little intentionalities or interests of every subject will collide in competition (we call this capitalism for most parts).
I wouldn't have believed I am capable of such leftist Sci-Fi talk.

1 Elmar Holenstein claims that the term Buddhism is a very Western one and doesn't really do justice to the real Indian concept. The teachings of Buddha don't have anything to do with ideology, which is usually expressed with the "-ism"-ending. According to him, it is much more understood as a way, or, in Sanskrit, dharma. Consequently he proposes to use the term Buddhadharma instead of Buddhism. I generally intend to follow this proposal, but in this special case I stick to the "-ism" word, because I deal with a American Hollywood production and the way Buddhism seems to be understood in it, might be more like an -ism than a dharma. See: page 28 of Holenstein, Elmar: Philosophie-Atles: Orte und Wege des Denkens. Dritte Auflage. Ammann Verlag: Zürich 2004.