Blog Site

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Minions of Hitler

Buddha taught the interdependence of all things and dependent origination (the doctrine of "Pratitya-samutpada"). This basically means that all things exist because of pre-existing conditions and cause and effect. This could be considered a statement of physics, long before the school of physics had so distinctively branched into its own from philosophy. It may seem an obvious observation to us today, but in a time and place where people commonly suspected things to happen because of luck, the gods, magic, and so on, the notion of cause and effect would have been an important milestone in human reasoning and understanding.

Something occurred to me recently, in thinking about all of the world's current troubles with terrorism, war, the Iran situation, the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and so on.

All of this leads back to Hitler in one way or another. The formation of Israel was endorsed by other nations largely because of sentiment resulting from the holocaust. Many of the political borders and situations in the middle east region came about because of British decisions and promises resulting from World War II. Our relationship with Russia comes after a long cold war, made possible by nuclear weapons developed during the war. Russia is still a source of concern in that many of its nuclear assets may be in questionable hands, not to mention many political complications that still exist in our efforts to fight the war on terror.

Of course, true understanding of dependent origination would mean that we would also know Hitler (and his power given him by the people of Germany) was a result of other causes, such as an economically oppressed pre-war Germany. There is no "end point" we can solidly blame for everything. Another fact of dependent origination would be that causes are rarely singular. More often, they are part of an intricate web of complex causes. It wasn't "just" Hitler's choices, but many other converging causes coming into play that brings us our current problems (including, of course, more recent decisions by our own governments).

But, certainly, there are major causal "hubs" in this tapestry; high points of causation where events take a major shift. Hitler would seem to have caused a significant turning point in global events, and is major "hub of causation".

So, all over the world, we are still being slaughtered by Hitler from beyond the grave to this day. In many respects, all of our current efforts to find peace or what we think is justice in the world, be we Americans, Russians, Palestinians, Israelis, Iraqis, or Iranians, are efforts to escape Hitler's karma.

If this is true, then it is clear why we have been unable to do so. Hitler, in this sense, was not merely a human being who lived in a certain time. Hitler created the karma he did because of who he was, his proclivities, tendencies, and his responses to his world. These responses included a lust for power, racial hatred & supremacy, barbarism, manipulation of mass sentiment through power of the state, global hegemony, and more.

The reason we cannot escape Hitler's karma is that we have been attempting to do so by using his means, to one degree or another. In this manner, we keep the essence of Hitler alive and are all, every nation on all sides, to some degree still minions of Hitler, carrying out his will.

It seems to me, the only way to escape Hitler's influence, is to utilize other responses. I have stated before that one who fights fire with fire will end up with a burned home. We must find responses that counteract the karma of Hitler if we are to ever escape them.

This, of course, boils down to what we all know. The real problem before us is that these things are easier said than done. I still don't have a satisfactory answer, but I'm convinced that the key (our "foot in the door" so to speak) is that all beings crave justice and happiness. If we start with that, then we should be able to figure something out.

Just some random thoughts.


  1. And can we not see a parallel with the current thinking that "God" is on the side of a powerful political leader? Didn't Hitler feel the same? And yet, did he have to choose that course of action? Was he not at all responsible for his choices?

    But I think you make an interesting point... one well worth pondering. I never considered Hitler before when thinking about how we've ended up in the situation we're in now. And true: we can't solve a problem with the same consciousness that created it (quoting Einstein)!

  2. Yep, I'd say we're all responsible for our choices.