Seeking Causes

… Professional publicists know there is always a good living to be
made by catering to the public’s craving for optimistic reports. Such
behaviour finds no justification in the attitude of the Buddha,
expressed five centuries before Christ: “I teach only two things: the
cause of human sorrow and the way to become free of it.” The present
work, though written by a non-Buddhist, proceeds along the Buddhist
path — first to reveal the causes of human sorrow in population
matters and then to uncover promising ways to free ourselves of the

Hearing the Buddha’s statement today many people think, “How
depressing! Why accept such a pessimistic outlook on life?” But they
are wrong: it is not a pessimistic view if we reword it in terms that
are more familiar to our science-based society. Reworded: “Here is
something that isn’t working right. I want to fix it, but before I
can do that I have to know exactly why it doesn’t work right.” One
who looks for causes before seeking remedies should not be condemned
as a pessimist. In general, a great deal of looking for causes must
precede the finding of remedies.

‘Living Within Limits’ by Garrett Hardin – Prof Emeritus UCSB.

Author: Atanu Dey


One thought on “Seeking Causes”

  1. Yup, totally agree with the author. Derivative to this is te funny need for “group therapy”, as a friend of mine calls it. Ridiculous. People want to be told that they are fabulous and they are full of potential and god-knows-what-not. No one cares about sitting down and looking at their sorry lives (if it is so), trying to figure out what happened down the road and then working on it and improving it. People only care about quick fixes. This is also reflected in other spheres of life. Parents get their children to pop a pill without trying to explain to them what happened and what got them sick and how they need to be careful. Children aren’t coaxed into exploring the roots of things either. I hated it when for certain illnesses we weren’t given medicines and asked to be patient. I am glad now (though not many have changed their childhood opinion of the torture). Marriage counsellors who know nothing about the couple are called in to rectify a withering marriage. Why? Why can’t the couple sit down and go over their lives and thoughts and emotions?
    Though I do not subscribe to Buddha’s (or any one person’s) views in entirity, I hold this as a valuable guide or teaching of his.


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