Picassos Coffee Lounge (Torquay) Discriminates Against Disabled People!

This article appeared on page 5 of the New Worker Newspaper dated the 6.12.13 (No 1754).  I wrote this piece as an exposé to the continuing and shocking treatment received by People with Disabilities, from those who consider themselves ‘able bodied’, and typical of a bourgeois, rightwing attitude, physically superior.  The story below deals with the banning of a Disabled woman from a cafe in Torquay, Devon, UK.

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(This follow-up article {below} appeared in the New Worker – the Newspaper of the NCP [No 1757] 10.1.14 – Page 7) Update: Mr Mark Lewis, the Manager of Picassos Coffee Lounge, (Torquay), was interviewed by Devon and Cornwall Police and stated that he banned the Disabled woman in question because he was of the opinion that she ‘smelt’, and that he was concerned that her presence in his establishment would put his able bodied customers off their food.  Devon and Cornwall Police are of the opinion that no crime has taken place, and have refused to record this incident as a ‘hate crime’ against a Disabled wheelchair user.  Devon and Cornwall Police have been officially criticised in the past for failing to react to crime in the area.

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Obviously, with the Police appearing to condone his behaviour, Mr Mark Lewis remains unrepentant about the incident, and has written to the victim stating that his expressed opinion that she ‘smelt’, in no way was connected to the fact that she is a Disabled person confined to a wheelchair.  In the meantime, this Disabled person remains banned from the establishment in question and has received no assistance from her local MP – Liberal Democrat Adrian Sanders – despite numerous letters asking for his help.  It is important to note that with the ideologically led cuts to the NHS and Welfare system, (to fund a tax cut for the rich), it has been reported across the UK that Conservative and Liberal Democrat MP’s have conspired to initiate a policy of ‘not helping’ those of their constituents trapped in an ever downward spiral of poverty, sure in the knowledge that the most vulnerable members of society – that is to say, the victims of their policies – possess no resources to do anything about their behaviour.

As it stands, the medieval Judeo-Christian ignorance that defines Disability as a corruption from the devil, or a punishment from god, continuous to operate within UK secular society.  Disabled people are treated as outsiders and their particular personal needs as some form of inconvenience for the able bodied public.  Mr Mark Lewis, infected with this primitive mindset, appears to believe that he can discriminate against a Disabled person simply because his prejudice tells him that their different physical presence must equate with an infantile assumption that they ‘smell’.  His actions protect the ignorant masses from having to psychologically evolve beyond a primitive mind-set that four hundred years ago saw old ladies who owned cats, burnt to death in the name of god on the village heath.  Mr Mark Lewis has done the progressive cause a world of good by reminding it that through his shocking ignorance, there is still much to do to reform UK society in the Socialist model.  Religiosity is an ignorant poison that must be eradicated from the human psyche.  It is ironic that the artist Picasso was a life-long Communist and ardent supporter of Joseph Stalin.

Marx & Buddha: The Middle Way

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Humanity has always created demarcations throughout the year based originally upon the plenitude or scarcity of food, and later on the cycle of the seasons for farming.  Due to the use of superstition as a means to explain naturally occurring phenomena, theistic religions were invented in the human mind as a means to divert fear of the unknown.  Of course, although based upon sentimentality, and in that limited sense comforting, such beliefs had no affect upon the environment, cycles of nature, or the prevention of naturally occurring catastrophes such as illness, famine and drought, etc.  Praying to a psychologically created theistic construct achieved nothing other than the mind talking to itself, whilst suffering under the illusion that it is talking to an objective divine being.  This divine being (or beings) never answers prayers because it does not exist outside the mind.

The Buddha was of the opinion that theistic entities only exist in the mind of the deluded and this is why they can not help humanity gain enlightenment.  When enlightenment is gained – or as Marx asserted – ‘true self-consciousness’ is realised, then the Buddha teaches that belief in supernatural entities dissolve back into the psychic fabric of the mind from whence they came.  The true mystery of life is not found in the inverted psychology of theistic belief, but rather in the fact that the human mind has the capacity to continuously evolve beyond its present function, or understanding and in theory has no conceivable limit to its progress and advancement.  Theistic religion is a cognitive cul de sac that goes nowhere, but continuously infects one generation after the next, polluting the mind and preventing advancement.  A religionist may spend their entire life ‘learning’ this restrictive theology until the natural process of aging and death takes its toll.  The Buddha advocated training (and evolving) the mind here and now as death is an ever present possibility, and individual human life is both fragile and unpredictable.

Theistic religion was once suitable to the emerging intellect of humanity, but is no longer suitable for an advancing species.  Modern humanity benefits from science, technology, medicine and the internet, and no amount of praying will save the life of a relative, or produce space travel, or the latest breakthrough in the fight against human disease.  The Buddha denied the validity of theistic belief and advocated mental development and discipline (behavioural modification) as a means of over-coming alienation.  The Buddha taught non-identification with thought (i.e. non-attachment), and can not be considered ‘idealistic’, and he criticised certain types of materialist thinking prevalent in his day, and can not be called a ‘materialist’.  Karl Marx advocated the study of the physical circumstances humanity finds itself within, (i.e. historical materialism), but as he fully acknowledges the existence and functioning of human consciousness, he can not be termed a gross materialist.  Marx wrote often about human consciousness, and stated that when consciousness is inverted, (i.e. deluded), it can not perceive things as they actually are, and falls into the error of religiosity.  However, as Marx denied the validity of philosophies that limit the interpretation of the world to a set of thoughts, or thought constructs, (i.e. attachment to thought), he can not be called an ‘idealist’, or ‘ideologue’.  The Buddha and Karl Marx are teaching from an identical philosophical perspective that denies the validity of the ‘materialist’ and ‘idealist’ positions in relation to the assessment of the human condition.  Both tread a ‘middle way’ that embraces and fully explains the extremes of human existence, integrating them in the centre that knows no limitation, and which does not resort to primitive religiosity to explain naturally occurring phenomena.

Buddhism: Beyond Materialism & Idealism

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The all-important aspect of enlightenment is that it should not be mystified, as mysticism, in this context, denotes a muddling, and movement away from clear insight.  Mysticism has no place in the Buddha’s system and his explanation of the state of nirvana.  Nirvana is often misinterpreted as a state of salvation, inherently related to the kind of heavenly imaginations associated with theistic religions that maintain a human – divine dichotomy.  Nirvana, from the Buddhist perspective, is a negative definition of a state that lies beyond ‘negative’ and ‘positive’.  The Buddha reveals the truth throughout his sutras, by explaining what enlightenment ‘is not’, but the explanation must not be mistaken for the end result.  Elsewhere in the sutras, the Buddha describes nirvana as a non-conditioned state.  This is because within his philosophical system, enlightenment is presented as a state of non-obscuration, but must not be confused with the path that removes the obscuration.  The obscuration is delusion and its antidote is the Dharma.  The Dharma is a collection of specific but diverse approaches to removing obscuration; the Buddha was non-dogmatic, and did not resort to mysticism or theology.  He did not mix the mysticism and theology of his time, with the pristine (and logical) nature of his insight into reality.  However, he did acknowledge that the prevailing mysticism and theology of his day did include the notions of polytheism, rebirth, and karma.  The Buddha weaved these pre-existing conditions into a temporary cosmology associated with his Dharma, but which remain separate and apart from his enlightened vision.  This is because the Buddha felt the expedient need to harness the common psychology, and guide it toward the reality he had discovered.  Therefore, the Buddha radically re-interpreted the Brahmanic religion of his day, subtly altering and changing its manifestation so that it became a channel for his own teaching.

It is clear that in the final analysis, nirvana is a state of pristine vision that clearly and directly perceives, without error, the integrated interplay of phenomena and space, and that in this state of clarity, there are no gods, no experience of rebirth, and no generation of karma.  The Buddha states time and again in the sutras, that gods, rebirth, and karma appear to be real whilst in the deluded state, but do not actually exist in the enlightened state.  What is important for the Dharma, if it is to remain effective in the world of delusion, is that those still suffering from delusion should not embrace gross materialism and simply mimic the Buddha by mindlessly re-stating his pronouncements on ultimate reality.  The Buddha’s teaching is clear; those beings, whose minds are existent within deluded obscuration, will undoubtedly be subject to karma and rebirth, whilst experiencing theistic entities.  This has a deep and profound psychological relevance as humanity transitions out of a period of theological domination, toward that of secular logic.  Much of the psychological traits found within secular society are in fact the consequence of religious patterns of thought stripped of their must obvious religiosity.  Gods become abstract concepts, whilst rebirth and karma become rational science, etc.

For the Buddha, delusion generates itself in cycles of endless repetition.  Causes lead to consequences, and this systems appears to transmit itself from one birth to the next.  However, this should not be interpreted in a theistic or mystical fashion.  Whatever the Buddha is referring to, it can not be obvious reincarnation favoured by certain religious theories, as the Buddha fundamentally rejects such notions in his teachings.  Rebirth and karma, as used by the Buddha, appear to be a method of interpretation that avoids the trap of gross materialism, whilst using the rational mind.  The Buddha is not a gross materialist, but neither is he an idealist, as the state of enlightenment is unconditioned and can not be reduced to an inwardly generated state of mind.  The Buddha teaches non-identification with thought (i.e. non-attachment), proving that Buddhism is non-idealistic.  In other words, gods, rebirth, and karma, appear to exist until they are realised as non-existent, or ‘empty’ of any substantiality.  Simply generating ‘ideas’ in the mind about enlightenment is missing the point of the Buddha’s message; his message advocates the seeing beyond (and through) the thinking process.  It can not be limited to the thought process itself.  On the other hand, the Buddha does not deny the existence of the physical world, or the fact that the human mind generates thought patterns based upon its perception.  The Buddha simply states that things do not exist (or non-exist) in the manner in which humanity thinks they do, in the unenlightened state.

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