December 18, 2014

Malala Maitreya

Back in 2005 I wrote a post called, "The Prophecy Game". If you go back and read that post you'll see quite clearly that I am very bad at prophecy. Despite this undeniable truth, sometimes I find the temptation to predict the future too compelling to resist!

The "Malala" in the title is, of course, Malala Yousafzai, who recently won a Nobel Peace Prize. Within hours of the announcement one branch of the Pakistani Taliban sent six fighters into a school for the children of Pakistani soldiers. The terrorists slaughtered 141 people, most of whom were children. The day after this massacre someone set off two bombs at a Pakistani girl's university in a city further south. This has been a bloody week for education in Pakistan. At least one writer believes this latest round of violence is intended as revenge for Malala's Nobel Prize. Malala herself has come out with a statement expressing heartbreak at the loss of so many young lives.

"Maitreya" is a term drawn from Buddhism that has surprisingly similar words in Arabic, Hebrew, and Aramaic. "Maitreya" is the next Buddha; or more precisely, the next incarnation of the Buddha Mind. The Maitreya is a future Buddha who arrives in the midst of chaos to teach the world once again the lessons of peace, order, and love. Naturally the Maitreya has many similarities to future messianic personalities in other religions, including of course the deceptive compassion of the Christian Anti-Christ. The Maitreya, however, has one very distinct difference from all of the other messianic figures in the world: the Maitreya can be a woman!

Our world is in the midst of a very violent transition and Islamic terrorism is at the very heart of it. Modern Islamic terrorism is driven in large part by ancient collectivist dreams of a theocratic utopia that can only be realized by abandoning modern technology, sacrificing individual freedoms for the sake of the common good, and giving up the widespread increase in personal luxury that has homeless people in many countries enjoying better lifestyles than royalty of a mere two centuries ago. There is a huge gap between the richest countries in the world, the poorest people in those countries, the richest people in poor countries, and the most impoverished of all who are still living on the brink of starvation. Fortunately, the percentage of our world living on the brink of starvation is lower now than it has been at any time in recorded history. Part of what drives radicalism of all stripes, and Islamic radicalism in particular, is that many poor people find themselves with food to eat and a place to live but not much else. Jealousy and guilt are both major factors leading young people in western countries to jump on airplanes and fly off to join groups like the Taliban or ISIS. (Jealousy over the disparity in quality of life experienced by the working poor in places like the Philippines versus places like the United States is often coupled with feelings of guilt over living in the richer place while your relatives live in a much poorer one. The combination of the two can be emotionally devastating.) Things are improving all over the world, but in many places the pace of improvement has left people with time on their hands and jealousy in their hearts. All of this is pretty standard fare of any transitional phase down through the pages of human history.

Which is why our world is ripe for a populist leader to come along who embodies compassion for the poor, the resources of the wealthy, and a genuine desire to eliminate poverty once and for all. This is the same promise made by communist revolutionaries a century ago, modern progressive politicians, and religious icons like Joel Osteen or the Dalai Lama. It is an extremely tantalizing promise, especially when offered up in the midst of a violent transitional period like the one we are currently experiencing. Malala Yousafzai was first given a voice by the BBC. In an effort to discredit the Pakistani Taliban they hosted a blog for her under an anonymous name where she regularly posted about the hardship of life under the Taliban for a young woman seeking an education. Unfortunately for Malala, her identity was revealed and the Taliban responded by attempting to assassinate her on the bus ride home from school. This propelled her onto the world stage in ways no one could have foreseen and now she has won a Nobel Prize. As if some giant puppet master is controlling our world, her first public statement after her acceptance speech is heartbreak over a terrorist strike on a school. She now has greater popularity than Princess Diana ever enjoyed and more political clout than Hilary Clinton could ever hope of gaining. Even better, the Dalai Lama recently announced that he hopes no one replaces him. This last bit is critical. The Dalai Lama is far more than a political leader. He is viewed by Buddhists around the world as the incarnation of the Buddha Mind. If he were to propose that his title become symbolic and be awarded to Malala Yousafzai, it would unite under one charismatic leader well over two-thirds of the world's population. After that, all it would take is for someone to recommend she be appointed Secretary-General of the United Nations and suddenly she would have both the clout and the resources to change the world.

As I said above, I am a terrible prophet. Still, it would not surprise me if by 2016 the President of the United States has become politically irrelevant. Barack Obama has destroyed so much of our global prestige that it would take very little for a group of powerful kingmakers to replace him with someone who would gladly had over the reins of power to a charismatic world leader. If Malala Yousafzai can be given a title to match her popularity and prestige then she would become the natural choice for a charismatic world leader able to unify much of the world under a hybridized religious/political hierarchy. Over the next eighteen months I expect to see much more of her in the daily news. If not 2016, then surely by 2020 (barring some miracle) American prestige on the global political stage will have declined enough to have people all over the world (even in America herself) clamoring for someone with demonstrated compassion and courage to take the reins of world power and lead us into a golden future. Do not be surprised if Malala Yousafzai is offered up as that leader. "Maitreya" would be the perfect title for someone being asked to hold the reins of power both politically and spiritually in a world filled with fear and uncertainty.

I can already see the headlines, "Malala Maitreya Proposes New World Order Based on Education, Peace, and Prosperity for All!"