.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

My Photo
Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Opening remarks

Now that the election is over, and we are saddled with four more years of the Bush regime, it is worthwhile to take a look at where we are, where we are going, what we can do about it, and how we can BE about it.

To begin with, Kerry won the election. The amount of vote fraud and vote suppression was vast, planned, successful, and, of course, ignored by the major news media (See Greg Palast's latest post at http://www.gregpalast.com/). The country is not populated by morons only, though it often seems that way. I was not enthusiastic about Kerry, but at least with him in office we could get some decent Supreme Court appointments, some respect for the environment, a rational Attorney General, and some progress on a number of issues like the national debt, joblessness, health care, education, and foreign policy. Now we are stuck with The Empire, seemingly helpless in the face of a Darth Vader-like evil monolith.

But we aren't helpless, and the place to begin to create positive change is to change our perception, our way of looking at things. The usual way of looking at the range of beliefs, attitudes, and allegiance is within a metaphorical spectrum of "left" to "right." These terms began in the French Assembly of 1789, derived from the seating arrangement, with the revolutionaries to the left of the president, and the nobles to the right. Today these terms no longer have any meaning, except to those who identify with one or another "wing" of this imaginary linear spectrum.

For instance, George W. Bush is labeled "right wing" by "leftists," though sociopathic criminal is more accurate and appropriate. Anyone who lies a nation into war is a sociopath. Ideology has nothing to do with it, except as window dressing and to distract. The idea of George Bush having a philosophy of any kind is ludicrous. The Iraq war, as well as the rest of his actions as president, is all about criminality - seizing Mideast oil, rewarding Halliburton and other corporate cronies, opening up pristine areas for logging and oil exploration, neglecting the warnings about Al Qaida until a major attack took place, the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and secret prisons worldwide, and, of course, Enron.

Among the problems I find with the "left" versus "right" model is that it creates an "us" and "them" mentality. With us or against us. People who look at things this way see themselves as having the superior position, and anyone else as being agents of the other extreme. In other words, they are paranoid. They are also fundamentalist, just like the evangelical Christians. There are a few buzz words, like "racist," "fascist," "sexist," "ageist," and even "speciesist" that are bandied about freely by "leftists," but the analysis doesn't go much deeper. For instance, what is the psychology of "right wingism?" Is there something deeper there, beyond a few beliefs like White supremacy and no government? Why would gun weirdness take such a hold on so many men in this country? What is the root of the susceptibility of many of our citizens to demagoguery and religious fanaticism? What is the appeal of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly?

There is a more appropriate, accurate, and positive model available for looking at both levels of consciousness and for a vision of human aspiration. The late psychologist Abraham Maslow identified a "Hierarchy of needs," with lower needs like sex, money, and power called "deficiency needs," and love, self-esteem, and self-actualization called "being needs." (http://web.utk.edu/~gwynne/maslow.HTM) There have been others who have elaborated on this approach, notably Clare Graves and Don Beck. (http://www.spiritualityhealth.com/newsh/items/article/item_3787.html)

In this context, what we normally think of as "right wing" can more accurately be placed on the lower scale of consciousness, and not surprisingly along with various forms of criminal sociopathy. Bush can still be seen as a kindred spirit with demented political ideologues, but because of his criminality, not his philosophical beliefs.

As regards supposed "left wing" or "progressive" social philosophies, I would say of course. Of course you would have a distributive economic system. Of course you would protect and revere the environment. Of course you would have a decent and fair system of justice. Of course you would have universal health care. And of course you would have a renewable based energy system. These are not postures of any "wing" of society, but common sense, and also GIVENS that enable people to rise to higher levels of being. To contrive to keep people in lower levels of being is to invite hellfire upon oneself.

Which brings me to my last point in opening this blog. It is okay to believe in a supreme being, great spirit, absolute consciousness, God, Allah, the Buddha, Brahman, the Tao, higher power, the Ineffable, or whatever you want to call the Great Beyond. In ordinary consciousness we don't know the nature of that level of being, but most of us have a sense that there is an Unmoved Mover, a Supreme Being that is the source of creation and the goal of human aspiration. This transcendent level of being can be approached through various meditative practices, selfless service to humanity, prayer, ritual, and purification and healing practices. To have an attitude of union with the Divine is neither "right" nor "left," and is indeed incompatible with an adherence to either.

We are at an epochal crossroads, where global warming, the destruction of the environment, the end of oil, and the unsustainability of our economic system are all reaching a crisis stage. The criminality of George W. Bush will soon seem irrelevant, except in terms of delay in addressing these concerns. We will be dealing with them whether we like it or not, and it matters not if you are Christian fundamentalist, gun nut, corporate cronyist, politician, or think tank schemer. We can choose to have a sensible human presence on this planet or we can choose evil. This past Tuesday we chose evil. Next time the choice will be more obvious. Will we choose it again? Stay tuned.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home