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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.

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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.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Meta-structures

A couple of articles caught my attention in the past few days, and inspired a bit of reflection. One, "The Madness of George W. Bush," presents the thesis that our president is afflicted with "malignant egophrenia," or ME disorder, and the author contends that it is a disease that exists in the soul of humanity, but in a potential state in most of us (we hope). The other was an essay that contends the Scots Irish screwed up America.

Valid arguments or not, I found these perspectives valuable, because they took the discussion of the current condition of the U.S. of A. out of the emotional, pejorative, denunciative, and paranoid, and at least tried to provide a bit of background, and what I call "meta-level" analysis. We cannot move towards a truly integrative, distributive, democratic, ecologically, socially, and spiritually harmonious civilization unless we understand the underlying reasons of why we are in our present predicament.

In "The Madness of George W. Bush," the author, Paul Levy, makes the following observation: "In much the same way that a child's psychology cannot be understood without looking at the family system he or she is a part of, George Bush does not exist in isolation. We can view Bush and his entire administration (Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, etc), as well as the corporate, military industrial complex that they are co-dependently enmeshed with, the media that they control, the voters that support them, and ourselves as well, as interconnected parts of a whole system, or a "field." Instead of relating to any part of this field as an isolated entity, it’s important to contemplate the entire interdependent field as the ‘medium’ though which malignant egophrenia manifests and propagates itself. ME disease is a field phenomenon, and needs to be contemplated as such. Bush's sickness is our own." He goes on to compare present day America to the Germans under Hitler, and reminds us of the words of the great psychologist Carl Gustav Jung: "The gigantic catastrophes that threaten us today are not elemental happenings of a physical or biological order, but psychic events. To a quite terrifying degree we are threatened by wars and revolutions which are nothing other than psychic epidemics. At any moment several millions of human beings may be smitten with a new madness, and then we shall have another world war or devastating revolution. Instead of being at the mercy of wild beasts, earthquakes, landslides, and inundations, modern man is battered by the elemental forces of his own psyche."

Joe Bageant argues that our troubles can be traced to a group of Celtic cattle thieves who lived along Scotland’s border with England 450 years ago, migrated to Northern Ireland, and then to America in the early 1700s. Warlike, hard drinking, fanatically Calvinist Protestant, these immigrants spread their influence throughout the country, but mainly in the southern states. Their modern-day descendents form the basis of Bush’s support among evangelicals, NASCAR fans, followers of hate radio and television, and even provide the intellectual foundation for the "neoconservative" "theory."

These ideas are food for thought. Whether one agrees with the authors or not, it is important that we look at the background of how we got to this point in our nation’s relatively short history. As a country we are poised to send the entire planet into chaos. Iran appears to be next on the list of preemptive wars, presented as vital to our national security, but in actuality the intention is to further the criminal ambitions of Bush and his cronies. To keep creating chaos worldwide, the Bush crime family needs a network of support. Just like Hitler before him, he needs to create diversions, artificial threats, feigned crises, and mass hysteria about subversion and terror from "outside" groups among us.

Given this situation, it behooves us to understand the psychological and social underpinnings of our national psyche. What we are getting at the present from "leftist," "progressive," and "liberal" activists and commentators is blame, condemnation, ridicule, resentment, and what I call "Nyin, nyin, nyin, nyin" – the relentless nitpicking and nuance inventing, the scattergun criticism that is devoid of priority or perspective. This is a generalization, for sure, and there is much valuable, insightful analysis and criticism going on, but there is so much nagging - winge-ing, as the Australians say - that it’s hard to listen to or read, and certainly doesn’t communicate with anyone but "insiders" – the people who are not the most important audience to reach.

The underlying belief or agenda of complainer mode is that knowledge and wisdom are additive: the more information and criticism you pour on, the clearer it becomes what ails us. The expectation is that people will get riled enough to act, and will know what action to take and who to act against. Nowhere is it considered that piling outrage upon outrage might lead to hopelessness, apathy, anomie, and depression.

In addition to looking at our collective unconscious, there is another characteristic of our social system that it is vital to understand as we move towards ending the criminal reign of the Bush syndicate. We live in a mass system. People are organized into large entities in nearly every aspect of their lives. We tend to work for large organizations, doing repetitive tasks that are small elements of larger tasks. We travel, shop, pay bills and taxes, and recreate as parts of large populations, where activities and functions are concentrated in central locations and institutions. People advance in livelihood, status, wealth, and privilege as parts of a whole. Whether it is a bureaucracy in business or government, in political life, or even in self employment or other small business, the individual moves up in material and social well-being as part of a mass society. To the degree that one serves the interests of one's immediate bureau, division, department, corporation, or agency, one rises or falls within that cubicle of human endeavor.

The vulnerability of this type of system is that power and wealth naturally tends to be concentrated at the top of organizations, with little or no input or accountability to the organization as a whole, or to society as a whole. The hierarchical structure that is inherent in a mass system tends to be self-perpetuating, self-rewarding, parasitic, and ultimately sociopathic. In this context, the Bush crime family and its supporting corporate and governmental superstructure can be seen as the logical conclusion to a long progression, or more accurately regression, into an undemocratic, propagandistic, demagogic, planet destroying, criminal corporate fascist state. If you have any doubts about the criminality of the Bush regime, read this. In street terms, we are up against it. We are in a big fix.

Though the fix we are in may be big, understanding it, and our place in it, is the first step in the process of getting out of the fix. If there is any meaning to human intelligence, we should be able to get out of this fix. If you believe in the Absolute, and especially if you have some experience of the Absolute, you know that there is meaning to human intelligence. Therefore, it is easy to understand and believe that we not only can get out of this fix, but will. All we have to do is intelligently participate in the undoing of this criminal enterprise known as the Bush crime family. It will unravel as naturally as it came to fruition. These people are frail human beings, evil to the core, and not particularly bright. As Louis L’Amour put it, and I have repeated before, the criminal mind always underestimates the forces it is up against. If we all do our part and act with intelligence, compassion, integrity, and forbearance, this nightmare will pass sooner than we will believe possible. Then the real work begins: where do we go next?

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