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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, February 23, 2005

Heresy for everyone

I could go in any of three directions in this blog, depending on what seems most pertinent to our common predicament. I could do further analysis of the Bush crime family, showing a clearer perspective on the nature and likely results of their continued crime spree. I could further debunk “leftist” insularity and paranoia, showing how impotent and Bush-empowering their perspectives and methods are. Or I could take a deeper look at Bush’s power bases: the corporate criminal elite, small-to-mid-sized business owners, the news and entertainment media, and evangelical Christianity.

For the time being, the area that seems most critical to pursue is the power base of the Bush crime family. Corporate criminality and media corruption have been well described in many venues, a few of which can be seen at the following links: For corporate crime - Corporate Predators and Corpwatch; and for media corruption - Freepress, Robert McChesney, and Media Matters.

In terms of intensity and numbers of people, the power base that is most worthy of scrutiny is the phenomenon of evangelical Christianity. One reason they have become so powerful is that they have been given a pass by the more traditional Christian denominations. Another is that they have become zealous in their pursuit of political power, and have developed strong and effective organizations. But the main reason they have been able to prevail is that proponents of a secular society don’t know how to challenge them and thus do not communicate with them. I hope to instigate a change to this predicament.

To begin with, our military and intelligence agencies are engaging in a large amount of torture in Aghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Click here and here to read about it. Though the Bush crime family lies about it, they fully approve of the torture methods and practice. I believe the reason is not to gain information, but to terrorize people, and to create an infrastructure of torture, which they eventually can use domestically, for the same reasons.

Evangelical Christians are in full support of the Bush crime family, and therefore are complicit in its crimes. To them I say: Crime does not lead to "Heaven." Support of crime does not lead to "Heaven." There are no chosen people. There is no chosen religion. The Absolute, God, Allah, Jehovah, Yahweh, Brahman, Elohim, Shiva, the Buddha, Wakan Tanka, Jesus, Krishna, the Creator, the Great Spirit, Kitchesmanetoa, or whatever name you want to use, is in nobody’s pocket. No one speaks for the Absolute. No one is the Vicar of the Divine. Especially no one who supports the Bush crime family. Indeed, quite the opposite is the likely truth.

On another level, obsession with temporal power is not only a trap that leads to delusions, such as that of having transcendent power, it actually prevents rising to higher levels of being. The yogis, Christian and Jewish mystics, Sufis, Bodhisattvas, and wise men and women throughout the ages have warned of the folly of pursuit of power. I suspect that before very long our self-inflated evangelicals will be receiving a bitter lesson in this regard.

This does not mean that they don’t have legitimate concerns, and this is an area where secularists fail to communicate. On a number of issues, evangelical Christians might have been more hesitant to pursue power had their values and beliefs been treated with respect.

For instance, evolution. The secularist view is that Charles Darwin’s theory of the origin of species, commonly known as the theory of evolution, is a given, an irrefutable truth. But it is just a theory. It is not a law.

The evangelical view, known as "Creationism," is less a theory than a dogma, but there is another view that can accommodate both arguments. It is called downward causation, and its essential principal is that all processes at the lower level of a hierarchy are restrained by and act in conformity to the laws of the higher level. In other words, every level of reality is part of a more complex process or level of reality, and the highest level is the Absolute. Evolution can take place in this schema, as a determination of the behavior of the Whole of reality, or God. For any true scientist, stubborn adherence to an established theory is anathema. As Thomas Kuhn pointed out in "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" in 1962, existing institutions cease adequately to meet the problems posed by an environment that they have in part created. In both the scientific community and in religious institutions, there is a divide as to how the planet and civilization reached its present state.

From the viewpoint of downward causation, both the Creationist and the Darwinian viewpoints are archaic theories of the origin of species. The happy thing for both schools of thought is that their viewpoints are accommodated. Physical reality evolves in the paradigm of downward causation, but the control of the evolution is from above, from a higher level of reality and intelligence. In other words, God. A word of caution: God is not made in the image and likeness of man, so I wouldn't be getting any bright ideas about personhood of the Absolute.

This perspective is not likely to be taught in public schools in the foreseeable future, but it is likely to replace the older theories eventually. There is a considerable amount of academic literature emerging on the subject, and the relatively new discipline of Transpersonal Psychology is growing in interest and influence.

The problem that secularists have with perspectives other than the Darwinian theory is that they aren’t "scientific," or empirically based. This dogmatic adherence to material evidence is sometimes referred to as scientism. It is inconceivable to materialists that their insistence on their viewpoint as the only legitimate one is a form of fundamentalism, but it has that flaw in its certainty. So, on this issue alone, it is a struggle between two fundamentalisms. The struggle can be resolved by accepting that a new theory that accommodates both the old ones, and offers a better explanation.

In future postings I will explore other topics in which understanding can be brought about by recognizing the validity of the concerns of "others." For now I suggest that both (or more) "sides" look toward the future, and imagine the likely consequences of battles between competing fundamentalisms.

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