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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, May 18, 2005

Where have you been, my blue-eyed son?

A few news items in the past week made for an interesting pattern. The Iraq war/occupation is not going well, despite the cheery optimism of the Bush crime family. Patrick Cockburn, writing in the London Independent, described the country as a bloody no man’s land. He concluded his analysis with the observation that "The US is turning out to be much less of a military and political superpower than the rest of the world had supposed."

Then there was the flareup in the news media about the desecration of the the Koran, Islam’s most sacred scripture, at the Guantanamo detention facility. The Bush crime family, in predictable fashion, tried to spin the story into one of false and inflammatory reporting on the part of Newsweek magazine. As has been reported in Al Jazeera and elsewhere for almost a year, released prisoners have been consistently saying that the abuse has taken place.

Salon magazine online posted an interview with James Howard Kunstler, titled "After the oil is gone." As I have said many times in this blog, there’s gonna be some changes made. Some very difficult changes, and denial, avoidance, criminality, empire building, and religious fanaticism will neither prevent them nor create enclaves of privilege and luxury. Living like true, virtuous human beings is our only real option.

Providing context for all these realities was an Op-ed piece in the New York Times by Belinda Board, a clinical psychologist in Britain. She conducted a case study comparing the personality traits of 39 high-ranking business executives in Britain with psychiatric patients and criminals with a history of mental health problems. She found that the business executives matched the traits of the prison and psychiatric populations in such areas as narcissistic personality disorder: grandiosity, lack of empathy, exploitativeness and independence. They also correlated in traits of compulsive personality disorder: stubbornness, dictatorial tendencies, perfectionism, and an excessive devotion to work.

Board also found that the business executives were more likely to demonstrate characteristics of histrionic personality disorder: superficial charm, insincerity, egocentricity and manipulativeness.

Sound familiar? Board’s article was intended to provide some background to the nomination struggle of would-be UN ambassador John Bolton. But it applies more aptly to the entire predicament of mankind at the most critical time in modern history. We are running out of our most critical industrial resource: oil. Our air, water, land, and plant and animal infrastructure are all being degraded, and what we depend on for leadership are people who correlate strongly with criminals.

To reach the top, the ambitious shed their humanity, bit by bit, until there isn’t much left. I have seen this phenomenon throughout my life in a myriad of circumstances. In every place I have worked I have seen people try to turn the situation into their own private mafias. Little mini-mafias, obsessively trying to control the puniest of circumstances. Little gossip groups forming, excluding "others," creating cliques that control nothing other than who is accepted and who isn’t. The higher up on the ladder of success, the more insidious the mafia formation, and at the highest levels of business, government, and even in charitable and advocacy organizations, the "Lord of the Flies" model reaches its crescendo.

Some mafias are better than others, but there is hardly a worse one in history than the Bush crime family. Supposedly there is honor among thieves, but there is no honor in this gang of crude thugs. Saddam Hussain was the partner of the Reagan-Bush I criminal organization, waging a vicious war against Iran at their behest and sponsorship. Then they double-crossed him. He was suckered into invading Kuwait, though it must be said that he was a ready and willing chump. The first attack on Iraq, known as the Gulf war, was basically a betrayal, which a criminal like Saddam Hussain should have expected. One of the problems criminals have is that they aren’t very smart, and they think they are the smartest people on Earth.

Beginning with the stolen election of 2000, continuing with the criminal negligence or worse that led to the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Invasion of Afghanistan, the Invasion of Iraq, the theft of the 2004 election, the criminal relationships with corporations such as Halliburton, Bechtel, Enron, the oil and gas conglomerates, and lobbyists, legislators, corporate donors, polluters, labor violators, and other malefactors, the Bush crime family has spread a manure pile of destruction, murder, mayhem, torture and corruption across the planet.

This may seem like a totally bleak and hopeless situation, given the criminal influence and control that the Bush criminal organization has all over the world. But, as has been revealed in the I Ching and many other wisdom traditions, as well as being borne out in history, the strong implies the weak, Yang implies Yin, what is sown is reaped, what is in potency to act will eventually act. It is the age-old nature of the universe, of being and becoming. No criminality lasts forever, and in the context of world resource depletion and economic collapse, something else is obviously on the way.

What that something else will be is up to us, the non-sociopaths of the world. The level of dialogue I’ve been experiencing recently us not very encouraging, but it will change. People who adhere tenaciously to the meaningless paradigm of "left" versus "right" will eventually get tired of its futility and paranoia. The emptiness of calling "others" "right wing" will eventually become obvious, and seen as the equivalent of calling people "niggers." The ego and emotional satisfaction provided by labeling people, though drug-like, will, like other addictions, reach bottom. People are not things, no matter how much we try to make them out to be.

I have been challenging "leftists" for the past several years to see another way of looking at things. It hasn’t made me any friends, and I have been accused on a radio call-in show of being a "right-winger," but I persist. I can embarrass them, but their entire sociometric matrix is intertwined with mutually reinforcing mythologies about "leftism" versus "rightism." It’s a tough nut to crack, but crack it will. I know that there are many, many people here and elsewhere who are engorged with the ideas of Karl Marx and his successors, who have engaged in social and environmental struggles with deepening perspectives and committments to the paranoid model, who talk for years on end about the orthodox fantasy of the proletarian revolution, or some variant therof, and who construct their cultural awareness and relationships around these myths.

But, as Bob Dylan put it, a hard rain is a ‘gonna fall. Revolutionary opportunism may prevail for a while, but the real change to which we are evolving will not be pro-forma. Because all of human civilization is at stake, and the ecosystem as well, the real solutions that are required will have to be free of ideological dogma, "left," "right," or "center." The horizontal spectrum is a mental construct. It does not exist. There is no "left" and there is no "right." There is no "center" either. The sooner we give up this nonsense, the sooner we can forge ahead to a true world civilization. And, at the very least, bring the Bush crime family, an ideological entity solely for the purpose of hoodwinkery, to justice. Let the trials begin. Nuremberg sounds like a pretty good place to me.


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