Sunday, April 13, 2008

Marching forward

It's as if all the peoples of the world are standing off, neighbor against neighbor, in some kind of massive power struggle. Perhaps we can learn to turn that energy around, let it go towards solving our common problems, we, all of us creatures upon the Earth.

In a society in which quick fix, running through fields of daisies, pharmaceuticals are touted for every ill, how dare we be shocked to find people turning to drugs? What? Difficult lifestyle changes? (Even if they are actually much easier when you turn your mind around) No, just take these twice a day and forget about eating because all your food money must be spent on drugs. After all, it's big pharm profits that's paying your pensions. But I digress. The point being, in that magical time in which our early perceptions are forming our view of how the world works, the big drug pushers make sure we get hooked. Then they foster a whole hullabaloo about wild-eyed illicit addicts, to knock out the competition.

I have been struggling with a concept which really is about the antithesis of struggle. All the goals of happiness, compassion, even abundance and success, result from a natural consequence of spiritual growth, of becoming in tune with one's true, natural path. It can't be forced. It can only be grown into.

It's not even about not wanting. It's about all being available when you are ready to see it.

I tend to relate to people on the 'net (and in rl when I can get away with it) on the basis of our interactions with each other. I'm not particularly interested in externalities -- though I love a good story with lots of details. If people want to take the opportunity when no one can see them, or know what isn't on Google, to try out other ways of being, I applaud their creativity. If people are mean, abusive, naturally nasty, well, there you go -- doesn't matter if they're Joe or Carol or whatever. My take on all this hullaballoo about keeping kids safe from internet predators is hey, don't let your kids meet anyone you haven't. It should be clear enough to set rules about what is appropriate or inappropriate information to exchange. In fact, it's a whole lot less dangerous than any schoolyard. Yes, it's good to be suspicious if you are wary about sharing any kind of information. It's better to be suspicious appropriately.

Someone recently made a suggestion to me that has me thinking. They said that when a Christians tries to convert you, it is because they sincerely believe that what they are offering is something so incredibly wonderful everyone must want it if they were only informed. They have no concept that you may have your own beliefs that suit you quite well, and that you may find their exhortations disrespectful.

I agree with those who say Rev. Wright speaks the truth. Yet, Senator Obama also speaks the truth. They each have their own place: preacher and politician. These are different arenas. Which is part of my problem with the whole brouhaha about Samantha Power and Reverend Wright -- they are not politicians, but are being tarred and branded as "surrogates" because they were trying to act on their beliefs and work for a politician they believe is our best hope as a nation (as do I). Senator Obama is doing his job. He is working the crowd for a new integration, a new unity, to bring America together. To do this, he has to dispense with the distraction of all this backbiting and baiting. He has walked that fine line -- saying he vehemently disagrees with the anti-American sentiment the public has been put in the position of perceiving as Rev. Wright's, while still showing admiration and respect for the Reverend, his friend.

We attack the status quo all the time. There are always voices, in the wilderness, on the airwaves, on the soapboxes in the town square, ranting, reasoning, revolutionizing, even quietly explaining, or creating controversial art, or enjoying romps of monkey warfare. It is all around, all the time. Yet, bad things continue to happen; bad leaders with their media coterie and manipulating operatives keep us at each others' throats, confused, angry, ineffective. The point about Senator Obama is not that he is perfect, or unaffected by mainstream beliefs, or some kind of messiah. The point is, he is a politician, manipulating political power and conventions, talking and walking among the pols; yet, his message is one of unity and power of/by/for the people, and personal/community responsibility, and taking care of each other. We need the man for the message, for the megaphone, for the media massage in a different direction. Yes, Ron Paul has a wonderful message as well. I am happy he is distributing it. What this country (this world) needs is better messengers letting us all understand that it is okay to open our minds and create better possibilities, better choices, better leaders and better ways of being led.

When I speak of unity here, I speak in terms of class, which is the underlying basis of race issues. I am not saying Senator Obama (or for that matter any politician) is some kind of silver bullet against class differences. I am saying the message can bolster the people who are working for change, can move the national rhetoric past the blame game and get to actual solutions by those who want better for us all, rich, poor, and growing middleway. Perhaps I may interject a bit of philosophy which shows that wealth is not about money. Money, in fact, is a fantasy. Wealth is about using resources effectively for the benefit of the user and the social system. To reach this way of working, of course, a new paradigm of society needs to emerge. No matter how many of us are thinking and writing and protesting and doing what we do to create social change, the entrenched attitudes aided by mass media hypnosis will hamper those efforts and keep the greater majority caught up in stupid hostilities. Senator Obama's message is real, despite what compromises of realpolitik he has found expedient. He does offer hope, in a very palpable and effective sense. IMHO, we who champion change in the direction of that positive paradigm of government and economic in the best interests of people and our common resources would do well to attach our banners to the Obama kite tale and merge our goals, movements, understandings and efforts, thus making sure that the true power President Obama wields is about us and our ideals, because all the monied interests have to offer is (and perhaps not even as the economic winds shift) money. We have the will, the ideas, the energy and the positive direction to offer.

Please do understand, the power is only not ours because we don't effectively take it. GWB would never have wrought such harm if he had been watched and curbed by we the people. But we seem to prefer the infighting.

If mothers are invisible it's because we make ourselves so. Why should the kid be so impressed that you're on the phone or talking with guests or otherwise busy when they have real concerns. Do these mothers see them, not "the kids", but who they really are, what they are looking for? Women do get so caught up in the servant role, taking care, in the background, making sure everything is as it should be for everyone around. This is keeping ourselves invisible. If we want a say, we need to speak up. If we want our kids to see us as real, individual, human beings -- not just "Mom" -- we have to relate to them on that level, honestly, passionately, telling them who we are and listening to their revelations about themselves, and helping them to bridge the gap of experience. No. The job of mother is not to be the silent servant, the self-sacrificed. The job of mother is to teach our children to be their most, their best, their brightest in the way that kids learn best, by modeling that philosophy.

I have been working with an inner image of Hecate, the underworld, ancient, self-empowered goddess of birth/death/life. As I am understanding, her lesson is about becoming one's true self, unafraid of social appropriation because not in need of permission to totally embrace one's own magick. To begin to find this inner core (unless, I suppose, one is lucky enough to have never lost it), one needs to go through, truly feel and accept, all the pain and miseries of one's life, to learn that these are not what life is about, not punishments, though sometimes warnings, but just an interpretation of what is. A very long time ago, on a cold and windy winter night, a friend told me: open up to the cold and feel it, don't resist -- it is really warm. On those nights when I remember and try it, it really is.

People do need to be encouraged to speak up their gifts of ideas, and compliments. I am discouraged by all the nit picking, arrogant naysaying, nasty comments meant to discourage communication. It hurts. It does not help. It is, in effect, stupid -- bad for the actor and the acted upon, and all of us. I have sent around an article about the politics of human dignity because it struck me as finally someone getting beyond all the petty bs and looking at what politics ought to be about if it is to have human utility.

It really pushes my crazy buttons when useful, mostly benign plants are called evil, villified, so those using them have to worry not only about illnesses and dis-eases they are trying to treat, but about the possibility of being thrown into prison, while seriously dangerous substances are touted on the tv ads.

My tentative solution: legalize them all with major warning labels, general public education, and other harm reduction techniques. If people do feel they have been harmed by another's product, we have this marvelous invention called the civil suit (even class action civil suits).

You do know that actions that are dangerous or otherwise criminal already have laws under which they can be prosecuted, regardless of drug use.

Sadly we have not honored those who gave us the civil rights movement, whose brave fight brought us all to a better place in this country. These are not old dinosaurs, but grandparents, mentors, sages, who have lived through the battles and given us their all. Clinton and Obama are practiced politicians with a big prize to win. If they go for blood with each other, that's just politics. When true heroes are maligned for just another go at cynicism and soundbites, that is tragic. I only wish you mongers of hate and disgust could see how you are destroying the country you claim to love.

I don't judge anyone by externalities. I love or not based purely on personal feelings of attraction/attachment/attunement.

sometimes it's necessary to go through the pain to get beyond it

I don't care about what corporate groups or entrenched powers want to support Senator Obama's candidacy. That's just politics. If you are running for President of the United States, in the US Senate, or a local magistrate, politics is the office game, and you play it. (Come to think of it, politics is the game in most offices, and we all play it to get by, to get ahead, to get our job done.) I care that Senator Obama has the support, still, of people like Samantha Power and Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- who personally know him and what he is about. I care that the message is not about politics as usual, or even cleaning up as usual, or hate this or that group (for those who fear demagogues or fascist incitement), or pie in the sky. It is a cogent, reasonable, let's hang together or we'll surely hang separately, hey we know how to do it right so let's make it happen, appeal to commonality, commonsense, commonwealth. You act as if we are electing God, or Emperor of All who can waive a wand or send forth a commandment and all is as He orders. That's not what a President is. He is a politician, a negotiator, a dealmaker, a voice exhorting the nation to excel, a commander in chief watching over his troops and the mission but backed by the rest of us, who really ought to be doing our own watching over the public policies and taking care of the business of citizenry.

It occurs to me here: why not label these traditions, not in the gender-divisive matriarchy/patriarchy, but as religions based on love/life or hate/death? Of course all of these are included in any tradition to some extent as taking in the experience of the worshippers. However, what we seem to decry in the patriarchal religions is the warlike, top down hierarchical, fear and anger mongering, supreme rule; while we seem to look to the matriarchal faiths for more co-creative, life-affirming, equalitarian, win-win kinds of sentiments.

Based on personal experience, I think sometimes loneliness is (like pain or discomfort often) an opening, an irritation to bring us to our truest, most reliable, everpresent friend -- ourself. What other could be such a perfect companion? We have the same likes, dislikes, pleasures, amusements. We can feel so clearly and commiserate with the disapointments, agonies, defeats, dismays. We are multitudes within ourselves -- all the bits of memories, personality parts, inner conflicts and changes, to give a diversity of views and possible ways of going forward. We are never alone if we make the effort to truly know, love, befriend, embrace ourselves. Added bonus: we learn how to be a truer friend, a more authentic voice, a less needy participant -- qualities we can now share with the others who touch us when they do.

I don't think it is so much about things happening for a reason as the whole being an opening process. Thus, each "experience" moves forward allowing the experiences behind to follow forward, opening a greater universe of experience. It's not cause and effect, but a bit by bit progressing view of a greater picture. Then we, with conscious reason, draw up the chart and apply the labels.

Obviously, we do not have direct democracy in the United States. We have kind of a hodge-podge actually. There's a lot of plutocracy, some representative democracy, a bit of constitutional republic, mob rule here and there, and various forms of fascism, socialism, liberalism, theocracy, hyperbole, and imperialism. Where we have the greatest potential for democracy is not in the federal elections, but in local politics where everyone can actually see and know the issues and people involved. Imho, the greatest potential for national democracy is not about elections but what happens after -- how well we police our "representatives" and how we deal with problem-solving on the ground, individually.

Personally, I would like to see Roe v Wade overturned and a new legal theory applied which gives First Amendment rights to decisions made between a Dr. and patient. This kind of issue is not one in which government rule should hold sway. If you don't believe that abortion should be allowed, don't do it (either as Dr. or patient), scream your loudest when you perceive someone is listening, make it easier to be a parent and a child with real pro-life policies involving financial and social support for raising kids, volunteer as a counselor for people in the position to need to make these decisions in their lives, make a difference -- not a law.

I sip of the rolling world
drunken rhythms
burning my throat like acrid
Bleeding into my eyes
bits of paper, random electrons,
news of the world.

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