In the Absence of Representative Government

In Washington State a State Senator recently bemoaned the ongoing nature of the special emergency powers ceded by the Legislature to Governor Inslee. This is a very important, very timely issue. It appears that on both the Federal and the State level, Chief Executives have gotten way too comfortable with a unilateral decision making ability. It is time we restored the democratic republic to the form it was intended to be. Would we be experiencing, suffering from, the ongoing oppressive mandates, nominally justified by the, again, nominal Covid pandemic, if the experiences and the wisdom of the people were indeed being followed by a representative government? I don’t think so. The fact is a relative few people have experienced the kind of devastating illness potentially resulting from Covid that the media persists in broadcasting as if it were the reality in every house next door.

This is not to trivialize the suffering of those who have been the hardest hit by the virus, but that being said, we cannot continue to react to the experiences of an extreme minority as if that is the reality for all. While giving such minority experiences the time and attention they deserve, it is not wise governance to base the parameters of the functioning of the entire society upon the abilities or vulnerabilities of the most vulnerable among us.

If the vast majority of Americans took inventory of their own first-hand reality and urged our State and Federal legislators to either enforce, or lift, the harsh mandates based on that inventory, mandates which have led to many citizens losing their jobs, incomes, mental health, physical health or even their lives, we would have seen the mandates lifted months ago, for good. If we would have ever seen them imposed in the first place. I tend to think we may have opted for the initial “flattening the curve” 2-3 weeks, but not the ongoing, oppressive marathon we have experienced.

But that is not the reality we are facing. When it comes to the Covid mandates, we are not being governed by a representative body. We are being dictated to by an authoritarian few, often in an arbitrary manner with only the sketchiest, if any, actual evidence to support their dictates.

It is past time for us to insist upon the reassertion of a genuinely representative government.

Believe in the science! What exactly does that mean?

Image: (c) solarseven http://www.fotosearch.com. Caption: Author

We are hearing and reading a lot about “the science” these days. When it comes to the Covid-19 phenomenon, we are constantly being urged to trust the science. There seem to be many who believe that trusting the science is a knee-jerk type of thing. If it’s science, trust it, enough said. Without belaboring the point, that same unquestioning trust used to be expected by religion. Those who refused to offer up a show of obedience (trust) frequently found themselves facing harsh consequences, possibly death. But we’ve outgrown that type of thinking, right? Have we?

There seems to be a mind-set in the world the carriers of which truly want (need?) there to be an ultimate authority. A worldly parent (god?) figure, or institution, which can answer all the most difficult questions and protect us from that which we don’t understand. This mind-set is to be found within people of all ages, races, genders, ethnic groups and political persuasions. If you spend much time among people who want to dig for their own answers, those of this aforementioned mind-set are frequently called by derogatory names: sheep, cattle, or other such terms. I think using such terms just serves to muddy the water between us as human beings. Beyond a shadow of a doubt there are people scattered around the world who are more developed, in various areas of knowledge, than others. I tend to think we humans are spiritual beings, in search of a harmonious physical existence, and some of us have been around longer than others of us. We all most likely fit somewhere in the middle of an infinite spectrum of knowledge and development. So let’s be a little kinder with each other, okay?

Getting back to the original topic, in order to “believe in the science”, don’t we first have to know what science is? If you’re expecting a long, technical, complex explanation, don’t, it doesn’t take all that to define “science”. Science is just a methodical, systemized way of looking at things, or working with things. Good scientific methods can give us answers to our questions about the world which can be relied upon to be provable and consistent. And when they do that, it’s great. They don’t always do that however, sometimes the answers we find mostly give us more questions. But that’s okay too, because it means we’re in the process of understanding whatever it is we’re studying. When we’re using scientific methods in our efforts to produce a thing, those methods help us track and understand our efforts, and insure that if we are successful once, we can, most likely repeat the process and be successful again.

One of the great things about science, is that when we’re using it to understand things, or to create things, it almost always is an evolving process. Just think about all the things we humans were sure we knew at some point in our history, only to learn we missed something. Then, after a sometimes long and violent process of change, we again became sure we knew it for sure. Only to again find we needed to refine our thinking. I think it’s a safe generalization that the more complex the question being studied is, or the thing we’re attempting to produce is, the more likely it is that we are going to find ourselves facing many revisions over time. And that’s okay, because, again, science is a process and being involved with it is better than not.

It’s when we start thinking we have the ultimate answer, that we know it all, that we setting ourselves up for a fall. And that is a big problem when we have concurrently developed a culture that expects perfection. As with religion in medieval times, today people expect “science” to be infallible. It isn’t, and it never has been. It is a dangerous proposition to pressure scientists to be infallible. What that is likely to mean in a significant number of cases is that there will be a lot of effort put into defending the indefensible.

Which isn’t to say that scientists don’t ever get it right. The point is, it is often (always?) in our best interests to be circumspect when it comes to the “facts” and products brought to us by those professing to be utilizing science in their methods. The ethical position of “first do no harm” (meaning “…your actions should not cause injury or injustice to people) is a position we should expect, if not require, from those developing new ideas and new products.

Science, scientific methodology, has no inherent ethic or morality. The positive motives and practices within scientific endeavors are there because the people involved brought them. There is nothing in our natural world, nothing in the human mind, that prevents those who may wish to do so from using scientific methodology (science) to produce things, even products which they may market as medicines, which are harmful to us. Some of the malignant things brought into the world by intelligent, highly trained, scientists include: DDT, water fluoridation, Zyklon B, the atomic bomb, microwave weapons, and many other devious means of incapacitating, enslaving, and killing our fellow human beings. Science is a method, not a product. The quality of the products produced by scientists is dependent upon the goals, the ethics, those scientists bring with them. Science is a tool, that is all. As with other tools, it’s utility is only as benevolent as the methods and goals of those applying it.

Time to shed the dysfunctional personal and cultural patterns the way a snake sheds a skin it has outgrown.

Image (c) AlexMax http://www.fotosearch.com

I woke up in the middle of the night, my mind filled with thoughts of how disorienting, how contradictory, how hostile, the world can seem right now. Around this genuinely beautiful world there are people of all ages, genders, educational levels, people with sometimes vastly different experiential realities. We all want to live, we all want to love and be loved. I also believe that, if we are in touch with our core, innate being, all of us genuinely want to be contributing to a world which, in return, sustains us with the material requirements of a whole and healthy life.

However, many of the prevalent societal models humans are endeavoring to live within (all?) contain some degree of short-sighted, ultimately non-survival oriented reactions to the challenges we all mutually face in this world. Reactions which can and do become internalized, and go on to become manifest within the lives of people attempting to formulate a healthy life within our respective cultures. Short-sighted, ultimately non-survival oriented reactions which, in truth, stand in the way of our achieving the criteria needed to be genuinely whole, healthy individuals. Whole healthy individuals which, in turn, are needed to constitute whole, healthy communities…and cultures. Collectively, around the world, there are many cultures filled with, being run by, people caught in such ultimately self-defeating reactions. Reactions which are in their nature, circular, self-reinforcing, and which we need to escape… in order to save ourselves.

How do we know if such ultimately self-defeating, short-sighted reactions to the world, are widespread within the culture, the society, we live within? Does the culture have extreme poverty? Is there an extreme imbalance of wealth within the culture? Are the emotions jealousy, anger, envy, fear, hatred, even contempt toward one another common within the citizens? Does a person have to work long hours every day and still find themself unable to afford a decent material livelihood? Do people spend time and energy judging each other’s worth/value as human beings based on either superficial physical characteristics or what amount to culturally imposed inequalities of wealth and education? Is one’s ability to compete with the others within the culture seen as more important than one’s ability to cooperate with others? Is depression, apathy, isolation a common experience among many of the citizens? Is complacency common among others? These feelings and behaviors are all symptoms of ultimately self-defeating mental/spiritual reactions to our world. Reactions often reciprocally fueled by, and resulting in the emotions listed and italicized above.

In reality, there are so many combinations of emotional/behavioral, individual and cultural self-defeating reactions, thinking and behavior patterns, one could spend one’s entire life studying them, categorizing them, and still not encounter all of them. In an infinite universe, there are probably infinite ways to get it wrong. However, ultimately, having a detailed understanding of all of the errors possible in understanding and behaviors still doesn’t necessarily mean we are equipped to “get it right”. It’s time to rein in our worldwide busy-ness with all the self-defeating, nihilistic reactions which occupy us. The people of the world need to all stop, take a deep breath, and ask ourselves “how is this working out for me”. In the vast majority of cases, for the genuine health and well-being of most lives, it isn’t. Most people in the world are economically “treading water”, if that, while a relative few are hoarding the resources needed to revitalize the cultures of the world.

That being said, what’s needed right now among the people of the world isn’t primarily the assignment of blame. What is needed is correction. Which, in a strictly material sense, is a simple matter. However, within a human psyche writhing with various obsessions with personal wants, desires and grievances, it can be anything but simple. It will only be when we learn to think substantially in terms of “we”, instead of limiting ourselves to “I”, that humankind will have a chance at achieving a harmonious world that supports all humankind. A world in which our ongoing, innately present, desire to enjoy our lives and to realize all of the incredible potentials which are present in every human being can actually become manifest.

The goals of “making a killing”, or putting all of those ________________ (fill in the blank) in their places, or of being the first and/or the only at anything, need to be shed like a snake sheds a skin which has become too small. We need to look at the world with fresh eyes, realizing that poverty, sickness, hunger, homelessness anywhere is decreasing the health and the well-being of the entire world. We need to devote enough of our time, energy and resources to lifting up, healing, educating, the downtrodden to bring this world into stability and vitality. Prophets and sages have been saying this, in myriad ways, for centuries. It’s time we listen and take it to heart. They have been right all along. With all the knowledge and resources we as a species possess in this world, it does appear that all that is missing, all we need, is love.

Where to start? One of the gems of knowledge we already have has come to us via Abraham Maslow. With his hierarchy of needs, he gave us a blueprint of how to go about it. Some of the hierarchy, particularly those pursuits nearer the top, are pursuits which are more dependent upon our own, individual, efforts. However, particularly the issues present on the first two tiers, the most basic issues relative to human life, are issues which ultimately require our cooperation with one another to fully achieve. If we encourage a competitive culture, even the attainment of meeting those requirements is always tentative within our lives. And if our attainments are tentative, they are continually taking time and energy from us in order to work at reinforcing and protecting them. Time and energy which we then do not have to devote to the higher, more uniquely human and at the same time more divinely miraculous aspects of our being.

Who do we trust? Governmental authority & conflicts of interest.

One of the biggest threats to human well-being in the United States, and the world, today is the number of individuals who occupy offices entrusted with overseeing critical aspects of our culture, but who have a vested financial interest in whether our perceptions and actions follow one path as opposed to another. Further, the path which may offer them the most financial gain is often (always?) one at odds with the well-being of the general population. “Conflict of interest” is the often heard description applied when such a situation exists. But something has happened within the consciousness of the American public. Possibly the consciousness of people around the world. We have stopped taking such a situation as seriously as the possible negative consequences warrant. As a matter of fact, conflicts of interest on the part of those occupying elected office and those working within governmental agencies, even agencies mandated to oversee public safety in some critical areas, have become so commonplace they seem to be accepted as business as usual.

How pervasive is the reality of public office holders with conflicts of interest? We frequently hear or read about the “revolving door” between governmental office holders and private industry. We increasingly see persons with a history within an industry which comes under Federal regulations show up working within the regulatory agency overseeing that industry. Possibly even directing it. And then there is the reality of elected officials, and others employed within governmental agencies, who are invested, via stocks or other investment, in private industry and so have a vested interest in seeing that industry being profitable. Thirdly there is “Citizens United” which has, in effect, turned elections into dueling bank accounts. For a candidate to have a chance at being elected all seems to commonly require their becoming beholden to private interests.

People with “a foot in both worlds” would have us believe they can simultaneously maintain objectivity about the good of the public and the profits of an industry they have a vested interest in. You know what? Bullshit. What we are seeing in practice is that far too often the special interests of private industry, and the correlated personal financial benefit of the individual, will take precedence over the good of the general public. We, the people of the United States, and of the world, need to be taking such conflicts of interest way more seriously than we have been.

It is not enough that an individual who aspires to public office, or who holds public office, fills in some sort of paperwork declaring their conflicts of interest, or (supposedly) turns their private interests over to someone else to manage for them while they hold public office. In order to preserve the intent and the integrity of functioning of our public offices, of those who are entrusted with the governance of our nation, of our lives, we need to disallow any person from holding elected office, or to hold a position within a regulatory agency, who has even the shadow of conflict of interest about them.

Right now, with the information and mandates being handed down around Covid-19, here in the United States and in many other countries, we are extremely vulnerable. We are led to believe that the people handing down the mandates, making the decisions, are doing so in order to protect the health of the people. People, in general, want to trust those holding positions of authority within our government. We want to believe that individuals who represent regulatory agencies, or agencies mandated to look out for our health and well-being, are performing that task in good faith.

Yet what we currently have are individuals with a foot in both worlds making decisions which, depending upon the direction they choose, potentially stand to personally profit greatly. And in reality, we are seeing some private enterprises reaping windfall profits during this time, with promises of more to come. The pharmaceutical industry for one. Then there are the large corporate retail concerns which are taking in record profits during the same time in which millions of small businesses, individuals and families are experiencing devastating financial losses.

What is going on right now; the policies and mandates taking place around Covid-19. cry out for independent investigation. There is too much conflicting information being put forward by medical and scientific sources. There is too much glaring illogic and inconsistency in the specifics of the mandates coming from both State and Federal governments. It is all but impossible for a person thinking critically and examining the opposing points of view, to simply accept the mainstream narrative on Covid. It is equally, if not more, difficult to see the mainstream narrative as having anything to do with the well-being of the public.

Yet who would conduct such an independent investigation? The fact is, we have allowed so many persons with conflicts of interest to occupy the halls of power in our land, there seems to be no one. At least no one is yet stepping forward from within the halls of power. We must look out for ourselves, as those wielding power at this time are looking out for themselves. The demands, the pervasive intrusions into and upon our lives, our bodies, being inflicted upon us behoove us to busy ourselves searching for all the information we can access regarding what is going on. We cannot trust those in the governmental or industrial positions of authority to be completely honest with us. If an individual who represents themself as a medical or scientific authority, such as Bill Gates or Anthony Fauci, has a vested financial interest in how things play out, and they do, we must consider that heavily when we are deciding what medical and scientific authorities we are going to place our trust in. As mentioned before, there is a lot of information which contradicts the mainstream narrative coming forward from reputable professionals in the field of medicine and related sciences from around the world.

If the magnitude of the events taking place lead us, as a nation, to engage in an overdue and serious examination of the criteria we use to scrutinize those to whom we entrust our public offices. If such scrutiny leads us to demand a much greater singularity of purpose on their part, that will be some good to come out of these times.

Will it take another extinction event, another re-boot of humankind, for us as spiritual beings to realize the folly of ignoring our own interconnected, spiritual reality?

Image (c) AlexMax http://www.fotosearch.com

We are all energy beings. We are manifested in a manner which presents as material and solid, however, when physicists take a closer look, that appearance begins to be revealed as a manifestation apparently constructed out of nothingness. We’re all energy beings. As such we live within, and are a part of, an energy field. We’re all, at our most basic level, all made of the same stuff. That same stuff is all around us and extends into the infinite universe we live within. We are, quite literally, inseparable from the universe we live within. One universe, many planets, many stars, many galaxies, many dimensions. All within the one, the all. And we have the privilege, the blessing, of being conscious, alive, to experience it.

Beyond a doubt, the experience of consciousness within such a stellar and magnificent reality can cause some aberrations to take place in our minds. We love it, some want to own it, some want to somehow grasp onto the very small piece of it closest to us and control it. As if that were possible in the crude, brutal ways it is usually attempted. We are in a dance, a dance of energy, light, motion, love. To do anything other than try to flow with it, to appreciate it, and to care for aspects of it we have the ability to work with, is hubris. It is the lack of humility, the overestimation of, or presumptuousness as to our place within our reality that creates a lot of problems for us.

Some look around and think because of the color of my skin, or hair, or eyes, or my height, or my physical strength, or my keenness of intellect, I am wholly superior to others. Or that because they happened to be the first human to begin living in a particular valley, or on a particular hill, they therefore own the whole of it. Our desire to own, to somehow freeze the ongoing flow of time and life, and make it our own, has led us to form collectives, cabals, with agreements to abide by certain rules and documents and to live as if those rules and documents truly represent some kind of divine right. Again, such hubris.

Innate within us, within us from the moment of our creation, is a connection to the Universal Creative Spirit, which is, in fact, the universe, the all. Within that connection is guidance. When we still our minds, access that guidance, we know what we should do, and we know what we should not do. We know that each and every one of us, each individual, is ultimately no greater, nor lesser, than any other. In a move that has shown itself to have the potential to be both a blessing and a curse, in all of this wondrous creation, for reasons we may not (cannot?) fully understand, we have been given free will. I guess the Creative Spirit, which flows within and around us, and of which we are all an integral part, didn’t want a bunch of puppets.

We know there have been other civilizations before this one. Civilizations lost in time, we occasionally find artifacts which testify to their existence. One of these prior civilizations, Atlantis, from the stories which have been passed down to us, brought it’s destruction upon itself through it’s hubris. Too much knowledge in too specific a focus. Not enough appreciation of the whole of the system they (we) exist within. In their manipulations of the material world, they lost sight of, lost appreciation of, the spiritual. In their ability to play with aspects of the stuff of creation, they lost humility. They went out of synch with the universal dance they were a part of, and were washed away as the will within universe didn’t see fit to alter the greater in deference to the lesser.

What more obvious way to love, to honor the Universal Creative Spirit, call it God, or not, than to love and honor the creation? After all, the creator and creation are one. We are, in fact, of God. When we forget that we are only parts of a whole, and that none of us has any greater claim to the whole than any other of us, then, again, we get into trouble. In the past that trouble was always, relative to the totality of human existence and the planet, relatively local stuff. We fought with stones, axes, swords, guns and relatively localized explosives. As time has gone on we have become increasingly capable in our ability to wreak destruction upon the materialized reality we are a part of. However, to want to do so is symptomatic of mental and spiritual illness, always. It is symptomatic of people cut off from, in denial of, the foundational spiritual reality which we all live within and are all a part of. To engage in the deception of, the destruction of others, is to engage in self-deception and self-destruction. To engage in cooperating with, nurturing, building, healing, appreciating others, is to manifest those things in our world, to manifest them as resources for, aspects of, ourselves.

We have free will. History shows us the Universal Creative Spirit, because love is it’s essential nature, also will wipe the slate and start again if necessary. When the hubris of the creation has led to a denial of love. Humankind has reached a level of functioning that allows individual men and women, and groups, to engage in activities which affect all human life, all life itself, upon the entire planet. We have free will. We can engage in constructive, loving, nurturing activities, or we can engage in activities which are designed along narrowly perceived avenues of immediate benefit to a few, but which ignore the effects of such behaviors upon the conditions affecting well-being of the larger whole. Conditions which will, ultimately, bear upon all.

Will it take another extinction event, another re-boot of humankind, for us as spiritual beings to realize the folly of ignoring our own interconnected, spiritual reality?