The Power of Mystification

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

Mystification is the state we’re in after we’ve been mystified. According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary, to mystify is to: 1: to perplex the mind of; bewilder 2: to make mysterious or obscure. I venture most of us have been mystified at some time by the performance of a magician. When it is done for entertainment it can be enjoyable and leave us appreciative of the performer’s skills. Sometimes a teacher may mystify us as a means of introducing us to a subject. Once the teacher has caught our interest, they can proceed to instruct us in the discipline involved. Perhaps, this is the most common method of education in the natural world. However, the act of mystifying people isn’t always done with such a benevolent motive or positive results. Sometimes, in fact quite often these days, when we’re being mystified it is being done with a predatory motive.

First, it is important to understand that we, as human beings, all love to play. We love to be entertained. When I was young I was introduced to the axiom “Work before pleasure.” That guidance has undoubtedly sustained humankind throughout the centuries. However, it is often through play, during leisure time, that we reap the benefits of new ideas, creative thinking. We know that it is stimulation that leads our bodies, including our brains, to develop fully. Often during play, or leisure time, we follow the flights of fancy that one stimulation, or another, may have given birth to within us. Sometimes it is just a moment’s enjoyment. However, sometimes we find ourselves positively mystified by something we’ve experienced through our senses or within our imagination. I say “positively” because these are the times we are caught by an idea which we want to follow up on. An idea about how to do something in a more efficient manner, or about creating something. Possibly a tool, or perhaps a work of art. Sometimes mystification, followed up on, can lead us to positive, culture changing discoveries. I wonder if all new inventions and works of art begin with a person being mystified by something?

In fact, mystification has played such an important role in human development, I venture that we instinctively appreciate it and seek it out. In our earliest memories we find ourselves being mystified by about everything. To a very young person, even the actions of walking and talking are mystifying experiences. We are mystified, we learn, we accomplish. To our minds, in it’s most wholesome manifestation, mystification is akin to our bodies experiencing the aroma of a fine meal being prepared. First the tantalizing promise of a reality, then, with the application of disciplined effort, the realization of the promise.

We have, through time and personal experience, come to value mystification for it’s ability to lead us to new visions, new understandings. However, within the predatory business model which currently dominates commerce worldwide, the reality that mystification has a value has not been ignored. Today several entire industries utilize mystification routinely in their marketing and as a lever in their all too predatory pricing practices. Contemporary industries which strongly rely upon the public being mystified with their product in order to both attract customers and demand inflated prices include: communications technology: cellphones, computers, and related devices, many other high-tech industries, pharmaceuticals and many other medical devices and practices.

In the middle of the 20th century the use of mystification as a mass marketing tool was possibly pioneered by the movie industry. But over time, increased familiarity with the product and it’s means of production, have resulted in a general demystification with the movie industry. However, a good story, well told, can still draw an audience.

From a developmental perspective, a major problem with the way mystification is being used by industries today is that unlike the process in which it occurs within nature, as a part of process of benevolent development, within many industries mystification is being used as a component of an extremely predatory business model. There’s no developmental “payoff” included nor intended. Just an ongoing demand for exorbitant prices on the part of the industry.

Which brings us to possibly the most culturally damaging effect this use (misuse?) of mystification is having in the world. Like the addicts who pay extortionate prices to illicit drug dealers for a fix, we are paying extortionate prices to the industries who have mystified us with their products and the short term satisfaction we often get with their use. I say “short term” because that’s what it is. Whether we’re referring to the instantaneous stimulation we get from video games and various electronic technology, or the temporary immunity offered by vaccinations (versus the permanent immunity from a naturally occurring immune response). We’re apparently transfixed by these products, their complexity, their mystifying actions (and the promises our subconscious infers based in evolutionary history). So we keep paying, and paying and paying to access them. We pay extortionate cable fees, internet fees, game rentals, equipment costs. As far as pharmaceuticals go we often pay exorbitant costs for the product’s development and then the extortionate costs demanded for the product.

It must be noted these aren’t the only products which have managed to mystify great numbers of people resulting in demands for exorbitant prices for the products. Some others in the U.S. include professional sports/athletes and “superstar” entertainers. Also Las Vegas and other extravagant, mystifying gambling houses. All of these enterprises rely upon mystification in the marketing of their products.

So what? Isn’t it just the way it is that businesses charge as much as they can? What’s wrong with that? What are you, some kind of idealist?

There is a concept that is important to grasp. It is the concept of a body working in balance, in harmony, as opposed to a body in which the various components of the body are fighting with each other for vital resources. If an organ, or group of cells, within our physical body goes on a campaign of inordinate growth, that is often a case of what we call cancer. Left unchecked it will result in the demise of the body it is occurring within. What is important, vital, to grasp is that the same principle is at work when we increase the scale we are looking at. The same principle applies when we’re looking at families, cultures, nations. Balance and harmony indicate a healthy body. Whether that body is a tribe, town, city, nation or planetary culture. If some component of the whole begins working to acquire inordinate amounts of the vital resources required by all, that is a symptom of a condition of disease and left unchecked will result in the demise of the body it is occurring within.

As with other aspects of what it is to be human, such as pleasure, mystification is a vital, important part of our lives. However, if we allow an inordinate amount of our personal time, energy, and material resources, or our collective time, energy and material resources, to be captured in a single minded pursuit of mystification, other vital areas of our lives, we ourselves, are going to suffer for it. On a cultural level, other professions are going to find the vital contributions they make to the sustaining of our lives, our communities, going undervalued, or ignored. Farmers, teachers, janitors, construction workers, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, mechanics, store clerks, restaurant workers, sanitation workers, police, firefighters, healthcare workers of myriad disciplines, all these contributors to our personal and cultural wellbeing and more, will find, are finding, their ability to earn a decent living increasingly diminished. Diminished because we are allowing a few to acquire too much of what is needed for the good of the whole. In part because we are captured by the mystification we experience when accessing their products.

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?

The Assault Upon Our Democracy

Graphic: Copyright: lightwise / 123RF Stock Photo

As we enter 2021 the United States is filled with a citizenry which, on the whole, is more troubled, fearful, angry, and poorer than they ever have been in the last 75 years. A citizenry which is increasingly homeless and hungry. A citizenry which is increasingly being “ruled”, not governed, by a cabal composed of the wealthiest who have managed, over the past 60+ years, to shape the thinking and culture of the nation to their liking. Joe Biden was certainly correct when, in his speech on Jan. 6, he stated “…our democracy is under unprecedented assault…”. However, he is sorely inaccurate in his assignment of the source of the assault merely to those who were demonstrating, and rioting, at the Capital Building.

While the demonstration and riot did manage to achieve a graphic display of the dissatisfaction which is widespread in the U.S., as far as preventing a fulfillment of the results of the last election, it was a misguided, futile effort. The pervasive and, at this point, long standing threat, the primary threat to American democracy: which is on the verge of dealing a fatal blow to the American experiment in democracy, is the dissemination of inaccuracies, lies, propaganda, which those occupying the highest positions in both government and industry have been increasingly engaging in since the end of the Second World War. It is impossible for a healthy democracy to exist without a steady flow of honest, accurate information for the people, who are at the heart of the system, to base their decisions upon. As we enter 2021 we must face the fact our democracy is crippled in this regard by five realities:

  1. Our “representative government has in reality become a government/industry amalgamation which routinely cries out “national security” to prevent the citizenry from gaining access to critical information. Information essential to any genuine effort at democratic government.
  2. The corporations deeply entrenched in governmental function are so obsessed with being at the “top of the food chain” in a predatory corporate culture, lying to the public is simply standard operating procedure.
  3. The governmental agencies which have been originally tasked with the protection of the interests of the public, have been co-opted by the industries the public expects them to be regulating. Their proclamations are little more than corporate PR.
  4. The “mainstream” news media (the fourth estate) has been monopolized by large corporations and, collectively, have become little more than conveyors of propaganda disseminated under the guise of “news”.
  5. Our government is increasingly populated by self-serving politicians who: have learned how to manipulate the system for personal gain, are increasingly dependent upon the wealth of corporations and certain wealthy individuals to obtain office, employ professional speech writers who expertly write speeches which divert, manipulate and placate the public. Speeches which they have no compunction against delivering. The U.S. has not yet had a President which does not fall into this category during the 21st century.

So yes, Joe Biden is entirely accurate with his claim of an unprecedented assault being waged upon our democracy. However, his assigning the primary source of that assault to those who engaged in the misguided actions in Washington, D.C. on Jan 6th is just more diversion and manipulation. It is more misinformation, which is, in fact, the true assault upon our democracy.

The key to dismantling this monstrosity of a manipulative system is simple and easily available to every individual in the U.S. In fact, every individual in the world. It is love. It is having love for all of humankind. It is basing our speech, our actions, our systems on the reality of that love. We must embrace the reality encapsulated in the “Golden Rule”: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” and genuinely and thoughtfully apply it in our lives. We are all an important part of an interdependent system. When we realize that, “One for all and all for one.” becomes much more than an interesting motto from a book.

The timeless observation of Hannah Arendt.

In this post I am referring the reader to another article. It is a well-written examination of the events of the past year, which are still ongoing, as characterized by the observations of Hannah Arendt of Adolph Eichmann during his trial in Jerusalem .

LINK:

The “Curious, but Quite Authentic, Inability to Think

A Tale of Two Crises

We, the people of the world, are facing two crises at this time. First, there are the cases of illness from the novel coronavirus. Secondly, there are the cases of extreme financial/material hardship taking place. If we just watch or listen to mainstream media one might think that in many cases the second is a direct result of the first. But it isn’t, not at all. Whether or not there was human involvement in the appearance of the novel coronavirus on the world stage is too big, and too obfuscated, an issue to get into in this article. However, the financial/material hardships that millions are facing around the world is entirely within the control of the human population of our planet. And it has been for some time.

The novel coronavirus has yet to touch one penny of anyone’s material security. Human kind has shown itself entirely capable of imposing hardships upon humans all by itself. There’s nothing obfuscated about this issue. And there isn’t anything obfuscated about how it can be solved. All it requires is for human culture to realize our interrelatedness, our interdependence. WE, who are whole and capable need to take responsibility for our lives and to do what we can (and if we’re working together, that is a lot) to assist those who are not whole and capable to develop greater capability. And to be housed, fed and cared for at all times.

We have the resources, we have the people, we have the knowledge, all we need is the will to make it so. It will require that everyone has the understanding that this is OUR world. WE decide what kind of culture we desire for humankind and WE are the only ones who can make it a reality. We must divest ourselves of competitive thinking and behavior, except in regard to recreational games. Cooperation is absolutely essential if humankind is to not only survive but fully realize the wondrous potential that is innate in every human being.

Competition results in stress and trauma and those things result in diminished human capability. Little by little those things do not nurture us, they cause us to gradually shut down and eventually kill us. Kindness, good nutrition, good information, exercise, work, play, art, contributing to a thriving human culture and enjoying the benefits of a thriving human culture, that is what elicits us to realize our fullest potential.

When we realize that the greater “profit” lies in a spiritually and physically healthy human culture (the two are interrelated) then we will be on the path to wholeness. Until then we’re just tripping over our own feet.

I say to-may-to, you say to-mah-to. The importance of the names we choose for our social-economic systems.

In a recent discussion on Facebook, it was pointed out to me that Denmark (and presumably other Nordic countries with similar economies and social programs) are not “socialist” or “democratic socialist” countries. I have to admit, as particularly the descriptor “democratic socialism” has been being used widely in the U.S. to describe the social-economic systems in those countries, I fell into using it. So in an effort to settle the matter once and for all in my own mind, I did what we so often do these days and went searching the internet. I found an article which does pretty conclusively settle the matter: “Scandinavian Socialism: The Truth of the Nordic Model”. In the article the Prime Minister of Denmark makes the following statement: “I know that some people in the US associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism. Therefore, I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.” He then goes on to add: “Some refer to this as democratic socialism, though this is far from correct. Some economists refer to it as cuddly capitalism, contrasting with what is seen as cut-throat capitalism in other Western countries.

Ok, I stand corrected, but not dissuaded from my very strong opinion that we in the U.S. need to adopt similar healthcare, educational, and social safety-net programs, programs which are paid for via taxpayer funding, as are in place in Denmark and other Nordic countries. My educational background and a lot of my work history is within social programs, social work, mental health. I tend to primarily reference things from this perspective. because a program works for the wellbeing of society, I tend to think of it as “socialism”. I think I’m not alone in that. However, from an economic perspective, while socialism and communism are not literally the same, they do share some important attributes and tend to be lumped together in the thinking of many in the U.S. That is another discussion.

My message here is that we cannot become so locked into labels, one way or the other, that we cannot move past them to, as a society, do the things we need to do best ensure a healthy populace. A populace that experiences life within the culture as welcoming, nurturing, safe, and that encourages each citizen to be a productive, contributing member within our communities. I would go further to say that as a general rule, if someone wants to be “taking from” society, we should require that they also be “giving to” society. To only be either taking or giving is not a healthy thing. However, for this to be anything other than a cruel, exclusive, policy, there must also be the support and training readily available to help those who need it to find real ways to contribute within their own set of abilities.

What has happened to the promise of science?

We take the path of our own choosing. Although sometimes we can be led to believe our choices are limited to those another would choose for us.

I can remember growing at a time when there was a general understanding among people of what “science” is. It was known to be a method, a system, of approaching a problem, or a question, which will result in our having the most true and accurate perception of the thing. Then, using those results, we can make the best decisions, the decisions which will best serve humankind to not only survive, but have the best and brightest future possible. Of course, in our scientific explorations we also discover things which can be used for death and destruction, but good people have the wisdom to put those things aside unless possibly needed to defend ourselves, to defend our lives. We trusted those to whom we entrust the reins of leadership and our cultural wellbeing, to be people of honesty and integrity who will make wise decisions in our best interests and who will not lie to us about matters of consequence. That is the beautiful concept of a world I was introduced to in the mid-twentieth century.

So what happened? I think, in retrospect, a hazard of new fortune happened. Immediately prior to, during, and just after the second world war, humankind came into a wealth of knowledge about our world, our selves. Knowledge which could be made widely known and, while challenging some of our previously held beliefs, could help humankind have a collectively brighter future. Or, could be kept secretively in the hands of a relative few and the power of that knowledge used to manipulate everyone else, the general population, into becoming impotent, docile servants to a new version of “conqueror”. Conquerors who, for the most part, utilize the manipulation of ideas and our own perceptions to lead us into a willing enslavement which we perceive as the cost of defending our safety, even our freedom. Conquerors who use the tool of our own mind against us.

Unfortunately, if possibly predictably, those holding the reins of power at the time chose the latter path. I say predictably because I have learned it is normal for children to get it wrong before they get it right. And the plight of humankind is as children trying to make a life on a beautiful planet which we have somehow, miraculously, found ourselves upon. It seems that, in the process of finding our way, as in the book “Lord of the Flies”, humankind is quite capable of allowing our imaginations and intoxication with power, along with some bad assumptions, into leading us to taking cruel actions upon one another. Unlike the children in “Lord of the Flies”, I don’t think we can expect a military rescue. If we are going to be rescued it is upon us to rescue ourselves. We must get in touch with our better nature, turn to the values, the thinking and behavior, which will lead us to a recognition of our kinship, brothers and sisters bound, if by nothing else, by the mutuality of our plight. A plight which, if handled with loving care, can be realized as a blessing in which we can fulfill our best and brightest dreams.

So what has happened to the promise of science? That bright, shining, light on the hill which has so often wonderfully inspired our hopes and imaginations? Along with the reins of our economy and government, it has been captured by those driven by the profit motive. The goals of many occupying the most visual, authoritative positions within science have been turned from being concerned with the collection of knowledge for the wellbeing of all humankind, into, far too often, being concerned with maximizing profits for one corporation or another. It’s that simple. Science itself, as the public often interfaces with it, has morphed from a tool for the betterment of all into, again, far too often, a tool primarily for the enrichment of a few. As it turns out, science, as with any other tool humankind has ever developed, is only as good as the motives and methods of those wielding it.

Deep within, and all around us all…

Deep within us all there is a connection. It is a connection with the infinite. When we are “in touch with” this inner reality which exists within and is a part of and available to all of us, it’s the most wonderful feeling. We want to stay there, we never want to leave, and, in reality, it must be true that we never do. But we are also alive here on the Earth, because we want to be. And the dynamics of our Earthly, sensual, reality can distract us from the reality of, the guidance of, our connection with our innermost selves. Our day to day “worldly” occupations and events can distract us from our connection with the Universal Creative Spirit. The spirit which we are all a part of and which ourselves, and everybody and everything else, exists within.

When we are in touch with, working with, our birthright connection to the infinite, to the Divine Universal Creative Spirit, we KNOW, we don’t merely think that, we KNOW that we are connected to, alive within, the infinite. We see it, we feel it, we KNOW it. When our motivation for action is coming from this part of ourselves, of our reality, a “miraculous” reality is working within us, with us. If called upon to do so, we can perform actions which place us in what seems, if we weren’t acting upon a motivation from this aspect of ourselves, certain harm, possibly death, and we will BE safe. Do you know the story of Daniel and the lions’ den? That IS the level of protection being in touch with, acting upon the pure motivation of, this innermost, most intimate yet shared with all, level of our being, extends to us. This I KNOW.

When our attention, our mind, is caught up with our Earthly reality, we are caught up with our senses; sight, sound, taste, smell, touch. I imagine, the sensual reality of Earth is a part, to a greater or lesser extent, of why any and all of us ever desire to be born here. The sensual reality of Earth can, at times, be overwhelming. The pleasures brought to us via our sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch can wholly capture our mind and carry our consciousness away on magic carpets of experience. And there is nothing wrong with that. In participating in the enjoyments possible with our Earthly body. We are just enjoying our Earthly birthright, our being. However, there is a catch. While we are here, in an Earthly body, we are also firstly beings of a spiritual, energetic body. And we were before we were born on Earth (and remain as such when incarnate upon Earth), When and if our Earthly body meets it’s demise, we will still BE as a spiritual, energetic being, within a spiritual, energetic reality. WE are spiritual, energy beings and, those who see auras tell us ,we can and do actually glow. Not figuratively but actually. And I have seen that sometimes, if our being is strong enough, if we are wholly enough in touch with our divine nature, we glow brightly enough to light the darkest room. When we are involved with our Earthly perceptions and desires, the task we all face is to experience and act within the “material” realm while still continually honoring our spiritual being. Honoring and maintaining what we need as spiritual beings to be whole, to be perfect.

There are those who proclaim themselves as messengers of God who might tell us that this is what other beings do, beings more special, more blessed, than any of us. Beings we are supposed to give ourselves over to by listening to what they, the self-proclaimed messengers of God tell us. If they are a true prophet, maybe we should…but only if. For one thing, a true prophet is not going to tell us there is any person, any being, who is more a child of God, of the Universal Creative Spirit, than any one of us. A true prophet is not going to tell us there are spiritual gifts or states of being available to some that are not available to all. However, just as there are beings who have learned more about reading, or writing or mathematics than others, there are beings who have practiced, studied, being in touch with the Universal Creative Spirit, within and around us, more than others. Having the wisdom to consider such a person’s counsel is very much a worthwhile thing. If such counsel is genuine, it will resonate within our own innermost being and our own innermost voice will echo such a message. Such a message will feel right, and, if we consider it’s nature, it will be based in love. Not a selfish love, but a love which encompasses all life. Which is not to say that such a love will never carry with it what sometimes seems a difficult message.

A prophet most widely known by a translation of his name, whom we most widely call Jesus, gave us some insight to our spiritual reality in many of his teachings. One of these teachings gives us insight to staying in touch with our spiritual birthright: Matthew 11:30, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” That is how it is. Our innermost voice, usually, speaks to us gently, as in whispers. Even in the most dire of situations, this voice maintains it’s gentle, loving nature, it may become more persistent, more insistent, there can be more energy, but we are always, ultimately, consciously left with the decision. And I venture most of us have experienced the sometimes immediate “oh no” that can result if we ignore the gentle counsel of our innermost selves.

Within the totality of our being, within our lives here on this wonderful planet called Earth, with all it’s beauty, all the sensuousness, we encounter, lies our task, our challenge: how do we live our lives in this wonderland in a way which satisfactorily honors both our essential spiritual nature and the physical realities of our Earthly life? As stated above, there is much in the way of sensuous enjoyment that goes along with being a human being on Earth. There is also work, and sometimes pain that goes along with it. It is only natural that we want to seek the pleasure and avoid the pain. And in the middle, at the crux of it all lies the work. Both the mental and the physical work needed to truly successfully navigate the layered, dimensional, reality of our lives here on Earth.

To begin with, we need to understand the absolutely interrelated nature of everybody and everything that is here, now. If we are involved with doing the right things, doing the things which most enhance life in general, we will be simultaneously enhancing our own life. And, conversely, we cannot do things which harm, or impede life in general, that pollute our environment, without simultaneously harming, impeding or polluting our own life. Some results, some consequences, wonderful or awful, show up right away after we have done the best or worst thing. We immediately receive the sweet taste of the honey we have just eaten, or we feel the prick of the needle we just poked our finger with. Some results/consequences take a little longer, some much longer. Yet, if we are in touch with our connection to the divine reality we are a part of, we always have guidance at hand to what is the right thing and what is not. However, as with all the decisions in our lives, the decision is ours to make.

If we keep in mind just as with our bodies, the world, the universe we live is organic, is an organism, and that we are organically inseparable from our environment; that realization can help guide us in how think and act in relation to others and the environment which sustains us.