NFL players taking a knee to protest social injustice in the U.S. There is such a level of irony in that scenario I don’t think anything could best it. Is there social injustice in the U.S.? You bet there is. First and foremost is the injustice of economic imbalance, the predatory economic system running amok. There are those who, while most of the citizens simply worked at their jobs, working to keep their lives and communities on a stable footing, were busily working with the single-minded purpose to acquire more. Often stealthily, behind closed doors, working to see cronies obtain key political positions to shore up their single -minded purpose. Working to see laws passed to aid in the furtherance of their, by default or by design, malevolent advance. Always grasping for “more”. Using force, force of law, or sometimes simply force, to both create their path and protect their rear. All in the name of inordinate gain with very little, if any, return of substance to the public they feed upon.
Kind of like professional football. As a matter of fact, not kind of like, exactly like.
The NFL is quite possibly the number one mascot for the thinking, the spirit, that has created and maintains the economic imbalance in the U.S. They do a lot, quite possibly more than any other recognizable entity, to keep the spirit of “I got mine, too bad about you” alive and well. I can remember when street gangs wore NFL jackets as their “colors”. I can’t be the only one who saw the synchrony in that.
The NFL is a crude microcosm which exemplifies the spirit within the more sophisticated, unjust, macrocosm that some within the NFL’s ranks are protesting. And as such, this renders the NFL a de facto PR agent of that predatory system. Undoubtedly one of the most well known and effective PR agents of that system. The media coverage of the NFL plays to the minds of the young, and older folks alike. The media glorifies the greed rampant within the NFL and entices fans to lust after inordinate wealth. And it glorifies brute force in the process. The glorification of greed which is part and parcel of the reality of the NFL, helps white-wash greed everywhere. So, the irony of NFL players protesting the larger system’s injustices is, at the very least, ironic. Possibly even grotesquely so. But maybe it’s a start?
For the next few weeks, months, years (?), I am going publish short commentaries on what’s happening in the world rather than longer essays. My goal is to publish one a week, on Saturday mornings. I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read, “liked” and/or commented on articles on my blog!
A lot of (most?) people in the U.S. have played “Monopoly” at some time. The board game that’s designed to produce a winner and losers in an imaginary battle to acquire wealth. There is maneuvering for advantage, developing properties, lucky and unlucky roles of the dice. In the end someone bankrupts everyone else and owns it all. Then everyone can put the game away and head to the kitchen for snacks. That’s the part that’s missing in real life.
As in the game, in real life most (all?) people contribute in some way to building up and maintaining our communities. Most contribute throughout most of their lifetime. Building, serving, performing tasks meant to help keep the community vibrant. Unfortunately, these days it is happening within a system that is increasingly resembling the board game: designed to produce a relatively few big winners and lots of losers. Because we live in a finite system, there cannot be unbelievably extravagant winners without a whole lot of losers.
In the U.S. it hasn’t always been this way. Regulations against monopolies, a progressive tax system, wages and benefits people could thrive on, social safety nets and other safeguards kept the playing field more balanced; viable for the majority of, if not all, people. Then, those with more wealth began to find ways to manipulate the system. The regulations and safeguards which previously existed to protect the well-being of the whole have been, and are being, dismantled. This is leading to increasing economic imbalance with all the attendant debilitating effects on the general population that one can expect, even predict. We’re now seeing individuals with more wealth than millions of others. Others who have also been contributing.
The system needs repair. We need to restore lost safeguards. We need greater community mindedness. We need greater recognition of our inherent interdependence.
Update, 6/15/18: The best laid plans of mice and men and all that. I thought this was a good idea at the time, however, life has intervened and this plan for my blog did not materialize. I’m not quite sure what I’m doing in terms of blogging these days. I am certainly in a period of transition in my life. To everyone who has read my blog at some time, maybe “liked” it or commented; thank you! I hope to be more actively involved at some time in the future…
We read or hear every now and then about someone “going down a rabbit hole”. That is no doubt an allusion to Alice in Wonderland (Or Alice Through the Looking Glass) and a young girl’s journey into a fantastic, somewhat disorienting world. These days “going down a rabbit hole” is most often used to describe someone who is delving into information having to do with conspiracies, manipulations of the public consciousness. Often these people may also be described as being “on the fringe”, nut jobs or nut cases, conspiracy theorists, or even lunatics. However, is this really the case? Are the people who delve into such information, trying to discern what is or isn’t real, actually going down a rabbit hole? Or, are they trying to climb out of one?
It certainly seems many people live in one of two ways: Either blindly, unquestioningly accepting the information they are handed by “the authorities” and adjusting their lives accordingly. Or, some do feel, suspect, things really aren’t what they have been told they are, but the prospect of trying to peer into the darkness is too frightening. These folks then continually seek other people and institutions which will reinforce the status quo and, at least temporarily, soothe the uneasiness which lies below the surface of their lives.
Then there are the people who don’t, can’t, fit into either of these groups. People whose consciousness, whose intuitions about our world are persistently and relentlessly sending them alerts: something doesn’t feel right, something doesn’t make sense when analyzed using all the available evidence. These people often feel like the proverbial square peg in a round hole. So these people read, watch documentaries, talk with others. Not just the books, videos and others that will reinforce the information that is already being mass-produced and presented repeatedly on all the mainstream media. These people welcome all the information they can get their hands on. Including the material being presented on the six o’clock news and the front page. These folks welcome the alternative perspectives, the “outside the box” reasoning, and all the facts, all the evidence, they can find. No matter where it may come from and, more importantly, no matter where it may lead.
It is important to note the critical distinction between “welcoming” of information and “accepting” information. One, the welcoming, is the act of opening one’s senses, one’s mind, to input. Accepting information is the act of internalizing, assimilating, the information as true and accurate. When we do this we are doing more than simply restructuring our mental, abstract concepts about whatever the information pertains to. We are actually directing our brain to arrange our neural connections in such a way that the information becomes “hardwired*” into our neural processing patterns. This is an organic process which requires time, energy and effort on the part of our body, our brain. Our brain is building an organic network of thought, reasoning patterns which become part and parcel of our conscious processes. These concepts, true or false, become the matrix, the foundational fabric of our thinking processes.
In between the “welcoming” and the “accepting” what should exist is a critical, analytical process of vetting the information. What too often happens is that merely the fact that somebody in a position of culturally recognized “authority” spoke or wrote the words passes as vetting information. Is it that millions of people in the U.S. and around the world are too complacent, to think, to research for themselves? Or is there more to it than that? People around the world are often required to expend such a large amount of their time and energy in just striving to keep themselves sheltered and fed that, maybe, there just isn’t enough energy to go around? To look at this phenomenon from the perspective of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we can’t do too much on the higher levels of our lives when we’re unsatisfied with and/or expending all our efforts on the lower levels of the Hierarchy. However, no matter what the reason(s) may be, if we aren’t critically analyzing the important happenings in our world, some of our oversights are going to affect us more than others!
*Back to the “hardwiring” our brain is busily involved with. This “hardwiring” is not immutable. Just as these neural circuits were formed via our acceptance of, our assimilation of, information into our belief system; our working concept of reality can be reformed/reshaped in the same manner. But it takes time. Our brain’s neural network is not just a series of “off/on” switches. It is a living organ and change requires time and energy. When we construct complex concepts in our minds we are employing an army of neurons. Some of them are carrying data more central to the concept, some are carrying data more peripheral. Some are doing the work of associating one concept with another. Our brain doesn’t operate like a military drill field where one central command can result in hundreds or thousands of soldiers making an instantaneous change of direction. Our brain, our thought/neural constructs, change via many recursive visits to the subject. Slowly, gradually, change begins to become pervasive throughout our neural network. Sometimes it may take years, decades, for an intention for change to have thoroughly replaced the pre-existing concept(s). To try to change too much, too quickly, can be a traumatic event for the organic neurology involved. It can result in mental illness, and I am told, even death.
That’s why we don’t want to beat ourselves up when we find ourselves falling down on resolutions we make. Our neurology just doesn’t respond in an instantaneous, pervasive manner. It is also why we do not want to “program” ourselves or allow ourselves to be programmed with faulty, inaccurate, untrue information. It is not in the best interests of our species to have to engage in major conceptual changes. It takes a lot of time and energy away from being able to cope with the “here and now”. It is profoundly better to have good information to begin with and to be able to build increasingly complex, increasingly sound conceptual networks over time.
Human kind is probably the only species on Earth in which adults of the species will knowingly lie to their young. Of course, sometimes the adults who are transmitting false, inaccurate information to their young aren’t doing it intentionally. They are doing it because they themselves have accepted false, inaccurate information. Information which was handed to them by an “authority” sometime, someplace during their lives. This false, inaccurate information might be thought of as parasites which have been introduced to the family, dressed up, and have taken up residence, attempting to influence successive generations. Kind of like a horror movie.
When we’re under the influence of false, inaccurate information one can think of it as living at the bottom of a rabbit hole: in the dark.
For decades the American public has been living under the influence of lies. Lies coming from the White House, the Pentagon, and Congress. Lies being regurgitated by much of the media. The lies have gotten so deep, going back decades; so much has been built on top of those lies, those in power must cringe at the thought of the public ever widely knowing the truth. As George H.W. Bush said to Sarah McLendon, a Texas journalist: “Sarah, if the American people ever find out what we have done, they would chase us down the street and lynch us.” That was in 1992. The corruption, lies and abuses, the darkness being cast over our understanding of our world, have only gotten deeper since then. The Kennedy assassinations, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the Oklahoma City bombing, MK Ultra, 9/11, these heinous actions, actions which the American people have been lied to regularly and repeatedly about, are only the tip of the iceberg. Financial abuses, wars, economic disparity, the list of ways the American public has suffered as a result of the lies is long and grievous. Because I live in the U.S., events in the U.S. are what I am most aware of. However, corruption and abuse of the public by those in high office is by no means limited to the U.S.
So, in reality, those seeking the truth about these things aren’t frivolously going down the proverbial rabbit hole, they’re determinedly trying to climb out of one.
Culture. We all need one to live. However, if and when that culture becomes too rigid, too intolerant, it stops being the supportive, nurturing, positive context we all need for whole, healthy lives. We human beings are complex in our make-up, in how it is that we experience our world, our environment, and in how we, as individuals, want to respond and behave within it. Each of us, while we do all share an essential common core of basic needs: water, food, air, shelter, love…, as complex beings are also very different in many ways.
We all experience and relate to our world in a somewhat different manner. Some people are more oriented toward an auditory experience of the world. Some the visual, or the tactile. And there are many other aspects of our lives which we all approach in different measure, with varying degrees of passion. We all have available to us the realities of logic, mathematics, healing/medicine, art, architecture, music, taste/food, physical capabilities; balance, strength, motion, sensuality. There are so very many aspects of our lives and our world which we all can and do find ourselves drawn to, interested in, to varying degrees. And they are all equally valid*. What we find ourselves naturally drawn to is the path we need, as an individual living organism with both physical and spiritual components. The path which will lead us to realizing our individual developmental journey in this life. It is, in fact our developmental imperative. And, again, they are all equally valid*.
This reality, of individual developmental imperatives, while so common sensical and simple at it’s base, has profound implications for us within our cultures and interpersonal relationships. Currently, in many cultures, there is an expectation, sometimes a quite rigid expectation, that within the culture we should all follow a highly regimented common path. This can, and often does, apply within our interpersonal relationships and especially marriages. It can, and often does demand, that one party accept a subservient relationship to the other. Often, but by no means always, the subservient role is expected of the female. It is hard, real hard, (all but impossible?) to get in touch with and express one’s individual developmental imperative in such a situation. Someone may want to attempt the argument that then the subservient person is experiencing that difficulty then that is their developmental imperative at that moment (to learn it is impossible to experience self-actualization while being rigidly held to someone else’s expectations and rules?). What do you think?
Within healthy interpersonal relationships we often take on obligations. Couples take on the obligation of maintaining a household, raising children, working together toward common goals. Honoring one’s own developmental imperative does not mean being defiantly independent and resisting all cooperative efforts and arrangements in our lives. It does mean being in touch with and honest with ourselves. Honoring what we know to be our essential orientations and needs. When partners recognize this reality within their own and their partner’s life, and when the individual orientations and needs are not incompatible with the needs that exist within the partnership, then all’s well. As a matter of fact, it’s better than well, it’s excellent.
The only way it gets any better is when partners within a relationship not only recognize and honor one another’s individual developmental imperatives, but take an active interest in seeing one another succeed in expressing them.
Today in the world at large we see individual developmental imperatives being honored, or neglected, to varying degrees. Some cultures all but totally reject it. When a brutally enforced totalitarian expectation of conformity is present, individual developmental imperative hides in fear. Or there may be martyrs in it’s name. The individual developmental imperative seems to most often demand our attention by being gently insistent. However, if continually repressed there can be pressure that builds up behind it. It can cry out within our being for recognition and expression.
The same is true within families, or interpersonal relationships and marriages. It can require determination and personal effort in developing knowledge and reason for individual developmental imperative to find fertile ground. Personal insecurities can get in the way of one’s own ability to express one’s developmental imperative and it can cause us to try to repress it in others. Within close relationships knowledge of one another combined with trust and reliability are important.
We don’t come into this world “blank slates”. We arrive with a developmental imperative already well underway. Our spirit, our mind, our nervous system are already geared for the path that will serve us the best. And, if we are happy and accomplished at a skill which brings enlightenment, joy, and increased turn-on to life and well-being to others…then it is a win-win-win situation.
Again, there is work involved, and discipline. Work and discipline are not bad things when applied to the expression of that which we deeply love and seek to honor with our being. In that context work and discipline feel right and we recognize the value they can add to our achieving that which we desire.
*So why the asterisk, the caveat? Because there is something we need to acknowledge and honor in order to preserve our individual ability to access, explore and fulfill our lives. It is really very simple: we need to acknowledge and honor the basic needs and lives of everyone else as if they were our own. Which means if we perceive our developmental imperative as requiring us to harm others, to inflict physical, psychological and/or spiritual harm: mutilation, deprivation, destruction, upon others, then we need to rethink how we are interpreting our perceptions. It is likely that if we find ourself having such thoughts that they are an expression of anxiety and fear. Emotions often stemming from, at sometime in our past, our having been harmed, significantly physically, psychologically and/or emotionally mistreated. And/or quite possibly that we are suffering from a neurological impairment resulting from an insult to our brain. Possibly from a physical or chemical insult, or resulting from experiencing significant prolonged stress. What is needed is an experience of pervasive healing: and that experience will not manifest by harming others.
Somewhere in the past I read in a text, which I can’t remember the title of, that due to the difficult, treacherous circumstances of life on Earth, all spirits that take it upon themselves to be born here are considered heros. There are so very many dangers, pitfalls, that exist for humans. Diseases, dangerous substances, accidents, but possibly the most difficult challenges we all face are the ones related to our own senses and how we handle, how we react, to the stimulation we receive from them.
“Where the senses go the mind follows.” (author unknown) is a quote which pretty much sums up the challenge. This is such an incredibly rich planet in terms of sensory, sensual, experiences. Visual, auditory, tactile and energetic; stimulation reaching one or all of the seven chakras within us.
When the stimulation we are receiving leads us to begin considering actions which in some way compromise some aspect of our lives, our personal coherence, integrity; when we are considering actions which stand to affect the nature of our relationship with the rest of the physical, mental, spiritual world we live in (turning harmony into dissonance)- that is when we are truly facing the nature of challenge this planet, and the life on it, is famous or infamous for presenting us with.
In a way, life here on this small outpost on the fringes of the Milky Way galaxy, seems a testing ground. Can we, as spiritual/physical beings, face the sometimes (often?) seemingly contradictory “pulls” and demands upon us relating to security, integrity, pleasure, livelihood, in ways which are harmonious and viable within the whole of our spiritual/physical existence? Keeping in mind also that we live within a unified field and in order to be truly healthy, happy and viable we necessarily must be primarily in harmony with the forces within it. It’s not and never has been “all about me”. And yet it is.
If it were an impossible task we probably wouldn’t be here.
What are our natural resources? Essentially they are the inherent qualities of the planet we live upon. None of us created them or contributed to their existence. However, as we know, many if not all of them are necessary for our lives. Without the air, water, food, shelter, medicinal substances, that our provided by our natural resources we would die. Without the beauty and recreational opportunities inherent in our natural resources our lives would be much less enjoyable, if even tolerable.
Natural resources include the plants that grow and the animals that inhabit the Earth. Natural resources are the source of all the raw materials that all products are made from. Even what scientists require in order to create “synthetics”. Without the naturally occurring base materials there would be no synthetics. We come to the Earth with nothing and everything we have while we’re here has essentially been provided to us by forces beyond our control. Everything. That makes the naturally occurring resources of our planet (and others) pretty valuable, doesn’t it?
It is true that humans very often take a natural resource, add some ingenuity and work, and thereby create something more useful to human life than the raw material alone. Clothing, houses, automobiles, medicines, works of art, musical instruments, books, computers, jewelry, beer, wine! Humans have bred some plants to produce more or better food products than they did previously.
However, it’s worked the other way with plants also, nutritional value has been reduced in some strains. And similar claims can also be made for about every natural resource. At some time one or more human beings have tried to create something with one or the other natural resources which has ended up being of less value than the raw material. Trial and error, we humans seem to do a lot of that.
Somewhere along the line some people decided that because of some arbitrary situation in their life they actually own one or more natural resources. Maybe they were born into a “royal” family with a longstanding (but never the less arbitrary) claim. Or maybe they had friends within one or more governments that were ready and willing to pass laws that proclaimed they now have ownership of certain natural resources. In any and all of these cases, assertions of ownership have only worked because there were sufficient other people ready to support that assertion. All such assertions are arbitrary in that they are devised and implemented solely out of the volition of the human beings involved. In other words, if I say I now own New York, and if I can get enough people in positions of power and a sufficient army to support the claim, then I own New York. That’s how it works. We all came with nothing, everything that is, every single solitary natural resource on Earth, has been provided to us freely by forces beyond our control. Every product that exists is produced from these resources.
Whether by design or default, currently we are allowing individuals or small groups of individuals to claim ownership of massive amounts of the Earth’s natural resources. Is this really how we want to conduct ourselves? This type of practice, among other things, leads to competition among the individuals and groups vying for ownership. It has led to wars and will undoubtedly lead to more if the practice is continued. It leads to inflationary, greed based pricing of the resources and works toward the impoverishment of the general population. The psycho/emotional effects of a competition/greed based culture in general are to be seen within populations around the world: fear, anxiety, disenfranchisement, depression, or vanity, narcissism.
When enough people wake up to the reality that private ownership of natural resources, and all similar cultural structures, can only exist with the cooperation of the general population, then we will see significant change within systems take place. In the past this has often just meant that the group controlling the resources changes and the same greed/competition model stays in place. We need something better. We need to realize that as a species that our fates are inextricably intertwined. We need to realize the mutuality of our plight and then to act upon that realization. We need to utilize, to apply the magnificent body of knowledge that already exists within the disciplines of psychology, physiology, sociology, medicine, anthropology, ethics, and spiritual studies in the design and maintenance of our social and industrial systems. Economically we don’t need socialism, communism or capitalism. We need a hybrid born in knowledge and reason with the well-being of all of humanity as a goal!
A key foundational piece of wisdom comes when we realize that, in general, looking at the basics of our biology and spirituality, what is good for one person’s body and spirit provides us with a model of what is good for the body and spirit of humanity as a whole.
A definition of “coherence” to be found at Merriam-Webster online is: “1: the quality or state of cohering: as a: systematic or logical connection or consistency…” In every day terms that might be expressed as “making sense”. If something is coherent it makes sense, if it isn’t it doesn’t.
One additional term I need to include here is “integrity”. Merriam-Webster gives us: “1: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values :incorruptibility2: an unimpaired condition :soundness3: the quality or state of being complete or undivided :completeness” That pretty much says it.
When we combine coherence with integrity within a concept, agency, person, we have something we can know and trust to be what it is and/or claims to be. How nice is that?
When it comes to the objects in our world, in order to understand them and use them successfully, in a way that will benefit our lives, we need to have coherent and integral information about those objects. If we do not have such information we are either uninformed or misinformed. Either condition is a set-up for something to go wrong. The truth of this is self-evident. We need good information to make use of the objects: machines, computers and even the basic tools in our lives.
If there were a movement going on to give Americans (or anybody) false, misleading information about the machines/technology/tools in our lives, in a way that would directly affect our ability to successfully use these devices we would recognize the wrong in doing so very quickly if not immediately. When people start losing body parts to lawn mowers, chain saws, other power equipment, when people can’t get their coffee makers to work or their computers to function properly: we would recognize something is amiss, it would be apparent. And we wouldn’t be happy about it.
But what about the events, the actions, that take place in our world? Do they matter less in terms of affecting our lives than the things, the objects? No they don’t. In fact the events, the actions that take place in our world can do affect our lives greatly. Not just actions but the reports of actions have started wars during my lifetime: Vietnam and Iraq for example. So actions and the reports of actions can and do affect our lives every bit as much, if not more, than the objects around us.
Yet while we would not tolerate being given false information about the objects in our lives. The VW exhaust scandal being a recent example of how we react to such inaccurate information; we repeatedly tolerate inaccurate reports about the important events, the actions taking place. And we don’t just tolerate them, we act upon them sacrificing lives and treasure.
Now President-elect Donald Trump has offended the U.S. intelligence community with his disparaging treatment of them. I have to say, while I am not at all generally happy with Donald Trump’s practices, this particular action caught my attention as a potentially positive statement. Again, during my lifetime, I have seen the “official sources”, citing intelligence data, with the mainstream media in the U.S. blindly following along, handing the American public blatant lie after blatant lie. And far too many Americans have been duped into believing the lies and either acting upon them or supporting the ill-founded actions based on them.
Examples of such events include: the Kennedy assassinations, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and the events of September 11, 2001 (9/11). While we may not know the full truth of what took place within these events, we can know by looking at the evidence that exists that the official stories are not the truth, not even close. Sometimes it is just a matter of looking at the authentic mainstream news reports that went out before there was an official story that needed supporting. And sometimes it takes a little more work accessing the authoritative independent research that has taken place. There are a lot of theories that exist around the independent research that has taken place around these events. However, for purposes of this article my goal is not to argue for any of these theories. My goal is to make the point that the official stories are not accurate and that we, as a people, do not seem to care. We don’t seem to place the value on coherence and integrity (the truth) regarding events that we do around the objects in our lives. Why is that?
Is it that the objects are, in their totality, right in front of us where we can see them and directly experience the truth of whether they work properly or not? On the other hand the events often occur far away and we are dependent upon the reports of others to know what happened? Is it that, as a population, we haven’t learned how to critically think and analyze the news reports that come to us? Or is it possibly that we have fallen too completely for the cults of personality that have become so prominent? Do we accept information because of who (a person, an agency) says something rather than an open, honest, critical examination of what it is they are saying?
No matter what the reason, the result is the same when we accept untruthful information about events as it is when we accept untruthful information about objects: a profound lack of things working as they should. When we accept bad information we can’t understand why things are going the way they’re going. It doesn’t make sense. When we take information lacking in coherency and integrity into ourselves, make it a part of our internal system, we have subjected ourselves to those deficiencies. Our thoughts and actions now lack coherence and integrity. This works on us, eroding our ability to function in a manner which most benefits ourselves and our families. We become dissonant rather than harmonious with the world around us. And we experience greater friction, frustration, anxiety, anger wearing us down, robbing us of the life in our years and years of our lives.