This is one of those posts I’ve debated about for a while — which blog? which blog? I’ve been doing some occasional political pieces on the Scribblings blog, but ultimately I decided this one has messages that suit both. So I’m posting on both– not even a reblog just the same post in two places…
Lately I’ve been slowly realizing how everything I’ve done since college has been adding up to something forming in the now; a purpose and direction born long before this spiritual journey began as a conscious process.
I got to Northwestern University in 1970 and by the end of my freshman year I was radicalized. A lot of revolution talk floated in the air around the anti-war movement and I felt both excited and unnerved by it. Puzzled by the enthusiasm being expressed by “peaceniks” for a process usually containing violence and horror — however great the outcome might be. (Though really, historically speaking, I’d have to say an awful lot of revolutions made things worse instead of better….)
It fascinated me, so I began to study. Technically I majored in history and had an English minor, but I put together my own course of study. An instructor with a forthcoming book on the “Power Elite” (the people of money who, behind the scenes, ran/run much of what happened/happens) ignited more fascination and I started taking classes on 20th century history, political systems, economic systems, political philosophy, political sociology, etc. I wanted to know what the plan should/would be for a replacement if we wanted to tear the current structure down. I wanted to find out if there was a path to change without violence. I never lost sight of the deep questions about whether those who were shouting about revolution really understood the ramifications. They also shouted about peace and the contradiction troubled me.
I tried to continue this work as a graduate student in sociology, but fellowship money wound up side-tracking me into the Center for Urban Affairs. I learned more stuff that influences me still, not the least of which was a massive review of literature on crime statistics and the startling revelation that the probabilities of being a victim of most of the major felonies (robbery, burglary, assault, murder, rape, etc.) had not changed since at least the 1940’s. (see previous post for more info)
I’ve continued to periodically check for updated studies and it has remained true to this day–and I now know the unchanged probabilities actually extend far back beyond the 1940’s. It’s remained a central point for me, the realization that fear and perception of what’s real can be manipulated by how the facts are presented and what the media and people in power choose to bring to our attention. And in these days, when positive news is available in a few seconds of internet searching, it’s also about what we choose to focus upon.
My law career was spent mainly on cases fighting nuclear power plants one way or another and I learned a lot about the real story there and how the utility companies, in collusion with the government, have tried to create a benign view of the nuclear industry that’s out of alignment with the facts.
I used to count all of those earlier studies and jobs out of my thoughts about how various elements of “my path” have added up to where I am now and what I am meant to do. But as these wild times have ignited me to renewed interest in these big questions about politics and economics, I’m seeing how the Universe has guided me to gather what I need for my whole adult life, not just from the point when I began to explore myself as a spiritual being. I still don’t see exactly where it leads, though that book I decided to write months ago on peaceful activism remains in the forefront of my thoughts.
Going back to the undergraduate studies, Oskar Lange‘s book, On the Economic Theory of Socialism, moved me, convinced me and provided the basic framework for what I would like to see that has guided my political thinking ever since. While I love Social Democratic philosophy and especially how it has played out in Denmark, I remain aware that the U.S. has reached a point where powerful money forces have entrenched themselves so deeply in the political fabric that it may well require a revolution to make a change.
Through all the years I’ve watched the left leaning side of the Democratic party (and those who, like me, are somewhere left of the party but vote for it out of expediency), I’ve been amused and bemused by the unending chatter about changing this deeply rooted political principle or that deeply entrenched lobby group. They speak of it as though just electing a few of the right people and/or passing the right laws will be all it takes to turn everything around.
My personal feeling has long been that it will take something far more earth shattering than electing “the right” people to revamp our system into a Social Democracy. In an ironic sense I have a feeling the election of #45 may be the catalyst that does it, but that’s another rambling for another day…
My perspective now includes years of spiritual seeking, meditation, yoga, mindfulness, chanting, etc. and my beliefs have shifted to encompass a more spiritual and less political view. I believe in peace. I believe in compassion. I believe in lovingkindness. And I’m still striving to find a way to change the world without a revolution–or at least by fomenting a peaceful and compassionate one.
I’m unhappy about the anger and vitriol on display from both sides while at the same time understanding we probably need this time of erupting anger to clear a lot of buried stuff. I’m unenthusiastic about “resistance” being the main banner of the movement for social democracy.
I am very clear it is more powerful to be “for” something than it is to be against something and I believe it is time for a platform of social change in which we are FOR equality, FOR universal health care, FOR equal rights for all humans of every race, nationality, gender and sexual orientation, FOR a basic decent quality of life for all humans–maybe FOR a new Social Democratic party?… Time to stop speaking of our striving in battle terms and instead to be positive about what we’re doing to create what we believe in.
I am also clear that much of humanity discounts the role many of us have been playing as we have cleared old issues, struggled to become more loving, more kind, more compassionate… Much of humanity doesn’t believe in peaceful means. I understand that most people don’t get the web of all life or comprehend we are energy beings first and foremost; energy beings who are interconnected and whose thoughts and feelings as well as actions impact all of life.
I believe the biggest revolution may be the one that can and must happen in our hearts. Which is not to say peaceful activism doesn’t also have a role. But more than anything I believe now is the moment to clear any vestiges of fear and anger IN YOU, raise your energy vibration toward love, toward compassion, toward higher consciousness. You can’t make anybody else change their thoughts or learn to meditate or choose peace. Only you can do it. Only I can do it. Peace begins with me. Peace begins with you.