Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Long Day's Journey Into Hope

A lot hangs on the military Empire’s big election today, including whether tens of millions of citizens will be able to afford a doctor, even for minor illness. It is also a pivotal for the forces of Greed and their shameless mind-manipulation. It is noteworthy and nefarious that Romney, champion of the rich, ended his campaign on a big lie: the claim that GM was moving all its JEEP jobs in Ohio to China. The company itself said this was not true, and the newspapers in Ohio printed prominent rebuttals, calling Romney out. But instead of apology, Romney upped the lie, adding more such ads in Ohio, and so he was called out again and again by the auto manufacturer:


Blatant lies are dangerous and can be effective. Let us never forget one of the most important quotes of our time: “The great masses of the people will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one.” That would be Hitler himself speaking, a truly great and monstrous fear monger. Back to Romney: with the auto industry countering his deplorable tactics face-to-face, the lie is red and exposed. Voters in Ohio will notice the vast ugliness and be repulsed. And yet we should all be very scared: a major candidate for the throne of the military empire, one who could well win, is resorting with full gall to a tactic endorsed and wielded by the worst kind of leader. the sort whose conscience, if it exists, is far secondary to powerlust.

Despite the importance of the day, neither major candidate has focused on climate distress. The ecosystems of our planet morph on unpredictable courses. Unless dealt with directly and calmly, this perilous change will prompt many humans to panic, and that could lead to a chain reaction of anomie. The collapse of civilization is on the table. The next hundred years are crucial to the survival or doom of postmodern life.

Sadly, a third of the good citizens of the Empire think that global warming is just a conspiracy theory. A fabrication for intellectuals to get money. We have so much denial, in other words, that it drags us into inertia. It’s the kind of denial that comes with addiction. Think of a person addicted to cigarettes, except instead it is an entire nation addiction to oil and coal, oblivious to the consequences. Meantime, more and more scars maim the Earth, and the balance of forces that make up the homeostatic rhythms of our planet commence to fibrillate.

We are also in denial about the crescendoing business of violence. An Op-ed titled “The Permanent Militarization of America” came out recently in the New York Times. It starts, “In 1961, President Dwight D. Eisenhower left office warning of the growing power of the military-industrial complex in American life ... He cautioned that war and warmaking took up too large a proportion of national life, with grave ramifications for our spiritual health.” The author, an Assistant Professor of History at the US Naval Academy, writes that Eisenhower’s warning “concerning the spiritual effects of permanent preparations for war is more important now than ever.”

As the author states, many children in America have lived with war their whole lives. It is the norm. The death of soldiers. The drone attacks. The fear of some nebulous enemy. Increasing surveillance makes our country part Orwellian; and the hedonism of our jingle culture, coupled with the shadowy threat, reminds of Huxley’s Brave New World.

And so, while key issues are at stake in this election, the best we can do is take a halting step down the right path. And unfortunately, the worst case scenario, a Romney victory, is much bleaker.

The difference between humans and machines is that we can contribute to our own inner programming or narratives. And yet too often we think we are in charge when instead we have been narrated by other forces, even to think we are doing the narrating ourselves.

The battlefield for the future is the human mind, its ability to change and yet also its vulnerable spot: to be deceived, manipulated. It is not like we can just reboot. Reprogramming is much like what feminists call “consciousness raising.” It’s a slow process, though disaster and crisis can speed up both the good (awareness) and the bad (panic).

Actually “reprogramming” isn’t the best word because it is associated with primitive polices in the 1950’s, such as B.F. Skinner’s reductive behaviorism. What I’m talking about is more like a therapeutic process, not a simple application of positive and negative stimuli. We need to crack our denial and howl in catharsis, taking the entire hero’s journey. Others can assist us, but we must each do it, in the end, on our own.

But again, all we can do tonight is take one step in the right direction. Let’s hope.


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