| 7 Apr 2008 @ 23:12, by David Bartholomew|
[excerpted from DoingIt!, April, 2005]
It seems much of the world has brought itself to a state of either-or.
Blue/liberal/democrat state or red/conservative/republican . My “one” religion or your blasphemous, misguided, imposter religion. Sadly, much possibility, variety, imagination, toleration has gone out the window for an us vs. them (U.S. vs. them), dug-in, black and white mentality. And we’re just the ones to clear it up. In this I see an immense opportunity.
“All living souls welcome
whatever they are ready to cope with;
all else they ignore, or pronounce to be monstrous
and wrong, or deny to be possible."
"Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors."
-- John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Where the world we all knew innately as children-- fueled by (questionably authentic) parental urgings to “play nice with others”-- was full of unlimited potential, novelty and worth based on all of the diverse people, creatures and opportunities “God” put on Earth in all “His” Glory, Omniscience and Bounty…
… somehow some of us have come to believe that:
These beliefs, these practices, in a word, suck!
- “God” and “His will” are puny enough for us to not only comprehend, but second-guess (what were those pesky Deadly Sins? wasn’t there something about pride and vanity in there?)
- the paths of those other people are not as perfectly laid out as ours, and they need correcting by… us, and those who profess to think like us
- the universe is unimaginative enough to allow for only one perspective, one way of thinking and being (Hello comrade, Heil the heck are ya?!)
- only one composite “blog”, er Scripture, only one set of spiffy songs, are on God’s top Ten list
- generally, whatever a consensus of individuals who look like us deems “the way” ought to be imposed on everyone else, because they, not we, need to change.
"Religion, like poetry, is not a mere idea,
it is expression.
The self-expression of God
is in the endless variety of creation;
and our attitude toward the Infinite Being
must also in its expression
have a variety of individuality
ceaseless and unending"
-- Rabindranath Tagore
They have always sucked. They’ve gotten way better at sucking over time. And it is time for the sucking to stop.
Whether coming from a nation, a religion, a political party, or the loudmouth at the bar, such intolerance has grown to be more than… intolerable. All those executions of people based on arbitrary criteria and convenient labels need to stop. All those restrictions on the rights of those who don’t do like we do, for reasons real or imagined, need to stop.
Any who would espouse a system of ideals, politically or spiritually, ought to back them with the willingness to rise above, sacrifice, stretch beyond, in whatever manner would be considered in alignment with those ideals… in order to honor them and prove oneself worthy of them.
"A man's character may be learned
from the adjectives
which he habitually uses in conversation"
-- Mark Twain
Boorish guests who steamroll unsuspecting hosts with their “my way or the highway” wants and needs have always been called an imposition. Guests of this planet who impose their limited ability to embrace tolerance of at least the right to another’s non-harmful words, actions, beliefs, practices, if not the actual expressions themselves, ought to consider having the grace to excuse themselves from the house of their proclaimed “Host”, or at least from all of the public stumping and stunting, agenda-wrought manipulations and orchestrations in which they so actively and sincerely participate.
Those proclaiming to be so sensitive to all these abominations in the world should work on turning the other cheek away from the screen, growing a thicker skin, standing behind rights of personal expression and civil liberties in theory before their own such fall under fire; or should just grow up.
It’s just not decent behavior. Far beyond any cry of indecent behavior on the part of those of unlike mind from us… is the audacity to try and strip another of their God-given and constitutional rights to play out their own script.
Never mind that a good percentage of the nutty and weird stuff perpetuated in this world is motivated by those rebelling against those older and stodgier, who deliver the desired reactions of being appalled and “well, I never” on-cue and in direct proportion to the shock value of the original act, and can be dismissed as such. Forget any notion of systems that hold within them the capacity to return to balance of their own accord. That is—if you don’t react, they might stop. Things might work themselves out. It could be only a phase. A free market plays out—whether that market consists of widgets or ideas.
Especially under the banner of higher political or spiritual ideals--ought those throwing out the first stone not make sure their houses are in even greater order prior to accusing or attempting to influence others?
When the energy behind a movement, for example, is love (the message behind all religions if I am not mistaken)… shouldn’t we be able to feel love emanating from its practitioners? As opposed to hate, fear, ever-present high tension from small, furtive souls exuding little of the benevolence of their professed doctrine (and, worse-- petty, demerit-tracking, list-keeping, rooting-for-the-demise-of-the-other smugness)? Wouldn’t it help to enroll others if those persons showed some semblance of having their “stuff” in one bag?
Anyone with a degree of intuition or the ability to sense the quality of a wall of energy coming at them can feel—on their bodies—the desperation of those who must convince all of their rightness and righteousness at any cost.
Similarly-- politically, democratically-- don’t we owe those we are trying to convert, at least an approximation of an example of what that looks like prior to forcefully rubbing their noses in it? Like a little introductory offer or enticement, shy of accepting them as they are without our miracle cream, which is not available in stores?
As we in the U.S. are in the wake of the second straight flip-a-coin presidential election results we must look to the significance of a lack of the emergence of any convincing leader to take this country into the future; the lack of a party or vision that can do no better than chance at lighting the fire under a people groomed to cheer along and do “the wave” at ballgames.
Again, in this there is only opportunity.
There is the opportunity, in this Age of Aquarius, to note the decline of one more of the institutions to which the average person has delegated and relegated his/her personal power and decision-making responsibilities, and to use this as a wakeup call to claim responsibility for each one’s share of the appearance of the world and make the harder choice to try and do something about it.
There is the opportunity to see that issues of today entail more complexities than out of context sound bites and well-crafted and market-tested, evocative slogans, slick graphics on national news programs, and the quips of pundits can resolve. There is the opportunity to discern paid mouthpieces from journalists, and to actually research facts and draw one’s own conclusions.
Actually, most of the solutions to our worries, especially over the long-range, are probably not so complex at all… should any and all be able to put aside their personal agendas in the short term. Oppor-tunity. A-ha!
Just when did the world become one big debate ground-- one non-stop, king-of-the-hill marathon of convincing everyone we were right, that common words don’t mean what we know them to mean, one endless filibustering attempt to wear the other into agreeing with us out of sheer fatique?
"The most beautiful thing we can experience
is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art
and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger,
who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe,
is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."
-- Albert Einstein
Are there, truly, any of us who can accept a differing point of view and leave it at that? Hang out awhile in the unknown? Maybe have a conversation instead of a shout-off, in which all parties come away with intriguing questions, maybe some answers, and definitely a new, amalgamated point of view?
What I see in the world is one big Jerry Springer show, less interesting than the original staged version, with just about everyone behaving really badly. Shamey, shamey.
It is as clear as the nose on our faces. It is clear that in so many ways we are cutting off those noses to spite our faces. It is palpable that we need to quit squaring off, mano a mano, with our brothers and sisters, in this caged death match, winner take nothing world we have brought ourselves to.
"How can one conceive of a one-party system in a country
that has over two hundred varieties of cheese?"
-- Charles de Gaulle
We have the opportunity to not go down the roads of the past—to not allow intolerance and injustices and the unimaginative to continue to rule our world. To not allow our unspoken words to be taken for acceptance.
I see today parity in politics, in religion, in the degree and quality of vision on either side of just about every major issue that confronts us. I see a stalled tug-of-war. I see a 50-50 world that has ground to a halt, calling attention to the fact that the way things have been done up to now is not working. But I feel amidst this uneasy equilibrium, this stasis, this stalemate… a chance for all to stop, take a breath and really think about what is important, and what life can look like moving forward.
The great news is—in such an Even-Steven situation… it will not take much to change the momentum (um, to regain momentum), to alter our course, to effect change.
I think of those who fought insurmountable odds in their time to advocate a better way—those whom we have revered throughout history and after whom we have named holidays, religions and mattress sales. And I think—
Gosh! I bet they would have welcomed the chance to begin their work with anything near a 50-50 chance. These are perhaps the best odds the world has seen!
The bad news is—once the scales begin to tip one way or the other they will be that much harder to slow and reverse. So we have quick, important and conscientious work to do prior to the unraveling of this Gordian Knot, the inevitable resolution to this imbroglio.
We—each of us—have only to pause, go deepwardly inward and really think… to ask, to feel: What is most important, on this day and for all time? Where does meaning lie? Is it better to be right, or good? Are we truly living from the highest place where actions, words and ideals meet? Each must do this, and every answer must come from the highest place possible.
"It is one of our perennial problems, whether there is actually a God.
From the Hindu point of view each soul is divine.
All religions are branches of one big tree.
It doesn't matter what you call Him just as long as you call.
-- George Harrison
It is possible (preferable) that we come to a place of understanding that answers from a level beyond “either/or”, leaves neither winners nor losers and has all happy to have participated in what shall come to be remembered as a lively discussion rather than an ongoing bloodbath. I believe we have it in us to rise above such seeming complexity to arrive at pristine simplicity.
It will take everything we have. And I don’t think any of us would have it any other way.
We can do better. We shall do better. Continue to take heart and “Think Bigger!” We are DoingIt!
“Now and then we had a hope
that if we lived and were good,
God would permit us to be pirates"
-- Mark Twain
“Tell me what you are for,
as opposed to that which you are against.”
-- David Bartholomew