Perspective on the scene

A few days of ignoring the news, especially the political news, has done wonders for my attitude! I feel lighter, and much more relaxed. Of course, I’m not advocating an ostrich approach to the tenor of the times, but dropping back for a bit seems to have the added advantage of giving me a better perspective on the current scene.

And this year, perspective is everything.

My blogger friend Rosie, a British ex-pat of sorts – she and her husband are both retired from some executive-type jobs and live in Spain somewhere – brings such amazing perspective on the current American political sideshow, as well as having a right proper insight into the British insanity of the moment, Brexit. She’s been a bit too busy with life lately to do much blogging, but she shares her commentary with me from time to time, and I find it quite enlightening.

“In the UK, sadly, it’s those who are desperate to turn back the clock who will suffer most as Brexit unfolds,” she said to me soon after the exit vote. She blames the leaders for not bothering to really explain things to the English voters. “It’s difficult to explain that the world has moved on, especially when you have the likes of Trump and Boris Johnson trying to further their own personal positions regardless of the rest of us. Hillary and her supporters need to show understanding of and empathy with the disenchanted, whilst demonstrating that Trump could never deliver what they hope for. The intellectual superiority and patronising attitude lost the referendum for the Remain campaign in Britain. I only hope Hillary does better…”

Rosie (that’s not her name, but she said I could call her that, as she blogs under the name Ramblinrosemaryann!) sees lots of similarities between the Brexit vote and the support for Trump. “Both sides in the [Brexit] campaign lied and/or exaggerated, but that apart, it seems there is a significant section of UK society that feels ‘left behind.’ Generally older, male and blue collar, their traditional occupations (mining, steel, heavy industry) have all but disappeared,” she said.

“They feel they have lost their place in society and their communities have been left to decline. Even if they and their children get service sector work, they can’t feel pride in it. The gap between them and the progressive, pluralist multi-culture grows wider daily. It’s been happening over decades, but the EU referendum gave them a chance to exercise a protest vote. They genuinely believed the clock could be turned back to the 1970s.”

This seems to me to be just what is happening in the US – just the same motivation. People who feel indignant, left out, economically side-tracked and culturally abandoned have turned to Trump without much real analysis of what it would mean for them should he actually be elected. Of course, that seems a more and more remote possibility, but these people aren’t going away and their feelings are not going to change unless Hillary really jumps into a progressive agenda, which seems unlikely.

“It’s too easy to say, ‘tough, the world has moved on’ – manufacturing isn’t coming back from China anytime soon!” Rosie said. “Something has to be done for the genuine concerns of these people. Building walls across the English Channel and the Mexican border might sound attractive to some, but can never be the answer.”

Though the British have begun to revisit the vote and some suggest it should be re-voted, while others say the implementation still can be avoided, it seems to be going forward. Let’s hope we don’t get into that here. I do understand those who can’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary, but I’m still feeling the risk is too great to support a full-scale third party movement in this election.

But as many are beginning to suggest, including Bernie, we must begin to build a true progressive alliance on the ground in the US, and we must address the issues that are driving the fascist appeal. Otherwise we’ll be facing some other, probably slicker and more palatable, authoritarian candidate in the next election.

And then it will be too late to do anything about it.

Media break

I’m taking a break from social media, and most news media as well.

My wife and two of my friends ran a little impromptu intervention Thurs night to let me know that I’m being adversely affected by all the negativity out there. i was feeling it somewhat, but didn’t realize how it was affecting others.

To confirm the whole thing, the universe got in on the act with a huge thunderstorm that has taken out my home Internet connection … until Tuesday! Weird.

But already I feel better. I cleared out the piled up crap in my inbox and Unrolled a bunch of email subscriptions, took Facebook off my mobile desktop, and posted a notice that I won’t be checking in on Facebook. Call or email me. Or leave a comment on this blog.

I don’t think fascism will be stopped by Facebook actually, so boots on the ground time… see ya in the streets. … tho I do plan to finish posting 132 names of black people killed by police. …. maybe make a poster… not that I’m anti police, just anti the fascists who control them…

No passaran!

¡No Pasaran!

They shall not pass!

This is my new motto, borrowed from Nadia (Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, now Nadya) of the Russian fem-punk band Pussy Riot, who borrowed it from Dolores Ibarruri, a popular anti-fascist icon of Spanish Civil War fame.

Dolores gave a famous radio speech in July of 1936 that ended with the statement, “The fascists shall not pass! No pasaran!” It became the motto of the Spanish anti-fascist Republican, and this song was used in their campaigns:

¡NO PASARÁN!
Ahí van marchando los milicianos
Van para el frente con gran valor.
A dar sus vidas se van cantando
Antes que triunfe Franco el traidor.
En el espacio van los fascistas
Bombas aéreas destrozarán
La bella urbe capitalina
Pero a Madrid . . . ¡No PASARÁN!
Matan mujeres, niños, y ancianos
Que por las calles suelen andar.
Esta es la hazaña de los fascistas
Que allá en la historia se ha de grabar
Si sangre de héroes regó los campos
Bellas simientes resurgirán
El cañón ruje, tiembla la tierra
Pero a Madrid . . . ¡NO PASARÁN!
THEY SHALL NOT PASS!
There march the militiamen
With great valor to the front.
They go singing to give their lives
Lest Franco, the traitor. triumph.
The fascists are in the skies
Their aerial bombs may destroy
Our beautiful capital city
But to Madrid . . . They Shall Not Pass!
They kill women, children, and the elderly
Who are out and about on the streets
This is the deed of the fascists
Which will be inscribed in history.
Where heroes’ blood watered the fields
Beautiful seedlings will flourish.
The cannon roars, the earth trembles
But to Madrid . . . They Shall Not Pass!

= from  Women in World History, Primary Sources

http://chnm.gmu.edu/wwh/p/247.html

http://chnm.gmu.edu/wwh/p/248.html

Nadya and her fellow Rioter, Maria Alyokhina, have recently been speaking out on the American fascist tendencies revealed in the Trump campaign – particularly since Trump has been expressing admiration for their arch-nemisis Vladimir Putin – and warning the American people of what may happen.  “Here, all who are in opposition to Putin are in the security services’ sights. Our mail is read, our phones tapped and we are watched. And that is not the limit — some of us have been killed,” Alyokhina said in an interview, referencing the murder of former deputy prime minister Boris Nemstov, who was killed last year.

Nadya released a potent graphic last month aimed at the Trump campaign:

NadyaT

[Nadya’s comments indicate that this is an electric chair!]

Alyokhina also made this amazing statement, which seems to speak so directly to our situation: “Artists should make more powerful statements than politicians. We must change the world and its ways so that politics breathlessly runs after art.”

Maybe we are in the post-political period. Maybe politics are truly meaningless, just an anachronistic facade in America now. Maybe that’s why I feel so depressed and unable to relate to the whole thing in a positive way.

Maybe that’s why my strongest feelings are !No pasaran!

Hey, Progressives! Your White Privilege Is Showing.

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Harsh, but chillingly true. We need to wake up and smell the BS…

the poetic arsenal

I used to vote with my conscience. Now I vote with my allies.

Like many young white progressives, I was a vocal Bernie supporter during the primaries. I hated Hillary the war criminal, and abhorred the idea of being forced to press the button for her. Back in 2000, I voted for Ralph Nader. Sure, his chances of actually winning were less than zero, but hey, I voted with my conscience.

My conscience has since learned to embrace empathy, pragmatism, and folks who don’t look like me. My conscience is also 110% clear in voting for Hillary, and the key factor in my change of heart is the constant battle to check my own white privilege.

I saw the writing on the wall watching Bernie speak at a packed rally in St. Paul. The “political revolution” was in full swing, and the rapt audience waxed ecstatic about the electricity in…

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Not a political essay

This is not a political essay. This is an effort to see beyond what’s happening on the surface and align my intentions with a clearer perspective. I begin with the political only because the moment is so full of the political.

The DNC is over and the expected outcome manifested. Some of it was good, some of it was really inspiring, but taking a moment to reflect on all the rhetoric, it is clear that though there’s a huge difference in the perspective of the two parties, there is not a lot of real understanding in either of them. While I clearly will do all I can to ensure the election of Clinton, given the alternative, I kinda admit to the clothespin analogy the Bernie supporter invoked last night. But let me be clear on that: I don’t really think even Bernie would be that much different.

I know, there are  “yuge”, even VAST, differences, and significant impacts on millions of people, but I’m taking a longer view here. What all of it, including the fascist impulses rampant in our society today, arises from is a profound disconnect that has buried itself in our consciousness so deeply that we are generally unaware of it.

As many of the speakers pounded home in the last few nights, ‘this is about more than party differences, it’s about people’! Yes, it’s about people, how people live and think, this dualistic mindset that insists on breaking everything down into a “battle” that must be “won”. Like Merle Haggard’s “White Line Fever”, it’s a sickness born down deep within our souls.

Beneath all the philosophical and religious views and all our notions of right vs. wrong, there’s this one thing we agree on, and that is that there is such a thing as right and wrong, us and them, good and bad. It’s only in the definitions that we differ, only in the who is what, which usually means “they” are wrong and “we” are right.

And therein lies our essential problem.

Although in Buddhism as a religion there is as much dualism and right vs. wrong as most anywhere else, somehow there’s a core there, somehow the process of meditation itself – and this core is probably to be found in many other places as well, it’s just that Buddhism is where I found it – helps one break through the surface and experience things that make it clear – in a way that words can’t truly express and ideas can’t negate – that this ongoing process that I identify as “me” or “us” is just a point of light in great explosion that has likely been going on forever and will continue forever, because that’s really all there is is –forever.

This deeper level of experience (wherever one finds it), replicated and deepened throughout life, tends to snap all this political/social bullshit into some kind of relief. Tends to reveal it all as a transparent, shimmering facade.

Because really, in some way that’s impossible for me to explain or show outside of the experiencing of it, everything is all connected to everything else. Truly. Deeply. All the things we do in denial, or ignorance, or in spite of, this connectedness — all the insanity, the delusion, is the real reason for human suffering and ecosystem destruction, the real reason for all the fucked-uped-ness of this world.

Thus the great, egregious monstrosity that is American Empire and all that entails is built on the foundation of the monstrous way that human have constructed “civilization” on top of the ruins of billions of lives, and that edifice itself is built on the notion that each individual human is somehow discrete. Separate. Disconnected.

Until we find ways to help everyone heal from that profound disconnect, born in the illusion that “I” am a real, discrete separate individual and what I do only affects, we will go on making war on ourselves, on the rest of life, and on the entire inanimate cosmos.

Charles Eisenstein lays out this case much better than I, and in a recent essay – Of Horseshoe Crabs and Empathy – makes a brilliant argument that the implications of all this are that our energies are better directed toward the development of love for the world and action at local levels than great political or even environmental battles.

It’s in those experiences of love for the particulars of the world that we know the truth about the whole of the cosmos, he argues, and only in those kinds of “seeing” do we come to understand the connection we have lost. Feeling those losses, rather than following some set of rules or beliefs, is what can motivate and guide us to authentic action.

He says:

If everyone focused their love, care, and commitment on protecting and regenerating their local places, while respecting the local places of others, then a side effect would be the resolution of the climate crisis. If we strove to restore every estuary, every forest, every wetlands, every piece of damaged and desertified land, every coral reef, every lake, and every mountain, not only would most drilling, fracking, and pipelining have to stop, but the biosphere would become far more resilient too.

—- Charles Eisenstein – Of Horseshoe Crabs and Empathy

 

The new science story…

Science is weird. In its true form, it can be the most liberating perspective, the most useful tool we humans have yet developed.

But in complicity with big money and big power, it is absolutely the most imprisoning dogma, for it masquerades as objective truth, beyond opinion and question – and in that, abandons its own origins, just as all religions have. Much of what bedevils us in the current world manifestation, the old story of separation, the dualistic delusion the drives us to battle nature and destroy ourselves, can be laid at the foot of this “science as dogma” approach to life, reductionist science as it has been practiced for the past century or so.

But there’s lots of new science out there, mostly not yet being brought into application in any of the aspects of life, such as medicine, which are ostensibly science-based, and certainly not being brought into the  popular realm via media. This new science, in most of the disciplines, undermines and even contradicts much of what we were taught as “science” in school, and it also has deep, deep implications for how we live on the earth, how we take care of ourselves and each other. It provides, for those willing to make the effort to sus it out, a whole new paradigm for human life, a “New Story”, as Charles Eisenstein calls the evolving perspective on our origins and futures.

This new story, and a sketch of the science behind it – complete with links to the sources – is laid out in a most accessible and impactful way in a blog article from Kelly Brogan, MD – Gamechanging Science. She says:

You may not know this yet, but the whole game has changed and we are several decades into the most powerful shift in scientific thinking in the past 300 years. Science, when handled with care, is a process, not a destination.

She introduces some of the ideas of this new science, focusing first on epigenetics and its implications for our notions of disease – she is a practicing psychiatrist and author of A Mind of Your Own – and laying out three “game changers”:

The Microbiome: — The term dysbiosis, used by holistic and integrative practitioners to refer to gut imbalance, of course, actually means “wrong living”. No doubt, our struggles today, stem from a lack of connection to the natural world. It is, in this way, poetic justice that we would only be able to heal our guts, right our relationship to the microbial world through food – nature’s gift, bounty, and language.

Exosomes: — The nail in the coffin of protein-coding-gene-determined-health is a group of tiny bubble-like blobs that influence gene expression. Amazingly similar to viruses in nature, structure, and possibly even function, exosomes are created and received by our bodily cells in order to direct, determine, and react to states of being. — This is being called inter-kingdom crosstalk Once again, food is reframed as so much more than calories and nutrients…it is information.

The power of Belief: — Dr. Candace Pert, the pioneering researcher credited with the discovery of the opiate receptor, has debunked the Cartesian dualism that for hundreds of years has put the mind out of the realm of the body. She also challenged the notion that the mind is something that merely relates to the body. The mind, per her conclusions, is the body.

This is a complex and powerful article, which I would recommend one read entirely before making judgements. It concludes with this amazing statement: “… human experience is the universe manifested at one point. It is the emergent properties of many, infinitely complex and interfacing systems. It is fundamentally sacred, larger than our will, and gently demanding of our humility.”