By Steve Bhaerman
“It’s time to emerge from fear and separation, see we are all one with the same One, and gather under one big intent.” –Swami Beyondananda
It’s been ten years since the Twin Towers attacks initiated the never-ending War on Terror. In the Orwellian logic that can only take hold in an atmosphere of fear, we have been collectively “convinced” that only totalitarianism can preserve our freedom. However, there is a deep awakening afoot, an “evolutionary upwising” as people from all sides emerge from the matrix of politics as usual to seek real answers, and more importantly ask real questions. For as some wise person once suggested, if we don’t ask different questions, we will never get different answers.
So, in this brief reflection on a world-changing moment, I suggest we consider three questions:
There has been much speculation about what really happened on 9/11, and many well-respected individuals from across the political spectrum have called for a re-investigation of the original investigation. Certainly there are enough unanswered questions (not to mention unquestioned answers) to cast doubt on the official narrative.
There’s at least one new book that explores anomalies in the official story and former Senator Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) is now at the forefront of a campaign to put the call for a new investigation on the ballot in California.
Meanwhile, the progressive and conservative mainstream continue to dismiss any alternative stories about what happened that day as “conspiracy theories.” I have often said that a “conspiracy theory” is something which, were it true, most people couldn’t deal with. I see the “dismissal attacks” as defensive maneuvers to keep us from facing the horrific possibility that we were betrayed by elements in our own government and ruling elite. Meanwhile, there is a certain personality archetype that thrives on conspiracy theories, and those of us who are not that type tend to be repelled by the darkness and negativity.
But since this article is about shifting our perspective from a state of emergency to a state of emergent seeing, let’s put aside for a moment the speculation about what might have happened, and let’s instead focus on what we all know did happen. In the days following the attacks, America had the sympathy of the entire world and along with it the potential to initiate a truly healthy new world order. Consider the (largely unreported) response of Norwegians to the recent right-wing terrorist attack in their country. Some 200,000 people – 20% of the population of Oslo – gathered to silently reaffirm that the attack would only make them more determined to create a loving and peaceful society.
In contrast, the Bush Administration on behalf of the corporate state used the attacks pretty much as Hitler used the Reichstag Fire – to mobilize the country into a “religious war” against terrorists. (I am reminded of the quote from writer / actor Peter Ustinov that “Terrorism is the war of the poor, and war is the terrorism of the rich.”) Less than 48 hours after the 9/11 attacks – before there had been any real investigation of the who, what or why — President Bush addressed an audience at the National Cathedral in Washington, and in the presence of a minister, priest, rabbi and mullah declared the “war on terror.” Until that time, no American war had ever been declared in a house of worship. (Theologian David Ray Griffin has some very astute insights into the psychological reasons for doing that and I refer you to this article I wrote about him five years ago.)
So what? So what are the implications of our government’s response to the Twin Tower attacks? The first wave of response to the attacks was the passage of the U.S.A. Patriot Act (emphasis on “act”). In the guise of acting patriotic, a panicked and manipulated Congress voted for a 342-page bill that few of them had even read. While a few legislators stubbornly refused to sign freedom’s death warrant, a little anthrax in the mail was all that was needed to change their minds. Interestingly, a document produced in the late 1990’s by a neoconservative think tank, Project for a New American Century declared that what was needed was “a new Pearl Harbor” to convince ordinary Americans to sign up for the perpetual warfare state.
But that was just the beginning. Once a critical mass of the uncritical masses bought into this ultimate protection racket, the unofficial powers behind the official ones recognized they had carte blanche to act on their own behalf and hide behind “national security.” In the decade since the Towers came down, we have seen an endless war in Afghanistan, and a tragic and costly one in Iraq. When that war began, those who questioned it (e.g., Phil Donohue) were simply taken off the air. The press became cheerleaders for a war that had little to do with protection of America and Americans and everything to do with perpetuating the warfare state and the oil empire.
Someone remarked several years ago that the difference between Pravda and the American press is that Soviet citizens knew they were being lied to. Never before in the history of this country have the parameters of official conversation been so narrow. In true and frightening Orwellian fashion, truth has become “privatized” as left and right are served up separate and conflicting stories to insure they remain … separate and conflicting. Regardless of the intent of the 9/11 attacks, regardless of who was behind them, the result has been a structure that has effectively divided, conquered and immobilized the American people.
Until now …
The good news is the body politic is finally emerging from its torpid slumber. Both the Tea Party movement and the growing ranks of progressives undergoing “hopium” withdrawal, signal an awakening to a more ominous emergency: Our democratic republic is rapidly sliding down the slippery slope toward totalitarianism. This acknowledgment, while initially difficult to face, is ultimately empowering. Because the first step in healing a condition is acknowledging it. Or, in Swami’s words, “The truth shall upset you free.”
And how do we face this emergency? First by emerging from fear and separation and seeing that despite our divisions, the American people are deeply united on one thing: What we have now isn’t working and the predators on Wall Street have overpowered the producers on Main Street. Progressives blame corporations, conservatives rail against the state … and continuing the conversation at the level of bipolar “politics as usual” will only exacerbate the emergency. However, if we emerge from the polarized political puppet show, we see “the man behind the curtain” is the corporate state – the power of enormous financial leverage combined with the coercive power of a government-for-hire with the power to legislate “illegal” laws.
As more and more Americans are awakening to these inconvenient truths, we must arise to yet another emergent seeing: As Einstein famously said, a problem cannot be solved with the same thinking that created it. So if we merely replace the old villain (Muslim extremists) with the new one (the Corporate State), we’re missing the holistic message and are buying into the same “assaholic” model that brought us to where we are today.
Instead of seeing the “sociopathogens” that have been afflicting the body politic as individuals or even groups of individuals, it’s far more helpful to see them as fields of beliefs and behaviors – that are fed by our own fears, unhealed wounds and programmed beliefs. Consider that while Enron was a sociopathic entity, not everyone who worked for that company was a sociopath. However, to keep their job they had to engage in sociopathic behavior. So, the emergent awakening is that we have allowed the amoral sociopathic credo of the rule of gold (“Doodoo unto others before they can doodoo unto you”) to overrule the Golden Rule.
As Bruce Lipton and I point out in Spontaneous Evolution, when religion ceased to be the dominant force in our civilization, because “human nature abhors a moral vacuum,” the raw power of “the 3 M’s” (Materialism, Money and the Machine) came in to fill the breach. While old-fashioned religionists on the right and progressive communitarians on the left both see the problem, because we have been so divided into warring camps, we haven’t until now been able to unite and stand for the virtues and values that the 90% of us who aren’t sociopaths would choose to live by.
Yes, it’s challenging and frustrating to hear the “other side” attack our side through misunderstandings, stereotypes, lies and distortions. But perhaps it’s time to rise to yet another emergent seeing: Instead of “fighting their liars,” it’s time to gather around a larger and more powerful truth. As Jesus said, “Resist not evil” – meaning, we find far more true power in standing for something than fighting against.
Swami For Precedent: A 3-Step Program
Seven years ago, I wrote a book and launched a campaign called Swami for Precedent. No, it wasn’t a campaign to get my alter ego elected President. Rather it was to choose a new “precedent”: Government of the people, by the people and for the people, where the government does our bidding, not the bidding of the highest bidder. Essentially, it was a campaign to elect ourselves – to recognize that only by evolving from passive children of God to proactive adults of God could we bring goodness to earth. It grew out of the spiritually mature realization that we are not victims of a wrathful God or a random Universe, but aware and awake co-creators of our world.
At the time, we subtitled the book “A 7-Step Plan to Heal the Body Politic and Cure Electile Dysfunction” because there was no time for 12 steps. Well now, seven years down the line we’ve boiled it town to three steps:
- Wake up laughing.
- Wise up loving.
- Show up growing.
As more and more of us are awakening to realize, before there can be political evolution, there must be spiritual and psychological evolution. And while not everyone needs to awaken at the same level, those at the leading edge of this new paradigm must gather together under One Big Intent – to live the principle at the core of every religious, spiritual and ethical path, the Golden Rule, and to express what Integral philosopher Steve McIntosh calls The Natural Theology: truth, beauty and goodness.
While these ideas may seem abstract, they become very real as we set an intention as individuals, communities, nations and as One Humanity to bring them to life. My personal mission is to use comedy and laughter as a “people tenderizer” that releases us from rigid and obsolete beliefs, and attunes us to curiosity and new possibilities. When we “wake up laughing,” we find the “aha” in the wake of the “ha-ha,” and see the ironic joke that we have held the key to our own liberation all along.
And as levity lifts us to a higher seeing, we recognize that “love” is more than a nicey-nicey feel good word, but the very glue that holds our Universe together. And from this universal, outside-the-matrix view, we can see beyond both religion and non-religion to the perennial truth: One Spirit, Many Paths. While some dogmas insist there is a God, and others that there isn’t, the one thing everyone can agree on is that there is a power of Good. Even in the most dire of human circumstances – from natural disasters like hurricanes to unnatural ones like warfare – the power of Good is always present, and seeing that good always inspires us. Since the root of the word “inspire” is “infused with Spirit,” if Good is inspiring, well goodness gracious, Good is as good as God.
Once we’ve freed the mind through laughter, and opened the heart with love … we have to show up growing. We have to use our will, our hands and our whole physical beings to embrace change and take the next evolutionary step. Whether we like it or not, we are finding circumstances tearing us from the safe harbors of comfort and complacency. We cannot pretend that our warfare state is a benevolent father who will care for our welfare and protection. Nor can we rely on comforting clichés that make us right and others wrong, but don’t fundamentally change the game.
We must now become the new precedent – awakened, aware, proactive adults of God (or if you prefer, Good) willing to laugh at our own shadow, and courageous enough to risk standing for the world we know is possible rather than merely railing at perceived villains. May 2012 be a precedential year, where the emperor’s buttocks are revealed – but we the people turn the other cheek as well, shifting our attention from fighting disease in the body politic, toward building health.
May a new “movement of movements” emerge, where a new order arises from the grassroots up, and we strengthen the fields of truth, beauty and goodness, and the sociopathogens die from starvation. For as Swami has said, “The only way to overgrow big brother is through bigger brotherhood – and sisterhood.” Only by seeing that we are all brothers and sisters in the same ‘hood can we transform the current state of emergency to an ever-growing state of emergent seeing.
Curious about Swami’s upcoming Precedential Campaign for 2012? Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Precedent” in the subject line.
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