What follows is neither fully known nor unknown. It is, as is so often the case, an experiment, an attempt to clarify certain problems of the mind in our contemporary culture. Nothing here needs to be taken too seriously, or rather, too literally. Any question may be raised. Nothing is out of bounds in this thought experiment.
What is one to do, living or dying in a society such as ours? Is it responsible merely to live one’s daily life as if…? As if what? As if it just continues, as if one’s life is whole or wholesome, as if this society is fundamentally good or healthy or life-affirming. What is one to do, living in the midst of so much spiritual, mental, emotional, and even physical disorder? What does one do living blindly among the blind? Well, open one’s eyes, perhaps.
How can one responsibly turn to our political leaders, looking for guidance, or justice, or an example of goodness? How can one responsibly turn to our religious leaders, expecting truthfulness and uprightness? Is there any individual, any group, in this society, that is not tainted with our diseases of spirit and mind? Love your beloved spouse or friend despite his or her flaws, but do not pretend that he or she is what that person is not. We are all not only wounded, but wounding, and corruption is found everywhere one turns—even in one’s heart.
Perhaps one expected to find some peace, some goodness in one’s faith tradition, in church or synagogue or temple, or in one’s sangha. And what shows up? So much illusion and delusion, deceitfulness, lying, hatred, desires for gain, for power. No one can escape the self in its illusions, greed, lust, foolishness. One must strive to rise above one’s lower self, one’s own impurities and flaws. And the flaws of others.
What seems reasonable and fitting in our society is to suspend one’s attachment from all institutions: state, church, police, schools, laws, various groupings. Those often thought noble or capable of leading others have shown themselves to be blind guides indeed, or worse: deceivers seeking to “rip off” anyone and everyone. Some of the worst spectacles of deceit show up in the church hierarchy. But plenty show up in our so-called “Department of Justice,” which in many cases is as much a department of injustice as one would find in a totalitarian society.
Has our country become a totalitarian society? If not, we have been moving in that direction for decades, and the pace seems to be accelerating. We are building a prison for human beings, for minds, from which escape becomes increasingly difficult and unlikely.
To repeat for clarity: we are building ourselves a prison-culture of mindlessness, of diseases of the spirit, of destruction. When will it occur to the so-called learned elites who rule us by their vicious opinions of how evil we have become, even to the point of murdering infants in the womb, and proclaiming ourselves “enlightened” for doing so? When will it occur to our citizens that proclaiming ourselves free and equal, we have enslaved ourselves to the worst drives and passions in our souls? Future generations may well see how like we were to the Soviet Union, to Nazi Germany, to Maoist China, even while puffing ourselves up on being “a free society,” “a democracy,” “a land of liberty and equality.” How we deceive ourselves, we Americans. We are one of the most destructive societies in history. How many human beings have we allowed to be killed in the name of someone’s “right to choose”? Right to choose what? To choose to have a human being destroyed in the most brutal ways. And how proud we are of ourselves for this so-called “life-style.” America has made itself a society of mass-murder in which the most powerless are destroyed by those with power. And all dressed up in “rights,” in “our needs,” in our “freedom and equality.” If America is not a prison society of the mind, where the most base opinions and actions are held up as good and right, what could a human prison possibly look like? If America has not become a culture of death, what would one look like?
A wicked ruler in our country is mass opinion: the slogans, the biases, the diseases, the infected breath of so many. At every turn one encounters the triumph of the worst in us, and among us—and at the same time, pretending that we are “basically good.” How deceived and deceiving we are in this prison-society.
What is one to do? First, suspend all loyalty, all attachment, to our “way of life,” to our culture, to our governments, to our institutions of “higher learning,” to our churches. To all that this society holds dear or of value, one must hold oneself back. Second, one must not seek to destroy anything, not even the corrupt leadership in politics or in churches or in “science,” but one must make a spiritual-mental break. Hatred breaks from nothing, but further incarcerates oneself. Love for what is evil is neither good nor truly possible. Hence, suspend, let go, stand back. Third, one must be ruthlessly honest with oneself, and seek to root out all evil from one’s mind and soul and character. One must not make excuses. If you have killed your parent by hatred or your unborn by “convenience,” at least admit the evil you have done, and cease coddling yourself, your criminal self, your self-deceptive self.
One could wish that sweet and gentle words were also truthful: just “love your enemy,” “love your neighbor as yourself,” with the misinterpreted implication that one should “love oneself” as one is, calling evil good. The problem is that we have so much self-love, and so much self-delusion. The self we love is often ourselves at our worst—our will to power, to pleasure, to gain. To love what we have become as a people in history is not a virtue, but foolishness and wickedness. We have become a shameful, deluded people. “The ugly American” has grown into America the ugly—into an empire of death. If one doubts the truthfulness of the term, “empire of death,” ask yourself: How many human beings have been murdered behind the walls of abortion mills? And virtually no awareness of what we are doing. How many human minds are killed by mass propaganda—from schools, mass media, popular music, entertainment?
If someone fifty years from now were to ask, “Why were you so silent?,” consider this: so many voices are heard, so much screaming, so many sounds that drown out thinking, that reason’s voice cannot be heard, is not heard, and so, is not heeded. America is hell-bent on doing what it wants. And so we keep murdering the unborn, perverting the minds of our children, deceiving each other under cover of suits and vestments. Where in America can reason speak and be heard? Perhaps only in the solitude of a hidden mountain valley, or on the open plains, by the sea—but then, even there, our culture of death penetrates through mass media, and mass opinions, and noises coming from every direction. We have made ourselves a people in history that hates quiet, hates solitude, hates aloneness. We bundle ourselves together in echo chambers, and drown out the whispers of silence and of emptiness.
Our society is becoming a living nightmare. How many realize this? Some sense it, but have no idea what to do. Our ideologies deceive us into thinking that every decadent act, every weird desire, is somehow a step towards “human progress.” Men try to make themselves women, and women try to become men. Children think that they are the centers of the universe, and parents think that their children are little gods. Good grief, so much stupidity and foolishness. Can we become worse as a people?
It seems possible, perhaps likely, that in the perspective of another century or two, some thoughtful human beings will look back on what had been “the United States of America,” and wonder how so many human beings could have been so self-deceived, so wicked, so degenerate, so destructive of themselves and of others.
America is killing itself. And we share in the act of murder.
24 Jan 2019
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