~~ When they said – “Repent Repent” – I wonder what they meant. ~~
– Leonard Cohen’s The Future
When John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated (1963, 1968) our spirit was effectively broken.
All three of these men were focal points of hope … for many. Each of these deaths was Devastating; and together and combined, it was horrible. The American Heart / the American Spirit was broken. There was (of course) quite a bit of talk – about how we were still okay; but I am unconvinced.
When the Boston Marathon was bombed 5 years ago, Americans did NOT come to the conclusion – that marathons are dangerous as well as painful … so let’s walk away and find something more pleasant. No. There was a strong, widespread resolve which came out of that disaster. And this is Great, of course. But I suspect that this is due (in part) to the fact that the choices are fairly simple and clear. The (post-bombing) attitude which developed is similar to the attitude of any people toward their occupiers – following an invasion and the subsequent occupation of that country. It is normal to regard the (new) occupiers with some form of defiance and outrage. One’s pride and dignity is offended; and one waits (or plots for) an opportunity to throw them out. Mmm ?
However, the times and the events surrounding the 3 assassinations were much more complicated and confusing; and the need for Real Leadership was enormous. A large percentage of the American population began to question the integrity of the U.S. government, especially with regard to our involvement in the Vietnam War. WWII had been a nightmare; but mainly, Americans believed in the necessity of the struggle, once we finally got involved. Our relationship with our government was similar to how a well cared for child trusts his parents.
Incidentally – when a child is badly mistreated in his (or her) own home, there can be no rational (no mature) response. A five-year old child will not announce to his parents – “Dad, you’re an alcoholic. Mom, you’re an enabler; and I can’t stand to live here anymore. I’m packing a bag and moving in with Johnny down the street.” No child can do that. (This is from John Bradshaw)
The ‘witch’ archetype in fact, comes from the minds of at-risk children on this (fallen) planet. When one’s mother (who, of course, is meant to nurture and protect the child) becomes predatory … this is more than any young child can come to terms with. So the threat is displaced (to beyond the walls of the home): ‘A hideous stranger comes to the door. And she wants to eat the children.’ That’s where ‘the witch’ comes from. No young child is able to admit that they are endangered by their own mother or father, even when it is so.
A Mature response (to the bombing of the Boston Marathon … or the horrific bombing of the Twin Towers) would have included self-questioning and an earnest attempt to see ourselves through the eyes of the bombers: “What have we been doing that other people should so hate us?”
Did we do this? Not that I am aware of.
In this (the American culture) we move directly from sports pep rallies and cheering at high school and college games … to our snotty view of foreigners (and our predatory ‘foreign policy’) and cheering for our favorite pro teams. That’s all we give our kids here. As though there were no need for any training in how make a heart connection with people different from us – or in how to see ourselves (in a mature way) as a part of the Human Family.
Noam Chomsky points out that the Roman Empire never even came close (in terms of owning the world) to the American Empire of today. We (Americans) think we own the world. But the fact that we are, in this matter – correct … is a lame excuse for the disrespect with which we regard all ‘foreigners’. We consider what is happening beyond our own borders to be irrelevant … to such an extent, that I doubt whether any other people are as ignorant of what’s happening in the world as we are.
But I seem to have strayed. I am not trying to talk about our arrogance. I want to talk about what may amount to our biggest problem – the one thing which, more than any other obstacle, may prevent us from turning away from the course of self destruction which we are currently on:
Ursula Franklin points out – that ‘there are planners, and there are plannees’. But regardless of whether or not we are the real and intended “victims” of the three assassinations, we need a better response than the one we’ve managed so far.
The Greek playwright, Aeschylus said – “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.” But this has not been our path. We have forsaken despair … It’s too painful. And we now reside beneath despair … in the full anaesthesia of hopelessness.
It is said (ironically of course) – that ‘reality is for people who cannot handle hard drugs.’
If we were better people, we would be living in despair. But we opt instead for Hopelessness … because it’s pain-free.
There is a certain paper in the Urantia Book – Paper 72 – Government of a Neighboring Planet. It’s an unusual paper; but it describes a society with many of the disadvantages under which our own planet has labored. But if you will read it (pp. 808 – 820) – you will notice that they are considerably ahead of us. For they have made up their minds – to survive.
We are a long way from this. I wish it were not so, but it is.
To summarize – our two Great Obstacles – which we must overcome if we are to choose survival for the human species … are anomie and hopelessness.
If you’re interested in reading more about our choosing hopelessness, you may wish to read my ‘Talk 2’
I admit that I still have not forgiven the Republican Party for the exquisite narrow-mindedness which allowed them to adopt as their raison d’etre (simply) to ‘oppose Obama’ – thus squandering a man whose pockets were (naturally) full of the Jelly Beans of Hope. They certainly managed to convince me – that they see themselves First as Republicans (as though this view were somehow replete and self-sufficient) – and not as planetary citizens, or even as biological residents.
“Song of a Man Who Has Come Through”
Not I, not I, but the wind that blows through me!
A fine wind is blowing the new direction of Time,
If only I let it bear me, carry me, if only it carry me!
If only I am sensitive, subtle, oh, delicate, a winged gift!
If only, most lovely of all, I yield myself and am borrowed
By the the fine, fine wind that takes its course through the chaos of the world
Like a fine, an exquisite chisel, a wedge-blade inserted;
If only I am keen and hard like the sheer tip of a wedge
Driven by invisible blows,
The rock will split, we shall come at the wonder, we shall find the Hesperides.
Oh, for the wonder that bubbles into my soul,
I would be a good fountain, a good well-head,
Would blur no whisper, spoil no expression.
What is the knocking?
What is the knocking at the door in the night?
It is somebody wants to do us harm.
No, no, it is the three strange angels.
Admit them, admit them.
– D. H. Lawrence
I end this essay (as I began it) – with a quote from Cohen’s song – The Future :
~~ “Love’s the only engine of survival.” ~~
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkRqQQWu_mA (The Future – Leonard Cohen)
https://www.urantia.org/urantia-book-standardized/paper-72-government-neighboring-planet?term=#search-jump-result-0 (Gov’t on a Neighboring Planet)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnrBQEAM3rE (Manufacturing Consent – Noam Chomsky)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfYuxn3Lj0o (Power and Terror – Noam Chomsky)
(The Assassinations of JFK, MLK and RFK – John Simkin)