Thursday, December 29, 2005

2005: Growth Amid Desolation, Part 3

What I try to teach, in person and in writing, has to do with finding a way to live amid a society defined by violence, inequity, conflict, despair, and perhaps above all, ignorance.

Case in point: the mass media. Take a fast look at this 2005 yearend roundup at ABC News' website, paying particular attention to the "Most Read Stories." Pretty grisly stuff, huh? Jacko, Brad and Jennifer, the American Idol affair, the youth pill...nothing there about Iraq or Darfur (which was probably the most tragic story of the year for the vastness of its injustice, loss, and human suffering) or Plame or Scooter or Katrina or FEMA or the Asian earthquake. It's pretty sad on the face of it: but then, consider the source.

In any event, my work here at Daily Rev, in my books, and in my counseling practice involves being a catalyst for independence. The only way I can see (with my admittedly limited vision) out of the mess we've created of our world today is to help to rebuild a society of freethinking individuals, one person at a time. My main project in this regard is myself: I cannot pretend to have answers, because I find that whenever I think I've gotten hold of an answer, a hundred more questions arise. In the first of my "Life Lessons in a Time of War" I expressed it this way:

Whenever you think you have the Answer, ask another question. When you think you've solved The Big Puzzle, turn within and rearrange the pieces.

Now maybe I shouldn't mention how the "Life Lessons" pieces got started. All right, sometimes I sort of hear this voice on the F train during the commute to work. So call the guys in the white coats or get me a one-way to Gitmo. But it's not really crazy, if you think about it. I have, anyway, and here's what I've heard:

Listen closely for the quietest voice within you. Learn to hear it first and to follow it most. That voice can guide you toward freedom and out of the slavery of conflict.

To hear it, you must be very still, even amid action and tumult--like an athlete who performs at top speed while feeling every moment as if time were the pages of a book.

You must also silence those other, louder voices of broadcast reason, doubt, and defamatory denial. These voices trade in false logic, dogma, belief, and disbelief. They help us keep our blinders tightly strapped; they hold us fast to the treadmill.

Scientists now tell us that stars form in perfect symmetry; that the universe breathes and grows in an orderly, though not rigid, fashion. Yet we are led to believe that our lives are governed by random chance, all the way to the point where the medicine we take, the leaders we choose, and the destiny we achieve, are all the outcome of a probabalistic lottery.

But if you choose to reject the random and affirm the universal order, you will be silenced with labels: new age lunatic, enemy of reason. Please, make your choice: the labels, too, like all slanders, will not stick.

If it is rational to suppose that we are the victims of chaos in a universe defined by order, then I am ready to abandon reason and fulfill the prophecy of the skeptics.

Thankfully, neither of us needs to do that. Reason as we know it is a small piece of the whole; a member of the family of the personality that is led by feeling. The stars that form in perfect order are not fixed in their places. The stars laugh at the Cartesian lie as they dance dressed in their nebula. Nothing is fixed, yet all is in order. This is the great harmonic: everything lives and moves except ego. And even ego can't quite keep its feet in the concrete in the end, though it may die trying.

The harmony of the cosmos is real, and it is within you. But the appearance that was painted over your child's eyes--that is an illusion. Strip it away, a little each day, and shake out the dust of dogma from the eyes of your mind.

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