Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Finding Your Response to Power

Before we begin today, I'd like to express my thanks to Eric Alterman of the Altercation weblog on MSNBC.com, for having quoted one of our recent posts.

Alterman is, to my mind, one of the leading progressive voices in the world today. Virtually every day, he hits notes that are both resonant and clarion on big issues and small. He is the author of What Liberal Media and several other books; and folks who have heard him speak in person tell me he's a fair country orator too. For me, his appeal boils down to this: he makes sense and is rigorously honest, with himself first and then with the public.


Now, another thought about the motivation behind the obvious superciliousness of Sen. McCain toward the students of the New School, and that so-called liberal newspaper's implicit endorsement of his attitude.

The powerful do not like being exposed—least of all by youth. Often, unfortunately, they have the societal authority to take on airs with the young and "put them in their place"—as McCain and Bob Kerrey, the residing authority at the New School, did on Friday.

But that doesn't make it right. So the only question that remains to me is, "why do you think the media would underwrite the discomfiture and resulting behavior of powerful people in such circumstances, and in effect, endorse their folly?"

Perhaps they, too, are afraid of exposure. They are all too familiar with the pain and indignity of having a Jayson Blair revealed, sewing his fabric of lies. They know how it feels when the captain of a media flagship is exposed as a cheap, sick, prurient druggie; or when a leading war correspondent is uncovered as a slave to a corrupt government that breeds lies within her newspaper columns through well-designed "leaks."

A newspaper like the Times, among other big-media outlets, seems to lack the necessary detachment for proper, objective journalism. They have crawled into bed with Power, and now are either unwilling or unable to get out (it's probably a combination of both factors).

This is why I often say that, whether or not you've ever written a word about politics, whether or not you keep a blog or have fired off a letter to the editor; you have a vast potential—one might even say a responsibility—within you to make a difference.

The transformation of society begins within the heart of each individual. So do not throw caution to the wind. Send delusion instead. Ask yourself the recurrent and unceasing question of a self-examining spirit: "what am I here for?" Listen carefully for every response that arises, and ask more questions of these answers. If you have been tempted to conclude that you are here to endure a life of corporate slavery, either as a stroke of bad fortune or as an act of sacrifice to your family, your children, or to society; then discard or suspend that conclusion and try again, calling up another response.

Again, cast belief to the wind and then summon the cautious examination of everything you have ever been told is true. For if you sacrifice yourself and your life to someone else's truth, to some external and distant authority (even a godly one); then the universe is weakened; its light is thererby dimmed. Keep asking; keep probing, until you feel natural truth flowing, alive and in motion, as truth is meant to be.

Hear the music of your destiny, as both an individual and a citizen of the Earth. Follow that, and each star brightens in response.

No comments: