WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF WAR?
Once again, I have been “on retreat”. Reasons are several. My efforts to lay out explanation of “what is wrong” both nationally and globally, along with proposing what we need to do to address our humanity, is psychologically exhausting. I needed to free myself from constant ‘talking’; to take a break from my drumming. (As a child I actually took snare drum lessons for a time – wonder if there is a metaphor in that!)
More practically, other needs of ‘home front’ nature – ranging from paper shuffling to shovel wielding – have needed attention. These are not completely addressed. I am likely to be somewhat inconsistent for a while in posting.
I am one who tends to be aware of a global reality. I sometimes find it difficult to sort out a narrow enough line of thought to make concise and focused statements. There are others who have similar awareness, who perhaps more easily focus. In my internet radio listening and website explorations I come across these. I am always grateful when I find these people speaking out!
I do not always agree with their analyses and description detail. Sometimes I would shift or downplay examples they use. But what I do notice is intent. What is the underlying motivation of the writer/speaker? How deeply does she/he seem to have explored what for me remain essential questions: “Who are we – really –– who are we?”, and “How close or far have we managed to get to our highest potential as human beings?”
The farther a thinker seems to travel along a path toward answering these two questions, the more I feel “in sync” with their exploration.
One thing I notice is how many, once engaged, are unwilling to let these questions go. Their work reveals relentless effort. From experience I know that once one begins to tackle these questions, they cannot be released. Life activity that leads elsewhere always has a feel of “not as important” and one returns to the underlying questions.
A second thing I’ve noticed is the integrity, sincerity, and effort that accompanies these explorations. Again: intent is the key. A shared intent in this kind of thinking and searching is belief that there exists some depth of understanding generally ignored in more common pursuits. There is an associated belief that “we”, as a species with remarkable qualities of ‘self-awareness’, cannot “find our way” to our highest potential until we get past ignorant, unexamined, more common, perspectives and pursuits.
It is not enough to say: “Sure, we know we are excessive in X and Y as a species” and then resume common pursuit as if we have settled questions of humanity. This is a superficial “answer”.
The superficial answer, however, reveals to us something of our nature! To accept superficial analysis is to behave as if what we really want is to find the next sparkly form of possession or entertainment! It is very normal, and is also a huge clue to our adolescent approach to life and its meaning!
A third shared outcome I find among those focused on the questions: “Who are we, where are we going, where do we want to be going?” is that all these thinkers, from the most ancient to the most current, spend a lot of time exploring “consciousness”.
They also study effect of language and symbols on ordinary thought patterns, and on ordinary commonly held beliefs of individuals and groups.
They also speak of socialization as the primary source of unexamined, commonly held beliefs.
Many of them delve into science measurements of brain activity. Many explore science measurement of neuro-chemical activity inside the body but not in the brain. There is an entire body of literature and “answers” known as HeartMath that pays a lot of attention to electrochemical influences between the heart organ and thought.
Now that I’ve mentioned HeartMath, I’ll shift toward a close to this post by describing and giving links to a few resources readers might want to explore.
First I’ll answer my title question: “What is the source of war?”. The answer is that we are. You and me. Your lifestyle and my lifestyle. Your families and my family. Your friends and my friends. Your politicians and my politicians. Your economists and my economists. We – all of us – all of humanity as we now practice our humanity – are the source of war.
We are for the most part socially and self-programmed, for psychological reasons that can be understood, to separate personal belief and choice from universal implication.
As you begin searching, (or follow this deep questioning path you may already be on), you will notice intent. You will find some ‘searchers’ who settle on accusation of ‘other’ as ‘root cause’ of human misery. When you come across these, you will eventually feel a restriction in thinking that points away from the “all of us” perspective.
You will find other searchers who include themselves in the entire human set of weaknesses and beauties. These are the thinkers I describe below.
The resources I list here are a tiny representation to all that is offered. They are in no particular order. All are current, presently active. One may appeal to you, another not. One may seem “on sound footing” to you, another not. I find common ground in all of them. None of them have the sole focus of individual career and material success; all remind of our shared humanity.
Their areas of interest address social, political, economic, and civil affairs. They articulate, give speech to, common worries on the minds of nearly every person across this globe. They describe what they have examined; they cite wisdom and knowledge both ancient and current; they celebrate individual capacity. They remind that the individual is thoroughly entangled with group and civic practice. They offer insight and vision. Because each has taken a different part of “the elephant” to examine, and each has approached examination by his/her unique interests and talents, each has something to contribute.
While many of them bring in ancient teachings, none promote “spiritual answers” as a solution. Each takes aim at our down to earth human dilemma, rooted as it is in issues of food, housing, health, and prosperity.
I doubt any of them would take time or bother to seriously argue with one another over differences. They would, I think, all agree that we are not only the youth witnessing the naked emperor, we are also the emperor himself, as we are also the crowd watching the parade, as we are also the tailors who fashioned the emperor’s new clothes.
Part 3: Resources
http://www.heartmath.org/ “Expanding areas interest at the Institute of HeartMath include furthering scientific understanding of the human biofield, intuition and the emotional energetic system”. This site is quite focused on individual wellness, always a fair place to begin! See also YouTube HeartMath posts.
http://www.yesmagazine.org/ David Kortel, writes and speaks largely on economics with strong involvement of New Testament teachings as guidance, not as ‘religion’. “The work of the Positive Futures Network and YES! Magazine is to give visibility and momentum to these signs of an emerging society in which life, not money, is what counts; in which everyone matters; and in which vibrant, inclusive communities offer prosperity, security, and meaningful ways of life.” Video lectures by David Kortel found by browser search.
http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/ Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, British researchers on social economic policy, social economic effect of poverty, human experience of wellness in societies of lesser or greater basic economic security. (International research with some unexpected findings.) Book: “The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better” is statistical and does not play up the “Spirit Level” part of its title. Video lectures by authors found by browser search.
http://www.johnperkins.org/ John Perkins, author of “Confessions of an Economic Hit man”, “Hoodwinked, Why the World Financial Markets Imploded and What We Need to Do To Re-make Them.” The author had very real career for decades on the “dark side” of political/economic activity at international level. His work involved “persuading” national leaders to accomodate corporate interests. He offers views of behind the scenes reality we can only guess at, or perhaps have previously dismissed as ‘conspiracy’ thinking. Video lectures by author found by browser search.
http://charterforcompassion.org/ Karen Armstrong, internationally recognized religious scholar and author (whose past includes an early exploration to become a nun) is launching an international compassion awareness/practice project on November 12, 2009. Video lectures by author found by browser search.
http://www.justiceharvard.org/ Michael Sandel, internationally recognized Harvard philosophy professor’s site invites interactive exploration of philosophical question: “What is the right thing to do?” Site visitors can hear lectures, student responses, read and post their own thoughts, as well as take on other course-related reading. Outcome of the course, for campus students and site visitors, is a deepened, expanded, understanding of personal values and motivations, by examination topical, present-day, ethical social, economic, political questions. Video lectures by author found by browser search.
http://www.jeffersonhour.org/ “Humanities scholar and author, Clay S. Jenkinson, adopts the persona of Jefferson each week to comment on current events and answer questions you may have about Jefferson’s thoughts on any and all topics”. (See left hand sidebar, “Listen to the show” to access one hour, weekly programs). Opportunity to better understand Jefferson, Adams, and other founders, “warts and all”. It’s the “warts” that we need to help balance our “commonly held superficial” understandings. Our founders, it turns out, were visionaries, also flawed in very ordinary human ways.
http://www.talismanicidols.org/ Benjamin and Daniel Stewart, documentary film makers. Each of the above named thinkers is ‘chronologically mature.’ Each presents thought and conclusion from decades of experience and study. (An exception is Kate Pickett, but her collaborator and mentor, Richard Wilkinson is recently retired from his career as a professor.) At this time the Stewart brothers have not, to my knowledge, published any writing beyond what is found at their website. Film making is their forte.
Part 4: Benjamin and Daniel Stewart:
I set this resource aside as I find them difficult to “sum up” quickly.
The Stewart brothers, however young they may be in chronological years, (under 30?), are well ahead of an imagined peer curve in depth and breadth of inquiry into the human condition. Their work is comprehensive in scope to say the least, with considerations ranging from ancient civilizations, mythology, language and symbolism, fetal development, current astronomy and neuroscience and economic history. It would take several years to property study the range of concepts they to film. Without getting lost in what could be considered ‘conspiracy’ theory, based on Burke’s Peerage, they veer into long time historical connections among world leaders. (Bloodline links among US presidents and historical European, especially British, royal lines is astonishing if it is even half-accurate. One can also consider the “6-degree” phenomenon — perhaps many more of us are so-linked than we know!)
What the Stewart brothers ask, however, is that you and I consider who we are, our individual role. They ask we consider individual inalienable, inborn, natural intelligence and capacities and acknowledge these in each, every, conscious human anywhere on earth. They ask us to release ourselves from self-accepted and unrecognized suppression by shifting to creative consciousness found within. (They did not mention Zen, but well might have!)
From my point of view, they raise legitimate and ignored questions of our most fundamental weaknesses and also fundamental capacities. How do we unknowingly suppress our divinity, (another word for amazing consciousness) and how do we bring ‘liberation’ to ourselves across the globe? They tackle the most ignored and pervasive aspects of human ignorance, coming closer to the ‘root’ of these than many.
It will be interesting to note where they take their explorations in years to come. So far, they demonstrate willingness to unify principles from a range of fields of study, and demonstrate qualities of transcendent understanding. I don’t find their work ‘academic’ but they cite many references and include numerous quotes and some interview clips with leading investigators of human history and attributes. On one or two specific conclusions I would disagree, but with quiet passion, they state their findings. And their findings are driven by underlying questions “Who are we; what is our purpose, what inborn qualities within us are available to us as we shape our present and future worlds?” In the course of this investigation, they address “Where does war come from?”
They present their findings without preaching, with acceptance of their own ‘flawed’ humanity. Their intent is to further awaken us. Quite simply – there is nowhere for us to “go”, to “look for” answers to human misery, other than to explore the primary questions: “What is our nature, and how does it play a role in a social political world?”
The underlying principle of “Thoughts from the Well”, that “everything is a model for everything else”, is supported in their work. Individual experience and development is mirrored in the universe’s unfolding; social political economic invention and policy reveal the best and the worst within each of us. Who ‘they’ are is who ‘we’ are; you and I reflect and reveal humanity shared to one another.
Here is a link to a 1.5 hr video presentation, Kymatica. The version has qualities of a “draft” but is very worth the watch. I hope it holds as a viable link. I believe their work is available in published quality but have not found a quick link. An earlier film by the Stewart brothers, “Esoteric Agenda,” is more ‘conspiracy’ in theme. “Kymatica”, moves beyond the us/them perspective that goes with conspiracy thinking. It explores necessity and gift of personal capacity and responsibility, while it offers insight into individual “inherent flaws” that are barriers to freedom of thought. (We claim we want ‘freedom’ but are so unwittingly socialized that we scarcely know who we are.)
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6736722752013377089# A caution: near the end the film explores cruelty, including cruelty to animals. With mis-giving I allowed myself to view some of this. I wish I had fast forwarded through that part, even though it was very brief. As critical as any other point the Stewart brothers make is their point on reaction to animal cruelty: The moment we experience horror at another’s extreme cruelty is the moment we deny the humanity of the perpetrator and deny our potential for the same. This is one of the toughest sticking spots for me even though I know it’s truth.
As said above, the cause of war is us – you and me, our inherent weaknesses, our unexamined acquired beliefs, and these same qualities amplified in the groups to which we claim allegiance, from family to nation.
We can continue hand-wringing mystification on the cause of war. We can continue comfortable blame of villains, and continue war as means to peace.
Or we can move past adolescence and come to know ourselves better. In the first practices, already in place, there is nothing to be gained.
In the last there is true and deep frontier adventure, also perhaps a new age of humanity and honoring life.
My deeply felt best to each of you – MaggieAnn