Note: This post is rushed. If I wait until I’ve got plenty of time, it might not happen. A reader comment is the inspiration. I want to share what I can while it’s fresh. I’ve given links to today’s sources, and hope to later embed internal (Thoughts From the Well) cross-links. Post is longer than usual – first portion = general exploration of ‘what’s going on with humanity, power, and truth’ at home and globally – second portion returns to Hazare, without ever abandoning critical understanding: this ALL of us – making our way into the 21st Century.)
I’ve said that entrenched beliefs, held by all of us, need to be recognized (By us, you and me! We’re the ones – who think the thoughts – linked to the beliefs!) Once we recognize what beliefs we use to guide our choices, we can more honestly sort out where these beliefs came from.
We can ask “Where did I learn these beliefs? Who taught me? Who taught my teachers these beliefs? What do people hope beliefs will accomplish? Are the beliefs ‘in line with’ overall benefit to all life – or are the beliefs based on narrow hopes for power and security for a select group?”
Generally, all beliefs, all motivations, must support one of these outcomes more strongly than the other. A belief, in general terms, supports either all life, or is aimed to uplift, hold and guard, gains for a selected group – which may be family, ethnic set, and so on. (Obviously we must tend to immediate shared nurturing – I’m pointing to the moment when our comfort prevents our response to situations that call for wider action.)
Today a comment arrived in response to my piece on Iceland’s economic news. The comment introduces me to some of what takes place in India – visionary leadership, and resistance from concerned opposition. I share a ‘beginning’ now. It may be that readers have greater information, or greater immediate opportunity to study India’s developments.
Hemen Parekh has ‘brought thoughts to the well’. His remarks to the Iceland post are specific to India. He says, (of India’s poverty), the government declares a person “not poor” if they can afford to spend 25 cents/day –living in small towns, and 28 cents/day –living in metro areas. The official ‘cut off’, “…makes 544 million Indians (45 % of the population) “ Rich “, since they are earning as much as Rs. 20 [ $ 0.41 ] per day … the statutory minimum wages are Rs. 150 per day, obviously these 544 million people are “ unemployed “ or employed for only a few days in a year….”
The information shows up the difference in ’employment and income’ conditions to real people vs. what is declared ‘true’ by government. This should sound familiar to us as we hear from government our own employment and income statistics!
Those of us in ‘the west’ can spin this information any way we like in order to ‘dismiss its relevance’ to us, to our lives. and choices. A favorite will be “but the cost of living is so low where those people live”; a second favorite will be to point to some aspect of what we believe about India’s broad culture, it’s practices and beliefs. We’ll want to suggest historically related, country/culture details are cause – we’ll want to use this to justify disinterest. (Most ironically, some of us will set aside interest in India’s people and go back to our yoga practice – before we meet a friend over shared chai! Again, as said above, here I point to the ‘moment of choice’ – when our comfort prevents our response to known situations that call for wider action. We use very similar patterns of thinking when confronted by evidence of dire need in our own, local and national populations. )
Many will want to ‘shy away from’ recognizing ‘humanity’s issues’ that call from beyond our comfort, including calls from a distant land. Our plates feel full, we dread feeling overwhelmed. Critically important is our awareness “this is all of us”. It’s humanity! Close, across town, and across oceans. We can at least try to avoid complacent practices and measures that ignore or increase misery ‘here’ and in distant lands. More deeply, we need to notice that ‘what leadership and bias says is true’ vs. ‘what people experience’ is a problem in our own country.
Here we are, all of us. Humanity enters the 21st Century with the following in place: (1) global awareness through communication technology, and (2) inarguable evidence that economic struggle is global. We also (3) recognize our globe is ‘trashed’ from human activity that has, in its ignorance, de-valued spaceship Earth.
The challenge! So, now, what do we do? Hemen Parekh’s comment also says: “if we can somehow manage to bring back those 2 lakh crore rupees lying in Swiss banks, we can provide year round jobs to 600 million people!” Doesn’t that also sound familiar? Doesn’t it ‘line up with’ global-level hints and/or evidence that there is ample ‘wealth’ stashed away – clearly and obviously linked to some person, or set of people, somewhere?
If a reader thinks she/he ‘knows where this is going’, let me say right now: I am not a ‘communist’! We already know the concept fell into quick and brutal disarray, led by individuals and groups who simply couldn’t imagine societies in which multi-party systems allowed better representation of varied ideas and voices.
I want to suggest, however, that our bias that ‘only’ communism’ denies “citizen independent thought” is an illusion. Genuine citizen voice and shared decision-making is also not sorted out in capitalist-driven economies. There is an ‘elite’ mover/shaker set; for us to pretend otherwise is not helpful. Success in capitalist-driven systems ‘demands’ that profit be gained. It demands ‘growth’. It demands ‘competition’, (power against, power over, and ‘shutting out competitors’.) It has also ‘demanded’ protection of resources and access to them, one of the primary motivations for war. Protection of any power gained, under capitalism, is demanded by the system, (if one is to ‘stay on top.) The system ‘demands’ ignoring or shutting out deep criticism. Hierarchies of voice and power are the result. There are those who design the course of action and direct it; there are ‘the directed’, assigned to carry out action. (This is true not only nationally and internationally, but in smaller, local, mover/shaker systems!)
At national/international levels, consider: Who fights the wars? Who’s ‘on the ground’ – either being pounded or doing the pounding? Who is ‘only obeying commands’ to direct drones to deliver havoc and death to the unknown living elsewhere?
Who’s organizing the wars, who’s doing the commanding? (Why would they want to do that? Why would the ‘commanders’ insist, after thousands of years contrary evidence, that brutality will bring greater peace, greater equality?)
(Why would these same ‘types’ of ‘leaders’ insist that great financial plans must be ‘saved’ by belt-tightening of ordinary citizens into misery?)
I suggest they are ‘captured by’, and ‘servants to’ ideological mindset – in today’s world, that’s global capitalism. But the ideology-pattern has existed in other forms; we’re very close to a ‘by royal decree’ arrangement at the present time, instead of a single royal family, we’ve got ‘the elite’, an oligarchy. These elite individuals, many since birth, have ‘learned their way’ into belief systems that prevent them from nurturing citizen voice. Their belief systems prevent personal integrity, personal honesty.
The root of integrity is from Latin: integritatem (nom. integritas) “soundness, wholeness,” from integer “whole”. (etymonline.com). The word integrity is a good one for what I try to explore and explain. Buckminster Fuller said: “If humanity does not opt for integrity we are through completely. It is absolutely touch and go. Each one of us could make the difference.”
Make no mistake, please! There’s not a single one of us who is, or can be, “of pure motivation”. Not many are able to toss out and replace power that oppresses – without eventually turning into a new version of the previous oppressor. Anthony de Mello suggests we “get over it”, (our worry about purity of motivation), and never-the-less do the best we’re able. (Actual source lost in time, but made an impression on me – Learn generally about de Mello, a Jesuit from India, here.)
We really ought to know this stuff about ourselves by now! We’ve got more quips, witticisms, fables, folk-tales, and proverbs than we should need. We’ve got deep and powerful heritages of teachings that explore human ‘nature and potential’!
So – what do we do? If we admit to humanity’s need to experience and practice real change, we keep coming back to “What do we do? What do we want? What measure to we use to track our progress?”
A ‘must do’ is for us to ‘get honest’. If we can’t be of ‘pure’ motivation in our thoughts and actions, (and we can’t), we can at least attempt deeper honesty. We can admit our motivation is often toward personal ‘success’, recognition, or even material gain. We can stretch to appreciate that this same ‘inclination’ (to gain ‘success’, recognition, or materially) is easier to ‘realize’ if we’ve got more accumulated wealth and the power that goes with it. This lets us understand the – quite frankly – ignorance, of those most committed to “rule by elite”. (Even though it comes across as arrogance and/or chauvinism, it is rooted in learned beliefs, and these create ignorance.)
In other words, the people asserting authority, the people running the show, are not ‘special’. Neither are they so powerful that they cannot, and should not, be called to question for excesses and threats (i.e. “either I’m paid a huge annual salary with lots of benefits or I’ll withdraw my expertise and … you’ll miss me, you’ll fail without me!”). Pronouncements’ and persuasions that ‘lesser folk’ should ‘buy into’ the equivalent of ‘snake oil promotions’, should not be accepted. It’s our job to be wise enough to remember the oligarchists are no more ‘of pure motivation’ than the rest of us – and in some cases, their wisdom may well be less!
We need to bring greater integrity to ourselves, to our thoughts. We need to bring this same greater integrity into challenge of pronouncements and persuasions that would “sell us” dis-belief in ourselves, that would dismiss value and promise in each of all.
We need to challenge ‘power voices’ that tell us we’re not “expert” enough to find our way to a world without war. We need to challenge our here-to-fore acceptance that ‘inequality’ is ‘natural’.
We need to reach toward a world with equality of access to housing, food, health care, education, and opportunity for developing talent and interest of each.
We may not get to some grand ‘final achievement’, (most likely we won’t!), but we can certainly make huge improvements!
We can find our way! In fact, “we” is the only way we’ll get there! Buckminster Fuller also said: “We are not going to be able to operate our Spaceship Earth successfully nor for much longer unless we see it as a whole spaceship and our fate as common. It has to be everybody or nobody.”
Before I close, I need, and want, to bring my thoughts back to focus on “India’s Visionary Activity”. Hemen Parekh also says (to people of India, especially the young): “This is why we must support Anna Hazare in getting rid of corruption.”
(Note: All links in support of the information from India must be seen as ‘starters’. Those of us who’ve not been living with the names and developments cannot expect, alone, to sort it out quickly. But we can certainly pick up general trends and understandings. We can certainly appreciate the ‘whole of humanity’ showing itself again and again, wherever on this world we live. I hope to give at least a glimpse, and in time, for me and readers, to give attention, to learn more.)
I looked up Anna Hazare and learned Hazare is a 71-year-old activist. He’s most recently (April 9, 2011) achieved national important anti-corruption legislation in India by means of a fast, which “led to nationwide protests in support.” The Times of India calls him “The man who can’t be ignored”.
Hazare stays in hot water. He’s also made strong statements advising India’s ‘mover/shaker’ political set: “”the way the chief ministers of Gujarat and Bihar have worked in their states, this should be emulated by other chief ministers”. Until I check, I’m assuming Gujaret and Bihar are regions generally progressive in 21st Century visionary ways.
Hazare’s support of Gujaret and Bihar seems to have not ‘gone down well’ with some of India’s entrenched powers and their beliefs. The Times of India reports on threat and harm to supporters of Gujaret in its article found here. The chief minister of Gujaret, Narandra Mundi, says: “Anna Hazare may face a vilification campaign for praising me.” (Quote from same link.)
Hazare, I also learned, is the driving force behind a 21st Century developments in Ralegan Siddhi, a village and surrounding region, where, since 1975, the following have been realized: “programs like treeplanting, terracing to reduce soil erosion and digging canals to retain rainwater. For energy, the village uses solar power, biogas (some generated from the communal toilet) and a windmill.” (Wikipedia).
It’s not ‘news’ that 21st Century thinking is found in India, or anywhere else for that matter; it is chauvinistic and elitist to think so. These impulses, these ‘drives’ are innate, they are universal, they ‘arrive with the human package’. In these very days we’ve seen dramatic and deadly insistence on citizen voice in the Mediterranean region; we’ve seen Wisconsin citizens gather in the name of protecting citizen voice; we’ve learned Iceland ‘ordinary citizens’ insist on voice in matters of economic justice; there are clear inequalities growing in China – recognized by its people; there’s much ‘afoot’ in several nations of Africa along these same lines; Latin American countries have been sorting through humanitarian causes and justice for decades.
Lest we get carried away in bids for change, a cautionary note: Each of us – every one – is susceptible to the seductive quality of seeking personal ‘comfort’ and stopping there. Each of us – every one – is susceptible to seduction of ‘power and wealth accumulation’ – then guarding our treasure.
Mindfulness is essential. Buckminster Fuller is one of the best sources for language that reminds us – we must remember, and emphasize ‘integrity’.
We’re cannot achieve “security for coming generations”, much less any assured quality of life, if we don’t use wisdom we’ve gathered across several thousand years to usher ourselves into a deeply altered “way of humanity”.
This also means we are not ‘free’ to ‘bash one another’ into submission. But we must drop ‘co-dependent’ behavior toward political power. We must drop co-dependent behavior even within the groups we join to achieve progressive outcomes. (Explore this site’s ‘search’ for ‘co-dependent’ in social/political behavior.)
We must think ‘for‘ ourselves, and ‘of‘ every–body. We must issue challenge wherever and whenever policy and injustice needs to be challenged – we must do so with firmness, but without losing fundamental good will toward one another. This is a huge study – no single written ‘essay’ can cover the range of understandings available and necessary.
My Best!! –MaggieAnn