Sunday, November 7, 2010

Flowering of the spirit

I have a great appetite, I have a great hunger, I think we all do, a hunger for truth, a hunger to connect with the mysteries of life, a hunger for enlightenment and the alleviation of suffering. Those are the hungers of your soul. Other hungers include laughter and art.

I want to basically take God out of heaven and bring the God in all of us to the fore, take that namaste, the god in me - and bring it to earth. I want that for all of us, all of us who want to be the best human being that we can possibly be, all of us who want to be a king of heaven. All of my friends and family do this but most are enslaved to corporations and capitalism (myself, obviously, included). I personally am hampered in optimal humanity by early exposure to Christian fundamentalism and the chaos of identity that ensued when I moved to England.

I have learned of this obstruction by dealing with my omnipresent and powerful foe, my own consciousness. Note well this is really neither more or less than saying "my mental illness".

I am a warrior of the mind, I have been across plains of suffering in the planet of my brain and I am back with a story. I am in love with truth and I know nothing but I think continually of those who were truly great, and I want to be one too.

And ground zero of the story is that humans could really manage their institutions in a much better way. Humans should aim higher. We have gone to our houses and we have shut our doors and we shake our heads and blog about what feels like a revolutionary time in history but there is no clear organizing principle of what we should do.

So maybe what I am offering is best described as a religion, but it's not really religious to feel passionately about animal rights and the rights of the planet, of consumer rights and regulatory reform. I think all big religions on earth should be called out for what they are, corporations. I think all governments should be called out on the same fact. Maybe I am asking everyone to be religious about their own life, make it the highest and best possible.

I definitely am offering insights into government. From my first post until today I can see what I am: a person pretty worked up about rights and religion. Not impossible to combine rights and religion, in fact, in the end, aren't rights essentially about protecting our irreducible humanity and allowing it to flourish? (Yes). And isn't the knowledge of our humanity and the flourishing of its communal enlightenment really the best thing a religion could offer society? Who knows? I'll let my four blog readers decide.

In case you have got this far and are worried about me, I do realize that this borders on messianic thinking, which is manic, which is dangerous. But mania is a frenzy uncontrolled by reason, and I think everything I am saying is reasonable. And it's only ideas. I'm just saying. Look at the pictures of Peter Cicchino on his website, if you want. I originally entitled the last blog post "Peter Cicchino is calling me from the grave", but it brought up zombies to me and really, no, now he is an angel. When I thought about it later I realized I was visited by an angel. I make absolutely no claim to the supernatural. I think my own unconscious mind rushed in to help me. I think it rushed in because to tell you the truth it's been another bad spell. I have been in tears so much, and suffering so exquisitely, but Peter Cicchino called me. My whole life is calling me to do this. This what? I do not know what, exactly, it is. Advocacy of fundamental regulatory reform? Oh, God, how lame is that? Not very superhero.

Anyway, on my road to optimal humanity my first job is to forgive myself. I have to take a childhood where the rules of our home were the the laws of god, and breaking the rules meant eternal damnation, and weed the fear and shame out of my consciousness. But I think fear and shame occupies the vast majority of my available neural circuitry so even though I have been pretty hard at work on this for the last six years, I still have a long way to go.

It served me well, it was my drive, it was an excellent motivator. It made me a pretty good student, law clerk, and especially trial lawyer. And later it also served me well as general counsel of a wifi start-up. The fear of screwing something up - anything up - was so magnified and enormous. I am used to having my body bathed in cortisol in batches you cannot imagine. But when I had a son, and I was scared for the life of someone I truly loved (I do not truly love myself by a long shot, unfortunately, but I am trying to) the the fear of screwing up magnified exponentially until it was unbearable. There was SO MUCH fear.

But coping with it has lead to a great deal of enlightenment. But the more enlightened I become, the more humbled I am about how little I know.

But I do know this- remember when the Iranian women Neda was shot and I was so upset and my dad gave me this look and said that "Liberty has always been bought with the blood of martyrs."? It's an old blog post. The point is that institutions are like Skynet - they are designed so that their first prerogative is to save themselves, to thwart outsiders. Anyway, I think about how much our institutions need changing, but I am not naive, and I know it is only by mass political action could these institutions be swung around for the better. And an international critical mass of activists is not really what I have time for at this point in my life (taking the children to school, feeding them, etc), although organizing it does sound tempting.

Maybe I am back to my friend Tina's idea - a third political party in the United States called the Rule of Law party - designed under the uninflammatory premise of transparency and accountability for corporations, religions and sovereigns. Law as a guardian of the planet's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (so, yes, a heavy green agenda). I would also be completely against corporate donations to political parties. I would also urge everyone to have Mexican night at least once a week at their house, where they eat fajitas or chili. And to stay hydrated. I would rethink every little piece of internet related legislation everywhere.

I would ask everyone to look at their investments and to truly be a shareholder of the companies they have invested in. Right? If there is no difference between the big three - Corporations, Sovereigns and Churches, don't we really have to pay more attention how we contribute to the first. By that I mean look at what the company does and what it makes and how it treats the earth and ask yourself if the earth is bettered in a reasonable way by what that company does. Yes, this requires people to forgo optimal financial returns. This may be necessary to achieve optimal humanity. Corporations - and in this category I include banks - have way too much power over people. Our financial situation was inevitable. But our recovery from it may not be. And what changes we have made in regulating banks leave a bitter taste in my mouth, for they seem to have been written so that Goldman Sachs could get hugely profitable again before house prices in the Hamptons completely tanked. We did not step back and think and then implement ends best for humans and best for the earth. And really, that is what we have to do about everything now, right?

Luckily we have our Kings of Heaven, our philosophers and artists, our Peter Cicchino and our Groucho Marx.

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