“Every disturbance, from the outbreak of world war to a child’s temper tantrum, is caused by a restriction of consciousness.
We needn’t look any further than our current headlines and catastrophes to get a clear overview of the psychological health of human consciousness.
And just as our heroic antics, movies, myths and brave deeds are part of our inter-species hopes and dreams; our scandals, wars, crimes, and acts of terror are part of our collective nightmares, fears and failings as well.
Either way these powerful conflicts play themselves out in the real world and in the deepest recesses of our psyches, at the same time, for a very real purpose.
For those of us who strive to see the relationship of these things, (“What is above is below, what is within in without”) it is impossible to dismiss the unspeakable horror of the last few weeks as yet another battle in the age-old “war” between the forces of “Good and Evil”.
It may make for good copy and drive up Sunday school attendance, (what-to-speak of military enlistment), but the willingness and ease to paint ignorance, hate and terror with the broad strokes of medieval languaging and arcane religious values only contributes to the prevailing world misery.
Never mind that calling “them” evil, and “ourselves ” good, is exactly what “they” are doing. The mere act of doing so lets us off the hook from any true self-examination we might do to better educate ourselves for more effective problem solving.
The great American trial attorney Clarence Darrow was often quoted as saying, “We may hate the sin, but never the sinner”. Such saintly objectivity from even a most ardent “atheist” seems to be woefully and conspicuously absent from our most die-hard “Christian” well-wishers these days.
If our enemy is evil then there is absolutely no impetus to look at our own complicity in a cycle of violence that we both foster and co-create. And to deny any responsibility or involvement in our own destiny is to succomb to the most cynical and decadent attitude imaginable.
America and Americans can not afford to continue to see ourselves as “victims” in a world gone mad. True psychological health and healing, never mind putting an end to terrorism, can only happen when we examine how much WE contribute to the madness.
As a warrior nation founded on revolutionary principles, and with a legacy of “holy” war and other “justifiable” violence to our name, it is important to determine just how much we continue to foster, promote, legislate and inculcate our citizenry with a warrior ethic that permeates every facet of our existence; be it sports, entertainment, religion, literature, education, economics, politics, and even our own basic attitudes about male and female sexuality and relating.
Indeed, Americans make love in a manner that would be totally unacceptable even in war i.e. unconscious, one-sided, self-righteous, with our eyes shut, the lights out, under the covers, and intoxicated out of our gourds. Afterwards, we roll over, fall asleep, or spend the next few uncomfortable moments averting our eyes from the person we just shared the deepest of intimacies.
What all of this indicates is not so much a world haphazardly and randomly plunging in to darkness and disorder, but an abdication on the part of our collective psyches to take responsibility for our current state of psychological health and consciousness, and a dearth of forward thinking, life-positive, relevant texts, guidebooks and voices that can help disperse the ancient warrior template that sits on our evolutionary progress like a thick, impenetrable fog.
Even The Art of War suggests that one’s enemy is never to be dismissed as some random, external, disconnected, force, but the very embodiment of our own inner flaws, blindness, and ignorance.
Alfred Hitchcock used to say, “the greater the villain, the more successful the picture.”
We often admit that a man’s success can be measured by the number of his enemies.
If any of this is true, then we might well ask ourselves what is it about this enemy that is so repugnant, terrible and disdainful?
What do these zealots, fanatics and life-haters tell us about ourselves that is equally contemptuous?
Perhaps it is the very real and immediate need for all humankind to move past the xenophobic, superstitious and tribal ideologies of these 5,000 year old warrior religions to embrace more enlightened, contemporary, life-affirming sciences and systems that induce a profound awareness of who we are as living beings, sharing a fifteen-billion year old adventure, that is both Life and Creation itself.