The chorus of objections and affirmations clash in my mind, reaching critical mass and the voices silence, leaving me still and mindful of the moment. Images of pundits, sychophants and talking heads mix with the sound of urgent news flashes and political spin, coalescing into a miasma of babbling truths representing the distorted opinions of everyone and no one at all, building a consensus of confusion that disenfranchises everyone except for those who own the modes of communication, modes of production and modes of control.
If everyone is too sickened by what is going on to participate, who benefits? One thing is becoming quite clear: The United States of America still has quite a long way to go in the area of racial and class-based relations. At least, that collection of moving pictures and radio-waves we call the media does. I’d be a bit more sure of the difference if I didn’t hear the same words coming out of the mouths of ’real people’ in college classes, call-in radio shows and the comment spaces of blogs, news and opinion pages the net across. This inability to see the forest for the trees is represented by our wilful choice to settle for the sound bites and media hype to the detriment of truth and the fabled American Way. Perhaps the reason why half of the American electorate doesn’t vote is because they are too cynical – or knowledgeable – to participate in what is seeming more and more to be an exercise in futility.
In the movie, The Good Shepherd, we learn that a certain segment of this country’s ruling class has been engaged in the art of PSYOPS against enemies foreign, since at least the time period following WWII. One might ask, considering the successes garnered therein, what, other than some moral sense of nationalistic duty and obligation, might prevent them from engaging in similar tactics against enemies domestic? Given the transatlantic and european-royal heritage of many members of this class – when weighed against the poly-ethnic and racial slurry of Pax Americana – such a moral bias might, rightly, be considered antithetical to their own class and ethnic interests. Consisting of conflicting reports subtly designed to create confusion and doubt among the enemy forces, PSYOPS sounds familiar to anyone who follows the daily news cycle, switching from channel to conflicting channel in order to somehow parse the opinions and interpretations that pass as truth. Slander and insinuate, pillory, obfuscate and parse, not to mention the multitude of time-tested and proven tactics of divide and conquer.
Machiavelli and Sun Tzu would be proud, no doubt, given the argueably successful outcome of multi-generational military and political campaigns hidden from public view and censure. Add the Net to the mix and information overload becomes your normative state of being and your friends start running the other way when they see you coming, because they know that you’re full of the latest economic and political news, stark renderings of America’s future and the latest conspiratorial takes on economic crises, overseas conflicts and career-ending trysts by our leading political candidates. Whether there is any truth to the stories or not makes little difference, for as long as the discussion continues, no plans can be made. For as long as the debate lasts, no clear course of action can be embarked upon. For as long as the divide persists, no single enemy can be pointed out and rallied against. There is a definite method to the madness, and cognitive dissonance is a methodical form of madness that is more familiar to most of us than we’d probably like to admit.
Entering into these bloviated realms of quixotica is like releasing one’s grip upon reality and allowing one’s perception to be twisted irrevocably by the most advanced information warfare on the face of the planet in a conflict ocurring on a level most people hardly want to believe exists. To acknowledge that we are forced into certain modes of thought by our surroundings is to give up one’s idea of one’s self as a free agent, able to form opinions and make decisions based upon sound judgments. But when that judgment comes from avenues of infomation that are fundamentally compromised, where does that leave the succedent decisions? Where does that leave the decision-making process itself? If one’s thoughts have been fundamentally twisted at the basic level of information gathering, what does that say about the decisions that we have come to as individuals? As participants within communities? As citizens of nations? As a world?
Better to vegetate in front of a video game or the latest reality show, or, go to Pow Wows, church every night of the week or Wiccan gatherings, leaving the politics for those inclined toward them, taking on the challenge of individual and worldly spiritual salvation, instead. And yet, the ability of politics to open us, to awaken feelings of anger and disgust, joy and hopefulness speak to a need that we all must still share to work together, to find common answers to common problems as a group. There must be, even in the most cynical and uninvolved of us, some desire to see things get better for ourselves, our families and our country. the investment of emotion stems from our subconscious need to be a part of a community, while our disengagement from politics represents the fundamental alienation that results from the large-scale tampering and obvious monetization of the political process. They’re all crooked anyway, right? They’re just looking out for thier own interests, no doubt. The corporations run everything. The government doesn’t care about the people. Our votes don’t count. They’re going to pick who they want, anyway. Right?
Some claim that the economic storm we’ve already been through – and the potentially even greater one looming on the horizon – is going to eventually result in a nightmare scenario for the United States. That this country’s middle class is about to be eviscerated, leaving only the rich and the poor, reminiscent of the medieval time period of Lords and peasants. Others say that another conflict in the middle east, Iran through Syria, perhaps, will exacerbate the economic situation here at home by causing other countries to flee the dollar, leaving the United States of America a third world country.Still others, that all of this will be the excuse used by an administration, Democrat or Republican, to put in force all of the executive orders signed in the last twenty-five odd years fomenting and formalizing a Police State of America, finally putting to use all of those concentration camps out in the southwest and northern states the conspiracy theorists have been warning us about all of these years. That the Amero – or some other denomination – will replace the dollar as the North American Union becomes the American Union, extending from Alaska to Argentina.
The current and apparent trend toward creating economic unions without the corresponding political hype that would accompany formal announcements of international consolidation plans continues to keep the sleeping somnolent while the Awakened observe impotently. Recent agreements between Canada and the US that consolidate security and economic interests along the border are evidence of this trend. We are all invested in our lives, and, as all people do, we pray that tommorrow will be better than today, and not worse. In fact, we pay tribute and follow those who help us to find peace in our contemplation of tommorrow, who help us to feel good about ourselves rather than bad, and who see the positive in us, rather than continue to point out the negative.
Rather than become hopeless in the face of truth and the world situation, it is possible to find comfort in the remorseless movement of time. For every rise, there is a fall, for every up, a down. The sure knowledge of this cyclic movement is our comfort, our reassurance that life, the multiverse, is not a random, coincidental thing, that there are patterns greater and lesser at work, grinding into being through time and across space. It is in the experiencing of these movements and patterns that we find ourselves invested in the emotivity of the moment, yearning for our day in the sun to last forever and for that dreaded nightfall never to arrive, the awakened senses prefered to the relative unconsciousness of sleep. And yet we awaken the morning after the night refreshed, ready to continue along our journey wiping the sleep from our eyes, the terrible nightmare of the night before dissipating under the light of the new day’s dawning. The dreams of our mothers and fathers manifest in our lives, the culmination of centuries and millenia of movement, cyclical and eternal, toward some as yet unimaginable destiny, far beyond our ability to comprehend. Taking comfort in our smallness can be a boon. Realizing that we are a part of something much larger, a satisfying acknowledgement of belonging. Understanding that, still, our thoughts and actions affect the greater collective is a release from the worries of ineffectuality. That, as the droplet contributes its individual components to the sea, so you and I bring something new and unique to humanity.
So let the voices coalesce and the waking dream commence as we engage in this pursuit of humanness, as the political turmoil increases, as it most certainly will in the coming months leading up to the election season and as the economic and martial winds of worldwide trends continue to overtake our peace of mind. Recognize the inevitability of movement and find the peace that lies in the midst of every storm, in the heart of every moment, in the core of every thought. This is the manifestation of Being in its essence, the experiential chasm within which we all swim, searching for higher ground. To find the joy in despair is Life’s journey and a goal worth embarking upon consciously as we move to form a more perfect union, as individuals, nations and a human family, seeking ever after the Divine.