Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Deep Risks Exposed in Presidential Debates

Deep Risks Exposed in Presidential Debates

Sanity or integrity basically require that we all develop a unified chain of thought, from basic principles down to practical actions we need to take in order to survive and grow. This week, I have seen some promising ideas on the fundamental side, beginning to show some hope on the crucial, fundamental spiritual side – but some scary things in the US and Turkey presidential sides.  As always lately, I am “on the watch,” “drinking from a firehose,” observing complex patterns hard to summarize.  And withholding parts of the story.

Where to start?

Let’s start with the latest Republican presidential debates. The most meaningful moment for me was when John Kasich broke out in frustration, basically saying: “When we will get out of this nonsense fantasy world, and start addressing the issues we are facing in reality... like how the economy really works, what will decide whether we really produce jobs and growth or just a lot of gauzy PR.” It was somewhat reassuring to me that all the candidates could feel in the end that the discussion was spinning away from reality... but in the end, it was not just the debate which was out of touch with reality.

As a matter of basic principles, as a voter and as a Quaker, I feel a deep duty to really listen to both sides in the coming election, and stay open-minded as long as I reasonably can, and hope to make positive contributions to the dialogue as a whole. Yet at this point... having probed a bit further... Kasich and Trump are the only ones where I still see something to listen to, the two who are close enough to reality that there is at least some hope it would not be a total disaster for the country to elect them. The two “just off the edge” are Carson and Fiorina.

Why do I now see Carson as firmly over the edge, and a clear disaster?

A few days ago, in Costco, I scanned his book, A More Perfect Union. There was a chapter saying that the freedom of our children, of the next generation, is threatened, and we really need to take strong action to protect it. So far so good, really. But then he lists the three greatest “threats to freedom” – “debt, ignorance and abortion.” We know what he wants to do with abortion. With ignorance – in essence, he says that the problem is with our schools; he will reduce debt and ignorance by massively shifting to home schools. The rest of how he sees “debt” is “sacrifice.” That’s the whole story. I can see how this is a very attractive proposition to the folks who see Thomas Jefferson George Washington as just like Lenin and Stalin, and who want to restore the natural order of things as it was in the dark ages. More and more of such people have appeared. The growing numbers of such people remind me of the growth in people addicted to captogan and cocaine, as came out this week when a Saudi prince was caught supplying this to ISIL and others in the network of puppets. Certain flows of money are really similar there and here.

Since I add and subtract more than most people do – talk about abortion always reminds me of an advocacy piece I read decades ago from the antiabortion network: “It is a scandal,” they said (they always say). “There were more illegitimate births than live births in DC last year, and more abortions than both of them combined. We will put a stop to all those abortions, and we will have much more life in DC...” Wow!  This is not penny-ante stuff. Do they imagine Republicans would ever win any elections at all if they actually succeeded? Or do they imagine that demands for more police might save them, if crime and despair more than tripled, not just in DC but nationwide? All for the sake of a totalitarian fantasy, with no real spiritual justification, trying to force everyone to behave according to someone else’s crazy belief, motivated by political manipulators who don’t understand they would be the first to get killed as a consequence? But then again, Ben Carson is not one of those manipulators behind the scenes... it is the rest of us. Fiorina is clearly on the same track... but even though she virtually liquidated Bell Labs, she probably wouldn’t go as far as Carson in liquidating the schools.

Behind the scenes, in the world of big money, how much has the struggle in the Republican party degenerated into a struggle between corruption and insanity, both growing to the point of real threat to the future? I once worked for Senator Specter, a real stalwart of a fierce effort to hold on to honesty and sanity... but the bad guys got to him. We saw those bad guys first hand. This is not some ideological fantasy. (Likewise, Brock, who wrote the important new book, “Killing the Messenger,” is open about his current political biases, but reports very clearly and credibly about things he saw first hand.)

Most people saw the rift between Bush and Rubio as the highlight of the last debate. Bush was upset at how it came out.. but were his donors really upset, or even surprised? It did exactly what they wanted... more attention to their people and a rise in the polls of someone they feel they can control, for good reason. And of course, they would love to prolong all that right up to the convention; no one should be puzzled by that.

All for now.

I had planned to say more about the serious brain science and deep spiritual issues underlying these problems, and some possible hope of doing better, but maybe this is where to stop today.

Well... one small safe thing.

I agree with Carson that debt is something which should be part of the  center of our thinking about rational economic policy, along with growth and sustainability  and jobs and the true freedom we need for true spiritual growth. (That last part is more or less where the US really started from – voluntary association, true freedom of speech, people’s control over their own lives.) But UNLIKE nuclear proliferation/terrorism, environmental threats and even threats of misuse of computer and neurotechnology, debt is not now on a course which points directly towards disaster; it needs attention, but it is also getting attention, and it needs to be handled in context. Basically, the debt problem requires intelligence and sanity more than it needs more attention – and uninformed freaking out would not really help with the delicate surgery which would be needed to get us out of the current economic threats.  But the technical details of that... go beyond the limited scope of this post.  It is not at all certain that Trump or Kasich would be ready to engage with that kind of serious thinking (and surgery), but it seems clear that the others are all living in different, smaller, more personal worlds.  


Later, some more: a quantum physicist asked me my view of a recent experiment by Dean Radin purporting to tell us something about how metaphysical observers work. Since I don't believe in that kind of metaphysical observer, I replied:

 I deeply respect and value Dean's empirical work now and through the years, but I would not interpret this particular experiment as telling us more about quantum mechanics or the physical interface between soul and atoms than the earlier ones did. I am beginning to wonder how safe it would be for 
the powers of this world to be shown exactly how that interface really works in physical terms; certainly, the support for abuse of neurotechnology argues for caution. It is scary to read between the lines and see what was really being said all day at:



How to connect these things? More important, how can we find any hope at all in a world which seems to be falling apart due to entropy all over (much of it connected to oil money, but certainly not just that)?

At Quaker meeting this past Sunday, a woman got up and spoke about "integrity." I felt a real frisson as she spoke, and later spoke in the "afterthoughts" section:

"I am very grateful to have had a chance a few years ago to visit Qufu, the world center of Confucianism. I already knew about the core Confucian concept of "integrity," of being true (and telling the  truth) to oneself. They explained to me that the real word is "zhengqi", where "qi" means qi, "spiritual energy" (or mana or light or charisma, actually a form of modulated backpropagation),
and zheng means the proper direction of that energy. For example, anger can be a qi of negative polarity, but is not a bad thing when directed at things like the phenomena of poverty, slavery or debt; the challenge of zhengqi is the challenge of not misdirecting energy or feelings or effort towards specific people or small things rather than the true source of ugly outcomes.

 "I saw there are two main levels of zhengqi pervading the whole history. We are not born with zhengqi; it is a natural but never-ending struggle to achieve more of it. The lowest level of zhengqi is simple mundane sanity. Those who become too attached to spiritual or religious theories without a firm grasp of mundane sanity cause great peril to themselves and others. (Pause as people smile and think how true this is...! And I thought of how all but two of the Republican candidates seem very far from any hint or trace of that level of zhengqi, unless one views them as living in cocoon universes about five feet around their bodies.) The next level... I would call "Alchemical Marriage" in our language (slight pause and stifled giggles as some people in that place had something to remember)...
the full honest partnership between the mundane atom side of our being and the spiritual side.

"Lately, I have begun to understand further that there are certain rules, not written coherently or fully in any of the scriptures of our world, which act as strong constraints demanded by the spiritual side, NOT for mundane behavior, but for the spiritual side itself, in all people. They include full support for the spiritual evolution of humanity as a whole, not just some privileged caste of people laying down rules for all the rest. And they include a certain minimum level of zhengqi at that level.

WITHOUT those rules, that "spiritual DNA corrector", entropy would guarantee the death of our species sooner than people expect. Teilhard de Chardin was wrong in imagining that local evolution alone could save us, let alone cause progress, as we are now. Entropy is ever so evident. Only in the deep structure of the noosphere can we see something which offers real, grounded hope of collective longevity. The expression/manifestation of that deep structure is the first priority, if we care about real survival, either spiritual or mundane. If we give way to the dark ages, no one goes to heaven
or any other place of consciousness.  Well... maybe just a few... there are lines of integrity ... but not for those of the type who tend to seek that.    

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