Time to break the cycle of doubt and fear
One of the responses to this showed up in my feed (S Lynn Knight) and I tried to ignore it but it was too good, as in accurate, for me to rest easy tonight without recognizing that accuracy (thank you). Of course then I reread the original article and all of the other responses. I’ve been fairly vocal in Medium so what I have been saying has evolved as things change and I try to correct my errors and transition to positive ideas and advocacy. The article and much of the response here brought back to me where most people still seem to be caught. That is between anguish and anger. Both are valid and valuable responses to the collapse of the political and much of our social system. Of course that doesn’t relieve the pain or do anything for the confusion and doubt that people with compassion feel in the face of a fundamental failure.
The point is the validity and value of both anguish and anger. Most of these discussions go broadly the way this one has, at least in my experience. Yes, compassion should replace anger most of the time but we are at great risk. Actions, thoughts are also actions, that focus on hate, greed, willful ignorance, and denial can and will destroy us. The other half of compassion is mindfulness and that is true thought as we struggle to understand the implications of our thoughts and actions. And understand the implications of others who appear to have focused themselves on hate driven by greed or fear. Both greed and fear are mindless. Mindlessness destroys compassion and it is the antithesis of mindfulness. This is as close as I think we can come to a rational definition of evil.
Failure to denounce, block, and stop evil is, itself, evil. The problem of bad action is giving oneself up to emotion and hatred rather than the far harder work of controlling anger and maintaining the potential of compassion. But this is a balancing act that must be consciously maintained and cannot stop the battle that we are facing.
What brought me into this conversation was the recognition that the people who are supporting Trump, white supremacists, various forms of fascism, racism have been driven to this end by a failure in education and in allowing greed to be made into a virtue. Public media should be public and not driven by profit. Most required human service, food, housing, health, education should be services for all. We are achieving the potential for the end of scarcity and the ability to focus most of human creativity, skill, and ambition on higher values and not survival. The zero sum claims are false. But those have been easy to use to drive people into fear, ironically often fear that hey will be unable to fulfill their greed. We are seeing the result.
All of the political jargon of the last century is completely meaningless now. It needs to be ignored. That trick is making up ever newer names for things and people to be denounced and hated. Almost all of this has been done to cover the destruction our planet and its climate by the people who have long since won the zero sum game. They know there is little time left for them to try to take it all so they can ride out the planetary disaster. Silly? Yes, but they are caught in their own lies and fear. They and the sad people who are supporting them in hope of some share of the loot are a distinct minority but there are enough of them that this country will probably disappear in a year or so. But that won’t be the end. We have urban regions around the planet that are gaining in diversity and the wealth of intellect that is our future.
Let those driven by hate and fear isolate themselves. Help them by ignoring them and denouncing their ignorance and stupidity. That will open up the future that we can already see but will lose without collaboration and rational action. We’re closer to winning than we realize but most of what we have long thought as important must be left behind.