On the eve of the most consequential election in US history, what is the significance of the American election to the human prospect?
As difficult as it is to conceive, would it be better for humanity if America's current malignant, malevolent administration continues, or would a return to some semblance of decency and fairness be better for all people, not just Americans?
The answer may seem obvious, but as with all true questions, there is no answer. We can only allow valid questions to seep into the mind and heart.
Before taking up this painful question however, we have to address the problem of evil and power.
Normally, in the course of human events, evil (which is man-made rather than supernaturally overlaid) exists as an undercurrent. It erupts and is expressed in many different ways, most visibly through acts of mass murder by individuals, such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Also by the depraved indifference of corporations or presidents, such as Big Pharma pushing doctors to prescribe opioids, or the malign neglect of an administration that's allowed more twice as many people to die from Covid-19 as would have died with competent leadership.
There are times in human history when the intentional, collective darkness in human consciousness so permeates a people that it leaches up and seizes the levers of power. The 20th century examples of Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin are obvious examples.
Though it's still denied by the vast majority on the right and the left, the loss of "the soul of America" is precisely what has happened to the people. That enabled a narcissistic, amoral man to tap into the long-neglected darkness in the American psyche, giving expression and catalyzing it.
Denial and hope still rule even the most decent-minded political and 'thought leaders.' For example, Leon Panetta, the former Obama defense secretary, said recently, "The only pillar of our democracy I haven't wavered on is our sense of trust in the American people." Really, given Trump's hard-core 40% mob base, plus another 40% of zombie Democrats?
I don't mean to imply that there's an equivalency; the rally habitues on the right are proud of their projections, and have made a science of hatefully "triggering the libs." Even so, "polarization" is an empty catchall, and demonization occurs on both sides.
Since the post-World War II international order has fallen onto the ash heap of history, the centrality of American leadership, such as it was, is moot. The issue is the difficulty of facing, understanding and meeting the darkness in human consciousness. Which, in the beginning and the end, is within us.
At a fundamental level, there is no adequate philosophy of evil that has explanatory and therapeutic power. This is the kind of thing that passes for it in the MSM:
"When a toxic political idea is turned into a literal demon in a horror movie, the audience can imagine slaying it and escaping from its gory reign of terror... Horror is a call to action. It's time to slay some monsters."
As organized religion on one hand, and the Enlightenment ideal of reason on the other have eroded beyond repair, the conspiracy-mindset has taken root in the putrid soil of the rapidly decaying Western order.
Asia is hardly exempt, since man's ecological crisis is global, as is the crisis of human consciousness itself.
I've been amazed at how many people around the world are taking a "wait and see" attitude toward the outcome of the American election. Especially since Pax Americana is already history.
To my mind, where this election is concerned, it comes down to this. If a breakthrough in human consciousness is imminent, then the last strut needs to be kicked out of the old order, so that a true global order can begin to emerge.
But if a breakthrough in human consciousness is not imminent, then the best we can do is hope for a return to decency and muddling through. Of course muddling through won't be good enough, since the climate is collapsing and man is decimating the Earth.
What is required is an insight explosion in a sufficient minority of people worldwide to change the basic course of humankind.
That has never happened before, not since the emergence of so-called civilization, and not since the Cognitive Revolution ushered in "fully modern humans" some 70 millennia ago.
One thing is for sure-the entire Enlightenment project of evidence-driven reality is a bucket with a hundred holes that can't be plugged. It's high time to find a new container.
Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He welcomes dialogue. email@example.com
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