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Meditations

Igniting a True Enlightenment
By Martin LeFevre
Sep 9, 2018, 4:35pm

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There is a story, possibly apocryphal, of a Jewish woman exiting a cattle car at Auschwitz. She looks around at the hellscape, smells the burning flesh from the crematoriums, and asks a guard, "Why?" "There is no why here," he gruffly replies as he pushes her toward the gas chamber.

Let us reiterate: there is no evil beyond man. Man is the creature that accumulates psychological/emotional darkness, which is the ground of evil. (Darkness is the background reality of the human condition; evil is intentionally directed darkness.) There is no evil in nature per se. Then why does evil appear with man?

Because the basic principle of thought is separation, while nature unfolds in seamless wholeness. Paradoxically, nature evolved a brain capable of consciously separating 'things' from the environment. It did not, however, give humans the wisdom to use 'higher thought' properly.

So psychological separation bred division, conflict, fragmentation and suffering. Essentially, we're failing as a species because we aren't awakening sufficient insight to keep thought in its place.

The 'branding' mentality has taken over all aspects of life in the West. An op-ed in the Washington Post put it best: "Because of the massive and unchecked expansion of corporate power - in terms of not just market share but mind share - products must represent values, lifestyles and, in the age of President Trump, political ideologies."

Life in America has become utterly empty not primarily because of outer conditions (we have no concentration camps here, except for illegal immigrants and their children). Rather, the utter meaninglessness wrought by materialism and consumerism has overwhelmed the vast majority of people, shrinking the human heart in this land. All that's left is 'me, me, me.'

There's a lot of talk about the congenital liar and willing scapegoat presently occupying the White House. But President Obama lied more deeply this past week when he said, "All across the country you can feel the energy, you can hear people saying, 'enough is enough.'"

It's hard to tell whether Obama's reentry into the political scene represents the persistence of wishful thinking, or the stirring of his campaign juices. In a rousing speech at the University of Illinois, Urbana, Obama was in full campaign mode: "In a government of and by and for the people, there should be no permanent ruling class."

Ok Barack, but why did you kiss the asses of the Big Banks when you had the bankers by the balls following the financial meltdown at the beginning of your first term?

And if you believe that "of, by and for the people" stuff, why did you maintain the dualism between campaign mode and governing mode? We sure as hell could have used a lot more of this passionate Barack during your eight years of soporific rule. (Trump nailed you on that one.)

In short, the "two America's" narrative is bullshit. It's false both on the face of it, and false even if it's so. False on the face of it because it wasn't just rotten Repubs that gave rise to this would-be tyrant, but deadened Dems as well.

And it's false even if it's so because contradiction serves and advantages darkness, not the good. The entire Judeo-Christian idea of the war between good and evil is an existential error of the highest order. Good doesn't fight evil, much less go to war against it, Churchill and FDR mythology notwithstanding.

So what comes after 'American leadership' and the post-World War II international order incontrovertibly collapse? At a deeper level, must the materialistic 'values' of the West completely destroy the spiritual capacity of the human being?

People outside the United States may ask, why should you presume that the international order is history just because your velvet-gloved empire is history?

It's a fair question, but the answer is obvious. First, everyone in the world is living in a global economy and global society now. Attempts to turn back the clock just hasten collapse.

Second, what country is going to fill the vacuum of leadership? Russia? Putin and his henchmen are not just slick autocrats, but assassins and mass-murderers. China? A communist regime that has cynically grafted capitalism onto its rotten roots cannot step into the vacuum.

It's a truism that 'nature abhors a vacuum.' Something will fill the internal emptiness and external decline of the bygone 'American century.' Authoritarianism certainly cannot, for it always leads to war.

The idolization of thought, in recent years taking the form of venerating science and technology, is only making things worse. Is the end of American expansionism and Western rationalism leading people to rightly turn inward and ignite insight?

******

Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He welcomes dialogue. lefevremartin77@gmail.com


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