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Most of us are of an age at when we can remember that being an American meant that we strove to be a great people who did great things.
We had quite different definitions in our past of what was great from today, the will to make that greatness come to be and the foresight to inspire greatness in others.
Or so we thought... Perhaps, in establishing our definitions of good examples, rewarding what was right, while punishing what was wrong, that we could fabricate a strong case for our own preeminence in the world. Much of this depended upon our general view of ourselves; that we are basically good, and therefore, our intentions must be good, even in spite of what ever negative consequences that may or may not have occurred.
The key to understanding the truth about ourselves requires us to objectively look outside of ourselves, our intentions and the consequences of our actions. For us, this is a very rare and precious commodity, of which so few of us will ever possess. For we assign highly subjective standards to our own actions and fail to understand their impact on others.
What are we? Who are we? Why have we done the things that we have done? You can find the answers to those questions only if you dare to look in the right place. What is very clear is that we have redefined ourselves in such a negative way that we lost our ability to achieve a greater level of universal and equitable greatness. Our vision is blurred, we have to refocus.
So, how did this happen?
Let's look upon the idea of establishing our own greatness by the building of an arsenal. We, ourselves, are great and so this arsenal must be great as well. It would be easy to find reasons to build it in the first place; our very survival, the protection of our friends and allies, in opposition to unjust causes and so forth and so on. But what's to be done with this thing once its justifications to exist are vanquished?
Again, by making the correct definitions of right versus wrong, the clear choice would be to change the definition of greatness based on the greatest need and the greatest good for all, correct?
But what if we never strove for that ultimate goal and we took a different path? What if we chose to maintain that arsenal beyond its real need... That we create a dependence on it, we delude ourselves to justify its existence, ignore the atrocities that it leaves in it wake, sacrifice the greater good to keep it extant, resist reducing its size and scope to a more realistically maintainable level and then seeking to define ourselves in its very existence.
We are the arsenal and the arsenal is us. Since we can do no wrong, the arsenal can do no wrong.
We change in mid-stream and become minions to the arsenal, instead of its masters.
Now, unfortunately, it's a fact that we have never made such a vision a completely universal and equitable one. Some would always win, while others would lose. However, unlike today, it was never a zero-sum game to those that held pragmatic views and realistically achievable goals. We made choices to become a greater people.
The problem is that we never finished in creating true, positive and equitable universal greatness.
So we should ask:
Did we lack the will or just the ability?
Was it a choice to turn away from the complete achievement of our admirable goals or was it an impossibility to attain because we are all hampered by the trappings of human frailty?
Perhaps greatness itself is nothing but the glimpse of an illusion, a fabricated facade, from the perspective of those who only worship greatness and it is made at the expense of those who were never meant to benefit from it.
How worthy is having greatness if it wasn't meant to be shared by all, but it is only used as an incentive for the many to aggrandize the few?
What, if by changing the definition of what is great, we can judge our own degree of commitment to universal betterment?
That by creating definitions that depend on relying on the worst of human nature, instead of the best of it, we allow the prior, more noble, definitions to crumble away?
Perhaps by looking into the past that much of us knew so well, we can see were we did wrong:
In the past, we strove to build great things - Today, those great things are falling apart from neglect.
In the past, we achieved great things resolutely and effectively - Today, we find out that it's even hard to small things effectively.
In the past, great things were achieved to benefit the greater good - Today, we have abandoned the greater good for the sake of individual aggrandizement.
In the past, we classify great literature, great educators, great music and great art and the people who create them as admirable - Today, reject people like that and promote people who are only famous for being famous.
In the past, we built that arsenal based on its need - Today, we inculcate it into a symbiotic relationship that runs our very economy.
Where are today is that crossroads between polarization and gridlock versus achievement and progress.
What is fitting is that we can still make the choices about where we need to go. It only takes the strength of will to get there. The important thing is to make the case that our future greatness is dependent on promoting the many, instead of the few. That each of us are entitled to recognizing the greatness in each other.
How can we do this?
One thing that I can think of is redefining the meaning and accessibility to real wealth. Unfortunately, we currently have a delusional idea about the purpose of wealth and money. Many of us have this poorly conceived idea that wealth should be hoarded and not circulated. That we measure a person's worth by how much wealth that person can hoard. That the inability to hoard wealth signifies a moral failing.
We forget that it's not our own names that's printed on the money that we hoard, but the name of the nation in which we live. The purpose of money is to circulate it. To hoard it is to seize up the circulation of wealth as a body would cease to function properly when the blood flow seizes up.
We make the greater good an achievable goal. We value the educator, the artist, the writer, the public servant, the builder and the workers above the hoarder and the war machine attendant.
We go forward, instead of looking behind and going back. We remaster that arsenal and cease being its servants… And that's just one thing. We can apply the same principles to many others.
We do this by choosing people to man the ship of state who have made serving the greater good their life's work above the people who have sacrificed the many for the sake of the very few. We do this now and we continue to do this until we reach our true potential.
We strive to make a true greatness, instead of a false one. It won't be easy to get back on the right path, but it's not impossible either.
The choice is yours to go there.
Posted by MrScorpio | Wed May 30, 2012, 08:31 AM (0 replies)
Are you convinced with every fibre of your soul, forged through your deep satisfaction with every iota of your own knowledge that our current president, Barack Obama, is a fine, handsome, upstanding, intelligent, diligent and patriotic citizen, who is doing his duty in the Oval Office in a way better than most of his predecessors?
Do you think that we're so very lucky to have such a fellow in charge of our nation's affairs?
Does he give you nothing but an abundance of warm fuzzies when you think about him?
Are you unflinchingly SURE that what you know about him is absolutely the hardened in steel and reinforced concrete, unvarnished truth, and that there is REALLY no way that ANY serious person can look at him AND the facts and think otherwise?
Well, if you are, then the sad state of affairs is that you don't understand what it means to be AN AMERICAN.
The sad truth is, that in your quest for knowledge to frame YOUR OWN personal worldview, while depending on provable, qualitative and quantifiable facts, you have ultimately FAILED to consider an undeniable aspect of American existence:
That is... the unfettered AMERICAN RIGHT to engage in, what I like to call, MAGICAL THINKING.
Now, I know what you're going to say; "You have right to your own opinions, but not your own 'facts'" or "How can you believe that something is true when it isn't, or exists when it's impossible for it to exist?"
Well, if you're to say that, then you've failed to understand that one can absolutely do it only with enough applied MAGICAL THINKING.
I have a caveat that I must put before you. Although we call it "Magical Thinking", at least I do anyway, the person who uses this form of reasoning doesn't think of it as "magical" at all. It's merely the culmination of one's own belief system, as formed by one's own perspective and synthesized through the limits of culture, education, prejudices, intelligence, fears and visceral reaction to observable stimuli. It's pure Pavlovian psychodynamics, baby!
You see, this is the greatest thing about MAGICAL THINKING; it justifies, quantifies, qualifies and manifests ITSELF in any way that the magical thinker wants it to be. It's the ultimate wish machine. It can frame a person's own history and the history of their own surroundings, or country, or race, ethnicity, religion and everything else that it's applied and can be done so without limits.
It can fit the very vast greatness of the Universe onto the head of a pin.
Not only can MAGICAL THINKING take the form of one's own self-delusions, but can easily be projected on others as objects of derision, hatred and fear. It can turn positives into negatives, facts into fallacies, fantasies into hard core truths about anyone, especially the undeniable existence of the vast conspiracy to conceal the truth about some traitorous, Socialist, Communist, Anti-American Kenyan guy, with no real life's accomplishment, whose actual legal name is "Barry Hussein Soetero."
Now, put it out of your own pointy little head, the dichotomy of believing that something like that can be both concealed as a fact, yet absolutely known. Because, when you're thinking like that you've failed to understand the awesome might and incredible versatility of MAGICAL THINKING. None of that "Reality Based Thinking" stuff can compare to a person who has this neat little tool tucked away in their handy-dandy toolbox.
The MAGICAL THINKING of others not only makes real things that you, yourself, know not to be real, but also creates the inalienable AMERICAN right for the user to believe in them as well. Think of it as an impermeable shield that's invulnerable to facts and figures from outside of itself. Some others would call this a "bubble".
It's all the same thing.
Now, I have a confession. I, too, have engaged in a somewhat alternative form of MAGICAL THINKING. We all do, as I think that it's something that we all have buried, deep down inside of our own psyches to cope with the un-copable things that we sometimes come across. It's a defense mechanism of sorts. Something that inhibits the inescapable urge to collapse into a puddle of protoplasmic ennui over the utter unfairness, complexity, confusion and frustration of dealing with basic existence on this earthly plane.
To be human is to live with both joy AND sorrow. It's Yin and Yang and we can't have one without the other. The only important thing is to properly balance the two. However, before it looks as if I'm going off on a tangent, I'd like to elaborate the importance of this observation:
My own personal issue is the subject matter of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
I look at the horrible things that these two men have done to the Nation, to Americans in general and to many other people around the world. My very first reaction is that of outrage, of course. As it would of any decent person who has witnessed the sheer level of mendacity, incompetence, vitriol, greed and corrupt behavior that these two have inflicted on everyone else (My own personal beliefs). The lies, the wars, the torture and devastation that they've left in their wake was horrible to behold and impossible to justify.
My problem, however, is that I held the firm belief that their deeds were unAmerican at their core. AND this is despite the fact that they were all done while they held high public office, and in the name of all of us who are American citizens.
The problem here is simple to explain, that in the formation of policy and the execution thereof, the same forces of both Yin and Yang, of the balance of chaos and order, is carried out in the actions of people who hold high public office. Because, of the way that our government and economy has an affect on all of lives, that impact is impossible to avoid. Even small actions by the Powers That Be, can have vast, far-ranging consequences. So, when the balance is far tilted to the negative side, as was in the case of Bush and Cheney, I had to cope with that fact by denying that their actions were representative of how things supposed to be done in this country or how they can be done.
The fact is that they were done because that's just who we are as a people. Not that they were necessary or even legal… Many times their actions weren't, but because in the deep recesses of how we conduct our own affairs, the fallibility of humanity is completely unavoidable.
Does that mean that we're supposed to make any of it right, or even justifiable in any way? Of course, NOT! We also have the capacity of telling right from wrong… That's how we all define ourselves, by determining what is right and wrong.
The point being: The ultimate, inescapable, yet somewhat unfathomable fact about this country is that we Americans simply do both good AND bad things to ourselves and to others. Unfortunately, those definitions of both good and bad can vary greatly with whomever you're talking to.
Yes, it is all relative.
You and I may believe that Bush and Cheney did unAmerican things while in office, however the fact exists that they actually did them and did them in the name of America.
We live in one fucked up country, don't delude yourself by thinking otherwise.
Let me conclude with the explanation about why you're wrong about Barack Obama… Quite simply, you're ONLY wrong to other people who think of him otherwise.
Yeah, I know that you were expecting some long dissertation, but that's ALL there is to say about it.
You can't expect other people to use you own perspective to judge the President, because everyone else comes to their own conclusions about the guy based on whatever they hold in their own individual tool boxes and not with what's in YOURS. If they use MAGICAL THINKING to reach those conclusions, the very nature of MAGICAL THINKING allows for them to use it. Again, it justifies itself.
Our goal, as people who support President Obama, The Democratic Party, justice, equality and everything that we hold as fair and good and best about America are tasked to create a more positive balance in the way that we conduct ourselves as a nation. It will be IMPOSSIBLE to do only good deeds, and even some of us are wont to justify some of the bad deeds that are done in our name. However, we have to take the hard path, which is right and best and fair and just to make of ourselves, and in general knowledge, and the understanding the things which should be held at heart to be the best of what we are.
In essence, it's a numbers game… We simply must increase our fold, and create the will in general to act and believe in things that are real and not just "Magical", merely because we can. If you don't build the support that you need, you are doomed to failure. We can't just believe that other people will do what we think is right, only because that's what we hold dear...
Ultimately, we have to go out into the world as it is and RECREATE it in the way that we want it to be.
Posted by MrScorpio | Sun May 20, 2012, 04:26 PM (16 replies)
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