It has now become clear that we are both, like the systems betwixt us, completely miserable. Which vexation begs the questions: what are we doing wrong? how can we do things right?
I’m so lonely all the time. It’s like a sledgehammer pounding me through the chipping cement. I think it’s because I’m deep in the corrupt and broad with the mad.
What is corruption? What is madness? Where is it in me? In you? In the systems where we live and die?
Corruption and madness are both, like all human things, things of degrees. The more corrupt an individual or group is, the more that person or organization lets injustice rather than wisdom rule. The more insane an individual or group is, the more that person or organization is overrun by chaos rather than wisdom. The problems are interrelated: more corruption degrades the internal system for choosing one thought over another, which permits more chaos as well as more corruption into that process; more insanity likewise degrades the decision making process and so allows more corruption and chaos into the system. Rot encourages more rot. It is often impossible to locate exactly where one ends and the other begins: “Am I really crazy, or am I to some degree courting confusion in order to open up a path for my lusts/fears to take control??”
What does corruption look like? It looks like what it is: evil preferred over good. And madness? It too looks like itself: random notions preferred over wise feeling, thinking and acting.
The more corrupt a human conscious moment, human group, or government is, the easier evil (dishonesty, cruelty, vanity, meanness, greed, pettyiness, egotism: you know the direction I’m pointing towards!) wins out in the constant inner leadership struggle (within an individual, group, and/or government/political-entity). Each evil victory means evil pushes the whole (individual, … government/political-entity) more towards its foolish, self-defeating (because corruption = wisdom is not steering = that within which deserves to rule our thoughts and actions is losing control) ends. Conversely, the less corrupt xyz human-entity is, the easier it is for goodness (honesty, kindness, selflessness, win-win, shared joy, Love: you know the direction I’m pointing towards!) to take control within xyz human moment. And each goodness victory allows goodness to push the whole more towards good, decent, coherent–towards internally-meaningful and spiritually/emotionally/intellectually/actionably acceptable.
Insanity has the same basic effect: making evil win and goodness lose; but whereas corruption seeks confusion in order to mask its evil intentions and ruthlessly selfish and pathetically boring/limited/unimaginative worldview; madness (whether organic or to some appreciable degree caused by corruption’s self-undermining of a human-entity) starts primarily with chaos and flails about less purposely, perhaps even being on occasion nudged in a better direction by a better impulse, though ultimately–being without adequate levels of clear self-aware conscious engagement and thus invariably courting corruption–tends like corruption to the worse and worse and worse worse worse (actually, you know, corruption can also accidentally occasionally lurch toward better and away from worse, though on the whole it’s direction is worse, worse, …).
Corruption and madness are only actually problems if goodness should actually be preferred over evil and wisdom should actually be preferred over folly. That is to say, they are only real problems if goodness and wisdom are real and really preferable to their opposites. Hence, if nothing matters, or if evil is great, or folly actually best, it makes no sense to worry about corruption and madness; no sense to fight them within yourself and the groups, organizations, political entities within whose folds you live.
And we can only speak meaningfully about things like goodness and wisdom if our inner senses towards goodness are actually correct. If awareness, clarity, honesty, accuracy, and competency within thought are not the way for a consciousness to find and follow wisdom and goodness, then our inborn sense about how to think in a way that is meaningful to ourselves is wrong. If we humans are not essentially the same and able to understand one another and obliged to be respectful and kind to each other, then life is too lonely and pointless for any of us to pretend to care about. If there’s no Light within that knows Love is real and knows how to flow off of Love, or if our ideas and feelings cannot relate meaningfully to that Light, then there’s no reliable method for preferring one action over another: choice is impossible.
For the sake of argument, let us suppose that corruption and madness are problems, that goodness should be preferred over evil and wisdom over folly, and that our inner sense of the proper path towards more wisdom and goodness–more awareness, clarity, honesty, and shared respectful kind joy, surrounding a general push by our ideas and feelings to better and better understand and follow the Light within that is both Reality and Truth–is basically correct. Granted: we’re pointing towards what our consciousness as a whole (ideas, feelings, and whatever else is within a human conscious moment–including, we here assume, the Light/Love that is both Truth and Reality) experiences, so words won’t catch it literally/definitively, but we’re not asking them to: we’re just asking them to point towards a general state of things we find within our conscious moment and we believe you find in yours.
For the sake, then, of argument:
We’ve decided to assume a Reality that we can understand/follow/care-about, and have therefore agreed to agree that corruption and madness are better avoided than indulged in and that, further, we can avoid them in the way we think we can: by seeking for more and more direct, meaningful connection with Truth/Goodness/Godlight (pointing here towards a general direction prior to ideas and feelings–so unable to point perfectly, but not therefore necessarily meaninglessly) while simultaneously seeking to think, feel, and act aware, clear, honest, accurate, kind, open-hearted and -minded, selfless, joyfully together (a dual motion: towards the Love within yourself with all your heart and soul and mind and the Love within others as if it were the same Love, since, after all, it is the same Love).
But what have we done? What have we argued ourselves into? I’m afraid that we’ve agreed to not cheat. But how’s that gonna work?
Is there anything so hard as actually believing in the existence and preeminence of goodness and wisdom? Fashion may dictate that one applaud one or the other or throw one or both triumphantly under the bus in the name of God and/or Reason; but we people generally find a way to keep them in the same place: Kindof Land. No matter what we think we understand, believe, and care about, we always kind of understand, believe in, and care about goodness and wisdom–in “Truly Should” and “The Way Forward” (not so much these words or even the concepts that point towards, but rather that to which those words and concepts imperfectly but not therefore necessarily inadequately point). But what we’ve agreed to–only preliminarily and as a kind of exercise (no need to panic!: we’re just talking here)–is to work as individuals, groups, and political entities to move our faith in goodness and wisdom out of Kindof Land–where they are so suspiciously obliging to our hopes, fears, and group thinks–and into Yes! Let’s Do This! Let Us Overcome Selfishness In Order To Serve The Universal Good!!
Can’t be done.
How could it be done?
Everybody just scratches their side while applauding their side.
There’s a logic behind the separation of church and state: Demanding religious tests for political power tempts people to dishonesty (both internal and external) in the most profound matters. Far from guaranteeing that power go to the wisest citizens, such demands often hand it over to those the most willing to say and do whatever it takes to get power.
What can we do? If we mindlessly applaud ourselves or the groups within which we live, we are not consciously pushing against folly and evil, towards wisdom and goodness. But if we shrug, pout, and cynic about, we are also not consciously pushing against folly and evil, towards wisdom and goodness. What were we thinking when we preliminarily and merely for the sake of argument agreed to agree upon the preeminence of goodness and wisdom?!?!? Thought experiments are fun and much acclaimed and who doesn’t love A. Einstein self-stapled to the front of beam of electromagnetic radiation? But if a thought can’t be thought, then you can’t thought experiment it.
Can’t we all agree that any worldview meaningful to human hearts and minds demands that we pursue wisdom and goodness, and that we do so with awareness, … kindness, … spiritual (ie: !For Real!–as opposed to maybe, just a thought, well on the other hand, and then again, course maybe nothing matters anyway and there’s no difference between hitlering and lovingkindnessing …) values??
That doesn’t mean we need to agree to be this or that religion or even religious. Nor does it mean that we agree to say this or that religion or religion in general isn’t worth anything. We can still continue to fight over whose metaphysics (atheism is also a metaphysics) is best. And by all means! Let’s! But let’s not let such interesting discussions and eternally important soul-fights distract us from the fact that none of our philosophies or religions are well-served if we refuse to work together for the sake of the common good.
Sally’s an agnosticky skeptic because she believes we shouldn’t believe anything we can’t be sure of. Suzy’s a churchy believer because she believes we shouldn’t ignore the Truth. OK, great: both of their worldviews assume True & Should: that some ways of thinking and acting are preferable to others and that yes, this is worth putting one’s foot down over. So are they not both sinning against their own metaphysical positions when they allow their disagreements to keep them from agreeing on working together to fight against corruption and madness in the government? If they had not shared standards for True and Should, that would be one thing; but they both believe in True and Should (not so much those words as the inner directions to which the words imperfectly but not therefore meaninglessly point), and they both, with a little reflection, can see that they further believe in awareness, clarity, accuracy, honesty, kindness, mutual respect, and shared joy. Now imagine–just imagine if you can fantasize something so completely absurd–imagine that rather than working together to fight for a more self-aware, clear, accurate, competent, honest, kind government where everyone has the right and resources to follow the Light within in a way that is meaningful to them and is encouraged to seek for more goodness and wisdom alone and with everyone else in their land and world (since, after all, either we are all in this together and will work together to succeed, or everything will just taste like meals of cheap shampoo and then we die)–imagine that rather than work together on these very worthy shared goals, they somehow found it fit to only hang out with other people who shared their particular worldviews and gave up on each other as some hopeful mixture of foolish, crazy, and evil. Imagine that!
And yet what a world we live in.
What a time crushes us.
I blame the right.
I think they have gone too far and that Trump is a worldhistorical mistake that we must push back against if we are to have any chance of making real progress as a nation. Because awareness, clarity, honesty, accuracy, fairplay, competence, respect and kindness matter; of course, no human is perfect–human wisdom is always a thing of degrees–but Donald Trump has taken folly too far.
This is my position.
I think there’s something to it–enough that we need to vote him and his followers out.
But I also realize that no sustainable progress will be made until we as a nation find a way to make sense to one another.
I want so desperately to be able to make a case for anti-corruption that is adequate true, meaningful, and shareable.
But I keep coming up short.
I think I’m right that to the degree a worldview is meaningful to a human being that worldview supports awareness, … spiritual (ie: Absolute, and thus deeper and wider than human words can reach, and thus the kind of things one can point meaningfully but not literally/definitively/exclusively towards with words) values; and that while we cannot see into one another’s souls, we do have a set of shareable standards (clarity, accuracy, competency, accuracy, etc) that we can to some degree collectively assess, and we therefore have a collective duty to both not pretend we can see into one another’s souls and to use the shareable standards responsibly.
But is anyone even arguing these points?
My point is a Socratic one: we must not really believe in these uncontested points; because if we did, there would not be such a tendency to see only the folly of the “other side”.
I agree with my liberal friends that it is not reasonable to act as if the left and the right were equally to blame in this. The right–in collaboration with Russia, Comey and the Fates–is responsible for Trump, and he is the biggest mistake we as a nation have made recently. And the right should stop supporting this corruption and madness.
But who cares what I think?
What I’ve longed to do is find an essay that everyone could agree with and that would serve as a foundation for meaningful dialogue about those issues that we can meaningfully address together. But I guess I’ve not the requisite powers.
What should I,abject failure, Tumbling Icarus, then do?
I don’t know.
Sit back and let the nation right itself or devolve into a place where journalists, dissidents, and random people who inadvertently crossed the wrong politico disappear, never to reappear, and about whose whereabouts “sensible people” ask no questions?
Dr. I Dunnough, former Plantagenant