Another attempt on this theme: Representative democracy is a spiritual good
See also “Shared Something Deeperism” and “The Duties of a Republic’s Citizenry” on Something Deeperism Institute (they’re also linked to on the NYC Journal – Politics page).
Representative Democracy is a spiritual good.
1. Growing in spiritual health = organizing ones ideas and feelings better and better around the Light.
Spiritual health is possible because a conscious space consists of ideas and feelings communicating imperfectly but still meaningfully, and because the Light is everywhere, including within and shining through each conscious moment, and because ideas and feelings can also relate imperfectly but still meaningfully to the Light.
If there was no Light that actually Knows what is really going and what really matters and what should really be done, or there was no way for our ideas and feelings to relate meaningfully to this Light; then our ideas and feelings would be ultimately aimless. They could adopt this or that principle, but deep inside they’d know they were just trying to force well-founded meaningfulness atop an unproven assumption. And they’d wander lonely through hopeless meandering lurches from romanticisms (“oh, this is the Truth!”) to nihilisms (“oh, there is NO Truth!”) until death did them part.
The Light is infinite and eternal. It has no limits. Our ideas and feelings are limited. We cannot describe the Light in a definitive/literal/1:1 way. Our feeling/thinking/acting points towards and flows from It better or worse. That is a fundamentally different relationship with the Truth than one finds in literalism, which claims that some ideas and feelings are Absolutely Literally True. It is not that we non-literalists claim there is no Truth, or that human beings cannot relate meaningfully to the Truth. We’re just pointing out that what is True is not going to fit into specific human ideas and feelings; therefore, the best we can do is organize our ideas and feelings around It so that they have enough of a gist of It that they flow out into life in adequate accord with It. There can never be a “We’ve got this figured out; the Truth is ABC; agree and you are saved; disagree and you are lost.”
Pretending that we can have literal insight into the Light (including statements about how there “is no Light”) misdirects our focus. We should be fundamentally focused on an ever-improving engagement with the Light within, not on clenching ideas and feelings about “Truth!”, “No Truth!”, and “Who Knows?!”. Of course, ideas and feelings are a big part of how we think and act. We cannot relate meaningfully to human life without ideas and feelings. But they must most fundamentally hear and follow not themselves, but the Light. The more we clench onto ideas and feelings as if they were things that could provide us the Certain Safety that only the True Good could provide (ie: the more we confuse ideas and feelings for the “Truth”), the more we fall away from engagement in the True Good (ie: the Light), and the less wise we feel/think/act.
We must balance our thought’s need to accept and follow specific ideas and feelings about what is really going on and what really matters and what we should really do with the insight that ideas and feelings can only ever approximate Reality. Literalism undermines that insight and therefore undermines spiritual progress. However, pretending we can effectively engage with this life without ideas, feelings and a True Good all relating meaningfully together also also undermines spiritual progress. We need to continuously observe our feeling/thinking/acting, critique it, recalibrate, and try again.
Luckily, we have some guidelines to help keep our spiritual development on the right path.
We know the above sketch of our relationship to the Light more fundamentally than we know our doubts about and our explications of the gist of things that that sketch points towards and (as must be!) imperfectly explicates.
We know the below universal values/insights more fundamentally than we know our doubts about and our explications of them.
Universal values/insights (a rough general sketch–the only description possible for mortal thought and action):
We must push to feel/think/act ever-more aware, clear, honest, open-hearted/-minded, accurate, competent, compassionate, kind, joyfully sharing, joyfully together, joyfully present, joyfully grateful, joyful.
We are all in this together now and forever.
We are all children of the Light.
Kindness is the Way.
The above sketch of our relationship to the Light.
A whole conscious moment is like this:
Ideas, vague notions, feelings, etc-inhabitants of a conscious moment, and the Light shining through all things (including each conscious moment) all occupying the same conscious moment and relating imperfectly (they do not speak the same exact types of “languages”) but still to some degree (and the goal is to increase this degree) meaningfully with one another.
To the degree a whole conscious moment knows that and in what way the universal values/insights, that conscious moment is — at that moment and time and space — feeling/thinking/acting wisely. More wisdom is better.
This is why we meditate, pray, listen, practice loving kindness, ask the Light to guide us, work alone and in faith communities (where people share a language about relating to the Light and where they agree to work on putting the Light and Its relentless, effective Kindness first). Or some of us don’t believe in all that, but still try with all our might to be aware, clear, honest, open-hearted/-minded, accurate, competent, compassionate, kind, joyfully sharing, joyfully together, joyfully present, joyfully grateful, joyful. We do these things. We try to follow this path because to the degree succeed here (in understanding that and in what way it is True to say “We are all in this together”) our feeling/thinking/acting is meaningful to us. And the degree to which we fail here, no matter how grand our feelings, how clever our insights, how poised and graceful our motions: none of it means anything to our hearts/minds, which are human and which therefore need to KNOW that KINDNESS is REAL and is the WAY. To the degree we lack this insight, we just don’t care, can’t believe, can’t follow, can’t even care. And so our own ideas and feelings are just so much noise, driving us here and there like angry bees that we of course do not inhabit, do not control, do not relate meaningfully to.
Please note that understanding these universal values/insights implies following them and putting them into action. Because they have within themselves both knowledge and direction: it is not just theoretically True that we should be kind.
Please note that understanding these universal values/insights is a matter of whole-being organization around the Light; so it is very possible that there exists a person A who disagrees with or “just doesn’t get anything out of” this essay who is wiser than a person B who agrees with this essay and thinks it is all “so true!”. This essay can only point the best it in its limited wisdom can point towards the gist of what we all know. It may have value. It may be able to help–I don’t know how much–readers organize their approach to wisdom. But agreeing or disagreeing with this essay is not a litmus test for wisdom.
– – – –
Please come here
I’m so tired of
that I’m happy on my own
that I’m strong enough
that I’m good enough
that I’m solid
come here and let me love you
a man is only a person
– – – –
Why do we join together in groups? So we can work together to get more of the goods that we all need: shelter, safety, nourishment, friendship, affection, love.
Above we pointed out that we people can only relate meaningfully to our own feeling/thinking/acting to the degree we understand that and in what way the universal values are True; and also that insight into the universal values implies following them — living them.
We now ask ourselves what sort of government best allows citizens both internal and external meaning.
What do we mean with “internal meaning” and “external meaning”?
Internal meaning: Meaning within one’s own conscious space; and perhaps also in some sense and to some degree within one’s small intimate groups — like families, close friends, spiritual communities — these groups where we bare our souls and try to grow as whole beings together. (I’m particularly talking to you, baby)
External meaning: The meaning an individual shares with a group. In a large, non-intimate group, external meaning is pretty much all there is. The best we can hope for is a shared language that points adequately well to the universal values. We don’t have much if any insight into how other individuals in this large group truly think and feel. We have to go by what they say and what they do.
In smaller, more intimate settings, there’s mostly external meaning, but there’s also a little internal meaning in the sense that you let these intimates into your inner thinking/feeling. That works like this: we understand one another to some degree via empathy: you make a face and my mind maps your expression, recreating a facsimile within my mental space–like I was making the same face. Because we are fundamentally the same kind of thing, that mapping recreates the gist of your experience within me (that to the degree I catch the natural elements within a face you make). In this way, it is little like I am inside your conscious space. It also works like this: if we are very close, then we are more forthcoming and honest with one another about how we really feel, and in this way we also in some sense and to some degree enter into one another’s conscious spaces. In the end, no one can read anyone else’s mind, but we also never perfectly understand our own conscious spaces, so when we are close to people, they can help us to understand our own thinking and feeling, particularly if they are wise and gentle as the morning light. (here, again, I am thinking most of all of you, baby)
How am I internally meaningful? That’s what we were discussing above. A person is internally meaningful to the degree they organize their ideas and feelings around the Light. The Light alone knows what is really going on, what really matters, and what should be really done. It alone should rule our feeling/thinking/acting. It alone can show us that and in what way the universal values are True. And a person’s own feeling/thinking/acting is only inhabited by and meaningful to the degree that person understands that and in what way it is True to say “We are all in this together”. (and here I am not thinking of you, baby; I mean, maybe yeah kind of a little — but thatt’s not really the highest way; it’s due to the frailties of your narrator, not to the Nature of things)
How is a small group of close friends internally meaningful? That group is internally meaningful to the degree they share a common language for and insight into the Light and It’s relationship to their individual and shared feeling/thinking/acting. You can tell your friends what you feel and think and how the Light is hard to distinguish from the things you want to believe are True. And they kind of understand, and kind of help you understand yourself. Well, that’s what I’ve heard, anyway — from people who have friends.
How is a nation state internally meaningful? That’s done to the degree the various individual members share external meaning: to the degree their language points towards the same universal goals, and to the degree they agree on the universal values. On a stage of this size, we cannot reliably read one another’s thinking/feeling. In an intimate setting, I know who you are; I know what that face means and what it is hiding; if I see you on TV or the stage, I don’t figure that out. Heck, often I don’t figure it out with people I know who mean to share themselves — how am I supposed to figure out the spiritual state of a distant politician who is trying to trick me into believing in them?
And do I even really want to know what my politicians souls look like? Do I have time and energy for such knowledge? Is it really the question? What do we want out of my politicians? Obviously, to the degree that we’re not being total jerks, we want us all to grow in wisdom together. BUT: What do we NEED out of my politicians? we need them to protect and serve the universal values.
Maybe they’re faking it: maybe they don’t really care about speaking clear and honest and acting kind and gentle. Maybe they don’t really like transparent, open, uncorrupted government. Maybe at night alone in their sordid PJs, they dream of lying, cheating, getting rid of all rival voices.
(a) If they are speaking and acting clear, honest, gentle, kind, and uncorruptible, and if they are working to keep those kinds of thoughts and actions at the center of our shared decision making process — by supporting openness, civility, power-sharing, accuracy, competence, win-win/we’re-all-in-this-together and transparency in government (NOT power-consolidation, disinformation, and other ways of preferring power to the process of together thinking aware … joyful) — then they are helping to preserve and grow a space of shared meaningfulness.
A shared space that prefers aware, clear, honest, accurate, competent, compassionate, kind, joyfully together thinking/acting is meaningful to all of us because the space is centered around the universal values that we ALL must serve if we are to have any hope for making sense to ourselves. We as individuals can only believe in our own feeling/thinking/acting to the degree we f/t/a aware … joyful. Therefore, our government can only be meaningful to an individual to the degree that government rewards aware … joyful f/t/a with prestige and power; and refuses power and prestige to unaware … unjoyful f/t/a. BUT we can’t read each other’s souls. What we can do is preserve and support a structure that prefers the fruit of spiritually wise feeling/thinking/acting. We can preserve a debate sphere that rewards clarity, honesty, accuracy, competence, and civility. We can preserve a decision-making process that demands openness, accuracy, competency, transparency, and power-sharing. And if this is the setting, we can meaningfully participate in the shared conversation, and meaningfully ask one another, “how do we do what is best for everyone? how do we win in a way where everyone wins? how do we share joy?”
(b) You can’t fake it forever — in time forcing yourself to speak clear and honest and act kind and gentle makes you clearer, more honest, kinder, more gentle.
. . . . .
In a representative democracy, the job of citizens is to (a) help shape the policies of the government and most fundamentally (b) to serve as a final check on madness and corruption in the government. Madness is absolutely stupid policies like, for a Trumpian example, encouraging a nuclear arms race (there is no winner in a nuclear war; what there is is death and misery for everyone; only the most evil of dictators win nuclear wars; if you have even a little sliver of a soul left, you see nuclear war as a lose-lose-lose). Corruption is politicians making decisions for the sake of money, prestige, and other selfish desires, rather than making them for the sake of the collective good.
The people need help. They need a free press and the right to speak their mind to help them keep an eye on politicians and the government. They need separation of church and state so they can focus on what politicians actually do and say rather than having to nod along with whatever the Holy Leader decides. They need love. And in this last point, I think only of you, baby. Where are you? When you gonna come round?
To the degree one feels/thinks/acts aware … joyful, one’s ideas and feelings are meaningful to oneself. To the degree an intimate group shares aware … joyful feeling/thinking/acting, that group’s f/t/a are meaningful to the individuals in the group and to the group as a whole. Whatever insights may be possible within one’s own conscious space and perhaps even within a small intimate group; in a big, impersonal government, we cannot read the souls of our leaders. And pretending we can tempts voters and leaders alike into lying about the most sacred things. But we can demand that our shared conversation and decision-making process prize honesty, clarity, accuracy, and competence; and we can demand they adhere to the outward forms necessary for us to be able to watch and choose clarity, honesty, accuracy, competency, fairness, and win-win (I don’t know that we can publicly administer kindness; but we can refuse cruelty and you can seek and prefer policies where everyone wins): clear, honest, and accurate conversation; and regulations to keep government transparent and free of corruption. This much we can do, and if we do, we can all stand together, hand in hand around our shared government, participating in it while staying true to those values without which none of our thoughts can mean anything to any of us.
So first and foremost, every morning, let’s get up and work to shore up our representative democracy. Let’s remove dishonest politicians. Let’s remove politicians willing to hurt the integrity of the system and its power-sharing. Let’s remove politicians willing to act as if the ends justified the means. The ends do not justify the means. They don’t! To the degree we have a healthy representative democracy, we can meaningfully think and act together. To the degree we don’t, we can’t: we have no rudder and the power at the top will choose more power and more power and more power, and power in and of itself is not a Good, and pretending it is makes all kinds of trouble.
. . .
When you gonna come round?
Author: Lovey Cobwebs
There’s a little more detailed philosophizing at the very end of this page (in the Skip This Part For Now part).
This is a Something Deeperism essay.
The Something Deeperism Institute tab has some introductory essays. Those essays are also included in First Essays & A Readable Reader.
Which brings us to:
If you like our essaying, First Essays has a lot of essays.
And of that lot, A Readable Reader has a selection of the most readable ones.
And Superhero Novella has more philosophical asides than some believe it should.
We’d love it if you’d
[Buy a Books]
Books So Far: Superhero Novella, A Readable Reader, First Loves, First Essays
Books Coming Summer 2020: Fixing Frankenstein, NYC Journal Volume 1
&/Or, sign up for our mailing list:
&/OrVisit our Pure Love Shop
&/Or write to us at Editor@PureLoveShop.com
We are also now taking donations.
See the “Support Us” tab.
Please share us on social media.