2005 12 20
By Michael Goodspeed | Thunderbolts.info
"Dangers bring fears, and fears more dangers bring."
"Everything is connected." Many people accept the tenability of this aphorism without pausing to ponder its full ramifications. I see within it a double meaning: firstly, that all life is bound by a kinship that cannot be seen or touched, but is nevertheless real and incorruptible; and secondly, that no events occur in isolation -- everything that happens to the one has some effect on the whole.
One must bear in mind the connectedness of all things when analyzing world events. Seemingly unrelated news items often feature an underlying commonality, revealing the functioning "paradigm" that society is currently living under. And even a cursory glance at recent news headlines reveals that in the United States, the "paradigm" of the moment is blind and stupid fear.
Unfortunately, fear has dominated humanity for thousands of years, with unfailingly deadly results. In ancient times, human beings would sacrifice their own children to appease the "angry gods" residing in the heavens. Millennia later, "witches" were burned at the stakes by those who believed they were doing the "good work" of their wrathful Creator. And in modern times, "witches" have been replaced by the convenient enemy of the moment -- every culture on Earth has its share of "boogeymen" against whom they wage a fear-driven war.
Of course, in the U.S., the "boogeymen" of the hour are "terrorists." We had one awful day four-and-a half years ago, and ever since, the media and the government have actively mythologized it -- much as the ancients mythologized their catastrophes, blaming gods and monsters that only existed as projected fantasies. That's not to say that terrorism isn't a threat in the United States, because it is. Just as fatty foods are a threat, acid rain is a threat, and second hand smoke is a threat. When you get behind the wheel of your car, the threat is truly cataclysmic, much more so than any threat posed by terrorists. In fact, according to a recent medical study, citizens in the U.S are 142 times more likely to die in a car crash than in a terrorist attack, and the discrepancy continues to grow. Notice this quote from the study's abstract: "In 2001, road crash deaths in the US were equal to those of a September 11 attack every 26 days." (Source: http://ip.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/abstract/11/6/332)
The constant trumpeting of the "terror" horn by the Bush administration and their accomplices in the press is not only shameless, but incredibly dangerous. Just two weeks ago, an unarmed, mentally disturbed man (Rigoberto Alpizar) was shot and killed by air marshals who claimed they heard him say the word "bomb." But he DIDN'T have a bomb, and several witnesses have stated that he never uttered the "b" word. (See Fact Checking the Feds in Airport Shooting, http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/columns/
In Britain, Tony Blair's exploitation of "terrorism" fears have been equally deadly. This past summer, police officers in London shot an unarmed innocent man seven times, then allegedly made false public statements to cover it up. (The investigation into the shooting death of Jean Charles de Menezes continues: link -- http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/
Both Alpizar and Menezes were dark-skinned men who superficially matched the accepted profiles of terrorists. These men were innocent victims of hysteria -- and hysteria is the inevitable mental state of human beings who willingly surrender to their fears.
"Everything is connected." Let's consider that statement again. The "fear paradigm" that drives the "War on Terrorism" and sometimes kills innocent human beings is the taproot of much violent and grotesque behavior in the United States. Remember, people don't always do evil things out of viciousness or anger. Sometimes, they do it because they're scared shitless and don't know any better.
Consider this recent news headline from the state of Georgia: A 19 year old man stands accused of paying a homeless man $5 to drink a poisonous cocktail of cleaning solution. The victim, an alcoholic who lived near the alleged perpetrator's place of employment, is in critical condition, his life hanging in the balance. One of the alleged perp's coworkers witnessed the "prank," and did nothing to stop it. (Story: http://www.local6.com/news/5543524/detail.html)
On the surface, this story may not seem to have any connection to the shootings of Alpizar and Menezes, but let's examine the details a bit more closely. Every day, a young man drove to work and was forced to observe the dirty and disheveled visage of a drunken homeless man. What did this make him feel? Revulsion? Contempt? Sadistic amusement? Yes, I'm sure he felt all of those things, but WHY? What force could have motivated him to perform an act of such numbing cruelty on another human being?
Answer: Because what he hated in the homeless man was a reflection of what he fears most in himself.
This kid probably values and strives to obtain what most American youths value: money, fame, power, and physical beauty. We live in a purely ego-driven culture, and those who have been stripped of everything the ego treasures (i.e. the homeless, the elderly, the diseased, the infirm) are viewed with contempt...and an unspoken fear. This boy looked at the homeless man, and saw the manifestation of his worst nightmare: the loss of everything that makes life "meaningful" and "good."
The vacuity of American culture has been an underlying theme in many of my essays. In my opinion, our collective egotism is the taproot of virtually every manmade calamity in society today. Egos are dangerous, because they have to believe they're under constant threat in order to survive. As the spiritual manual A Course in Miracles states, "The ego lives by comparison." People come to believe in the eminence of their respective race, nationality, religion, or personal "grandiosity," and by necessity, this keeps them in opposition with the rest of humanity.
American media very deliberately instill both individual and collective egotism in their audiences. The consistent message is that happiness can only be found by being superior to everyone else. We see this in Hollywood movies, which promote narcissistic values and an attitude of "fuck everyone on Earth but me." We see it in the national obsession with professional sports, which bestows obscene wealth and idolatry upon athletes who have done nothing truly admirable in their entire lives. And we see it in the nebulous and absurd "War on Terror," which foments nationalism while feeding hatred and distrust of our fellow humans who happen to be Muslim (or even people who resemble Muslims.)
As long as we believe in our our own specialness, we are going to live in fear, because specialness is impermanent. You can defend it if you choose but it WILL eventually be lost. Great nations crumble, and are left as nothing but entries in history books. Just as the most "special" human beings obtain everything the ego desires, then watch helplessly as it all turns to a pile of dust.
We have only one means to overcome this oppressive and self-annihiliating fear, and that is to recognize our intrinsic connectedness and dependence on one another. Instead of forcing our children to recite the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, we should kindly ask them to place their hands on their hearts and state, "I need everyone, and everyone needs me." This is not a declaration of any political ideology; it is a simple statement of fact. Because all things and people are connected, and to deny this reality is to condemn oneself to a state of fear.
And fear murders. And murders. Interminably.
Article recieved from Michael Goodspeed.
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