Monday, June 5, 2017
As you move through your daily life, listen carefully to the words and to the kinds of experiences those with whom you associate are expressing. You will probably hear about someone who was "let go" from a job in which he or she had accumulated many years of satisfactory service, and where the reason given by the company for termination was to "trim the fat." You will probably hear someone who's medical coverage had a hidden technical exclusion for their particular illness, and found out about the exclusion only after incurring the expense. You will probably hear about someone who had fallen victim to a violent crime, murder, rape, or assault. You will probably hear cruel and debasing words directed at certain races, people with different sexual orientation and with different religious beliefs. You will probably hear words impregnated with emotions of disgust and unfulfilled rage coming from someone talking about the abandonment of the public trust by political leaders. You will probably hear about schemes directed at employers, institutions, or relatives or friends for purposes of personal ambition, profit, or fulfillment of hatred, revenge, or jealously. You will probably hear stories of excesses of all matter of sexual debauchery.
After your listening, what conclusions could you draw about the general conditions of your associates. One obvious conclusion is that the kinds of experiences your associates are expressing are of a low moral quality. Another conclusion you could draw is that the frequency of low quality experiences seems to be very high among your associates. These conclusions would probably not surprise you, but would serve only to reinforce what you have already intuitively suspected. Your listening however, may have provided you a surprise. It may have sparked an insight, that the problems of our nation and the problems perceived among your associates are common in essence and differ only along the lines of scale. For instance, when you see race riots in our cities, and when you hear racial prejudice and hate coming from your own associates, you should then understand that the problems are not centered exclusively in our cities, but are also rooted in the hearts and minds of your acquaintances. When you see and hear local, state, national politicians, governmental institutions, and business men and women, invested with the public trust and civil welfare, flagrantly disregard that trust for their own ambition, power, and profit, and when you see and hear your fellow employees scheming to cheat their employer, you should have understood that the problems are not contained within the circle of your acquaintances. And there may even be a bigger surprise waiting for you when you take the measure of your own conduct and personal prejudices. You should then understand that the problems are not exclusively centered with our nation, our own cities, our acquaintances, but are also rooted within your heart and mind.
In Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar, the scene where Cassius is speaking to Brutes about Caesar's high renown as compared to their's, he says, "The fault dear Brutes is not in our stars. But in ourselves, that we are underlings." In like manner, the fault dear citizen is not in our governmental system, but in ourselves that, as a nation we are in grave trouble.
Little by little, generation after generation, we have been moving at an increasing pace away from the good of the Commonwealth, towards self-satisfaction, while at the same time rationalizing, that what is good for us as individuals must be good for the Commonwealth, and that our governmental system has an innate ability to automatically conduct itself towards the good of the Commonwealth. Thus with our heads filled with self profit, material ambition and power, we have shamefully neglected our responsibilities as human beings and as citizens, by allowing our selfish impulses to dominate our minds, we corrupt and falsity those lofty and grand principles which corner-stone the organization and development of our nation. Now in our false display of freedom, we give prizes and honors for every best thing: the fattest hog, best pie, the strongest man or woman, the best pornographic actor, and on and on. While, proclaiming our nation's principles far and wide to be of the highest value, we allow vice under every form to flourish in every city and community. We have become slaves to our own lower selves, to our own vices, to foolish social customs, and current cultural thinking. This is a form of moral and mental decay of the most pernicious kind. The fault dear Citizen, is not with our system of government, but in ourselves; in our own hearts and mind.
"But!," you may protest, "I live a moral life. I don't injure anyone; obey the laws, even recycle, and I know there are many others citizens just like me." But! what did you do or say when a woman in your work place was sexually harassed? How much time do you allow, apart from your "getting and spending," and your entertainment, for your children's physical, mental, and spiritual needs? When you see or hear acts or words of racial prejudice what is your response? "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men (and women) to do nothing." This statement by Edmund Burke. clearly portrays the weakness of the above protest. Silence or the none action in the face of unethical acts or spoken prejudice by good men and women, even though they hold to ethical ideals, is an act of complicity. What good are cherished ideals unspoken and undone? Every citizen of America is responsible, either by overt thoughts and actions, or by silent complicity, for the moral degraded condition of our nation. The fault dear Citizen is still in ourselves.
When as a nation we choose to focus the majority of our mental and psychic energy on selfish impulses the result is a repression of our moral conscience, and a corresponding weakening of our moral resistance. We lose are ability and the strength to do what is right for the Commonwealth. Under the influence of our selfish thoughts and conduct we see no urgent or compelling reason why we should do right, when "no one else is doing it," and when what is right conflicts with personsl profit, material ambition and power, and sensual satisfaction of all kinds.
Citizens. in order to bring harmony and truth to our nation we must unencumber our conscience, and begin to heed its voice. Good men and women every where must speak out or act in the face of prejudicial words and unethical conduct, where ever, and with whom ever it appears. We cannot allow silence or none-action, to be our answer. We must cultivate, foster, and praise, maybe even give prizes for expressions of moral virtue. We must expand our definition of our lives, to not only encompass our immediate community, but also the entire planetary community, and must learn to express and to live that new definition. We are in truth, sons and daughters of the Cosmos, and as such are intricately involved and connected in a most primal manner. As the poet, Frances Thomson says, "You cannot move a flower without troubling a star." Hear is a corresponding piece of wisdom from Gandhi, "If you seriously want to change something, become the change."
We are not beings thrown haphazardly into the eternal expanse and there to dwell as worthless spects until physical death takes us, but are a complete living analogy of the entire Kosmos, a magnificent participant. The same forces and qualities that uphold the Kosmos, uphold us; we in it, and it in us. We are a microcosm of the macrocosm. We straddle two distinct but unified and harmonized realms: the realm of space and timelessness and the realm of manifestation and time. This unique position of ours grants wondrous potential, awesome enough even for the comprehension of the principles of the whole of Universal Nature.
Citizens, the fault still lies in our hearts and minds for the poor condition of our nation, but there also resides the remedy. We can but look into our own reflections and inner consciousness to find that which will convince us that we are more than we seem. Can you go out under the night sky or read a line of beautiful poetry, or listen to beautiful music, without being awakened to higher possibilities? Cosmically, we are all related, and cosmically none of us is ever over looked or forgotten in any situation from the most important to the most trivial. There is a chamber of our hearts were we can begin to know our true Kosmic heritage, one that lies beyond mere color, race, gender, or creed, and the knowledge of which leads not to self-importance, but to great impersonality, balance, and unity.