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Life Arts    H4'ed 3/12/13

Toward a NEW Anti-Conservative Movement (REVIEW ESSAY)

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   "Since all change is violent she will be violent. But the marvelous quality of Nature-violence, unlike ego-violence, is that it does not spring from intolerance and self-hatred.

   "It is the kind of violence that arises within mystics who storm against ideas and structures that have become entrenched in their societies and cultures when awareness awakens them to evils their contemporaries are blind to. . . . "[T]he restlessness and dissatisfaction, the jealousy and anxiety and competitiveness that characterize the world of human beings who seek control and coerce rather than [allow themselves] to flower into awareness, leaving all change to the mighty force of God in Nature."


Pages 71-72: "And a strange change will come about in you, barely perceptible at first but radically transforming."


Pages 74-75: "Adults who have preserved their innocence also surrender like the child to the impulse of Nature or Destiny without a thought to become somebody or to impress others; but, unlike the child, they rely, not on instinct, but on ceaseless awareness of everything in them and around them; that awareness shields them from evil and brings about the growth that was intended for them by Nature, not designed by their ambitious egos."


Page 109:    "No defect, no neurosis is judged or condemned. . . . Those defects are probed, studied, analyzed, for a better understanding that leads to love and forgiveness, and you will discover to your joy that you are being transformed by this strangely loving attitude that arises within you toward this thing you call yourself."


Pages 118-120:    "Every painful event contains in itself a seed of growth and liberation. In light of this truth return to your life now and take a look at one or another of the events that you are not grateful for, and see if you can discover the potential for growth that they contain which you were unaware of and therefore failed to benefit from.

   "If you succeed in discovering this [negative feeling that an event in the past aroused in you], you will drop some illusion you have clung to till now, or you will change a distorted perception or correct a false belief or learn to distance yourself from your suffering, as you realize that it was caused by your programming and not by reality; and you will suddenly find that you are full of gratitude for those negative feelings and to that person or event that caused them."

   "Can you see every one of them as a necessary part of your development, holding out the promise of growth and grace for you and others, that would never have been there except for this thing that you so disliked?"


Pages 146: "It is this nonjudgmental awareness alone that heals and changes and makes one grow. But in its own way and at its own time."


In conclusion, what if Tony de Mello is right about how change and growth proceed? If he's right, then perhaps Americans who would like to see a new anti-conservative movement emerge in American culture, should try out the practice of awareness that he recommends as the way to foster change and growth and find out for themselves if awareness does indeed truly work for them to bring about change and growth in themselves. In other words, for any Americans to hope to help a NEW anti-conservative movement emerge in American culture, they should first become NEW persons themselves, which would involve change and growth.

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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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