Tonka Bay, Minnesota
My goodness, what a beautiful home you have, someone once said to Mae West. "Goodness had nothing to do with it," she responded.
When a civilization proposes itself with a moral platform of governing that it then refuses to bring forth, when such a civilization becomes uncaring and ambivalent, not knowing or caring to promote the ideals of freedom and equality, as our country has done for two centuries, the result of such degrading behavior and the emotional exhaustion it engenders, is that sensitive citizens of good morality, start to question the legitimacy of society, culture and civilization all together. We become indecisive about cultural progress because we have no way of discerning whether our country will ever endeavor to take the required actions necessary for moral resolution. In our civilized minds, culture becomes the evil doer, and is targeted as the primary cause of our distress and frustration.
Our country's failure to live up to our own best ideals is the essence of the nationwide malaise. We project onto society our incapacity to deal with moral conflicts and rebuke it for our own irresolution.
The problem within all moral and psychological progress is that such progress requires the forgoing of psychological defenses. Expressions of aggression such as sexual harassment, all forms of tyranny and dominance, are essentially defenses against anxiety and frustration. Racism and sexism are in the main the reduction of other people into objects, to help alleviate the anxiety and frustration and the proclivity to panic.
Society cannot be truly happy if they are made to continually repress the basic human need for an idealized life. When people and our military behave as if life has no meaning, no authenticity, no enlightened definition, no legitimacy, it is plain to see that idealization has very little role in our lives, and a happy life becomes an unreality. The constant drive for material wealth has no ideal dimension to it. The vapid quality of narcissism is evident and blatantly revealed in the attempt to satiate the need for idealization through acts of consumption and adornment. The process from meaning to materiality, from authenticity to illusion, from idealization to narcissism is profoundly regressive and unsatisfying for the condition of humanity, regardless of how actively it is pursued.
As social and personal frustrations increase, the need to bring about a defense against them ever increases, and people are more prone to resort to certain mechanisms of psychological behaviors that may succeed temporarily in containing their increasing panic; like the oral regression to food, drink and drugs, and the intense feeling of only looking out only for number one, and conservatism in politics, and aggression toward others, creating victims within our culture and finding enemies without.
We must deal with the symptoms of an aggressive political pathology, where the militant government bureaucracy and its brew of national triumphalism, preserves itself by leaving fundamental moral axioms and assumptions unexamined. Who can be serene, and at peace in a country where both rulers and ruled are without principle?
The tears, angers and frustrations of the past can deplete our moral energy for the present. The lines are not always clear; in the long run, the oppressor is also the victim. In the short run, the victims, suffering at the constant drum beat of government prevarication, themselves become desperately tainted with the culture that oppresses them, and turn on other victims.
Aggression is the fundamental problem of humanity, morality and love is the fundamental cure. We are not politicians, but citizens. We have no office to hold onto, only our conscience. We all need to be protestors against war, apostles for peace in a world gone mad with violence.
We need to reminded of the core beliefs of the Enlightenment. What heaven was for Christians, virtue was for those educated in the values of the Enlightenment. The Latin word virtu, was translated as public spirit. It referred to someone so devoted to public service, that he became famous in his lifetime, and after death was remembered by history for his great and generous work. Reading about the Enlightenment and its mercury Thomas Paine, is an act of fealty. We will begin to understand the core Enlightenment beliefs: that government can only be empowered by its citizens, that such citizens are born with certain natural rights, that none are born superior to any other; that all will be treated equally before the law, and that the state has a duty to help the neediest of people.
To become enlightened, is truly a spiritual and political inspiration, one that has driven men and women to achieve the greatness goodness across history.