Public Session .Meditation for Peace in Honduras. at Yoga Garden Honduras
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Our country and the world need new religions. Our country and the world need a new political system that maximizes democracy and learning for everyone.
The theistic religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam focus on appeasing a personal God, who is believed to be infinitely loving, all-powerful, and all-knowing. They are religions that have a lot of outdated rules and pre-scientific beliefs that were progressively developed from a tribal society about 3,000 years ago.
Hinduism and Buddhism are more non-historical religions that focus on the Perennial Philosophy that says at the core of our being there is spiritual state of boundless love, joy, and creativity that we can attain through meditation and other spiritual disciplines--after we transcend the ego with all of its self-centeredness, selfishness, and pride. However, in Eastern religions, the world of time and space and thus history, is considered less real, even an illusion, in comparison to the exalted state of oneness when one discovers the true Self or whatever one might call it. For example, Buddhism says there is no Self, but words or concepts do not mean much when dealing with this mystical state of oneness, which is beyond words or subject-object duality.
Yoga and Zen and mindfulness meditation may all be very popular right now, which is mostly a good thing, but where is the focus on citizenship, ecology, and the environment in the lives of these people when they focus so much of their time on their own inner states of consciousness? If the world is destroyed through a nuclear holocaust, meditation won't be very helpful at that point.
The United States, through its gangster capitalism, imperialism bent on controlling the world, and racism starting with the founding fathers and up to the present--is the greatest threat to world peace and the destruction of the planet. Where is the outrage? Where is the righteous anger? Where is the rebellion? What happened to the nonviolent Peace Movement that was so powerful during the Vietnam War? It's nowhere to be found because everything is a lie and we're all living in a Matrix, brainwashed by the dominant culture that spews its life-destroying message through television, schools and churches, and a corrupt government controlled by the CIA.
So where do we begin to remake our society and how do we change human hearts? If simultaneously maximizing democracy and the learning of all individuals is the ideal, there are specific things that must be done to achieve this.
As a retired public-school teacher who has worked at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, I naturally would start with the public schools. I do not support private or parochial school vouchers or public charter schools, although a few public charter schools outperform regular public schools because they can be highly selective in choosing their students. Contrary to many liberals and progressives, I do not support the current hierarchical organization of the public schools. Moreover, it seems like 99 percent of all schools (public, parochial, and private) teach a "support the troops," "America is exceptional," and "capitalism and materialism are good" mentality and worldview. If I were a new parent today I would home school or find a group of like-minded parents to create a free, cooperative school.
The top-down hierarchy and bureaucracy of public schools is why so many teachers are experiencing stress and unhappiness and why students are not learning to become free-thinking intellectuals.
I propose that we do something that has never been tried before: Let's radically decentralize public elementary schools (possibly middle and high schools later) by encouraging the residents who live within the boundary of a particular elementary school district to choose their own school-board members who would then implement an educational philosophy and school curriculum that reflects the views of the neighborhood, using public funds.
This self-determination of neighborhoods could promote a long, lost sense of neighborhood togetherness, and it would promote independent thinking in parents about the things that really matter. Instead of just believing that bureaucrats and "experts" know what is best for our children, parents must be encouraged to educate themselves. The best thing in the world a child can have is a parent with a good mind and a good heart.
Good parents must take the responsibility to learn everything their children must learn, even if it includes calculus and physics, to help their children with homework. In today's world, residents and parents in the neighborhood could get much information and many innovative ideas from the Internet. We don't have to live in a monoculture. There can be more diversity at local levels on many issues.
If enough people can at least agree on how to fix the political system, subverting the powers-that-be may not seem like an insurmountable task. Merely abolishing the Citizens United ruling of 2010, which gave even more power to corporations, does not do enough. Somehow, someway we must take all money out of politics by equally empowering the 7 largest national political parties, not just the current two parties. The 7 largest national political parties could include the Republican Party, the Libertarian Party, the Constitution Party, the Democratic Party, the Green Party, the Socialist Party, and the Communist Party.
At my website in longer articles such as "Let's Remake Society," I tell how we can go about having a Constitutional Convention for a new national constitution. Moreover, state governments could rewrite their state constitutions so that they are organized from the bottom-up, not the top-down: from the neighborhood block club to the voting precinct level to the township up to the city council or county up to the state level. Each level of legislative government could make not just legislative decisions, but also executive and judicial-branch appointments. Elected legislators at each level would vote among themselves to send a legislator to the next level above it. This method is better than our current system where Americans vote a straight ticket for many officers from two parties for candidates whom they know nothing about.
Ultimately we need to use a system of Proportional Representation to elect members of the House of Representatives, as we eliminate the U.S. Senate altogether. Why should California and Wyoming have the same number of U.S. senators? Of course, eliminating the Electoral College System for electing US Presidents would be an additional way to maximize democracy.
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