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General News    H4'ed 6/21/12

Re-Empowering Localities

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(Don't go loco, buy local)


Small jurisdictions in Maine continue to proclaim food sovereignty.   It appears that every couple of months, a new locality declares their right to grow their own food while supporting local farmers, artisans, makers of clothes and fishermen.   Many of these locavores argue that it is only via food sovereignty and local rule that we can be truly free of corporate and government rule.


As if to predict this healing trend in Maine, psychiatrist Eric Fromm wrote a classic in the middle part of the last century called Escape From Freedom. Could local rule be a return to freedom?   Forced to flee from Nazi Germany in 1933, Fromm settled in the United States and lectured at the New School of Social Research, Columbia, Yale, and Bennington. In the late 1930s, Fromm broke with the Institute of Social Research and with Escape from Freedom began publishing a series of books which would win him a large audience. Escape From Freedom argued that alienation from soil and community in the transition from feudalism to capitalism increased insecurity and fear. Documenting some of the strains and crises of individualism, Fromm attempted to explain how alienated individuals would seek gratification and security from social orders such as fascism.   (See end of article to read more on Fromm).


To fascism, I would add the consumerism hiding underneath the shirt tales of corporatism, which is nothing less than the old feudal class system re-dressed under a different name.   Indeed, I would add all "isms" to corporatism for "isms" are nothing more than ideologies. It appears that people are willing to give up freedom for a false sense of belonging to various fringe groups filled with their respective idealisms such as extreme conservatism, liberalism, scientific and philosophical theoretical positions as well as religious dogmatisms.   For example, in the field of counseling, it is often asked, "what theoretical position are you?"   This is answered by many a job interviewee with a sense of defensiveness and prideful arrogance regarding being a behaviorist, cognitive psychologist, or humanist.   It's as if there is a requirement to fit into some theoretical box. Similarly, in religion we have to be Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, or Pagan.   And some of these argue their self-righteousness in the face of a mysterious universe that ultimately doesn't care what philosophical bend you are.   The universe really doesn't give a hoot or a damn what you believe for the Absolute Truth is beyond theisms.   The Sun shines on your face and the stars sparkle at nights regardless if you are Christian, Jew or Atheist.   Even the term a-theist has been manipulated into a belief system held by many whose mindsets are saturated with self-righteous arrogance.


Yet, a-theistic literally means non-theistic.   It is to be transcendent of theory AND theism.   As the play write Goethe said, "Give them the stone of Sophia (Wisdom) and you'll find philosophy gone and, what's left?   The Stone!"  


The universe has worked well for several billions of years and has done so without having to believe in any dogmatic "ism".   Furthermore, since the Intelligence of this universe is infinite, it really has nothing to be jealous of so it doesn't need for you to drop your illusionary money into a gold collection plate.


Does any of this help you with feeling alienated in our age of computers, televisions, and other mind-numbing contraptions to keep you entertained and mesmerized?


According to psychologists like Abraham Maslow, it appears that human beings want to experience a sense of belonging as their foundations.   But are they going to find that sense in a world of theology, philosophy, scientific theory, or political stance?   Or are these points of view acting more like mothers and fathers to alienation by dividing this group against that group?


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Burl Hall is a retired counselor who is living in a Senior Citizen Housing apartment. Burl has one book to his credit, titled "Sophia's Web: A Passionate Call to Heal our Wounded Nature." For more information, search the book on Amazon. (more...)
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