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A Pattern in My Life (Part II)

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Here is the second installment of my presentation of a pattern of my life-- a pattern which suggests to me that the quest for Wholeness of a large and deep and comprehensive sort is not a distraction from the task of healing the human realm, but rather is one of the keys to being able to accomplish that task.

Contacting the Whole, and embracing the sacredness of it, is not an indulgence or a luxury that diverts our energies from the battle for good against evil in the human realm. It is the source of the true power we need in order to win that battle.

In Part I of this "Pattern in My Life" piece, I talked about "One Big Thing I Saw," an experience that I had (early in 1970) that blew my mind with its vision of the Wholeness of the body of the earth and of our being, as it were, cells in that great body. Our suffering, I saw in that searing moment of vision, was not simply a regrettable cost of having to live in troubled times in a destructive and suffering civilization, but was an organic part of the way in which the living earth was responding to heal itself. Our suffering, in other words, was an adaptive response of "Life on Earth" to the maladaptive characteristics of the human system-- adaptive because it serves to motivate and guide us to do the work of healing.

And then I went on to suggest that it was that vision that prepared the way for a second vision-- probably the most important visionary contribution I've ever made: the vision of the dynamic embedded in the root of civilization, which has driven our social evolutionary process to unfold in destructive and tormented ways.

In other words, a vision of Wholeness prepared the way for my embarking on my most ambitious and demanding battle for healing our civilization of the chronic and debilitating problem of power that has driven human history for ten millennia.

That instance, of course, does not constitute a "pattern." But here's a second instance.

With my feeling called to the mission I've been pursuing since September, 2004 --in writing against the dark forces embodied in the Bushite regime-- I have entered the battle against the evils of our power systems for a second major time. (The first time lasted, I would say, from 1970 to 1992, during which time I wrote and published five books on the dynamics of the destructiveness of human systems.)

In this instance, too, the vision that drove me into battle --the vision of evil, and of how it was emerging out of the pathologies of the American cultural system to do its destructive work through the Bushite regime-- was preceded by another vision. And again, this first vision was a beautiful vision of Wholeness.

This vision has been presented, as well as I'm able, in the essay "Our Pathways to Deep Meaning" (at click here). That vision is about how the various paths to our most meaningful and fulfilling experiences all seem to point deepward toward the same thing: a Whole that lies beneath our lives and our world, a Whole for which our spirits seem to thirst.

For the portrayal of that vision, and of how it unfolded, I hope you'll take a look at the entire piece. More pertinent to this immediate purpose, though, is the clear connection I see between that vision of Wholeness --a most affirmative, most soul-nourishing vision-- and my subsequent vision of the Bushite evil and subsequent sense of being called to enter the battle against it.

I make that connection quite explicitly in the essay/talk I continually refer to here as the most central and deepest statement of all the pieces I've "penned" on my current mission: "The Concept of Evil: Why It is Intellectually Valid and Spiritually and Politically Important" (at click here
Early in that essay/talk, written in mid-2005, I explain how, though " [m]uch of my adult life has been spent studying the play of destructive forces in the human was not until recently that my experience of these destructive forces plumbed me so deeply that the notion of 'evil' became a palpable reality." And then I gave what I thought was what had prepared me to see more deeply into the nature of evil:

Part of what opened that door, I believe, was my having had, in the spring of 2004, a spiritual breakthrough regarding the very opposite of evil. This experience gave me a vision of a Wholeness and a deeper sense of reverence for the good, the true, and the beautiful. This experience seems, in retrospect, to have sensitized me to those forces that work to destroy such wonderful forms of good order.

So there it is. In my life, there have been two main times that I've felt that I've received a searing, bone-rattling, empowering calling to go to battle against the forces of destruction in our civilization. On both occasions, the ability to perceive what I still believe to be a deep truth about the destructive forces embedded in our power systems, and the passion and commitment to do battle against them, seemed to derive from a soul-transforming vision of a Whole that goes beyond the human realm.

Two instances may not be much in the way of proof. But the alleged pattern makes sense to me. History is full of evidence that something happens to people when they contact the Whole --that they become transformed, energized, devoted to something beyond themselves, impassioned with some love of the sacred-- that makes them more powerful agents of wholeness, and therefore more capable of combatting the forces of destruction.

That is, I believe, why they say that faith moves mountains. And it is the absence of that contact with the Whole that accounts, I believe, for that regrettable phenomenon that has been remarked upon here by me and others-- in that line from Yeats-- that "the best lack conviction."

So, while I'm feeling drawn toward SEEING THINGS WHOLE because I am weary of the battle, I also believe that our working to see things Whole may well be the best way, for the long haul, of equipping ourselves --emotionally, spiritually, intellectually-- for that battle as well.
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Andy Schmookler, an award-winning author, political commentator, radio talk-show host, and teacher, was the Democratic nominee for Congress from Virginia's 6th District. His new book -- written to have an impact on the central political battle of our time -- is (more...)
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