Thursday, April 28, 2016

Thinking Outside the Box

Hola mi Gente,

I will be voting for a third party candidate this coming fall. I am voting my conscience.

In other news, my beloved Mets are on a winning streak, the sun is shining, and the promise of spring is everywhere. Life is good.

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The Unisphere, 1964 World's Fair, New York City

The Human Potential

We throw our hands before our eyes and cry that it is dark.

-- Anonymous

Just the other day when I mentioned that only a mass grassroots movement would be able to address the inequality and racism in our country, a Facebook friend dismissed that idea by stating, “Yawl have been trying to do that for decades.” 

Whenever I hear this crap, I have to wonder how otherwise intelligent people seem to have forgotten that grassroots movements have been singularly responsible for bringing progressive values to fruition. The civil rights movement wasn’t a Democratic Party project. It was a movement. The reason women have the right to vote is because it came from the demands created by -- you guessed it -- a grassroots movement. Over and over, if you look at our shared history, you can’t help but come to the awareness that anything we have that is worthwhile came from the ability of a small group of people to continually bring positive change.

The thing that I most detest regarding the Clinton campaign is how it rests on the myth that we can’t do anything. Her campaign rests on the notion that what we claim are the core values of the progressive project is impossible. Single-payer? No we can’t. Free postsecondary education? No we can’t. If one were to do an analysis of the Clinton campaign’s platform, you can easily come away with the feeling that its motto should be, “No we can’t!” If this were the 1950s, the Clinton campaign and its supporters would condescendingly dismiss the notion that diners should be integrated.

I like to think that I have the mind of a scientist and the heart of the poet. I believe that only when we fuse the two that we arrive at true wisdom. Better put, wisdom is found at the intersection of the mind and heart -- when they become one. I’m not saying I am wise, just tryin’ to get me some integration up in this piece I call “Eddie.”

Without this important integration, we are blind and our rational minds are literally half-cocked, as blind in its quantifying obsession as the superstition it ridicules. Idolizing the power of reason does not banish the old passions and irrational fears. Reason without passion is an illusion of control based on a myth of predictability. Our obsession for certainty grew out of a misunderstanding of science in its original sense. The word science comes from the Latin scientia, knowing.

I know I’m losing you, but hold on for a moment. LOL!

Our ancestors spoke of “science and conscience” in one breath. They pronounced it “con science” (with knowledge). In ancient Latin, conscientia meant knowledge with another person. In English, it came to mean “a knowledge of one’s inner truths,” or as the Oxford English Dictionary quotes, “deity in the bosom.”

What I call uncommon sense is science tempered by the heart. Rather, reason tempered by passion. This is science not the scientism we have made into a modern god. Our inordinate obsession with mindless materialism threatens, well, our material existence. Take, for example, the unquestioned assumption of the power of free markets or global neoliberalism to alleviate social ills. Let’s put aside for a moment the fact that there is no such thing as a “free” market: all markets are supported by government institutions. This allegiance to free market ideology is something similar to a superstition. A superstition that demands that only that which generates economic growth is worth doing undermines our sense of responsibility to our communities, to our ecology, and to our quality of life. An awakened consciousness would tell us there is something terribly wrong with this form of thinking.

We have to wake up... We have to become aware of the collective dysfunctional behavior patterns that keep us mired in ignorance. Our ability to become awake is more vital to our future than anything on our political agendas. Our intuitive sense tells us that specific problems all revolve a few core issues:

Can we become kinder, more rational beings?

Can our intelligence be enhanced?

Can we transcend the boundaries of our ego-centered goals and see the bigger picture?

Visionaries throughout history have debated the issue of human potential. Revolutionary philosophers have argued that “ordinary” people are potentially smarter and more evolved than they’re cracked up to be. I tend to agree.

Today, the issue of human potential is literally life and death for our species. In the Dark Ages, sailors refused to travel beyond a certain point because they feared falling off the edge of the earth. Today, we have a similar counterpart: some call it a “Flat-Earth Psychology” -- the assumption about human limitations. On the other end of the spectrum, there is exists a human potential movement. Just as in the Dark Ages, there were people who knew the earth was round and dared to journey past human-created limitations; today there are small groups of people who “dare to dream while in the day. People who dareto have visions. Visionary thinking is uncommon sense in action. Vision is an imagined goal that serves to organize our intelligence and set fire to our reason. Vision sees beyond limitations and prepares us to grasp the larger picture -- the world beyond a particular road.

The ability to see the possible and how to get there is the human potential for evolution and social progress. Vision is the cutting edge of human intelligence. Throughout history our ability to think experimentally -- or “out the box” -- has shaped us. What marked our Paleolithic ancestors was their remarkable ability for creativity and inventiveness.

I can’t help but think that there are forces today, as one conservative pundit proudly proclaimed, that “sit athwart history.” Those were the very same forces that dismissed the notion that we could put a human being on the moon before ten year’s time. Yet, that is exactly the kind of vision we need today, but we consigned ourselves to be led by a flock of fools too enamored of ideological dogma. We need to wake up before it’s too late.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

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