Sunday, January 22, 2012

Optimism in a Seemingly Hopeless World???

Moab City Council: Resolution Abolishing Corporate Personhood and Money As Speech
Since I’ve been house-sitting in town most the winter,  I’ve taken advantage of it,  changing my tune a lot, from my usual contemplative philosophy, to getting involved in activist movements (like Occupy Moab).  Our latest endeavor is a petition to the City Council of Moab, Utah to pass a resolution that declares corporations not people and money not speech, as part of a nation-wide movement to amend the constitution  [Move to Amend].  I made both a paper non-official petition and an online one for us to present to the Moab City Council this Tuesday, January 24th.  I made the online one, intended only for locals who couldn’t sign the paper one, but it turns out some people in various parts of the world are signing it!  Oh, well, I thought, that’s good, too, because it shows Moab the world is watching.  What the heck, now I might as well open up the petition for everybody (like you) to sign, right here: 

Moab City Council: Resolution Abolishing Corporate Personhood and Money As Speech

 Let Moab know you’re watching us!  


Now... for my brainstorming-philosophizing:  Somebody recently emailed me about finding it hard to be optimistic in such a tragic world.  What to do?  

Optimism is Faith, Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
Pessimism is Faithlessness, Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.

I keep coming back to Spirituality, because the most powerful and successful movements for social change, whether for good or for bad, have been religious.  Religion is usually bad. But let’s focus on the small bit that’s good, because, as you will see if you read on, small good minority overpowers big bad majority.  I'm not talking religious denominations or institutions, I'm talking states of mind.  

Life's principle is to focus on the one sperm that makes it to the egg, not the millions of others that are doomed. 
Thus, my focus here is on the tiny minority, the True Triumphant. 

Harriet Tubman
Mohandas Gandhi
Look at the leading Abolitionists, like Harriet Tubman.  Look at Gandhi, Martin Luther King, George Fox.  Look at the movement against Apartheid in South Africa and Poland’s break from the USSR.  What motivated them? 

True religion is, by its very nature, unshakeable Optimism in the face of seemingly infinite Pessimism. I'm not talking fake smiles and bury-head-in-the-sand ignorant bliss of false religion. 

Spirituality is the Faith of the small against seemingly impossibly-large odds.  Faith is Optimism.  Faithlessness is Pessimism.  No movement, no revolution, can succeed for long without this Optimism.   Without Optimism, a movement is spineless, cowardly, pathetic.  Nothing succeeds without Faith. Faith is even the very essence of all scientific discovery.  Even so, such Optimism always appears foolishly naïve and childishly small to everyone but the Sprititual Mind, and this seemingly small childishness against the immensity of Pessimism is what makes the triumph of this Optimist so splendid when it happens.  This Optimist plays out our deepest yearning, our cultural mythology. 

Yes, this Optimism is the Essence of our most valued myths and fairy tales in every culture in the world.  My cynical Pessimist self thinks myth and fairy tale is silly fiction, and uses this as argument against my Optimist self.  Little does this Pessimist know he is only adding to the splendor of the Optimist in her potential triumph!  

Yes, the Spiritual Mind knows Myth and Fairy Tale express truths too deep for any pragmatic science to ever grasp.  This is because spiritual understanding is not theory, but direct experience, direct knowledge, beyond thought (beyond symbol, beyond words, beyond images).  Because it is beyond symbol, the symbols (stories) that point to it appear fantastic, as fairy tale!  Scientific theory is wonderful, but it can only be theory, can never go beyond thought (symbol, words, images), can never be direct experience, can never truly be knowledge (gnosis), direct understanding.

Examples of Humanity's Ancient Mythology:
Our Power to Overcome 
(you will recognize them, because they are our shared humanity): 

(1) The small, insignificant peasant turns out to be the Prince in disguise who comes to rule.  There are countless variations of this myth/fairy tale all over the world. 

(2) “The stone that the builders rejected has become the Chief Cornerstone (or Capstone).”  Jews, Christians, and Rastafarians readily recognize this one.  

(3) The unassuming pauper goes through unfathomable trials, beating all his strong and glorious competitors, to triumphantly win the hand of the Princess.  

(4) The little guy (eg David) slays the Giant (eg, Goliath). 

(5) The unassuming man slays the Dragon  (this is one of the most common and ancient and world-wide)  

This mythology is the very manifestation of our biology and physics, the very principle of all of existence:
Cottonwood Seeds


1) A cottonwood seed, so tiny it floats in the air, flies on random currents with no plan, to then fall into the ground as dead, and resurrect as a giant cottonwood tree.

(2) One single bacterium or virus can enter the body of a giant and conquer it.

(3) One single spark can mean the flaming end of an entire forest.

(4) One split atom has the energy to blow up a city. 

(5) One single sperm cell, against millions of competitors, goes through incredible odds to reach the egg to become a life form unfathomably greater and more complex than the original sperm cell.  And you, yes you, were one in millions who made it to the egg!  And you were the egg!  

Yes, the Sperm Cell journey is the eternal myth of the Pauper going through trials to win the hand of the Princess, the Egg.

Now my Pessimist side, void of Intuition, can only calculate. He can take several samples out of millions of sperm cells that are headed to the egg.  And each of his samples can contain thousands of sperm cells.  He can scientifically prove that every single one of those thousands of sperm cells are destined for death, doomed.  Why?  Because none of his many samples happens to include that one and only sperm cell out of millions that will reach the egg!  He can with full self-assurance say that he statistically and scientifically proved that all sperm cells are doomed and life is hopeless! 

This is the comical trickery and essence of all of Life:  Tiny Optimism triumphs over seemingly impossibly huge Pessimism.  Life would not be life without seemingly impossibly huge Pessimism! 

Optimism is Faith,  
Pessimism is Faithlessness:  
Both go together   

My little person is Optimism, the Very Essence of Life.  My Big Tyrant is Pessimism, the Very Essence of Death.  But Optimism can’t be Optimism without Pessimism.  Life can’t be life without Death.  The Stone that the Builders rejected can’t become the Chief Capstone without being rejected!  This is why the Stone says, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.”  All Life and every particle in the universe is playing out this One Myth, this One Drama, the essence of every story we tell, every movie we watch!  Little Optimism faces off Big Pessimism and triumphs.  This One Myth touches our “interesting” sensor more deeply than any other story.  The Small is the Divine in disguise, and even appears to be defeated, even to the point of death, only to resurrect to overcome the Big in the end.  Then we all clap our hands and cheer with tears in our eyes!  You know exactly what I'm talking about.

I once told a religious person that gay people were “the stone that the builders rejected,” in the same way that African Americans, or any oppressed people, are the stone that the builders rejected, eventually becoming the Chief Cornerstone.  This person was appalled I could say such a thing, telling me I was blaspheming, because, he said, this “stone that the builders rejected” refers to Jesus, who was rejected, killed, buried and resurrected as King.  But, according to this person’s own logic, if he really believes, as he says, that Jesus is God and God is Omnipresent and non-changing, wouldn’t Jesus be Omnipresent, the Non-Changing Essence of All Life and All Creation?  Doesn’t his same Jesus say “I was hungry and you did not feed me” or “I was in prison and you did not visit me”?  Isn't his whole point that he is right in front of your face and you don't recognize him?  

Mother Theresa
holding real, live Jesus in the flesh
The dying, the cripple, the mental, the unwanted, the unloved:
they are Jesus in disguise.
--Mother Theresa

Not knowing my transcendent nature as Sovereign Lord of all beings, 
fools condemn me as a man 
(Bhagavad Gita 9:11)

Viewing all things with equal regard
he beholds the Self in all beings 
and all beings in the Self.
He who sees me everywhere 
and sees everything in me,
to him I am never lost.
The yogi, anchored in unity, 
worships me abiding in all beings 
lives and moves in me, 
no matter how he live and move.
He who, by likening himself with others, 
senses pleasure and pain for all as for himself,
is deemed to be the highest yogi. (Bhagavad Gita 6:29-32)

The person in me who can’t recognize that an oppressed Mexican immigrant or  gay person or an abused puppy or a Third World sweat-shop child are Jesus also can't recognize that Jesus is a piece of rock that becomes the Chief Cornerstone.  

And he cannot recognize that Jesus is the Buddha and the Krishna and the Muhammad and the Lao Tzu that he rejects. In fact, his own religious dogma that appears to be pro-Jesus, his religious intolerance, is the very spirit that crucified the Jesus he claims to honor!  

An adult who abuses a child loses all conception that that child grows to an adult to haunt him, the stone he rejects becomes the chief cornerstone. His intolerance of Buddha, Krishna, Muhammad, and Lao Tzu is his inability to recognize that Buddha, Krishna, Muhammad, and Lao Tzu are actually one and the very Jesus he claims to honor.  

However, it is his intolerant mentality, his Pessimism, that makes Optimism Optimism, his Death that makes Life Life, his Battling that makes Triumph Triumph.  Again, the one who rejects the stone is the one who pushes the stone to be Chief Cornerstone. 

What is Interesting Is Truth, What is Boring Is False.
What Is Good Tastes Good, What is Bad Tastes Bad.

Now you might think that by Truth I mean our usual definition of fact, which is idea.  No!  By Truth I mean Principles.  No brain on earth can ever know facts, only theories that parade as facts!  Science imparts theories parading as facts.  Myth imparts Principles.   Theories can only be believed.  Principles are known, directly experienced.  This turns around what we've been taught all our lives, that science is fact and myth is belief.  If you meditate on what I am saying here, you will know the truth, the Principle.   

Even if you define myth as fiction, I say that fiction, by the very fact it is interesting, is proof that it is Truth, imparting Principle.  If fiction didn’t convey eternal truths, it wouldn’t be interesting, wouldn’t be a good story.  What is not interesting is not Truth.  

In the same way nutritious grass tastes good to a deer and toxic plants taste bad to the deer, so we, in our natural state, know that what is interesting is good for us.  In our natural state, good food and truth tastes good and bad food and falsehood tastes bad.  Truth is interesting and falsehood is boring.  Do you get bored in Church?  

Now when we depart from our natural state, entering addiction, we start thinking crappy commercial fast food is good and mind-numbing corporate TV and malls and megachurches with slick manican ministers are "interesting."  We think they are interesting, but we don't experience that they are interesting.  But if you really know yourself, you know that you never enjoy food you are addicted to.  If you enjoyed it, you wouldn't be addicted to it!  Addiction is grasping for an idea you think about food or drugs that you once experienced or want to experience.  Your mind is never on the food you are addicted to, never enjoying it.  You know what I am talking about.

How Did We Get Into This Addictive State?

This brings us back to our myth of our Fall From Grace, taking on the Thought of Credit and Debt (Good and Evil), which I talk about in

The Serpent in Eden, giving the Fruit of the Thought of Credit and Debt.  And he grows into the Huge Seven-Headed Dragon of Commerce, his Kingdom of Babylon controlling the whole world.  He seems impossibly, infinitely powerful.  Just looking at him fills you with Pessimism, hopelessness, because he is Pessimism Incarnate.

Now We're Back to the Myth of the Little Hero Slaying the Impossibly Powerful Dragon!

Ugaritic depiction of
Baal vs Lotan
(who becomes Leviathan in the Bible)
Yes, we’re back to the Seven-Headed Serpent, the Dragon of Commerce.  The Dragon of Pessimism who gives birth to Pessimism in your very soul.  Is it hopeless?  Or is this another replay of the infinite Myth of little guy Optimism conquering impossibly huge Pessimism?  

Yes, hark back to the cottonwood seed becoming the tree.  Hark back to the spark creating a forest fire.  Hark back to the one sperm among millions reaching the egg.  Hark back to David slaying Golliath.  Hark back to the ancient world-wide myth of the little guy slaying the Dragon. 

Hercules vs the Hydra
Little tiny you is up against the seven-headed Dragon, World Commercial Corporatocracy of Addiction and Oppression, which poisons and kills everything it touches.  Now you must decide if the ancient Myth of the Dragon slayer is just a silly story or not.  Or is it Eternal Principle?  Now you must decide if the essence of Biology is a lie or not.  

Okay, I admit, I have a part of me that doubts, too.  That's what makes this so damn scary and exciting, what makes it so interesting!  If we knew for certain, this Drama wouldn’t be so on-the-edge-of-our-seat so scary and exciting, would it?  Which do you choose, Optimism or Pessimism?  Either one you choose, you are part of the Grand Drama.

Arch-Angel Michael
vs Seven-Headed Dragon

The Seven-Headed Naga Subdued,
no longer being served,
but being servant to Vishnu:
the sign of Enlightenment

Revelation's Queen of Heaven
vs the Seven-Headed Dragon

The Seven-Headed Naga Subdued,
is no longer being served,
but being servant to Buddha,
the sign of Enlightenment