Posted by The Happy TutorJames, O'Dea, an excerpt from the President's message,
People have different narratives of the past. Social healing accepts the complexity created by the impact of lived experience, and subsequently influenced by the screens of collective perception, and potentially selective memory. Nonetheless narratives are often sacred and core to individual and group identity; as such they are not susceptible to casual revision. If anything, an exploration of our narratives leads more to an understanding of mass psychology, deeper motivations and the power and influence of myths and worldviews.
I have been reading, or actually skimming, a raft of books, all with money or business in the title, plus the word "Soul." I will spare the reader the details.
As an old Scholastic saying had it, "He who wills the end wills the means." Today the ends of life may be accessible through religious teaching, meditation, or the liberal arts; they may even emerge in global consciousness through conversation online and off. But he who will the ends, must master the means. Today the means include science, finance, engineering, MBA logic, the arcana of philanthropy, mass psychology, and the art and science of branding and political propaganda.
I just skim the Soul texts because they seem evasive of responsibility. We cannot just cultivate our inner garden, nor align our values with our little lives, nor bring our Soul to the cubicles where we are enslaved, nor to the mall, or the movies, or the voting booth where we go through the motions in a system over which we have no influence. We have to master the practical arts of power - including the financial arts, or the art of managing professional advisors, for those who have wealth.
In my own little world of Wealth Bondage, the need I see is for the wealthy who might enroll at a place like the Institute of Noetic Sciences, to learn a process for putting their resources (time, talent, money, connections) to work, with others, for concerted change.
You can get a taste of what the world of philanthropy is like at The World We Want, or in the new Council on Foundations Blog. (Philanthropoid has wry take on the new head of the Council of Foundations, as a sign of these dark times.) Take that polite and conformist world plus meditation and you still have very little that will change our world for the better. "Be the change," the progressive slogan, has to mean more than "get right with your own god," or "express your values," as if giving were identity formation, like the choice of brands in a lifestyle, or family togetherness, as if our family and its values were somehow as deep as it goes. It has to mean clear thinking, means fitted to ends, and the organization of resources to foment a new movement, not just a new consciousness, and that movement will have to move the fundamental building blocks of Wealth Bondage, not merely sit outside developing the mind, or dancing in a ring as the money mad bear it away.
Yes, we (or an Abraham, Jesus, Buddha, John Milton, Virgil, or Swift) can heal through stories, as individuals and nations and the globe, but the stories will have to include some of the great ugliness, the desperation and despair. They have to be stories that go to the root of cherishing, and the will to power, and move easily from stories of love and happiness to the financial statements that flow from year to year, defining the future of our selves, family, and world.
"The screens of collective perception" are in the Mall, where they sell popcorn and you have an almost unlimited choice of delusions. "The screens of collective perception" are on tv, the images from the publicists, the advertisers, the pundits from the think tanks. The screens of collective perception come on the new X-Box. The screens of collective perception are the epiphenomenon thrown up by the great wave of global cash seeking the highest return, and subordinating all else to it.
We don't change that sitting in our van in the parking lot, cross-legged, thinking of the god stuff. We change the screens.... specifics anyone from your personal range of reference and action? (Union work, local organizing, alternative media, Situationist interventions, the goat dance of satire, the practice of the liberal arts in classrooms and dumpsters, a resurgent religious left, strategic philanthropy in concert with the above?)
My soul is long since dead. Cliches and finger cymbels, don't move me. I am not a spiritual tourist. I am not seeking herd warmth. (Nor does your soul interest me. It is too damp, and humid, too needy and sticky.) How about a strategic plan, founded on ideals, inspiring, open to all segments of society, and funded with strategic money?