The Politics of Light
By way of introducing the politics of light, let us briefly consider a few of the ways our modern world "extinguishes" so much of what is beautiful, kind, and good in the human person -- almost as a work of "anti-art"...
Let's begin with education - many of our first memories have to do with our schooling -but how many of those memories are of either "finding our place" or of being "put in our place" as opposed to discovering our truth? How many of our educational experiences were about liberating our consciousness into the pursuit of its infinite possibilities, as opposed to "being molded" into acceptable patterns: patterns of acceptable "norms" of corporate, military, governmental, or professional careers? How many of us "concluded" our education with the conviction that we would become life-long learners, devoted to the exploration of our own minds, and in the service of the common good? How many of us then truly began our education, and the active cultivation of truth, beauty, and craft -- as opposed to the goal of education: to meet the economic requirements of an impersonal, technocratic, system of exploitation, consumption, and waste?
How many of us read history and studied economics from the "vantage point" of modern theories of the inevitability of acceptable technocracy -- and thereby accepted the predatory nature of capitalism as the "best" system of social organization ever invented by human-kind? So-called "free enterprise" is the educational system's contribution to modern cultural philosophy -- but what is free about it? "Blue light specials" aside, the modern "anti-home economics" is nothing other than a psychological / spiritual minefield specifically designed to deaden the mind and spirit of the "potentially" fully alive human person -- and exchange that potentiality for the plight of the compulsive consumer. How many of us have instead discovered the difference of an "enterprising freedom" in the active cultivation of leisure, and of work for the sake of beauty: art, music, poetry, literature, craft, mutual-aid, and creative movement -- but at significant, or great, "cost": marginalization in career and the struggle of basic life-maintenance? This system of fabricated prosperity needs less and less of our labor -- steadily severing value from work and just wages from employment -- and both require and foster unemployment and poverty as a "promise and threat" if one fails to "get along by going along": and this barely conceals the greatest secret of all: the 'line" separating the first, third, and fourth world of absolute poverty is no more: anywhere can now be nowhere: we all know it and that is what keeps most of us silent.
How many of us are committed to the "democratic ideal" of social organization -- yet at the same time accept the "alter-democratic" practice of little practical power and a voting system rigged to exclude most viable choices? How many of us -- beyond the media frenzy of national political elections -- give any attention to the "hidden" politics of power-plays orchestrated by "big money" (like the Koch brothers) and "very narrow" special interests (like the NRA) -- and are thereby excluded from genuine policy influence? How many of us contemplate public service -- but can't cross the threshold of actual financial requirements to pursue elective office -- and so politics becomes the "game" of the highest bidder? How many of us value "free speech" to the extent that we will explore the political theories and proposals of political parties other than the dominant Democratic and Republican? How many of us now dwell unceasingly upon the gamble it appears we are losing -- the well-being of the Planet itself is in question -- and we are seriously wondering if the "plunder of profit and power" is the god to whom we have sold our children?
This very brief overview of the three central "planks" of our modern technocracy: public education, free enterprise, and the democratic ideal, is meant primarily to provoke an honest consideration of a core question: Is this really what we want? If this overview were to include statistics such as the number of yearly teen suicides, of gun violence, of drug addictions, of sexual violence, of psychological disturbances and depression, and of a general, intense, work-place dissatisfaction, the actual picture would become that much more disturbing: we are not happy. We are not confident that anything we think, do, or say will change the way things are. And, the "icing on the cake" is that many of our religious institutions are giving much evidence of a deepening spiritual "exhaustion" -- so where do we turn for direction and help? Many of the most psychologically fragile among us fall into "group think" of one sort or another: fanaticism is everywhere: sports, guns, religious zealotry, entertainment, and a plethora of "isms" abound: but group think, or "mass mind", is dangerous -- and cancerous to society. So, again, is this really what we want? Where do we turn for light?
[But first for the clarification of thought: another line of questioning: what would social justice look like for those who are now hungry and marginalized, dispossessed and outcast? Is social justice a matter of the multiplication of "things" so enough "spills over" into the fields of the poor? Is social justice a ladder into the American experience of "middle-class" -- if so, are there enough planetary resources to support 7, 8, 9, or 10 billion people living life-styles of sustainable pleasure? Is it practically possible to integrate the wretched of the earth into the American vision of an economics and culture of "liberty and justice for all"? If not, are we prepared for the endless wars that will be required to maintain the divide between "us" and "them"? And one last question, what is it that is seemingly -- permanently -- propping up all of the elements of domination?]
How to step into both a personal transformation and a social recovery from the pathology of domination? How to re-weave our integral wholeness -- when appearances would have us believe that that would be an impossible task? How to re-fashion the remnants of a viable world culture from the isolated strands of human hope? How to determine the really real from the culture of the "free" market -- how to emerge capable of the truly scandalous: the living "truth of imagination" (Keats) -- when everything is bought and sold, produced and destroyed, and "just another" avenue of either repression or oppression? How does one become the metaphor: "there is only poetry" (Norman O. Brown)?
Perhaps we need to admit that "Mystery" is the essence of what it means to be conscious -- to be a human being? If this is true, then our goal cannot be the mere transformation of our technocracy into something more obviously benign and making education, economics, and politics into something less destructive and dominating. If this is true, then we are actually talking about a radical re-orientation of the person from self to other; from politics to poetry, from economics to solidarity, and from democracy to community: liberating spirit from form, and rEvolution from matrix. If this is true, we are now talking about a practical mysticism that is body and soul, spirit and life, and transcendent and immanent. We begin to consciously align ourselves with the deep under-current in the stream of life: Lao Tzu, Yeshua, Francis, Rumi, Mirabai, Hafiz, Hildegard, Eckhart, Blake, Black Elk, White Buffalo Calf Woman... and the language of paradox and the wisdom of the divine feminine become our guiding touch-stones... and when the garden is the sacred center of community: work, nurture, nature, play, harvest, and table become, each and all, doors to the sacramental dimension of human life: it is our living simply and honestly that creates the sacred: it is by loving that the human gives birth to the Love which is Divine: and it is this inter-action which is also the resurrection of the Divine within the Human.
The politicization of "Mystery" is the opposite of the extremism of greed, power, and privilege which constitute the politics (and religion) of the dominator paradigm. Ecstasy is the politics of Light: and perhaps the last truly unexplored door which may open upon "peace and goodwill to all ". But what is it, what is it really, that the dominator paradigm has been so assiduously pursuing? On the one hand the answer is obvious: the control or domination of the divine feminine. But that doesn't actually go deep enough: for the sacred in man is being crushed as well. So what is it? The creative powers of imagination... our bodies and this earth were made for an ecstasy that could transform, through the embrace of communion, two into one, and the one into the many: into the ecstasy of One Love and happiness within the ordinary moments of living together in harmony. Consider the tongue: its obvious primary purpose is as a tool for both communication and tasting / eating. The delights of a good conversation around the dinner table are a form of enlightenment. But the tongue only begins to communicate when it is used for words and only serves a base purpose in taste: the tongue is best as an instrument of ecstasy. The meeting of two tongues in a kiss, slowly and rapturously, is the beginning of exquisite possibilities... For that same tongue to curse or to lie is a manifestation of the dominator paradigm -- and how profoundly deep every person is infected... for the same tongue that can trace love-circles on the belly of a lover: to also swallow slowly when a finger -- another body part -- is pulling a trigger to kill someone is another manifestation of the dominator paradigm -- and how profoundly deep the transformation must be pursued... a common denominator of this paradigm is the very disturbing "fact" of "ugly": is there anything uglier than predatory greed, than planetary exploitation, and from all the many forms of violence? Ugly is very big business: and to keep our attention elsewhere -- anywhere but upon this truth -- we are given the "choice" of nearly unlimited trinkets to purchase and sexual entertainments for mind-numbing "satisfaction"... and our tongues forget their divine purpose: but as with the tongue, so too, the entire body along with mind and soul...
Mystery is the path of divine remembrance and the body's health is the moment of liberation into an "other" in love: when the "I" vanishes into the "We" of One... when the boundary of skin is crossed by another body, another soul, mind, hands, and tongue in the contact of "One" ecstasy is the recovery of essential wholeness. Mystery is the path of divine remembrance and the soul's health is the moment of liberation into the "Other" who is Love: when the "I" vanishes into the "We" of One... when the boundary of self is crossed in a perfect act of love, mercy, compassion, and kindness, expecting nothing in return, and even willing one's total identification as every other: to carry the others' burdens and pain as a gift of Love... ecstasy is the resurrection of the human into the Divine... and the agent of transformation is Sacred Imagination: the seeing before the seen, the knowing before the known, and the dying before the living: this is the nobility of the Child before the adult and the Artist before empty canvas.
The "politics of light" is the cultivation of virtue: kindness is this essential quality: and the social virtue of abundant space, air, sun, and water, wild nature, community and safety, food, education for full development and liberation, and the freedom of inquiry and experimentation. The "politics of light" is the cultivation of harmony, of soul, in the every intercourse of humanity: a vivifying cooperativism that embraces all of the essential elements of community: love, family, and companionship. The "politics of light" is the decision to build this new community with those you love, cherish, and respect: to live deeply be-friending one another: to raise children together: and by mutual aid, to gather together to eat, celebrate, pray, and play: and to slowly become the beauty we wish to see all about us in the world.
"What," it will be Question'd, "When the Sun rises, do you not see a round disk of fire like a Guinea"? O no, no, I see an Innumerable company of the Heavenly host crying, "Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty." (William Blake) What can one say to the person who fails to greet the rising sun, or thinks that it is just a fiery orb in the sky and not a bright shiny chorus of angels announcing the glory of the Holy One in humanity upon this precious blue Planet?
Are you one who thinks that Blake was really on to something when he thought he saw a flaming choir? Are you one whose vision extends further than your nose -- further than the commonplace -- further than what you are supposed to see? If so, then perhaps you are ready to entertain the possibility that Blake truly saw -- and that you, too, might see! If so, then embrace your Sacred Imagination and begin to transform your everyday reality with the magic of gratitude expressed to everyone and the active intention of blessing for everyone: this "change of mind" is key to the "alchemy" of transformation and the politics of Light. Love is the surest way to ambush the Divine and to create Possibilities and Daily Surprise. The beauty of this vision is the magical awareness of the sacramental reality of every breath: we encounter the Holy, the Other, in this moment and in no other: this person, this sky, this place, this now is enough: indeed, it is all there is. When we are fully alive in this, we will have finally begun to live: and that is our very purpose and it is inexhaustible...