15.2.14

Meditation is key. It is the ultimate bullshit meter.

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Today, psychologically and literally, even in our most wise and radiant moments are we each pinned into our place as economic units: bricks in the wall of a labyrinth where it is far too easy to simply hide behind the latest appearance of a new freedom found. Think here on fashion for now, and on the feeling which arises when matching something external to the otherwise internal experience of your person: though we can buy a sense of freedom, we often become chained to its purchasing. 

I think the life forces which course through our veins ultimately make us a creature with good intentions. Their constancy tells me as much. Whatever the face of our excitements be, we seek pleasure, curious toward our fullest enjoyment of life. However, when we look at the remarkable prevalence of neurological disorder today, these fun intentions may not be coming to the surface in the way we initially had hoped. Abuse, divorce, addiction, emotional disturbance, the expanding array of diagnoses to our mental states – like the now popular self-diagnoses of personality disorder, or ODD, Obedience Defiance Disorder – when and if we view these dis-eases somewhat topographically, from above, in consideration with the economic factors of today, Western cultures are in a very interesting time to say the least. 

Mental illness is essentially having an industrious day in the sun... 




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I see very little distance between the economic shape of a nation and how we shape our selves. In a word: Bhutan. In two words: Happiness Index. Out from our perpetual blind-spot, The United States as the chief world reserve currency is so in title, yet barely so in practice. (*1) That is, the things which herald any nation's place amongst the rest is being challenged - reordered. Regime change at the level of global power is usually, and invariably, uncomfortable. The current world reserve currency hosts disorder, and we, its subjects, prove again the adage: as above, so below. Put succinctly: there is a big thing going quite nuts, and so, kinda, are we.

By an ever thinning veil is our world-view presently changing regardless of how staunchly the prevailing power insists upon keeping the blinds drawn. It is as if the human mind, our institutions, and many of our social contracts, are entering an outright failure. We simply cannot continue to think as we have been lest we accept going legitimately batty, accepting the dichotomy between what we hope to be possible, and what is actually, truly, upon us. 

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I am of the opinion that the Invisible Hand may as well come out from hiding now. Its presence hangs over every major Western city not unlike an animated real-estate balloon, or a mickey-mouse hand zipping from cloud to cloud spelling out through the puffy white and into the blue sky behind: 'L-o-o-k! I'm i-n-v-i-s-i-b-l-l-l-l-l-e! Hee-hee-hee!' If the rest of the emperor to this invisible hand be just as naked, if the power which holds sway the actions of our days be in disarray, let us look upon a few rules the hand plays by as our first bit of evidence.

If bipolar behaviour could be made observable at the cultural level I believe the long-standing feud of environment-economy today expresses exactly that. Recall, if you will, transitioning from Carter to Reagan (and if you cannot recall this, I think you will be amazed by the radical directions Western cultures followed – or almost followed – by these two men). Our species couldn't possibly be more divided on this issue, and Reagan's words on the environment – and 'environmentalists' – have pretty well stood the test of time since. 

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As our economy continues pulling itself apart at the seams – fracking its foundation for further support and sustenance – as the world reserve currency comes up for questioning, as our oceans acidify and as our forests wither, as the permafrost prepares to embrace a warming atmosphere with the gift of an unprecedented release of carbon, so too does it feel as if our sense of self comes apart at the seams. We feel threatened, and any traditional sense for order clings rather dearly to what is familiar and readily understood. 

Because we are not truly offsetting the outcomes for our predicament at the cultural/policy level, a lust intensifies for the narrative of smooth and constant-growth to remain buoyant. “When all the world recognizes beauty as beauty, this alone is ugliness,” says Lao-Tzu. (*2) And indeed I find such a self-reinforcing denial of situation unmistakeably difficult to look upon. We have not entered an economic recovery.

In response, I also see the salience of Mindfulness on the steady increase. It stands right upon the balance point of our most intense wishing. It is an authentic echo from the wilds for fresh air and renewed thinking. It is that quiet and mature power whose song could well retune our public policy. 

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Our minds do not wish for us to be sick yet there is an unusual sense of pressure today. There is a constant contradiction, split between the dis-ease of a shrinking Earth, begging us each to raise our standard of accountability personally and culturally, while simultaneously our positivist psychology has us simply humming along as we have been doing. A voice within, ready to scream the name of freedom to each and every hillside, wants to sprout claws and tear through the skins containing it to enjoy better its natural ether. This sickness – or discrepancy at least – is at the level of psyche, and I haven't crossed paths with too many who have developed their immunity. Certainly the cultural narrative which covered the baby-boom is alive and well, but the page is turning – as I believe it will under the dichotic banners of sustainability and exponential growth. And yet, regardless of socio-economic status, we believe ourselves helpless to the unfolding of this larger story: we believe it is Our Nature now to behave solely as economic units, so much so that it can hardly be called a belief next to its being just a plain ole fact. 

Beside such a discrepancy have I found meditation to be key. It is a psychical sieve. It is the ultimate bullshit meter. 




Notes: 
*1 - Over the course of editing this [section], the number of countries included as 'safe' reserve currencies increased – including Canada. At the time of writing, the global financial system is now rather outwardly dancing to its own tune of diversification, looking for as many soft landings as it can find. Factions are developing faster than I can form my sentences; new financial mechanisms are being created out of thin air, and it is difficult to tell into which direction this new global market may bend. 

*2 - Wu. JCH. Tao Te Ching. Shambhala 1990.