WHO AM I?
Who understands the source of their beliefs? Do the people who are supporting the different candidates know the source of their own beliefs? If so, are they willing to say that the candidates who utter the Public Lie are saying things they themselves stand for. If not, then why do we tolerate the Public Lie?
When lying with impunity or ad hominem becomes the status quo for those who would become President of our United States, then this leads to the situation where there are various “camps of believers” who support candidates and their Lies. Or, perhaps worse, people support candidates without knowing why they are supporting them. These then become hierarchies which influence the candidates. These camps of believers remain separate and quite distinct from one another. In the end, is our country no longer sustaining the ideal of being a “melting pot”? Has this also become a Public Lie? Are we now armed camps which rail against each other and even seek to promote their group's safety with gated communities, militia or guards to protect ourselves from ourselves?
Young black men in inner cities arm themselves in order to protect themselves. Where are the Peace Keepers?
Is our country now a Lie? This was the case in Ancient Greece where the family (okios) was the prime force. Today, we can see that our citizens are strongly in favor of families. In this election we have the Clintons, the Bushes. Coincidence? Family’s represent one motive force within our nation which feels good, safe, protected by families. Have we simply become tolerant of these old forces and have come to tolerate them because we are too lazy or too busy for any alternative? But, it is a Public Lie. Our country was created as a revolution against monarchy or the family rule.
We once rebelled against monarchy, family, okios. The family of the monarch was considered to be an extension of the gods. These families were ordering their societies, were elites, had way more money and properties, possessions, castles and towers named after themselves. Oh yes, they thus kept citizens from shooting one another by keeping soldiers under their family command (before ”law enforcement”).
What replaced okios rule was rule of law. Law was above families - "under law". The idea was once that each person was equal before the law and the laws were enforced on all equally. Black Lives Matter, all lives matter, under rule of law and not families, each person is equal before the law. Not corporations. Corporations were not people. The Public Lie today is that there are forces working against the rule of law and the individual. We have seen many recent killings of black people. We have seen corporations killing democracy. Public Lies which now seem to be above the law. We are tolerating this for how long?
WHY AM I HERE?
I bring you Polis! Polis is the opposing approach to life to okios, corporatism and oligarchy. In ancient Greece, the Polis came to be seen as the opposing philosophical construct to okios – family, monarchy, centralized wealth. Laws were thought to be transcendent ideals which were above all families, gangs, corporations or countries. Humans gained access to laws through groupings such as representatives which were truly representative of people – human beings- rather than being rather than corporations (okinos groups) technologically groups or economically “bought” – financial okinos groups.
Vaclav Havel, a revolutionary in Czechoslovakia during that country’s recent Soviet/totalitarian era, wrote an essay during the time of the totalitarian state entitled “Power To The Powerless”. We should read that. In that essay Havel, who after being released from prison after the “Velvet Revolution” became President, described a parallel polis during the time of totalitarianism. One polis was the State which was based on wealth and power. The parallel polis was based on powerless human-to-human relationships. We have a parallel polis in our country, too.
It seems that today we have an interesting mirror image of the totalitarian state of Havel’s time where we have an uber-Capitalistic, greedy 10% dominating 90%. In his lecture. Havel actually describes this capitalist / totalitarian mirroring. Each has a different form of Public Lie. Totalitarian states today continue to tolerate leaders lying with impunity, and so perhaps, our current experience is preparing us for a time when honesty is no longer a requirement for governance.
If the state becomes a Lie, then are Liars the best to govern?
WHAT DO I WANT?
The shadow side of the polis is also something with which we are experiencing. It is a different version of the Public Lie. It is when the leader is leading a public which no longer feels it can do anything if the leader is lying. The leader can then freely speak the Lie. There is no notice. There is a mass psychosis. Here’s how it is done: “Truth” is now created with forceful argument rather than reasoned argument. Those with great wealth appear to be the ones who are “believed” – even when they speak blatant untruths.One of the most memorable examples of this was Donald Rumsfeld who said (regarding the lack of evidence of WMDs in Iraq):
"The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.”
Such circular statements should begin to test the inner strength of citizens. The game was rigged. We allowed those in power to continue to rule. The world has become a worse place, tens of thousands of Iraqis suffered and died and U.S. troops died because of the Public Lie. It is a Public Lie some would like us to repeat if given the power and feel they can repeat.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character give him power. ~Abraham Lincoln
The situation today seems to beg us to become “judgmental”. We do not need citizens being judgmental and driven by power and emotion. What we need is to form judgments, seek Truth outside of our silos. The first step is to know that you don’t know. That we have come to live in silos. That leaders have tried to isolate us from one another as they sought to prove their families are experienced and know what to do. However, their solutions to all problems are to let them lead again.
Here’s what the poet Rilke said:
and try to love the questions themselves
Like locked rooms and like books
that are written in a very foreign tongue.
Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you
because you would not be able to live them.
And the point is, to live everything.
Live the questions now.
Perhaps gradually, without noticing it,
you will live along some distant day into the answer.
~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet
(c)Copyright 2015, Jean W. Yeager
All Rights Reserved
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