In the Pledge of Allegiance, a curiously repetitive and indoctrinating mantra intoned while addressing the flag, there is repeated the word "indivisible". In my growing years I cycled this thousands of times. It was an image of unity that became entwined in being American. "United we stand, divided we fall" is another visit to that idea. It's the reverse of "divide and conquer", the generic catchphrase associated with the western world's philosophy of dismantling and occupying a foreign territory. How strange it is, that we are applying a divide and conquer pressure to our own indivisibility. What began as political teasing has snowballed into an alarming chasm in America, spreading out into the populace, and now we have two armies glaring at each other from either edge of the cliffs. We see ourselves as our own enemy.
I once read a psychiatrists examination of insanity and it's effect. He stated that there was a cohesive factor in the mind, that correlates all of the contradictions and paradoxes of a psyche and renders them as a whole. There is an agreement somewhere in the mind, even if all of it's components don't seamlessly combine. Insanity is going in the other direction. The concepts that are so readily accessible to the sane person become fragmented and disagreeable. The cohesion melts away. The insane person feels opinions and beliefs inside the self squaring off against each other, and eventually the stream of thought becomes a confusing maelstrom of wrangling voices, none of which carry the complete quality of the personality under duress. A "mental breakdown" usually proceeds an eventual failure of sanity. Anyone who has witnessed someone fall to pieces in this way has seen something they will never forget. It's hearbreaking to witness. If America metaphorically is like a person, then we are it's voices, and our cohesion is slipping away. If insanity continues to proceed, we could break down, and eventually fail.
There seem to be people pushing for this breakdown, maybe not realizing what it is exactly they are promoting. I also remember listening to a news piece about drug problems, and the researcher said that cocaine and heroin have a resurgence about every ten years. The reason, she believed, was that a generation becomes burned out by the addictive aftereffects of overconsumption and rehabilitates itself. The next geneeration, 10 years later, discovers the drugs anew, without realizing the sloping downside, and begns the journey again through euphoria to bitter loss. This is not a statement about drugs, far from it. But I bring it up as a statement about flirtation with ideas that become addictive ideals, and the seductive nature of denying the destructive tendency that exists therein.
There are so many contradictions in America that are tough to resolve. We are a nation that idealizes freedom, but our country was constructed with the labor of enslaved people. Slavery is the opposite of freedom. We idealize freedom of speech, but there are those that question patriotism whenever someone criticizes government. We idealize the peace process, but we are on the fast track to being the most warlike and violent nation in the history of the world. We idealize the ability to practice religion without persecution, but there are those that treat anything but Christianity with suspicion and revilement. We idealize unity, but we compartmentalize people by color, sexual preference, gender, race, education, class, and income. There is much more, but you get the idea.
Healing insanity begins with the resolve of a single contradiction, and as more divides become healed, the focus of the mind becomes unified. Thoughts and dreams become coherent and understandable. Behavior becomes calm and focused. Delusions subside and the realistic vista is restored. Functionality becomes the goal instead of satisfying irrational urges. Peace is an agreement, not a forced command. Government should be trying to serve the needs of the widest demographic of people possible, not just the needs of those with the most money and influence. All religions idealize charity, and caring for the poor, so who is preaching an abandonment of that principle? Why are they preaching it? Why are they campaigning for the advantaged treatment of the wealthy? Peace burns and brightens in the heart when you reach across your upbringing and embrace people that are different than you. Those people embrace you back, and widen and deepen your life. Living in an isolated world surrounded by people that agree with you is not a spur to growth and experience.
Every time I have looked into one of those bomb shelters built for what some think is an eventual nuclear holocaust, my mind fills with the same emotion. I would rather die. I would rather walk outside and let my last experience on this Earth be watching the missle descend from the sky and hit me the forehead. Huddling up with a bunch of people in a concrete bunker with no sanitation is not for me. I know what will happen. They will run low on food, and there will me a minature war in there. They will kill each other for the last scraps for horrible tasting food storage items and meds. The last person standing will open the door with an insane grin and marvel at the superbright wasteland. Then the zombies will devour that person like a deep fried snickers at the county fair.
You are a voice my friend. Your opinion counts, even if it is different than mine. We need lots of ideas and voices. We need to argue, but we need to resolve. Be careful how you vote, and be sure you know what you are voting for. Don't let these political suits divide and conquer you. No matter what happens in the election, the healing of insanity begins with us. I can deal with people that are different than me. I reach out to them, I don't exclude them. They teach me, and they test me on what I hold dear. The whole world does not need to be an extension of America. We founded our country on revolt, so how can we circumvent another nations opportunity to do the same? Let's face it, our power has made some mistakes. Let's learn from it and move on to a more prosperous and peaceful future. One that is free from addictive ideals and insane bickering, and one that is lucid and goal oriented towards a success potential for all.
Cheers to 2012!