OK, so I'm a Soul in this world, and I think part of my job over the past 51 years has been to fully get this. Among other things counseling has opened my eyes to this and I think I'm at the very beginning of living practically with that awareness. Sort of the 'applied science' of Awareness.
So right on the heels of that awareness, that I can fully and consciously engage my Soul in this world, comes another awareness about the influence of Other People. I suppose it's Other People that test our commitment to and our connection with the Truth.
(Immediately the doubts that have hampered me in my lifelong efforts to get at the truth of something: "what if *everybody* goes around asserting their 'truths'--wouldn't there be anarchy in this world? Wouldn't people run amok? If it's not possible for everyone to 'assert their Truth' without tremendous conflict, does this get into the dangerous territory of "some people's truths are more valid than others" --with apologies to Orwell--? Leading to the conclusion that some 'truths' rightfully overpower others'? Is it naive to think if all 6 billion of us on this earth live in integrity with our individual Truths --undistorted by tradition, authoritarianism, trauma, 'beliefs'-- that there will be true harmony?)
Anyway, I've observed something that looks like this: there seems to be a sort of schism in humans between those who venerate an outside authority and those who do not. (I don't know what to call those-who-do-not. There's probably some very obvious and common term. Freethinkers? ) There seems to be such a split at least in American politics and I guess that's why the whole 'Culture Wars' concept has taken off. It touches deep emotional roots and attachments. It appears that conservatives feel under siege--that the very American Way Of Life, or the traditional middle class American values is under attack by 'secular progressives.'
My father is a conservative and he gave me a book to read: "World War IV" by Norman Podhoretz. It's subtitled: "The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism". I know who Podhoretz is, that he's founder of a very conservative magazine ("Commentary"). So I know that he's to the right of mainstream conservatives.
I dislike authoritarianism. I think that the sort of nationalized version of Christianity that informed the 50's 60's culture that I grew up in was an agent of authority that put internal restraints on questioning authority. For me it has a very distinctive feeling climate, like being in a room full of bad air, and my very thoughts have been constrained by it.
So being presented with this book is to be presented with a sort of challenge. First, does my 'antiauthoritarian bias' prevent me from even reading this book, and if so, can I say I've been fair and open-minded?
I had some doubts as to this guy's claim to credibility in the introduction, and then in the first chapter he asserts what seems to have become an article of faith for the right wing: The "Wall", "Gorelick's Wall", that Jamie Gorelick (9/11 commision member and former deputy attorney general in Clinton's administration) supposedly erected, basically caused 9/11 because it wouldn't allow members of the intelligence and law enforcement communities to talk to each other.
I feel like I can't proceed further in the book until I resolve for myself the merits of this. Did a member of a 'liberal' administration erect a barrier that kept the country's defenses from being effective at a crucial time? (And erected it for legalistic purposes that tie the hands of real people just trying to protect the country?) When I pause from the book to look into this I see that it's going to take a considerable amount of time to research fairly...that charge can't be answered in a quick aside. Which is discouraging. How will I make it through this book if I'm having to check every assertion? (And would I do that in a book that took a more critical view of the Bush administration?)
It occurs to me that another area where doubt was successfully stirred up was in John Kerry's being a war hero. Frankly, that issue still remains gray for me...in the little bit of reading I did (VERY little) it seemed the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth group may have raised some serious challenges to the assumption of Kerry's hero status. I suppose that the fact that this area is still fuzzy for me attests to the success of their operation.
OK. My project:
1) Read Podhoretz's book and give a voice of the right wing a fair hearing.
2) Follow up on the merits of the charge against Jamie Gorelick: valid or not?
3) Follow up on the merits of the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth challenge to Kerry's hero status
I'm usually daunted by stuff like this. It can take so long to follow the path of what leads to an assumption. I've been put off by the time commitment it would take to look at every strand that makes up what's presented as an assumtion. Still, it would be an exercise in following the Truth where It leads--which is ultimately what my life should be about.