Monday, July 31, 2017

Peace, Love, & Bernie: On Passion, Getting Things Done, And The Psychosis Of Self-Fulfilling Apocalypse

I see it online, and I see it in local meetings; People are passionate in their support of Bernie Sanders. To many, possibly even millions now, Bernie represents hope at the edge of a cliff.

The fear of oligarchy and feudalism is sharp in the air to those who have awakened and are aware.
The hope of salvation is found in the memory of great American Presidents such as Lincoln, FDR, JFK, and others. To many, Bernie Sanders is reminiscent of FDR. Both men presented something that was and has been severely lacking in US culture prior to their arrival on the scene: a positive vision of the future, and a wider prosperity for the people of this nation. I will return to that part about a positive vision for the future later in this writing.

Over 750,000 people have donated to the campaign, with an average donation amount of $35.00. Many have donated repeatedly, with the campaign having received over a million individual donations. These numbers are noth HISTORIC and record-breaking. No other campaign in US history has received donations from so many individual donors.

These numbers not only speak volumes about the grass-roots popular support of the campaign, they also speak greatly about the passion of the people in their support of Bernie Sanders.  To me, that passion is a sign of the deep sincerity that Bernie’s supporters share widely. It also is a sign of the stressful dichotomy I mentioned above, that sharp contrast of hope and fear.

Anger is one component of passion, hope is the other. It is the strangest alchemy of Human emotion. I do not think great passion can exist without the mix of both hope and fear.

Anger is always a derivative of fear. It is well-known that there are two natural responses to fear; Fight or flight. Think back to any point in your life where anger was in your heart. Anger at a failing relationship is the “fight” response to the fear of losing someone dear to you. Anger at someone cutting you off in traffic is the fight response to the fear of what a collision could do to your life.

Anger at someone suggesting a different approach to a problem is the fight response to the fear of losing control over a situation that could affect your life or the life of others.  It doesn’t matter who is right or wrong in the heat of the moment; We’re simply too invested to just let someone else take the reigns without “fighting” for what we believe is right – and against an outcome we fear. It is only after the emotional reaction has subsided that the two sides – who may well agree on the outcome they are trying to achieve – can come together with some degree of logic and work out a compromise solution that everyone hopes they can live with.

It is exactly this part of being human that the democratic form of government we have is supposed to mediate. Control of the means to an end is at the heart of the divide between all the dualities in modern politics, and all the factions in every political coalition. Democrat or Republican, Progressive or Conservative, Populist or Corporatist…or Bernie supporter and other Bernie supporter.

The NEED for Bernie’s campaign is clear; Bernie stands as the only visible route in modern times out of a nearly catastrophic global psychotic maelstrom of corporatism that is eating our freedom, prosperity, and even possibly the habitability of the planet and any hope of future generations. For those of you who do not see corporatism as a threat to the very survival of humanity, rest assured that there are millions who very much do. I do not exaggerate the level of long-term threat felt by those who are working to free the world from corporocracy.

That means that we are going to have disagreement within the ranks on strategy, on timing, and on a host of other issues. Even more; We are a grass-roots, self-organized army of volunteers. There may be leaders, but they are most definitely not rulers.

All this means that it is critical that when tempers flare as multiple methods of supporting the campaign are debated, we remember that we are all trying to achieve the same end: a breakthrough in the current political paradigm and the election of a true populist to the Presidency. We MUST take the time to step back, see our fellow Bernie supporters as allies and not opponents, and wait for reason to rise above emotion again.

In speaking to the dearth of a positive vision for the future in modern culture, I look directly to the entertainment that surrounds us.

On television and in the movies, and online, we are bombarded constantly with stories and images of apocalypse, violence, war, and crime. Stories that outline what we could truly achieve with modern technology are almost never told. Such stories are as exotic as a meteorite of solid gold landing softly in your backyard. Even documentaries tend to focus far more on the problems facing us than on potential solutions.

Stories of the great triumphs of human engineering are relegated to the rapidly-receding past of the post-depression era of the 20th century, with rare examples peeking through. Perhaps if you read science and engineering magazines, you may see glimmers of hope, but how many among the general population do? It wasn’t much different after the 1930’s depression, either, especially once the second world war was engaged.
The entertainment constantly submitted before us in the few hours we have away from work, along with the general struggle of life for the current working class after forty years of the erosion of wages, benefits, and working conditions amounts to a psychic assault. I’m not talking telepaths, I’m just talking about everything we see being struggle, strife, violence, or even the fall of civilization, leading to exactly what the wealthy want us to feel: competition between ourselves and every other human on the planet instead of cooperation.

Modern mass media, and to a fair extent social media are used to:
  • Pit men against women.
  • Pit people of differing skin color against each other.
  • Pit one religion against the others.
  • Pit secular people against religious people.
  • Pit the elderly against those of working age AND against youth.
  • Pit younger workers against older experienced workers.
  • Pit one nation against another.
  • Pit groups of nations against other groups of nations.
  • Pit those struggling for positive change against those who fear the loss of what little they now have.
The list could go on and on and on.

I have personally witnessed the media in both film and on television getting progressively darker from year-to-year over the past twenty years.

With this psycological backdrop, is it any wonder that someone offering hope such as Bernie Sanders does seems like some sort of miracle?

Still, there is only one way out of collective darkness; We must join hands, share what light we can find together, and all put one foot in front of the other to leave it behind. Bernie may be walking out in front, but he would be walking alone if we weren’t all walking with him, sharing our lights.

#FeelTheBern – and try to hold your own candle flames steady as you may without burning each other along the way.


Dan Stafford

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