Saturday, March 29, 2008


COMTEMPLATIVE BONES OF CONTENTION: : Joan Conrow eclectically wrote yesterday about a “remarkable (experience) last night when I attended a session of Deeksha, the Oneness Blessing... a meditation, followed by a hands-on blessing.

“I definitely felt the spiritual energy” she says and describes the “striking” event of “sitting with a dozen total strangers and feeling such a deep sense of love and acceptance.”

She tells us that “the answer lies in transforming ourselves, and from that process will come the profound shift needed to achieve a world that’s just, peaceful and pono.”She then wisely adds a caveat, warning that “(it) is not to say that one should ignore what is going on or not speak out about wrong doings and injustices” adding “a lot of our political problems stem from the absence of ‘spirituality’ And by that I do not mean religion or even any sort of spiritual practice, but consciousness, an awareness of the deep consequences of our actions.”

It’s apparent we don’t see things too differently because we have no problem with people who have a personal spiritual center inside themselves and use it to guide their actions in an altruistic, humanitarian manner.

Where the problems begin is with those who think that by just maintaining and then sharing that spiritual center they can- exclusively, through some kind of group-think- make the world into being a better place.

Instead of real political action and involvement in their community, many retreat into an apparent apathetic powerlessness that they cover-up and rationalize by thinking candle-light vigils will stop tree-murders and gestures of turning off their lights for an evening. will stop global warming.

And for some, even those actions are too much of an intrusion into their self-indulgent “we’re spiritually superior to you political people” world. They prefer sitting around a naval-contemplation circle to speaking out and demonstrating and acting upon their angst and anger, instead driving their very real emotions deep inside themselves to fester and express itself in their personal lives.

And worse, many criticize those of us who do actively try to change things for not being devout enough, as if affirmations of their divinity and general grooviness will counteract and overcome their emotional denials and shortcomings.

A former Islander in Maine sent us this today from the Urban Dictionary

Word of the Day March 28, 2008:
Slacktivism: The act of participating in obviously pointless activities as an expedient alternative to actually expending effort to fix a problem. Signing an email petition to stop rampant crime is slacktivism. Want to really make your community safer? Get off your ass and start a neighborhood watch!


Anonymous said...

Mo betta get of your A and start a neighborhood cop-watch

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post, Andy.

I don't go for religion or spirituality, but I do try to apply ethics to my actions.

A person either engages actively and effectively for social change, or they don't, regardless of their religious or spiritual practice.

Unfortunately, much of what I see in "New Ageism" is a kind of "prosperity cult" tendency, not unlike certain Christian churches.

For example, alot of people seem to be seduced by something called "The Secret" which encourages people to think good thoughts and so they can get what they want. What a relief to find out that all the starving brown babies around the world are just not thinking good enough thoughts! Don't they know better???

How is this different than the strand of Christianity that insists that there's a Santa Claus god who pays attention to us and rewards us if we're good?

(Or for that matter, the secular, capitalist view that anyone can be rich if they just pull themselves up by their bootstraps.)

Much "New Ageism" seems to spring from a laudable rejection of mainstream religion, but oddly, it ends up with the same logical inconsistencies and the same opiated consequences.

I'm sorry, but I gotta say it: if "global ommm's" and candlelight vigils and prayer worked for anything more than making individuals feel good about themselves, we'd be in a much different place today, wouldn't we?


Joan Conrow said...

I agree with the post about the neighborhood cop watch. Indeedy.

I share your thoughts, Katy and Andy, about a lot of the vacuousness of New Ageism. However, what I'm talking about is not that, but an emphasis on the individual developing a higher level of consciousness, which you might dub ethics or humanitarianism or what have you, that guides his or her actions in the world.

It's what I see as the true foundation of anarchism. When individuals are operating from that place of awareness, they don't need government restricting or directing them.

And if enough people can get their heads, hearts and actions moving in that direction, whether they do it through prayer, global omms or demonstrating in the street, garans it can change the world.

Andy Parx said...

It's the classic argument in Philosophy- whether one needs a religious center to perform right action. The “yes” people went virtually unchallenged until the late 18th century and throughout the 19th and 20th centuries the “no” argument gained traction peaking in the 1960’s. Since then many have regressed into non-traditional traditions and have joined in with the classical religious view that sees religion-centered philosophies as the only guarantee people will act "morally".

The problem is that it denies the free will to act for economic and social justice because it’s based on a carrot and stick causing dogmatic adherence so it acknowledges greed and avarice as inevitable and so it becomes a compulsory element at the core of that philosophy.

In fact, the "forgiveness" doctrines of modern Christianity negate their own arguments because that “moral” center can be violated any time one feels like it and then afterward it’s all ok and you can be moral again... very fuzzy thinking if you ask me. Maybe that’s because thinking stops when “belief” come in.

Anonymous said...

back to the beliefs and actions component. no forget intentions count!mindlessness and mindfulness are not on opposite sides of the coin. religion and spirituality aren't much farther apart. sovereignty and anarchy are like two peas in a pod. at some point an understanding of higher/greater consciousness is offered and away you go, on your path to be of service, to assist others so that they can be effective in achieving changes of great significance. we can choose from there where our next action will occur. some like to confront and some like to challenge. some like to follow others and some care to lead. common ground or universal values are what have great potential for vehicles to achieve social change for the better. just a couple of thoughts to go along w/the coffee and online discussion. pznlv,....jt