Ethan Indigo Smith, Contributor
“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” ~ Pericles
The Political Bottom Line
Everything is political, but firstly it’s biological. This is the concept behind my recent article on biological oligarchical collectivism. It’s simply a swift way of saying that, whether realized or not, our lives are influenced by politics, local and international, past and present — but no matter how important this is to understand, it is even more important to understand that despite the insidious infiltration of politics into every strata of human existence, we are still biological beings. No matter one’s political tendencies or ideologies, we need clean air and water and quality food in order to even begin to contemplate political and social objectives, let alone participate in the world.
Politics permeates everything in society. Politics is something we are immersed in. The people of Flint, Michigan, who cannot drink politics, realize this most directly. We are biological beings firstly, before we are social and political beings. It is only the rhetoric of government and corporations that leads us to prioritize our lives otherwise.
All the politicized, institutionalized, mechanized interaction between individuals and institutions stem from psychological and biological reasons and responses. Sometimes we may not understand our own biological reasons and responses because we live under the limits of our biology, using it to understand it. And yet we know it to be true from observation and experience. It is our biological fear response, for example, that is exploited by government for the political gains of war.
Indeed, every political problem stems from ingrained biological responses and, judging from the continuous institutional war on individualism and destruction of Earth mother, perhaps deep psychological pathology.
Political, Biological… Spiritual
As I said, everything is political but firstly biological… and originally, it is spiritual. Despite our deep primordial connection to the Earth, animals, plants, each other, the seasons, planetary bodies, and forces of the universe far greater than ourselves, the postmodern collective has gone astray, lacking spirituality, left hungry and distracted by the mechanics of institutional imperialism.
Many individuals, despite their spiritual origins and political predicament, never comprehend the spiritual or political stratum of existence. Many consider little beyond their biological needs. And this apathy to realms of reality beyond physical attainment, is the biggest problem we face, with the greatest shielding. The encroachment of politics on our biological and spiritual lives, and the majority’s apathy to it, is an unyielding dynamic in our society. This apathy to the actions of government actually perpetuates the problem, helping to embed the prioritization of political and corporate motives over our biological and primordial/spiritual needs as the status quo.
No matter the particular variation of government, this kind of politics eventually degrades to oligarchical collectivism — which serves only those in power — and ultimately, into biological oligarchical collectivism, which threatens our biological wellbeing in the process.
(For more on biological oligarchical collectivism, please see my recent article, Oligarchical Collectivism: The Institutional “ism” That Threatens Our Very Biology, or simply consider the politics that led to the ongoing health crisis in Flint, Michigan.)
What Would Jesus Do?
What is the solution? Well, let’s see… What would Jesus do? Now I don’t ask this in the Bible-pushing, monotheistic way that you might be accustomed to hearing. In fact, I openly reject monotheism — the religious doctrine that there is only one true “God” — as a form of institutionalization. Rather, I ask the question “What would Jesus do?” as a spiritual human who, like the Jesus archetype, appreciates the value of individuals and not institutions.
The bible’s Cleansing of the Temple narrative tells of Jesus expelling the merchants and money-changers from the Temple, accusing them of turning the Temple into a den of thieves, and declaring “My house shall be a house of prayer.” He went through an intense process of self-development and refinement. He became a teacher and healer, challenging the prevailing morality. Sound familiar?
The story of Jesus offers the solution to the problem of institutionalization we face today: the millennia-old dilemma of oligarchical collectivism, of prioritizing commercial over spiritual interests. Today, this is the political bottom line. No matter what is going on in the world, no matter the political agenda being pushed, we must perform the inner-work to develop and define our own consciousness. Refinement and healing of the Self is the first step toward individuation, which is the first step to being an empowered individual among power-seeking institutions… which is the first step toward changing the political bottom line. The next step is to teach and, when possible, contribute to healing others. As Jesus demonstrated, after one heals, one forgives and heals others. But we can only find this ability if firstly we have found healing for our Self.
At the Last Supper, as the story goes, Jesus told his disciples to remember his death. Yes, despite his apparently miraculous birth, Jesus told his closest friends, the night before he passed, to remember how he left this world rather than how he arrived — to remember his legacy of spiritual achievements, not his (miraculous) biological inheritance. Jesus developed himself and then focused on teaching and healing, as well as confronting the “den of thieves” — the political and commercial profiteers of his day. He confronted and called out the money changers and merchants, and the militaristic authorities, and re-asserted the value of spirituality. However the oligarchical power-seekers collectivized and subverted the spiritual aspects he advocated — and this was the final straw for Jesus.
Everything is political, but first it’s biological, and before that it’s spiritual. No matter if the oligarchies are armed with swords or depleted uranium missiles, as they are today, the solution to the ever-impending and ever-expanding nature of oligarchical collectivism is to be like Jesus — to value the spiritual over all else, political, commercial or otherwise. In order to counter the political bottom line we face today, we must become powerful refined individuals focused on teaching and healing. There are already so many healers and teachers in the world today who embody this “Christ consciousness”, working to counter institutionalization and politicization in peaceful manners, mainly by developing themselves and assisting others directly. In order to surpass the political bottom line that has persisted throughout history, we need to create a new metaphysical paradigm to replace it.
Whether one views the bible as allegorical or literal, the story of Jesus provides powerful lessons, and these lessons are more profound the better one is able to sift through the controlling layers of monotheistic, monothematic consciousness contained therein. Remember, Jesus spoke of no “true religion” but was simply a prophet of love, healing and justice. Be a lightworker, just as Jesus was. Confront and heal your shadow aspects and learn to work in the light. Develop yourself, teach others and stand up against the politics of oligarchical collectivism, which values power and the powerful over humans and humanity. Forget the dogma and the institutionalization, and focus on working in the light, no matter what. Refine yourself and then be yourself, as a healer and teacher, and peacefully confront the oligarchies — like Jesus.
Another important remedy to oligarchical collectivism is to think on different lines than the status quo and the majority. Most people see matters in terms of their own perspective or even selfish benefit, however the terms they think are to their benefit are often enough to their detriment — such as the example of commercial globalization, which provides people with cheap convenient access to resources and products but to the detriment of personal self-sufficiency, local economies and our environment, which are ultimately of detriment to people. Look beyond the perspective of the self, and the status quo of the majority, and allow the “Christ consciousness” to inform your thoughts and actions, in everything you do.
But, while the focus of this discussion has been the lesson of the Jesus allegory, the spiritual solution to our political bottom line can be found in spiritual teachings of all kinds. One of the most profound spiritual teachers, right up there with Jesus (as long as monotheism isn’t the focus), is Milarepa, one of Tibet’s most famous yogis and poets.
Milarepa is the Patron Saint of Tibet. Of all the amazing teachers and yogis, including Milarepa’s own teacher Naropa, Milarepa is the most honored of all yogis, and perhaps he himself is the very source of the ‘wise man on the mountain’archetype; the slightly strange yogi in rags, that resides atop the highest cave in the most secluded valley, awaiting seeker’s arrival with the answer to his question. Milarepa was primarily known for changing the world through his own enlightenment. He is further known for offering answers or understandings which were completely counterintuitive to the average individual involved, and in fact transcended the problems he was presented, rather than attempting to solve them with the kind of thinking that created them. This is the nature of spirituality.
The political bottom line, the solution to biological oligarchical collectivism, and the confinement of politics, is to work in the light, like Jesus, like Milarepa, and like so many countless other well-known and nameless healers and righteous rebels. Empower yourself as an individual, empower others and take on the institutional powers that are nefarious or exploitative. The solutions to political problems are spiritual practices. The solution to political institutionalization is to enhance your consciousness and become a lightworker, or a rainbow warrior, because the best way to contrast the institutionalization of the entire planet is to enhance consciousness individuation across the entire planet. The political bottom line is a spiritual one, the political bottom line is not religious oriented necessarily, but spiritual.
Politics is the highest social station of the lowest form of social thinking. It is not an ascended mode, nor is it made up of ascended people. It is just the highest operation of the lowest and most basic. The political bottom line, the way to empower individuals and disempower institutions is to be spiritual, and in some manner, or by every means at your disposal, rise above the highest operation of the lowest motivation. The political bottom line is to be spiritual.
About the Author
Activist, author and Tai Chi teacher Ethan Indigo Smith was born on a farm in Maine and lived in Manhattan for a number of years before migrating west to Mendocino, California. Guided by a keen sense of integrity and humanity, Ethan’s work is both deeply connected and extremely insightful, blending philosophy, politics, activism, spirituality, meditation and a unique sense of humour.
Ethan’s publications include:
This article (Can Spirituality Overcome the Oligarchy?) was originally created and published by Wake Up World and is re-posted here with permission.
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