Saturday, January 11, 2014


Converge (2013)

This is a long and winding post, but the ideas converge, so I hope you'll follow me through.

I finally got around to figuring out what this "Chris Christie" thing is about - basically, his office purposely orchestrated a huge traffic jam because the mayor of the place wouldn't endorse him.

This is IT people - this is where even the most "la la la, I can't hear you!" among us MUST see that the people in those offices no longer understand that this is NOT a giant game where you're moving strategy pieces around. They've played so long that it's about winning with your hand, not finding the best way forward, and they are no longer even ashamed to cheat. Christie was one of the few Republicans who sometimes made sense, and look at the scheming of the people he hired and nurtured. What scheming led to his election in the first place?

How can anyone believe anything anyone in high-level party politics says? Even the "good ones" are twisted at the core, like biting into a red apple and finding it brown and rotten inside. They are playing strategy games with people's lives. Do we really accept that this is the way we will govern ourselves, where money and power are the primary goals of the game?

What are we going to DO about it? (yes, the rhetorical question plaguing society).

I was reading Noam Chomsky this week, as he filtered through various ideas of what constitutes "the common good" and how that has been co-opted. Heavy, dense reading, and I don't see many people following it through all three pages but well worth it. He shares Thinkers' well-reasoned arguments that government should be seeking the common good, and where structures and systems of government prevent that, they should be disassembled and replaced.

First, he shared John Stuart Mill's classic "On Liberty":

"The grand, leading principle, towards which every argument unfolded in these pages directly converges: the absolute and essential importance of human development in its richest diversity."

How daring! How dare we expect or ask government to do THAT! That is not economic development! That is not growth. Do we really think people DESERVE, individually, to have their own development considered, their own uniqueness embraced? Everyone?

No, I don't think we do.

And so we don't dare expect it. Because we don't expect it, we don't demand it. Because we don't demand it, we don't get it. We get "growth" that is really just the acceleration of the transfer of all public resources into a few private hands. The people buying the politicians are playing a game to take over the world, and we don't believe we deserve anything better.

Also this week, I met with two sister circles, and found myself understanding that, somewhere along the way, I internalized the idea that other people don't want me to share myself. Sharing my own perspective, my essence-based offerings, was pushy, self-indulgent, facile, annoying, demanding, intrusive, irrelevant, unwanted, disruptive, amateur, and/or overpowering. I had come to believe, unconsciously, that my offerings had no real value, were unnecessary and largely unwanted, and best kept to myself or shared only through filters, barely-open valves. More than that, I internalized that sharing my gifts was, in fact, selfish and arrogant, and that they were probably, in any case, unworthy of sharing. I let myself feel that how others valued my offerings was, in fact their value. And then, over the last few years, I didn't.

Something shifted over the last 8 years. I find my own work beautiful. I write because I crave to read what I write, instead of not writing because I don't have time to do it perfectly. I blog. I share my nature photography. I allowed myself to paint, for the first time, just before I turned 40, and give my canvases away with the shyness of a six year old. I've expanded my horizons in understanding enough to start unwinding the mess we're making, at least in my own mind. I'll never know enough, but the patterns and the proofs have stacked up to the point where I feel pretty comfortable with my world-view and the direction I'm going.

But I still held the belief that I wasn't worthy, to other people. I can know my work is beautiful but not expect the humans to see it that way. I can know my words have meaning and not expect the humans to understand. I can understand how my writing perfectly captures something and still figure that no one but me will ever grasp the greatness of what I'm doing. I decided I needed to harden myself to that, the idea that no one would get me but that doesn't make me unworthy, it makes them mistaken.

I'm find myself skittish, going further than that. What does further look like? Believing my work is worthy and it's up to me to find the people who might be interested in learning to understand, and help them. Accepting that my work not only deserves to be experienced by the people it does speak to, but that I have a responsibility to share it just in case.

Today I wonder, what if the political problem and the personal problem are the same? What if our collective inability to hold our governments and corporate leaders and financiers to account is really a manifestation of our collective inability to accept our own worth? To own responsibility to persevere through all the people who aren't interested or see our offerings as pushy, self-indulgent, facile, annoying, demanding, intrusive, irrelevant, unwanted, disruptive, and/or overpowering, to believe that we are worthy of development? What if nurturing our own development., and sharing that, is the best way to personally support "human development in its richest diversity." Us, and the people we touch.

What if we know we are worthy and deserving of developing ourselves, and so is everyone else. What if we believe that, pursue it, and try to act that way? Won't it naturally fall out that we demand policies that support us, that we curtail and create tolerance limits that support us?

What if the most political thing I can do is believe in my own worthiness?