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LE Observation: Seeking to empower women and girls, activists can fail to understand cosmic unity and wholeness—and the real power that comes from participation in being. When men or women say: “I am King” — they alienate themselves from the source of being, and tend toward non-being.
It takes a royal, spiritually mature, person to be able to freely serve others; in the gift of self we find our self. Today the ‘assertion of self’ — egoism, is replacing the ‘gift of self’ and society is diminished.
“God, who has created me and who has power over me like a ruler, is also my own power because without God I am unable to do any good deed, and because I have only through God the living spirit through which I live and am moved, through which I learn to know my own ways.” Hildegard
Often times we see enormous power in the hands of truly f*cked-up people — from truck drivers to pundits to heads-of-state. The challenge is for men (and women) of action to master themselves first.
“What has come to be associated with the notion of the postmodern approach to morality is all too often the celebration of the ‘demise of the ethical’, of the substitution of aesthetics for ethics, and the ‘ultimate emancipation’ that follows.” Zygmunt Bauman, Postmodern Ethics (Blackwell, 1993)
That President Obama would choose the Leno Show to speak to the American people about Russia’s Putin is in keeping with the ‘news as entertainment’ plague that stimulates the eyes but deadens the consciousness, in the age of unreality.
In his remarks Mr. Obama suggested that Russia’s actions, vis-a-vis Snowden, hearkened back to the Cold War — a time when Russia (the Soviet Union) was demonized by the US.
Actually, it is Mr. Obama and the entire US government who are acting more like Lenin/Stalin, these days, and Putin more like Jefferson. But the American people, gorging on American pop-culture, are too empty, disconnected, or complicit to do anything about it.
The words of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn could be applied to Americans today: “The (jail) cell was constricted, but wasn’t freedom even more constricted? Was it not our own people, tormented and deceived, that lay beside us there under the bunks under and in the aisles?” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago (Harper, 1973)
Artwork: Syd Shores, inker of Captain America
For Catholics today the Eucharist is still the sacrament of sacraments — ‘the source and summit of all Christian life.’ Its worship is directed towards God the Father through Jesus Christ in the Holy Spirit.
“If our Eucharistic worship is authentic, it must make us grow in awareness of the dignity of each person. The awareness of that dignity becomes the deepest motive of our relationship with our neighbor.
We must also become particularly sensitive to all human suffering and misery, to all injustice and wrong, and seek the way to redress them effectively. Let us learn to discover with respect the truth about the inner self that becomes the dwelling place of God present in the Eucharist.” John Paul II, The Mystery and Worship of the Eucharist (1980)
The Eucharist is a ‘continuous invitation,’ from the ‘son of man,’ to participate in divine life, but sadly many excuse themselves from accepting the invitation — opting for other gods.
A recent symposium: F(o)unding Culture, organized by Czech Center New York and the Aspen Institute Prague, explored the subject of ‘art as a common good,’ with particular emphasis on state and private funding.
The first panel (which included: Benjamin Barber, Wendy W. Luers, Krzysztof Czyzewski, Jan Bondy, Fritzie Brown and Andreas Stadler) addressed the ‘concept of advancing public diplomacy through the arts’ and lessons learned from the experience of the US and Central Europe in securing ‘sustainable development in the field of art and culture.’
In his remarks, Benjamin Barber (Senior Research Scholar at CUNY) commented that “democracy permits arts to flourish and arts permit democracy to flourish.” While some of the speakers suggested that government funding has had an adverse impact on the arts others said the same about private and corporate funding. Perhaps a more significant issue, one that wasn’t really addressed, is what effect the arts, of the last 100 years, have had on Europe, the US and the world? Are democracies truly flourishing? If not, what role have the arts played in undermining societies?
Since the 1913 Armory Show, and the arrival of Dadaism, Cubism, and Surrealism to America’s shores, the art world in the US has delighted in its assault on tradition, nature and form — fomenting a counter-culture and contributing to a band of rebels, driven by misguided freedom and self-absorption.
“I am working for myself; what else have I got to work for?…I have got nobody to excite me except myself…I’m very lucky, of course, to be able to earn my living by something that really absorbs me.” Francis Bacon
The resulting toxic egoism, characterized by no fear, no rules, no boundaries or regrets has been infused into into all areas of American society and is being exported to the world — with Predator Drones, Credit Default Swaps, BPA etc.
It’s interesting how America uses her culture to destabilize other countries and even torture people (see music used on prisoners at Guantanamo) all in the spirit of advancing democracy — without realizing the adverse effect it has had on her own people. Democracy and society don’t work if everybody is a rebel.
“The dignity of every human being and the vocation corresponding to that dignity find their definitive measure in union with God.” Pope John Paul II, On the Dignity and Vocation of Women
If a return to fundamental principles and traditional Chinese culture means becoming a warrior state, it’s worth noting that didn’t end well for the Han Empire — nor will it for the American Empire.
“The flame of militarism which burns itself out.” Toynbee