Emotions are running high today in many quarters in the aftermath of the Arizona shootings at a street corner meet-and-greet organized by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of that state’s southern Arizona 8th district.
As we all sadly know by now from the news, six people were killed and 12 others wounded in the rampage. The congresswoman herself is in recovery from emergency surgery at this writing, a bullet having pierced her brain.
Killed were three elderly constituents, a 9-year-old girl who had just been elected to her school’s student council and wanted to attend the event to see how real politics in America works, a staff member of the congresswoman, and a Federal judge who had just left Saturday morning Mass at his Catholic church and stopped by to say hello.
The blogosphere was ablaze this morning with commentaries about the event, many of them decrying the state of political discourse in this nation right now, with words and debate becoming more and more vitriolic, and imageries used by politicians becoming more and more war-like. Particularly cited by many bloggers was former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who had posted a picture of Rep. Giffords, among other Democrats, in gun-sight crosshairs, saying they were “targeted” for being brought down because of their political views.
Of course, no one seriously suggests that Palin wanted anyone to be physically targeted or shot (it should be noted that she immediately took the crosshairs image down from the Internet after news of the shooting reached her), but bloggers are asking today, could such allusions, and talk of it being “time to reload” and take action (a phrase used verbally and in print by Palin frequently), place before already troubled minds exactly the wrong kinds of thoughts?
Consider this recent remark by Rep. Michele Bachman: “I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous” in their efforts to block certain legislation.
The suspected killer in Arizona, tackled at the scene by onlookers after firing off several rounds from a semi-automatic weapon, has been identified as 22-year-old Jared Loughner. The young man has been described by many who have been acquainted with him as being “mentally disturbed.”
There are those who are saying today that the political atmosphere in this country is playing right into the thought patterns of persons who are unstable. The sheriff of Pima County, where the incident took place, said in a widely reported news conference after the shooting: “The vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government” could have been a factor in generating Loughner’s actions. “There’s reason to believe that this individual may have a mental issue, and I think that people who are unbalanced are especially susceptible to vitriol,” the sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, went on.
“The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous,” he said. “And unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”
The place where we live is not “the nice United States of America that most of us grew up in,” the sheriff said, adding, “I think it’s time, as a country, for…to do a little soul-searching.”
I agree with the sheriff. Not merely as a country, but as a world, it is time to do a little soul-searching. That is a big part of what the Conversations with God cosmology is all about. It is about searching the Soul, and not just the Mind, as a means of understanding Life; as a means of knowing who we are; as a means of recreating ourselves anew; as a means of personal growth and spiritual evolution.
What happened in Arizona is a composite of what is happening all over the world. We can say that, no, this is not true. The person in Arizona was mentally disturbed, and it is unfair to paint all of humanity with that brush. Yet even the most fair-minded, objective observer would have to agree that, increasingly, we are seeing violence be resorted to more and more by individuals and groups around the world as a means of resolving disputes…and even minor disagreements.
I agree with the sheriff that this is not the world those of us over 60 grew up in. Yet it is the world that those people under 60 are growing accustomed to, and that those who are under 16 are growing into. And that is sad.
What is saddest about it is that this is not the way it has to be. It is an outgrowth of the Cultural Story that we keep telling ourselves about ourselves on this planet — a Cultural Story that is wholly inaccurate and has nothing to do with Ultimate Reality, but that is spreading like wildfire among all the world’s people, with little or nothing to contradict it…or even to question it.
Yet question it we must, if we are to survive as a loving, caring, compassionate species. We hear the news of things such as the Arizona incident and we shake our heads and ask ourselves, “What have we become? What are we turning into?” But we do not seem to be willing to look at the cause of all this aberrant behavior.
CwG says that all behavior arises out of our beliefs, and that all beliefs arise out of our perceptions, and that all perceptions arise out of our perspective, and that all perspectives arise out of our awareness, and that all awareness arises out of our consciousness — and that, finally, all consciousness arises out of Beingness.
This is the greatest news that humanity could ever receive…because Beingness is controllable. It is selectable by the Mind. But it is rarely elevated when selected by the Mind alone. Beingness is a CHOICE (which is not something that is generally known, nor a notion that is widely embraced) that is difficult and challenging, at best, to make for the better when it is made by the Mind acting in isolation. Yet when the Mind acts in collaboration with the Soul a State of Being can easily be chosen that reflects the Highest and the Best of who we are.
The biggest problem in the world today is that we are making our Choices as to who we are and what we wish to be (as a species, as a sub-group, and as an individual) based solely on the data in the Mind.
That data will disserve us most every time.
More on this in our next blog, as we explore The Arizona Question: Can we ever bring an end to humanity’s violence? What could do it? When might it happen?
I invite you to offer your own comments and observations below.
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A COUPLE OF HOURS AFTER I POSTED THIS ON FACEBOOK, A PERSON POSTING AS “LAURI MARIE” OFFERED THIS ENTRY…
Is it possible, and perhaps preferable, to try to focus on the fact that this was a young male, unbalanced and desparately angry, acting out solely on his own inner angst and not allow it to be a perspective of a world run amok or a violent humanity?
Yes, Laurie, it is possible, but I am not sure it is “preferable.” With great respect and kindness, Laurie, may I offer another opinion? I believe, my dear friend, that it an Ostrich with His Head in the Sand approach to life that has made the New Thought Community so minimally effective in even addressing (much less changing) the world today.
I had hoped that the point I made was that this is not, in fact, simply the act of one “unbalanced and desperately angry” young male, but may, in truth, reflect what is becoming, more and more increasingly, the perspective of a world run amok. Indeed, of a “violent humanity.”
If we keep approaching these incidents as simply individual cases of aberrant behavior, and do nothing to try to treat them systemically, it seems to me, Laurie, that we ignore all the evidence before our eyes as to the direction in which humanity is moving. And I want to suggest that we do so at our peril.
I am reminded of the joke about the Jew, the Catholic, and the New Ager who all went to Hell, where they met Satan. And the Devil sneered at the Jew….”Soooo….how do you like the heat, my friend???” To which the Jew replied, “So I should be bothered by a little more suffering?” Rebuffed, the Devil went to the Catholic. “And YOU….how do YOU like the heat?” he asked, to which the Catholic replied, “Oh, I’m just offering it up.”Again frustrated, he went to the New Ager. “And what about YOU, New Age Person…what do you think about the heat???” To which the New Ager replied, “Heat? What heat…?”
I want to suggest that we need to pay attention to the temperature right now, Laurie, and not ignore it. The emotional temperature of humanity right now is white hot, in case nobody has noticed. The tone of today’s political debates is uncommonly vitriolic. And the actions of people who feel injured or angered in some way are far too often, yes, filled with violence. Not just in the case of one misguided, tortured individual, but in the case of far too many members of our species.
Do you not see what I see, Laurie? Do you not see more violence than ever before in our collective lives? And, to your larger point, do you think that not focusing on it is the answer? Shall no one dare to say, “The train in coming,” when he hears the distant roar down the track?
Please don’t feel “picked on,” Laurie, okay? I just have an honest difference of thought about all this, and want to open the discussion a little further. Let’s talk. All of us. Let’s talk.