Ed. Note: This article was originally published at IntegralPolitics.com on August 16, 2019.
Today, Americans are facing a 2020 election that will decide whether the reality TV-star turned Twitter tyrant and racist, xenophobic, climate change-denying wannabe autocrat will get another term. The importance of this fact for economics, healthcare, education, and social justice is inestimable; the impact on ecological sustainability when there seems not to be a moment to spare to fight climate change might spell doom for billions of humans and unfathomable numbers of other creatures on this planet for future generations.
Give me one moment for preaching. Between now and election day, everyone within the reach of this blog should be doing something useful to ensure the defeat of this malignant buffoon of a US president and achieve victory for someone with the capacity at least to mitigate the damage Trump has caused and hopefully set our country on a course for achieving dreams of a better society long delayed. Fighting Trump is our most vital cause for the next 15 months, but it is just the beginning of the work ahead of us to end wars, combat inequality, educate ignorance, and save the planet.
How does one individual fight when faced with dark times like these?
Over and over, most of us as individuals encounter futility, hardship, and exasperation in our efforts to really make a difference concerning problems so vast, complex, and multi-dimensional. But with characteristic American optimism, one 20th-century inventor and visionary entreated:
Never forget that you are one of a kind. Never forget that if there weren’t any need for you in all your uniqueness to be on this earth, you wouldn’t be here in the first place. And never forget, no matter how overwhelming life’s challenges and problems seem to be, that one person can make a difference in the world. In fact, it is always because of one person that all the changes that matter in the world come about. So be that one person.
R. Buckminster Fuller
These are encouraging words in times of confidence and hope, but they may encounter a breaking point when we feel powerless or despair. In abject darkness so relentless we even begin to hate our own tears, we may realize that we are not one person. Silence leans on a flickering candle. The news feeds queue up and we are standing in line. The radio channels drone on in our own voice. When and where one person fails, two may yet succeed. And if two don’t succeed, then let us go for three.
In Daoism, the Tao is the unqualified and unqualifiable All-That-is which I often call Spirit or Holy Ghost, in both earthly and heavenly realms, proceeding by contrary movements. The Tao-te Ching:
The Tao produced One; One produced Two; Two produced Three; Three produced All things.
When darkness obscures the way forward, individuals who have tasted stillness and silence find solace in each other’s company and strength in their collective energy to respond to one movement of spirit with a breathtaking contrary move. Only together we become two or three, and then a myriad who can do amazing things and uplift the solitary one. When faced with dark times such as these, there are no individuals, and spiritually-aware groups can work wonders.
The fight between the old progressives and the old conservatives must be overcome so that we can avoid extinction.
Integral Politics is a new publication for bringing political insight to individuals who are ready for a politics that has room for a catholic wisdom. In these pages, you will find hard-to-categorize views which combine the moral concern of traditionalists with the humanism of liberals, the power of systemic thinking of Marxists with the love of science brought by libertarians. Where these disparate ideologies collide and would create only dissonance and contradiction for some, we will aspire to coordinate connections by means of a developmentally-informed worldview (more on that aspect in a later post). No one of these ideologies is close to complete in itself; when viewed as pieces of a puzzle arising in history they each possess useful clues for action in the here-and-now, if we are ready to perceive them.
Our slogan at this time is “A Blog for Revolutionary Progressives and Evolutionary Conservatives.” As you will see, we intend to take seriously our commitment to being open to truth, goodness, and beauty wherever they can be found. At its best, the progressive spirit in our time is marching towards a Green New Deal, a new vision of America committed to meeting aggressive clean energy goals and a job guarantee to mitigate disruptions for workers. And at its best, the conservative soul in our time is devoted to restoring a culture of decency and truth-telling, plus attending to the health of institutions of democracy in the midst of a corrupt political despot and his enablers (i.e., Trump and most of the GOP).
While there are other valid expressions of the progressive and conservative motions of Spirit in our time (and we are only speaking of the USA at this time), these two directions form a polarity to which we must attend. Accordingly, we will discuss the future direction of the Democratic Party among others, and debate the wisdom of creating a new political party for Integralists (i.e., politicos who draw inspiration from thinkers including Sri Aurobindo, Jean Gebser, Ken Wilber, Don Beck, Jeff Salzman, and Steve McIntosh). Regarding those politicians and countrymen who would defend willful ignorance, dishonesty, hatred, greed, and the spoiling of the Earth in the name of progress or conservation, let us condemn their speech with appropriate severity. By pen and ballot and voice, let us remove them from positions of power.
Make no mistake, the world is burning and we will not countenance an unthinking affirmation of the status quo. Standing still is death. The choice for awake, alive, and aware persons today is not between the old progressives and the old conservatives, but between similar visions of r/evolution which largely agree on what needs to happen but disagree mostly over how fast we can move there and what we should give up to get there. The pull of Eros lifts the progressives into bold programs of human liberation whereas Agape grounds conservatives into making compromises necessary for accomplishing narrow objectives. The beast of Phobos is all too willing to eat the progressives’ lunch with recklessness and delusional thinking; the specter of Thanatos whispers cunningly to conservatives, filling them with hopelessness so that they become unwilling to risk achieving the possible and necessary.
Sometimes our posts at Integral Politics will speak in terms of spirituality in order that we might show up authentically, a fact that is often embarrassing given the tendency for Americans to separate politics and religion. Forgive me for closing with a bit of talk regarding my own first principles.
Spirit is One, and it is Indivisible; dualities appeared, and brought the mighty to their knees; Three came on a white horse, bringing a myriad who sought might for themselves; thus, the One planet was brought near to the end of days. This story isn’t finished yet.