I am posting this somewhat in response to Arthur’s Dec 2 facebook question
are we numb to war? what sacrifice does it require of us? indifference is too convenient
I wanted to use this question as a way to illustrate the levels of intersubjective awareness that was discussed in the What is Integral Activism Post that Arthur started here.
I described the first level as
So the first level of intersubjectivity, is filled with signifiers only, that have “flown the coop” so to speak. There can be a lot of levels between signifiers pointing to other signifiers pointing to other signifiers… we forget what we are talking about! This is where we spend most of our time. From a certain perspective, it can be seen as a type of high play. But we forget it is creative play — we mistake it for something else. And we loose track of how it arises from a deeper “movement.” — from something like trying to make connection in a socio-community sense.
This is the level of absurdity. With respect to Afghanistan, this is the level where the man who one day asks for a troop surge, the next day wins the Nobel PEACE prize. The signifiers have gone awry. It is the level of having to speak to the media, one’s constituency; to shroud the truth behind euphemisms and ideological buzz-words, to win hearts, minds and votes simultaneously. This is what Obama’s speech at West Point was like, embedded in the same old assumptions, staged in the mighty house of war… words for the media to trump up or stump down. This is the level where the Democrats say yes so the Republicans have to say no, and vice versa. Distractions guised as incentives.
The second level I describe as
Socio-communion then , is the deeper level, underlying all our signifiers. We are trying, at some level to SAY something. To communicate something. We get all wired up about it, until we turn toward something about the shared human condition, of being-in-community, of being-in-relationship as it is commonly understood. Here we might begin to see injustice, and social change needs. This is the level of “otherness” as understood by the postmodernists.
This is the level of possibility. This I believe is what some people actually expected of Obama — that he would actually tell us what he really wants to SAY. This is the level where the rubber meets the road, in many respects. It is deeply personal like Buber’s I-Thou relation. We reflect on what WE want to SAY. What is driving us, at the most fundamental level we can feel? Why are WE involved or not involved in one respect or another. What are we trying to SAY!? What is it that we are trying to embody, to be a living embodiment of? What is our position REALLY? Our situation REALLY? If we stood at the podium, and spoke from our heart, what would we say to our neighbor, our country, the world? What are our motivations? What are we willing (as Arthur says) to sacrifice? What are our questions, what do we know FOR SURE … and what are we just banking on or have taken as a given without reflection. This is where we need to be deeply introspective and brutally honest. Why do we care? It’s where we check our notions about ourselves, and any sense of entitlement we might be shadowing.
The third level I wrote:
Trying to get “at” otherness, drives us deeper into our common ground — the world we share. We begin to make connections about our biological and planetary heritages. We see how cultures arise and make it difficult to “reach out and touch” everyone. We try to access a deeper ground where those socio-cultural diferences don’t matter. We see karma arising through stages of birth and death. We see mothers protecting their children, and the needs and affections of humans and non-humans alike. We start to feel the pulse of creation– the labor and the joy that effects all creation. We see how this underlies the manifestation of identity in communion, as well as identity in agency and individuality. We see how everything moves in a purpose-driven way towards manifestation. We see how this purposefulness creates life upon which community arises, upon which signifiers emerge in all their wild complexities. Everything is connected.
This is the level of impossibilities. When we construct the very real thing we have to say, what we embody, we realize that it will be interpreted in various contexts, laid down historically, embedded in culture. We find to say what we have to say, and have it RING true, becomes increasingly difficult, as if we are swimming upstream against an enormous energy that has a momentum of its own. We see we have to break through corruption and ideology, fear and fear mongering, the very deep SUSPICION cultures have against others; we have to manage this along with situations that arise due to ecological and planetary complexities that also have a tremendous momentum of their own. The geo-politico-economic-technological complex is overwhelming. How to spin that clock backwards? If only we could take Pakistan’s nuclear capacity out of the equation, take Pakistan’s history with India out of the equation, take England’s colonial conquest footprint out of India, take Russia’s impact on Afghanistan back, take our relationship with Russia back, reverse the economies of oil and cocaine…. THEN, yes, THEN we might be able to state positively and simply, a peaceful solution to Afghanistan.
The fourth level I described as
As we develop greater capacity and degree for engagement at deeper and deeper intersubjective levels — the notion of “intersubjective” itself dissappears into an ever-more subtle sphere/field of consciousness. We begin to engage what the Buddhists call “substrate consciousness” or “species” consciousness (not withstanding other sentient beings). We apperceive timeless myths, dreams, desires, suffering, celebration, joy, dance, suffering, gods, devils, demons … all at play in an eternal dance of creation/arising. We taste the ENERGY of creation! We can touch it at its source. We apperceive how everything arises co-determined and enmeshed, and from this arises community and identity and difference.
This is the level of re-birth. We find infinite energy to tap into. We find common ground to appeal to. In a sense, this is a place where we loose sight of the “goal”, and begin to build the path. We go to West Point and protest. That is profound. We ask a question on Facebook. We reach out to the flame inside the other. We become light. Activism becomes energized with community, and creativity. We dance to victory or defeat – no difference. We are liberated in our being as activists. We clearly see our beacon. Today Afghanistan, tomorrow Iran, the next day, something, someone else. We are ACTIVISTS! We have always been around just as “they” have always been around.
Finally, I described one level deeper as
Beneath the “substrate consciousness” we can feel into our very being-into-becoming. Unbounded, whole, generative of all the other levels; clear, precise, it has the quality of the sun, which is nothing but its own radiance, and from which all life sources.
This is the level of enduring hope. We can feel something clear, precise and right about the direction of which we are a part, of which we confirm by our being, by who we shape ourselves to be moment to moment, in this journey, in this pledge, in activism and stillness — no difference. We are neither deserving of, nor entitled to the world we have. Neither deserving of nor entitled to the suffering we endure. Neither deserving of nor entitled to the freedoms we enjoy… We are neither deserving of nor entitled to being activists. WE ARE ACTIVISTS! We are part of a momentum with unfathomable mystery.
Dance. Fight. Let’s do it!