HQ Publications

Essays


Reimagining America
by Steve Liebowitz 11/11/15

 
Some things are broken and need to be fixed. Many things are not broken, are woking and don’t need to be fixed. The fact that there are many things that are not broken and are working, does not relieve us of the responsibility of recognizing what’s broken then seeking to fix it. The trick is to fix what needs fixing without making things worse. To ignore what needs fixing by saying one should be ‘positive’ and look at what’s working, or ‘I’m just one person, what can I do’ is akin to burying one’s head in the sand and abrogating one’s responsibility as an individual and a member of a community.

This essay is in four parts: Context, Questions, Answers and Vision. The Context contains a list of many of the things that seem broken and need fixing. The other three parts suggest ways of fixing what’s broken without making things worse.

 
The Context

Formerly middle class people 45 – 56 are committing suicide at the highest rates ever.

Three military a day, most non combat vets, are committing suicide.

Traditional media and social media are full of half truths and outright lies.

The election for President is a year a way, but the campaigning, with the over-zealous participation of the media, began in ernest six months ago.

Corporations are people under the law.

Giving millions to political campaigns is free speech.

We’re still in Iraq and Afghanistan after more than ten years.

Our atomic arsenal is aging and we will spend billions to rejuvenate it.

We have a barbell distribution of wealth. More people with more money and more people with less money at either end and fewer in the middle.

Even with a Black President, racism persists in more pernicious ways and police seem not to understand or be able to control themselves

Political Correctness is worse than ever and drives people to conservative thinking.

People feel more threatened than ever, while the FBI reports the lowest crime statistics in the last twenty years.

We have 9 aircraft carrier battle groups, the Chinese have four – six fortified island aircraft carriers.

We are building more aircraft carrier battle groups.

We have more people in jail than any other nation but one. It costs $30,000 – $40,000 to keep a person incarcerated. While we spend $3,000 – $4,000 a year per child in public school.

College costs more than ever, burdens graduates with life-time debt and is less a guarantee of a job than ever.

Laws that try to guarantee all human beings equal rights, are attacks on religious freedom and free speech.

Tho poles show 60% of the public of all persuasions supports many so called ‘controversial’ subjects, such as background checks for gun purchases, Federal, State and local legislators refuse to pass the desired laws. Inside ball.

With only a small percentage of the money spent on jails and military, every American could have free education through college and we would be the envy of the world.

The mainstream media calls terrorists ‘militants’. All mainstream media covers the same things in the same way.

The mainstream media covers glitz and glamor, blood & guts, crazy extremes and sports more thoroughly than community cooperation and shared interests.

Facts are controversial and mostly irrelevant. Evolution and global climate change are beliefs and political footballs.

Federal and state elected officials spend more time fundraising than legislating; are more beholden to contributors and special interests than ever before; and protect gerrymandering above all else.

It’s been a long time since the financial manipulations and regulatory failures brought on the recent recession, but no one has been prosecuted

The so called justice/judicial and legal systems are not what their names imply

Opportunities arise as the relationship between spirituality and religion shifts toward spirituality

 

Questions

Must all of the above continue?

Is the incremental approach and ‘silo’ thinking we’ve been employing, working?

Aren’t win-win outcomes possible? Does it have to be polarization, controversy and my way or the highway?

If we always do what we always did, won’t we always get what we always got?

Can a fundamentally different way of thinking, a different conceptual framework, be worth exploring?

Is it time for a fresh way of appreciating and honoring our shared ideals, values and aspirations?

Can we find ways to help those of us with economic, political, and philosophical vested interests in the status quo to shift to a world and a system that works for everyone and everything in it?

Can we seemingly ‘sacrifice’ short term personal gain for long term personal and community benefits?

What opportunities arise as the relationship between spirituality (the thing itself, the direct personal experience of the oneness with, and power of the thing we call ‘God’) and religion (the various brands of that thing) shifts towards spirituality?

 

Answers

Must all of the above continue? No! It’s not working and it’s sickening and killing us.

Is the incremental approach and ‘silo’ thinking we’ve been employing, working? No.

Aren’t win-win outcomes possible? Does it have to be polarization, controversy and my way or the highway? The incremental approach – do it in small bites, a piece at a time; ‘silo’ thinking – legal issues in one ‘silo’, economic issues in another, medical in another – without considering the whole picture or whole person is not working. A holistic central focus – the individual in a community, would work better.

If we always do what we always did, won’t we always get what we always got? Yes!!! One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Change can be difficult and frightening, but if we fix our eyes on the prize, we can do it. Especially if we do it with as little incremental and ‘silo’ thinking as possible.

Can a fundamentally different way of thinking, a different conceptual framework, be worth exploring? Not only is it worth exploring, it’s absolutely necessary. We can’t get there from here. The way we think now is causing the difficulties. While we can’t completely stop thinking they way we do, we can hold that way of thinking as not the only way to think, but one of many ways to think. For example, we can shift from either/or thinking – it’s either black or white, to both/and thinking – it’s got some black and some white. This is a shift from using a dichotomy as a metaphor to a continuum as a metaphor.

Is it time for a fresh way of appreciating and honoring our shared ideals, values and aspirations? Yes. Americans of all political persuasions agree on the basics. What we all have to do is expand our ways of appreciating and honoring them, not only to include seeming opposites, but to include new ways, new more inclusive traditions.

Can we find ways to help those of us with economic, political, and philosophical vested interests in the status quo to shift to a world and a system that works for everyone and everything? Yes. We have to. Unless we ease off our grip on our vested interests and open to ways to expand the pie so that everyone gets more than just a small piece, it’s only a matter of time before the pie itself will shrink and everyone will get less.

Can we seemingly ‘sacrifice’ short term personal gain for long term community benefits? Of course we can! Being clear about and accepting some of the answers above will facilitate that.

What opportunities arise as the relationship between spirituality and religion shifts towards spirituality? As humanity shifts toward spirituality – the unfiltered direct relationship and experience of the one power we call ‘God’ – free of formal religious dogma and ritual, more frequent and more meaningful insights, intuitions, creativity and expressions of agape arise. Humanity becomes more inner directed, compassionate, kind and attuned to soul and the best visions of a world that works for everyone and everything in it and the steps needed to achieve it.

 

Vision

One of the most radical shifts is to a holistic, non-‘silo’ focus on the individual in a community as the primary goal and standard. Value and policy decisions will be determined by their ability to contribute to a healthy, viable person in a healthy, viable community.

Everyone and everything about being a person counts. Not some people and some aspects. Everything. All we know about living and being a person has to be taken into account. The fewer things about being a person that are ignored, discounted or left out, the better.

Self actualization, abilities to contribute, health, wealth and environment will move to the forefront. Work will have to be redefined. Sources of income will have to be redefined. What’s important, valuable and meaningful will have to be redefined. Glamor and glitz, money and power, ego and control will give way to each person’s ability to make a unique contribution to a world that works for everyone.

Rigid centralized control either by government or corporate actors will give way to flexible, decentralized participative decision making. One size does not fit all. Traditional decision making structures and systems will transform. Required regulation will be professional, flexible and non-bureaucratic.

Control, regulatory and decision making process and structures will evolve to meet the needs of local conditions and all the stake holders. Lobbying, political contributions and the old boy network will become less important.

It’s tacitly and openly understood that the fundamental reason for honoring, respecting, caring for, developing others and building community is to facilitate the expression of each person’s connection to spirit and enable each person to make their unique contribution to a world that works for everyone and everything in it.

Correction instead of punishment was always the intent way back when the Puritans established the first penitentiary – a place for penitents to go and reflect and repent. We need to get back to the idea of correction instead of punishment at all levels from families to governments. Punishments, like the death penalty, tend not to deter.

Spiritual Technology – the use of such things as: meditation, tai-chi, affirmative prayer, and the Law of Attraction, may be taught in schools and widely practiced. For example, the routine use of Spirit Tech in everyday living has enabled this author and millions of people around the planet to see glitches, difficulties, and ‘failures’ as opportunities to connect with ourSelves instead of ourselves. Our Self is our reality as spirit and our connection with the one power we call ‘God.’

To practice this means pausing when calamity arises, taking a deep breath and asking to see things differently. The calamity doesn’t disappear, but our ability to cope with it and manage it changes. Experiencing events from the calm center, enables one to hear the famous ‘still small voice’ and be guided by it. As a lone isolated ego, with a tiny human brain, it’s difficult to manage even in the best of circumstances. But connected to our Self, it’s possible to know more and be more, because our Self knows more and is more than our self. Even in a Nazi concentration camp, the practice of Spirit Tech was effective. It’s what Victor Frankel called the ‘final freedom.’

 

 

 

The Way We Worked – A Time of Transition – If We Always Do What We Always Did….
by Steve Liebowitz, ED.D  8/19/15
First, has it ever been ‘we’? Hasn’t there always been a deep divide between the have a lots and the have less? There was a time for the 25-30 years after WWII, when the gap was smaller and the so-called middle class seemed to be growing. But that was because Europe and most of the world was in ruins and unable to compete. But as the world rebuilt with equipment and infrastructure newer than our own and as we continued with pre-war infrastructure and policies, the competition increased and as we shifted to the right and distrust of government grew, we’ve kept ourselves from making the necessary investments in infrastructure and education. Globalization and technology have also contributed to this trend. So, gradually the middle class shrunk and the divide has roared back.

Yes, the middle class American Dream has always been the ideal. But we seem to be living in a new gilded age, akin to the way ‘we’ worked in the 1890’s – some of us barely making it, others conspicuously consuming and a small middle class.

Yet globalization and technology offer the hope, not just of a return of the middle class, but of a world that works for everyone and everything. Air pollution, water shortages, latent racism, diminishing natural resources, and climate change are all opportunities to put people to work.

If we always do what we always did, we’ll always get what we always got.
Is it time for new private/public partnerships, not just giving community functions over to for-profit corporations and walking away, but intelligent, non-bureaucratic, on-going regulation oversight and cooperation between private and public entities?

If we always do what we always did, we’ll always get what we always got.
Is it time for a new spirituality, not a punishing, jealous external sky-god, but an internal compassionate and blessing one.

If we always do what we always did, we’ll always get what we always got.
Is it time to let go of the old shibboleths of ‘socialized medicine,’ a ‘war’ on drugs and poverty, and of war, period? How many aircraft carriers and submarines do we need? How well are they protecting us from IS?

If we always do what we always did, we’ll always get what we always got.
What else could we do with all the money going into defense, the NSA and the so-called justice system?

The way we worked, isn’t working anymore. Isn’t it time we changed? There’s nothing wrong with our ideals and dreams, it’s just that the way we work at them is broken. Isn’t it time for a change?

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