What Happens When (Enough of) a Democracy Doesn’t Want to Be One Anymore — and Never Really Did?
War is an inflammation, an outbreak in the world’s body politic reflecting a deeper systemic disease in the underlying psyche of humanity. In collective events such as wars, we are seeing through a looking glass into the world-soul of humanity as it is being played out—for all who have eyes to see—on the global stage. War is an irrational phenomenon that can’t be stopped or controlled with rational arguments, for its source is the shared unconscious of humanity, which is to say that the roots of war are to be found deep within the unconscious psyche of humanity.
And here we are, wondrous beings, with unique gifts and abilities. We are capable of love and deep compassion, an appreciation of beauty, the creation of great art, music, and poetry. We are aware of our history, of how we came to be here. We have studied the world around us, and been awed by what we have discovered. We can imagine the future and choose how we respond. We find meaning in our lives, a sense of justice, and an inner wisdom. There is much to celebrate about us. The question is: Can we celebrate all that we are, while accepting that our species is here but for a brief flash of cosmic time?
There’s a simple fact that I don’t think Americans are reckoning with. That Americans are maybe even capable of reckoning with. It’s this. They’re living in what’s becoming a fascist society. And that fact raises the simple question: how do you live in a fascist society?
This is the end of the democracy.
What would happen if we did not try to push our deep concerns about the war and the economy and the environment away from us? What if we didn’t cling to thoughts and feelings that distract us from the world situation? What if, instead, we trusted those feelings and examined them without opinions of good or bad—with a not-knowing mind—and tried to see what they were telling us? What if we simply tried to understand our life-functions in relation to these feelings?
Defying evil cannot be rationally defended. It makes a leap into the moral, which is beyond rational thought. It refuses to place a monetary value on human life or the natural world. It refuses to see anyone as superfluous. It acknowledges human life, indeed all life, as sacred. And this is why, as Arendt points out, the only morally reliable people are not those who say “this is wrong” or “this should not be done,” but those who say “I can’t do this.”
We’ve long had symptoms. We now have a name for the disease: climate disruptions. But what is the prognosis. The shock for me is that we’ve gone from a treatable condition to a fatal prognosis. That’s what has me reeling. I’m ping-ponging around the well-known stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance without resolution. Used to being a leader, or at least a scout who is at least riding shotgun on the stage coach, I felt blind. And if blind, then unable to fulfill my self-assigned duties. People have looked to me. If I just shrug an I dunno, I’m useless – at least in my estimation
The reason impeachment matters — and I think every one of us should remember this in the days and weeks to come — isn’t so that political points are scored. It isn’t so that the “will of the people” is done. That’s got nothing do with it at all. Impeachment matters so that the rule of law matters again. It’s so that we say as a society there are red lines, which nobody should step beyond. It’s so that the phrase “abuse of power” means something again. It’s so that democratic norms and values of equality, justice, and freedom carry hard and real authority again. Impeachment matters so that power begins to flow in the opposite direction again — back from autocracy, and towards a democracy capable of healing its badly broken social contract, institutions, norms, and values.
Authoritarianism And The Lost Nobility Of Soul, By Carolyn Baker, Part 2 In The Series: “Reclaiming Inner Authority In An Authoritarian Age”
Our nobility of soul often erodes as we under-value or ignore our own self-care. A toxic culture does not value physical, emotional, or spiritual health because it is a culture of death. In that milieu, our “health” either becomes equated with status, youthfulness, sexual attraction, and control, or it becomes yet another avenue for cultivating and feeding narcissism. However, as we increasingly value life and our deepest humanity—our nobility of soul, we find ourselves taking better care of ourselves through diet, exercise, adequate sleep and rest, and space for reflection, solitude, and spiritual practice. Not only is self-care “good for us,” it flies in the face of a culture of death.