Friday, 15 August 2008

The personal remains political - and vice-versa

For the last few days I have been considering starting another blog, This is because I have felt the need to rant about major political issues. And in these rants, I feared that I would be wandering very far from the “spiritual”. The use of inverted commas is deliberate, simply because I cannot differentiate between spiritual and secular realms. When people are starving, or dying through preventable disease or when armies kill, rape, torture and loot their way through terrorised populations, then it is impossible for me to differentiate between the secular and the sacred. Maybe this is a fault. Certainly I have been told so many times that I should not focus on the negatives but should look at flowers and birds. For it is there where Goddess is,

And they are right. It is, partly through contact with flowers and birds that I have stayed alive to the age of 61 and not succumbed to despair. Even more importantly however, there are those who have loved me, far more than my deserving. They know who they are – as I do – and I cannot name them here. But, however, I am aware that my survival thus far is not solely the result of my actions or virtues but has chiefly depended on the deep love and support that I have received. And was often incapable of returning in the unconditional way it was given.

And the uncomfortable truth is that some of those who offered that love in the past are now dead. And their deaths are directly due to the actions and decisions of others who decided to declare an absurd and unwinnable war on drugs. So, can I withdraw into some pink fluffy la-la land with the reassurance that their deaths are their own responsibility and part of their karmic journey and those people who made the decisions that led to the circumstances in which they died bear no responsibility? I am responsible for the consequences of my own decisions only insofar as I am conscious that I have any choice. As a member of a global elite - a western educated, middle class male – I have considerably more free will than the huge bulk of the population of the planet. To that extent, I bear considerably more responsibility for the way my life has developed – for good or ill – than they do.

What responsibility, however, does the orphaned African child who has inherited her mother’s HIV bear? Or the parents in Georgia over the last few days who have tried to shelter their children from Russian bombs? Or Iraqis? Afghans? Or the people of New Orleans who waited for basic food and water for well over a week in the superdome in a major city in the most powerful and richest nation on the planet? How do they bear responsibility for their plight? The short answer is, they don’t. The hell they inhabit has been inflicted by others in pursuit of the extension of their power and wealth.

I have often been accused of being too angry. I do not know how it is possible not to feel anger at what happens in the world. Anger is the only appropriate response, I would have thought. Human beings are beautiful and sacred and the planet that we inhabit is wonderful and sacred. That is the basis of my belief. All that is, is Goddess. And yet, we are divided and out of harmony and are thus – as a species – pathologically destructive. This state of mind is called, for want of a better word, patriarchy. How, why and when this disease was born, I am not qualified to say although I have a few ideas. This does not matter, however. It is like spending time with a patient with lung cancer trying to determine whether it was through her smoking as a younger woman, her partner’s smoking, car exhausts, faulty genes, some unidentified virus or plain bad luck. In the end, the patient will die unless some intervention is made fairly quickly.

What we are seeing in the world today is the progress of a potentially fatal disease the major symptom of which is that entire categories of human beings are considered dispensable. It is also a world in which, overwhelmingly, divinity is envisioned as male. Absurdly, the birthing of the universe is seen as the function of a male in some sort of cosmic and narcissistic masturbation. The very notion is fundamentally insane. It is therefore unsurprising that the systems of thought that it has spawned are equally insane.

And I do not believe that any are immune from this insanity. Patriarchal thinking has infected all discourse. Any healing however, will not come from some New Age wishful thinking but from a realisation that perhaps the patriarch resides within us all and manifests each time we presume to know what is right for another.


wiccanwanderings said...

You are right to feel anger. It's what we then do with the motive power that anger provides that sets us apart.

There's no sense in turning our faces away from that which makes us angry and sick to the stomach. No matter how many flowers we look at, they'll always smell of blood. We have to face the awful, disgraceful and degrading things humans do to other humans, quite often in the name of God, and do what we personally can do to change things.

As a witch and a spiritual person, I want our Mother to look after us all - but I don't believe she can unless we look after each other first.

Since I became a mother I've felt the terror of wondering what it would feel like if anything happened to my boy. To try and overcome this crippling fear i've tried to externalise it and use it to help others. Parenthood has increased my ability to feel compassion tenfold. A blessing and a curse, one might say.

Keep discussing politics here; it doesn't need to be compartmentalised, and it shouldn't be; people of conscience need to speak out and act against evil wherever it is found.

Abdur Rahman said...

Peace Brian,

An interesting blog. I arrived here via The Green Witch. I look forward to reading more of your thoughts.

Abdur Rahman

Brian Charles said...

Thank you greenwitch
I do not feel i can do anything other than discuss politics. I came to Goddess through a process of living as a single parent and the study of feminist theory.

One of the reasons i came to Hungary, moreover, was that, as a boy of 9, I listened to the appeal of the Hungarian government for western support as Russian tanks rolled through the streets of Budapest and children not much older than i threw petrol bombs.

This was my first realisation that there was something seriously wrong with the world and it all could be summed up with the common childhood phrase "It's not fair!"

And it still isn't fair - and i am still that boy, deep down.


Brian Charles said...

Thanks for you comment, Abdur. I am very new to blogging and am glad that what i have to say interests people. I feared that i would get no response.

Andy said...

I'm a bit late posting here because of my silly cold that has somewhat incapacitated me - but I'm back at last.

I won't post at length, Brian, as others have said what I have felt more eloquently than I. I agree that to be angry is a positive thing, in many ways. We have many of the freedoms that we enjoy today because someone, or a group of people, decided to get angry and to something about it. However, that anger needs to be channeled if it is to be effective, especially on a spiritual realm.

However, in here somewhere is also the healing of self, and I feel that strongly. I agree with all you've said on Patriarchy, indeed, who could or would want to argue with it, but I do also get a sense of a need to forgive self for this and to move on into the freedom of that forgiveness and healing. From this position of personal forgiveness and healing comes the power of change that we are all looking for.

It's interesting, but as a gay man I was able to embrace my maleness, to accept, love and express my understanding of the sacred male as revealed to me by both Goddess and God. From my own spiritual love of self (that is embryonic and growing, I don't say this from an arrogant standpoint) I have learned to forgive myself my past mistakes and move forward, positively, into change and freedom. I don't always get it right, but it is a movement in the right direction.

Let that weight fall off!

Brian Charles said...

Thanks Andy

Glad you are feeling better

I do not feel myself to blame for the state of the world. I am not that egotistical - quite - nor do i feel ill at ease with my maleness. Which is not to say that I am totally without hangupsw but I have, if not forgiven all, come some way along the road of self-forgiveness. there is always further to travel. Healing is a continuous process as we unpeel the onion.

BUT - if Goddess means anything, she means "LOVE". She is rhe centre of all that is. Here, in Hungary, the 5th element is not spirit or ether but love - Szerelem - the sacred element.

And to me that means that we cannot simply attend to our own path but must be aware of the wider context. I am aware that there are others who take another road That is good - i have many times been allowed to rest among them, regain my strength and move on.

Why i inveigh against patriarchal concepts is simply because they are toxic and may soon result in catastrophe. I do not feel that i can ignore this. yes, i am angry at times, but this is not a burden but a fuel. Yes, it was a burden once - when i was trying to deny who i was. It is no longer one - unless i again try to pretend that i am cool.

My anger, just as my love, my doubt and my fear, is part of who I am. I am learning to embrace it all and it feels god, most of the time.

Andy said...

I agree with you 100%, Brian, that our path needs to be outward looking as much as inward. We need to look inward in order to of any real and lasting external use, but if our heads are constantly stuck in our collective naval, we'll be pretty useless! However, I do believe that we can't have one without the other.

I worked with a priestess in Glastonbury for a while, and I was amazed that she chose to not read the papers or make herself aware of the news, as she felt it wasn't important. I think we are called to use the power that we have to affect world change, through spiritual as well as physical means. I think it's important that we make our voices and our efforts known. I agree with you.

And yes, anger, love, healing, fear, darkness, light, all these things are part of us and we should not and must not deny any aspect of ourselves. But we also need to move on, standing still isn't an option!

I think we're saying the same thing really!

Brian Charles said...

Hi Andy

I am sure we are saying the same thing. our paths may differ slightly but they are part of the same tapestry