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Summer 1999
Issue 10

Of Humility and Greed
by Tom Duffey

Star Wars Vs. Real Wars
by John Rude

Leaving Home: For Binos, In Memoriam
by Ness Mountain

Kaliyuga, Choo, Choo
by William Benz

Dreams of Kindness, Love and Grace
by Carolyn Berry

Torture In The American Gulag
by Tom Cahill

Departures
Fiction by Geronimo Tagatac

Transformation Found In A Broken Foot
by Stuart Watson

Parenting At The Future's Edge
by David Spangler

Intuitive Decision-Making In An Age of Chaos
by Paul O'Brien

Starry Eyed
By Spyrit

Email From Portland
by Kerul

(Kaliyuga, Choo, Choo . . .)

The State’s Competency Test
Our society aspires to present the Whole Universe in pre-packaged form. There’s a lot to soak up, so acquiescent complaisance is engendered at a very early age. Parents, T
eachers, Ministers, Politicians, Police, and other Purveyors of Public and Private Opinion are on guard to protect us from individualized revelations. It’s for our own good. Maintaining control is the only way to avoid disaster. The fact that we’re teetering on the brink of collapse is never far from anyone’s mind. Not knowing the nature of the Evil within, there’s fear of its escape at every turn. People who don’t share this fear are seen as suspect. The only reason imaginable for them not to be afraid is that they’re in cahoots with the Devil. Whenever they’re found they must be stopped and shown the evilness of their ways.

“Class, today we are going to learn how the Pilgrims, having fled religious persecution, created the United States to guarantee freedom of worship.”

“Mrs. Wilson, if that’s true why did they kill all those witches in Salem?”

“Our Founding Fathers didn’t kill anybody! Well, at least, not anyone who obeyed the Law. Have you been reading ahead? Well, I guessed as much! Stop it! You’ll only end up confusing yourself and disrupting the class. You’ve got to learn these facts as they’re presented or otherwise you’ll flunk the State’s Competency Test and will have to repeat Third grade! Now, pay attention!”

As I said, whenever they’re found they must be stopped and shown the evilness of their ways.

But lucky for us, the messiness of things keeps intruding on our attempts to create a perfectly ordered existence. The vastly compassionate nature of the messiness of things doesn’t allow itself to be driven from the surface for long. It resists whitewashing its complexity into twin categories of Good and Evil. If we persist in trying, it strikes back from the inside out, hindering our sense of self worth. It strikes back by clearcutting the wilderness on either side of our straight and narrow Path. It strikes back corrupting our view of Justice and filling our prisons to overflowing. It strikes back to become an education that teaches children not to think, or feel, or question why, till they themselves strike back in desperation, in Self Defense.

Finally, there comes a point where this habit of avoidance riddles the very fabric of life where we collectively move and have our being. We awaken into a dark night of confusion where all things are out of whack. Where the world’s coming apart at the seams on every imaginable level. Our world’s screwed up. You can take that to the bank. As a matter of fact, the banks would be a good place to start, to figure out why things aren’t working for the Good of the Many . . . . Whoops. There I go again.

So what to do? That’s the question. Is there any solution being offered that addresses the terror we feel inside? Of course, as would be expected, there are many. Some are heart felt and depend upon personal plans of dedicated action. Others rely on scriptural authority and depend on all-powerful Deities to save the day. From the realm of the impoverished affluent, we hear it’s just a matter of making as much money as possible. With enough cash, they believe they can buy their way out of anything. Oh well, you can’t save everyone!

It would be interesting to examine each solution and analyze its relative strengths and weaknesses, but the issue I find more relevant is why so many of these solutions avoid the issue of our internal bewilderment. The alienation and paralysis we feel when facing our most terrible dilemma is intimately bound to this particular lack of self-inquiry. We can not continue to be satisfied with just taking sides. That leads to policies like ethnic cleansing. Or the equally depraved policy of turning a people into brutalized, homeless refugees in order to save them from genocide.

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