Fiscal conservatives in the US aren’t happy, but around the world there is a sense of hope, promise, and a fresh start for American leadership. As Oprah was quoted as saying to CNN News in Chicago, IL last night:
“We”ve just experienced a profound shift in our consciousness.”
Oprah’s sentiment, perhaps emboldened by her recent study with Eckhart Tolle, reflects an ancient philosophical issue: can we change the status quo by the power of consciousness alone? How does our perspective create (or limit) our possibilities? And does radical change come from a new ideal that is untouched by the material world, or is it hammered from the raw matter of our physical, mental, and cultural limitations?
That’s what I started thinking about anyways as I saw Obama take the stage in Grant Park last night.
I share Oprah’s hope, and the world’s enthusiasm, for this new change in world leadership, but I am reminded of eco-philosopher Derrick Jensen’s statement that:
“Psychologically and socially, it [a shift in consciousness] is really important, but it doesn’t matter: you can still have a huge transformation of the heart, but if you still require the importation of resources, what are you going to do about it?”
The big picture, after all, is that modern civilization is unsustainable, and is enforceable only through violence. My anthropologist training cannot make me forget that never has there been a state level society that hasn’t operated through violence, oppression, and the destruction of landscape for unsustainable human practices.
I know, what a downer. In my mind, a shift of consciousness is not sufficient, but it sure is a nice change of pace.
Here’s Jensen discussing the big picture of our modern predicament, new world leader or not.
The transfer of “king energy” to Obama is still a tremendous event from a socio-historical perspective. And from a depth psychology level, I hope he continues to use the archetype to encourage Kingliness (compassion, service, fairness, and especially: order) in each of our lives, because that is the mark of a good leader.
Here is a selection that brings the idea of “King energy” back to earth, from Robert Moore & Douglas Gillette’s book King, Warrior, Magician, Lover:
“The ordering function of the King energy…shows up not only in ancient maps, in sand paintings of the desert Indians, in the icons of Buddhist art, and in the rose windows of Christian churches, but also just as persistently in the dreams and paintings of modern people undergoing modern psychoanalysis. Jung, noticing this, borrowed the name for such representations from Tibetan Buddhism and called these pictures of the organizing Center “mandalas.” He noticed that when mandalas appeared in his analysands” dreams and visions, they were always healing and life-giving.
What this function of the King energy does, through a mortal king, is embody for the people of the realm this ordering principle of the Divine World. The human king does this by codifying laws. He makes laws, or more accurately, he receives them from the King energy itself and passes them on to his nation.”
So, my hope is that Obama’s ability to channel the King energy, which is embodied in the chant, “Yes we can,” will spill over to the meta-issues which hound us as species today: environmental destruction, loss of habitat, loss of cultural diversity, peak oil, peak water, over-population, and the constant (and decidedly unpopular to discuss) threat of plague and its main catalysts, biological warfare and our over-reliance in antibiotics.
Don’t get me wrong, until the day that we can live sustainably on this earth, I’ll take the tax breaks.
This is a very interesting idea that’d I’d imagine most people would not consider. However, I am not a subscriber of the view that Barrack Obama is anything different than has come before. Just because he has black skin, a very different image of him has been painted than if he was white. If you take the skin colour away, his campaign and slogans are very similar to that of Bill Clinton. Rather than looking at his skin colour, I think it is more important to look at who has funded his campaign, who he has surrounded himself with and what is ultimately more important, who he appoints to his cabinet and where their allegiances lie.
If you look at Obama’s funding you will find that he was not far off double McCain’s campaign funding. Although some of this is due to his funding from the average guy on the street and more effective online campaigning, Obama also has more funding from corporations, most notably from financial institution despite Bush’s bailout proposals that would prop up financial institution that have abused the American people to the hilt and provide all involved with immunity and no questions to be asked.
Only time will tell if Obama is going to be the next JFK or just another stooge in the White House.
I think it would be a real change in consciousness if someone like Ralph Nader or Ron Paul would have become President. Obama challenges nothing.
It will also be interesting to see if Dubya will pardon more criminals than Slick Willy before he leaves to join the gravy train.
Yes, it’s not a fundamental change, but it’s good. I think of it like going through some arduous ordeal, which isn’t going to get much easier in the near future, and you’ve got a companion hologram like Dean Stockwell in Quantum Leap. He can’t help much, but he’s got some influence. And he’s there in your face a lot of the time. And it’s George W. Bush. Even though you’re just switching holograms, you’d jump for joy if it was switched for Obama.
I guess the problem is that most people don’t see that it’s just a hologram. Within a certain range, switching makes a clear difference; but most of reality is outside that range.
David, right you are: only time will tell.
Gyrus, I think all aspects of life are improved by a Quantum Leap metaphor. That one was great.
Most of my voting life I’ve felt very “puppet on the left/puppet on the right” about general elections. The enthusiasm of this election caught me off guard, and while it’s true that real change won’t happen in this forum, it’s reminded me of how psychologically real this transfer of power is to to the world.
Looking to Obama to “save the world” = bad idea. Being inspired by Obama to bring order and compassion to our own lives and communities = that’s more like it.
Hey Ryan–Really fresh thoughts on this post.
I’m a bit more hopeful, because I can’t help thinking about how an economy starts with its consumers, and a shift in consciousness could profoundly increase the number and power of conscious consumers, shaking the foundations of importation at its core. But I’d also contend that Obama is just an artifact of (rather than the catalyst for) an even deeper shift in consciousness that’s happening around the planet-one that I believe Tolle is pointing to in his work. And it’s my hope that this bigger shift would decrease consumer demand through their demands to live more simply.
And of course, it might also increase the demand for dreaming 🙂
I’m feeling hopeful now, with the inauguration a week away. And I agree with the point artifact versus catalyst. Dark days also require more charisma than economic high points, and Obama fits that bill too.
As for the demand for dreaming…. it’s never been higher!
Tom Volo says
Well I think Obama’s lies about change has been fully exposed.
Ony yesterday he announced to send an additional 30,000 troops for afgan, yet in all his pre-election speeches he says “If I am elected… the first thing I will do is bring our troops home… thats a promise you can take to the bank.”
Well obama, your promises are obviously worth nothing… and as such being the case, if policitians continue to get away with saying 1 thing to get elected, getting elected then doing the complete opposite, why dont they just openly say on ever speech “warning, this speech is riddled with lies”.
Ryan Hurd says
Tom, it is interesting to watch what happens when an uninitiated “king” takes the mantle and realizes that hope/change only goes so far. I personally wish the US wasn’t involved in A too. I think Obama has integrity, but he’s still got to answer to the military/industrial engines that put him in charge. Lies and politicians, hand in hand….