Saturday, September 10, 2005

"Why arent' they doing anything?"

From the Greeks, we know that the power of a man that distinguishes him as a political being, giving him political power to actually affect what happens in the world, is the power of speech. Same for the Hebrews, except it is not necessarily referred to as political; and it starts with the Word of God, and the words of men are a likeness. One of the fundamental problems with Western culture since the dawn of modernity is the loss of this power of speech. This "problem", so to speak, reaches deep into the human soul, and belongs to both how we were made and what distinguishes us as human beings, as opposed to some other being. Human beings are the crown of creation, not the least because they have the power of speech to "affect the world." For the Greeks, this power was demonstrated in the political speeches given by the free citizens of the polis. For the Hebrews, this power was demonstrated in the recieving of the Torah, giving the 12 year old young man the power to perform a passover sacrafice.

I referred a moment ago to man's loss of the power of speech since the dawn of modernity. The reader will beg to differ here, because we can all still speak. This I understand, but there's a difference between the ancient Greek citizen speaking in the agora or the ancient Hebrew man with authority as given by his ability to speak the Torah, and modern man's ability to speak to infinity and say nothing. This ability is the special right given to him by the modern system, well systematization in general, but also the particular systems of politics installed into place in modernity - primarily I am speaking here about the modern "state". "L'etoite, c'est moi." That "says it all."

A prime demonstration of this problem is now the figure of the Beureau. Our governments, in many ways, are basically just big beuracracies. You cannot just "speak" to someone to "get something done." The autority is not in our power of speech, but in both the power of our representative to vote for a measure by hitting a button, and in the power of the filing cabinet (that's a lot of power now, oddly enough). Again, the primary problem with this problem of this loss of speech is not that you can't "get things done", but the loss of the authority of man's God-given power of speech, and how that affects the very make-up of his soul, as rejected by Enlightenment science and logic.

A prime demonstration of the "problem" with the modern Beureau was clearly exemplified just recently at the Astrodome in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The stakes of the promblem are greater than simply the question of our ability to "get things done", pragmatically or utilitarianly. The stakes are life and death of our bodies and our souls; these stakes are much higher than finding an efficeint use for the already-present system of things. An NBC reporter fell asleep in the airport in New Orleans, and in the morning when he awoke, the two people next to him, who were alive when he fell asleep, were dead. In order to recieve any sort of medical aid, be fed, or be warm or comfortable, you had to wait in endless lines. And all those in lines were thinking "why are those people on that island in D.C. doing anything?" Everyone was trying to sneak on buses out of the cave of the Astrodome to save their very lives. And then, when help did come in helicopters, pepole shot flying projectiles (bullets) at the very people who were tyring to help them. And yet, from the very beginning, the Beureau, the filing cabinet, demonstrates a fundamental indifference and lack of capability to help them, a lack of ability to "do anything." What's the filing cabinet going to do? It is almost as if, from the overall scale of the world-system, present both on the island of D.C. and in the cave of the Astrodome, there's a death-working power choking all true life from coming into the world.

And it is not that the ancients didn't try to warn us moderns of the "problems" to come. Compare the recent scene in New Orleans and D.C. to one of the first scenes of Homer's Odyssey. Odyssius and his men are stuck in the cave of the big gian one-eyed cyclopse (who is the "they" of the "why won't they do anytyhing"?). This community of giant cyclopse's is on an island in the middle of nowhere, so Odyssius and his men are trapped with no-where to turn and no-body to whom to turn. Trapped in the cave, with the giant cyclopse snoring away, they find themselves asking "what are we going to do?" While the giant is sleeping, the men burn his eye out with one of his torches (the people waiting in line in New Orleans: "it's almost as if 'they' don't even see what's going on!). The giant is awoken (D.C.: "We can't believe the mayor of N.O. is accusing us of turning a blind eye to their agony!), and enraged, tries to kill all the men (let's start a War on a false-front and kill 1,400 of our own men in Iraq!). Meanwhile, with the Cyclopse standing at the entrance of the cave trying to block their way out (security guards) the men sneak out of the cave under the cyclopes's legs, while holding on to the underside of the Cyclopse's goats (busses) as the goats (busses) run out of the cave (Astrodome), in a line one after the other.

Then, as Odyssius and his men, minus a few who were devoured by the giant-cyclopse (the will-less system of filing cabinets) begin to sail away to safety, the giant cyclopse heaves giant death-enducing boulders (bullets - hey, in the great democracy of America, we are all, each and every one of us, even those of us stuck in New Orleans trying to get help but shooting guns at those trying to help, are part of the wonderfully effecient Beureau; we are each a vital cog in that giant Bablo-Systo-Machine; we are all a member of the body of the Great Blinded One-Eyed Cyclopse :) at Odyssius's sail boat (helicopters bringing food and water). Then, when the Cyclopse, having been blinded ("seems like they can't even see that we need help down here, with all these dying people and this flooded city") asks Odyssius, "When my fellow Cyclopse's ask me who did this to me ('Who blinded you?'), what can I tell them? Who did this to me?" Odyssius says to the Cyclopse, "Tell them No-body did it!" And, laughing, he sails away. The helicopter to the guys shooting at them: "If you don't stop heaving big death-inducing rocks at the boats coming to help you, then No-body's going to help you!"

"Why aren't they doing anything?" "Who's going to help us?"

These have often been my thoughts as an Architect waiting in lines at the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, needing to get an endless list of forms signed and filled out in order to simply build a building. It's almost as if the Beureau-System, having no Will, and much less any trust, does not trust the authority, power and knowledge of the Engineers and Architects who came up through its very own educational system. But, even more than that, my overriding thought, a sickening one, was the look of death in the eyes of the Beurocratic workers behind the counters, behind their desks. For your job to be one of filing, for the place of your life in the world to be a desk hidden behind the false-authroity of the figure of the Beureau, is to live under the stinch of death.

Compare that scene in New Orleans, or the one at LADBS, both set in the richest country in the world, with the scene in the aftermath of the recent Tsunami in a city in Inia, one of the poorest countries in the world. I recently went to an Ashram to see Amma Chi, whom they call "Mother". In the wake of the Tsunami, she cut right through all the red tape with her very bodily presence, her voice, and her actions. She was personally helping all of her assistants prepare and send food to all the needy victims in the area. She was personally wading out in the flooded and diseased streets giving direct instructions with her voice to take this boat there to get this group of people, and that canoe there to get that group of people, and to take them to this hotel and pay this amount to this person. All the while having the faith that God would bring His helping hand with the necessary provisions; not checking in the Beureau to see if it is willing to provide. And this faith, this power to act, came from a deep-seeded sense and realization of the love of God and Love for God.

And the Beureau is taking note. Amma Chi is currently gaining power, respect, and recognition around the world, becoming a figure of authority. Maybe sometimes us Christians can take a lesson or two from those heathen Pagans and Hindus. The authority of the Beaureau will always submit to the authority of the Love of God, because we are made in His image! The stone that was rejected became the head corner-stone by which everything thereafter was built.

We need to, from the beginning, understand our Power in God, which, often, others outside the body of Christ seem to understand from his teachings better than ourselves (?). And we need to be fully willing to align ourselves with His teachings and its consequences, and be willing to sacrafice what would be sacraficed. We need to be willing to challenge the authority of the Beareau, and not accept it and its system as having absolute and infinite power handed to it by God. For that is contrary to the very power that He has given to you and me, to every-body. What body does the System take? Yet what power it has. That's why it is so easily able to decieve us into accpeting its power. We cannot even find its source. We need to be willing to loose what the Beaureau-System gives to us - security, control, the power to pre-plan and pre-script all actions and how they will go, and, without fear but in Faith, like "fierce warrior-poets", place our-selves in the loving and powerful hands of God Himslef - and let Him show His glory!

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