You know how it is with us humans, always seeking after some answer, some new tool or toy. Behind it all, as the gurus tell us, is a feeling of insufficiency.
The appropriate response to this information has become almost self-evident; and when you hear that phrase it helps to remember how far Thomas Jefferson’s self-evident truths were from real world actualization. It’s common historical awareness, at this point, to be aware of the tangible way in which Jefferson and all those like him violated the principles of their civic faith with the practices of their lived economics. Beyond that, though, there is a much more profound gap.
Because it’s one thing to recognize sinfulness in retrospect, or in the lives of others, than to reconcile one’s own life to one’s own values.
And rather than berating people for falling short, I’m writing to point out just how steep those values actually are, relative to the material reality within which we apparently live.
To put it in political terms appropriate to the holiday: the problem of slavery has yet to be solved. And even the popular celebrations of Dr. King’s message have, by and large, fundamentally altered his dream in the act of publicly institutionalizing it.
Just to aid your own thinking on this matter, I’ll say that I’m talking about MLK’s speech in the Ebenezer Baptist Church, given on April 30, 1967, where he not only came out against the war in Vietnam, but did so on the grounds that militarism abroad was intimately connected with racism at home.
This, to my mind, is the speech that THEY (The Hierarchy Enslaving You) killed him for; but you don’t have to believe me on that to notice that the Dr. King’s dream has only been realized, insofar as it has, by breaking apart the militarism and racism that he brought conceptually together.
But again, I’m not bringing this up to berate you, or the nation, for falling short and selling out. Not because we haven’t fallen short and sold out, but because my point is to appreciate the difficulty of doing anything other than this.
Consider, again, the idea that we seek after other people and things out of a feeling of personal insufficiency. And, rather than taking it as self-evident that you are, really, self-sufficient, reflect a bit on how far that is from the truth. Reflect on how deep your inadequacy goes, relative to all the material circumstances of life; and ultimately relative to the very framework of life itself.
YOU ARE GOING TO DIE, and there’s nothing you can do about it. If we suppose a fundamental will to survive as intrinsic to our psyche – and how could we not? – then the feeling of fundamental insufficiency is only natural. Relative to your most basic will, you are insufficient.
We might recognize, then, that people are being driven by an unconscious form of this awareness, nearly at all times. To really get this, we have to accept that there’s a difference between denial and genuine innocence.
I assert that the fundamental faith act within popular religions, almost always, involves the conflation of the one for the other. And cultural forms are both the mirrors and the models of individual being. That is: as individuals, we’re almost always involved in an act of self-deception whereby we unconsciously conflate denial with innocence.
Again, I’m not here to condemn us for falling short of integrity. Nor am I here to absolve us. Rather, I mean to point out that our hypocrisy is rooted in an unconscious awareness of the immanency of our deaths, and a corresponding awareness that we, as individuals, are fundamentally insufficient relative to our own purposes.
We are all, in effect, born to fail.
This deep, generally hidden, crisis of our lives drives us to seek outside ourselves for some solution. And this is what our ideological associations are about. They are means – generally delusional, savage, and hypocritical – of imaginatively and emotionally transcending the certainty of death.
More, we overlook their shadows because it seems we must. For without this sense of membership in a transcendent association, we are left facing Death itself. We are left utterly, intimately, powerless.
So it is that atheists almost always fall prey to unconsciously forming a new religion and a new community of faith characterized by rigid standards of membership and public shaming of outsiders and excommunicates.
So it is that the noble Left comes to embody the ultimate recourse to permanent propaganda by some combination of pure unconscious reactivity and a rational judgement that pathological lying is the best way to serve a higher Truth.
So it is that every faith becomes in time a parody and offense against itself, as it dives deeper down the rabbit hole of its own shadow projection; everyone of which leads eventually to a sacred battlefield, where the forces of Good and Evil assemble to fight for control of Time & Space.
And at the heart of these movements of mass insanity, lies the frightened individual, desperate to understand a way beyond Death.
Given all this, it is worth reflecting on the fact the MLK is perhaps the final flowering in Western, Christian American, culture of the Tradition of the Martyr. For it’s only in following through with this tradition that Martin Luther King succeeded. He walked the martyr’s path, which is the fate of the Prince of Peace; exactly because he wouldn’t indulge in that fundamental conceit, the conflation of denial and innocence.
In this we might see, at last, the difference between Martin Luther King and Barrack Obama, and wonder within ourselves, in our own lives, whether it is even possible that a genuine prophet could become president, except in death.
So in remembering Doctor King, I remember his faith in the face of martyrdom, in the face of certain doom at the hands of the Masters of War, who have no allegiance to Justice or Truth. The Masters of Fake News.
This faith was not simply a will to fight, but a will to engage this fight according to a code of personal conduct only made possible by grounding the sense of self within a context of spiritual triumph over the norms of power. These twin faiths are the babies within the bathwater of heteronormative monotheistic patriarchy many liberals are so eager to cast into the gutter of history.
To you, a quote from that apostle of psychic freedom, Blake: Be careful when casting out your demons that you do not also cast out the best part.