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Martin LeFevre - Meditations: Revolution!

Meditations (Politics) - From Martin LeFevre in California


Clearly, we need a revolution. But who is 'we', and what kind of revolution?

All revolutions in history have had a 'them' that less powerful or powerless people sought to overthrow. However, with very few exceptions, success in getting rid of one set of scoundrels simply results in rule by another set of scoundrels.

Asoka, a monarch in ancient India, is the only exception to the rule that I know. He internalized the teachings of Gautama Buddha and ruled with exceptional wisdom and justice over 200 hundred years after Siddhartha's death.

H.G. Wells, in his "Outline of History," said of Asoka, "Amidst the tens of thousands of names of monarchs that crowd the columns of history, 'their majesties and graciousnesses and serenities and royal highnesses' and the like, the name of Asoka shines, and shines almost alone."

But monarchs belong to history. The few royals that remain are mere celebrities. Besides, our monoculture (or culture-less) world requires a simultaneous spiritual explosion and political manifestation.

We don't live in countries, much less kingdoms anymore. All of us reside in what the world has become--a big blob of a global society. There is no 'they,' except convenient bogeymen erupting from the alienated masses of the world, hopeless people reduced to flying commercial planes into the symbols of the power that oppresses them.

"We will defend our borders and protect the homeland," the Bushites intone. They speak a dead language to a dead people. Only Serbians, Saudi Arabians, and Americans think borders really matter anymore.

People everywhere are running faster and faster, but escaping less and less. If there is no 'they', or 'there,' where is the we, and the here? Clearly, we need a revolution.

What kind of revolution? Certainly not with guns. The US military is developing lasers that will make them obsolete. Besides, without radical change at all levels, even if we do manage to get rid of one Bush, another will sprout up to take its place.

What about movements such as the Porto Alegre Social Forum, "another world is possible" variety? Many people are putting their energies into preserving viable communities. That is commendable, though only a stopgap measure against the growing tide of economic and cultural globalization (read homogenization).

A psychological revolution cannot happen without viable communities, but communities will not remain viable without a psychological revolution.

Like oases in the desert of corporate globalization, communities of people who retain the basic human attributes of caring, friendship, and stewardship are essential. But greed and darkness are extinguishing animals, and human spirits, at an accelerating rate. Isolation has become the rule, for untamed animals and living individuals.

The shrinking pool of people who still care find it harder and harder to continue caring. A few may find monastic peace, but that won't change the course of humankind. We need a revolution in consciousness.

The Buddha traced all suffering back to self-centered activity. However, most people take self-centered activity as a given, or even as a virtue. But there is no such thing as a separate, much less permanent self, and dissolving the 'me' along with the debris that orbits it is now essential to our survival.

What political form might a revolution in consciousness take? Obviously a global polity of world citizens. The paradox is that to salvage the fast-sinking UN, so that it can grow into a genuine body of international law and global governance, a new body, operating beyond emotionally held concepts of particular identification, is urgently needed.

Ironically, human fragmentation of the earth and people is providing the impetus for an evolutionary leap. Hang on. On second thought, don't hang on.


- Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. I have been publishing in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Europe for 20 years.

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