Seeing What is in Front of You
When I was young and studying martial arts with my Chinese Indonesian Master, Suhu Subur Rahardja, I asked him directly, “Suhu, what is the ultimate accomplishment one can achieve in the martial arts?" Since I was about to embark on a lifetime of study and practice, I really wanted to know where we were headed.. His response was distinctly Buddhist. He replied: “To see what is in front of you." He continued, “but that is not very easy.”
Many years ago, I saw an interview with a fellow said to be one of the master-minds of the World Trade Center attack. He was forthcoming and candid. He had worked for Al Qaeda, the US army and I believe also US intelligence. He moved through what is actually a permeable barrier between enemy organizations several times in his career and this was well known to both sides. But the one thing he said that was most revealing was something like this: “Americans insist on seeing what they want to see, not what is there. This is their weak point.”
My time spent abroad afforded me with many valuable lessons. In Nepal there are many people who have never been out of the mountains. They have never even seen a car. When they finally come to Kathmanu they are not sure how to cross a heavily trafficked street. I saw a group of three ladies huddled at a street corner making several false starts at running across the street until finally the leader placed her hands on both sides of her head like horse blinders and raced across the street - - right through the traffic.
There are many things in this world we may not wish to see. Some 30% of our human efforts are designed to avoid what we don’t like. Another 40% addresses what we want. The last 30% is characterized by total dullness and confusion. Considering these main modes of being, to see what truly is in front us is already a magical feat. But in order to know how to act properly, we need to first see what is actually happening.
Many people ask the question: “How could the Germans, (or anyone else for that matter), have allowed such a monster as Hitler come into power? “ At the time, most people in Germany thought Hitler was an incapable buffoon and laughed at the thought that he could ever rise into any real position of power in the country. They pounded him with condescending jokes which probably only increased his vengeance and resolve and made him focus on his plan of self-aggrandizement and retribution all the more. This all added up to the country being blind-sided.
Today, we confront a test bed of atrocities. Even from before the election of the unwell person we call our president, he himself declared during his campaign: “I could shoot someone on the street and nobody would do anything.” It is on this premise that his tests of the outrageous thrive today. This is not new or original. Test marketing is not something this fellow invented although he has had years to refine it in his game-show/Reality-TV life. Make no mistake; despite his inability to graduate from 3rd grade, and despite all his Daddy issues as evidenced by his love of dictators, Trump is a master of mass deception and manipulation. His most common way of measuring someone is through his or her “ratings”. This barometer of social acceptability in action allows him to manipulate the masses.
The vilification of media is a critical first phase of any movement towards totalitarianism. There is a reason why the First Amendment comes first. Without freedom of speech or a free press, we as a people cannot come to know what is in front of us. Granted, the news media has long eroded the public’s confidence in its ability to provide that service properly. One can argue that our current situation is a natural conclusion to a job poorly done. But the fact remains that the elimination of a free press is stage one of this fellow’s plan. The second stage is the erosion of the legitimacy of the judiciary system. We are already seeing stones cast at this branch of the government, which is our bastion of resistance to military takeover. Cancer thrives in anaerobic situations; atrocities thrive where there is no accountability and impunity.
The struggle around the Second Amendment is more complex. On a good day, we imagine that the Second Amendment exists to assure that we can protect ourselves from tyrannous authority. Should we come under attack by tyrants who try to tax us without our voices being represented, free responsible men and women should be able to respond. We do not want to find ourselves walking to our own slaughter, as the Jews seemed to do in WWII, without resistance.
In the current scenario, the Second Amendment has been bent to play nicely into the hands of anxious power lovers. Those who collect arms to defend themselves from tyranny seem to believe that tyranny is itself a solution. On the other hand, if armed civilians initiate a civil war, as might be the case if the president is ousted, or if the masses just feel too pressed to the wall, we can only look forward to another kind of authoritarian control. Either way, our society is likely to be divided by its own internal war and unable to respond to the real crisis at hand.
The events of the past days and weeks are no accident. They are manifestations of a refined propaganda machine revving itself up into high gear. The so-called hidden “I don’t care… do you?” message on Melania’s jacket, said so many things. It was a signal to the alt right that in fact the administration doesn't care about the kids on the border. It was a signal to Americans designed to weaken our ability to see clearly. And lastly, it was a seed planted to vilify the press, the next target in the regime change we see unfolding before our eyes. The state-controlled media is already growing like weeds and multiplying like rabbits. Please research the Sinclair Media Group to find out more about the doings.
Milo Yiannopoulos, white supremacist and right wing associate of Neo-Nazis, openly called for the vigilante assassination of journalists around the 26th of June. Within a day or two, a shooting occurred at a reputable Maryland newspaper. Milo claimed he was “just trolling”. While the assailant was reported to have personal beef with the newspaper, his actions play into the story that our authorities want us to believe. They have almost succeeded in trivializing this attack on the press. The story weakens our ability to respond to the pathogen of atrocity. Once again, hate speech or incitement to murder will have gone unidentified and unpunished.
There is no doubt that we are being played. The dumbing down of Americans is proceeding at breakneck speed, and the test marketing of our amnesia and the numbness in our immune system is in full swing. Our task is to see what is in front of us and to be wary of tricks. The enemies of democracy and equality are skillful and reside everywhere on all sides, especially inside our own beings. Let's not underestimate them. Branding, be it Monsanto or its clever switch to the name of its new owners, Beyer, is not truth, it is simply a mask. Without correct seeing, and forward thinking, the development of a way out of the mess is crippled.
But after all the clear seeing is done, the true path is always one of forward proactive momentum towards the positive. One can only hope that we can boost our immune system by correct seeing so that our collective can send antibodies of truth to counter the infection of confusion and delusion before the tipping point into no return is upon us.