Inquiry: Journeying on the dirt road of politics and the soul by LJ Frank

Credit: Jean Philippe-Cypres, photographer

I was born in a country with political boundaries and within a capitalistic system. Capitalism is based on profit.

A number of economists suggest capitalism is necessary for survival at least to a degree. In the extreme, it encourages greed.

In such a system, one is a political and an economic creation as much as being of flesh and blood. I have identity cards, licenses, records, documents, certificates, diplomas, degrees and job evaluations that measure, label and categorize me now all in digital format and allow me to work or shove me out the door at will. At will is a pretentious legal term that philosophically suggests my existence and value exists at the discretion of others. Competition is inbred into the capitalist philosophical disposition and has become a political creation. Genetics is another story. The artificial and the biological are now woven with the technological. Consider artificial intelligence with thinking software and the future of human welfare.

Unless you have a pre-existing condition of surplus wealth, then you can’t live satisfactorily outside the boundaries of the country or rules of the “political state of being” in which you are born and are subject to. Without a record of yourself, you are without a home unless you have sufficient financial resources. It’s the economics of power. Those who control the wealth are mostly in control or at least the framework exists for such a liberty. Wealth effectuates liberty of movement. And, the earth turns giving the illusion that the sun rises. Art, music and poetry are just three expressions to help assuage our physically transitory existence and the setting of the sun. Philosophically one could say one is moving as the earth whirls at approximately one thousand miles an hour. That’s not wealth, or liberty of movement, merely the power of observation.

The politics of liberty are interesting. Libraries, fire departments, schools, colleges, water, sewer, roads, etc., are dependent on government and government is only as successful to the degree that it’s nonprofit and its services are available to all people. To suggest that supply side economics is an answer is indeed to play into the hands of the superstitious. Some have previously called it “voodoo economics.” In different words, outsourcing is about profit-making. The poor get lost in the shuffle and corporations explore their greed.

I think it’s become natural for politicians to vacillate between politics, policy-making and fundraising; the last tends to take up most of their time. Some days I wonder how a Navy man served an insightful four terms during the depression and WWII, and how much he and his cousin at the turn of the century from another party who also understood what it meant to “possess a conscience” and a heart, were able to keep corporations from gaining too much control. Democracy was defined differently than it is today. What was considered progression in one era is redefined as digression in another period.

History is continually revised as new perspectives and insights are either eschewed or espoused within the context of power and the packaging of ideas. For example, the poor have their place and will always be with us. Is that a serious argument? Rationalizations are a calming self-help spiritual ointment fostered by the wealthy and supported by religious proverbs inscribed under the authority of politically inspired rulers.

Political jargon and epithets are repeated for a purpose and are antithetical to the spiritual. Repetition creates affirmation. Bias is infused within the believer’s mind. Cultish behavior grows. Collusion exists between the person(s) who purposefully collude and those receptive to it. People, who want power, collude. Manipulation, arrogance, bullying behavior and narcissism are siblings to fear, insecurity, self-loathing and true belief.

Democracy is a nice term for the pre-twenty first century. It is now being redefined and reshaped into an oligarchic and authoritarian framework. Packaging ideas point toward the espoused belief that prosperity is for winners.

The gospel of prosperity has infected the theologies of modern religions based on ancient metaphors. The book of Revelation was determined sacred by men and written by a man seeking wealth, for who would desire an eternity wandering streets paved of gold singing alleluia to an invisible “Being.” It was allegory filled with metaphors from an individual I suspect who was “naturally high” on some plants he was ingesting at the time. Still, much can be learned from ancient and medieval mystics. The insights gained can be profound and provocative and retain a spiritual quality.

Artificially defined sacred works achieve power when they subjugate material wealth to the wealth of the soul – the ethics of conscience. The human spirit can easily be infected with the virus of the unethical. In times of volatile political change, spiritual greed and material greed can easily be woven together in a viral fabric and find itself contaminated with ignorance, arrogance and abuse.

While in Bombay (Mumbai), India several decades ago I spoke with an old Hindu woman walking alongside a dirt road with a stick in her hand to balance her gait. She nodded and greeted me and we talked as we headed toward a village. At one point we stopped at a restaurant and sat outside at a small table with two chairs. We had some tea and she smiled and looked into my eyes and said, “You are both fortunate and wealthy in experience. Your soul is in your breath. Gandhi intimated poverty is the worst form of violence to the human being; money is only needed for the basis of food and shelter. Until one suffers and experiences life you can’t uncover the joy of seeking something deeper within your soul. I can see in your eyes that you are on that journey.”