By Judith Gayle | Political Waves
Have you ever noticed that the difference between the word 'evolution' and 'revolution' is merely one consonant? Intuitively, we can describe both activities as something that moves us along; shifts us, pushes us forward. If we're listening, we can also discern the root definition that makes the words revolution and revelation kin; we can feel the vibratory quality that links them. They're of a bunch.
During this Jupiter/Neptune/Chiron conjunction, I'd suspect that you've had a few revelations of your own, and you can expect more. If you haven't witnessed your own temperament rise in decibels, you must have met that energy elsewhere in your travels; we're feeling the wounds of yesterday and bringing them into the sunshine today. Messy business. Emotional pain is not useful unless it brings the seeds of revelation with it; in fact, most pain has to do with resistance. If we can have a serious talk with that portion of ourselves that resists feeling, forgiving and releasing what is chronic in our psyche, the dissolution of old patterns can begin; we cannot begin serious psychic surgery without first acknowledging that we need it.
Initially we must define our life patterns and witness the damage they do us; next, we must renegotiate our future by achieving some perspective and behaving in entirely different ways. This is internal work, but it always has an external counterpart -- God/dess is good that way, waving flags. Connecting the cause of our circumstances to our limited beliefs about ourselves is the first step in changing our personal future; that's taking responsibility for our own mess. Until we do that, we are subject to a thin and egocentric philosophy that keeps us in the lower, defensive aspects of our animal nature, old and unbreakable tribal loyalties, plodding ego-inflexibility and our millennia-old fear and shame base. Think Dick Cheney; enough said.
An early warning system to our limited thinking is found in another concept that interests me -- counter-intuition. Let's define, quickly, because this concept has been mangled. Intuitive describes our own deep resonance and soul response to incoming information; this is an inherent ability in each of us, access to our personal truth awaiting our attention and nurture. Being counter-intuitive is actually opposing, not intuition, but logic in favor of taking some path toward a greater purpose; but it can also be a form of self-delusion.
The dictionary defines counter-intuitive as the opposite of logical expectations, and gives the example of having to detour north in order to get to a road leading south (on a trip to Mexico, I guess;) ultimately making a trip north reasonable, if not obviously so. I once took a trip to California on a carrier that flew me all the way to Ohio in order to plop me on a plane headed West; counter-intuitive indeed and made my travel both exhausting and inconvenient, but I assume it met their profit margin. It was easy enough to deduce that airlines were struggling and trying to maximize their gas usage against seating capacity. When things strike you as counter-intuitive, that may be one of those flags to look around you carefully and connect the dots; something's going on.
A big problem in this country is that so much of what we've been conditioned to believe is counter-intuitive, designed to serve some purpose which eludes logic but accomplishes an agenda of which we're largely unaware. In the last thirty years, we've become accustomed to it; in fact, we still fight to keep this kind of thought process in place, in all its illogical glory. Chiron is doing a bit of necessary work in this area -- what we've 'always done' may not be what would serve us best, this time around; and raw-edged circumstances have become too painful to ignore.
Remember What's The Matter With Kansas?
During the Dubby's reign, this book was valuable in giving us a rationale for his popularity, a clear view of how issues of Christianist 'values' superseded the ability of folks to vote in their own self-interest. It's taken long years of institutional mind-fuck to bring us to a point where we can't even determine our own good; all of which has discouraged our ability to be intuitive, and all but eliminated the occasional occurrence of counter-intuitive behavior that can contribute to the bigger plan. That last falls under the heading 'nuance,' and if you want an example, watch Obama carefully; I think he could master Chewbacca in a rousing game of Wookie Chess, although as 3CPO learned, he might lose an arm. This innate ability to think several moves ahead and allow his detractors to shoot themselves in their own foot is one of the reasons we're so fascinated with him.
In so many ways, we still do not work in our own self-interest. Take health care, for instance. By now, most of us can agree that America does not have the best health care, the most affordable or even the most effective; witness our mid-range infant mortality rates, which serves as a litmus test for developing nations. Add that for all we do have, we pay dearly. HMOs and insurance carriers take about 30% of profit from the health care pie, tell us what procedures we can, and can't, have and lead us down the path of bureaucratic snafu. Insurance carriers are brokers -- much like bankers; you know, the guys who put the 'broke' in America's coffers.
What is intuitive, rather than counter, is Independent Senator Bernie Sanders' position that health care (hereafter referred to as h/c) is not a commodity for the privileged; it's a human right.
In the most pragmatic of terms, without decent h/c we cannot count on a stable, productive workforce in this nation; and in the most subjective, we have failed to give our citizens the relief and security that other nations enjoy as a civil right. Making h/c employer-driven has always been a counter-intuitive prospect; if you lose your job, you lose your h/c -- if you have a medical problem and lose your job, the next carrier, if you're lucky enough to find one, will refuse you treatment for a pre-existing condition. The older you get, the more illogical this seems. This is a real and looming problem in our nation. Doing without h/c is dangerous but even when you have it, h/c insurance can victimize,
bankrupt and/or kill you.
There is a solution to this problem and it's called single payer
public health insurance; this is what most Republicans call Socialism. Actually, it's a system where h/c professionals contract themselves to a government entity -- as does Medicare and the VA -- in order to do business without intercessors like insurance companies and HMOs, which complicate their bookkeeping and limit the procedures they offer their patients. Insurance billing is increasingly a cottage industry that takes a good deal of familiarity with the various systems; millions of patients are sorted out into hundreds of insurance plans and decoded, folded, stapled and manipulated. All of this comes under the heading of 'middleman.'
Single payer has no middleman; neither does such legislation have much chance of getting past the insurance, big pharmaceutical and medical supply lobbyists, nor the politicians who have gladly accepted big checks from same. In essence, we continue to ignore the wisdom of every other country in the Western world that has created some form of national h/c, due to our old, counter-intuitive approach to nationalistic capitalism. While 18,000 of us die each year of untreated maladies, health care is due to rise an additional 7% this year; meanwhile, Canada
for example, provides for all its citizens without the mythical tax burden sited by obstructionists.
Make no mistake, the people of this nation want single payer
and apparently have no qualms about socialist implications; as do many doctors, who no longer care to be manhandled by the insurance industry. That this option is much desired but regularly ignored or deemed improbable is yet another counter-intuitive proposition. As Bernie says, h/c is a right, and rights are of no consequence to insurance carriers or middlemen; the logic is clear -- ditch 'em and eliminate a parasite. In Obama-speak, this is called 'streamlining' -- yet even he considers such a mandate, as did so many presidents before him, improbable to pass through the halls of Congress.
There are over 45 million citizens without h/c in this nation, and the number grows by the day; that is both shameful and dangerous. But allowing HMOs to hijack the conversation of h/c reform is another glaring example of misunderstanding our good. Two words: for profit. As long as that's what drives this system, rather than the good of the patient, we will continue to be victimized by it. There is much talk, a'la Hillarycare, of mandating that all citizens buy insurance of some kind; that has excited the insurers. Every job lost is a patient lost, so they have seen 9 million customers disappear in the last few years, although their profits have continued to explode in this unregulated culture of ours. Add 79 million boomers that turn 65 in 2011, and you can see their urgency to get in the middle of any reform, and shore up their profit possibilities. If we hear them promising to cut their profit or ease up on their requirements, we can trust that such a counter-intuitive move will take them into mo' money down the line. Profit is their goal; bottom line.
We have devolved in the last generations, haven't we? The phone company, the utilities -- all these things were regulated and dependable until Reagan broke the system and the free market took us on a joy ride. Now everything is privatized, including our military, with no guarantees on the product rendered. Health care wasn't such a nightmare in the old days, as I recall. Now it's hard to get in, hard to get out, maddening to receive six separate billings that make no sense and worse, it's largely unaffordable. We need a New Deal; one that is more interested in the average citizen than the average shareholder.
The health care conversation is up on our plates and I urge you not only to inform yourself but to get in touch with your legislators -- they're more adaptable than usual; very few of the elected are resting on their laurels these days. Still, reform of this system is a huge nut to crack. Everyone since FDR has tried to improve this system and made little headway, but we won't know that single payer CAN'T happen unless we make our voices heard; evolution demands it. The time is now, and I hope we won't have to take the R out of our pockets and add it to our evolutionary process in order to achieve this necessary human right. Surely there are enough of us dedicated to progress to override the nationalistic jingoism of old paradigm politics.
The Republican meme that Americans don't need a handout or a hand up has come home to roost. I can't think of anything less intuitive than that. It seems ridiculously clear that we need road maintenance, fire and police protection, school districts, public transportation and social safety nets; there aren't many of us living on our own personal island. If we privatize everything, none of us will have anything. The Tea Baggers are in a rip about, among other things, taxes. In Eisenhower's day, the tax load on the rich was 90% and everybody was doing fine; now, California is unable to fund even the most basic
of community requirements due to the referendum system that put the unwilling in charge of the unthinking. It is illogical to suggest you'll get something for nothing; but the counter-intuitives have won the day. The 8th largest economy is sinking into the Pacific -- and remember, California always leads the way for the other 51.
Still, I remain hopeful. As we struggle with our woundings and our recoveries, we are shaking off the mindset that has been foisted on us for decades:
1. The government is not our enemy; as long as WE are involved in our government as informed, active citizens, and we are voting in well-intentioned leaders, we have the right to expect sound, efficient governance.
2. You can't kill an idea, or secure safety with a gun; which means soft power must replace aggression on the international scene, and learning to cooperate with one another to meet mutual needs must be the rule of thumb.
3. We can't get something for nothing; we need to contribute to our own good, which is ultimately the collective wellbeing of the nation. That may require some sacrifice of time and/or treasure, but that's what citizens are called upon to do. At the same time, we must be vigilant against those who would exploit our national good for their own profit. There's no free lunch on either end of the spectrum.
4. The United States is not a huge, impersonal corporation -- the days of Bu$hCo are over. Privatization does not serve the commonwealth; the government must set acceptable standards for the protection of its citizens, and provide for their wellbeing, which must be its primary responsibility.
5. We are neither the world's policeman nor the proselytizers of democracy everywhere, and neither are we the shining hope for civilization; we are a young, optimistic and innovative country that has been drowned in a bathtub of egocentrism for the last three decades, and militarism for six or more. The overlords of greed and aggression have milked our emotional vulnerabilities for long enough. It's time to invest ourselves in our own good.
Intuition is our best compass forward in our increasingly insistent evolution. Do not allow someone else to think for you, or intuit the deep needs of your heart or instructions of your soul. This nation was born in revolution and each of us is never far from it; we're efforting now to reclaim our blueprint for liberty and justice for all. The Nation
's John Nichols
wrote a piece in praise of Tom Paine recently. Paine was the pamphleteer who published a revolutionary call to arms, entitled Common Dreams
. Our ancestors had outgrown the government that sought to control them, one both deaf to their needs and arrogant in their demands; I can't help but think they noticed the same cognitive dissonance that we do now, as we listen to political talking heads.
"A new area for politics is struck; a new method of thinking hath arisen," wrote Paine. "All plans, proposals ... are like the almanacs of the last year; which, though proper then, are superseded and useless now." Whatever we used to do that got us in this mess is anachronistic and obsolete, and continuing to give it our attention is not productive; what we do now will define our future for decades to come. The activism required of us during the Bush years was an exercise in working against something unthinkable; the activism our intuition demands of us now is different -- it's working toward something for which generations to come will bless us. It's evolution pushed forward by our hearts and souls. If you needed a purpose, that's one awaiting your heart's call.
It's time for useful conversation, not corporate steamrolling. It's time for equality, not classism. It's time for public welfare over private profit. We hold the future in our hearts, and we dare not sleep through these years as we did the last. As Tom Paine told us, not so long ago, "We have it in our power to begin the world over again. A situation similar to the present hath not happened since the days of Noah until now. The birthday of the new world is at hand." And so it is.