Connected Disconnects?

( – promoted by undercovercalico)

I started to write this awhile ago. I got halfway through my literary masterpiece of an introduction and my browser crashed, losing twenty minutes of a disconnected rambling attempt at connection framing that you’d probably be thankful you didn’t have to wade through scratching your head wondering what the hell I was trying to say. So instead I’ll try to be a little more focussed.

This essay is going to be very broad in some ways and very tightly focussed in other ways. It will be about many subjects, and at the same time about one subject. It’ll cover a lot of ground, but later I’ll quote extensively from one very wide ranging study that was conducted late last summer.

On The Bus’s Docudharma Mission Statement opens with:

Passion, politics, poetry, prose and ponies. Silliness, snark and a serious effort to frame the future. A river of words, thought, philosophy and action that nourishes and transforms the political cultural and social landscape through which it passes. That is the spirit behind this “place”.

In practice…write whatever the hell you want!

We get all of that in abundance here, as well as in the larger society that we all reflect.

Lacking concrete evidence to the contrary I think we’re all humans here, each of us a mass of conflicting contradictions, as is the larger society we’re all part of, although some of us I think might be reluctant to include some of the political leadership under the heading “human”. I’ll leave that one dangling there in case anyone else wants to pick up on it, and try to move on here, even though I’m not entirely sure where I’m going. But bear with me, if you will.

This mornings Docudharma front page encompasses Marks’s discussion of the Iraq Occupation and media coverage, Robyn’s wonderful poetry, news of the impending trial of Guantanamo Bay prisoners, GentillyGirl’s essay about New Orleans, Tom writing of veterans issues, East Timor, Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, Zwoof’s descriptions of life in China, tea, oranges, torture, doom, gloom, amnesia, metaphors and meta diaries, and even five thousand years of Persia. And by the time I get around to pushing the post button on this essay I’ll bet there’ll be a few more subjects out there.

Buhdy asked yesterday:

How do we prevent savagery from taking power again? How do we convince those who value civilization to come together and recognize savagery when we see it…too remain ever vigilant against it.

In other words, how do we join together to build a new form, one even more resistant to tyranny and savagery? Not just for our country, but for all of the humans on the planet?

We all try to find answers. We all try to make sense of the world. We all try in our own ways to help find a way out of the mess the world is quite obviously in.

But the world is always a mess. I think that’s one of the characteristics of the nature of life.

It’s messy. It sings, and dances, but it also farts and belches. It’s beautiful. But it stinks. It’s the medium we all live in and can’t live without, but it also kills.

Arrrggh. My head hurts already. How’s yours?

Sometimes I think we think we’re a select group. The only ones seriously considering these kinds of questions. Well, “seriously” is rather subjective. Seriously subjective.

But we’re not a select group, except insofar as we choose to come here and do what we do here. The whole society we live in grapples with these questions daily, and like us here everyone does it in their own way and from their own perspective. And there are others like us  who try to pull all the disconnected connections together into a coherent picture.

Last August  2007, World Public Opinion dot Org conducted a very comprehensive study of virtually all public domain polls of American attitudes on foreign policy and the directions and consequences of America’s role in the world conducted in recent years, and surprising or not, their study does reveal a coherent, complex, and subtle order in the pattern of majority US opinion on the US role in the world.

There is connectedness in the disconnections apparently.

Help me find it.

The rest of this is quoted links with summaries from World Public Opinion dot Org’s “Comprehensive Analysis of Polls Reveals Americans’ Attitudes on US Role in the World”:

This digest also provides a kind of road map or framework for some of the digests of US opinion that have already been posted on WorldPublicOpinion.org dealing with numerous specific topics ranging from climate change to US relations with Russia.  

Below is a summary of the main findings of the analysis with links to those sections of the digest where the poll findings are examined.

General International Engagement

A very strong majority supports US engagement in the world and rejects the idea that the US should take a more isolationist stance. However strong and growing majorities show dissatisfaction with key aspects of the current US role in the world and see it as destabilizing. A majority supports US military bases on the soil of traditional US allies, though support for US military presence in the Middle East has become quite soft.

Rejection of Hegemonic Role

A large majority is opposed to the way it perceives the US playing the role of hegemon or dominant world leader. Americans express surprisingly modest concern for preserving the US role as the sole superpower.

Multilateral Cooperation and International Institutions

A very strong majority favors a US role in the world that puts a greater emphasis on US participation in multilateral efforts to deal with international problems and on a cooperative approach wherein the US is quite attentive to the views of other countries, not just US interests. Very strong majorities favor the US working through international institutions (especially the United Nations) and support making international institutions more powerful. Strong majorities favor international law and strengthening international judicial institutions. Americans support US participation in collective security structures and are reluctant to use military force except as part of multilateral efforts. A large majority favors the US using multilateral approaches for dealing with terrorism, addressing international environmental issues, and giving aid for economic development.

Altruism, the Global Interest, and the National Interest

A large majority of Americans feel that US foreign policy should at times serve altruistic purposes independent of US national interests. Americans also feel that US foreign policy should be oriented to the global interest not just the national interest and are highly responsive to arguments that serving the global interest ultimately serves the national interest. Americans show substantial concern for global conditions in a wide range of areas.

Concerns US is Doing Disproportionate Amount Internationally

Support for US international engagement is dampened and obscured by widespread feelings that the US is doing more than its fair share in efforts to address international problems relative to other countries, and spending too much on international programs relative to domestic programs. However, in many cases this attitude seems to rest on substantial overestimations of the levels of US contributions relative to other countries and international spending as a portion of the federal budget. Asked to set their own preferred levels for foreign aid, most Americans usually set them higher than the actual levels.

Americans’ Assessments of World Public Opinion on the United States

Large majorities believe that the US is viewed negatively by people in other countries and see this as derived primarily from the current US foreign policy not American values. Most see goodwill towards the United States as important for US national security. Most Americans believe that people around the world are growing more afraid that the US will use force against them and that this diminishes US national security and increases the likelihood that countries will pursue WMDs.

Promoting Democracy and Human Rights

Americans have complex attitudes about the idea of promoting democracy. A majority thinks that promoting democracy should be a goal of US foreign policy. However there is a reluctance to make democracy promotion a central theme in US foreign policy and an opposition to using military force or the threat of military force to that end. At the same time Americans do feel a moral obligation to promote democracy and there is substantial support for cooperative methods for promoting democracy and for working through the United Nations. A modest majority favors promoting democracy in friendly authoritarian countries even if it may lead to unfriendly governments; large majorities do favor putting diplomatic and public pressure on governments to respect human rights.

Now I’m completely confused. A hundred billion stars in the galaxy with planets around who knows how many of them, and I had to pick this one? I haven’t got a clue where I was going with this essay called life that I started and don’t know how to finish.

Maybe some of you can remind me?

45 comments

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    • Edger on February 12, 2008 at 5:11 pm
      Author

    I’m completely out of your mind…


  1. just brilliant, Edger.  Especially like the ‘hundred billion gin joints in the Casablanca galaxy’ and you had to pick this one.

    How’s this for a few reminders:

    Spring.

    Flowers.

    Ionized air.

    Newborns (people, ponies, kittens, puppies, lambs…)

    And this, of course.

    Oh, and, by all means, this.

    A snippet:

    I am certain that my fellow Americans expect that on my induction into the Presidency I will address them with a candor and a decision which the present situation of our Nation impels. This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself-nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.

    You might want to read the whole thing. I could give you great quotes from across the pond, but nothing’s quite as relevant as that. He took a dark time and turned it around.  Gave his life to do it, but he did it. I don’t know if you know how present that history still is in some parts of the world.  It has not been forgotten.  It’s why everyone’s so interested in who the next president will be.  There’s precedent for hopin’ and most outside the U.S. are hopin’ that someone will again rise to the occasion. Reprint this after November 7th.  I’ll be curious to see what’s still confusing and what’s cleared up.

  2. and, dammit…keep yelling!

    Great piece, Edge, really great.

  3. I think the biggest issue is actually the part that you left hanging.  The political leadership is not human.  Well not in the sense that the rest of the world is.  From the results of the polls, the majority of people have rational thoughts that take into account their feelings, the world around them and their personal values.  There is no one right answer to anything and every issue has multiple layers and ways of looking at it.  Most people do understand that.  That’s being human.  We’re not a select group in that capacity, but I think we are in the sense that we feel the urge to remind everyone else of this.  

    There is a disconnect among people as individuals.  This disconnect keeps everyone from understanding that they are not alone and disconnected.  That in turn lets non-humans run the show.  The leaders (not just our country) are the types that don’t have the same human emotions as the rest of us.  They want power, they seek it and they are not concerned with the ramifications of their selfish actions.  Someone once told me that when there is chaos in a country the craziest person will end up being the ruler.  Because they have to beat out all the other crazy people to get to where they are.  That’s why the elections are so disappointing right now.  We are essentially choosing to elect the craziest person in the country to run things.

    To keep this cycle from happening over and over and over again we as a society (and the world at large) need to constantly remind ourselves that we are indeed human.  Consumerism and capitalism has taken that away.  Convinced entire nations of conformed ideals of beauty, love, hate, fear etc..to sell.  Now if you don’t fit that, you aren’t human (or not worth marketing to).  We’re too convinced that we have nothing in common.  What better to have in common that being alive and living together at the same time?  Regardless of how that individually manifests itself?  The internet is pretty much the only way I can think of to reconnect all people and remind them that we indeed human.  From there we can all work on what exactly that means and what to do about it.  Or we could kill about 30 people in the world and instantly put everyone else out their misery….  

    I’m not quite sure what I’m doing here either.  I guess I like to think I’m here to see how much I can personally affect the world while I’m living in it.  How many positive ripples am I capable of making?  And how many other people can I convince to make ripples with me?

  4. makes me want to surf them. Loved the essay Edger.

  5. I have a problem with polls in general. They so often reflect what people believe should be their answer rather that what really rules their actions. Since coming down out of the trees, it has been apparent that co-operation is the best practice. Herding and killing large prey comes to mind. And yet when it comes to the end result of that co-operation, it turns into very much of a self centered issue of me, me, me: dominance games to see who eats first.

    In the same way, so much of WPO.org’s analysis reflects what we as Americans objectively think about these issues, rather than the very subjective issue of how we feel about them. Also the analysis doesn’t mention the individuals polled. Are they white collar Americans, blue collar Americans, D’s or R’s, urban or rural etc.

    I spent my live making money in the construction industry pushing dirt around with big pieces of iron. I now live in a rural area of Washington State where loggers are the predominate trade group. Not to denigrate either group of people, but not too many of them would have been on the positive side of the polls that were conducted. Rather one sees mainly signs like: US out of UN, Nuke Iran, and the like. So many of these regressives would be more inclined to start swearing at the poll taker and not answering the questions as stated, but rather ranting about their pet peeves, consequentially their responses are not included in the poll.

    So what is the connection between the disconnects like “Very strong majorities favor the US working through international institutions (especially the United Nations) and support making international institutions more powerful”, and the fact the US owes so much money to the operating budget of the UN? And the fact that we have never joined the World Court? I put it down to that same aberration I mentioned as to what happena after the kill of the large prey animal, as indiviuals it is now me instead of we. We don’t pay our UN bills because that takes tax money out of our pockets, we don’t send the aid package for the same reason. We don’t join  the World Court because “Nobody’s gonna tell me what to do!” It seems to always be me, me, me, and never we, we, we.

    It always seems to return to the disconnect with-in the individual between co-operating/objective behaviour, and being selfish/subjective behaviour. As far as I can see it is fear that keeps the disconnect going, always fear. Fear of being pushed down the dominance ladder in one manner or another. Perhaps dominance plays a valid role in unreasoning beings such as pack animals, but not in humans. It has to be co-operation with us or we will die off soon. No questions on that, the human race will be dead from nukes, the climate or something if we don’t start co-operating.

    Science tells us that the universe is infinite, that means, to me, that I am at the Center of the Universe, which traditionally has been the home of God. Which means that I am God, and so are you, and you, and you, etc ad infinitum: The One Thing That Is Everything. All of us a reflective aspect of God, all on our individual and unique journeys to ultimate realization. Which to me means I have nothing to fear, for I am truly part of the One.

    So where is the disconnect? Instead of using the words and concept of seperate individual, we have to try thinking more on the lines of unique individual. Out in the larger world of planet Gaia, all that can be hoped for,IMHO, is that if enough of us follow the precepts of the Three Musketeers, “One for All and All for One” we will do all right. It might, and probably will be, rough for a while, but we will do all right.

    BTW how is Diane W’s house payment coming?………Be well and be at peace

  6. that none of the candidates have mentioned asking the UN

    to help us get out of the mess ‘we’ (read: buschco) got us

    into?  Since the world will be affected ‘when we pull out’

    is it not the world’s problem?  If the UN were to get involved

    they could then put the bastards who started this mess on

    trial.  Wouldn’t/won’t that be a happy day?!!

    Great essay Edgar 😉

  7. Globalization is so much more than just the economics, which is just teh tip of the iceberg.  Globalization is also:  political, cultural/sociological, biological/ecological.

    A really great book that’s a pleasurable read is:

    All Connected Now: Life in the First Global Civilization, by Walter Truett Anderson

    Following are a couple of quotes from that book that I think are relevant to this wonderful essay…

    “Globalization is altering systems of all kinds.  And it is doing it rapidly, fundamentally, and quite irreversibly.  We now live in a new world of dynamic open systems, which boundaries shift, open, fade – even disappear entirely – and new, often strange linkages are made.   This new world is the first global civilization, and the opportunities it brings us … are limitless.  But to realize these opportunities, we will have to create new mental maps that can show us how to get around in the world.”

    “Culture is obvious in some ways, invisible in others.  Ideas, words, visual images, values, beliefs, art, architecture, music, literature, customs, rituals – all the things included by the term – are around us and within us every moment of life.  But at the same time, people seem to have a difficult time seeing culture, particularly their own, and comprehending what a great force it is in human existence.  In a way this should not be surprising, since the idea of culture is itself part of culture, and a fairly recent addition at that.  Most people over the great span of human evolution had no such concept, and many people still don’t.  It is only when they do form such a concept that they begin to see cultures, their own and those of others, and form opinions about them.

    Anthropologists have long known that forming a concept of culture can be a profound experience, akin to religious conversion or the celebrated “paradigm shifts” of science in which people come to see the world in a new way.  Anthropological field researchers – and sometimes the people they study – are susceptible to the experience of “culture shock.”  It is born out of the recognition that if one “has” or “belongs to” a particular culture, then there must be other cultures, entirely different ways of being, that ones does not have or belong to (but might conceivably adopt).

    People all over the world today are experiencing culture shock in varying degrees as they adjust to the changed and continually changing context of global civilization, in which everybody lives in the whole world.”

  8. http://www.proliberty.com/obse

    Outside of that we have people whose entire life experience is permantely altered via media and social norms.  Most people are basically good, such that they can’t see the blatant and obvious evil right in front of their faces.  A compliment to the eight veils might be the eight veils of evil.  Ying/Yang, hey you can’t have one thing without having an opposite thing.

    projectcensored.org points out blacklisting in American news.  I have basic marketing and media training and I can see subliminals daily in mainstream “news”.   These memes glorify the concepts of fascism, encourage loose morals and increase the division among the general public.

    In short the opinions of dumbed down zombinals matters little to the current crop of elite Satan worshipping power brokers in charge.

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