Liberte, Egalite, and the Unity of Humanity, Back to the Beginning

In an effort to discuss the intersection of morality, spirituality and politics I am going to reprint a few essays and when I can write a few new ones. Here is a (slightly edited) reprint as a jumping off point.

(Please don’t cut off my head for changing from “fraternite/brotherhood” to the Unity of Humanity! )

When it comes right down to it those are the principles or the ideology of “The Left.” Freedom for all, Equality for all, and a spirit of “brotherhood”…or, cooperation.

It cannot be said much better, and in a way, anything else is commentary, lol.

So let’s get to the commentary! As some have said, perhaps the term ‘The Left” should not enter the discussion at all, and I agree in principle. But we are stuck with the fact that there are a large group of people who believe that these principles should be the blueprint for the human race and a large group of people who don’t. We could just as easily call them Humanists and Corporatists but those don’t really cover it either…mainly because each is a somewhat archaic term with it’s own baggage.

So perhaps one of the things we need to do for the purposes of the discussion we are having herehere…and here is to define our terms. But everyone knows how boring that is, lol.

For me the message in my sig line has always served as shorthand for the state of the world…”Reality is the result of war between two rival groups of programmers.” These two forces that shape the world we live in have had many, many names in the history of the world. But there have always been basically two opposing forces.

What are they? How old are they? How basic, or intrinsic are they, to the Human condition? Here is my answer….


And now I get to use my favorite cheesy movie quote, from Big Trouble In Little China: “Even David Lo Pan cannot deny that all movement in the universe is produced from tension between the negative and positive furies!”

Translation! There are two forces in our world, one fighting for a world of freedom, equality and unity, the other for a world of domination by the strong and subservience by the weak.

Throughout history these two forces have worn different masks, been represented by different factions, been manifest as different movements…Left and Right are just their current names, also coined during the French Revolution and based on the earth shattering principle of… wait, they were based on which side of the room people sat on.

So yes, Left and Right are irrelevant. And if we can come up with better…more accurate and descriptive name for them we should. Perhaps that is in fact a key of moving the basic struggle of mankind forward. After all, one of the things we certainly need to do to move this struggle forward is to educate the seemingly vast majority of people who do not see the struggle for what it is…or perhaps do not see the struggle at all.

As with everything in modern politics, framing is everything….since the average attention span of the American voter now finds thirty second commercials to be an intolerable ordeal. Marketing is everything, and I don’t find it too incongruous that our modern world has reduced the grand scope of this primal conflict into a battle of sound bite messaging, squeezed between commercials for butter substitutes.

One does not go to war with the army (citizen, voter, consumer) one wants, etc.

So this is our generations battleground….marketing and framing.

And our task, in my estimation, is to market a world, or the idea of a world, where the principles outlined in the phrase Liberty, Equality and Unity have come to fruition.

To present that vision, and to educate and persuade along the way to obtaining that vision.

To paint a picture of that world as an alternative to our current world and to paint it well enough that not only will people want it….but that people will start asking (again?) why we don’t have it.

RFK wrote the companion piece to that phrase:

“There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why… I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

Those “things that never were” are in effect a world where Freedom, Equality, and Unity rule the day…instead of greed, submission and death.

In order to market that dream, that world….and thus turn it into reality….we need to do the best we can at defining it. Defining it, describing it, painting it’s picture…and then embedding that picture in the mind and hopes and dreams…of a critical mass of The People.

Perhaps…only then can it be created.

We are at a pivot point in history. The old way, war, colonial dominance, the rape of the earths resources simply does not work any longer.

The world has lived through Bush and the Banksters and the corruption of government by the opposing forces has never been more apparent.

But The People are succeeding (somewhat, in a kind of a limited way for an off night) at influencing our government. The government, the establishment and the Ruling Class will do everything in their considerable power to maintain a status quo, a status quo that fights as hard as it can against the very concept of Liberte, Egalite, and the Unity of Humanity.

At the same time, powered by more information, leading to more disgust, leading to desperation, leading to an increasing willingness to make themselves impolitely heard, The People of the world ARE starting to fight back.

From this growing tension….There WILL be a new way that emerges.

The pendulum between light and dark IS in the process of swinging…but swinging to …what?

To where?

If we can help to define, to illuminate, to paint a picture of that where, that COULD be a basis for the new Way.

A basis that would spawn a new ethos, perhaps a new political party, perhaps eventually a new shared morality ….and perhaps eventually a new world.

The People want to change, the Planet wants to change….but what does it want to change into? And how will that change take place?

“It” needs a vision, or at least a set of principles, to guide that change.

If we build it, will they come?

If we can do a good enough job defining, describing and marketing these basic principles into a new morality based on common human principles, weaving all of the worlds traditions of spirituality into a new morality…..

…and thus changing the moral center of humans…

…and thus deeply affecting the arena and laboratory of politics…

Which IS where the weaknesses of Human Nature confronts the ideals of Human Nature…

Would that not be the change in the human race we are looking for?

Indeed is that not the only way to achieve the deep systemic change needed to literally save Humanity?


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  1. Photobucket

    • banger on September 16, 2010 at 23:43

    The problem comes when we lose our balance. Too much change and we lose integrity and then we need conservatives. Too much rigidity creates an inability to react to changing conditions and we need the liberal/progressives. Both are critical for a healthy society. Our problem to day is that all this has been skewed by the relentless move towards the right, towards systemic rigidity exactly at a time when conditions are changing rapidly. That is why I’m alway saying that the left is to blame for the rightward movement because it has not taken on its task to create a balance and move the center of gravity to where it needs to be which is the center. It’s just that the center today is solidly on the right.

    At this point it may be too late. The left never learned to understand politics as it is. We have focused on “ideals” and felt that by preaching sermons to our opponents they would see the correctness of our view, equality, brotherhood etc. and change their ways. Well, the fact of the matter is that when push comes to shove most people don’t give a fuck about equality or justice even, sorry but that’s a fact born out by thousands of years of history. Political power comes about through the use of force, it could even be moral force (like Ghandi and MLK) but it has to be force of some kind not just opinions of sermons.

    Things are beginning to dissolve and maybe the old left/right alignments are changing. I think we will be in a period of chaos for some time until we start turning off cable TV and stop paying attention to the MSM and start seeing a bit of reality, as much as it hurts.

  2. that our position is the better of the two. What else could there be?

    One answer, from the Sioux tradition as told by an Elder (my interpretation and memory may not be 100% clear): Eurocentric culture is obsessed with freedom, because we do not know that we are already free. In Sioux culture Honor is more important, we are free to act with Honor or without Honor.

    Perhaps we need to look to the moral high-ground of other cultures to find what ours is missing.

  3. You have a lot to say (obviously). Seeing things in terms of energy, recognizing energy is worthwhile.

       Isn’t the cynicism that infects the universe that is the USA like a black hole that shreds every  idea that is sucked into its maw. How to avoid this too easy to adopt attitude? In fact, the smarter one is, the more reasons to be cynical. That is what I usually see in the most well meaning comments. People who realize their impotence always end up reverting to the ‘ends justify the means’ argument to abandon thinking a little harder in order to actuate peaceful evolution.

         The politics box encourages that. The antidote to cynicism is not in this box. It is among people who struggle to take matters into their own hands to work for human rights and social justice.

       Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, building playgrounds at your school, healing the sick, freeing the unjustly prosecuted and teaching the illiterate.

        What politics are needed will arise from that, cynicism will be dispelled. Supernatural miracles and ideological structures are artificial and unneeded when people work to accomplish a discreet task. Left and right become as irrelevant and contrived. Something to remark on after the fact, like yin and yang.

       Much to learn grasshopper, much to forget.


  4. the interplay of the two contending forces is called  the dialectic.    And we know which western philosopher it was that made the dialectic material, to the purpose of analyzing the way these forces act in the concrete reality of political economy.

    I usually choose “solidarity/solidarite” for degendering “fraternite”.

  5. His response to the English Elite at the turn of the 18th Century was a spiritual one. He saw the huge demonstrations in London against the war being waged in the American colononies, and he saw the impotence of those demonstrations. Parliament held all the cards. He saw the suffering of the poor in London and the futility of their lives, especially since they were undeducated, lived in filth and disease, and had no medical care. And the elite didn’t care.

    Towards the end of his life he became quite mystical. He even began to draw quite a few people who looked up to him for guidance. They spent a lot of time with him. It was their living blog, so to speak. I don’t know what they discussed, but I suspect it was not political. Blake saw spiritual change as a prerequisite to cultural change (and political change). The priviledges and prerogatives of the ruling class needed to end, but like today, there was no organized movement to seriously challenge them.

    He knew man needed to get to the core of his nature, to confront his nature. He states, ” As a man is, so he sees.”

    He knew that men needed to ask direct questions to provide moral direction, as he observed: Can I see another’s woe and not be in sorrow too? Can I see another’s grief, and not seek for kind relief?

    From the get go, our constitutional principles set out to promote the acquisition of personal wealth and to protect it. And this then became FREEDOM. SOCIAL JUSTICE has been slow making its way convincingly into the fabric of our politics. But it is still alive, just not kicking. Hopefully, more people will start asking the important questions.

  6.    The politically minded want to put everything in the politics box including the endlessly remunerative subject of left vs right.

       The religiously minded want to put everything into the God box. A bottomless source of material wealth and power.

       The tyros of the world want to frame everything as economics, they have managed to escape criticism by letting capitalism, which they destroyed, take the blame.

       The last unifying spiritual movement in the US was the civil rights movement.  Near his death, MLK attempted to embrace a larger context of human rights. His racially oriented supporters were unable to follow despite the fact that this was the context of their struggle.

       I would like to see people simply abandon supporting the political process, put time, energy and money directly into numerous, discreet efforts to maintain their communities. Obtain confidence from success and failure rather than cynicism from knowing it all and having nothing to show for it. No ideologies except those that people hold important for themselves.

       Work, struggle, sacrifice for their place in the sun. Demand the flow of time and money reverse itself from candidates to communities.

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