I'm in a coffee shop.
I missed church again for the millionth time. It feels good. Being an independent thinker requires maintenance - which in turn requires a certain distance from the herd. Or is it a flock?
Some conversations I've participated in recently involved folks from other nations as well as Americans who all were participating in a joint endeavor. In other words because of work we all had to get along. We did. There were disagreements and agreements - with each of our own prejudices showing from time to time. Everyone remained civilized but there were always times in our political discussions that things kinda' hit an impasse.
James Dean movie projected on the wall beside and above my left. Two women just sat across from me at the table I'm blogging from. AC/DC song playing. Waves of customers come and go - I see them in the background. It's raining outside. I can't hear anything anyone is saying because the AC/DC music is just at the volume where I cannot make out details of words.
So these conversations we had - our groups - were fascinating to me. They keep me going as I watch folks from different places express themselves here in America. In the South. That's important - just ask any Southerner. They distinguish the South from the North. The line is very blurry - but this group consisted once more of international minds as well as Southerners.
The Euros express their fascination with the schizophrenic nature of America. What do I mean by schizophrenia?
Americans claim to want peace but are always at war. We criticize others for violations of human rights yet we continue to keep open a prison at Gitmo - holding human beings like animals without charges - even after they've been cleared for release. We claim to be a land of free and brave people - but how can we call ourselves brave yet at the same time remain silent or willingly ignorant when faced with facts contrary to what the media and our leaders tell us? How can we be a nation that respects and defends freedom of worship yet has managed to demonize an entire religion? It takes leadership to do all those things.
noun schizo·phre·nia \ˌskit-sə-ˈfrē-nē-ə\ (Medical Dictionary)
Medical Definition of SCHIZOPHRENIA
: a psychotic disorder characterized by loss of contact with the environment, by noticeable deterioration in the level of functioning in everyday life, and by disintegration of personality expressed as disorder of feeling, thought (as in delusions), perception (as in hallucinations), and behavior—called also dementia praecox; see paranoid schizophrenia
I find this a fascinating definition. It describes effectively the condition I am observing regarding the American public. But is it really their fault? Garbage in garbage out - true of computers and brains. And after the endless stream of lies and garbage this public has been fed it is no wonder that they remain mushroom masses - being fed you know what and remaining where they are comfortable - in the dark.
The American public is suffering horribly by the disservice provided to them by the media and their money-grubbing leaders; both spiritual and otherwise. The herd here, in the USA, is truly schizo. They are out of touch with reality because to find useful information requires hard work and time. Since most things in nature take the path of least resistance - busy Americans will take what is fed to them by the TV and accept it as facts. People will tell you that they know "We are being lied to" but when an attempt is made to discuss specifics they fall apart. I had a conversation with a man while out one night listening to a band. The man was over fifty years old. The conversation steered toward politics. It was almost like talking to a child. The man trusts his government. When I asked him about some events the government has not been able to explain - he eventually - when faced with that confusing moment when he realized he didn't really have any facts he simply said: "You're crazy." I replied that I'm used to hearing that.
That is the end of anything resembling meaningful conversation usually. The person in today's America that distrusts the government is now "crazy." There must have been a time when people didn't trust their govenment - otherwise there would not have been a revolution to get this place started. I suppose that I am, at heart, a revolutionary. This quality makes normal conversations with the brainwashed herd challenging.
This habit of Americans to see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil disgusts me. It really makes me ashamed to be part of such a cowed populace. There used to be someone designated "village idiot" - now we can put the majority of Americans into that category.
And smug. Yes we are smug indeed. We Americans are exceptional and have all the answers - that's why there is always money for war and no social safety net. Only smart people spend all their money on bombs and weapons to slaughter people who've done nothing to harm us. And when confronted with facts contradictory to our TeeVee all we can do is shoot the messenger like the fascists we've become. These qualities of Americans come straight from leadership - political and spiritual. Thanks leaders.
A friend asked me recently if I agreed with his statement that "Americans are essentially lazy." I said "No - I don't know many lazy people - I think they suffer from poor leadership." My analysis stands.
A country, organization and a church must all be led. To keep it all together and provide direction, encouragement, and to further the cause requires leadership. This leadership must direct this herd - whether you want to call it a herd or not. And these leaders are doing a fine job as they lead their herds into slavery and poverty and possibly destruction.
It seems that most leaders have all taken the bait of money over morality. It makes me wonder if it is because these leaders are mostly charlatans in the first place (my favorite theory) or because they just couldn't resist the temptation of more and more money. They took and continue to take the easy road rather than the high road. After all - what is more difficult - standing apart from a group or hiding amongst it? The answer is obvious.
It takes a special kind of courage to exercise unpopular speech rather than repeating the same stuff that is popular with the congregation. These spiritual leaders obviously possess none of that. Spiritual leaders, almost by definition are always dealing with groupthink.
noun group·think \ˈgrüp-ˌthiŋk\
Definition of GROUPTHINK
: a pattern of thought characterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics
This is quite a responsibility - leading people who willingly and absolutely submit to their leader. Leaders who are in a position of superiority regarding thought relative to their followers. Who in the audience/congregation has the balls to call the preacher on it when he says something stupid or otherwise? If the preacher doesn't speak out against torture and extrajudicial murder by the US federal government then there must not be anything wrong with it - right? But what good would it do when dealing with a leader who is deluded themselves - also a victim of groupthink? Another mind easily hyptnotized, easily led - incapable of independent thought? What kinda' leader is that? One that NEVER exercises unpopular speech? That's the kind of leader you don't need.
...the movie projected onto the wall here in the coffee shop - James Dean, in black and white, had his chin in his left palm shaking his head "no", now the guy who played "Mr. Howell" in the TV show "Gilligan's Island" is making some proclamation or another to the crowd playing in the picture. I have never seen this movie and have no idea what is going on in it. A young couple still all huggy and kissy have sat down now where the ladies were a while ago. They simply disappeared - I never saw them leave and now this couple is sitting there eating panini, drinking cappacino and the girl has a soda. I can't hear anything they are saying since now "Crazy Train" is playing in the background. Probably good that I can't hear them anyway.
Americans are, for sure, suffering from a "loss of contact with the environment." And no wonder. It is so difficult to get "actionable intelligence" from this lame-ass media. A television was on while I was visiting someone this weekend - cop show after cop show - blood, idiots with guns - just stupid. More propaganda normalizing in the minds of the masses a police state. Young men and women walking around with giant automatic pistols on their belts. As I'm watching I wonder how stupid all these actors and actresses are as they assist in the construction of the very police state that will enslave their own families. Fools - and unattractive fools at that. Embarrassing.
A guy in a coat just sat down to my right. He took his laptop out of a plastic bag he was using to keep his computer covered from the rain outside. I noticed as he began typing on the keyboard that he was wearing nail polish. I don't know what message he is trying to transmit to others - maybe he likes nail polish? The women across the table are now gesturing with their arms as they continue their conversation about something concerning colors of clothes or a jacket or something. The one on the left just took a sip of bottled water - yet another scam. When I was a kid water was free. I guess they will be selling bottles of air next?
A girl just showed up to meet the guy with the nail polish. They are moving to a small table in the middle of the coffee shop. The customers are shifting out and shifting in. He just came back and grabbed his coat and coffee. His body odor is still lingering. "Slow ride, dah dah dah...take it eeeezzeee - eee is playing in the background now."
The laptop guy is back - sitting across the table from me this time. The couple that was there left after eating and two couples have taken over the table in the middle of the coffee shop. It seems guys don't take their baseball caps off when they are inside a building anymore. I used to think that was proper etiquette. Another quartet has waddled in and are awaiting a chance to order.
So these leaders of these herds of Americans - what are their agendas? The well-being of their herd or the agenda they serve? I suspect they are serving agendas that in many cases do not represent the well-being of their flock.
A few words about the fake news I've seen today. Some reports abound regarding actions Obama is taking - and I must say that I like some of them and wonder about others. There were reports this week that there was going to be a ban on certain .223 armor piercing ammunition. That is unconstitutional - but that's nothing new anymore. The public has become accustomed to the leaders doing whatever the heck they want to do whether it is unconstitutional or not. It doesn't seem to matter anymore. The leaders in the opposing branches of government do nothing to defend the Constitution they've taken an oath to defend. I can't tell if the leaders in the opposing branches are stupid, part of the scam, if somebody has something on them, or if they are just cowards. They just keep their office, by hook or by crook and do nothing. I guess they went to church today - who knows? I'm sure they make enough from their paycheck to donate enough to the church to keep the preacher's mouth shut.
Another report discusses Obama having threatened to shoot down Israeli jets flying over an area the USA controls in Iraq. Supposedly - and how can we believe anything anymore, this would have been in response to Israel bombing a nuclear plant in Iran. Oh well - you have to do what you have to do. Israel has way too much power out of proportion with her importance if you ask me. So far, in my lifetime Israel has been nothing but trouble for the United States. Our country resembles Israel more and more every day. When I ask people about their support for Israel it is over-the-top with their religious assertions about "holy land" and that kind of thing. Our Constitution doesn't say much about any holy lands here on Earth or otherwise. I think it is best to keep this out of our politics. It is time for Israel to put the guns down and try to make peace. There are also claims that there are nuclear weapons in Israel. Well - are there? Why should the enemies of Israel want the Israelis to have nuclear weapons when they can't have them themselves? Is that a formula for peace? The religious people tell me that the chosen people can have the weapons because they are better than those bad Muslims. Give me a break. I've never seen universally good or bad qualities in any group. Have you?
Why does Israel need nuclear weapons if they are such pious people. I thought holy people and M-16s were mutually exclusive when I was a kid - now I've learned that they always go hand in hand. I've heard enough about holy lands and chosen people - lets bring this conversation back down to Earth - where I live - for a bit.
Give peace a chance. There's a new concept. We already have enough weapons to kill everybody. It has been time for a long time to take the religion out of the politics regarding Israel. I don't want your religion in my politics and you don't want my religion in your politics.
Led Zeppelin is now playing in the background - "Communications Breakdown....wailing of Bob Plant..."
America IS the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. America will only remain great if those ideals are preserved - and the preservation of those ideals has been entrusted in our leaders. When our leaders no longer serve that purpose they abdicated their position as leaders and become liabilities. They sit on their fat asses and roll over like good little dogs when told. They are given dog biscuits in the form of funding for this or that pet project in their state. Like neutered dogs they have lost their animal instincts - their will to fight. Who needs them?
The music has changed now to "Paradise City." The crowd has changed again - another couple has come and gone after sitting down to wait for their coffee on my right. The black and white movie projection on the wall has changed to a fifties-style mom-dad-and the kid appearance with everybody in the scene all smiles and happy.
Where are the spiritual leaders when it comes to truth and justice? AWOL - just like their congregations who go to work every day. Americans, suffering from this awful leadership, are not asking the questions that need to be asked like the Euros ask Americans. Rather than taking the question into consideration and maybe having a moment of reflection they repeat the freeze-dried faux news they heard on the TeeVee. They don't ask the tough questions real spiritual leaders would have posed at church on Sunday because they don't have real spiritual leaders. The frauds standing in front of the congregation, like the frauds in congress are just that frauds. And cowards. Afraid that their mouth will get them into trouble - money trouble - as the funding they rely on for their position will be cut off the moment they stand up to authority.
Leaders are now in a difficult position in another way - now that they've supported liars to further their agendas for so long - they are stuck with a herd that has believed the lies - and are not going to be easy to get to change direction.
How does the leader tell the group that they were lied to and that they in turn mis-lead their congregation? How does a political leader tell people that they, too, swallowed the lies and that they were wrong about something as important and the events leading the nation to war? How does a leader, spiritual or political, tell the flock it is time to move in a different direction - toward peace and away from war - when there is so much short-term money in selling fear and hatred? Peace, it seems, doesn't fit into the "you're gonna burn in hell if you don't do X" concept sold by church and state.
Good leaders must find their moral center and make up their mind that it is time to put up or shut up. It is time to practice, then preach, morality and values. Telling the flock that it is OK for junior to go kill kids in another country that never attacked us is simple - but the repercussions are permanent. Will our dear leaders find their moral center - or will they continue to lead America to its demise? Are the end-times prophesies the church sells so successfully just the end result of their own poor leadership?
Now guitar music has taken over - the squeal of some sort of coffee machine making steam - noise level higher - laughter in the background of the coffee shop.
So my plans for next Sunday don't include church - I like my mind the way it is.
The song by Guns'n'Roses has just finished: "Where do we go now?....."