I am not an “obedient” person
No one would ever call me obedient.
Never have been
Likely never could be
Too much plain rambunctiousness in me!
It leaks out
It's just not under my rational control!
No idea why
It’s just the way I am
The way I am wired.
I can be “cowed”
I’ve been cowed
Angry men scare/sober us all, hmmmm?
Make us put our heads down
Sit on our hands
Silence our voices.
But WHY are there all these angry men?
Isn’t that what we should be asking ourselves?
“The patriarchy is a wounded beast,” said Jane Fonda recently. “And nothing is more dangerous than a wounded beast."
Check out what Howard Zinn had to say about obedience!
Obedience, part II
What are we too obedient to?
The culture. Too obedient to an insane culture
That demands we drink gallons (& gallons & gallons) of (poisoned) Kool-Aid.
Broadly speaking? The bullies
Big Pharma / Big Medicine
Big military-industrial complex
Big Fossil Fuels
Big government / Big bureaucracy (any bureaucracy)
Then too, there are those little forces
(& there are the little bullies.
'cos some of us become bullies…
since the bullied often become the bully, hmmmm?)
They all have plenty of rules.
There’s a hierarchy you must report through, hmmmm?
Depending on which Big Bully you're talking about
You must listen to The.Man.at.The.Top
The man above you
Who reports to the man above him
Who reports to The Man at The Top
(they are still mostly men)
You know, the guys “in charge”
The ones who buy us with the jobs
(or the promises of Heaven?)
So we’ll all go on being consumers & cannon fodder for The Machine.
For the bullies.
The ones in charge.
The ones with all the power & most of the money.
Not a pretty picture, is it?
What are we not obedient enough to?
Logic / reason / our sharp minds
The niggling voice inside our heads that tells us often (less & less frequently over time, if we always silence it)
“This is a great big huge pile of crap!”
Obedience, part III
Never mind being “obedient”
To (a succession of) angry men
(Or just cowed men, men with no real spirit left inside them
… or women who’ve become just like the men they are slavishly imitating)
Born of patriarchy
Unearned privilege & entitlements
Millennia of your freaking bloody obedience
We need our spirits
Strong & free!
Some Semi-Random Quotations
++ a whole section on civil disobedience, here
“Wonders never ceased. Nor, Duckworth thought, did the public’s willingness to be conned.” – from Parting Shot, a mystery novel by Linwood Barclay
“For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived, and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the clichés of our forbears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.” – John F. Kennedy
“There is not a problem with the system. The system is the problem.” – Source unknown
“I would not interfere with any creed of yours or want to appear that I have all the cures. There is so much to know… so many things are true… The way my feet must go may not be best for you. And so I give this spark of what is light to me, to guide you through the dark, but not tell you what to see.” – Author unknown
“Often the voice of conscience whispers / Often we silence it / Always we have to pay.” – Cletus Nelson Nwadike, Nigerian poet, Left Curve (# 28) – Utne Reader, May/June 2005
“Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.” – Franz Kafka
“All evolution in thought and conduct must at first appear as heresy and misconduct.” – George Bernard Shaw
“Even if you’re on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.” – Will Rogers
“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” – Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn, exiled Russian novelist, quoted in Yes! (Winter 2002) – Utne Nov-Dec 2002
“The universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.” – Thomas Berry
“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” ~ William Blake – quoted in Awakening Intuition – Using Your Mind-Body Network for Insight and Healing by Dr. Mona Lisa Schulz
“Energy always flows either toward hope, community, love, generosity, mutual recognition, and spiritual aliveness or it flows toward despair, cynicism, fear that there is not enough, paranoia about the intentions of others, and a desire to control.” ~ Michael Lerner, quoted in The Great Turning – From Empire to Earth Community, by David Korten
“Above all else, the mentat [advisor] must be a generalist, not a specialist. It is wise to have decisions of great moment monitored by generalists. Experts and specialists lead you quickly into chaos. They are a source of useless nit-picking, the ferocious quibble over a comma. The generalist, on the other hand, should bring to decision-making a healthy common sense. He must cut himself off from the broad sweep of what is happening in his universe. He must remain capable of saying: “There’s no real mystery about that at the moment. This is what we want now. It may prove wrong later, but we’ll correct that when we come to it.”
The generalist must understand that anything that we can identify as our universe is merely part of a larger phenomenon. But the expert looks backward; he looks into the narrow standards of his own specialty. The generalist looks outward; he looks for living principles, knowing full well that such principles change, that they develop.
It is to the characteristics of change that the generalist must look. There can be no permanent catalogue of such change, no handbook or manual. You must look at it with as few preconceptions as possible, asking yourself: “Now what is this thing doing?” – ‘The Mentat Handbook’ quoted as “The Wisdom of Dune,” by Frank Herbert, in CCPA Monitor, April 2008
“No burden is heavy if everyone lifts.” ~ Sy Wise
“Every time we turn our heads the other way when we see the law flouted, when we tolerate what we know to be wrong, we close our eyes and ears to the corrupt because we are too busy or frightened to speak up or speak out, we strike a blow against freedom and decency and justice.” – Robert F. Kennedy
“There is only one courage, and that is the courage to go on dying to the past. Not to collect it, not to accumulate it, not to cling to it. We all cling to the past, and because we cling to it we become unavailable to the present.” – Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
A Divine Invitation
You have been invited to meet
No one can resist a Divine Invitation.
That narrows down all our choices
To just two:
We can come to God
Dressed for Dancing,
Be carried on a stretcher
To God’s Ward. – Hafiz, translation by Daniel Ladinsky, *I Heard God Laughing*
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Gandhi
“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.” – Gravity’s Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon, 1973
“It’s one of the secrets of the world. We all have the key to one another’s locks. But until we start to talk, we don’t know it.” – Michael Silverblatt, host of KCRW’s ‘Bookworm’ radio show
“Stay open.” – Yo-Yo Ma in a lovely interview with Shad, in August 2015, on q, here. On that page: At the end of the interview, Shad hit Yo-Yo Ma with this Big Question: “Having meditated on the arc of life through music in the course of making this album, what’s your biggest piece of life advice for the rest of us?” His reply? “Stay open. I think when people are afraid, we close up, we close ranks, we go into a shell, we become intolerant. Because we’re trying to be self-protective.
Having friends, trusting people, collaborating, and being empathetic can lead to ... the scaffolding to get to hope. For me, being open and being generous is huge. It actually can lead to happiness, oddly enough. Happiness, I think, is a by-product of — I didn’t say it, Freud said it —work and love … Hey, you suddenly realize, I’m happy.”
“Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state becomes lawless or corrupt. The first step to fighting injustice is to make it visible.” – Mahatma Gandhi (from article about Shiv Chopra in Vitality, Feb/March 2018)
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day. – 'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.' – Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson (more Emerson)
“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large – I contain multitudes.” – Walt Whitman
“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters can’t be trusted with important matters.” – Albert Einstein (more Einstein)
“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” – Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark
** quotations about civil disobedience