October 13, 2023

Are we adjusting to a sick society?


These words of Jiddu Krishnamurti resonate deeply in the nation today, “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” We find ourselves in a society marred by a crisis of truth, where fake news and alternative facts are just the tip of the iceberg. The roots of this societal sickness can be traced back to historical injustices, economic disparities, and a culture of perpetual warfare.

The last four decades have seen a decline in the institutional infrastructure of the government, thanks to austerity programs and tax cuts that promised but failed to deliver trickle-down wealth. The irony is that those who suffer the most are often the most ardent supporters of these policies, swayed by propaganda that blames the other political party for their woes.

Our military-industrial complex consumes a significant portion of the national budget, perpetuating a culture of fear and violence. This culture is so deeply ingrained that we find ourselves armed to the teeth, with over 400 million guns in civilian hands.

Yet, the most insidious aspect of our societal sickness is a form of national schizophrenia that divides us into opposing factions, each with its own utopian vision. This division is a psychic continuation of a Civil War that cost hundreds of thousands of lives, yet we remain oblivious to the roots of this division.

Most of us are “well-adjusted” to this sick society, thanks to a cognitive device known as “presentism,” which keeps us tethered to current attitudes without critical analysis. We find solace in empty rituals and slogans, such as standing for the national anthem or pledging allegiance to the flag, without questioning the historical and current inequities these symbols have overseen.

Two extreme forces have emerged and claim to offer cures for our societal sickness. On one end, we have the extreme right, advocating for a form of white supremacy wrapped in the American flag. Conversely, we have the extreme left, promoting a radical form of Marxism disguised as social justice. Both extremes are guilty of stifling dialogue and promoting their own forms of tyranny, further deepening the societal divide.

So, what can we do as individuals? Dr. Viktor Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, suggests that the key to mental health is finding meaning in one’s life. This involves conscious choices about our attitudes and actions, even in the most challenging circumstances.

However, achieving this state of balance is complicated. Our perspectives are shaped by societal norms and unconscious biases that we’ve inherited and reinforced over time. To break free, we need to become more mindful and reclaim the power of our consciousness. This involves critical thinking, self-awareness, and a willingness to engage in meaningful dialogue.

In a society that thrives on divisiveness and misinformation, reclaiming the power of consciousness is not just an individual endeavor but a collective necessity. By becoming more mindful, we can challenge the status quo, question our deeply ingrained beliefs, and pave the way for a more equitable and truthful society.

In conclusion, while society may continue to evolve in unpredictable ways, we have the power to maintain our mental health and integrity by being conscious and mindful individuals. This personal balance is within our grasp, and it starts with acknowledging the crisis of truth and taking steps to address it.

What this says is it’s up to us. Stop being duped by political rhetoric designed to convince you the other guy is your enemy. Start double-checking anything you read or hear from so-called qualified sources. Start completely ignoring anything you read or hear from unqualified sources. Double-check to be sure what information you are about to repeat is fact, not someone’s fiction designed to blame our troubles on someone else who looks, thinks, and acts differently. We are in this together and must stand together, or we all fall.

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