It’s the old Yin Yang thang. Every time I hear or see something beautiful, wonderful, and good, I know it will be balanced out by something in the world equally ugly, terrible, and bad. “Twas ever thus,” as Doctor Natural would say. Perhaps centuries from now, when the entire planet is living in harmony and all the world’s citizens have expanded their consciousnesses to that place where love and peace reside, there will probably be a threat from the outside… perhaps an alien species or a speeding asteroid… which will offset the progress we think we have made… the progress we old hippies used to call the Aquarian Age.
We hippies knew this truth all along. Many thought we were naive “sky farmers,” our heads in the clouds, our hearts in our hands, and our beliefs guiding our actions. Discovering the truths led many into esoteric fields: holistic and natural healing, reading auras, palms, and stars, seeking teachers of the higher planes of thought until there was no thought at all. No thing, no matter; no matter, no thing. The goal was thoughtlessness and the experience of that place where all activity of the mind disappeared… all that was left was the void, which could be the blackest, bottomless hole or the brightest, ever expanding sun. Both, yet neither, are the Void.
While traveling that path, I encountered many colorful characters, some I instinctively knew to be unintentional self-deluded charlatans, others I instinctively knew to be telling the truth. One of those was a college professor of political science, who predicted in 1961 that the Third World War would take place in the Middle East. I believed him with good reason, and for the past week the news has been overflowing with what seems the inevitable implosion of all civilized government throughout the countries in that part of the world. My belief in what he said seems to be being validated before my eyes.
However, this needs to happen and the United States should do nothing about it, except to evacuate all US citizens. We should stay completely out of this bloody fray that once again is borne from the evil we call Religion, responsible for more death, torture, repression and hate than any other single cause, though I am sure Money and Greed take a close second in making this world a mockery of the beautiful garden it could be if we all willed it to be.
As I studied the teachings of this certain professor, it became clear that since the end of WWI, and in its aftermath, the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire; politicians have been dividing up the world to suit their own political, military, and economic interests. However, 1948 was the year the world’s fate of never-ending political and military atrocities was sealed with the creation of Israel. Three white, rich and powerful men decided to take away land from one country to form another. They created arbitrary borders with no thought to natural boundaries, ethnicities, religions or stages of political and social development.
Sixty-six years later, we are suffering the results of their stupidity. Almost all the “countries” they created have territorial disputes with their neighbors. Shias hate the Sunnis, Muslims hate the Hindus, Arabs hate the Jews. Who the hell thought it was a great idea to create Israel? Sorry, but Zionism has no special place in this writer’s heart. Judaism is a religion and not a decree from god that Jews should have a homeland at the expense of taking land away from the Palestinians. Oh, people will quote the bible, but to me the bible holds no weight and is just a series of contradictory tales.
I do have great sympathy for Holocaust survivors, but they (and we) would have been much better off if we had given them a part of Texas for their homeland. They would have turned that culturally sterile and barren land into a garden of eden and changed the course of history. In accommodating one group of people by creating Israel, we made Palestinians second class citizens, took away their land, and the repercussions have been heard loud and clear throughout the Middle East. Zionists are arrogant. I do not like them. They keep building settlements on land that is not theirs though the entire world knows doing so does nothing to promote peace. But what is, is. The least they can do is return to their 1948 boundaries and stop encroaching on what is left of Palestine. A two-state solution is the only viable one, given we cannot change the past. Jerusalem should be an independent city-state like the Vatican.
Today we have turmoil in Iraq. What the hell? We should have never invaded Iraq. All those poor soldiers dead, injured, and mentally traumatized for nothing! Bush was an idiot with Cheney, the devil incarnate, pulling his strings. But what is, is. Where do we go from here? We go home and spend our talent, time and treasure on ourselves, our infrastructure, our health, our schools, and our environment. Stay out of the fray!
Another thing I learned from my hippie days… The test of whether you learned your lesson or not is if you stop making the same mistake. If you make the same mistake, you have not learned the lesson. When you stop making the same mistake, the lesson is learned. So, United States of America… stop making the same mistakes. The triumvirate leaders of post-war 1948 and their successors… stop making the same mistakes. Learn the lesson once and for all!
Though there will be a lot of bloodshed and a lot of suffering, it is time for the people of the Middle East to resolve their own conflicts. It is time for them to figure it out. It is time for them to make their own boundaries, even if it means a tri-state solution in Iraq. No one enjoys seeing mass slaughters, executions, beheadings, rapes, etc… but I’ve had it with intervening in countries that are not yet “enlightened” enough to employ democracy as its governing principle. I’ve had it with the notion that we are responsible for “nation-building.” Even we, the people of the United States, struggle to enlighten our brothers and sisters to live among an extremely diverse populace in peace, but at least we have the political infrastructure in place to enforce a semblance of equality and the time usually comes when enforcement is unnecessary because the semblance of equality has become internalized and therefore, a reality. (OK… we patiently await the Deep South and a few other parts of the country to get their act together and start living in the NOW.)
USA! USA! USA! Oh, how I hate this chauvinistic chant! I have always considered the USA to be very far behind many European countries when it comes to social and economic equality, health and education. Why do we lie to ourselves and insist we are number One? But even Europe has been disappointing me with their anti-immigration stances and the disparity of wealth. How wonderful it would be if the middle class would re-emerge with gusto, if there were a universal, single-payer health care system, free education, and renewable energy on a grand scale. How wonderful if all decisions made were based on scientific fact and not Fox News lies and sensationalism. How wonderful it would be if we truly respected the environment and each of our fellow human beings.
And just when I can say USA! with the rest of them because I know we have accomplished all the things we worked for and dreamed for as hippies, just then… when all is good, I am certain there will be an equally bad threat from the outside. Everything in the universe lives by the rules of Yin and Yang. When the good gets better, the bad gets worse!
What to do? I think it’s time to get “holy” again, and by that I do not mean praying to a god who exists outside ourselves, but to recognize the god that is each of us. It’s time to take the good with the bad, the bad with the good and to follow that thin line between them, the very thin line between Yin and Yang. The “dirty, fucking hippies” were right all along! Maybe someday, someone who has the ear of all the people will finally admit it and say it loud and proud!
Phil Polizatto, The Unapologetic Hippie.