Posts Tagged ‘united states president’
June – August 2009
Obama is disappointing himself. It is not a question of him having substance or not. He does have the most important substance which is that of the heart. The problem is not even vision. It is that he seems to be helpless to get the right help and direction. Without that he cannot muster the courage to take the very bold measures required to start taking the world out of the present quagmire.
It is true that he inherited an impossible situation and that both wars and the economy are of the entire responsibility of his predecessor and will remain so. What he seems not to be aware of is:
1. He is the president of the world. He can act as such. None of the other world actors can compete with him. All are still waiting for an act of leadership. That act, contrary to what he believes, cannot come from a consensus of world leaders. Interests are too divergent; those leaders are completely soaked in the past. And could we, for instance redefine lack of leadership as the Western democratic counterpart of corruption in the Third World?
2. But any leader needs a base of support to launch new policies. Where would he go and get it? Once again, in the world, before it erodes like the domestic one. And domestically too he has to forge a new alliance. Of people really committed to change, which are willing to listen if things are presented to them in simple, clear terms.
3. “It’s the paradigm; stupid…it’s about culture…” It is very difficult for a human being to accept that his whole model of society, so patiently and with so few changes evolved since the cave man does not work. At least does not work anymore in a society that became global. Yet that recognition is unavoidable, for problems are not only global but transdisciplinary.
It is the same problem with the economy, politics, health, religion, science, nature, race, education and even with art. A wrong point of perspective leads us to wrong priorities in all areas.
4. It is not easy to explain to any audience what the problem is. Audiences have been told half lies for centuries, have been given placebos for ages. The problem is that throughout the centuries we have made what now can be perceived as the wrong choices. We chose a materialistic paradigm over a spiritual one. The Christs and the Buddhas came and went and we remained impervious to their message. Now Quantum Physics has come and governments don’t translate it to their people, while religious leaders continue to miss the point. Yet the message is basically the same: everything is one, everything is connected and everything is interdependent.
5. There are many other things that both spirituality and science have found that would take a book to expound. Besides, several books already exist on the subject. Only that scientists, religious leaders and governments are united in not wanting to read them. They are all too comfortable with the status quo, the division of spheres of influence and revenue. They really are united by their fear of the unknown. A very human and unacknowledged feeling that permeates both individuals and societies and prevents true innovation in all walks of life.
6. But…you can say…in a democratic society people have the rights to choose their beliefs freely and nothing can be imposed by the governments; in a democracy people have equal access to education; we can all illustrate ourselves with the latest theories and we all have access to the internet and to the Wikipedia; we can form or vote for any political parties and leaders we prefer.
7. To that it can be said that a democracy that is not also an economic democracy is not truly democratic. For we continue to have the haves and the haves not. Also, so called democracies have many acknowledged defects and weaknesses besides the persistence and the surprising widening of inequalities. That would also take another essay to make clear to all. But it can be said that the real political choices of the ordinary citizen are very limited; that the political and civic education is almost nonexistent; that political leaders are so pressed by the time of their mandates that they are incapable of taking long term decisions and hence have become pure managers of the status quo; that vested and not so vested interests and lobbies are so pervasive that leaders, consciously or unconsciously, have to bow to them. All this happens in a country which has become divided, simplified and polarized between two new and caricature classes: the investors and the consumers, the modern version of the rich and the poor.
8. A note of unexpected humor: investors and consumers are a dancing pair, in and out of synch at a time, but in the end complementary: investors have more money than things they can buy; consumers always want more things than their money can buy. The perfect financial vehicle which the wizards of the Street did not yet invent would be a hybrid: it would give serenity and peace of mind in an iron-clad Madoff scheme to the investors; while creating a perpetual and self sustaining system of return, exchange and refund to be given to the consumer’s appetite…
9. But, seriously speaking, what could be the choices, the choices from that unknown? They require real courage as well as charisma, both qualities with which Obama is abundant. And, for instance, what is really charisma? The capacity to keep others in the present. That is, to drag them out of their past, and not let them meander in future alternatives that will be a linear continuation of that past. Charisma is the future made now. Charisma is the embodiment in one person of the latent yearnings and unexpressed needs of a people. That is something that both Mussolini and Hitler knew, but that democratic politicians have been incapable of personifying without falling into populism.
10. The choices would be to tell the truth to the world population. To really use the enormous power of some sort of fireside chats through television to explain very clearly what are the issues and challenges facing humankind. To clearly and pragmatically assume that this is a crisis of civilization and that as such it should be welcomed. In order to take a clear departure from the past. A past that can only lead civilization to its doom. But can Obama muster the courage to address the world? Does his own past, his national, racial and religious prejudices impede him to take such a bold step? Can he overcome his deep-seated need to please everybody? To cater to all constituencies? Can he forget about reelection and do what needs to be done? Can he understand that those who don’t want to think or to open their hearts or to make choices will have to pay for the consequences?
11. Nobody manifests on the streets for the rights of the Spirit, nobody protests against the apparent theft of Time, which in reality hides its almost total control over our lives. That is because democracy is a passive system; it restrains certain abuses but it does not foster true search for societal innovation, it does not like to be questioned, nor does it look for an integral approach to life. Yet it is the spirit that is knocking at our door. Yet it is God who wants to return to human society. A God who is not owned by any religion or race. A God that deserves a last chance. A final chance to help redirect Humankind’s course.
12. Yes… but along which lines? … Nobody in the West wants a theocracy anymore, nobody wants communism…Yet, do people really know what theocracy means? Do people really know what communism means? Are the examples of today’s Iran and of the former Soviet Union a remote example of such systems? Or are they mankind’s deviations and distortions of a dimly perceived ideal? Could it be that the best system would be a amalgamation of those three ideals?
13. The economical, the social, the political and the religious are not really separate. They have common roots and share many components. What is missing is a novel approach which aligns them. A magnet that aligns them toward the same goal that motivates those areas of human pursuit: the attainment of happiness, as the philosophers would say. The attainment of a simple and agreeable life for all; where the excitement, the discovery and the fulfillment are pursued inside. This would be very far away from the present consumeristic and debt ridden society model that the rule of Economism has imposed on us.
14. Much more could be said about a new model of economy that would be fair to all, yet not utopical. We intend to dedicate to that subject another separate text. The practice of barter has existed since time immemorial. The idea that people should do what they like and know how to do best is not new. But that requires that the economy shifts from production and consumption to satisfaction and fulfillment. That the economy and the society become geared towards the individual and the family instead of the State and the corporations. It will require that money will be used just as a means of exchange for a real good or service, and even as a pure means of reference and not as an instrument of control or status. For we are just stewards of this Earth.
15. After writing the above a few days ago, I just finished reading an article in Rolling Stone magazine (20th August 2009), entitled “Obama so far”. It says something very similar: “Will he take bold action or compromise too easily?” In it, the three political observers insist that his approach to get some Republican votes has only weakened the final bills approved while the number of Republicans voting for them was extremely small. Everywhere in the article and the magazine there is a call for those who elected him on the premise of change to get activated again and press him vocally for real reform and for him to take the system to its edge. Yes, certainly…but that goes against the very veins along which democracy has evolved in America, in which people’s participation in the political process is only encouraged and allowed during the electoral period. Furthermore if he were to call on his support bases that could risk polarization (even while his opponents openly mobilize against his policies…). It could even put him at risk. And we do not have to be very imaginative or knowledgeable to guess the many, many vested and not so vested interests that are only waiting for him to make a big mistake to try and make the situation revert to something akin to the previous regime.
16. To finalize I would dare say that everything in the life of a man, irrespective of his station, lies in his moral consciousness, in his trust in himself and in God. To be a community organizer is a great achievement and indicator, but there comes a moment, in which you realize that if what you get is not enough, then it is the same as getting nothing; it will not take you anywhere. Also, if the money is to be used to bailout the banks which created the present mess, and who show no clear signs of wanting to mend their ways, then there is a moral hazard in protecting recklessness and greed. Above all, mainly if you are a gambler by nature , someone who is not averse to taking risks, there eventually comes a pressing moment in which you have to chose between compromise and compassion, between the preservation of a status quo that favors a small elite and the creation of a more just and more spirit imbued society. That Great Society can then become the world.
17. Ironically, it could be that the most drastic initial step which could be taken, the freezing of the banking system, indeed of the whole international monetary system, is perhaps what some governments and institutions secretly desire. It could be a good beginning at restoring some sanity, honesty and fairness. A new starting from point zero. But it should clearly be part of a life oriented program and not a first step towards an artificially created and imposed virtual society, ruled through biologically embedded microchips. Time is running out and the world economy is definitively out of control. Though the economy is resilient and is resisting the plunge, unemployment will be getting unacceptable soon, while derivatives remain explosive and anything can trigger a debacle. We know how great wars start with small and unexpected detonator pretexts. Let us hope that this time the pretext to save the economy is not a war in the Middle East.
Nov 2008 – Feb 2009
In the Chinese language the word “crisis” translates both as danger and as opportunity. This is clearly the situation the world is facing today.
Americans have the feeling that America is the world and never has that been closer to becoming true.
After eight years of political tension, the world is now focused on a different crisis. After tension there is now a very high worldwide expectation for Obama’s presidency. For the first time in several countries the election campaign was followed daily by national televisions. People understood what was at stake. On one side more of the same, delivered by an old man, who confessed knowing nothing about economics, and on the other side, change and a hope of fairness for all.
Appropriately, the President of Brazil said this in early in February :“The world cannot elect anymore presidents that do not listen to social movements, that do not listen to the people”. And the reach of Obama’s star could also be felt in January in France when the workers striking chanted “Yes we can” down the streets of Paris. Another puzzling effect is that the word O-ba-ma in the Persian language of Iran means “he is with us.”
The challenge that is facing Obama seems to be an economical one, hence his actions to remedy the situation. However with time it is probably going to become a social crisis, which will become a political crisis worldwide and, in the end will reveal itself as a crisis of the model of society we created for this planet, that is, a change of paradigm in civilization. It is obviously too early to address that core point. Policies will have to fail and frustration increase.
The huge cloud of “derivatives,” some $500 trillion, moving in the ethers between Dubai and Tokyo and having very little relation to real assets, cannot be assuaged by a few billion dollars handouts to banks. There was too much greed and lack of competence and foresight to be erased with such short term goodwill.
The crisis is systemic and the solution cannot be found within the system. Part of the crisis of the system is the increasing worldwide disillusion with politicians, economists, managers, and bankers.
Americans have had the tendency to see their leaders in messianic terms. Even though it is premature to say that with certainty, Obama seems to be destined to be the messianic figure by excellence. He is now the rallying point for the aspirations of people of all classes in all continents. He could become “the imam,” the spiritual and political leader.
Even though his arrival to the White House could almost be seen as the opposite. For we finally have a human in that position, a person like us. A being who is compassionate, loving and yet efficient, dedicated to take action to solve problems. A non ideological man who is not just a technocrat, a pragmatic manager. For he is imbued with a vision. He has a dream.
Speaking with a spiritual European astrologer recently about Obama she told me the following:
1. He does not have personal planets in the chart, meaning that he does not come to project his ego but comes in service, guided by a mission. He projects himself in the group, the government, the people, and the nation. He comes for group action.
2. The present polarity with the past is so strong that the situation is irreversible. Americans, which are not used to having to think, are going to have the alternative to think and decide consciously.
3. His project is very luminous; he is a light in the world, a man of good will, transparent.
4. But it is going to be very difficult; he may be a transitional government. Why?
5. Because he has Pluto in Capricorn in the Eight house, of karma and memory. Could it be the weight and memory of the previous regime? He seems to be tied by that. A counterweight. But, fortunately, that Pluto does not have bad aspects. It is rather a stuck energy, dark, heavy, difficult to move.
With time and the worsening of the situation, Obama will start realizing that material solutions cannot solve a crisis that is fundamentally spiritual, that there are too many causes, actors, factors, and vectors involved to be addressed by one-dimensional policies. To be able to comprehend both the multifarious nature of the crisis and the simplicity of its solution, he will have to open himself to guidance. He will have to realize that his intelligence, dedication, honesty and hard work, will not suffice. He will have to find a higher form of inner surrender. He will have to refine his relation with God.
Even though he likes action and problem solving and he is naturally at ease in teamwork, he needs a higher container, to know that he is not alone. He is clearly a person who listens. But more than listening to the people and to his advisers, he needs to open to new revelations. In this time of crisis, they will probably come from uncommon and unexpected sources.
As always in universal human history and as Euripides, a Greek playwright wrote twenty-five centuries ago, “ the expected does not come and for the unexpected a god opens the door.”
As the perfect conciliation between science and religion cannot be found, that door will have to be something never seen before or perhaps something very simple and age-old perfect.