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RANT FROM SEPTEMBER 2004
"Deeper Questions, and the Truth Will Out"
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Often in the 60's encounter groups and therapists provoked participants to try to deal with the questions, "Who am I?" and "What am I?" and "Why am I?" The procedure was then mocked quite seriously, and made to seem trite and faddish, as if the questions were not really important. The mocking was done by those who do not want a curious and questioning populace. They want proles who do not wonder or think, workers and consumers who are incapable of asking piercing questions.

The emphasis in therapy itself shifted from what some of us called "dredging," to the chemistry of the nervous system, and the search for the right psycho-drug was on, and continues. Meanwhile, the important questions are neglected.

"Don't ask who you really are, or what meaning your life could have. Such questions only cause unrest and trouble. Be content with your miserable lot, or your gilded cage which is frustrating you profoundly. Leave off thinking, or better yet, never start thinking at all. You have a job that takes no thinking, or you have no job at all and wish you had that sort of job. Initiative, in spite of what they say, will be punished severely, on most jobs. Don't make waves. Don't rock the boat."

The rulers of the masses want docile masses. So, in the tradition of the Roman Caesars, two thousand years ago, they provide two essential things for the masses -- pan et circi [bread and circuses]. Thus, as an obedient member of the amorphous mass, you're supposed to eat your bread, or your cake, if you fall into that group, and go to the games, and care about the scores, more than about your own very life. Do not ask whether your life could have any real wider significance. Never sing, "Is that all there is?" That can only lead to trouble. It will be safer for you to assume that this is all there is. Drift down stream merrily, and hope it's gentle. If it isn't, well, that's just one of those things that can't be helped.

"Who am I?" you ask. The rulers want you to think you're a replaceable part, an insignificant cipher, a tiny bit of a huge mass, a grain of sand at the seashore, a drop in the ocean, a puff of breath which is gone in an instant.

But deeper questions have a way of persisting. The sound track of the modern counterpart to the ancient circus is very loud, but every once in a while the still, small voice breaks through. "What are we here to do? Why am I here? Why am I me and not someone else? What am I supposed to learn? What am I supposed to accomplish, if anything? Who am I?"

* * *
The Acting President spoke at the signing ceremony for a $417 billion defense spending bill. "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

The Associated Press reported that the Acting President "misspoke," but he did not. This was an example of those rare occasions when chronic liars accidentally and unintentionally state the plain and simple truth. Nixon did it, and Reagan did it, and now Bush has done it. He and his neocon thugs never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people.

The AP says he misspoke, because they assume that he did not intend to reveal that much truth. They, and we, can infer that he meant to say that he and the neocon thugs never stop thinking about new ways to harm the people and the countries of their enemies, perhaps Al Caeda and Iran and Syria and North Korea and France, and others. Cheney once said we were ready to invade fifty [50!] countries.

Even if the Acting President had said that, it would still be reprehensible. This enmity has been created by American foreign policy, interference in other people's affairs, since at least 1953, when the CIA overthrew Mohammed Mossedegh, prime minister of Iran, and installed the Shah. The infuriating behavior has continued ever since, oppressing in a thousand ways the poor people of the world.

As a nation we must defuse that enmity by ceasing that kind of behavior. We will never overcome the people of the world by ceaselessly thinking up new ways to harm them. Bombing and invading and fire-fighting will in no way help at all.

Now that the truth of what this government is doing and intends to continue doing is out into the open, perhaps the voters will be able to figure out what to do, if they get one more chance at an election.

* * *
Copyright © 2004 Harry Willson

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