Wednesday, February 22, 2012


The metaphors that surround our common embodiment highlight the
problems created by the right/wrong, either/or model. The cult of
opposition that so much of the world is locked in not only is out of
step with global interconnectivity, it’s dangerous. In the image of
our world as a body of interconnected and interdependent systems, this
internal opposition should be seen like an autoimmune disease, parts
of the organism attacking itself. Trying to control or appropriate
parts of the body begins with the erroneous mindset that is
disconnected from the whole that supports it.
Likewise the disproportionate enlargement of one part of the body,
a few absorbing all the resources meant to nourish the whole, can be
seen as a tumor, a malignancy intent on serving its own interests.
Enormous wealth in just a few places is the image of a badly diseased
whole. In our physical body, surgery would be necessary to rescue the
whole from the parts that have run amuck. To limit the damage created
by the excess wealth tumor why not add three more tax brackets at the
upper end? The ones we have are out of date. By dramatically taxing
higher as the numbers get more excessive there wouldn’t be as much
incentive to be greedy. Make it impossible for the tumor to grow past
a point where it drains the energy of the whole.
The “Occupy” movement has made clear that this is an area of
common ground. The 99% sees an article in the Wall Street Journal,
“Living Very Large”, with a picture of an obscenely large mansion, and
feels sick, the natural reaction to disease. We feel our connection to
the world body and sense what’s out of balance, where proportions are
way off. Conscious awareness of that kind of belonging could break the
habit of oppositional attitudes with the realization that cooperation
is the way of the body, growing through our contribution to the
flourishing and evolution of the whole. Though competition may offer
an adrenalin rush, helping others stimulates endorphins, the natural
opiates meant to reinforce beneficial behavior. If we help someone
else, offer our attention to a cooperative goal, we feel good. It’s
meant to encourage us to keep doing that, mindful of the wellbeing of
the whole. Scanning the world body with an eye to the health of all
the systems, attending to sickness and imbalance with the
participation of the areas affected is the only way to get back in
balance. Through our embodiment we understand that excess is
unhealthy, it overloads the system and strains connected systems. Our
ability to limit, both consciously and through what the body rejects
on its own, is one of our most highly evolved powers.
Restraint enables us to accumulate energy. It keeps reactive and
instinctive behaviors subdued until they can be thoughtfully
considered. Limiting the size of corporations, the size of individual
wealth, limiting any area given to excess, is following the example of
the human body. It’s a model sufficiently complex to hold the
multivariable modern world, a reasonable frame for approaching the
problems created by an overloaded machine.

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