9
Jun
2004

The End of "Better"

"The End of "Better", a commentary by Neale Donald Walsch

And so it has ended. Any last illusion that Americans may have been hanging onto that their country is a "better" country, that their people are "better" people, and that their military is a "better" military, because Americans are fair, honest, and kind has been shattered into a million pieces in the past 36 months.

First, our faith in the fairness of our political system was shaken as we watched a man who received over 100,000 fewer votes nationwide than his opponent become president of the United States. Then our faith in the fairness of our economic system-and those at the top of it-was wiped out by the unbelievable, endless and continuing accounting scandals that have shown us just what kind of integrity our corporate world possesses.

Then the man who we didn't elect ordered his country to do what we never thought we'd live to see the United States of America ever do: attack a foreign nation and kill hundreds of innocent people with no justification other than a suspicion. And now, finally, we weep inside for the losing of the last of our dream of who Americans are as we see sickening photographs emerge from a prison called Abu Ghraib in Iraq.

If people living in the United States really thought that Americans were "the good guys," and that it was only the rest of the world they had to worry about, they're now learning the truth. We're no better than anyone else. Period. End of sentence.

So we can stop, already, with our righteous protestations about the cruelties and unfairness of the rest of the world, about her "rogue nations" and her terrorist states and her brutal militaries and her unfair economic systems. It turns out that what many others in faraway places have been saying about us for decades is true: we are the pot calling the kettle black.

Yet even though we are now seeing ourselves as we really are, we are still shrinking from asking the painful questions. How has this all happened? How can humans cheat each other and brutalize each other and torture each other in prison cells and kill each other the way we do? What is the real problem in the world today? What is the cause of our massively dysfunctional behavior?

This is the question no one seems to want to ask. Not a single head of state has asked it. Not a single military official has looked at it. Not a single prominent politician, economist, educator, or journalist has seriously made the inquiry. Tellingly, not even one leader of any of the world's exclusivist organized religions has posed the question-much less offered an answer. Why?

Because to pose the question would be to put into question the basic human values that most of those people in positions of such power and influence have adopted-and that most of the human race has embraced, following their lead. Yet now let us consider the answer that no one wants to consider as even being possibly true: the problem in the world today is not a political problem, it is not an economic problem, and it is not a military problem. The problem in the world today is a spiritual problem.

Our problem has to do with what we believe. And beliefs are spiritual matters. It is what we believe-about God, about life, about each other-that allows us to act the way we act with each other with impunity. Our most basic beliefs support (indeed, sponsor) our behaviors. And this is one thing we don't want to look at. What is it we are believing that promotes such behaviors? We believe that we are separate from each other. We believe that there is not enough of what we need on this planet to survive and to be happy. We believe that God gives us the moral authority to use violence against each other for whatever reason we choose so long as we label it "justice" or "self defense."

Fascinatingly, we believe that whatever is buried in the portion of the earth on which we live-the minerals and rocks and oil and whatever other substance we find there-is "ours" by virtue of the fact that it exists in "our land.," raising the interesting international political question, "How far down is ' down'?" We also believe that we own the sky above us, insofar as it covers " our" land, raising the interesting international political question, "How far up is 'up'?"

Many of us also believe that our way is the only way-not the best way or the fastest way, but the only way-to heaven. Further, many of us believe that persons who believe in other ways will be condemned by God, and are therefore open to humiliation and condemnation by us. These and other of our beliefs give us plenty to fight about, but we don't ever examine these beliefs seriously to see if they are true, because our beliefs are sacrosanct. They are not open to question.

Recently, U.S. President George W. Bush told the audience at a ceremony commemorating the National Day of Prayer in the United States, "God is not on the side of any nation, yet we know He is on the side of justice. Our finest moments ...have come when we have faithfully served the cause of justice for our own citizens, and for the people of other lands." I wonder if anybody but me shivers when observing that those words could just as easily have been spoken by the spiritual leader of Hamas.

This invoking of God to add moral authority to, and thus to justify, ungodly acts is apparently not only the tactic of that militant Islamic movement, which has openly taken credit for many suicide bombing missions in the Middle East, and has issued many similar statements in the past.

What the world desperately needs now is a new form of spirituality. A spirituality that teaches not of a God who Himself uses condemnation, torture and violence as a means of control (and who encourages others to do so), but of a God who invites all of humanity to explore a new way of living and being. A spirituality that, instead of sending messages of separation and scarcity, sends messages of unity and sufficiency.

We are all one, and there is enough for all. The problem in our world is not one of supply, it is one of distribution. We have enough stuff, we simply don' t have enough will. It is the job of our spiritual and political leaders to give us the will. They are not doing it.

(Neale Donald Walsch has had five titles on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list in the past seven years. His current book is Tomorrow's God: Our greatest spiritual challenge from Atria Books, March 2004)

Jack's note:
The one main thing I would disagree with in Neale's article is the last two sentences. I think that the everyone-for-themselves system itself is flawed to the point where leaders are not able to fix it. In order to transform the planet, people need to see a better model. That model can be demonstrated by 3,000 people in the Community model we propose. Until that is done, the people and our leaders just do not have the vision necessary for the needed changes. What I agree whole-heartedly with is that it's going to take a change in consciousness—a new Spirituality as Neale puts it. In our model the form of living in a Highest-Good- For-All Community and the necessary consciousness of the Highest Good go hand-in-hand. It will be the abundance on all levels in these Communities that will inspire people to change their consciousness. More about that next time.

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