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The War on Consciousness

Don't go back to sleep.

02/22/17 10:00:am

No one should be diverted by self-oriented concerns—self-improvement, self-promotion, self-satisfaction, victimhood, or self-soothing when we are in the midst of a full-out war on human consciousness on a scale unimaginable in our time.

The assault on our collective and our individual wisdom, compassion, and clarity cannot be ignored. It is happening through the deliberate attacks on established sources of truthful information: reputable and reliable news media, scientists, academic experts, associations, agencies, and institutions that have proven their value in our culture beyond argument. Their occasional mistakes, oversights, and missteps cannot diminish their essential trustworthiness and importance in our social fabric. These reliable resources cannot be lumped together with the sources of propaganda, division, misinformation, misdirection, and all that contributes to greed, hatred, and particularly, ignorance, as if they are all to be dismissed or ridiculed. The information and analysis they provide cannot be treated as somehow equivalent, or incredibly, worse than the “alternative facts.”.

This is a grave danger to civil society, to our relationships with other cultures, and to the environmental well-being of this planet. By creating a smoke cloud of bizarre antics, distorted, inflated rhetoric filled with lies, and drastic destructive measures, there is a deliberate attempt to numb and demoralize any opposition to this war on consciousness. The sheer onslaught of damage to our world on every front—the environment, education, national security, international relations, the economy, medical care, not to mention truth itself—is breathtaking and can leave us feeling hopeless and disabled. This must not happen.

This is a war whose front lines run right through every mind and every heart; there is no sitting this one out. There are no non-combatants or innocent bystanders. We are drafted, against our hopes and dreams for a safe, comfortable, and predictable future, into the radical uncertainty of this conflict. Further, it is a battle that can only be won person to person, heart to heart, mind to mind.

Despite its many affordances, technology has been turned against us, causing so much damage to the web of human connections based on mutual trust that we must begin again, on the ground, to restore our own humanity. We must begin rebuilding sanity, truthfulness, kindness, care, protection of the vulnerable—wisdom and compassion and clarity, in other words—that is foundational to a livable society, and an inhabitable planet. We can do this, but our window of opportunity is short. The enemies of awakened consciousness are moving extremely quickly to consolidate their position, and to demoralize and disarm their opposition. I myself am shocked at how quickly this is happening, and the grave danger we are facing.

The transformation and dedication of consciousness for the welfare of all beings must be wholeheartedly, fearlessly, and tirelessly engaged and defended. This is our vow. This transformation can only happen relationally, through our willingness to connect across all boundaries, and to meet, with fearless optimism, the most difficult conditions. Those conditions might be as local as your uncle Frank, the racist, or as vast as our global ecosystem. You decide. The opportunities are boundless, but please get moving. You have five great weapons: curiosity, mindfulness, connection, clarity, and care. They are cultivated through our Zen practice, and they will serve you well.

And please vigorously support those individuals and organizations who are working hard to bring us truthful information and analysis in the face of increasingly brutal opposition and repression. Make your presence felt in support of the vulnerable, and in resistance to oppression. Be awake. There is no time to hesitate or ask directions. Move!

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