The Proper Response to Insanity: Ethics in an Era of Trumpism and the Difficult, yet Profoundly Fruitful, Task of Loving Your Dragons
— Which is Chapter 56 of *Psychology of Apocalypse* by Michael Adzema
The Proper Response to Insanity:
Ethics in an Era of Trumpism and the Difficult, yet Profoundly Fruitful, Task of Loving Your Dragons
“We no longer have the luxury of ‘business as usual,’ with its daily creature comforts.”
“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop!” — Mario Savio
“…stand within the circle of the good-hearted people of this world, wanting the world’s and their children to be happy and not to suffer. In this way, be lifted up in solidarity with us, with all the rest of us, realizing the comfort in the saying, ‘we’re all in this together.’”
“The best way to combat evil is to make energetic progress in the good.” — I Ching
Whether we have a chance to actually make of these developments something, to have a kind of death-rebirth, is unlikely. But we do not know the future.
What Do We Do?
Well, I can tell you that a tendency to go nuts and to want to die is characteristic of people just before they make a breakthrough to wellness. As I elaborated on in Part Three of this book, it is called a healing crisis. This healing crisis is also evident in the processes of societies and cultures as displayed in the patterns of historical change.
One Must “Die” to One’s Sickness to Be “Born” Well
So there is hope in that we see in the worst of times the seed of healing. However, we can lose heart in a pendulum swinging so far to the Right we fear it will never swing back again. Yet we know of an overarching pattern that might buck us up during such a seeming regression. The pendulum does react to extremes and move to correct itself. We see that in the Women’s Movement globally responding to all kinds of fascist tendencies in America and throughout the world.
We can take heart in that tendency mentioned of the need to step back a couple prior to a leap forward. Or, as I like to say, we do not progress in a straight line, in our personal-growth processes, but outward in all directions simultaneously, like an expanding circle. In which case, every progression further to the Left — as in Bernie Sanders campaign — partakes of elements of the Right: It is at least informed and made stronger through awareness of the nature of the Right’s ignorance. That overlap also explains why so many Righties — as shown by polls at the time — would have voted for Sanders, given the chance.
Relatedly in terms of evolutionary theory, there is the idea of punctuated evolution. Anthropologists have noted years and years of buildup of energy pushing toward change prior to a sudden release. In a relatively short period, then, massive changes unfold, resetting and reconfiguring everything for the next long period of gradual buildup. This has been applied to Earth changes but also all kinds of evolutionary developments. And Thomas Kuhn (1970) in his study of the evolution of ideas has described the same kind of thing in regard to scientific paradigms. Prior to any major new overstanding dawning in science, there is a long period of repression of anomalous facts, ridicule of new ideas, and ostracism of new-paradigm visionaries. Until in a scientific moment, a new map for interpreting everything is adopted; much as old kings are deposed by new ones, bringing in new eras and fresh ideas. And of course, there is the healing crisis I have been describing, which is the same kind of thing occurring in people’s lives.
What Does This Mean for Me?
None of this tells us what we, individually, should do in this crisis. What most folks want to know is, what does this mean for me? How can I apply it today, this very minute even? What should I do right now? For, as we sit here in this darkness of unknowing, it is likely we will despair.
Yet in this darkness we have no way of knowing the future. In that unknowing lies our thread of hope. It is what can motivate us, regardless our hopelessness, to take that one action as I was talking about earlier. Do one thing to raise human consciousness. Post about this book or something about any of the environmental crises to Facebook, Twitter, or the social media of your choice. Let one little ray of sunlight into your darkness. Feel comforted in the company of people, like you, who care.
That is the short answer. The longer answer must address how we respond to a situation of decline into fascism in the midst of an overall collapse of the environment which will now, not only not be addressed, it will be pushed along! Because of Trump, the apocalypse will be driven forward. Just as much as a bus approaching an abyss which is suddenly taken from first gear to fourth, in the blink of an eye, and the accelerator stomped upon. We see this already in Trump’s first year in office. He seems determined to defy science and the gods. And Mother Nature, with unprecedented environmental calamities, is giving him an appropriate middle finger. Meanwhile the scientists’ Doomsday Clock, which is their overall evaluation of the likelihood of human annihilation — as reported by the New York Times on 25 January 2018 — has been moved closer to midnight.1 It is now only two minutes from doomsday; it has not been this close since 1953 at the height of the Cold War, a time overshadowed by concern about the Bomb.
How Do We Respond to Evil?
Yet in the middle — Trump ignoring Gaia’s cries, Mother Nature pissing on him — are we. So how do we respond to evil? For if this be about the end of life, then what we are in is the opposite of life … it is evil, live spelled backwards.
This takes us to a question of ethics in the face of fascism and destruction. In my books, I stress a natural morality. It is easily explained: Value is placed on life, reduction of pain and suffering, and promotion of happiness. That’s what to do in a natural morality. As for what not to do, it is summed up: You can do anything you want as long as you don’t hurt anyone. Roughly speaking, these two comprise the morality humans basically have lived by for 99.6 percent of our existence, going back one-and-one-half-million years. Then civilization came along, robustly, at around five thousand BCE, with its social hierarchy and the creation of an elite class, comprising the filthy rich of every age and every society.
As I was saying in the chapter, Chapter 6, on the descents of man and on civilization and the moral plunge it induced, with civilization all of that changed. There are now values geared to Ego, and not even the Ego of all, but merely the egos of the elite. To this end, evil enters, it being the opposite of life. Life is not valued over death; less suffering is not valued; respect for rights is not valued; harmony with the environment is not more desirable. All this is reversed by the elites.
For the benefit of the egos of the elites, murder and death are often portrayed as a good thing, especially in wars and in terrorizing the populace into compliance. Suffering is very often a good thing for it keeps the people down, obsequious, eager to serve for fear of punishment or worse … conforming, obedient, and “in line.” Respect for rights? Well, the only rights that are truly defended are those of the haves, while small benefit to the elite is weighed higher than any number of important and essential rights of the people at large. To that end, there is no limit of brutality to be brought to bear against underlings. As for harmony with the environment, with civilization Nature and the environment are used up, raped, and destroyed for the temporary “glory” or smallest of pleasures for the elite. In considerable detail, I elaborate on this “travesty of morals,” as I call it, beginning with civilization, in the book following this in the Return to Grace Series, Back to the Garden. It is scheduled for publication the same year as this one, 2018, though in the second half of it.
As I explain in it, with civilization, ethics, like morals, are tortured, just like the masses, into compliance with the wishes of the powerful. For law, ethics, and morals are made by, enforced by, and serve primarily the interests of society’s elites, the richest of the rich. Much more about that appears in the next book, where I talk about it going all the way back to Gilgamesh — a king who was memorialized in the first great work of literature, The Epic of Gilgamesh, almost five thousand years ago. So with civilization comes patriarchy and domination by elites. With it and its modern spinoff of fascism, laws and ethics do not have to be reasonable or to conform to our natural morality, our own sense of right and wrong.
You don’t think we have that embedded in our culture? Well, then how is it we are able to induce soldiers to kill? They must obey, regardless how they feel. The same with police. Religion tells us that if a god were to tell you to kill your child, you should obey, no matter how you feel about it, until told differently. That is what The Bible tells us in the story of Abraham and Isaac. What about parents? What does, “do as I say, not as I do, imply.” Obey! Regardless. It does not have to make sense. Again, obedience trumps feelings of compassion and empathy. Now, who do you suppose this focus on obedience … and its corollaries, loyalty, honor, glory, and so on, all that patriarchal bullshit … who do you suppose it benefits to have a populace obedient and unthinking?
You can see how convenient having such a populace believing in a morality of obedience would be for the purposes of warring on others; or for staying silent as hundreds of thousands of planetmate species go extinct, crushed under the Caterpillar boots of corporations. Yet notice also how that works toward the masses obeying in all matters resulting in profit to the elite, or to their ego-inflation.
Loving Your Dragons
So how do we reverse such a long standing and powerful force pushing us to both domination as well as submission. Just how do we right the wrongs of millennia of foreparents, passing on their Pain and their sins.
Well, if we are truly going to succeed in reversing ten thousand years of oppression and an elitist morality privileging the wealthy at the expense of the lives of all below, we will have to embrace the hardest ethic of all. Jesus espoused it. The world has yet to get it. It is a morality that goes beyond even transcendental humor in the face of evil, as I was describing in Part Four and concerning “playing cards with your dragons.” For it involves the unbelievable: “Loving your dragons.”
It is consistent with the rise of the Divine Feminine, who as Kwan Yin is ever weeping for the suffering and ignorance of humans. It is Jesus saying on the cross, “Father, forgive them. For they know not what they do.” It is the ending of 2150 A.D., about refusing, even at the cost of one’s own life, to participate in the evil and instead to exemplify the only other alternative — loving resistance. It corresponds to the deeper template in humans I have been talking about. It goes all the way back to No-Form re-union and the periconceptional dynamics, which involve brotherhood and unity.
It is about the need to go beyond simply transcendental humor in the face of evil but to actual love, the Christ kind of love involving “loving one’s enemy” and “loving your neighbor as yourself.” This is founded upon the principle arrived at through experience of our prenatal connection with Divinity as reflected in the flow-in ßà flow-out symbiosis with our mothers. Yet even more so, it has roots in our feelings at conception. The egg and you are one. The sperm and you are one.
So also we, as sperm, are united with three hundred million other sperm in the grandest of causes — the creation of a new “world.” And there’s another thing, the template of being part of a higher cause, even if one oneself dies.
More profoundly, and deeper into the spiritual grids, lies the reconnection with our overstanding of Reality in the No-Form State. Which is to say that each of us is the other in different garb: I am you and you are me and we are all together. Unity is Divinity. It is experienced as empathy. We are all in this together.
No, It Don’t Come Easy
Still, this ability to love one’s enemy is something that is so difficult virtually no one does it. Christ was so so far ahead of his time in espousing it. It might only be in this age on the edge of the abyss we will even be motivated to try.
And it is something we are constantly confronted with. In our daily lives, people irritate us, slight us, insult us. One should of course assert oneself, stand one’s ground. Yet how often can we do so lovingly? In awareness of the imperfections of the other, who is actually only ourselves in another state. Acknowledging that we also are blind at times and so have hurt others, might actually be the one doing it at that moment.
You see, we get a myriad of opportunities to work on it, to try to perfect it in ourselves, to practice it and to get better at it and be part of the paradigm of new understanding and the new template. Outside of activist situations and more frequently and commonly, one can work on this and practice it and in this way be both part of the solution, not the problem, and in one’s own life make energetic progress in the good.
My wife, Mary Lynn Adzema, expressed the practicality of this loving unity, “When we feel pain at another’s pain, and more difficult, joy at another’s joy, then we can know that we are experiencing the divine unity.” She quotes Sathya Sai Baba, in the same chapter, on this: “Even when you laugh at me or hate me, even when I seem to be on the opposite side of the earth. I am in you. You are in me. Don’t forget that. We cannot be separated.” He was referring to himself as Divine. However, in that his message is we are all ultimately Divine, or sparks of Divinity … or “children of God,” as Christians say … the same thing applies to all of us. Or, as the quantum physicist Schrödinger phrased it, “The total number of minds in the universe is one.”
“How Can I Do This”
This is the most difficult thing of all and to all appearance is the last barrier to unity, which is Divinity, and to enlightenment.
Thea Alexander writes, “The only way to cancel negative hate-filled actions is by responding to them with positive love-filled actions. As long as micro man demands an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth he merely continues his negative karma.…
“All the ills of micro man are caused by his own self-hatred which he attempts to deny by displacing and projecting it on others, either in the form of violence or the normal everyday selfish micro behavior that denies adequate food, shelter, and loving care to his fellow man and permits the ugly and eventually lethal pollution of his planet.”3
So, most difficult of all it is, for to do it one must set aside the parts of a person that one is angered by or upset by and focus instead on the qualities of others who hurt us that are human, and then realize that the other part of them, that is angering us, is simply their poor and inexperienced response to their primal pain … that they are doing the best they know how, tortured by uncomfortable feelings. That we need to look at the sick insanity in others as simply that, a sickness. Knowing we cannot change them, only love them.
You Are Your Enemies … and Your Heroes
Ultimately, as both Stanislav Grof, in his holotropic breathwork, and Roger Woolger, in his past-lives therapy, have discovered, we have had many lives and been both king and pauper, thief and priest, rapist and abuse victim, sinner and do-gooder, Hitler and Martin Luther King, Jr. Each of us is Martin Luther King, Jr., inside, that is why we are so inspired and attracted to him. Yet each of us is also a Hitler. That is why we need to forgive, even love, everything and everyone. For we are them and we have done and are doing all that … too.
And that is the hardest lesson of all: That we are both the worst as well as the best of that which we see in others.
We should never intentionally harm another. For a part of us is always like them. Certainly, we must protect the innocents, yet there are many ways to do that short of violence. We can be clever, we can hone our skills in being loving while also properly asserting ourselves, speaking truth to power, protecting the helpless from harm, and standing between the innocent and evil. Mahatma Gandhi showed how this works and how effective it can be.
The thing to keep in mind is that we project onto the world what we are not connected with inside and thereby we draw it to us. We bring it to us in an indirect effort to reconnect with it on the inside.
So whatever another presents us with is either an instigation for a new course in our miraculous journey back to Divinity. Or it is a review, and further spiritual practice in, a course we needed and completed in this life. Practice makes perfect, you know.
The Other is us in different garb, manifesting what lies within us behind a wall of repression. Therefore, whatever and whoever we encounter brings a piece of something we need. That is, indeed, why they — the people coming to us or the feelings arising in us — have manifested in our reality, our consciousness.
The insides of us are seen reflected in the outsides of us. The total number of minds in the universe is one, which is manifesting as many, to magnify the glory of existence and expand infinitely the potentials for Experience. Which the Divinity within us experiences as fun, in its light and darkness, ignorance and wisdom, heaven and hell, suffering and euphoria dancing with each other in infinite variations. With the contrasts, as in the myriad colors of a painting — the bright and the blackish — making for a masterpiece. As a whole, seen as beautiful.
Thea Alexander writes, “How long it has taken me to learn that all failure is success, — all death is birth.”5
In another place she offers, “…nothing is terrible from the sub-macro view. Things can only be terrible from the micro perspective which is too limited to see that we live in a perfectly just and balanced macrocosm in which we experience only what we have caused and chosen.”4
She gives an example. It is something hard for you to swallow. I have yet to encounter a soul who can accept his or her suffering and pain as being self-inflicted or deserved. Yet Sathya Sai Baba provided a similar example. In his, a person afflicted with a daughter with a twisted body, wondering why, was shown herself in another life as someone who tortured and maimed. He explained that in in being confronted with someone who needed constant care he neededshe needed to learn to care . An Inquisitor during medieval times, punishing sexuality and warring against the pleasures of the body, might find himself on the other side of that. Born into a severe religious upbringing in a current life, with an unjust punishing father, providing the course materials for a life of learning compassion and forgiveness. As Grof said, a Nazi might be reborn as a Jew. Woolger has offered that a selfish and wealthy person might be born as a pauper in a poor family. In these examples, brought to mind somehow, we cannot be the victim, for we know we are also, have also been, the perpetrator.
In Alexander’s novel, her character, Jon, and his beloved, Carol, have been stoned to death in a most brutal way by the inhabitants of Micro Island through the actions of the characters, Elgon and Sela. At his moment of death, Jon hears the voice of his teacher, “In ancient Judea, Jon, the souls of Carol and yourself incarnated into a fierce and proud family. You grew up to be beautiful to look at but vain and proud. You were quick to condemn and more than once self-righteously joined in the stoning to death of those you condemned.”
And after death, in another place, Jon shares his realization: “I no longer condemn or feel any anger toward Elgon, Sela, or anyone on Micro Island, for I realize that I have nothing to forgive them since I myself chose and caused my painful experiences. Anger, like all other violence, is always a last desperate attempt by micro beings to deny their own self-hatred by displacing and projecting it on others. Violence will, therefore, continue as long as anyone desires to deny his past and the macrocosmic oneness of all.”
So, this ethic goes way beyond we are our brother’s keeper. No, we are our brother. So be kind to yourself, you are everyone. Love your neighbor as yourself, for she is.
I am you, and you are me, and we are all together.
Ethics in the Era of Trumpism
Now, what does this have to do with Donald Trump, the currently installed president of the United States?
Well, quite simply, the question of ethics in a Trump era is the same as of ethics when Hitler came to power….
Now, before you go freaking out about my using the H word … I know it’s overused, and folks want to say nothing quite so evil as Nazism and on such a scale can ever go on in our day … let me share a few facts….
Every time there’s a change, in America, from a Democratic to a Republican leadership, millions of people die. Millions die worldwide. The changes in foreign and other policy, even if they seem small, have huge ramifications throughout the world, especially in the most dependent and poorest of countries, not to mention among the poorest and most vulnerable people of my own country.
And climate change? Trump is accelerating that, with an all-out assault on the environment … return to fossil fuels … and reversal of any environmental progress we’ve made….
Trump denies there’s global warming. Yet he’s got plans to drill in an Arctic Ocean made suddenly accessible with the melting of the polar ice cap … which is brought about by that global warming!
Experts are saying we’ve got only about ten years before humans go extinct and that it’s inevitable. Some are saying it will be all over in a matter of only eighteen months to four years.
My response to that is that we should throw all our energy into keeping that from happening, regardless we’ll probably fail. We might at least limit some of the suffering, if we try.
With Trump at the wheel, though, he’s blindly determined to drive us into an abyss, killing us all. So it seems we might as well throw in the towel.
Then there’s nuclear radiation. Trump has already said he’s going to build up America’s nuclear arsenal. Which leads to …. more arms races, including countries in addition to the US and Russia. During the presidential campaign Trump said he’s got no problem with Iran and North Korea having nukes.
Trump also said, about nuclear weapons, “What do we have them for if we can’t use them?” And sure enough, after the election, he is threatening nuclear destruction of North Korea for it having acquired nuclear weapons. I know. But the inconsistency is his, not mine.
He’s said we need to build up our arsenal of nuclear weapons in the U.S. … already capable of eliminating life on Earth hundreds of times over … “until the world wakes up”!!!
Trump supports nuclear power plant construction as well … which we in Eugene, Oregon, put to an end here in the United States in 1983. As I explained earlier in the book, I was involved in that. No doubt with Trump, that victory will be taken from us….
So this man will be responsible for many millions of lives lost ….
Many many more than Hitler and most likely all of us, all seven and one half billion of us….
With that … well, Hitler comes across as Mahatma Gandhi by comparison….
What folks don’t realize is, you don’t have to look like Adolf Hitler to act like one … you don’t need a strange symbol on your armband … you can even have orange skin and yellow hair and be a Hitler…. And you are no more special than the people of Germany in the 1930s; it can happen to you. Living in modern times is no defense against unimaginable horror.
So what do we do?
That is the only ethical response left…
For if ethics is not about human life and reducing human suffering … if it’s only, as some people think, about imposing your do’s and don’ts on your children and on people you don’t like … then you don’t have ethics, you’ve got dogma and oppression, masquerading as morality.
Whereas the natural morality I espouse, and which is shared with the humans over ninety-nine percent of our history, involves promoting life and reducing suffering as its bottom line….
The other part of this natural morality is that actions taken to save lives and to reduce suffering are all the more praise-worthy. There’s the morality of what not to do … the “Thou shalt nots” … then there’s the morality of what would be good to do, which is sometimes called heroic, if it involves some kind of self-sacrifice.
So, ethics in an age of Trump? The only ethical response to the future horror being brought by a President Trump is resistance. Mario Savio phrased it during the free speech movement at Berkeley in December of 1964: “There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop! And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it — that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”
Now, does that mean you really have to stand in front of a tank?
Or maybe … in your own unique and special way … you need to do something similar to what I’m doing,
Being an author, psychotherapist, anthropologist, and ecopsychologist, I have been dedicating all my time … for years now … toward placing my words of hope and help in front of a world gone mad….
We no longer have the luxury of “business as usual,” with its daily creature comforts.
The only ethical response left is a spiritual one: What do you do in the face of horror and death, not just of yourself, but of your children and loved ones, the innocents, the planetmates?
I mean, if you don’t care about their deaths and suffering, you are not moral … nor ethical … though you might be moral-izing.
As opposed to what you do not do … which is the traditional morality of the Thou Shalt Nots … what you do … in this new and retrograde era of Trumpism, has suddenly become all important. We’re traditionally taught to not disobey, to respect and follow authority, blindly and trusting. However, in the current era it needs to be about what we do … we need to question authority, if necessary we need to disobey authority. You’d better be part of the solution, in whatever way you can or you want to. Or else you’d better get used to watching your children and loved ones suffering … probably dying … and knowing you are partly responsible for it, and there no longer being anything you can do about it.
I suggest you get yourself into action … do something about the horror approaching in whatever way you can …
Stand within the circle of the good-hearted people of this world, wanting the world’s and their children to be happy and not to suffer. In this way, be lifted up in solidarity with us, with all the rest of us, realizing the comfort in the saying, “we’re all in this together.”
Never walk, when you can dance
Never talk, when you can sing
Never place it, when you can toss it there
Never angry, when you can be silly
Never apathetic, when you can be a part
Never indifferent, when you can care
Make your work, your play
*Groove* the ride
Remember, the best way to combat evil, is to make energetic progress in the good.
— from Chapter 56, titled “The Proper Response to Insanity: Ethics in an Era of Trumpism and the Difficult, yet Profoundly Fruitful, Task of Loving Your Dragons”
— of *Psychology of Apocalypse: Ecopsychology, Activism, and the Prenatal Roots of Humanicide* by Michael Adzema, coming to print book and e-book format March-April, 2018.
Click for a free downloadable copy of this excerpt from Psychology of Apocalypse, with my compliments.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Michael Adzema. Video below … interviewed by Michael Harrell
— Related: See also other published versions of these ideas….
*Dance of the Seven Veils I* (2017).
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