copyright 2001, Jonathan Zap
( An email rant I wrote just after 9-11, but seems just as relevant today.) (unfortunately the document has some lame formating I can’t get rid of, perhaps the Bush administration is responsible?)
Before I get into why I believe that most of my friends on the left are off balanced and one-sided in their world view, the issue happening right now that I join them in being acutely concerned about is the bill before the Congress right now entitled the “Patriot Act” that would allow greater government ability to invade our privacy and over ride our rights. I despise the name of this bill as propagandistic psy-ops type bullshit. Think of the implication of anyone being against the “Patriot Act.” We should focus on that bill like laser beams, but will be better able to do that by not falling into leftist paranoia. (For high quality info. on this bill, its status and implications go to the ACLU website. It is not law yet, but soon maybe)
So what do I mean by ” leftist paranoia?” Isn’t our government so shadowy that it is impossible to be paranoid about something that really is dark and threatening? Maybe, but paranoia is a fear-frozen state of mind that causes the paranoid person to be unable to discern something of vital significance: SHADES OF GREY. What extreme leftists have very much in common with fundamentalists and extremists of all sorts is a black and white view. They wear the white hat and some other group wears the black hat. From the leftist POV, they wear the white hat (even though they buy gasoline and use the resources of Babylon in a million ways) and the US government and big corporations wear the black hat. People from non western countries wear the white hat, US Government, Israel and other Western democracies wear the black hat, nonwestern peoples, even though they represent monolithically autocratic societies wear the white hat or if there is any black on their hats its because we put it there, we did something bad to them first.
Here’s what I propose as an alternative to that view. I’ll use myself as an example so I don’t seem to be sermonizing. I start by seeing grey hats by first looking in the mirror and seeing that I am wearing a grey hat. As a narcissistic personality type, when I send emails, when I get into conversations with others, I am significantly motivated by a desire to show off and get attention. In writing emails this is also true. Because I am emotionally agitated by some of the discussions, even arguments, about these issues that I’ve had with close friends I have to be on guard for a tendency in me to go into persuasive mode, the debater’s stance, where I know I’m right and have to persuade the other side to come over to my point of view. This is not a minor point, but a potent part of my shadow. If I don’t compensate and stay awake to my shadow influencing me to go into persuasive mode on this topic, showing off my debating skill, then I lose all opportunity of learning from those I disagree with and from our coming up with a new synthesis that may require each party to readjust their point of view. Also, I need to be aware that the fact that I am aware of this aspect of my shadow does not mean that I won’t play into its hands anyway, or that there aren’t other aspects of my shadow I may not be aware of at all. So that’s my grey hat. Then I look at my well intentioned friends, the people I actually like, and I see that they too wear grey hats. They too need to integrate and recollect their shadow projections (and much of this email is a challenge toward that). Then I look at the larger society, the American people, the U.S. Government and I see more grey hats, darker shades of grey. Then I try to notice who are these folks who have just blown up three thousand or so of my fellow citizens? (though I’m still wondering who brought down building # 7) I hear and see an unedited Al’Qaeda spokesperson say, “Americans need to remember that our young men are as enthusiastic about dying as Americans are about living.” Hmmm, that’s a revealing statement. Talk about siding with the death eros, thanatos, you don’t get a much clear admission than that, so clearly these people are wearing very, very dark gray hats. Then I zoom out more and see that I am part of a species that wears a dark gray hat and if anybody wears white hats its the other plants and animals on this planet who may not have any choice about what they do. But then I zoom out further and realize that the fluctuations of darkness happening in the human collective are empowered by forces of archetypal evil, we are just as much a result of nature as other organisms, that there appear to be mind parasites out there in an unseen realm of cryptozoology, nonhuman foci of evil that you
can think of as entities or autonomous archetypal contents of the collective unconscious or part of the yin-yang balance, intrinsic to the universe, generated by the mind of God. And then once I get to the mind of God and see that darkens exists or is generated by it, I stop zooming out because that’s as far out as I can get, and is a wider angle than my mind can work with beyond a very limited point, and so then I quickly zoom all the way back to myself, sitting here at this computer terminal, wearing my grey hat and return to my sphere of influence—what can I do to influence myself toward nonharmfulness and then what can I do to influence others.
So now I take the very possibly presumptuous step of addressing others, the people I am intending this email for and say there is a lot of one sided Leftist paranoia and shadow projection going on. Here’s a classic example that happened just yesterday. I get on email and find messages from two different people, a dire chain email petition that tells me that “they” (there’s always a mysterious dark they) are trying to sneak through an amendment to the constitution trying to outlaw gay marriages. I scroll down and see some very intelligent people I know have added their names and addresses to this document. After a stunned moment I realize this is utter nonsense, it is impossible to “sneak in” an amendment to the constitution that requires huge Congressional majorities and is going to be a huge drawn out high profile, high publicity process. The Constitution has not been amended in decades. (I’m no expert, I slept through Civics class in high school too, but isn’t this general knowledge?) People I knew were forwarding this bogus bit of propaganda, adding their names to it, because their shadow projection makes them gullible and able to be blind sided by darkness. Because they so easily project the shadow onto a “they” which they believe runs every governmental and media decision, they could be made fools of, manipulated by someone who very likely wants their names and addresses for a shadowy purpose of some sort. It never occurred to them that shadow might instead manifest from one of what seemed like their number and blind side them. They were giving away, voluntarily, their info, their privacy, because their shadow projection blinded them to the multivalent aspect of darkness—-it shows up everywhere. Most people are murdered not by the government, not by terrorists, but people they are close to, and even more often by themselves, particularly via bad health habits. They were hit by their own shadow that blind sided them because they don’t see how quick they are to attack “they” with no evidence, no reasonableness, no scaled view, to jump to a false conclusion and go into flight or fight mode just like a bad cop.
Next example of failure to discern shades of grey. Constant statements I’m hearing that are version of, “They have complete control of the media, it’s all just wartime propaganda, it’s all lies.” An example of this POV was a very amusing recent Tom Tomorrow cartoon. In the cartoon two news anchor people are going to give a report on “Why they hate us.” The camera turns to a female TV person and she says, “They hate us because we’re free.” The male anchorperson gets on and sniggers that they probably deserve a Pulitzer for that. So I laugh at this cartoon, go with its POV, because I hate plastic new anchor types and love biting sarcasm. But then I look up and see this week’s Newsweek (can’t get more mainstream media than Newsweek) and see the cover says “Why They Hate Us” I have it in front of me right now. Inside I don’t find, “They hate us because we’re free.” I find a twenty page article which begins with the sentence, “To dismiss the terrorists as insane is to delude ourselves.” Four sentences later they dismiss the statement, “We stand for freedom and they hate it.” Then follows a nuanced, probing look into cultural, religious, geopolitical variables that have brought their hatred about. The West is not portrayed wearing a white hat. They also state, “The daily exposure to Israel ‘s iron-fisted rule over the occupied territories has turned this into the great cause of the Arab–and indeed the broader Islamic—world.” Elsewhere, they look at American policy in the region as “…cynically geared to America ‘s oil interests, supporting thugs and tyrants without hesitation.” And Newsweek doesn’t just say that is their POV, for they also add, “There is substance to some of these charges…”
Does this article have a bias or two or three or more? Sure, how could it be otherwise, what human account of events doesn’t? But it is full of relevant information, most of which is factually true, and I can benefit from this information which I can’t if I believe George Bush that they’re the evil doers and we’re the good guys and don’t bother to read the magazine, and I also lose the information if I am leftist and know for a fact that Newsweek is controlled by “they” and is full of lies. I am told from Sept. 11 on that “they” have the media in complete lock down mode. But mostly I hear this POV from callers calling into nationally broadcast NPR shows. NPR still gets some money, if not as much as they should, from the government. Well radio shows can use screeners, they can easily and invisibly control content by who they allow on. Caller after caller after caller had a radical leftist POV and were unilaterally criticizing the US, saying on national radio that they control the press, there is no freedom of press, it’s just what the government and corporations want us to know. None of them seems struck by the irony that they are saying this on a national broadcast heard by millions. When I point this out to Leftist friends I hear, “You see, they’re just allowing that so you’ll think there’s a free press!” This is the classic warped logic of paranoia and shadow projection. Yeah, we have this horrible bill up for vote now, but the press reports on that, the Washington Post, the leading newspaper in our capitol, has an editorial out blasting it, if you go to the ACLU site you’ll find them quoting from the Washington Post editorial. The Washington Post broke Watergate, a rather inconvenient thing for the Republicans, so if “they” are so powerful than they have had 30 years since Watergate to buy the Washington Post (and maybe they did) to shut them down as a dissenting POV, and yet here we are 30 years later and they are still doing editorials blasting Republicans.
Another leftist friend spoke of a right wing coup happening right now. “Remember, these are the people that stole the election!” Yeah, they stole the election via the Supreme Court, I feel that, but I voted for Al Gore, and the people unnecessarily reminding me that ” They stole the election.” are the people I begged not to vote for Ralph Nader, the people who said it didn’t matter if Al Gore won, there was no difference, Republicrats, Republicrats, they kept saying. They stole the election because it was so damned close they had the room to finagle that, but if Al Gore had the Nader votes he would be president now. Do you think Al Gore would have walked away from the Kyoto Treaty? Do you think Al Gore would have cut research into alternative energy in half and leased the country out to the oil companies? Because people were unable to discern between shades of grey, because Gore was clearly a gray, but Bush was a much darker gray, they instead projected their white hat onto egoistic Ralph Nader who will go down in history as providing the most valuable assist the Republicans ever got. You don’t discern shades of grey in this ambiguous world, you can’t be tactical, you need to step off your idealistic white hat pedestal to see: this is the lighter grey guy that really could be president, and this is the dark gray guy who actually will be president if I don’t vote for the light grey guy. I lost my arguments with those folks, none of them switched votes because of me, and now we have the dark gray guy running things.
And even though he is the dark grey guy I also try to discern that he is not the black guy, he is not the same as Hitler, and the Republicans, greedy bastards though they might be, are not quite the same as the Nazis and people who think so, and I hear this all the time, need to see that there is a huge distinction between dark grey and black. Hitler and the Nazis were black, evil when it erupts in certain forms can be so virulent that you can’t find much grey in it. Suicide bombers flying jumbo jets into skyscrapers filled with innocent people is to me is black. (Though doubts about what really happened on 911 which have emerged since I wrote this having me wondering.) Black stuff can catalyze light, but in itself, there is no grey in that act. So let’s grey tone our view of even George W. Bush. In an earlier era would we have had a president going to Mosques, speaking to Islamic leaders, emphatically from the bully pulpit telling America that to attack Islamic Americans is unAmerican? Telling school kids to donate a dollar each to help people in Afghanistan . Do you notice that two of his most key people, his Secretary of State and his National Security Adviser are African American? Can you see that there are some things being done by the administration that are entirely appropriate and in some cases show evidence of restraint? Do you see that they are doing things not to fan the flames of making this a racial thing? Are they doing dark grey and black things too, you bet. But we make the other side more one-sided if we view them that way and can’t see grey tones enough to see that there is a huge difference between the greedy, arrogant Republicans and the surreal, occult level evil of the Nazis and Taliban (or Hamas, Hezbollah). You are also one sided in your POV if you see our highly imperfect society as no different than an evil totalitarian regime with true government controlled media.
Yeah, I don’t like and would do anything I can to resist the government being able to invade my email. But I don’t delude myself with the self importance to think that the government cares what I have in my email. Suppose they took Carnivore, their cybernetic electronic surveillance system and captured all the emails that have Bush and evil or asshole in the same sentence. So now they have 80 million emails to sort through. Will they take all those folks to internment camps? Possibly they do really want to stop terrorist attacks because the last one dropped the stock market 1,000 points. More like that could crash the world economy. To find what they need is like finding needles in an earth-sized hay stack. They don’t have enough personnel to invade our privacy because they don’t like our opinions.
Yes, our government could turn into Nazis, but they have their work cut out for them. Thanks to people on the right we have a population armed to the teeth so it’s hard to take us over if we don’t want that and people on the far right hate the government worse than us. I’ve got to get off the internet so I’ll just conclude by saying we need to help each other to see a grey toned world, a world where black does manifest, but not just in one place, it can be us, it can be someone else, and it will happen whether the U.S. government has done bad things or not. I look forward to dissenting views, to views that expand my view… Peace, jonathan