Consciousness And Politics

I often speak about the crisis for individuals brought about by the egocentric psychological paradigm of modern times, but the psychology of individuals is really only an extension of the psychology of the society.

We are looking at the micro-dimensional and the macro-dimensional constellations of consciousness. Individual consciousness is conditioned by societal consciousness, and societal consciousness is then the aggregate of individual consciousnesses. Politics is analogous to the problem-solving psychological processes of an individual brought to the collective dimension.

Humanity is approaching an evolutionary crisis. An evolutionary crisis occurs for a species when its environment can no longer sustain the species in its existing form. Then, the form of the species either undergoes some radical evolution or it ceases to flourish, possibly becoming extinct. Humanity now faces such a crisis. The dominant evolutionary trait of humanity is consciousness, not, as in other species, some physical characteristic. It is the psychology of humanity that shapes its form, and its relationship to all other form. The presently dominant psychology, the egocentric consciousness of individuals and societies seeking to accumulate as much significance, wealth and power for themselves as they can, has run out of room.

The planet is no longer able to sustain the insatiable, voracious appetite of human beings and their institutions. We teeter on the brink of devastating consequences. The collective, that is, the political, consciousness we bring to recognizing and addressing this crisis will determine the quality, possibly even the fact, of future existence for humanity. Our profit-based economic system and its accompanying belligerently competitive social attitudes are unsuited to addressing the issues we face moving into the 21st Century.

We Americans must reassess our values. We must expand beyond our historic motivating vision of unbounded individual financial opportunity and personal dominance to one that enfolds every person in the basic dignities of peace, personal security, civil liberties and a sustainable economy. We are too many on too small a planet. Competition with its accompanying conflicts and inequities can no longer be the dominant social paradigm.

Meaningful work, secure homes, health-care, education, respect and caring within the bosom of a healthy, beautiful and sustaining environment for every person must become our template. This is necessary if we are to have a future that not only sustains, but also begins restoring dignity and sanity to the human experience, now sacrificed to the psychological insecurity inherent in our mass consumer economy and trash media.

Our economy must refocus into meaningful jobs that support this vision. Wealth must be shared in compassionate generosity, not concentrated in the hands of the most ambitious. The corporate/bureaucratic stranglehold on American life must be broken. It is totalitarian and predatory in nature. Small shop businesses where people have more individual choice, creativity and control must replace the dehumanizing cubicle hell of modern commerce. The law profession must be reclaimed from being a criminal-punishing craps-shoot and high-stakes-money-grabbing game to the search for real redemption and justice. Medical care must be recognized as a right, not a blackmail scheme provided to those able and willing to pay the high dollar ransom held against their health and fear of death.

Careers in the arts, education, culture, small farming and human services must be valued and supported. Universal life-long education that focuses not only on technology and work, but also on the arts, culture and mindful living is necessary to advance not only human technology, but also the human soul. Decentralization into villages and towns within the vast city/state structures of modern life is necessary to revitalize social continuity and human scale community.

Politics is consciousness. It always has been. The end of hereditary aristocracy, the struggles against slavery, racism, sexism, and worker exploitation are all examples of a new, more expansive consciousness transforming the political landscape. We must expand our consciousness to enfold the entire planet in a vision of kinship and compassion, of peace, sustainability, aesthetics and universal responsibility for even “the least among us”. This includes, not only the human poor, but also the animals, the plants and the Earth itself.

Politics is the problem-solving process of a society, not a bad TV show as the corporate media has largely succeeded in making it. We need leaders who call us to a higher consciousness, not who manipulate our vanity and basest emotions. Slanderous accusations and distortions, dogmatic moral and nationalistic positions, straw-dog enemies, and calls to “Fight!” and “Keep your money!” rev the emotions, but they also divide and diminish us. What we need, if we are to evolve into a better future, is a coming together to a nobler consciousness that calls us to care for and share life’s blessings, not only within the nation, but also with the world.

A politics that appeals to our lowest consciousness will bring the lowest results. There has been too much of this in recent years. War, a stumbling economy, domestic divisiveness and low world standing are the proof. We have become a population that functions more as a greedy rabble than a society. Any semblance of high culture, ethics and true spirituality is but a fading memory. Psychopathology and crime are rampant.

A higher consciousness is humanity’s and this nation’s only hope. Much is at stake. The regressive side of history, or even the sidelines, is no place to be in this moment of humanity’s growing evolutionary crisis. Demand more from the politicians, the business-world, the educators and the media. Demand more of yourself. Push through the trash politics and become conscious of what is really at stake. Humanity is devolving at present. A better future that contains the fulfillment of human potential is possible, but only if we reengage our basic evolutionary trait and become conscious. Only if we reclaim our society and our individual lives in the vision of that potential.

Political choices are at hand. I hope America can evolve beyond the politics of small self-interest, division, fear, lies and slander that have controlled recent elections to select candidates who offer the possibility of not only a change in policies, but an expanded consciousness of America’s place in a shrinking world.

Bill Walz has taught meditation and mindfulness in university and public forums, and is a private-practice meditation teacher and guide for individuals in mindfulness, personal growth and consciousness. He holds a weekly meditation class, Mondays, 7pm, at the Friends Meeting House, 227 Edgewood. By donation. Information on classes, talks, personal growth and healing instruction, or phone consultations at (828) 258-3241, e-mail at

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