Saturday, May 11, 2013
No-Growth and True Conservatism
I just read Al Fritsch's reflections on "no growth" and "true conservatism." (Al is the founder of the Kentucky non-profit Earth Healing whose website I commend to you earthhealing.info) I certainly agree with his comments which prompted my own following reflection.
In the San Joaquin Valley of California which is threatened by the Bay Area, LA area, and Silicon Valley to become the bedroom community for the businesses of those areas, the issue we always said is not "growth or no-growth." It's how and towards what we grow. It's how do we preserve farmlands, the great national parks, the water, the air, the earth as we grow.
And it was recognizing that growth should not be measured by one capital (financial), but by much higher capitals--social, political, educational, and spiritual capitals. When I worked in that conservative heartland, I always told people that I am definitely a capitalist. But I don't think that American capitalism takes the most important capitals into account.
We need to consume in order to live and that takes money; but it is so sad to see people measuring their success and that of their region and nation by the amount of GDP and accumulated money.
That's where the Jesus-mind comes in. (Remember, while I don't consider myself a Christian, I do consider myself a companion of Jesus.) The Jesus mind is I think "wired" into our nature by Evolution or God or Nature or Humanity, a higher power more than the individual alone can produce. That mind is the foundation of the revolution in culture, religion, economy, politics that we seek--the revolution that will release us from our homemade destructive economy and the money-mind or religion that sanctifies it. Jesus and the other great-souled persons we have encountered in our history were/are only recalling us to our fundamental consciousness--or, if you want, "Jesus-mind" or "god-given spirit."
That is "true conservatism" to me. It is the recall through contemplation in action to our fundamental consciousness, our existence, our soul, which has been given to us at birth with our em-brained body and our first interaction with parents and others and which we have been charged to grow through "soul-making."
This is why Jesus and the great-souled persons, who return us to our consciousness and the fundamental structure of our existence, are in their very persons (their way of being/acting in the world) and not necessarily by their words or doctrines or by the institutions that take their name, the Word and Way to truth, full consciousness, infinite love, god or whatever analogy you like to use.
But we have observed earlier that mind or consciousness or existence is itself a tension among various end-points or ideals and can only be expressed in analogy (images, metaphors, parables, stories) which is why I try to reject all absolutes in beliefs, formulas, institutions, or anything else we humans come up with (and why all the great minded souls discouraged idolatry)
Of course my own habits and those of my society get in the way and I have to keep coming back. Our idolatry today is the American money economy. And we all get caught in it. I need to be reminded often, recalled back to basics, stimulated to practice fundamentals.
Conscience is nothing more than the awareness of the tensions of my existence and to what it calls me in rebelling against the American and now global idolatry. The old spiritual practice of "examination of conscience" is nothing more than comparing my/our actions with the task of soul-making, contemplation, taking the path of becoming, and creating the place where truth, infinite love, the fullness of consciousness, or God can appear.
It's where true conservatism and growth come together.