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Jay, thanks,

I take to heart what you say regarding righteousness and right, recognizing my own need to continuously refine my understandings and awareness of that distinction.

What helps, for me, is to think about what works and what doesn’t work. Not speaking, in the face of what is happening in this country and in the world, does not work. Speaking in a way that increases misinformation, fear, anger, and alienation also doesn’t work.

The question then becomes, of course, work for what? I’ve had some long-term and serious associations with monasteries of different sorts in years past. In that kind of environment not speaking actually does work, because one’s goal is personal – enlightenment, joining with God, or waking up as some call it.

I’ve come to realize though, at least for myself, that, whatever my goal may be, it is not attainable on a personal level alone. I realize that I am not just an individual, that I am also a part of some larger orders, for better or worse, depending on how I choose to engage in such ways. The highest level or order for us collectively as humans, at least at this point in our evolution, is called Earth. I also don’t believe that will ever change, at least not until we are able to be here fully and consciously, or in other words in healthy ways.

Every participant in any sort of level, order or “whole” is always playing a part in and affecting the whole, one way or another, good, or not. Commission or omission, it doesn’t matter, in either case there is an effect. That interplay of health and disease (dis-ease) is real, at all levels of organization, without exception.

Language and speech seems to be one way consciousness and the possibilities of consciousness can participate in the whole that humans seem to be partly about- all the while hopefully as we learn to do our parts better, as in more and more consciously.

“Waking up” is a term I am comfortable using to try to address what that learning process may be about.

Regarding Good. For myself Good is like health, it is an experience rather than an idea. And, like health, though most often it is pleasant, it isn’t always. And yet, pleasant or not, I usually know, in certain quiet awake moments, if an action, experience or expression is healthy, good, or not. It is a kind of “knowing” that all consciousness experiences, without any proof. I am, and that is good.

As individuals our experience is always prior to words and concepts, or so it seems to me. We are so quick to fill the space of experience up with words and thought, but as we slow that process down we begin to learn something different. And different is what we need to be doing a lot of, these days.

There is still an interaction going on in order for me to experience, the interaction in this case of all the many things that make up me as an individual, here on this level where my sense of “self” or individuated consciousness lies at. My organs, my skin, my memories, the impressions that life and genetics has made upon me, and even certain spiritual dimensions, all of these possibilities collectively interact- healthy, good, or not… And so I AM… healthy, good, or not.

Through the interaction of symbols, concepts, ideas and images, in the form of speech and language, movement, physical expression and art, humans are able to experience good and healthy relationships in all sorts of ways, or not. There is also the intimate dimension, the non-verbal, two or more people, seldom many, physical, sensual, interpersonal, where such possibilities for good or not, health or not, also exist. But that is a different conversation, I think, though one that would probably be similar, in the way things of the same continuum are similar.

People engage through speech and behavior, with various levels of consciousness coming into expression through our interactions, harmoniously or not, and in so doing we create our common or social world. The possibilities of that sort of creative process, on a human level right here in this place, locally, where we live together in actuality, is where I try to get to with all my efforts. I seek the same possibilities in regards to the directions I attempt to urge upon, righteously or not, some of our local media.

Speech has been taken over and is being used, via a media owned for the most part by the powerful, to manipulate and deceive, without concern for health or good. Spin, rather than truth. I would like to refer you and others to the essay, Silence is a Commons, by Ivan Illich, here on this website. I want to use Illich’s essay as context for some of the rest of this.

The Silence that all speech arises out of, beginning with inventions represented by the microphone and loudspeaker, as Illich points out, is no longer a commons. For a long time now, many generations, our collective commons in all its myriad expressions has and is being enclosed, owned and controlled by a few at the expense of the many.  For me the many includes all of life, because all of life speaks, even if not with the same means, language and symbols or in the same ways that humans do.

In other words, language and speech as a creative force of the social is now owned and controlled, for the most part, and so the very images and concepts by which people think (or not) are also for the most part owned and controlled. A friend recently argued with me that it is up to each individual, and that no one of us is responsible to affect the circumstances of another, that we all have an equal opportunity to wake up, or not. To me that is like saying that a person in an inner city ghetto, someone living in poverty in Appalachia, or any average person in any third world nation, all have the same opportunities as you or I do to become materially, psychically and/or emotionally secure.

We are living in the midst of an incredibly widespread poverty of language, image (imagination), and information about ourselves and each other, along with a huge absence of availability of the necessary tools, education and skills that enable their use, particularly here in the U.S., where that sort of poverty is designed, imposed, manipulated, enforced and purposely exacerbated by the corporate owned and dominated media and political systems that for the most part serve only the interests of the wealthy, notorious and powerful.

It is up to each and every one of us who can see past that poverty in whatever small, partial or greater ways, and who has the means and the ability, to address the circumstances in which others experience (and/or are overwhelmed by) that sort of poverty, just as we are all responsible for the circumstances that underlay all the more commonly understood forms of poverty.

If we who can speak to some extent do not act to increase the possibilities of others regaining their own voices, through the powers of language, information and imagination, so that a common social world deriving from all our unique perspectives, can be regained, un-enclosed, this diversity of life as an awakening experience once again free and open, so to speak, then, whether through commission or omission, we are a part of those structures and interests that continue to maintain and prey upon the results of poverty. Even if we think we are not.

We are, all of us, collectively, the asleep-at-the-wheel driver of this social vehicle that is heading towards a cliff at 90 miles an hour. It is going to take a goodly number of us waking up- some threshold number of us, a number we will never know until, if or as we attain it- if we are to make any significant changes at all to the inevitability of what is ahead.

If you nudge me a little too hard in the process of us trying to wake each other up, well, that is one of the discomforts, and the risks, that come along with waking up together.

And together is the only way real awakening can happen. That is what I believe. It is not going to be without pain, loss and confusion, this waking up, but it is for sure better than staying asleep at the wheel.

~ John Fridinger

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