On Emboldening the Blood and Narrowing the Mind

January 21, 2008

On Emboldening the Blood and
Narrowing the Mind

Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war
in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor,
for patriotism is indeed a double edged sword.
It both emboldens the blood,
just as it narrows the mind.

And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch
and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed,
the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry.
Rather, the citizenry,
infused with fear and blinded with patriotism,
will offer up all of their rights unto the leader,
and gladly so.

How do I know?
For this is what I have done.
And I am Caesar.

……Attributed to Julius Caesar

This sounds so familiar to me both in a national and personal way. The national way, the less important of the two for me, is what we’re living through today. I feel like I have no say in what goes on in our world as I watch the powerful corporations and our government make decision after decision and create law after law which diminish the freedom of people everywhere; and in many places that diminution of freedom extends even to the freedom to exist. In the trail of the fear propelled quests of these power and money mongering groups lie millions of dead and they/we seem not to care.

The way I am personally affected is that it seems I have no say in how I am manipulated but I do. No one or no power can manipulate me without my agreement. It makes me feel better when I rail about the dishonest nature of our government and the corporations that run it. This railing soothes my hypocrisy as I drive a beautiful car and live in a spectacular place paid for by my customers who are the same corporations that I condemn.

There I’ve said it; I’m a hypocrite. I’ve taken the candy and paid very little attention to how it got to me. I offer up not only my rights but my principles out of fear; fear of loss of the way of life I have come to love. John Steinbeck said “Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts…..perhaps the fear of a loss of power.” That’s the kind of fear that has corrupted me and continues to do so. It started out innocently. I went to school for the purpose of “getting ahead”. I built a business with my partner and achieved the American dream and those were wonderful and innocent times but as I started to think and to notice that my attainment of the “good life” deprived and hurt others I didn’t change anything. I used that age-old tool, denial. I just didn’t look.

Then I got involved with various charities that focused on helping the inner city poor and felt good about what I was doing. I’m still involved in the inner city but not as much as I was. I find it very tough to be helpful because I am constantly looking for results and they are difficult to measure. All I can do is continue and try to “act without fear or desire for the results of the action”. But the most important thing for me to do is to continue to seek my truth and speak it as it opens to me.

Posted February 19, 2008


It is not easy. A part of me is called to be a martyr for love and peace and a part of me fights for his comforts. The comfort part has won most of the time. When I get to my maker I’ll have to ask Him to put me where He thinks I belong. This human trip is quite a trip.

Thanks for the honesty Phil.
I feel like its increasingly more difficult to be an American and not be a hypocrite. I honestly believe that very many of us who enjoy a comfortable way of life would sacrifice some of those luxuries if we could quantify and see the difference it would make. But i also think that what prevents me from doing so is the underlying feeling that whatever good would come out of such works would somehow be consumed by the capitalist monster that lurks around every corner. I’m kinda catching up on your postings, but maybe the quote from the Feb19 posting sums it up…“Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”
Here’s a quote for you from Maya Angelou “Nothing will work unless you do”, and that’s why I’m so excited to be a soldier in Obama’s civil army.

Let him who is without hypocrisy cast the first stone.


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