Updated: Jul 8, 2018
Society organizes our behavior so we can live together in a city space. But what if society isn't organized well? What if society becomes unhealthy and oppressive? If it's bad, humans should change it. Why don't we?
Often it seems people are hesitant to rise up within society to change it. Why?
There are many reasons why people don't rise--it's difficult to re-imagine society; it's difficult to organize people; it's difficult to get resources.
With these challenges, people may feel overwhelmed. This is understandable, however, it's also possible that people are lazy about getting involved. With such an undesirable trait in a situation that requires courage and discipline, it follows to call it out and ask people to change.
But it's not that easy. Some people don't think they are lazy. Others think they are already doing everything right and should wait for everyone else to change.
There are many justifications, but there's one in particular couched in New Age spirituality, that people use to justify their complacency.
There is a widespread belief that we, as humans, are more than bodies. We have "higher selves" that can be detached from body. People imagine that they are, at the core, an infinite soul or mind. So any strong feelings of "body"--revulsion, pain, outrage--are neglected and replaced with a meditation visualizing the self as an abundant collection of units or particles: thinking cells, intelligent atoms, an infinite self. They visualize and imagine themselves bodyless, and in a similar way as looking at the night sky, the act of visualizing a vast internal space of microscopic and nanoscopic particles causes the person to move into the pose of "ah" (core muscles stretch into a pleasurable breathing pose: lifted soft palate, lowered larynx, expanded ribs and back, expanded pelvic floor). A pleasured core posture of yes.
The fantasy continues. People believe that their exercise of "ah" is a conscious perception of cellular or subatomic particle movement, rather than the eyes visualizing (make-believe imagining) a vast space of cells and atoms, causing the core muscles to move into "ah." They believe they have the power to perceive detailed cellular activity, detailed atomic movement. Feeling exhilarated with this idea, they move into a blissful inner pose (a body state), falsely believing that their experience transcends body. The meditation, like a drug, has it's effect. They believe they are infinite. They believe they are consciously connected to a bodyless consciousness: infinite and endless. And the body? Conceptualizing the body as inferior (mortal) with its "clunky" muscles and limited sensory mechanisms creates a feeling of superiority and suppresses unpleasant emotions. And the person feels blissful and in control of their "inferior" body emotions based on an inaccurate conceptualization of the spiritual self.
The perception of problems disappear. Focus dissipates. People don't rebel. Rather they retreat into a spiritual meditation. They believe it is right to reflect on self as spiritual particles, and live in a blissful state. I disagree. The self is body. I choose to honor emotions, mind, "ah," and consciousness as exercises of a sensory body.
The false conceptualization of the self as infinite justifies inaction. It justifies a lack of discipline to cultivate the self as body. It creates a culture that does not question spiritual beliefs, because people assume that the self is infinite and the goal is to be blissful. A hierarchy of emotions form, with bliss and contentment on top and "body" emotions on bottom. Without a well developed emotional skillset, people lack the ability to solve problems. So when shit hits the fan, we have no skills. We have retreated, closed our eyes and ears. We continue business as usual, maintaining the system. We don't rebel; we survive based on privilege. And when we feel guilty or sad for those falling around us, we escape, we meditate, we help the suffering a little, but don't rise up to change the system creating the suffering. No one exercises leadership. And the vacuum of power is filled by those willing to lead and profit from a dysfunctional system.
Bliss is not the goal. It is part of the dance. Ah is not infinity. Ah is a core posture. Core postures are exercises of body. We are bodies. As bodies, we must develop skills. We must help others develop skills. This takes work, play, and practice. We must feel and respond to our environment. We must organize ourselves and society. We must move from one core posture to another, training an inner agility, creatively, so we can solve human problems and restructure society.