During Dennis Kucinich’s 2004 presidential bid I was asked by one his party organizers what I thought might be a good rallying call for his campaign. “No more lies,” I suggested. One of the big political issues then was (and still is) the Iraq War. Kucinich was claiming, quite rightly as it now turns out, that the war was entered into on false pretences. Unfortunately, at the time not enough people wanted to hear the truth to make a difference. Billions of dollars of wasted resources and thousands of lost lives are proving hindsight can be a bitter pill to swallow.
The rallying call still works today, not just for politics but throughout our culture. We’ve become a nation blinded by mistruths and misdirection. From “do anything to get elected” politicians spraying out insincere platitudes, to big corporations making outrageous claims for their manufactured products (can shampoo really make you feel ‘that” good?), to fake bias and opinion being presented as fact in the media, we have become all too accepting of wrong realities, most of them concocted by people eager to lie purely out of desire for profit or power.
Entertainment and entertainers have become our false prophets. We cannot seem to leave the cinema when the film is over. We prefer the comfort of make believe over the truth; soap operas, “reality” TV and video games being preferable to what we see out of the window. Credit cards make us feel richer (as long as we ignore those pesky monthly statements), big screen TVs, clothes and haircuts more successful, than we really are. Deception seems easier to digest than the obvious. It’s been a wonderful and richly drawn curtain hanging over our minds for the last sixty years or more; but now it’s being pulled agonizingly back by out-of-control health and social problems, high crime, and a lop-sided and failing economy to reveal a fairly shrunken state of Oz.
But this may not be a bad thing.
The real deception in life is failing to appreciate who we are. We lie to ourselves when we allow ourselves or others to define us by what we possess, who we vote for, which car we drive, or what designer label is stitched to the back of our jeans. In doing so, we depreciate our value as spiritual beings. There is nothing wrong with enjoying the material benefits of life, but if that becomes the sole purpose of our existence, then life becomes soulless and quickly falls apart. If the current cracks appearing in the American Dream cause a re-evaluation of our spiritual priorities and an understanding that the real truth of life is far more glorious, then things may be beginning to look up.
In the 1950’s a number of ancient Hopi prophecies came to light about our current times (more on this in another posting). The Hopis (Hopi meaning “peace”) are some of the oldest known inhabitants of the North American continent. One of the predictions was that mankind’s progress would divide into two paths: there would be people of “one heart” who would retain the knowledge of living life in harmony with God, and people of “two hearts” who would get blinded by material life and end up confused and running around like ants. The prediction held the possibility of the two-heart path merging into the one-heart path and a bright future being created. However, if the two-heart path predominates, the future is not so bright (imagine the results of kicking an ant hill).
It seems to me that living with lies, deceptions and falsities inevitably creates a divided heart. If you know one thing inside but you speak something else in order to avoid the facts, deceive, or even to profit at someone else’s expense it can't be good. Following this path as a society will not bring us happiness, and may even create our destruction.
Perhaps it’s time we joined the one heart path and lived our lives in truth.