"Change never comes from the voice of reason.
It comes from the voice of unreasonable."
-- Swami Beyondananda
There's a silent killer of dreams, something that stops transformation dead in its tracks -- or lures it onto some less threatening siding. This deadly possibility-slayer could be charged as a key accomplice in the murder (or let us hope, attempted murder) of our descendants should our current ecological, economic and political crises continue without intervention.
This deadly force is so familiar to most of us that it seems normal, and there is a good reason for this. It IS normal.
It's the conventional mind, the voice of reason, which serves to rationalize keeping an unworkable system in place. It even pervades the movement to change the unworkable system, in the form of the spoken or unspoken caveat: "Of course, we all understand that this change that we want is impossible."
Not long ago, I took the ferry to San Francisco to go to the Giants' game. I got into a conversation with a psychologist who's spent 30 years working inside the system, dealing with the kinds of people who have fallen through the cracks. As we were watching the CNN news screen, Donald Trump was holding forth to a group of his supporters. (Why would CNN be broadcasting this as "breaking news"? Read on.)
Mercifully, the sound was off so all we could see was Trump gesticulating, and his demeanor. My new friend and I looked at the screen, and then at each other. Trump without the sound reminded both of us of Adolf Hitler.
There then followed a conversation about our political "shituation", with my friend fearful that Trump could win. He personally supported and had donated money to Bernie Sanders, who -- he made sure to add -- could not win.
Now wait a minute, folks.
Trump represents a very solid and noisy group of disaffected ideologues, about 25% of Americans. Against the inside-the-box band of usual suspects in the Republican wannabe corral, Trump is an anomaly. He is telling the truth, at least the truth as he sees it. Unlike the other Republican candidates, for example, he is not averse to taxing the wealthy. Against a conventional Democrat like Hillary or Biden, Trump might actually have a chance, because our populace is hungry for the truth, any truth, and people are so fed up with politics as usual that disgust and disheartenment could rule the day and government of, by and for the people might be Trumped once and for all by the unmitigated power of money.
The New Political Majority -- the 80%
However... let's remember a key significant fact that the mainstream media is fervently seeking to distract us from. Some 80% of all Americans across the political spectrum, conservatives as well as progressives, believe that money has too much influence in politics. Approval of Congress and government is now in single digits, and nearly 80% of all Americans mistrust the power of "big business".
While Trump's 25% -- loudly "Trump-eted" by mainstream media -- seeks a return to where this country has never been, the Bernie Sanders campaign is addressing the disenfranchisement of the 80% of us by a small band of those used to getting their way at any cost.
But of course, Bernie can't win.
Why? Because the mainstream media tells us so, and even though the conventional mind understands that the media lies and constricts the conversation to serve its corporate, military industrial masters, the conventional mind cannot actually grasp the possibility of transformation. And ... the steady diet of "babblum" (drivel and gruel served up to keep the body politic "in diapers") continues to reinforce the idea that nothing related to the rules of governance can or will ever change for the better.
And that's why Bernie Sanders speaking to tens of thousands of people -- in so-called "red states" -- is not considered "breaking news." Because if it broke, it would break the spell of the already-broken system! And, if Bernie is able to break his campaign through the "soundless barrier" it might just break the political trance this country has been in for far too long. Yes, a trance.
Otherwise, how is it we would agree that the "casino economy" should rule? That banks exist so they can take the property of those who cannot defend themselves? That police need to be militarized to protect us from public enemy number one -- the public?
The already-broken system, with CNN and other "news" channels as bread and circus provider (with far too little bread, and far too much circus), keeps the conventional mind inside the box through steady doses of "conventional wisdom" -- which of course tell us Bernie can't win.
My fellow-passenger did have a wise insight, and that is that cultural progressives are the new majority, and in those areas like gay marriage and maybe even legalized cannabis, the power structure is making concessions -- as long as these don't threaten the hegemony of the military industrial state and the transnational corporations it serves. That's how Obama won in 2012, by recognizing that the demographics on these cultural issues have shifted. So it is interesting -- and yet completely understandable -- that the same Supreme Court that decided Citizens United (I love Orwell, don't you?) also supported gay marriage.
That way, the culture wars can continue (even though that war is over) and the body politic can be conveniently divided and conquered by "mass-debating" -- discourse that intentionally provides lots of heat, and very little light.
So ... the conventional mind.
The conventional mind is supported by NPR, which would NEVER, EVER do a feature or interview on a book like Spontaneous Evolution, or Bruce Lipton's runaway bestseller, The Biology of Belief. That's the stuff relegated to George Noory's Coast to Coast, where we can flirt with phenomena that don't fit inside the established definition of "reality", and where plenty of really flaky nonsense is interspersed with the wisdom of people like Bruce Lipton and others involved in "new edge" science.
NPR still allows liberals to feel intellectually stimulated and superior to those yahoos over on the Trump side -- and yet is nothing more than the kinder gentler face of the corporate state. It should be obvious to anyone paying attention that it is the goal of the current power structure to make sure that -- in let's say, five years time -- those who seek GMO labeling or oppose fracking are as marginalized as those who believe 911 was an inside job or that Lee Harvey Oswald couldn't have acted alone.
As Swami would say, "Mock my words ..."
The "System" Cultivates and Rewards the Conventional Mind
There is something else that keeps the conventional mind in the default mode that insists nothing can change. And that is, working inside the system, particularly the bureaucratic system. While my psychologist friend was able to help some individuals make positive changes IN SPITE OF the dysfunctional and insane bureaucracy, much of his work over 30 years on the job was to rationalize and justify unworkability. He pretty much told me so, which is why he so looked forward to retirement.
Meanwhile, over in the corporate domain, things are somewhat different.
Over the past two decades, corporate dysfunction has been successfully addressed and parodied by Scott Adams in his Dilbert strip, for example. But here is a significant difference between corporations and government or nonprofit bureaucracies: Corporations have a financial bottom line, and if unworkability impacts that bottom line it gets addressed pronto, otherwise the company might not survive. There is a reason why large and successful companies have been buying transformational programs for decades, and hiring front-line coaches. They are motivated to change!
In talking with my friend on the ferry, I realized that while I tend to generally identify with progressive values, most of the people I know are entrepreneurs, artists, healers, and otherwise self-employed individuals. Many of them -- and I include myself here -- have done the "impossible". These people have taken wild dreams, ideas and ideals -- from conventional businesses to transformational health practices to artistic endeavors to social and environmental nonprofits -- and successfully launched and sustained them (often after a series of dead-ends and failures).
I myself started an alternative high school, launched a pioneer holistic publication, and hit the road with a traveling Swami show. In all of these pioneering endeavors, I guess I didn't realize I couldn't do them, and in my "ignorance" I went ahead and did them anyway (with the blessings of grace).
Here's my point. Many of those who identify with libertarianism and the Tea Party and have taken the risk to start a business, who have been the bottom line without a paycheck, have had to move way past the conventional mind in their personal lives. They have the experience of hard work, persistence, looking failure and potential bankruptcy in the face -- and doing it anyway.
Notice that those Trump people aren't saying, "But of course he can't win." They don't care.
That's why Bernie Sanders' greatest obstacle isn't Hillary or the right wing impropaganda machine or even the mainstream media. It's his own well-meaning supporters who cannot allow themselves to venture outside the box enough to see this campaign through to the "sweet end".
We're not talking about "hopium" here, folks -- the wishful thinking that somehow a white knight will save us on a dark night. We did that one, thank you.
This is really about an awakening of a critical mass of the heretofore-uncritical masses. Bernie is no savior. He is a front man and placeholder for a movement of awakening individuals who recognize that the current corrupt system is toxically unjust and cannot sustain us through the challenges we face as a species and a world. Just as surely as our parents or grandparents or great-grandparents had to face the one-two punch of the Great Depression and World War II, this is the cup that has been passed to us now.
Conventional thinking cannot get us out of this box.
So the next time you hear someone saying Bernie can't win -- or if you hear these words coming out of your own mouth -- consider this. In her book, Getting A Grip, Frances Moore Lappé pointed out that even though the population of India outnumbered the British colonists 300,000 to one, it took Gandhi's courageous reframing to call this power forth.
We don't have an actual Gandhi at this moment in America, but we do have the spirit of Martin Luther King (America's last true spiritual leader), and we have Bernie Sanders taking a stand.
Unconventional wisdom says he -- and/or a movement of awakened Americans -- WILL win. Provided we entertain the "impossible", not out of passive hope but out of active intention. Remember how suddenly the Berlin Wall came down? The same will happen with the "irony curtain" (the invisible wall of impropaganda that keeps the current system in place) if we stop listening to conventional "wisdom" and mainstream "news" and use our intention, attention, time and money to make some new news of our own.
Our grandchildren will thank us.