Here Thar Be Monsters!

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7.6.12

Mens Rea

In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the HAL computer was given a set of secret knowledge and a mission based on it that required the computer to carry out its instructions at all costs.  The computer interpreted that mission to mean that nothing should be allowed to compromise the secret until the appointed time.  Thus, when the astronauts Bowman and Poole start to question the mission and the computer's ability to function, the computer takes the only logical action and eliminates the threat.

This is such a human experience.  How many individuals and organizations have chosen this path in order to keep hidden their secrets?  One could speculate that nearly every violent crime, war included, involves hiding something at some level.

I would venture to speculate that the western governments got derailed somewhere around WWII and the creation of the national security concept.  Over time, more and more information needed to be classified as secret in order to continue the obfuscation.  Ultimately, nearly everything becomes a national secret to the point that even within the organization, things must be hidden from the internal structure with no one individual having the true key to it all.

As time goes on, the threats begin to mount that the secrets will be exposed, and because of the mounting number of secrets, the price of exposure grows exponentially.  Consequently, the only logical conclusion is that all threats to exposure must be eliminated in order to perpetuate the secret.  In the end, there are armed drones, mercenary police, indefinite detention, torture, and mayhem with the true cause of it all being nearly lost in the noise.

What is even more concerning is that at this point in time, there seems to be a confluence of protective interests hiding a great many secrets, both from each other and from the public at large.  The banking and financial system has its secret agendas and manipulations that would cause its utter collapse if exposed.  Governments have amassed great gobs of secrets that would trash their existence.  Corporate interests have their secrets, and so on down the line.  In the end, they all begin to view each other and the rest of the world as threats to their exposure and must take the only logical step to prevent that from happening.

And even that step requires an ever escalating series of crimes, and the first murder becomes a secret that must be protected in its own right.  Then, as others begin to question and probe, they too must be eliminated to continue the cover-up.  It becomes an ever snowballing problem that demands ever increasing crimes to hide the original sin.

And so it is with our current global situation.  As secrets amassed under various cloaks of interest, it became necessary to commit ever greater crimes to maintain the status quo.  Ultimately, this is unsustainable, and that is the position we are in now.

On some levels, things like Fukushima and the BP Gulf fiasco can be explained as crimes to cover up other crimes which were covering up deep secrets.  How does one commit murder on a mass scale with plausible deniability.  Horrible freak accidents that poison the waters and atmosphere of entire hemispheres?  Not impossible, nor unthinkable.  Prince Phillip, the consort of the erstwhile Queen of England, has stated on record that he would like to be reincarnated as a virus that would wipe out a vast majority of humankind.  What kind of secrets must he be concealing that could generate a thought like that?

It stands to reason that the greater the secret, the more heinous the crime must be to hide it.  How many lives have been sacrificed to this point to conceal the hidden agendas in the Middle East?  How many people have died to prevent the revelation and proliferation of nuclear technology?  What terrible truths were behind the genocides of history?  How many people vanished to hide the dirty laundry of our so-called leaders?

Genghis Khan once said that every man must kill another to make room for himself in the world.  I am of the mind that any man in a position of power must have a great many secrets to hide, which drives him to greater seats of power to continue the ruse.

There are only two ways out of the trap of secrets.  One is to have everyone quit trying to expose them, and the other is to actually expose them.  History teaches us that when secrets are exposed, kingdoms crumble, yet it further teaches us that having secrets in the first place ultimately leads to the same fate.

Think of the great spiritual healing that would take place if the US government's treasure troves were laid open, or the Vatican's archives were made public, or the true originas of humanity were finally revealed.  Like a massive, festering boil on the butt of society being lanced, we could finally put to rest the secrets that have driven so much hatred, fear and death, and then proceed confidently into the future.

If all the mystery and intrigue behind the world's greatest secrets were laid open, think of the burden that would be removed from our collective conscience.  The Truth would indeed set us free in ways we can't even imagine, as we stand here inside the pus-filled mass we can modern society.

Perhaps that is the Great Trend of our times, the Great Tension, as well.  On the one hand, we have an entrenched elite willing to advance any plan that continues the Big Ruse.  On the other hand, the inevitable revelation of all that is hidden seems to be crushing down on their best laid plans.  Between them hangs the Rest of Us, whose fates are contingent upon who will win the battle of the Irresistible Force meeting the Immovable Object.

Perhaps the biggest decision we, as individuals, face is what sacrifice we are willing to make in order to clear the path for our species' survival?  When lancing a boil, there is a tremendous amount of voluntary suffering that must be endured in order to achieve the long-term benefit of relief and health.  Are we willing to endure the short-term exteme discomfort of draining the infection?  Or do we perceive the on-going, though slightly less intense pain of status quo more to our liking?

One bit of rather odd Biblical advise comes to us from the New Testament, where Jesus admonishes his listerners: if your eye offends you, pluck it out; if your right hand sins against you, cut it off and throw it away.  Though rather graphic, there is some great truth in there.  Allowing an infection to continue unabated leads ultimately to the demise of the organism.  By allowing our cultural and societal institutions to persist in secrets and cover-ups will ultimately be the end of all we know.

Benjamin Franklin rightly pointed out that we have nothing to hide if we live lives of integrity.  It is time that we demand this of our institutions, in order that we may heal our civilization and continue to grow.

But we must also demand it of ourselves.  If we practice right thinking and right action, then we will perceive the world clearly.  If we perceive clearly, then we will not be fooled by wizards and charlatans.  If we are not fooled, then fools can not lead us.  As Buddha and so many other great thinkers have pointed out, clearing our public sphere begins with cleaning our own.  Our personal integrity and actions ripple into the greater collective.  If we as individuals are sane, then our public life must also follow.

The real meaning of the unfinished pyramid is the individual.  We are, as unique creatures, the penultimate result of Creation.  It is we who must guard our thoughts and actions, and discipline our hearts and souls, so that we are not taken in by sweet smelling trickeries, but rather demand of our culture those things that we demand of ourselves.

What we have now is nothing more or less than what we are as individuals.  Our institutions are a reflection of each individual member of them.  To begin cleaning up our mess, we must start in our own rooms and work outward.  In the quest for secrets revealed, we must be the first, so that we can clearly demand the same of those who would lead and serve us.  As goes the Master, so goes the servant.

One other bit of wisdom that both Buddha and Jesus mentioned: you can not practice to remove the cinder from your brother's eye, when you can not see the plank in your own.  We must be what we demand in others.  And we must achieve it soon.

Otherwise we are all doomed to become cannibalistic zombies, or worse.  If we want civility, we must first be civil.