The times they are a-changin’

October 13, 2011

Finally. The people are speaking out about corruption and abuse of power.  The “Occupy” movement is here.

To learn more about Occupy and to see how technology is facilitating this movement, check out the Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Together web sites.

In my “Time for a paradigm shift” post, I commented that individuals “must find a way to act that will change the course of our nation.” I hope that the Occupy movement is the beginning of that change.

To people who remember the protest movements of the ’60s and ’70s, Occupy may look familiar. A columnist in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Daily Tar Heel believes that is a misperception:

These “occupiers” are making a fundamentally different and more profound statement than has popularly been reported.

It is direct democracy. It is a new vision of change. It is community values in action.

It is also no wonder the media has had a hard time making sense of it. The “occupation” isn’t what we’re used to seeing. It doesn’t lend itself to the familiar narrative arc of a protest: “You meet these demands, and then we’ll go home.” Instead the occupiers are protesting our economic system by offering a direct alternative, by actively living out values of trust and representation and interdependence — values that the surrounding financial institutions obscure and repress.

Tea Partiers should take heart and journalists who don’t get what is going on should take note. The movement is not necessarily asking government to step in to solve all our problems. The corruption of government by monied interest groups is well understood to be part of the problem.

Instead, the movement is about “actively living out” what young people see as “new” values, and what older people should recognize is a return to individual responsibility, compromise, and consensus-building. The movement is promoting cultural change by acting it out in their people’s assemblies. Younger activists may not realize that the culture of greed and self-indulgence that became acceptable in the ’80s is very different from American mores of the preceding five decades.

Rapid technological change, government corruption, and consumer economy ethics are world-wide phenomena that have led to the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a tiny elite. So the Occupy movement is part of a global movement that includes the Arab Spring and activism across Europe earlier this year.  American young people (are) collaborating with young people around the world to invent a future that embraces a common good.” 

Just when mainstream American politics seems to many to have reached new depths, the pendulum of history has begun its inevitable swing back from right-wing extremism. But the arc of history is more than the simple back-and-forth movement of a pendulum. The shape of history’s movement is a spiral, ever pushing its way upward toward a higher plane of consciousness.

The spiral is repeatedly expressed both in nature and in the religious symbolism of many cultures from ancient to present times. To understand history’s spiral-shaped trajectory is to glimpse the divine. To trust that the unseen future will be better than the past is to have faith.


5 Responses to “The times they are a-changin’”

  1. Seeker ... Says:

    My visit to the local event was not one I could describe as promoting a return to individual responsibility, compromise, and consensus-building. I felt an energy of angst and frustration. The only consensus toward “acting out” was one of cohertion. The messages I gat were not individual transformation to to higher consciousness. I sensed an aggressive political uprising; one I fear is dividing America. The change that is required to heal our world is an individual change that each of us must make internally on our own. The young age of the majority of the occupiers shows they are being manipulated by their fears and their egos. Let those of us “on the path” not take sides with any group. Let us unite as a voice of reason … one voice promoting that we rise above conflict and pursue love and that is an internal awakening not forced acton.

  2. carol Says:

    I appreciate your comment. Protest movements throughout time have been led by the young, as they should be. They are hoping to create the kind of world they want to live in. It is an aggressive political uprising, as it must be to counter the powerful forces that are controlling our country. Internal awakenings have no meaning unless they result in action in the world. Jesus took a similar action when he threw the moneychangers out of the temple.

    • John Webber Says:

      I share this enlightening information quoting Eckhart Tolle’s book “A New Earth” … I think this reflects the egoic mindset of most people on both sides of the political spectrum and I hope you and I can rise above this and share the light of awareness.


      “The ego creates separation, and separation creates suffering. The ego is therefore clearly pathological. Apart from the obvious ones such as anger, hatred, and so on, there are other more subtle forms of negativity that are so common they are usually not recognized as sch, for example, impatience, irritation, nervousness, and being “fed up.”

      These constitute the background unhappiness that is many people’s predominant inner state. You need to be extremely alert and absolutely present to be able to detect them. Whenever you do, it is a moment of awakening, of disidentification from the mind.

      Here is one of the most common negative states that is easily overlooked, precisely because it is so common, so normal. You may be familiar with it. Do you often experience a feeling of discontent that could best be described as a kind of background resentment? It may be either specific or nonspecific. Many people spend a large part of their lives in that state. They are so identified with it that they cannot stand back and see it.

      Underlying that feeling are certain unconsciously held beliefs, that is to say, thoughts. You think these thoughts in the same way that you dream your dreams when you are asleep. In other words, you don’t know you are thinking those thoughts, just as the dreamer doesn’t know he is dreaming.

      Here are some of the most common unconscious thoughts that feed the feeling of discontent or background resentment. I have stripped away the content from those thoughts so that the bare structure remains. They become more clearly visible that way. Whenever there is unhappiness in the background of your life (or even in the foreground), you can see which of these thoughts applies and fill in your own content according to your personal situation:

      “There is something that needs to happen in my life before I can be at peace (happy, fulfilled, etc.). And I resent that it hasn’t happened yet. Maybe my resentment will finally make it happen.”

      “Something happened in the past that should not have happened, and I resent that. If that hadn’t happened, I would be at peace now.”

      “Something is happening now that should not be happening, and it is preventing me from being at peace now.”

      Often the unconscious beliefs are directed toward a person and so “happening” becomes “doing”:

      “You should do this or that so that I can be at peace. And I resent that you haven’t done it yet. Maybe my resentment will make you do it.”

      “Something you (or I) did, said, or failed to do in the past is preventing me from being at peace now.”

      “What you are doing or failing to do now is preventing me from being at peace.”

      Here’s a link to the book if you have any inclination to exploring spiritulity

  3. carol Says:

    Please be careful, John, with your spiritual proselytizing to others, especially people you don’t know. People must take their own spiritual journeys, and if you were truly wise, you would know that. But it is good that you are one your way and have found Eckhart Tolle. Keep reading, including my blog. Thank you for your interest!

  4. John Webber Says:

    My words were few … and your response revealing. Thank you for encouraging me to keep reading.

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