Monday, July 27, 2009

"A world where Truth & the norms of love and Justice coincide"

"Alexis de Tocqueville, the nineteenth century French scholar famous for Democracy in America, wrote a less well-known book titled The Old Regime and the Revolution, arguing that the French Revolution happened long before it happened. The eruption that shattered French society at the end of the eighteenth century was the result of small seismic shifts that had been accumulating for decades deep underground. If people had paid attention to the tectonic instabilities caused by greed and injustice, and had responded wisely to the nervous needles on their inner seismographs, the "Reign of Terror" might have been avoided."

"The problem is not that we don't possess a capacity to know these things. If we didn't, we wouldn't have all the colloquialisms I just used! The problem is that the knowledge we need, like the seismic shifts that create eruptions, originates underground. It comes from a place within us deeper than our intellects, a place that poet William Stafford calls "a remote, important region in all who speak," a place sometimes called the inner teacher or the soul.
But rarely do we allow ourselves to go to that place. Instead, we fill our lives with noisy distractions, blocking our access to insights that might scare us but could also save us."

"A story about Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk and writer, provides a case in point. In 1944, Merton entered the Abbey of Gethsemani, a walled monastery in the Kentucky woods, to live a life of silence and solitude. He had fled from the madness of a war-torn world just as American triumphalism was about to emerge - another form of national madness that may now, in the fall of 2008, have run its course for a while. For the next few years Merton pursued a "spirituality of flight," and in 1949 published a rather pious book called Seeds of Contemplation.
But as Merton went deeper within himself and touched the collective consciousness, he began to "read" the rumblings of injustice under the surface of a fat, happy and deluded white America. He listened, really listened, to African American music, especially jazz and the blues. He corresponded with discerning friends who served as "listening posts" in the larger world. He read poetry and literary classics as well as social criticism. He examined his own conscience as a privileged white American male. And, through contemplation and prayer, he went to a place where language and sound cannot take us, a place within ourselves and our world where truth has a chance to come clear and the norms of love and justice coincide.
Fifteen years later, in 1964, Merton published Seeds of Destruction in which he prophesied "the fire next time," a conflagration of the races rooted in white ignorance, indifference and injustice. The book lost him a lot of readers who had loved his earlier piousness. And he was taken to task, in print, by a well-known writer and urban activist who said, in effect, "How dare a cloistered monk, writing from behind gated walls in the Kentucky woods, pretend to know more about race in America than we who are out on the front lines extinguishing 'the fire next time'?"
Three years later, in 1967, Merton's critic wrote an open letter to Merton in The National Catholic Reporter, apologizing "for having put down Seeds of Destruction. With most of the summer of 1967 past, he said, we can now 'see that you were correct.' ...At the time[I published my criticism] you seemed to be trying to be a white James Baldwin. Now it seems to me that you were 'telling it as it is' and maybe 'as it will be.'" (The Hidden Ground of Love, p. 55.)

Neither Merton nor his critic would want us to withdraw from the action. But both would agree that activism ungrounded in contemplation can lead to ego-induced blindness, shutting down those soul-deep sources of knowing that open us to larger truth.

Merton thanked his critic in writing, then took his case one step further. White liberals, he wrote, would not be up to the task of healing a racially divided nation. We would need "a new politics in this country" in order to come anywhere near that goal. Maybe, just maybe, we are seeing the seeds of that new politics today — fifty years after Merton got it right, once again, from his "still point" out in the woods."

The excerpts above are from: Trusting our Deeper Knowing: On Cataclysms. Contemplation, and Circles of Trust by Parker J.Palmer

The moral of the above excerpt is that there is still time for Change to a new politics in Uganda!

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3 comments:

Hudu said...

In a Novel Entitled "A wreath for Udomo" by Peter Abrahams, one of the protagonists, in trying to convey his massage stated that "Making speeches is not the some as running a department".

Likewise, when i read this article, considering its brilliancy, I sympathize with Museveni's critics for a part from writing something I would consider brilliant, they don’t meaning full contribute to national development. Lamentations have never been solutions to politics, especially Uganda’s politics.

There are three stages in a democratic leadership, Wining power, maintaining power and handing over power; the NRM government is again at the second stage of democratic leadership. Whether by the Ghandi principles or the Machiavellian principles, we are determined to maintain power, there is no second way.

We are in a competitive multiparty democracy and may be as a way of a reminder, the question of term limits was handled long time ago through a referendum in 2005. Therefore, since our opposition is concentrating on planning to winner power, the NRM government will also concentrate on maintaining power by bring Museveni as their challenger in national elections.

The only way to counter Museveni's dominancy is by mobilizing. Please reach out to the voters, especially the grass root voters and stop this endless hullabaloo. The biggest difference between Museveni and some of you is that he is privileged with the votes of the people, the strengths of the ballot box, and he is not president by mistake or by chance, but by hard work, and by God's will. Remember leadership is God given, if time is right, Museveni will go but as long as God and Ugandans think it right for Museveni to be president for this country, these critics will continue to be a waste of time.

You guys don’t seem to have grasped the political atmosphere in this country and Africa as a whole. This is one of the reasons why Ugandans will continue voting Museveni back to power. These efforts you keep wasting by writing rubbish about him can best be rewarded by reaching out to Ugandans and attempt to offer “alternative solutions, "better programs" if you have any, not lamentations!

The NRM government has seen this country through several challenges, the basis on which Ugandans vote and as long as the NRM national delegates conference votes him as its flag bearer, which we again intend to do, he will definitely bounce back as PRESIDENT come 2011. Please rate yourselves using the most recent opinion polls and the afro-barometer survey plus the by-elections. Who was wining?

ForGodandmyAfrica said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ForGodandmyAfrica said...

Mr. Hudu,

The only thing that critics of this post, like you, haven't addressed, is the abundant value of diversity in leadership. This is not a lamentation but a clear and concrete alternative to "big man" rule ideology. If diversity in leadership had been given a chance in Uganda, your response would not have been so dubious!

These are the same old arguments and platitudes we have heard so many times before, used to silence those trying to enlighten Ugandans.

Unlike your redundant and diminishing value of ideas, our numbers continue to grow by leaps and bounds as more and more Ugandans continue to be enlightened by our ideas and turned off by the ideology of one man rule!
Variety is the spice of life, and if cohorts like you were to give it a chance in Uganda, you would be surprised by the positive difference it makes in our nations potential.

The idea of following one man rule, like ducks in a line, even within a single party, like the NRM, for more than 23 years, is anachronistic.

This is Africa's most challenging dilemma since the end of colonial rule.
Africa gained independence and its ensuing leadership instead took the ideology of one man paternalistic rule and hang it around the necks of all its people that where yearning to be free.
This ideology has lead us to no where but stagnation, famine, and mediocrity. The track record of this kind of leadership speaks out loud and clear. Despite all empirical evidence to the contrary, M7 and his cohorts continue to adhere to this redundant ideology.

The late German philosopher: Friedrich Nietzsche, once said that "the surest way to corrupt the youth is to instruct them to hold in higher esteem those who think alike, than those who think differently." This is better known as synergy today: A dynamic state in which a combined action is favored over the actions of one individual.

Todays successful nations and organizations have come to utilize the abundant value of diversity in leadership.
Clearly when it comes to diversity in leadership, Uganda under utilizes all the leadership talent and ability at its disposal. Uganda's politics is so one "Big man" dominated, because there is no level ground rules.

The NRM's main objective is to maintain the 23 year old status quo and extend M7's hold on power. The opposition's strategic objective is to end that status quo, by outlining the numerous examples that demonstrate why M7 should not over extend his stay in power. Demonstrate the value of leadership diversity in our country's endeavor to reach its fullest potential. Empower all Ugandans with equal opportunities for all in all sectors of the economy and put and end to nepotism and one man family rule in Uganda.

Here is one other solution: Lets vote and hire people that have real jobs to go back to after they have served their country in government. It would be sort of like national service! Rather than having suckers in government!