Can Our Nation Be Saved? Part 1
My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you,
Ask what you can do for your country.
John F. Kennedy
In January of 1961, these hopeful and inspiring words touched a fundamental truth within us, that our service to others and to our country is the basis for the success of our nation. If President Kennedy were alive today, I believe he would be weeping over the desecration of this idea as he witnesses the opposite sentiment as it emerges as our nation’s modus operandi.
What Makes and Sustains a Nation: A Brief Explanation
When humans appeared on the earth, they quickly recognized that joining with others was the most efficient way to satisfy basic needs. They gathered in tribes, then towns and cities, and eventually understood that uniting together in a “nation” or a “state,” in which each engages in one’s own trade, such as agriculture or artisanship, was required. They connected through trading of their products and developed social connections. Thus the nations were made, each with its unique nature both in material life and in cultural life.
A way to think about the functioning of each person within the nation is to examine the functioning of the organs in a single body. The optimal state of the human body is harmony among its organs—the eyes see and the brain is assisted by them to think and to consult, and then the hands work or fight, and the legs walk—each playing a specific role that benefits the entire organism. Within the nation each person (organ) with a skill or profession must function in complete harmony with all the others in order to maintain normal life and a secured existence. The natural death of the individual results from disharmony among one’s bodily organs. In the same way, the nation’s natural decline results from obstructions and conflict among its organs (individuals in society).
Thus, if a nation is to survive, there must be a strong and abiding unity within that generates among its citizens a sense of instinctive love. Out of this comes the recognition by each person that the happiness of the nation is his happiness and the decadence of the nation is his own decadence.
As a state develops, that natural and instinctive love for each other in families and small clans, changes to love for each other because of common needs. The state, then, out of the established stance of caring for the collective, provides everything required to fulfill each citizen’s basic needs. The state becomes the force that moves individuals toward the needs of the collective. The key element is that the environment be one that promotes connection, social love and altruism. This is not a political or social statement. It is how nature works.
Some would call this kind of a system chauvinistic, a definition of excessive and misplaced nationalism. However, there is a calculation that can be applied to such a system to distinguish it from chauvinism or fascism. It is the measure of one’s egoism or altruism. The law of egoism is the force that generates actions required for minimum existence. The person who shares any surplus for the well-being of others is considered to be altruistic. These two—egoism and altruism—each occupies a place in our relationships with each other. In the same way that egoism is imprinted within us as a means to fulfill our needs, so should the idea of altruism be engraved in our hearts, as individuals and as a nation. Otherwise, the nation cannot carry itself.
This powerful force of mutual love and concern is weakened when the state takes on a coercive mode, because the energy has shifted and citizens are no longer motivated toward harmony. The positive force that motivates becomes a negative force—the common suffering of being part of a system that has come into imbalance. The inner desire of the citizens for accord dissipates because the prod comes from the outside, not from the depths of our hearts.
Does this sound familiar?
It is not that each citizen must hold these notions, but that a strong core of the people who sense the imperative for harmony in order to sustain a society, are willing to guide the rest. We need to understand, however, that everything happens according to the upper forces of nature, what those forces are, and how we remain in alignment with them.
Educating the mind without educating
The heart is no education at all.
We have lost our heart, our mutual love and concern and our preference for living in harmony. Thus, we are witnessing the natural demise of our nation. There is not a person or a political party or a social trend that is to blame. We are simply not connected to the cycles and laws of nature as mankind was in millennia past. If our nation is to recover from what appears to be its final gasps, these connections must be renewed.
In medicine, cures are constantly sought. When a treatment is found it is something entirely new and eye-opening, giving hope and comfort to many. The way medicine is practiced is altered and new thinking emerges about the treatment of disease. The vast amounts of money and extraordinary human effort have combined in a drastic manner to discover the cause of the illness and remedy it, and the common good has been served. If these measures are not taken, the disease rampages on.
This kind of radical action is required if we are to save our nation. We have to understand the basic cause of our pending demise, exert brow-sweating effort to reverse it, and create a totally new way of thinking about our relationships with each other. And the way to do this is to develop an overreaching educational system that teaches mankind how to balance ego with altruism. We must heal our hearts.
Following are the principles that underlie an Integral Education system that can bring us back from the brink of destruction if we are willing to take it on.
A view of the world as a vast, wondrous, and intricate system.
An understanding that every part of the world is connected and dependent upon all other parts.
An integrated approach that perceives reality not as separate elements divided into discrete topics, but from the comprehension that the world is an interrelated system.
A realization that the thrust of evolution is no longer linear, but circular, in that we live in a global community.
A use of all these understandings to create an educational system that illustrates through its methods that without connection, no other knowledge is worth learning.
The details of such an educational system are for another essay. Meanwhile, think about who you are in relation to our current, decaying system. Are we all willing to engage in helping our nation to rise to a higher existence? Nature is showing us that there is no other way.