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Gary Zukav Headshot

Compassion and Congress

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As anger at the taxpayer-funded salvage of America's largest banks and most inefficient industries exploded into rage over enormous reductions in care to the most vulnerable people in America -- the young, poor, ill, and frail -- the focus of rage and ridicule has become Congress. In a simpler time, addressing self-serving members of Congress might have been effective. But the times are now different. Many Americans assume that unrestrained corporate contributions lie beneath the dysfunction of Congress. In a simpler time, addressing these activities might have been effective. But the times are now different. A very few individuals and most large corporations now possess a hugely disproportionate amount of the wealth of America while millions of Americans plummet -- once unthinkably -- from middle class into poverty, but that is not what makes the times different.

The times are different because our way of evolving has changed. Relationships and institutions that are built on old values and perceptions have increasingly become dysfunctional, and this is now impossible to ignore. These growing dysfunctions are not limited to America. They are appearing worldwide. The old perceptions include power as the ability to manipulate and control, and the old values are competition, discord, hoarding, and exploitation -- of one another, the Earth, and all else that can be exploited. All of this has now become obsolete and counterproductive to our evolution. New perceptions that are emerging in their place include power as the alignment of the personality with the soul, and our new values are becoming harmony, cooperation, sharing, and reverence for Life. Our evolution now requires these things. In other words, old ways no longer work, and that is why anger and rage at self-serving individuals and institutions is useless and destructive. It produces only more of the same -- anger, rage, and self-service. It imposes one will upon another, and that now prevents our evolution.

Our new way of evolving has created a startling insight: If we have no compassion for those who have no compassion, we become like them. We contribute the same as they to the human experience. We fuel them. They become proxy actors for our own greed, righteousness, opportunism, and lack of compassion. Even more startling is a new perception of social activism is emerging - the creation of compassion in myself. To consciously develop the abilities to think, speak, and act without making others villains for the unavoidable reason that when we see others as villains -- no matter how callous, self-serving, brutal, or destructive their actions are -- we see ourselves as victims.

Developing compassion for Congress and politicians is a good way to begin practicing the new social activism, if you want to make effective changes in the world. Perhaps the most startling new insight of all is that there is no other way to effectively change the world.