The US is hellbent on driving itself into the ditch.
- Is it true?
Well, yes, it seems true in many ways. I can find innumerable examples, and the news is full of new ones daily.
- Can I absolutely know it is true?
No. Each part of that statement can be defined in many ways and the US is not homogeneous. Also, I don’t know what is the best path for the US, or the world, or myself.
- How do I react when I believe that thought?
I experience a contraction and a hardening. There is a strong sense of being right. There is a split into I and Other. I look for evidence, and find it everywhere. I collect evidence, rehearse it in my mind, to support and maintain that belief. I feel alienated since I live in a country like that. I question why I live here. I think I should be somewhere else. I feel sadness over the many worldwide impacted by the US policies and what I see as the ignorance of the US population.
Where and how do I experience it in my body?
As a hardening in the chest area, and contraction in stomach.
How do I treat others?
I see US citizens as homogeneous, as an anonymous mass that is uninformed, mislead, deceived by media and politicians, ignorant about their own country and the world, narrow in their interests and concerns, oblivious about the larger picture.
When I meet US citizens who don’t fit that picture, I see them as exceptions so I don’t need to change the general image described above.
When I meet folks who agree, I see them as allies. I may talk with them to get my frustration out, and confirm that I am right.
When I meet folks who disagree, I don’t even want to talk with them – at least not about these issues. I secretly see them as uninformed, or if they seem informed – as dangerously egocentric or ethnocentric, behaving or supporting behavior that eventually harms all of us.
How do I treat myself?
As someone who is right. As someone who is informed, who sees things as they are. Who knows better. As someone who can’t do much to change it. As someone who can’t engage in conversations with those who disagree.
What images comes up when I have that thought?
Images of a population mislead by media, corporations and politicians. Of US initiated and led wars, bringing massive suffering to millions of people. Of US policies that are unbelievable short-sighted, harming and destroying communities, ecosystems and lives.
Of US policies that seem consciously aimed at destroying ecosystems, health, communities and any sympathy towards the US left among people around the world.
When did I first have that thought?
In middle-school, when we first learned about the impacts of US policies around the world, and within their own country (lack of universal health care, etc.). Since then, I have found evidence for it everywhere, including daily in the news.
What do I get from believing that thought?
I get to be right. To not be like them. To see it more clearly than they do. To find a tribe among those who share my beliefs.
Whose business am I in?
I am in their business.
- Who or what am I without the thought? (When hearing about that which I have used to support that belief.)
Clear. Present. Take it in. Curious and interested in it.
I am curious about what is going on, without reactivity or a sense of I and Other. There is a freedom here. A freedom to explore in a wide open field (absent of the boundaries that comes with identity, being right and wrong, I and Other, us and them.) I am interested in what is going on (absent of proving anything, supporting any identity, of seeing it as about them not also me.) There is a sense of intimacy, belonging, interest, receptivity, clarity, flow.
(a) The US is not hellbent on driving itself into the ditch.
Well, that is probably not the conscious motivation of these people (even if it is the effect.) They may think it actually serves them. They probably do the best they can, considering their circumstances (value development, available information, immediate needs that seem more urgent.)
Also, the US is not homogeneous. There is a wide range of views and ways of life here, some which are quite life-centered and life-supporting.
Also, I don’t really know the outcome of all of this. Maybe it is exactly what is needed for nudging us towards a more life-centered civilization. And I don’t even know that a more life-centered civilization is better, or serve us better, or is better of the Earth, or the Universe. I don’t know.
(b) The US is hellbent on staying on the road.
Yes, that seems true. They are certainly hellbent on staying the course in terms of consumerism, world dominance, corporate globalization, intimidation of those with opposing views, and so on.
Also, they are hellbent on providing a good life for themselves, even if I don’t agree with many of their strategies.
(c) I am hellbent on driving myself into the ditch.
Oh… Yes, that is certainly true. Far more true. I am hellbent on driving myself into the ditch, when I believe the initial thought. I drive myself into the ditch by the misery, hopelessness, sense of alienation, and sense of something to protect brought up by the belief. Also, I see myself as already in the ditch since I live here.
(d) I am hellbent on driving the US into the ditch.
Yes, also as or more true. When I have that belief, I am hellbent on driving the US into the ditch – in my mind. I do it by finding evidence and run it through my mind over and over. Also, in the world, I get hellbent on driving this life-alienating version of the US into the ditch, by exposing what is going on and subversively working for deep culture change. And I see that it is not a comfortable motivation.