The monuments to heroic individual on Monument Avenue in Richmond, the captial of the Romanic South. . When we believe in heroic individuals as saviors of our society, then we really end up blaming people in poverty for not being heroic. And then we blame policies that we see keeping them dependent and not becoming heroic. Don’t take welfare…Just get a job. Pay your own way. Be heroic like these statures. If you are poor, it’s your choice. Just say No.
The South is a Romantic culture that believes in heroic individuals. This is also the Romance of the West where the lone cowboy is the heroic individual who will come into a town torn by conflict and restore order with his will power and his gun, then he heroically rides off into the sunset to wait until the society calls upon him again. Then, in a modern time, he emerges as Dirty Harry.
But the point I trying (through futile) to make is that the Right “rightly’ leans toward the individual as being master of their fate, and if you are down, then choose to be up. Don’t be dependent upon the state. This is a valid view.
However, when it refuses to admit that conditions play a part, then that view becomes cruel. We can only make heroic choices with the poverty conditions we are given. It is the rare person that can choose to be other than the conditions that shape them. Most make heroic choices within the limitations of what cards they are given. The Progressive view, properly understood sees the value in human live being both determined by conditions and undetermined, but both at the same time. So good policy balances conditions with heroic freedom of choice. Create the conditions where you can choose to become a Monument to Heroic Life.
This was a wide angle talk so I hope you tune in and follow. I begin with Romantic Civil war general on horses, go out west to the Myth of the Cowboy, and take a turn through the historic duality debate of Romantics versus Realists, and end up in the Life of Pi…..Oh…what an awakening! But, wait, I really end up speaking to you directly. Are you are Romantic or a realist? if you are one or the other you are only half the coin. True liberation is when you stumble upon the treasure that you can be both Romantic and Realistic. But there is no path or manual to hat discovery. Go back and watch the Life of Pi…That’s all I can say.
It is very difficult to figure out what’s going on today…as Trump said on the campaign trail. We don’t have the mythological breadth to embrace the whole of what’s happening. We just can’t get our arms around it all because there is no reference in our history to this moment. It is entirely new. Never happened before. We are in unknown territory. No maps. This is what I do, whether I intend it or not…but I connect dots to see larger pictures. I have a wide angle lens in my bag. It is not easy to see the wider picture because we only use the narrow lens given to us by our society. We are conditioned to focus on the foreground, and because the background is blurred, we project our Story onto the background screen like the weatherman green screen. Facts in the foreground then relate for meaning to our project story on the green screen behind.
In order to see through the illusion of the green screen, our projected background that comes from our chosen collective projector, we have to put on a wide angle lens, which means we have to put down the narrow focused lens which is held by our ego. That why we can’t put it down. Our Ego is holding it. Who am I if I put this lens down? In the wide angle view there is no foreground object, and when there is no foreground there is no Me. Both Me and the foreground object rise together. In the wide angle view there is Just This..everything is in focus.