11/04/2012

Democracy, Consciousness & Persuasion

Orestes petitions Apollo (right) and Athena (left) for mercy from the Furies (above).

At the dawn of Western politics, Aeschylus wrote the Oresteia as a hymn to democracy. For Aeschylus, democracy was not founded on the authority of any state, constitution, holy book or deity, but on the power of civil discourse alone. 

In the congress of the Aereopagus, civil discourse was achieved through reverence for the holy art of persuasion: Peitho (Πειθώ). Aeschylus' drama ends, not with the pronouncement of a God, but with a vote of the people. Athena herself casts the deciding vote to acquit Orestes: but her vote has no more weight or influence than that of an ordinary citizen!

Then the Goddess sings the drama's final hymn, not in praise of Peace, Justice or God, but in praise of Peitho - persuasive civil discourse.
"High thanks be thine, Peitho (Persuasion), with eyes divine."
The United States has the oldest running political election system. Keep it running. There are lots of political stories. You want to tell yours. I want to tell mine. They may be very different stories. So what?

What makes your story right and my story wrong? No authority at all: just your power of communication. Every story is just a swell of perspective in an ocean of consciousness, gaining temporary and relative veracity through persuasion and agreement.

So let us listen with civility to each others' stories, and let us dialog. There is no other authority for determining truth but our agreement. All our stories have a right to be heard. And every vote has equal weight, even the vote of the Goddess.

We need bigger federal government; we need smaller federal government; we need no federal government. We need to stop using fossil fuels; we need to drill more. Rich people are rich because they do well; rich people rob the poor. Poor people are poor because they do poorly; poor people are blessed and thus entitled to somebody else's money. Democrats and Republicans are different; Democrats and Republicans are owned by one corporation. These are just stories. Listen; don't judge.

Some of us have no political story at all. We have given up inventing stories. Politics is but a theater of the mind. A nation gets the president it deserves, because the leader reflects our collective consciousness, and a president can do no more or less than what our own consciousness empowers us to do. Still, we manifest that consciousness by voting.

So let us dialogue, persuade, listen and choose. Then vote. And when you cast your ballot, begin the day with a joyful morning meditation. Bathe your heart in the radiance of love. Vote your Higher Self, not your fear and anger. Let your vote reflect the Light within you.

Voting is a sacrament of faith, hope, and charity toward your Self.

No comments: