Created March 4, 2022
Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey blog.
Each of us is, at the core, a consciousness. My hypothesis is that at point of origin, consciousness is interested in the flow of its own experiences. It has no interest in destruction. It would be logical to say that at this point in its career, it is good.
Everyday we meet people – including ourselves – in whom it is easy to see that some aspects are not so good. We hope that we are all working our way back, with effort, to our original goodness, to the purity of our unique nature experiment.
Evil, in my worldview, is error.
This is not a new thought. The word “sin” in Hebrew derives from the idea of “missing the mark”.
We all make mistakes, and learn even more from them, than from the experiences where we did not make mistakes.
This cosmic process constantly brings us back toward our original goodness, to the pure selfness within each of us.
The Bibles, all three of them including the Quran, explain the sins of the world as being the consequence of the Noble Experiment, the giving of free will to inexperienced creatures.
The argument between the existence of real free will vs. the mechanistic determinism of the universe gets hung up when God’s omniscience runs up against true free will. “Well, if God already knows what I’m going to do, how can you say I have free will?”
I have never heard an answer to that which I liked, until this one came to me. The First Self of which everything else in existence is an avatar, knows in advance all of the different paths that you can take in every instant, and delights in being surprised at seeing which one you did choose, whether it pinned the needle or missed the mark, and if so, by how far.
It would be awfully boring for any God to never be able to enjoy surprise. And by definition, the Absolute has no limitations, and so God must be capable of being surprised, by choosing to set up the game the way SheHe did.
You can say anything you like about this world, but the least plausible thing you could say is that it’s boring.
So, each of us accumulates certain dings in our consciousness and that leads us down this path instead of that one. As we gain experience if we are lucky, we start to see how it all works, process out the dings, and become menschen.
Even Putin is in this process right now. No question that he is one of the most dinged-up we know. But still with a more than zero possibility for fixing himself.
If he feels the hot breath of axe-wielding murderers around him – how could he not, KGB was famous for use of that weapon – he probably right now has a higher chance of going straight than he has had since he was a teenager holding hands with his first girlfriend Elena.
Not saying it’s the outcome to bet on in Earth Roulette. Lower probability but not zero. And higher than it was before he stubbed his toe on the Ukraine. Because now there is real risk that his cronies may see this as their chance to become supreme leaders themselves, even more privileged and rewarded than they have been as henchmen. That is the first circle of danger around Vlad.
So, what scenarios could his mind be thinking?
My friend from junior high school through college and to this day, John Chico, and I used to play board games. Sometimes when I was winning, he would flip up the board and the pieces would go flying.
Putin might have decided that having mutual assured destruction might not be satisfying. It might feel good in terms of getting even with all of us, but then slowly dying of radiation poisoning would leave a lot to be desired.
Being (when his mind is clear) a realist and a pragmatist, he might have already realized that there are innumerable scenarios in which he could reset the game back to where it was a week ago. Or even further back to before détente started to erode.
He’s extremely unlikely to do the following, but it would be the best way out: he could man up to it and admit it was a mistake.
The most sophisticated analysts are writing now about “finding Putin an offramp”.
I say, Vlad, show your best stuff, admit you are capable of making a mistake, and man enough to fess up to it.
I don’t presume to write a script for you, but you could say that you have for a long time been thinking about it all wrong. All you wanted to do – all you still want to do – is to make Russia great again.
Because of many factors, including years of your life spent in intelligence organizations within a dictatorship, you could only see things one way.
But now the strength of your own parent culture’s countrymen – the ones you sent into battle and the ones you were attacking – have shown you something you could never see before. They didn’t want to hurt each other. Even though all of them knew that defying you was a really dangerous thing to do, their concern for each other was greater than their own concern for themselves.
You can say – hopefully it is true – that this opened your heart and opened your mind to new ways of looking at things.
You can still make Russia great – first of all, it already is great, what could be more inspiring and noble and great than the stand the Ukrainians are taking – and by uniting peacefully with each other, Russia can take its place in the world with all the other nations and be appreciated for its contributions.
I can imagine Vlad reading this and saying “But what do we have? Oil and H-bombs. The human race is trying to cut down on those things. If I don’t leverage that, what else do I have?”
I would remind him of the things that made Russia great before. Amazingly resilient passionate people. Dostoevsky, Rachmaninoff, vast natural resources, a thousand other things. The ability to envision big and to build big. Russia can do everything the USA and China can do. I’ve engaged Ukrainian software developers, they rival India’s and America’s. We’ve all witnessed the mischief your cyber scientists are capable of, what if that were turned toward the good?
Picture Russia with its cousins in the Ukraine and the other states that had been in the USSR re-unified as partners not vassals – their own NATO, their own EU, with each state able to create the system they want, Democracy or Autocracy.
Where do I feel that voluntary organization of peoples that have always been closely tied to one another could make the greatest contribution to the world’s future?
Sputnik is a clue. Russia can be a big part of the leadership in taking us into space, in which every country can participate together. They have been building some of the biggest rockets. Let’s channel those talents into obtaining Earth peoples’ fair share of the resources of the universe, and face the challenges that will bring out our most accelerated scientific and perhaps human development. Let’s all do it together, in unity.
You can’t force people to work together effectively. You can create a context that enables people to work together effectively. We all have to do it together.
Putin could start to think and talk and be this way and remain the leader in Russia (the reparations would be costly but if he does it in time the final compromise could leave him in power if his buddies and his people still want that) and make Russia great again. Even greater than he was imagining, having a share in the priceless resources of the universe, along with others of all human and inhuman races.
That’s the offramp I would use if I were him.
In last week’s post, I wrote:
“What’s the best positive outcome of the situation?
The hopeful possibility that this will bring all Americans together.”
Watching President Biden’s State of the Union Message, I felt and still feel that this positive outcome is unfolding, in reality. The USA is moving into unity to face a common foe, with the inspiration of watching another nation whose courage reminds us of the roots of our nation, of what each of us holds inside ourself. It’s now time to let that good stuff inside, out.
I also sense more new unity than within the USA, all of the people in the world who yearn to be free – to have as much of that free will stuff as possible – are united with each other through their stand with the Ukraine.
I feel that this week redolent of WWII has been a stark reminder of how thin is the veneer of civilization indeed, how quickly we could snap back into deep darkness, and how much each one of us, in the nugget of central goodness, yearns for peace and freedom and cessation of hatreds and vendettas.
And how willing to die each one of us is, in that center of goodness within us, “so that honor and justice may live.”
I had never thought about it before, but events brought this mirror up to my face: my mother’s parents came from Kyiv (her father) and Odessa (her mother). My father’s parents came from Poland. I’m half Ukrainian in descent, a proud citizen of the USA and of the human race. It feels good.
The first words of one of the earliest manuscripts on the planet, the Rig Veda, say:
“Assemble, speak together: let your minds be all of one accord.
As ancient Gods unanimous sit down to their appointed share.
The place is common, common the assembly, common the mind, so be their thought united.
One and the same be your resolve and be your minds of one accord.
United be the thoughts of all that may happily agree.”
Rodovoi! (“United” in Russian)
Tongyi! (“United” in Chinese)
My great friend, songwriter Stan Satlin offers us a song.
Love to all,