“The Ten Signs of Intellectual Honesty” by Mike Gene
When it comes to just about any topic, it seems as if the public discourse is dominated by rhetoric and propaganda. People are either selling products or ideology. In fact, just because someone may come across as calm and knowledgeable does not mean you should let your guard down and trust what they say. What you need to look for is a track record of intellectual honesty. Let me therefore propose 10 signs of intellectual honesty.
[editor's note: Rob wrote this preface to this week's Pronoia Resources in his weekly newsletter]
Before the last U.S. presidential election in 2004, What Is Enlightenment? magazine posed the following query to five religious leaders: “Many people argue that the upcoming presidential election is the most important in our lifetime. Do you agree?”
Four of the respondents said, in effect, “Yes, because George Bush is bad for America and the world.”
But the fifth religious leader, Zen Buddhist Jan Chozen Roshi, replied, “I don’t know. Our existence is so short, it’s like a dust mote in the eye of God. To say that the time in which my dust mote existed was the most important is a self-centered view.”
Roshi’s wisdom reminded me of an anecdote told by Henry Kissinger, an American politician who was Secretary of State in the 1970s. Kissinger once asked Chinese premier Zhou Enlai what he thought of the French Revolution, which had happened two centuries earlier. “Too soon to tell,” Chou answered.
I always like to keep these ideas in mind, even in times of relative peace and calm. But I’m especially fond of focusing on the *very* big picture when divine chaos is whirling around — like now. It helps keep me humble, and discourages me from any temptation I might have to believe I know the Whole Truth about anything, let alone about the mysterious long-term processes at work in the evolution of the human race.
There’s another factor that makes me cautious about getting embroiled in partisan politics and the narrow-minded hostility that fuels it. One of my main goals in life is to love everyone with passionate intensity — no exceptions. Not just the people I find beautiful and helpful and interesting and attractive. But also the people I don’t like and the people who don’t like me and the people I disagree with and the people who can’t or won’t do anything for me.
In order to become the gorgeous genius I aspire to be, in order to fulfill the unique destiny I came to Earth to embody, I have to hold EVERYONE in my heart with compassion and empathy. As I contemplate how every single part of creation is interconnected, I’ve got to be aware that the creatures I’m allergic to and inclined to feel alienated from are also part of the great web of life.
That’s my spiritual goal; it’s essential to awakening my best self and cultivating an intimate connection to Spirit. It’s also my selfish goal; it’s critical to my physical and mental health. Hatred always sickens me. Love always invigorates me.
On the other hand:
I was born at a specific moment in history with a unique outlook and a particular assignment. I can’t help but be passionate about the truth as I see it.
And the truth as I see it is that Barack Obama is the best choice for President of the United States. He is definitely the most pronoiac candidate.
That’s why I’m voting for him and feel good about saying:
BARACK OBAMA FOR PRESIDENT
If you’d like to know a little more about my political perspectives, some (but not all) of which are shared by Obama, you can read them here.
P.S. It’s crucial to keep in mind that Obama can’t single-handedly and magically heal all the havoc inflicted on America and the world by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and his henchmen. The resuscitation will have to be accomplished primarily by we-the-people, and as much on the local level as in the federal realm.
“Vote for Hope”, the best Obama song out there, by M.C. Yogi:
Free download of the song here