Posted by: Michael George Daniel | July 28, 2009

Health Care Reform

According to the awful news on TV, August is shaping up for a push in the health care reform argument. I say awful because I can barely sit through the absurd frames that are thrown at us constantly by the mass media. Nobody on TV gets it. We aren’t in a recession – it is not a recession. Recession implies some sort of ‘come back’ or ‘bounce back’. There won’t be such a thing. We are on a collision course with cultural upheaval and change. There will be a new culture that emerges and, sure, its hard to image what that will look like because we are so used to the one we’ve got. The fact is, it will look like what we make of it. What we make of it is partly reflected in how we handle the debate that is currently being had over health care and health care reform.

Let’s start with the basics. This ought to be about health. Instead it is about fearful people in power trying to hold on to what they’ve got – power over our health and the money associated with maintaining this so-called health. The fact is, we don’t have health at all. We have a strange, dream-like trance, a numbness from life and from ourselves from which all manner of odd physical manifestations spring, many caused by our reduced resilience to ward off immense environmental stresses. These stresses are caused by the consumeristic mentality that we are taught is needed to build more satisfactory lives. It is an endless search to fill the void resulting from each and every one of us not living – dying on behalf of a culture that believes it must overcome the threats of nature, a nature from which we have divorced ourselves and now are destroying. A nature that is in itself a healthy web of interrelationships, but from which we have pulled away. Thus, in this disconnected state, we do not have health – we are in a word, dead. We spiral down into an abyss of striving, searching for that which will make us whole, complete and satisfied.

“If the dynamics of the universe from the beginning shaped the course of the heavens, lighted the sun, and formed the earth, if this same dynamism brought forth the continents and seas and atmosphere, if it awakened life in the primordial cell and then brought into being the unnumbered variety of living beings, and finally brought us into being and guided us safely through the turbulent centuries, there is reason to believe that this same guiding process is precisely what has awakened in us our present understanding of ourselves and our relationship to this stupendous process. Sensitized to such guidance form the very structure and functioning of the universe, we can have confidence in the future that awaits the human venture.” Thomas Berry

But of course, it is not there and the system is perpetuated. Yet, at the same time, we consume the very web of life that sustains us. We eat ourselves – the tapeworm effect.

So health care reform  goes to the deepest roots of our problems. It is not a lever with which we will devise solutions to today’s calamities. Those will take care of themselves as everything man has believed to be true for the last 10,000 years is shown to be a dream and we are droppped back into that web of life; a web of life vastly diminished in its capacity to sustain.

Yet health care reform is the moment we have now to step toward remembering a way of living in relationship with each other and the rest of the web of life. It is a way to reawaken from the dream we have been stuck in. Though it is a 10,000 year dream, remember we lived for a million years prior to that in small, collaborative, vastly diverse tribes. That is where we are going again.

“The Takers therefore began to see themselves as the only type of human beings in the world, and when they wrote their history saw it as the history of all humankind, not just the history of one particular culture, which it was.  They saw their culture, which was becoming more and more complex and “civilized” (bigger towns and cities, more laws), as the natural destiny of human beings, the only way humans were meant to live.  This was the beginning of what might be called the Great Forgetting, where the memory of true human history—the thousands of tribes who had lived in a very different way for over a million years before, with rich cultures and traditions—faded away.” Pete Shoemaker

The question is, can we bring any wisdom with us? I believe the answer is yes as we spiral forward in the great evolutionary play of differentiation/integration. Our great experiment of separation has lead us to incredible, reductionist technological prowess. Can we apply this intelligence holistically? The pendulum is swinging back, as it always will, though spiraling forward into new manifestations at the same time.

Let us test our common voice around the theme in front us for the month of August. I don’t know if health care is a basic human right, but I do know that human health is, just as the health of the entire web of life is a basic, inevitable right. It is a condition to which the earth will return with or without humankind as we currently know it.  When we argue for health care reform, we facilitate the inevitable shift away from our old culture of domination, separation, fear and death. We begin to get congruent with the web of life and the rest of the universe and its inexorable progress, where we reassert a knowledge of our place in the cosmos – as participants, co-creators even, but not dominators.

“Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment (beware of such moments!) but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zigzag toward a more decent society. We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. Even when we don’t “win,” there is fun and fulfillment in the fact that we have been involved, with other good people, in something worthwhile. We need hope.” Howard Zinn

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