Bush and Boredom: The Burden of the Hour

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I
have an enormous sense of ennui vis-à-vis the regime that
rules us. It is a horrible boredom, rather like what I'd guess is
the boredom and hopelessness of hell. May I never get any closer
to it than this.

I
think the boredom serves to cover over and even somewhat suppress
my now almost wordless rage at the immense world-girdling horror
in which we are all implicated: the really hell-like war in Iraq
following the illegal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the blood-sucking
nature of increasingly invasive government at home, and the life-destroying
Drug War, which has us monkeying with the internal affairs of any
number of nations and throwing hundreds of thousands of our own
people in jail for crimes that a century ago were not crimes at
all.

Over
several centuries the free American polity, the best governed in
the world because the least governed (until Lincoln), built a fabulous
infrastructure and spread real wealth among a larger population
than had ever had any before. Now we are in the final stages of
hollowing that out, replacing wealth with debt, infrastructure with
munitions, freedom with tyranny, pride in our nation and its government
with shame for its murderous behavior wherever it goes to meddle.

For
some years I was involved in a close study of the teachings of G.I
Gurdjieff and P.D. Ouspensky, sometimes called the Fourth Way. I
still regard it highly and now employ without thought many of its
insights. One of Gurdjieff's rather shocking points was that "man
cannot do." That is, we delude ourselves with our notions of
the plans we will put into action, the effects we will have, the
results we will achieve, all as the result of our deliberate and
of course quite intelligent volitions. Not so, said G., it's all
the action of an automaton. What! Was Gurdjieff then a mere behaviorist,
a sort of glorified B.F. Skinner? Almost, in that he viewed men
as mostly and most of the time so many pigeons or dogs responding
to stimuli. But only most of the time and not necessarily.
We have a glorious, built-in potential, to become fully human, fully
man; but this takes immense work, immense wakefulness, a coming
out of the dreadful waking sleep that engages most of us most of
the time. G.'s question: Is anybody up for the task?

You'll
notice I have now veered totally away from lamentation about the
hideous Bush cabal and its grip on us, its lethal gas of boredom,
to deal with a great psychologist's teaching that if you want anything
around you to change you yourself must change. "Your being
attracts your life." That was another "saying" that
went around in Fourth Way circles. If you think of it, it is not
far from another maxim that we know well: "a nation gets the
government it deserves."

Whimpering
about the bad times we have fallen on will get us nowhere. Everything
depends on our reaction to those bad times. Sozhenitsyn had to go
into the Gulag to find out that, no matter what, it's all right.
Frankl found out the same thing in a Nazi concentration camp. We
are nowhere near in as bad a case as those two men were in their
time. The fact we have not been pushed to extremes of privation
and mistreatment probably explains why we so often stop short in
self-pitying petulance rather than seeing that our whole business
is to praise God and direct our attention to not contributing a
single thought or action to the success of the war cabal that has
hijacked our noble land and attempted to seduce all of us who are
not of the party of the war profiteers into skulking about and feeling
bad.

After
all, to be upset that the universe, the world, the nation, are not
responding to my wishes is simply to express the egotism that is
at bottom the very thing that is ruining us as expressed by the
people who have got themselves into command positions. Say they
to themselves: "I think this is the way it ought to be, and
by heaven and hell, this is the way it is going to be, if I have
to send every last mother's son and daughter in the nation into
withering guerilla fire to make sure it is." Implacable ego;
intransigent de facto atheism: "There is no God, and I am his
replacement." All of this delivered, of course, with much mealy-mouthed
pretend humility – hubris masquerading as submission to Higher
Authority; the only Higher Authority in view, however, is Lucifer.

I
am convinced that the only force that will keep us back from utter
catastrophe is the will of God. If all is to be as men contrive
it, we are lost. But indeed we cannot do; we cannot do anything
the Lord does not permit. I think one needs to possess one's soul
in patience and wait as calmly as one can through the present boredom.

May
4 , 2005

Tom
White [send him mail]
writes from Odessa, Texas. He is the author of Bill
W., A Different Kind of Hero: The Story of Alcoholics Anonymous

(2003).

Tom
White Archives

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