Bush and Boredom: The Burden of the Hour

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