If we truly wish to change the course we are currently on, we must begin by forgiving ourselves everything – we need to let that really be true — and then extend that same forgiveness to the whole world. That is just the beginning, but perhaps the most honest and important step. Sadly, such enlightened compassionate activity is not likely to manifest any time soon at the collective level, because the species is so terribly damaged now, and cannot even admit it. More than any other nation, America is a fitting mirror for our planetary-wide dilemma.
There is a feeling of unworthiness, which is really just the other side of the coin of arrogance. The bigger the outside, the bigger the inside. To the degree in which we feel a sense of internal lack, to that extent will be our determination to dominate externally. The ruined physical environment is but an external reflection of our inner contradiction, which manifests as our sense of profound interior devastation, spawned by our stubborn belief in our essential unworthiness.
Perhaps we are essentially a nation of Calvinists (regardless of nominal affiliation), convinced of our hopeless sinfulness, and thus committed to punishing the world (which is ourself) for the manifest projections of our own inner fear and horror. This is why we drop so many bombs, this is why we build so many prisons, this is why we look with disdain on pleasure and yet secretly crave it, and this is why we will fail in the end, collapsing under the weight of our own conflicted conditioned beliefs and ambivalent desires.
We call ourselves the land of the free and the home of the brave, although we stole the continent we live on from its indigenous peoples. Then we built it up on the backs of another enslaved race, while slaughtering millions of each other for the sake of hatred, ignorance, envy, and greed. We didn’t stop there. Since the end of World War 2, the United States has:
attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically-elected;
dropped bombs on the people of more than 30 countries;
attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders;
attempted to suppress a populist or nationalist movement in 20 countries;
grossly interfered in democratic elections in at least 30 countries;
and has been more involved in the practice of torture than any other country in the world for over half a century — not just performing the actual torture, but teaching it, providing the manuals, and furnishing the equipment.
Our current so-called leadership is a scourge upon this world, and even more so upon its own people. The regressive and repressive core of its agenda perfectly embodies the ethic of selfishness and spiteful meanness, reminding us all of the roots of this experiment, which promised liberty, justice, and the freedom to pursue happiness for the oligarch class, while maintaining the hypocrisy of racial enslavement and patriarchal privilege for the rest.
We humans are still a rather primitive species, clever animals that will quickly resort to any manner of violence to get what we believe we want, or avoid what we don’t want. It’s not that Americans are more evil than others, although we have served as the alpha terrorist in the world for many decades now. Certainly other nations have much to account for too, but until we can thoroughly acknowledge our own shadows, self-forgiveness will always remain out of reach.