Political Polarization –
Why We Need Both Right And Left

Politics is often not considered a spiritual subject. Despite that prejudice, there are things that the spiritual seeker can learn from politics. It is definitely an area of great polarization and illusion.

Right and Left, Conservative and Liberal, are labels for individual tendencies that if understood in full apply to many aspects of our lives. The label “Conservative” from the word “conserve” reflects a desire to protect something. In politics this could mean to protect a system or way of life that one views as the good or desirable. The conservative mindset is suspicious of change.

The Liberal mindset in many respects is the polar opposite. This mindset sees imperfection in most institutions, customs, laws and quickly loses patience with slow change. The past is not an ideal. Rather the past is the old, the tired, and the evil that must be corrected (immediately if not sooner)! It is not an accident that former President Obama used the word “change” in many of his campaign slogans, e.g., “Vote for Change,” “Change We Can Believe In,” “Organize for Change,” and “A leader who can deliver change.”

A person who considers him or herself a protector of the environment could be accurately called an environmental conservative. A person can very easily be liberal in one sphere of life, and conservative in another. Almost everyone has something they want to protect, and almost everyone would like some change.

The truth is that many people polarized in a conservative viewpoint see need for some change, just not too quick or too radical. Those polarized in a liberal viewpoint also have those things they want to protect or conserve, but they are far more willing to take chances on  untested solutions.

Liberals trust in their good intentions and Conservatives remember the advice that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Both viewpoints have some validity.

The thing that makes me most sad about the political scene I see today is the growing intolerance of differences of opinion. I remember a time when people with very different viewpoints could at least talk civilly to each other without calling each other “fascists” or “racists,” or worse.

Some have theorized that this is a side-effect of the Internet. More and more people find niches on the Internet with people with similar beliefs which becomes an echo chamber with little diversity of thought or opinion. The more time one spends in these echo chambers the more polarized and intolerant one is likely to become.

Those who view themselves as being on a spiritual path need to reach down very deep in their psyche and try to root out these kinds of prejudices, hatreds, and blindness to the good in people who see things from a very different perspective. There are very spiritual people on both sides, some who probably voted for President Obama in previous elections, and those who voted for President Trump in the last election.

A country needs both kinds of people, those with a conservative and a liberal  orientation. The liberal mindset goads us to change while the conservative mindset protects us from the ill-thought-out ideas that come more from emotion than from mind.

Author Joseph J. Dewey writes that:

When one realizes that neither conservatives nor liberals are the big enemy, he can become an intelligent watcher of events and pick the side that is correcting a great wrong. That is why (from my point of view) I am conservative when I see that liberalism has gotten us in over our heads, and liberal when I see conservatism stifling our creative energies.

Because of this stance, I find that conservatives seem to think I am a liberal and liberals think I am a conservative. If a person is polarized on one side or the other, he will think that any disagreement on any point brands another as the enemy. Nevertheless, I know there are a lot of people out there who take the best from both sides as I try to do.  –Right or Left?

Those who cannot reach out to the other side in any respect, those who cannot find some good in both sides, should seriously question just how spiritual their present path is. Hate and intolerance are not spiritual values, and if one constantly sees it in the other side then one should consider that the vision is more like a mirror than a window.


Question Authority Again

In my last post, How To Question Authority, I wrote:

We can [question authority] using our mind and being determined to look at all the evidence. But is there something more? Is there some authority that transcends the authority of the senses, the authority of the mind?

There is indeed something we can use, but it requires some belief and recognition that we are more than our minds and our bodies, more than just a sentient animal. It requires a recognition that each human being has an immortal soul or spirit – whatever name you care to give it – that came from God and will go back to God.

I cannot prove to you in scientific terms that this is true. You must find it for yourself. Indeed that can be difficult. Nevertheless it is the basis of all true resistance to unjust authority.

This is what author Joseph J. Dewey has called Soul Contact:

[The] inner self, through the medium of the Soul, contacts and registers the Holy Spirit, which is capable of verifying all true principles. In short, this process is called “soul contact.”

In Soul Contact Part One he writes:

We can become a member of the heavenly Jerusalem at any moment that we “overcome” and obtain Soul Contact and the Christ consciousness. Then we become a spiritual pillar in the temple of God, and the God within is expressed and we “go no more out” no matter where we are physically. We are given a new name. That is we realize that our personality self is not real, but a false image, and the new name is “the name of my God.” In other words, we become one with God, a son of man who has become the Son of God.

The Christian Old Testament can be understood as an allegory to the struggle to find our true authority through the soul. The Israelites again and again fall into worship of false authorities and disaster is always the inevitable result. So it is with us.

As the Apostle Paul wrote, our body is a temple (likening our body to the Temple in Jerusalem where the Israelites worshipped God).

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? 1 Corinthians 6:19

What does this really mean? It means that each and every one of us, in one life or another – we have many chances to discover this – must become our own High Priest and enter the Holy of Holies of their own Temple and find God, our ultimate authority.

You must learn to question authority, first through the mind and finally through the soul. I did not say that was easy.