While we lament the decline of the fourth estate, we might benefit from taking a deeper look at how all of our institutions such as religion, the nation-state, law, economics and yes, even language itself are barriers to creating a sustainable human community. This essay is among the most provocative in the Current Events series.
We begin with two of the aforementioned institutions, law and the press. It seems that as the role that journalism plays in our society shrinks so has our regard for the truth. Thankfully, the laws relating to the function of media are still operating. We can still have faith in the First Amendment and the rules of libel. “But public faith is not shaped by law. Public faith is more fragile than we thought, and it can be destroyed by cynical demagogy—not just in dictatorships, but in democracies too.” (1)
No institutions can protect humanity from the fear inherent in its own narrative. “‘It doesn’t really matter how much freedom the press has in a society if the press is not believed. A distrusted press is little different from a shackled press.’ This is the crisis, well identified. One need not literally shutter press outlets in the manner of Redep Tayyip Erdogan or Xi Jinping or Vladimir Putin to render the press irrelevant and impotent. Just make it unbelievable, and all of its moral authority, all of its disinfecting function, its power to expose and to reveal truth, are effectively hollowed out and sucked away.” (1)
When fear determines the level of discourse to the degree that it does in America today, then the law, the press and even language itself will fail to protect civilization. The insights of David E. McCraw, the author of Truth in Our Times, reveal that institutions alone cannot move humanity toward creating a sustainable community. “The law can do only so much. It can give the press the freedom to matter, but it can’t make the press matter.” (1)
We talk too much. Until we can learn the distinction between truth and illusion we would do well to spend more time in meditation searching for the profound insights to be found within. Our ultimate goal is to experience a paradigm shift, internalizing the worldview of Oneness. “We have lost the stillness of the undifferentiated world of the prelinguistic state.” (2) We must learn to transcend the activity of unconscious people mesmerized by their craving and aversions.
Insight # 100: Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
- Language in this blog and in print in The ABC’s of Simple Reality: The Encyclopedia of Self-Transformation, Vol I (2018), page 309, by Roy Charles Henry.
- Bharara, Preet. “Journalism’s Advocate.” The New York Times Book Review. March 17, 2019, page 9.
- Harrison, Steven. Doing Nothing. New York: Tarcher/Putnam, 1997, page 52.