Politics is the gizzard of society, full of grit and gravel, and the two political parties are its opposite halves – sometimes split into quarters – which grind on each other. Not only individuals but states have thus a confirmed dyspepsia. ~ Henry David Thoreau
One of the microphones came on prematurely during a performance of Cirque du Soleil‘s “Ovo” the other day, revealing someone’s stage directions to the entire audience. It was just a momentary lapse, but it’s effect was powerful.
The recent posts by Wikileaks rocked the international community in a similar fashion. The door was opened a crack by Julian Assange and his shadowy associates, revealing confidential statements and communiques that were never intended to be seen by the general public and the effect is chilling. The show behind the show was revealed, if only for a moment.
The question that comes to my mind, as Assange works assiduously and at great personal risk to reveal secrets about government and private enterprise, is why? What is the point? In a recent Forbes interview Assange himself answered “I don’t know.” Whether it is to promote greater transparency in the management of human affairs or the result of a deep-rooted aversion to secrecy, the revelations are polarizing the world community.
It seems strange to me that while most corporations appear to be moving toward greater transparency, inclusion and conversation, governments seem to be moving toward greater secrecy. The US Government creates over 16 million new secrets per year, according to a Project on Government Secrecy estimate and the over-classification of documents continues to be a problem in government, one that drives up costs while obfuscating the undoubtedly real need to protect truly classified information. History shows us that governments that hide behind too many secrets are a dangerous thing indeed.
One lesson I’ve learned from this is that there is never good reason to disparage another – personally, privately or otherwise. It inevitably comes back to haunt you. Disparagement amplifies the very thing you wish to be free from and diminishes its source much more than it does its target.
I firmly believe in and have witnessed the power of the approach outlined in the brilliant injunction: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you…” So few human beings have come to the point of understanding the power inherent in this approach to living yet it is the key – the one and only key – to unlocking the veil of secrecy that Assange is presently attacking head on, like Don Quixote upon his faithful steed Rocinante.
Those who contend that such an approach (“Love your enemies…”) is foolish and weak never give it a chance, while those who espouse it tend not to hold fast to the spirit of the words in life’s trivial situations (in traffic, when confronted with a pet peeve, etc) and they therefore cannot be expected to be in position to wield its power when the greater challenges in life come their way. The point is that very few people have really given it a shot, let alone everything they’ve got and we have the world we have because of it.
While I imagine that whistle-blowing has its place, it is ultimately only a short-term solution. New heads grow into the place of the old if the body itself is not transformed and I would venture to say that the regular beheadings that have occurred throughout history – politically, scientifically, religiously and commercially – are nothing but red herrings that have kept perfectly capable people from addressing the root problem with the only remedy effective against this chronic, yet curable dyspepsia.
When, o when, dear readers, will you stop tilting at windmills?