The Fat Lady Is Singing is a take off on the old operatic saying that, ďItís not over until the fat lady sings.Ē Well, guess what? Itís really just about over. If 2012 A.D. doesnít get you, then all the issues elucidated in Project Independence, Justice, Order, and Law, and/or Cartels and Factions will. Itís really a situation of the battle of good and evil, so dramatically presented in The Lord of the Rings.
The Fat Lady Is Singing is presented here as a non-fictional dialogue...
The Fat Lady Is Singing
Copyright 1991, 2003 by Dan S. Ward
M: Have you ever heard the expression: ďItís not over until the fat lady sings.Ē?
T: Seems to ring a bell. Doesnít it refer to a long, boring opera, where itís not over until after the prima donna has had her big solo?
M: Thatís where the expression originated, yes. But it can also refer to anything and everything thatís happening in the world outside of opera.
M: Well, the fat lady is singing. Now. The Partyís Over. The worldís coming to an end.
T: How so?
M: Everything is going to hell in a handbasket. We are now faced with a dismal and continuing decline in the quality of our educational system, the complete lack of governmental and corporate leadership and/or fiduciary responsibility, widespread crime, exorbitant and rapidly escalating medical and legal costs to the point where we can afford neither (and where we can seriously question whether or not either is worth the price in the first place), far reaching and radical changes to our traditional religions and institutions, and inescapable, major challenges to our most basic, fundamental societal and cultural views.
T: Sounds serious.
M: It gets worse. Weíre also failing totally to deal with runaway deficits and the world sliding into a devastating, worldwide, economic depression, combined with: 1) the breakup and questionable survival of numerous countries, 2) the crumbling of communism as a fundamental, alternative economic and political system, 3) widespread racial, ethnic, and tribal strife, propelled by disastrous economic downturns, and 4) the very real potential for massive, uncontrolled migrations of peoples from one country to another in order to avoid the chaos of civil war and widespread famine -- famines caused for the most part by major, devastating climatological changes. There is also a continuing environmental crisis, the collapse of a variety of ecosystems throughout the world, a plague of AIDS, and a variety of predictions and prophecies describing catastrophic earth changes within the next ten years or so.
T: It does give one pause for concern.
M: Somehow, I donít think youíre taking me seriously.
T: Dearest. I always take you. Seriously.
M: Nevertheless, I doubt youíre entirely convinced of the immensity of our problems.
T: Or perhaps I look at them from a different point of view.
M: A Polyanna one, Iím certain. But lest you dismiss my concerns too readily, allow me to elaborate. Take the inevitable worldwide depression that I mentioned. As of the end of 2001, Uncle Sam had accumulated a debt of something in the neighborhood of $6.5 to $7.0 trillion! At the same time, our corporations and businesses have matched this debt with another $5 trillion, while this countryís consumers have gone into the hole for yet another $4 trillion. State and local governments have a cumulative debt approaching another trillion dollars, such that all total, weíre looking at about $16.5 to $17.0 trillion.
T: We do seem to be in hock up to our eyebrows.
M: Iím not finished.
T: Oh. Sorry.
M: The federal government also has a contingent liability of another $8 trillion. This contingent liability is one in which if someone else fails to pay, the federal government picks up the tab.
T: Thoughtful of them, but why is that?
M: Because the federal government has guaranteed, co-signed so to speak, bank accounts, savings and loan accounts, FHA and VA mortgages, student loans, etcetera, etcetera.
T: Such that, during your depression, most of these contingencies would become debt.
M: Exactly. Our depression would increase the total debt in this country alone to a total of roughly $25 trillion; a total which does not even consider the $5 trillion in foreign investments in this country, which during a depression would probably be pulled out and reinvested back home.
T: Youíre right. It does sound serious.
M: Do you have any idea how much a trillion dollars is?
T: Youíre going to tell me, right?
M: It's a whole bunch of money. Split among an American populace of roughly 250 million people, the total U. S. debt is about $100,000 per man, woman and child. That's right: Each of our lovely children owes about $100 grand; forget the fact that one is still in diapers! For our family of five, thatís roughly $500,000.
T: And to think I was worried about our credit card balance!
M: Another way of looking at this charming state of affairs is to consider an alternative means of spending a trillion dollars. For example, one scheme for the use of one trillion dollars would be to give outright grants of $100,000 to each and every family in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Colorado.
T: Since we live in Colorado, that sounds great!
M: Plus, build 200 $10 million hospitals, plus 200 $10 million libraries, plus 500 schools at $10 million each, and still have enough principal left on the original trillion to pay, at 10% interest, a salary of $25,000 per year for 10,000 nurses, and an annual allowance of $5,000 to each and every family through- out the six state region, forever.
T: Youíve convinced me. Itís a great scheme.
M: Itís not a scheme. Itís only to demonstrate how much money a trillion dollars is.
T: Of course. I knew that. And itís clear weíre deep in debt. So how do we get out of it?
M: We donít. Weíre in somewhat the same fix as the Royal Finance Minister of Louis XVIís France, when he was asked by Marie Antoinette as to what to do about the deficit. His reply was ďNothing Madame. It is too serious.Ē We are already rapidly reaching our limit of being able to pay the interest on the debt, much less repay the principle. By the end of 1990 interest payments on the national debt were growing twice as fast at the economy, and had become the largest single component of the federal budget. Perennial budget deficits of $250 to $300 billion, plus $100 to $200 billion to bail out the Savings and Loan crisis (annually for the next several years), plus $50 to $100 billion for occasional wars such as the Persian Gulf adventure... All of these threaten to add $500 billion per year to the national debt, and about $40 to $50 billion a year to the interest payments. In 1990, 54 cents on every dollar in taxes went to cover the interest on the national debt. Within six to ten years the percentage could approach 100, such that all of our taxes would go just to pay interest on the national debt!
T: And if we canít pay our debts, we have a depression?
M: Yes, but Iím not finished with the problem yet. I havenít even mentioned Social Security.
T: Youíre right. You havenít. Why is it I wish you wouldnít?
M: In order to meet its obligations, the Social Security System must accumulate, in the next fifteen years, about $12 trillion dollars in order to pay pensions for the Baby Boom generation.
T: Maybe thatís why I didnít want to hear. Sounds like youíve just about doubled our debt!
M: Only in theory. Collecting and disseminating that much money comes under the heading of the impossible dream. There is no conceivable way that social security can survive the next twenty years!
T: Why not?
M: In the first place, collecting the money would require, on average, a half a trillion dollars annually! Starting immediately! Can you imagine in your wildest fantasies the Congress of the United States actually taking on the responsibility of putting aside that much money for future generations?
T: Well... When you put it that way, no.
M: Congress, in the last several decades, has consistently refused to accept any responsibility to the future. Inevitably, they have caved into the demands of lobbyists like the American Association for Retired People, providing a bonanza of monetary and medical benefits to the wealthiest people in the nation, while impoverishing the middle class and future generations.
T: Wait a minute. Retirees are the wealthiest?
M: On average, people over 65 have twice the income and five times the net worth of families in their thirties. Essentially, they have the money and the power, and they have used the latter to get more and more of the former.
T: Gee grandpa, you shouldnít have.
M: Now. Demographics being what they are, social security cannot survive beyond 2015, and as the truth becomes known, probably not beyond 2012 A.D..
T: Perhaps Congress will become more responsible.
M: Sometimes, your gleeful optimism makes me wonder about your mental stability.
T: You never can tell. Congress might accidentally trip itself up while in a drunken stupor and do whatís right; maybe pass a law making the advance funding of social security mandatory.
M: Even in that incredible scenario, it wouldnít help. Even if Congress decided to actually meet their fiduciary duty and try to put the money aside, it wouldnít work. First of all, the coming depression will devastate their ability to collect money. And if they get by that one, what will they do with the money theyíre collecting?
T: Invest it?
M: Absolutely. You have to invest it in order for the principal to grow enough to pay off the pensions. But if you collect literally trillions of dollars in order to pay the pensions of people retiring after 2015, where do you invest it.
T: Someplace safe?
M: Good luck. You could, of course, invest it in the national debt, which is where they allegedly do now. But once the national debt is saturated with social security funds, youíre left with investing in business and commerce, where itís decidedly not safe. But worse yet, once itís invested, it must then be, beginning in 2015, deinvested and paid out to pensioners. This amounts to roughly $12 trillion in 1990 dollars, being withdrawn from the economy in less than about ten years! Thatís equivalent to doubling, or in some years, tripling the amount of money currently spent by the federal government annually.
T: I see. Social security is doomed, our accumulated debt will ensure a devastating, worldwide economic depression, and in all likelihood, our financial system will totally collapse beyond any hope of redemption.
M: Something like that.
T: So what's the problem?
M: Pardon me?
T: I mean, thatís the way itís done.
M: What do you mean thatís the way it's done? What in the world are you talking about?
T: Anytime you want to change something, I mean really change something, you have to hit bottom first. Or arrange for that something to hit bottom before you try to change it.
M: I suspect your ability to confuse me has suddenly risen to new heights.
T: Take the Marines, for example...
M: This is to alleviate my confusion?
T: Of course. Now. The U. S. Marines have traditionally taken their recruits to boot camp and there they completely break them. They devastate their egos, wiping out any semblance of personal goals or preferences. Then, when the recruits are at rock bottom, ready and eager to trade their souls for five minutes of uninterrupted sleep, the Marines rebuild them into precisely what the Corp wants.
M: This is good?
T: Itís not that Iím particularly impressed by what they change the recruits into, but the idea is that the Corp could never have changed the recruits into shaved-head, Esprit de Corp Marines without first taking them all the way down to the bottom, making a few critical changes, and then rebuilding them.
M: This is your example?
T: Anytime you want to make a real, substantive change -- in an individual, a group, a society, or even a world -- the simplest way is to take everything away from the individual or group, and then with just a nudge in the right direction, set them off on another, hopefully better path. If you want to change the way someone does business, you can suggest a few changes, and then as a motivator, wipe out the business such that the person has nothing to lose by changing. And when they attempt to start again, they will be of a mind to try things differently in the future.
M: An intriguing, but potentially irrelevant thought.
T: Well, Iíve always thought of myself as intriguing. But never as irrelevant!
M: Weíll stick to intriguing.
T: Good choice. Itís really quite cold out tonight. And I know how you hate the cold.
M: I think I should point out that I still havenít fully understood what youíre talking about.
T: Men arenít supposed to understand women. Itís an essential condition in a patriarchal society.
M: I think Iíll avoid that discussion for the moment.
T: Why bother? Itís only a matter of time...
M: Letís get back to the less volatile issue. Are you suggesting, in your uniquely clever way, that society must undergo a devastating economic depression, a total collapse of our financial system, just in order to be changed or transformed, hopefully into a better system?
T: Of course. And I like your use of the word ďtransformĒ -- sounds much less threatening than ďchangeĒ.
M: Iím glad you appreciate my contribution.
T: I always do, donít I?
M: One of your finer characteristics. But back to my point. If weíre to transform, we must hit rock bottom in order to do so?
T: Itís not a requirement. Itís just practical. Whatís the motivation to make a radical change in your life when everything is running smoothly? Why, for example, change your diet when youíre feeling great, even if that change in diet might make you much healthier and allow you to feel much better?
M: Not much, Iím afraid.
T: Thereís nothing like a heart attack to get someoneís attention. You arenít required to have a heart attack, but it can be extraordinarily effective. Nor does it mean you have to change. However, the consequences of not changing become readily apparent, and act as a strong motivator.
M: At least.
T: You can think of our financial system as being well on its way to having a massive coronary -- one spread out over a fair number of years -- whose purpose is to motivate us to change the system.
M: Which you think would be a good idea... changing the system?
T: Are you kidding!? How many times have you told me, in glorious detail, about the gross inequities and outright corruption in our corporate, governmental, and financial institutions? How often have you described the blatant abuse in the stock market, the shenanigans of people like Michael Milken, who steal literally billions of dollars and get away with it? Or the outright theft of billions of dollars from corporations by their directors and executive officers, the thinly disguised bribes and payoffs to the so-called campaign coffers of our elected officials, the absolutely outrageous conduct of...
M: Okay, okay! Youíve convinced me. Change would be a welcome thing.
M: Right! Transformation. Out with the old, in with the new. Wipe out the hideous and make a valiant stab at starting over and doing it right the next time.
T: Which is why our current ďproblemsĒ can be thought of as good news.
M: Of course! Total economic collapse and a devastating depression may be nothing more than a cloud with a silver lining!
M: But! A wrenching depression is not the only problem!
M: What about health care? Medical costs are totally out of sight, such that without insurance, a serious disease or accident is virtually a death warrant. And the majority of people in this country have no insurance coverage. Theyíre at serious economic and medical risk.
T: First of all, fifty years ago, no one had health insurance. The only reason health insurance came into being was as a scheme to ensure medical doctors and hospitals that their bills would be paid -- such was the founding purpose behind Blue Cross/Blue Shield, for example. But once health insurance caught on, once the onerous task of collecting for a doctorís or a hospitalís services became much less of an ordeal, medical fees were able to skyrocket. Health insurance, more than any other factor, caused the enormous increases in the costs of health care.
M: Maybe so, but that doesnít eliminate the problem.
T: I question if there is a problem. Alternative health care is immensely cheaper and enormously more effective, particularly when it comes to chronic illness. Emergency rooms are useful, but only in stabilizing things while a person brings their own power of healing to bear on the problem.
M: But you see little of value in traditional medicine treating chronic illnesses?
T: Exactly. Everything from acupuncture to reflexology, from homeopathic medicines to holistic, psychosomatic healing have demonstrated that the alternative healing techniques facilitate healing much better than traditional medicine. Even Laughter has proven itself to be a great healer. And renting a series of funny movies is immensely cheaper than chemotherapy and the like. You can even have your friends over to undergo the ďtreatmentĒ with you!
M: And for those people who donít wish to try alternative health care...?
T: They may not have a choice. Our medical system will probably destroy itself from its own greed and excesses. Those not into alternative health care, those not into actually healing themselves, will ultimately abandon what is clearly not working. Each of us have the power to heal ourselves, and when traditional medical techniques become economically unavailable, weíll each have the golden opportunity to discover our own healing power, our own capacity for psychosomatic wellness.
M: I gather from this that you donít view the current crisis in health care as a problem.
T: Of course not. The horrors of our medical system are in a terminal, self-destruct mode. This is good news.
M: Admittedly, the decline of traditional medicine might reduce, at least, malpractice suits.
T: The legal system is another disaster.
M: I agree.
T: Do you know what the difference is between a lawyer and a carp?
M: I donít think I want to know.
T: Oneís a scum-sucking, bottom dweller. The otherís a fish.
M: Just as I suspected. I didnít want to know.
T: Youíre becoming more intuitive all the time. Iím proud of you.
M: So tell me why the decline of Education is also good news.
T: Happy to! As John Gatto, one of our best teachers, has pointed out: our present system teaches confusion, indifference, class position, emotional and intellectual dependency, and provisional self esteem. The role of schools is no longer education, but social control. Its curriculum is seemingly ďdesigned to quash innovation, instill subservience, and undermine all coherence through a numbing series of arbitrary rules, disjointed facts, and days fractured by shrill bells.Ē  The results are that children are indifferent to the adult world, have almost no curiosity, have a poor sense of the future, are ahistorical, cruel to each other, uneasy with intimacy or candor, materialistic, dependent, passive, and timid.
M: Doesnít sound promising.
T: Until you realize that the educational system is collapsing with all of the rest of the garbage! Then itís good news!
M: And by the ďrest of the garbageĒ you mean...
T: The dominator society. That hideous conception which thousands of years ago replaced a society where difference was not necessarily equated with inferiority or superiority, where social relations were based primarily on the principle of linking rather than ranking, and where the emphasis was on sustaining and enhancing life.
M: Ah yes, your favorite topic: the rise of the patriarchy centuries ago.
T: More like millennia ago -- five to seven thousand years -- when a dominator society instilled within the cultures of the world a paradigm of competition, ranking, superiority and inferiority, men over women -- the beginning of his-story -- slavery, humans over nature, and emphasis on technologies designed to destroy or dominate --instead of nurture. Most important of all, it created a paradigm of disconnectedness between all things. And donít call it a patriarchy. Itís a dominator society.
M: Whatís wrong with patriarchy? Itís been the men in charge, hasnít it?
T: Dearest, patriarchy is a sexist term. Besides, Margaret Thatcher was a patriarch. Obviously, you donít have to be male to dominate. The problem is not just men over women, itís men over men, itís one human dominating another human, one government trying to dominate other governments.
M: Which brings up an interesting point. What about the events in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe in recent years? Is this part of the decline of the dominator society?
T: Probably. And you havenít even mentioned the decline of Apartheid in South Africa, occasional peace talks in the Middle East...
M: Good point. How do these positive aspects fit into your scheme of a worldwide, massive transformation caused by hitting bottom and the like?
T: Simple. More and more people throughout the world are finding themselves with the freedom and opportunity to acquire new understanding, experience new magnitudes of change, traumatic and otherwise, and ultimately, to make their own choices about what they do next.
M: Which is good?
T: Ultimately, yes. But if you think itís going to be a cakewalk, think again. Theyíre entering the free world economy at a time when, as you so cleverly pointed out, that same world is entering a devastating depression. The possibilities for future shock are mind-boggling.
M: Which is bad. Right?
T: Let me quote you one of my favorite passages: ďIt was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way -- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.Ē
M: Ah, yes. Dickens. A Tale of Two Cities.
T: Note the phrase, ďthe period was so far like the present period.Ē Were he alive today, Dickens might be writing ďA Tale of Two Centuries.Ē Or a tale of two millennia.
M: Or simply ducking for cover.
T: Thatís a possibility, too.
M: But implicit in your argument is the concept that itís all changing now. That the cycles are ending and the thrust of evolution is turning in another direction. That the patriarchy... pardon me, the dominator society, is on its last legs!
T: Yes. Particularly since you explained Elliott Wave Theory to me.
M: Why do I feel like Iíve created a monster? And what in the world does a financial, stock market prediction tool have to do with all of this other stuff?
T: Itís all connected, sweetie! Didnít you tell me that fashions in womenís hem lines rise and fall with the stock market?
M: Well yes. But I never thought youíd use the fact against me.
T: The same thing applies to Elliott Wave Theory. As I recall, you told me that the bull market from 1982 to 1987 was a five wave, essentially upward progression of the stock market, after which the market would be primed for a decline in order to remove the excesses of that same period.
M: Basically, yes.
T: You also pointed out that the 1982-1987 period was also the fifth wave in a much larger cycle extending back to 1932, the bottom of the Great Depression. And that the period from 1932 to 1987 was the fifth wave in a still larger cycle extending back to 1789...
M: Why do I feel as if Iím being sandbagged?
T: ...And that the period from 1789 to 1987 might even have been a fifth wave in a millennia cycle extending back to roughly 1000 AD!
M: That cycleís a bit more speculative.
T: My theory is that the last thousand years has been the fifth wave in the dominator cycle, which extends back five to seven thousand years. More importantly, all of the cycles began ending in 1987 with that yearís stock market crash. Itís time for the downside, to remove the accumulated excesses of the past. A long past and a great deal of accumulated excesses! Probably all coming to a head in 2012 A.D.
M: You realize that the extension of your theory to include the end of the dominator cycles has absolutely no rational evidence to support it.
T: Itís an intuitive thing, dearest, not merely rational. Besides, thereís no rational evidence to dispute my theory, either. And lotís of intuition to support it!
M: I might also point out that the turnaround in the stock market in 1987 was not in October, as is popularly believed, but in August, two months earlier when the market peaked. It was from that point that the Dow Jones Industrial Average began a decline of 450 points in a six week period, then fell over 500 points in a single day, and rallied 250 points the following day. The key is that it was in August when everything turned around, not October.
T: I know. And the August stock market peak was within a week of the Harmonic Convergence.
M: I've definitely been sandbagged.
T: By an expert.
M: Are you seriously telling me that the end of all the cycles, including your dominator society cycle, ended with the harmonic convergence, that esoteric gobbly gook concocted by who knows who?
T: The Harmonic Convergence is based on the Mayan Calendar, a preeminent prophesy which predicted nine cycles of fifty two years each from the time of Cortezís arrival in the New World, until a new world order. And definitely not George Bushís ďOne World OrderĒ!
M: I know what the Harmonic Convergence is based on. Iím just having difficulty dealing with the idea.
M: Donít be coy. Youíre talking about something more than a slight Paradigm Shift. Youíre talking about a total transformation of every aspect of society, a radical change in our most basic philosophies and religious beliefs.
T: Speaking of religion, youíre aware, I assume, that Nostradamus and Malachi have prophesied that there are only two more popes in the Catholic Church, one named Clement and one named Peter, and that thereafter, the Church, for all practical purposes, will cease to exist.
M: The prospect of discussing religion with you at this juncture seems considerably less than appealing. Letís get back to the demise of the dominator society. If everything turned around in 1987 -- August of 1987! -- whatís been happening in the last decade or so?
T: Dearest, you donít turn the accumulated momentum of millennia on a single day. Itís takes a few years, at least.
M: How many years?
T: Itís hard to say, but two dozen should be more than sufficient.
M: Which makes the beginning of The Great Decline something of a contemporary concept.
T: Keep in mind, that your ďgreat declineĒ is only of the dominator society. What weíre really involved with is trashing the garbage thatís delaying the evolving progress of something far greater than we have ever known before.
M: Perhaps itís nostalgia. Iíve become rather accustomed to the dominator society.
T: You realize, donít you, that the dominator society is also one that puts humans over nature, that promotes the idea that humans can dominate nature. Or try to dominate, at any rate. And as an environmentalist, surely you canít be enamored with that aspect of your nostalgia for a dominator society.
M: Of course not. I abhor that part of it. And nature does seem primed to retaliate right now. Rather viciously, I might add.
T: ďItís not nice to fool Mother Nature.Ē
M: Apparently. The environment is certainly taking it on the chin. And when one considers that something like the ozone layer, an essential protection for life as we know it, is being threatened; itís clear that the planet is in serious trouble. We can certainly agree on that.
T: Itís not the planet thatís in trouble, dear. Only its ability or willingness to provide a habitat for the human species. The planet will survive quite nicely without us, thank you. The question is whether or not we humans will be able to continue to live on it. Cockroaches may go on forever.
M: Which raises a question. How can you smile blissfully, when your consider the backlash of a mistreated planet, a very angry Gaia? What of the predictions for substantially increased earthquake and volcanic activity in the next couple of years, the very real potential for numerous and varied wars around the world, the specter of widespread famine and disease, and the subsequent mass migrations involving hundreds of millions of refugees?
T: With the decline of the dominator society, with the dismissal of the concept that itís okay for man to attempt to impose his will on nature, that man and nature are not connected and thus itís okay for man to treat nature with outright contempt... When this idiocy is recognized for what it is, the underlying problem of environmental devastation will find a relatively easy solution.
M: And if weíre too late?
T: Thatís a distinct possibility. But Iím not willing to throw in the towel yet. Plus which, I have faith in Mother Natureís ability to defend herself.
M: Which sound suspiciously like AIDS. Mother Nature creating a disease that threatens to decimate the species that is threatening it, would certainly suggest the old galís completely capable of defending herself.
T: It does make you wonder, doesnít it?
M: What do you think of the prediction that AIDS will kill off half the population of the world in the next fifty years -- keeping in mind that an AIDS plague kills Americans as effectively as foreigners.
T: Well, you must admit that AIDS on that scale would solve your social security problem -- there wouldnít be nearly as many retirees looking for a pension.
M: Thatís a hideous thought!
T: Dearest. Right now, the world is witnessing, and doing nothing about it: 40,000 children each day dying from starvation and disease. Forty thousand a day! Now thatís a hideous thought! Whereís the overriding concern for these children?
M: But with AIDS weíre talking millions! Billions of humans dying of a horrible disease!
T: In truth, itís rather terrifying, particularly the pain and suffering that accompanies AIDS. But weíre also talking about death, which in its essence, is merely a return to heaven, the end of an incarnation with all manner of lessons learned, all types of new adventures to include in the collective unconscious; hardly something to fear. Itís not as if Hell existed, because it doesnít. Death is just the transition to heaven, a return to that totally loving environment.
M: But the agony of all those people in the process of dying...
T: It is entirely possible to view AIDS as an exceptional learning opportunity. Instead of thinking of disease as a failure, these people, at the moment of dying or soon before, can come to the realization that they are truly worthy of their own love, an immensely empowering wisdom. And as Ram Dass as pointed out, all the suffering in the world is perfect, and your doing everything in your power to reduce that suffering is perfect as well. We can love Hitler and still do everything we can to prevent another Holocaust.
M: You always lose me when you talk about loving Hitler.
T: ďWhatsoever you do unto the least of these my brethren, you do unto me.Ē I suspect Hitler would easily qualify as one of the least.
M: Undoubtedly, another one of your paradoxes.
M: Like your astounding cheerfulness in the face of the worldís problems.
T: It has been said that an optimist is one who believes that this is the best of all possible worlds, while a pessimist is one who fears that this is true. The key is that the world is the same in both cases, while the difference between the optimist and the pessimist is due entirely to a different viewpoint, a different perception. Significantly, we all have the power to choose how we perceive the world and its events. We may not be able to control objective reality, but we can learn to control how we react to it. We are, in fact, solely responsible for our experiences, because we control how those experiences affect us.
M: Very clever, but youíre missing a critical point.
M: Why should things get better? Change, yes; transform, yes. But why for the better?
T: Beats me.
M: Youíre kidding! Thatís your answer!?
T: Well, maybe not entirely. But perhaps from a rational viewpoint...
M: Oh surely youíve got some strange, twisted logic to justify your unwarranted optimism.
M: So why are things destined to get better?
T: Perhaps, because everything is connected and interrelated.
M: I donít follow.
T: All of the worldís problems coming to a head at essentially the same moment in time, suggests that all of the major challenges we face in the world are all part of a neatly orchestrated, grand design -- a design composed of many diverse and sundry parts all coming to fruition in concert. If this is true, one might begin to suspect that the universe is not out of control, but instead, is proceeding along largely as it was intended. Of course, there can still be free will on an individual basis, but a great deal of what is happening may have been carefully planned and coordinated. And behind any grand design, at least one of non-human origin, lies inevitably a divine planner. And because I donít believe in the Devil having much to say when a loving divinity is determined to have its way... Iím optimistic.
M: Inasmuch as youíre a woman, I can understand your optimism. What with all the talk of the ďReturn of the GoddessĒ, your lot in life should be greatly improved.
T: Donít worry. Iíll put in a good word for you.
M: I knew there was a reason I married you.
T: Actually, you married me for the great sex.
M: Ah, yes. I remember now.
T: But if you can interrupt your reminiscing for a moment -- and keep your hands to yourself -- you might consider that itís not just the return of the Goddess thatís so wonderfully important.
M: Itís not?
T: Of course not. Oh sure, the Goddess is back in town. Thatís good. But itís much more than that. Itís a whole new concept of living...
M: In what way?
T: Instead of the question of relationships being equal or unequal, itís the ultimate realization of connectedness! Itís no longer merely that I recognize your rights and you recognize mine, nor that I see the Goddess/God in you and you see the Goddess/God in me. But that weíre one and the same; different creative manifestations all connected with one another. Can you imagine the possibilities when each of us comes from a totally unique and wildly varied viewpoint, combining to create something never before created? The possibilities are positively orgasmic!
M: But not a return to a simpler life? All my training in shamanism and American Indian rituals are all in vain!? Weíre not going back to the ancient life style?
T: Of course not. The old rituals and teachings are merely to help you reconnect, to finally achieve the Delphic charge to know thyself. But once youíve become a whole being again, once youíve done all that drumming and sweating... Youíre off into the unexplored, the undiscovered realms of that which has never yet existed. And thatís when the adventure really begins!!
M: Sounds like fun.
T: It is. And later, when weíre done with these incarnations, we can get together again and have a good laugh about our adventures.
M: Something to look forward to.
T: In the meantime, enjoy the process. Thatís what itís all about.
 John Gatto, ďA Few Lessons They Wonít ForgetĒ, The Sun, May 1991, page 4.
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