“The Republicans’ success is based on their ability to activate not just the base, but the basest of the base.”
                         — Swami Beyondananda
Every now and then, I find a piece of writing that is so incisive and pertinent to the moment that I am moved to quote it in its entirety. A few days ago, I saw this article by Deepak Chopra that brilliantly expresses the political choices we face now, and explains why Sarah Palin has been so successful thus far in “activating the base.”

Here is his article called “Obama and the Palin Effect:”

Sometimes politics has the uncanny effect of mirroring the national psyche even when nobody intended to do that. This is perfectly illustrated by the rousing effect that Gov. Sarah Palin had on the Republican convention in Minneapolis this week. On the surface, she outdoes former Vice President Dan Quayle as an unlikely choice, given her negligent parochial expertise in the complex affairs of governing. Her state of Alaska has less than 700,000 residents, which reduces the job of governor to the scale of running one-tenth of New York City. By comparison, Rudy Giuliani is a towering international figure. Palin’s pluck has been admired, and her forthrightness, but her real appeal goes deeper.

She is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and exhorting people to obey their worst impulses. In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of “the other.” For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don’t want to express them. He is calling for us to reach for our higher selves, and frankly, that stirs up hidden reactions of an unsavory kind. (Just to be perfectly clear, I am not making a verbal play out of the fact that Sen. Obama is black. The shadow is a metaphor widely in use before his arrival on the scene.) I recognize that psychological analysis of politics is usually not welcome by the public, but I believe such a perspective can be helpful here to understand Palin’s message. In her acceptance speech Gov. Palin sent a rousing call to those who want to celebrate their resistance to change and a higher vision.

Look at what she stands for:

  • Small town values — a denial of America’s global role, a return to petty, small-minded parochialism.
  • Ignorance of world affairs — a repudiation of the need to repair America’s image abroad.
  • Family values — a code for walling out anybody who makes a claim for social justice. Such strangers, being outside the family, don’t need to be heeded.
  • Rigid stands on guns and abortion — a scornful repudiation that these issues can be negotiated with those who disagree.
  • Patriotism — the usual fallback in a failed war.
  • “Reform” — an italicized term, since in addition to cleaning out corruption and excessive spending, one also throws out anyone who doesn’t fit your ideology.


Palin reinforces the overall message of the reactionary right, which has been in play since 1980, that social justice is liberal-radical, that minorities and immigrants, being different from “us” pure American types, can be ignored, that progressivism takes too much effort and globalism is a foreign threat. The radical right marches under the banners of “I’m all right, Jack,” and “Why change? Everything’s OK as it is.” The irony, of course, is that Gov. Palin is a woman and a reactionary at the same time. She can add mom to apple pie on her resume, while blithely reversing forty years of feminist progress. The irony is superficial; there are millions of women who stand on the side of conservatism, however obviously they are voting against their own good. The Republicans have won multiple national elections by raising shadow issues based on fear, rejection, hostility to change, and narrow-mindedness.

Obama’s call for higher ideals in politics can’t be seen in a vacuum. The shadow is real; it was bound to respond. Not just conservatives possess a shadow — we all do. So what comes next is a contest between the two forces of progress and inertia. Will the shadow win again, or has its furtive appeal become exhausted? No one can predict. The best thing about Gov. Palin is that she brought this conflict to light, which makes the upcoming debate honest. It would be a shame to elect another Reagan, whose smiling persona was a stalking horse for the reactionary forces that have brought us to the demoralized state we are in. We deserve to see what we are getting, without disguise.

More about Deepak at


Evolution Or Devolution?


As Deepak so articulately suggests, this election is far more than a contest between two political parties, but a referendum on two diametrically-opposed world views. One world view essentially believes that the nature of human nature is “evil” so consequently we humans must be controlled, if necessary via manipulation, force and the threat of death. In this world view, we are “sinners”, hopeless and helpless without divine intervention. And if we’re very, very lucky, the Divine presence will return … to destroy the world.The other world view suggests that we may be “sinners” only in the sense that to “sin” in archery means “to miss the mark.” In this alternative world view, we aren’t hopeless sinners, but hopeful “learners.” Life moves forward — progresses — with our accumulated awareness, provided we learn. Here too we may call upon divine intervention, but that intervention is to purify our own heart and intentions.

In short, this election is about evolution vs. devolution. Do we evolve to achieve our human potential (our full potential to be human)? Or, do we devolve into machine-controlled slaves who mistake reality TV for reality?

This election is bigger than Democrat vs. Republican, even though the two world views are wearing these labels this time around. It’s not so much whether a candidate believes in the theory of evolution, but whether they believe in the “practice” of evolution. And that practice may be akin to the “community organizing” the Republicans so snidely dismissed. (Someone sent me a slogan that would make a great bumper sticker, “Jesus Was a Community Organizer.”)

Why community organizing? According to cellular biologist Bruce Lipton, the nature of practical evolution is … community, cooperation and shared awareness. Ever since the first single cell organisms got tired of the single life and combined forces with other single cells some 700 million years ago, every evolutionary step has involved groups of cells combining to increase efficiency, awareness, and survivability. You and I, for example, are communities of 50 trillion cells that cooperate for the purpose of bringing “us” to the world every day.

The thriving cellular society beneath our skins boast universal health care, full employment, and truly no cell left behind. Our organs — which can be seen as huge “businesses” employing millions and sometimes trillions of cells — do not “compete” against other organs, but work with them to create health and vitality for the whole body.

As Bruce and I explain in our new CD set Spontaneous Evolution (see below), we as a species are on the threshold of a new evolution. Only this evolution doesn’t involve growing another limb, or even a bigger brain. Rather it involves learning what our cells learned millions of years ago — the universal successful operating principle for life is “we’re all in it together.”

Just as our cells have learned to thrive through the common purpose of “thrival” for the entire organism, the next phase in human evolution involves recognizing ourselves each and all as cells in the body of humanity. In the universal “fractal” reiterating pattern of nature, we find the cell, the individual, the community, and even the planet all have the same requirements: fresh air, clean water, healthy and abundant food.

SE cover While that may seem like a high-minded ideal, in fact it is the down-to-earth “real deal” that will determine whether we humans realize our true human potential, or whether our species gets an “F” in third dimension. To get a much fuller idea of the science behind this “new” theory of evolution (which ironically, our spiritual teachers have been trying to tell us about for millennia), here is the link to order the Spontaneous Evolution 5 CD set.Not only will it give you a new understanding of evolutionary science, but it will explain how the “invisible” field of ideas impacts our biology and our reality — and how we can change these beliefs from dysfunctional to functional. This understanding is particularly important if we are to see this election — or any other one — in proper perspective.

So … back to the election. What are we voting for? Or against? In essence, our choice boils down to two distinct ways of seeing the world and experiencing reality. “We’re all in this together” vs. “Every man for himself.” One world view represents the core views of Jesus, and every other spiritual teacher in history (and now confirmed by science). The other is a distortion based on millennia of rule by “the lowest common dominator.”

When Sarah Palin — or anyone else — “appeals to the base,” they have the weight of history and unconscious programming on their side. So pervasive is this belief in original sin and the venal nature of human nature, that even those who call themselves progressive often subconsciously don’t really believe change is possible. (That’s another thing Spontaneous Evolution addresses.)

So the important thing now is for us to keep our eye on the prize, the thrival of humanity by working together rather than fighting one another. Interestingly, this is the “prize” the founders of America fought for, and is expressed in our motto E Pluribus Unum, out of many one. Jefferson, Madison and company did not in any way intend a topdown imposition of this common purpose, but rather a bottom-up realization of it. That is exactly what is manifesting now, and as Deepak points out, why the opposition is so strong and powerful.

In any shadow work, we must first confront our own individual issues — our fears and other shadow manifestations that keep these “dominator” patterns in place. Remember, we cannot successfully confront in another what we are unwilling to face in ourselves. So let’s lose no energy to despair or hand-wringing about how awful it is. It is exactly as it must be. We cannot muster the internal and external resolve to make this next evolutionary leap without the resistance that strengthens us.

May the best paradigm win.

1 Comment
  1. I think Chopra’s piece is an example of the all-too-human tendency to caricature and demonize one’s political adversaries. Dressing up the analysis in Jungian jargon doesn’t make it any more meaningful.

    I find Camille Paglia’s take more interesting:

    “Conservative though she may be, I felt that Palin represented an explosion of a brand new style of muscular American feminism. At her startling debut on that day, she was combining male and female qualities in ways that I have never seen before. And she was somehow able to seem simultaneously reassuringly traditional and gung-ho futurist. In terms of redefining the persona for female authority and leadership, Palin has made the biggest step forward in feminism since Madonna channeled the dominatrix persona of high-glam Marlene Dietrich and rammed pro-sex, pro-beauty feminism down the throats of the prissy, victim-mongering, philistine feminist establishment.”

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