Friday, 25 June 2010

Global Justice

Currently there is no Universally recognized Global Criminal Court!!!....There is a Partial International Criminal Court, which came into effect in 2002, after 60 states who signed the Rome Statute of 1998 ratified there signatures. So far 108 countries or states have signed up to this system(109 as of 1/9/09 when Chile finally became a member after ratification), but membership is voluntary and the major superpowers seem to have opted out of the process in favour of their own vested interests and lobby groups. So although the;
http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr
has been law for over 60 years, it is only admissible in countries where national Justice systems recognize it when it suits them to do so. We have no independent judicial accountability process. The best that can be said is that there is an international Criminal Court, Permanently centered in The Hague, but even this seems to be a piecemeal court, where defenses are often heard that those accused do not recognize the legitimacy of the court to even hear the cases set before it. This is due in no small way to the permanent members on the United Nations security council having the right to veto any litigation or judicial declaration made by this or any other international body.

This Came back to Bite the international community hard after the Clinton Administrations decision, even though he did sign but never ratified the Rome statute of 1998, on the Dec. 31, 2000. An act that was done apparently to ensure that the US did not stand in the way of the principles of that court, without necessarily having to abide by its decisions. When the Bush administration decided to 'un-sign'(1), if that can be done!, the failure of consensus was made all too apparent. The following American Administration simply ran roughshod over the UN resolutions, assembly, and will of the international community, and of course there was NO recourse to any judicial independent body. So of course War Criminals, and the like are able to run amok, siphoning funds, committing acts of international terror or worse, companies, countries, etc, can do exactly the same things of course....and they do, because at the end of the day, there is no final accountability process that can deal with the legislation already in place at the UN.

The UN can pass all the laws it wishes, but if it cannot back them up with an independent judiciary, they are hamstrung. They, as in OUR international representatives on the ONLY Global body of mass representation, are beholden to wishes and whims of the permanent security council, and as we have seen only too clearly demonstrated in the last 8 years, if a member state that sits on that permanent security council has a vested interest that is not in accordance with the wishes of the assembly proper, they simply veto any action. So in fact Justice itself becomes so watered down in order to play ball with the competing interests on this council that it is almost not justice at all.

What is required is an INDEPENDENT world court, that has an accountable process and enforceable mandate, in every major capital in every country in the world, so that the 'wild west' scenario that presently exists is tempered by TRUE Justice, based upon the excellent legislation that was drafted in constitutional form in the inception of the United Nations proper after the end of the last world war. Every member nation at that time ratified those protocols, in fact every member nation would and should have made the creation of a World Court a very real actuality at the turn of the millennium. Sadly with the advent of the Unilateralist agenda of the Bushites, and the subsequent letter to the U.N. 5/7/02, the Bush administration neutralized its adherence to the Clinton signature of 2000 in relation to the ICC. It would be as well for the current administration to take to heart the edict "America is part of the World, the World is not a part of America".

Now it could well be that the Clinton Administration was expecting Arafat to accept the camp David proposal with Barak, where a viable Independent Palestinian state would have become a member of the World community, living alongside Israel, thereby avoiding any liturgical hangover, in fact why Arafat did not accept a deal that would have assured 99% of all his demands, is to this day a mystery to every commentator both in the Arab World and the world entire. Had he done so, the next move may well have been to re-propose the Implementation of a World Court, with the Palestinian thorn removed from the World Body. This did not happen however, and my bet is that the Democrats were counting on a Gore victory to move that process closer to completion, hoping to ratify the signature with a passage through the senate later in Gores administration.

Sadly given Hanging chads, and disenfranchised voters, and other voting irregularities as well as a supreme court decision that also is not understood to this day, the entire process broke down, and we have had to wait 8 long years to even contemplate this question again. The Palestinian people have also had to wait, when they could have had , schools, employment, industry, housing, hospitals, a flag...in short a NATION!, and the fact that they are to this day in such dire circumstance rests almost entirely in the hands of a left wing revolutionary, who couldn't put his gun down and lead his people to the promised land under the banner of PEACE when the opportunity finally arrived.

So No Judicial Accountability process means we live in a global community and reality that mirrors in no small way the wild west, before federal marshals and a universal system of justice was put in place, that protected the rights of all people fairly and impartially, against the vested interests of powerful others, whether they be individuals, corporations, or states operating within the Global community with impunity.

There are many instances which highlight the dreadful state of affairs with this international piecemeal approach. a Unified standard of Justice functioning within the accountability procedures of a United World Court and Criminal Court, would go some way if not completely in closing once and for all those loopholes, But of course there are some pretty powerful bodies that simply do not want one, because they know it would be the end of the 'free for all and all for me brigade'!....Global corporations who get cheap resources from corrupt regimes they keep in power so as to ensure a monopoly position, and maximize their profits in a Global Capitalist free for all. Trillions!!!!....and of course those corrupt regimes do the most horrendous things in order to maintain their positions and the funds that are siphoned their way....keeping there populations oppressed for personal profit. it will only stop with a global accountability process that is both transparent and freely available for all, and has an actionable mandate. Torture, oppression of women, child labour, enforced poverty, orchestrated famine and drought, WAR!....these will only begin to desist in the face of the dream espoused by our forefathers, that today still lives in our hearts, IF we are bold enough to take that step towards a Universal Code of Justice that is enforceable through a World Court.

Donald Devine sets out why it was that The Clinton administration may have baulked, and why possibly the other members of the Security council may well also have used their veto's to scupper the proposal of a World Court, although as an addendum, it is interesting to note that some of those permanent members of the UN Security Council are among the 108 states that ratified their membership to the Rome Statute (namely Great Britain and France).


http://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/172/30598.html


Sadly Donald Devine did not take his argument to its obvious logical conclusion, whereby the execution of judicial awards and Global Court decisions would be actionable and take precedent over the self serving national interests and vested judiciary, in cases where International Justice was applicable. The Police forces of those states, would be duty bound to comply to the decisions rendered by this International court. In fact the already good statutes that have been rendered through the United Nations in the form of Human Rights legislation would be admissible in Local Courts and form the basis of the law, upon which regional laws would colour the cultural peculiarities of each state or region. So the questions posed and the quandaries that were touted by Kissinger 8 years ago, and re-established by Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration recently,
http://www.globalpolicy.org/international-justice/the-international-criminal-court/us-opposition-to-the-icc/48027.html
, that led to the American reticence are in fact answered fully upon closer inspection.
http://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/163/28202.html#about


It must be the fact that in Cases of International Justice, that ones own internal justice system should defer or at least mirror the principles upon which this Universal Justice is being metered out. The Principle of Justice is a continuous state, an immutable and unchangeable reality and ideology. It is not one thing here and another thing there. Justice is not that which JUST IS!...it is a universal equality in the face of truth. That does not change from country to country, region to region, person to person. It is an Immutable principle of fact, and therefore NO country should fear the collaborative creation of a Universal system of Justice, for it is created in order to protect each country and person within and without those borders, fairly and impartially in the face of the universal reality of Truth under one wholly understood and functionally mandated principle of Justice.

Those who Fear it, seek to protect their interests because they have some Knowledge of their own INJUSTICE in the face of this truth. No coercion, obfuscation, or confabulation of lies can hide the fact that if one seeks the rule of Justice one seeks it for ALL men, equitably, impartially and fairly. Not just those within the confines of ones own state. If one does not, then this is because the Justice that exists within the borders of ones own state or mind is not Justice at all, it is a concocted confabulation of partial truths framed within a deceitful set of laws to ensure a superiority in the face of opposition. It is not a striving for Equality, it is a gambit for superiority. This is not Justice, this is mere brinkmanship.

A separate arm of enforcement could be constructed and maintained to ensure that this accountability procedure had powerful gravitas, much like a Federal Police force operates already. In fact a Greatly Funded Interpol, could do this job IF it was both given the mandate and the Funding to secure just such a procedure. Local Justices empowered with a Universal Declaration and statute of Justice could render extraditions a thing of the past, and a pool of Impartial Judges could easily be created to try cases of a Particularly sensitive nature.

This leads to the ultimate question.....where does the funding come from?....

As a planet, we make about 33 trillion dollars as a Global Product each fiscal year. The great cry that preceded the American revolution "No Taxation without Representation"...could find itself turned around for the benefit of all, for a simple procedure of goods and sales tax on each financial transaction, could see every project, not just that of the World court funded in total. "No Representation without Taxation", would ensure that not only would a system of global accountability be properly funded, allowing for universal representation and access for all, but that all the current projects on the books at the UN, ie: aids programs, world parks, universal water access, the eradication of poverty, universal housing, et al would be funded to such a degree that every issue at hand could be quickly and radically dealt with for the benefit of the globe entire.

One such way in which this can be achieved is through a 10% goods and sales tax (4), put through the World Bank. This would ensure an annual Budget for the United Nations in excess of 3 Trillion dollars a year. This figure would ensure Freedom, and Justice for every man, woman, and Child on this planet, and would allow for the mandate constructed and ratified by every nation on the planet on December 10 1948 to finally become a reality.

The fact is, it may well be the case already that by NOT adopting a system similar to this, each ratifying member state of the Global Union, has fallen foul of the very statutes contained within the declaration itself(article 28), and therefore are complicit in breaking the very law they signed up to at that auspicious moment, where all peoples on the planet finally recognized that they must at least attempt to create a global society where "Right triumphs over, and makes Might" and avoid the desperate pitfalls of a law of the Jungle scenario as it exists in the current Climate.

The UN's current fiscal annual Budget is about 27 Billion dollars, that's about 4 dollars for each person on the planet. This is a ridiculous state of affairs. If it is in fact the case that a Global system of Justice and freedom, and basic necessities are to be afforded to all people on the planet then you simply have to fund that wish. There is no free lunch! We all know you only get what you pay for. In the attempt to supply universal fresh water across the globe alone, it is estimated that between 12-15 billion dollars a year, for the next 15 years, will be required to ensure that happens, but that's with a static population base and with current resource availability, both of which are fluctuating.

With a Global and Transparent system of Representation, Justice, and funding in place these projects could and would be functional and occasioned in VERY SHORT ORDER. An annual budget increase from 27 billion (
http://www.globalpolicy.org/un-finance.html
), to 3000 billion per year would ensure the execution of the mandate.

Surely it is time, that a proposal such as this was at very least debated, and indeed voted upon on a global scale. a massive global democratic vote, that allowed each person to voice there opinion, before or after the ratification of a World Court would allow the people of the world to be heard in a way they simply are not being heard at present. This might well be a core requirement of The United Nations, to initiate a GLOBAL referendum to ask this question.

Wouldn't you like to see the end of war?.....the end of the necessity of armed and violent struggle in favour of a free and impartial system of Global Justice that defended every man, Woman, and child from the ravages of the powerful and the vested. The question posed is whether we the people hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, should it not be the case that a system be formally accepted and run that holds this truth to account.

Addendum and notes:

(1)
[Dateline: 05/07/02]

Through a letter to the U.N., the Bush administration has reserved the right of the U.S. to ignore decisions and orders issued by the International Criminal Court. The action effectively neutralizes President Clinton's signature to the treaty creating the court.

Established under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in 1998, the court was established to serve as an ad hoc world tribunal responsible for prosecuting war crimes and "crimes against humanity," when national criminal justice systems are "unwilling or unable to act." [See: Establishment of the Court]

While human rights organizations have expressed outrage over President Bush's action, former President Clinton, who signed the treaty on behalf of the U.S. on Dec. 31, 2000, stated at the time that he did not intend to sending the pact to the Senate for official ratification. Clinton stated that he agreed to sign the treaty only to allow the U.S. to participate in discussions on the court's structure and jurisdiction.]

(2)
[The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (often referred to as the International Criminal Court Statute or the Rome Statute) is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC). It was adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome on 17 July 1998[5][6] and it entered into force on 1 July 2002.[2] As of June 2009, 108 states are party to the statute.[2] Chile became the 109th state party on 1 September 2009, and a further 39 states have signed but not ratified the treaty.[2] Among other things, the statute establishes the court's functions, jurisdiction and structure.]


http://www.blogger.com/%20http://untreaty.un.org/cod/icc/index.html


(3)

http://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/164/28448.htm


(4) A 10% Global Transaction tax could also be used, instead of a goods and sales tax, to fund enormous global projects run in a coordinated manner through a systemic UN operation, that would immediately enfranchise the 3 Billion people on the planet who are currently not a part of the global market place, thus making the kind of investment in both the future and the faltering marketplace that sustainable growth and equanimity demands.

© Richard Michael Parker 2009 

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Afghanistan Now

I do not wish to regurgitate many of the diatribes that have been touted in the press and across blogs and discussion forums the world round here. Nor do I intend to give a historical back ground to the circumstance as it exists, as these are all too readily available. Nor am I going to reiterate the many vested interests that abide within the state of Afghanistan, for they are many and varied, some hidden some more obvious, and although of import tactically within a strategic plan are not the basis upon which a strategic plan should be formulated. What I do intend to connect to in this short piece are the basic principles upon which any desirable strategic action can be made in relation to Afghanistan, in the hope that through principle, Strategic planning might find its proper grounding, and that tactics be constructed to implement this over arching strategy, formulated upon a firm principled base, rather than being reactively blown from pillar to post by the multifarious vested interests in that part of the world.
 
Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, whatever that happiness may mean on a personal, social and cultural basis. These are the base tenets of the major player in the theater that is Afghanistan. It cannot be ignored that the brutal and medieval manipulation and man handling of the Afghani peoples, mostly Pashtun, by the excessively violent, and radically doctrinaire Governance of the Taliban, who were driven by an interpretation of Sharia law that emphasized a brutal oppression and mistrust of the people was at the heart of the demise of that short spell of Governance. At its worst, this interpretation enacted atrocities and oppressions that undermined the very tenets of peace and compassion, the very principles upon which Sharia law was constructed. Sharia simply means, 'the way' ..... or more literally, "path to the water source".... where in Arabic culture, water simply WAS life. The principles upon which the pathway was constructed were basic and simple in their inception, and should have remained so in their strategic implementation. Sadly, the mistrust, and suspicion, the human need for control and desire for power, manipulated the minds of scholars and Imams alike within this cultish off-spring of Radical Islam. It taught that people are basically evil, and that they cannot be trusted to know what is good without being told what is good through their interpretation of the way. This is wrong.

Sharia, or the "path to the water source".... has three main principles upon which it is constructed. Faith, Peace, and Compassion. In the Golden age of enlightened Muslim law it was heralded as the bastion of tolerance and enlightened legal practice, that allowed for trust in and of the people. Whilst the rest of Europe was suffering the excesses of less enlightened medieval tortures and depravities at the hands of despicable despots who sought to deprive personal power in order to maximize their own peculiar brand of justice. Strange then that the Process has turned upon itself with the excesses of the Taliban, especially in their outrageous mistreatment of women, But even the Taliban are not above change, and given the possibility for that change in the light of higher principle, principle that is grounded in the three major tenets of Sharia, Peace, Compassion, and Faith, could it be possible to alter the course upon which these modern day extremist views have manifested?

Mahatma Gandhi once famously said, "Human nature will find itself, only when it realizes that to be human, it has to cease to be beastly or brutal". How is it that we are to offer an alternative then to radical forms of Islam, or brutal dictatorships and despotic regimes? when we use the very mechanism's of oppression to harry innocents and force our idea's upon those that oppose us down the barrel of a gun?.....what have these other's learn't through such means? The answer to this is simple. They have learn't that he who wields the biggest gun succeeds in propagating his will. But is this true?

In Afghanistan for instance, many of the Pashtun area's and southern Afghani provinces now find themselves embroiled in a form of civil war, a civil strife that cuts into the lives of every family and every innocent. It is a civil war, because almost every family has at least one member of its family, be they brother, father, cousin, uncle, or in-laws, fighting on one or other side. How can one kill someone's brother, and believe that this will not affect the family entire? The situation escalates because two external enterties, the Taliban from the Madrases and mountains of northern Pakistan, and the Nato expeditionary force, are using this battle of wills, this civil strife to play out a bloody campaign of wills that seemingly has no end. Ideas cannot be extinguished down the barrel of a gun, only bodies can.

What is being waged is a battle of wills, between competing ideas. One might be led to believe that the battlefield is the material plane of existence, but this is merely the manifestation, the physical actualization of a much deeper conflict. The conflict of ideas. This is a war for hearts and minds, as much as it is for mountain passes and community backyards. How one chooses to present ones arguments in this conflict is to a degree dictated by historical precedent, strategic effectiveness, and more importantly principle action or the action based upon the principle you hold closest to your heart.

For no action is devoid of principle. All actions rest upon the principles upon which they issue. It is said, where the heart abides, the head will follow, and soon after the body. So the question must be asked in any strategic plan where ones heart abides, how does the action I manifest most generously express the principles I adhere to?

In Afghanistan, the action that was taken to rid the Taliban from its position of power, could be considered a 'police action' where what was being policed was the maintenance of world peace and justice not based upon Terrorism but Justice through legal means. It is somewhat telling then, and also unfortunate to realize that we do not as yet have a Global Judiciary or World Court. However, It Happened, not just because of the forces of Terror that were organized and trained by covert CIA operatives in the dark days of Soviet occupation had assumed the country was a safe haven from where to train Jihadists in large camps, so as to further their own bloody cause globally. Nor because of the oppressive regime had adopted an extreme form of Islamic law that subjected at least half the population to desperate forms of bestiality, mere concubines to pleasure rampant male ego's gone insane with the power of their rule and therefore so full of their own pride that humility to there fellow humanity was beyond them. Nor because they had allowed a terrorist group called Al Qaeda and its leadership to operate with impunity from its national borders, fatefully manifesting finally in the tragedy of Sept 11 2001. Nor because certain Petro chemical corporations wished to run a Pipeline through Afghanistan and through Pakistan, and were unable to barter a deal with the ruling Government, namely the Taliban. No, it was not just for these reasons that the action to remove the Taliban was forth coming, although any one of them might have sparked a response. The reason was deeper, it was more fundamental than mere avarice or physicality. For what was at stake, was a vision of the future, based upon supposedly divergent principles.

The reality is, that the actual principled base of both sides is much the same. All that is at issue is how to achieve it, and who assumes the mantle of control. So rather than being a war of divergence, this is actually a war of perspective. One in which the differences are heralded and the similarities are minimized, in order to maintain bloody combat, The winner of which seem only to be those who profit from the sale of arms and misery.

Peace, Prosperity, Compassion, and Justice. These are tenets and principles that both sides adhere to, and form the core beliefs of both sides. How is it then that from these principles should issue forth such actions that wantonly disregard these principles, and instead manifest principles of War, injustice, ruthlessness, and depraved hopelessness?...it can only be due to the physical manifestations, brought out in the reality of action, that these counter principles are actualized. Both sides tout the idea that they are acting from principles that promote beneficent ends, yet the means they employ, destroy and undercut those ends from the very start. Both speak of peace, but rather than using the tools of peace, they employ the means of war, and by so doing, teach that only through death, terror, mayhem, and war can ones goals and principles be achieved. Is this an enlightened viewpoint?, does this course actually lead to a lasting peace, where prosperity and flourishing, ' a path to the water source' can actually be found?, where justice, Compassion, mercy, and every other principle of virtue that a civilized society wishes to construct its functional organelles arise? Who can trust such means? Is it not the case that by such means, the illusion of peace alone is created, until the next fanatic, power crazed megalomaniac, or terrorist, (whether that be governmental or individual) arises to use the very means that put the previous regime in power, so as to champion their own cause in a historically precedential manner.

Are we not charged with finding a higher path? Seeking a lasting peace constructed in the light of Truth, from which the bridge of trust that spans Ones faith and that truth, can be built, strong and sure to last. Abraham Lincoln wisely said 'I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.', could it be that the path to these principled fruits, that both sides tout as their core principles is to be reached not by war, but through the exercise of Merciful action?

When the Taliban was removed by over-whelming force in the campaign of 2001-2002. There was a window of opportunity in which the allied forces should have employed this principle of action. Action that should have rebuilt not only Afghanistan, but sought to reform the Madrases in Pakistan, not by force of body, but by the impelling force of righteousness made manifest through good works. Works that should have entailed, rebuilding, reconstruction, creative peaceful action, investment in infrastructure, agriculture, housing, employment, medicinal care, funding of alternate education, the eradication of poverty, the investment in charitable and humanitarian needs, to name but a few of the kinds of actions that issue forth from the principles upon which they supposedly functioned. What was required was not just the will of the people to rebuild that war ravaged land and its people, who had suffered the excesses of invasive forces for generations, and the machinations of ALL of the world powers for as long, but the actual real world Investment, so as to make Afghanistan a shining beacon of the kind of principles upon which the nations of the developed world stood. An example to all, of what the developed nations stood for, what principles it heralded. Sadly that window of opportunity closed dramatically with the invasion of Iraq. Under resourced for 9 years, the champions of the alternate proposition have managed to forge a new will, based in no small part upon the failures, and militancy of the counter proposition.

So where to from here?....is security in Afghanistan really possible, when what is actually occurring is two external opposing forces are using the land of Afghanistan to wage a war of ideals, whilst thrusting the Afghani peoples themselves ever deeper into a created and manufactured Civil war, that cannot be won by bullets and bombs, and in fact the more they employ those means to win the war the more adherents to the ranks of the opposition they create. It is in fact an unwinable, and untenable battleground, that creates an escalating disaster that undercuts both principles by the implementation of such means. It is unwinable, aside from an almost mass genocide, the like of which is almost apocalyptic in scope, or not found since the darkened days of the inquisition. The destabilization of Pakistan, a nuclear armed state, by the escalation of violence is almost an unthinkable proposition. Paving the way for nuclear confrontation over Kashmir with India, or worse an entire middle eastern eruption.

The war must end. When it ends, and how it ends, is all that is in our hands strategically.

Could it be that by withdrawing strategically Nato Forces from Afghanistan, Yet maintaining a security presence by the training of an Afghani National security force, offering Logistical, remote, and aerial support, allied with a newly regional wide 'neighborhood watch' program; whilst at the same time working in Conjunction with a Pakistan Government to Increase the welfare of the peoples in the tribal areas, and encouraging development, peace, education, health, prosperity, and employment, one could overwhelm the hateful messages of the Madrases run by the Taliban insurgents, and undercut the principles upon which the present Taliban organization operate and recruit its adherents? Could it be that by investing in the peaceful principles that underlie the foundations of liberty and justice that are enjoyed by those in the developing world, and encouraging them by way of GIFT and GRACE within the Northern Pakistan states, and in fact within Afghanistan itself, one could ensure that the real battle, that for the hearts and minds of the people, who are the ultimate arbiters of right and wrong can be decisively won. Not won for the vested interests of power hungry elites, but won for the principles upon which our civilization rests, Won for Peace, Won for Faith, Won for Compassion, mercy, tolerance, and Justice. In so doing all win. All who adhere to the merciful kindness of god, and follow the true 'path to the water source' win in a mutual peace won through Just means for a compassionate and peaceful ends.

There will be setbacks, there will be deaths, there will be blockages and tragedies along the way, but surely it is better to be walking together towards an enlightened path, than running away from each-other, our principles, and heart felt convictions, down a road of bloodshed and intolerance that leads away from the water source into the desert of despair into which we are currently heading.

No More War. The time has come to choose the path of peace, and if one is to choose this path, then the means and principled actions of peace must be employed at all times, in all creative ways, so as to win for all people the liberation that comes from true Faith, Peace, and Compassion.

© Richard Michael Parker 2009 

Monday, 21 June 2010

Being Present

There is a wise old saying "plough a field for a field well ploughed, sow a seed, for a seed well sown"...not for any reward that you might envisage at the end. In this way you dwell completely in the moment, focusing your entire being into the task at hand, capable of doing what needs to be done with your entirety; Focusing not on the end result, but being completely in the moment, so that through an accumulation of such moments , excellence in the task is created.

Now this is not an easy thing to do, because i think we all plan ahead, and all envision the end at the start, so that we know where we are going. Or we can get caught day-dreaming about something that happened in the past, especially when the task is repetitive and automatic. This is quite natural. Focusing on the result we wish to achieve can act as a powerful incentive, or remembering past mistakes and lessons can help us avoid similar mistakes in the future. A problem however arises if the dwelling mind gets lost in future expectation, or past preponderance. This problem manifests itself in shoddy workmanship, inferior craft, mistakes, fears, rushed exercise, frustrations, recriminations, and other extraneous emotional attachments that impede proper and good functioning and flow of the craft, no matter what that craft may be. Some journeys, like the life journey, or the meditative one, may find that the 'end goal' mentality or 'backward focused mind', can get in the way of us being completely present, and thus inhibit the excellence in the work or the enjoyment of life.

Martin Heidegger had an interesting take on the existentialist position, and it is a position mirrored and echoed in the works of other great existentialist and phenomenological Philosophers and Psychologists alike, such as Camus, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, Fromm, Rodgers, and Rollo May, to name but a few....each thought, as did Heidegger, that we should exist as beings in the moment. Beings who are always aware of our own mortality, so that by keeping in mind that we are beings-towards-death, we maximize our effectiveness in the moment because we are not lost in the illusion of 'Seinsvergessenheit'..or 'forgetfulness of being'...but are always confronting the next moment in the understanding that we are mortal beings, who are incarnated in this form for a short while only. If we get sucked into the illusion of immortality because we are unable to confront the fact that at some point we will die, we end up simply drifting through life without ever really being in the moment.

In a way i think he was right, that no matter whether we are incarnated beings who have lived a thousand lifetimes, or whether we are simply mortal beings whose energetic substance gets re-absorbed into the universal energetic flow when we die, and are simply only here the once, the principle remains the same. In order to make the most of the life or incarnation you are given, you have to BE_HERE_NOW....and the best way to achieve that, is not to get caught fantasizing about some expected end result, or strolling through the avenues of your mind lost in memories that had their time already.

Of course all that we are, and all we have known, and all those we have related to, and the great panoply of existence that inter-relates and associates through all the ages, has effect upon us, and we take it all with us on this journey of the eternal moment, BUT it is only in the point of present that we have the power to effect change. even if that present moment is a thought, or a continuity of being that projects into a future we hope for, plan for, or wish for. It is NOW that we can make the changes we need, It is only HERE and NOW, that we can truly be. Pulling all the future resonances of our potential paths, and all the past associations into a pointed perspective of existence, that itself resonates and projects beyond itself.

I have often struggled with the existential philosophers and Buddhism as well on this issue, because for me i have always thought that we were here for a reason, and that the things that have happened to us have happened for a reason. In this way it was important to remember who we were, and to know where we are going. To be able to formulate plans, for a future that will enable us to shape that future according to the things that are meaningful for us. By annihilating ones ego, as one is want to do in Buddhism, it always seemed to me a trick was being missed.

It seemed to me that the ego was an important construct, that enabled the biological being to exist in the world, in a way that the 'higher-self' was unable to. Of course maybe the Ego gets in the way on occasion, but all the same, it occurred to me that without it, we were somehow less than we could be, and that rather than strip it away and annihilate the ego, all one had to do was be able to see it as a simple psychological construct, a very useful one when having to deal with the real world of other ego's; To take for want of a better description, a Meta-Perspective, and thereby, tame the ego. It further seemed to me, that in times of meditation, by drawing all that you are, into that pointed present, including your ego, you were then able to truly shed it in light of the TRUTH of it, rather than trying to deny it, and thereby setting up a fallacy of self...Although it may be that in deep meditation, the illusion of temporal discontinuity and individual separation are exposed for what they are, it is only in the acceptance of all that we are, including the illusion's and constructs that are a part of our unique perspective in existence, that we can fully achieve this higher meta perspective, and thus shed these illusions so as to dwell in the timelessness of the present moment.

I believe we have our memories and our dreams, our anxieties, sufferings, desires and visions for a reason, and that they too are part of the rich tapestry from which the true self explores itself. If we try to deny them, if we try to obviate the influence of them, we are in a way denying the reason we are here. This i have always thought diminishes us, and also diminishes the greater self of which we are a part, because it denies the pointed perspective, the unique and unrepeatable pointed perspective of the present that only each one of us inhabits. So it is for this reason, that although i love the compassionate nature of Buddhism and enjoy the existentialists, there appears to be something missing in both.

I cannot deny creation or the entire creative process that i am a part of, it can be savage, and brutal, and cause the most intense suffering, but it can also be beautiful, and numinous, and the font of the most incredible Joy. It cannot be simply a fabricated chance that this great process of which we are a part exists and that i exist in it, and act in it as a purposive agent. If compassion must exist, and if it is the case that suffering must be minimized, then let it occur in this plane of existence also, let the light of Compassion shine forth into every corner of creation, and allow transcendence to exist, HERE and NOW.

By always working towards eliminating physical suffering, by working to eliminate psychological suffering, by creating sustainable systems that encourage and embellish, by working with the reality of the world as it exists here and now, i think we can create the kind of compassionate existence we all had in mind at the start. Not as some end goal, but simply because it is compassionate to do so. By principle we obviate suffering, we seek to diminish it in every avenue of our existence, and co-existence. Doctors, engineers, population demographers, teachers, nurses, etc....whatever the gift, the ability to diminish suffering is real in THIS plane of existence.

As a parent, that choice is real as well. We are called upon as parents to project into the future, so as to create paths of contentment down which our charges can travel, so that their own suffering might be diminished. We are not called upon to deny our ego's and annihilate them in favour of some transcendent self, rather we are called upon to accept these artifices, recognizing them as artifices , for sure, but real useful artifices that allow us to project into a future, draw from a real past, and pull all that we are into a fully empowered present moment, so that we can be effective for those who depend upon us to lead them along a path of least suffering.

Was this not the same for the enlightened sages of the past, were we not just children to them also. did they not also wish to lead us along a path of enlightenment, avoiding the pitfalls of suffering. They did not do this, by annihilating there ego's, and adopting lofty heights, but instead dwelt with those they sought to teach, existing with them in the moment, and helping them to transcend their own perspectival limitations. Your children, are dependent upon you, to focus your attention daily upon the things that they cannot see, because of their own perspectival limitations; They are dependent upon your ability to draw from your past experiences (lifetimes), your own ability to project into the future, maybe even sensing the bow waves of future resonance with your true self, and use your mask (ego) that you have constructed in this existence so as to be physically and socially effective, to efficaciously create and formulate workable solutions and paths of contentment for them, so that they may be able to avoid undue suffering. You can only do that effectively if you bring to bare all that you are, all that you have ever been, and all that you project as a future self, into a pointed and effective present, and i think also that means having an effective ego, even if you do recognize that it is a socially constructed artifice. It is an artifice of necessity in the world we live in, as much as we who have more spiritual inclinations would like to deny it...

We all of course, seek meaning in our lives, and if we do not find it, it is the nature of human nature to simply create it, for it is the way we come to understand the world, the way we navigate through this thing we sense, and make sense of. If you believe that we are here for a reason, or even if you simply believe that we create the reason we are here, we all have a history, we all project a future, and we all construct ego's that act as buffers to the world. When we effectively pull all of that into a powerful present moment, denying none of it, but accepting that none of it is the complete answer either and that it exists as a systemic whole, i think at that moment we begin to create effective choices, from which the compassionate disposition can begin to formulate paths that lead away from suffering for those we love. Even if it is but one child or two, or the world entire that we are in love with, we still need to BE-HERE-NOW, not in denial, wishing to annihilate some constructed artifice or another, but as all that we ever were, whether that be 1000 incarnations or simply 45 years, all that we ever wished to be, in some resonant future incarnation, or simply as a projected self in this lifetime, so that we can express that love effectively, fully embracing the totality of who we are, and allowing that to be in the moment, sometimes, in someone else's moment!...then i think we are effective.

So recognizing that we are here now,and that we seek to guide and help those whom we love, so that they can avoid suffering in this world, and ok, maybe helping them to find there true self, so that they can release themselves from the snares of Samsara :P...seems to me to be the heart of the compassionate person.

The wish, to not just spiritually enlighten, but shine that light in every sphere of existence, which means the physical as well, presupposes a recognition that in order to be effective in the here and now, it is necessary to take on the mantle of suffering ourselves also on occasion. For just like other faculties of being, Suffering has born greatness on its shoulders, for without suffering, the great lesson of self sacrifice would never be enjoined, and as a parent, or as someone who loves greatly, self sacrifice is often the greatest expression, and often the hardest expression of that love.

So be all that you are, including the suffering that you have born, and learn the lessons well, so that you may help others to avoid those pitfalls, and also help those you love. Embellish your own compassionate natures through empathic understanding of the suffering of others. For if it were not for personal suffering many would not understand the suffering of others, and the well spring of compassion in this plane of existence would be diminished. Everything is connected for a reason, and the denial of qualities of existence or the denial of existence itself, simply diminishes the fabric entire, of which we are all a part, whether that be as a personal expression or some idealized spiritualism.

So Being Present, isn't in the end a denial of history or some resonant future, but rather a culmination of a collective unity of being, a continuity of purpose, that manifests itself completely in the present moment, so that by focusing all that you are, have been, and will be, into that pointed present, then releasing your mind from the shackles of expectation, or being of 'no mind', as Zen Buddhists might describe it, one is able to "plough a field for a field well ploughed, and sow a seed, for a seed well sown".

© Richard Michael Parker 2009