The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
>As I explained in my e-mail, my post on La Rouche - like >the posts on the board of Human Rights Watch - related to >the *source* of other posts >> Imagine my surprise on coming to the end of your post >>([casi] Lyndon La Rouche and EIR), and seeing my search >>for Iraq references remain unrewarded. The entire piece >>deals with issues Dr. I had heard about LaRouche and his faults years ago, and so read all material from him with an eye towards looking for bias and confirmation of what he says. Yet I have seen some very interesting material from that quarter. I expect all sources should be treated likewise -- but it is helpful to have an idea what to look out for. As to how topical this is, it goes to show that boundaries are plastic, abstract, and in the eye of the beholder. Recall the (legitimate) complaint of user to computer (from DOS days): Don't do what I tell you -- do what I *want*! Please then everyone, kindly head with !BS all and only those posts which I, Bob Steel, want to read! <G> Perhaps somewhat akin to this, although independently inspired by number 1., below, I have a short personal tale to tell, and some observations -- with a more general point: 1. Since I am somewhat crippled up (disabled) my house is hardly tidy (understated), and my sister recently came to "help me clean and organize". Short story: wanted things were discarded, my plans for organization were lost, and I am now in chaos, having no idea where anything is -- i.e. according to my sister's sense of order and rightness. (Although she did not rearrange my books according to size and color <G>). She did not seem to *hear* me nor appreciate my view. It is not that she did not help or that I don't appreciate her sincere efforts, but that I must now re-organize a great deal. 2. I have heard many true-believer Christians (and some other religious people) speak of "GOD", "God's word", and God's will", and then go on to describe just what was the matter with people with alternative belief systems, and how they miss or refuse to see "the Truth". They appear to incapable of *hearing* or appreciating the views of others. 3. I listend to NPR's Dianne Rhem this morning: a discussion about the reconstruction (or deconstruction) of Iraq. Each speaker understood the situation completely and magnanimously attempted to educate the others with less perfect understanding. None seemed to *hear* or appreciate other views -- and none seemed to think to consult the Iraqis -- indeed there were none at all on the program. I can only strongly suspect that this same problem may be found elsewhere, albeit to a lesser degree, perhaps, but can attest that my experience as a US citizen convinces me that Americans are very poor listeners. Americans are highly competitive. In fact one of the fundamental characteristics of American existence (especially manhood) is to "know the truth and convince all others of it", mayhap by intimidation. Thus the popularity of polarized "debates" ((usually) figurative slug-fests), rather than discussion. And so we come to the Bushies and Iraq! We haer of a clash of cultures, but it seems to me that it is the superficial differences which are emphasized in most references: religious doctrine, food preferences, language, customs and dress. A more fundmental difference is, perhaps, listening and breadth of perspective. The neo-cons know, with either philosophical or god-inspired certainty what is TRUE and RIGHT. They not only do not listen to others, they have no need to listen to others -- they already know the truth. This is part of the national character. Bush is not a mere abberation, but an extreme of a cultural characteristic. Just as my dear sister *knows* how to invade my dining room and organize it, just as my Christian next door neighbor *knows* the truth of the Bible and how we all (including me) should live and believe -- for such the Bible tells them, so do the neo-cons "KNOW!". ("You are with us or against us" -- good Biblical quote...). I expect, beyond the imperialistic motives and greed, it may never have even occurred to many in the administration and the body politic to ask the Iraqis what they wanted. I suspect that many truly think the Iraqis are incapable of running their own country since, after all, they do not seem to want to do it "right" -- as the powers in the US want and know to be TRUE. Being "right" is even a justification for lying and murder, since in the "end" the means will be justified (even the Biblical God often encouraged genocide to bring about "His final perfection" of the world). There are exceptions in the US, however: the ecumenical, interfaith religious people, many of the peace groups who tend to operate more by consensus, the humanistic managment people -- flowing from the ideas of those like Carl Rogers (the great master at listening, and developer of client-directed therapy) and Abraham Maslow, even the anarchists, although many of them seem to "know the truth". While LaRouche might be a useful source of information and aid to the peace movement when his fanaticism coincides with current peaceful agendas, he does not know how to listen, and will off on his own tangent of hatred and "being right". There are others whose paths will intersect for a time -- but only for a time. Perhaps the direct approach of opposing policy has enough effect to make it worth while, but the larger task is to change the culture and methodology of human and political interaction: to work towards consensus, tolerance, genuine respect for others, understanding through *listening* and *hearing*. "Consulting" the UN and then ignoring what is said and going off to war is not consulting at all. "Consulting" the Iraqis in like manner is also no more than playing wicked games. This is a thing which can perhaps be done quietly, through a back door -- through the building of a different cultural context. It is most difficult, however. Humanistic psychological therapists spend years practicing the skills. Non-violent protestors train themselves to avoid confrontation. Humanistic managers need to learn new mindsets and reactions. And it is frustrating! When I become enaged with the common warmonger on the street and he refuses to respond to reason or fact, I really want to just smack him up alongside the head and BEAT some peace into him! (And, of course, I KNOW I am *right*.) We are a quarrelsome species, and culturally at least, very bad at listing and empathy. But, if we apply intelligence, we could make some progress. People love to be listened to -- it so rarely happens. Check out the techniques of Rogers and followers -- so effective with dealing with crazy people (like the neo-cons). Practice them in all things, to become skilled. Difficult! So many time I have wished to just blow up the damned warmongers or dump them in the ocean --- how incongruous!! My intention, however, is to try to make peace -- listening, Socratic discourse, mutual disarmament of discordant communication -- a matter of habit in myself, and adoption by others, by example and redefining context (by counter-propaganda!). In short, we need to build and spread new cultural and comunnication standards, especially here in the US. It's difficult to conquer peoples one respects and understands, or build empires. We have to teach Americans how to listen. ________________________________________________________________ The best thing to hit the internet in years - Juno SpeedBand! Surf the web up to FIVE TIMES FASTER! Only $14.95/ month - visit www.juno.com to sign up today! _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk