Friday, September 16, 2005

Shock & Awe

Round One. Shock & Awe in Baghdad.

Round Two. Ever wonder if Mother Nature (or whatever euphemism you want to use) decided through Katrina to perform a little shock and awe on us? One has to wonder about the unprecedented mess that Katrina caused and wonder if there is any message in it.

Is it a sign?

While I am not very convinced about the validity of the messages coming through the above website (Mission of Angels Foundation), I still find it a teasing concept that mass human consciousness may contribute to "natural disasters."

In a recent IANDS Meeting I attended in Portland, part of the discussion regarded what good to humanity might come out of this disaster. Part of it may include waking up the sleepwalking giant. Katrina may have been so shocking and awesome that we start thinking more about what we're doing her on this planet.

Where’s the Divine Intervention?

As I have watched all the death and destruction in Iraq, and then way too much coverage of the hurricane mess, I’ve wondered where the cavalry is. I’m not talking about FEMA or the National Guard; I’m talking divine intervention.

Many of us wonder how God—assuming there is one—fits into this picture. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why does our holy parentage let so much suffering happen?

Unlike many people who ponder these questions, I don’t have certified answers. I only have divine inspiration swishing through my neurons.

What would it look like if Jesus came into town to warn the populace about an impending disaster—another killer hurricane, earthquake, tsunami, tornado, war, alien invasion, or cable TV?

Most likely, no one would take him seriously (although they might seriously consider psychiatric help.) You’ve got millions of people who fervently believe in a guy who wouldn’t get any credence in modern society unless he first performed a bevy of stupid pet tricks.

“In three weeks, a killer hurricane will wipe out 900 square miles of Florida. You’d better leave your house and head north.”

“Yeah, right, Bud. Pass the Twinkies.”

Just how would the masses recognize a divine savior anyway? What if s/he does not return as a white guy with long hair, beard, robe, and stylish Birkenstocks?

I like thinking of Christ returning in the body of a rotund black wheelchair-bound female. There’s great irony about how that would fly here in the USA. On the other hand, having Christ return in the body and shoes of a Paris Hilton would intrigue me, too. Let’s give sexism a spin around the block.

If the iconic Jesus returned, would he go through an image make-over, starting with a shave and haircut? It’s still an enigma to me how most men who praise Jesus wouldn’t be caught dead grooming and dressing like him.

Would Jesus convert to designer labels? Would he get corporate endorsements? Would he chant a slogan? “Got God?” “M’m, m’m, God!” “Just say God!”

Would Jesus pay attention to opinion polls? If the critical masses didn’t like his classic appearance, would he flip-flop and conform to the focus group standard?

Would s/he buy a snazzy car and live in a multi-million dollar showplace estate? Or would being the Daughter/Son of God carry enough status?

If Christ popped into earth life one day, who would get him/her on a talk show first? Larry King? Oprah? Charlie Rose? Katie Curic? Rush Limbaugh? Howard Stern?

One great advantage of having Jesus appear on talk shows is that he could finally speak for himself. I’m tired of people telling me what he says.

Reverend Pat Robertson proclaims, “Well, Jesus says...”

“No, I don’t,” Jesus retorts.

“Well, it’s written in the Bible.”

“I’ve evolved since then.”

Wouldn’t that be a riot?

Meanwhile, would divine presence warrant freedom from commercials? Or would we hear this: “Jesus explains how he’ll save our planet right after these stupid messages. Don’t go away.”

These days, the big names in cosmic woo-woo get tons of marketing help spreading the word. Celebrities like Neale Donald Walsch, “the Conversations with God” guy, charge big bucks for their seminars. Makes me woozy thinking of the fees the bona fide Son of God could charge, especially if greed kicked in.

My juiciest thought about the return of Christ is wondering how s/he would respond to the current state of religion and politics. In my heart of hearts, I can’t see Jesus being wildly pleased with the evil that has been perpetrated in his name.

Would Jesus still be welcome in the White House if he opined that a preemptive strike on Iraq wasn’t a great idea? Indeed, what if he thought it was a really bad idea—as love thy enemy suggests? “What about ‘Thou shalt not kill’ don’t you understand?”

What if Jesus announced that same-sex marriages were fine with the Higher Authority, the Big HA? What if he blessed any kind of intimate behavior as a gift of spiritual opportunity?

I suppose I could reach Heaven’s Induction Center and be shocked to learn that the religious right was right after all. “God loves you, but where did you get the crazy idea that He loves unconditionally? He thinks just like Pat Robertson, and Pat Robertson wants you to toast. Get a clue!”

Nonetheless, I wonder what will happen when the cavalry arrives. Talk about a media frenzy.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Louisiana's Wetlands @ National Geographic Magazine

It's no secret that there were a lot of predictions about what might happen in New Orleans. Here is an amazing article from the October, 2004 issue of National Geographic: Louisiana's Wetlands.

Scripting the Disaster

As I was reading this story, Kanye West's Torrent of Criticism, Live on NBC, I was struck by how managed our media input is.

The story says that one guy spoke his mind/heart instead of sticking to the script. And look at the fuss it caused.

Take that story to another level, to how the government and the PR firms and media spokespeople are responding to the hurricane and its aftermath with their normal, predictable drivel. I have been watching with great interest how this disaster is being played out through communication channels, and what that says to the big picture.

What I see copious amounts of is our being unprepared as a nation for handling bad stuff. The mind manipulators have done a massive and splendid job selling the war against terror (whare are those weapons of mass destruction?). People are so freaked out of their minds over all that fear, played out 24/7 in our media. A natural disaster comes along and puts us into overwhelm. In and of itself, a hurricane is a terrible thing to have to endure, but then toss it into a backdrop of a populace cultivated since 9/11 on a steady diet of terror mania.

The war on terror is a fear-based mind game. The Prez continues to sell the idea that some evil doers are gonna get us. And the cowboys will prevail if we keep on throwing money at the problem. The continual hammering on this theme (life as a Stephen King horror story) creates a mind set through which everything else is filtered.

As I listen to CNN coverage of Katrina nearly a week after the actual storm, I see blended into the news reporting a steady stream of soap opera semantics. We are not prepared for disasters like this in large part because we have no psychological preparedness.

I keep thinking about all the lessons I have learned from studying near-death experiences. This body of information contains a great big picture presentation on some of life's basic questions. I am convinced that part of the reason that Katrina has been so devastating is that so many people, including those who are sharing the story in our media, have no big picture framework.

Hurricanes are bad enough, but people who have prepared themselves emotionally for life's struggles can handle the huge hit much better. They are not as consumed by fear and can think more clearly about the needs at hand.