Our democracy is clearly ailing. We have an entire political party that is not only in denial about Climate Change but also is pushing to render voting as hard as possible for minorities and to end the counting of votes as we know it. So busy passing laws around the country that end 240 years of our republic with not a single senator from that party objecting (and no media that I know of putting microphones into their faces asking why). And having enlisted two democratic senators as well who are in thrall with the filibuster, forgetting conveniently that it has been used for centuries to keep minorities from voting.
At the same time we are witnessing regular attacks on synagogues around the country and attacks, sometimes fatal as happened recently in NYC, on Asian people and very often old and vulnerable Asian women simply walking down the street.
One can rightly ask: What is going on? Is humanity losing its way? What medicine do we have to deal with such atrocities?
Awe is such a medicine because awe brings wisdom. It brings wisdom because it places us in a larger context than our own small souls with their puny agendas. In fact, awe grows our souls. Just as beauty and joy grow our souls. And a broken heart also can grow the soul, as Joanna Macy reminds us, “when your heart breaks, the whole universe can pour through.”
In a wisdom context, values count. The whole, i.e. the universe counts. And the common good counts. The divine feminine counts; and the sacred masculine counts. Indeed, both come together and create a “sacred marriage” that can rebuild society from the bottom up.
This would mean an Education not based on the rational brain alone such as rules in academia today; but includes the intuitive, the mystical, the right brain, art, creativity and values. As Hildegard of Bingen taught, “There is wisdom in all creative work.”
The brilliant psychologist and cultural historian Otto Rank cautioned that one “cannot cure an ailing democracy with more democracy.”
Maybe we can cure an ailing democracy with more wisdom. And more awe. But time is clearly running out.
See Matthew Fox, Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior for Our Times, pp. 6f.
And Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth, pp. 27-42.
And Matthew Fox, The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: “Power to the People” poster by John August Swanson. From the Project for Integrating Spirituality, Law and Politics website.
Queries for Contemplation
How do we cure an ailing democracy? Do we still believe it is worth curing? If not, what are the alternatives?
Meister Eckhart: A Mystic-Warrior For Our Time
While Matthew Fox recognizes that Meister Eckhart has influenced thinkers throughout history, he also wants to introduce Eckhart to today’s activists addressing contemporary crises. Toward that end, Fox creates dialogues between Eckhart and Carl Jung, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rabbi Heschel, Black Elk, Karl Marx, Rumi, Adrienne Rich, Dorothee Soelle, David Korten, Anita Roddick, Lily Yeh, M.C. Richards, and many others.
“Matthew Fox is perhaps the greatest writer on Meister Eckhart that has ever existed. (He) has successfully bridged a gap between Eckhart as a shamanistic personality and Eckhart as a post-modern mentor to the Inter-faith movement, to reveal just how cosmic Eckhart really is, and how remarkably relevant to today’s religious crisis! ” — Steven Herrmann, Author of Spiritual Democracy: The Wisdom of Early American Visionaries for the Journey Forward
Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth
Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.
The A.W.E. Project: Reinventing Education, Reinventing the Human
The A.W.E. Project reminds us that awe is the appropriate response to the unfathomable wonder that is creation… A.W.E. is also the acronym for Fox’s proposed style of learning – an approach to balance the three R’s. This approach to learning, eldering, and mentoring is intelligent enough to honor the teachings of the Ancestors, to nurture Wisdom in addition to imparting knowledge, and to Educate through Fox’s 10 C’s. The 10 C’s are the core of the A.W.E. philosophy and process of education, and include: compassion, contemplation, and creativity. The A.W.E. Project does for the vast subject of “learning” what Fox’s Reinvention of Work did for vocation and Original Blessing did for theology. Included in the book is a dvd of the 10 C’s put to 10 video raps created and performed by Professor Pitt.
“An awe-based vision of educational renewal.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.