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Democracy

Lowerarchy of power
Command and obedience is destroying us and the life around us

By Roz Omid
August 21, 2003
The Iranian

There are three images in my mind as I write this article. The first one is the U.S. military controlling Iraq, the second one is the voices to bring change to the Iranian government and the third image is my answer to heal these wounds: small communities.

What the United States is doing through its newly appointed "occupation minister" in Iraq, is forcing democracy. What an amazing contradiction. The U. S. is forcing the people of Iraq to shift the way they think from dictatorship to democracy.

Iraqis are forced to shift from a clear and simple but harsh and dehumanizing way of life --dictatorship -- to a potentially more harmonious but more complicated and vague concept called democracy.

The type of democracy being imported is from a country where its ruler - George W. Bush - can be elected not by majority of votes but because his brother was the governor of the state that helped him win the election and his father appointed supreme court justices who voted in favor of his son.

What some of people in Iran and the Iranian immigrants like myself, living in the "free world" are doing is trying to create a shift in the consciousness of not only ourselves but also in the collective consciousness, for a more harmonious way of life.

Democracy is not our salvation. However, it has been a step in our evolutionary process. What needs to happen is gradual decentralization in order to create a better life and a better planet to live on. Taking power back from centralized government leaders, eliminating high-powered government positions, and giving small communities the authority to make decisions as they choose -- that is the way back to a paradise we deserve to live in.

We, humanity, left that paradise when we adapted the notion of command and obedience somewhere along our natural evolution. The only place the notion of domination and obedience, or hierarchy of power, exists, is in the human psyche. When we believe in hierarchy then our interaction with each other and our natural environment is based on either controlling others or is controlled.

There are groups of people who make decisions based on consensus: meaning everyone comes to an agreement before a group decision is made. It is a challenging task and at the beginning it may take longer to make decisions. Just as any kind of withdrawal, it's difficult, but many of us believe that we need to take that direction.

We are so used to this system where the boss, the manager, or the top man/woman makes the final decision or the majority wins that we think it's the only way. Not only we go along with the system of hierarchy but also it has become so ingrained in us that we have become addicted to it. Some people have become aware of this addiction and are in recovery, such as people who use consensus decision making -- at least in one aspect of their lives.

The system of command and obedience is destroying us and the life around us. I surrender to the fact that I am stuck in it and I am addicted to it. I also ask a greater power than my ego and my mind to help me live more harmoniously with others and within my environment.

At this stage of natural evolution we need to become active in adopting a consciousness that is clear about where we want to get to. There is no reason we can't live in clean cities where we can enjoy a wealth of arts, music and literature. Don't we have the technology to have clean transportation? We do! But our consciousness is stuck in believing that this is the best we can have at the moment.

Garden of Eden is a metaphysical as well as a physical place. It is a physical place where fresh, clean, healthy food is available in bounty, where people can live enriched lives in harmony within their ecology. It is also a metaphysical place. Garden of Eden is a place in one's consciousness where the person is content with what life is offering each and every moment.

Finding the way to a better government in Iran or anywhere else in the world, including North America, is a task that takes place in the here and now. In other words, what can I do in this moment to be able to live in paradise?

Sometimes I have the perception that I know the answer, and at other times I don't and I feel stuck. There are times I am simply accepting and grateful for what I have available to me. What I have available to me at the moment is communicating via the Internet.

Having a continuous dialog is the most important element in just about any situation. The understanding that I would like to bring in through my communication is this: we need not to believe that hierarchy of power is the only way to have a governing system.

I would like to continuously explore ways to replace the system of command and obedience to a system of consensus decision-making. That is a system, which by its nature, cannot be forced onto any one or any group.

Life is made of paradoxes that we need to become aware of, accept, and learn our way to move with and through them. There is no absolute way of doing something and yet there is. For example if a bridge is to be built across a river we need the absolute measurements to build a solid bridge so a truck can safely cross over it to carry food and goods.

But if the goal is to provide food and goods for that other side of the river, building the bridge is not the best solution, as modern man tends to believe so. There are many ways of feeding people on the other side of the river, including helping them to grow food and make goods for themselves.

If the mind is used to thinking in terms of absolutes and quick fixes, and is addicted to using domination and obedience to solve problems, then we are bound to control nature and serve the false master. I am referring to the man -- the master -- at the top of the pyramid or top of the game of accumulation of capital, and the hierarchy of power.

Small communities can have a circle instead of a pyramid or triangle for its model. A circle or a sphere has movement that could be the flow of interaction between citizens and the natural environment.

There is more to share about how community building. Especially small physical communities can help us create more sane governing systems. I will continue to write about it with the grace of the beloved. But for now going back to the image of U.S. governing Iraq I have this to say: we may think we know the way to create a better government and we have the right to voice that opinion.

At the same time we need to practice the fine art of walking the thin line between believing what is right and being too rigid. We need to practice the fine art of walking the line between being open to hear and consider multiple possibilities and being too flexible.

I was absolutely clear that the U.S. ought not wage war against Iraq. Using my previous example and metaphorically speaking, that was not a bridge that we needed to build. But now that the war has taken place and Sadam's dictatorship has been toppled, the U.S. doesn't believe that it has much of a choice other than to force democracy. What about the neighboring countries? Could they have some wisdom to offer?

The mind is limited in its capacity to understand and experience Divine Presence and how it works through us. Living a more harmonious and balanced life will not happen because a few people have figured out the best system to govern people and natural resources. Without those few people who come up with a better system of government we cannot move towards a more harmonious and balanced life. It is up to us all individuals to voice opinions and take a stand on what we believe in.

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