I’m playing the long game. My story is a marathon, which in the end will not be just my story but our story, everyone’s story. I’m playing the long game, life in the greater context. Not life in the earning a living, personal material riches sense, but rather the spiritually rich, internally fulfilled, emotionally calm, creatively inspired, humanly connected sense. Because in the end, all we are is a story, our story. We should try to make it a good one.
So what does the long game look like? What course does the marathon take? For me, and as I imagine for most humans, it has been, and continues to be a circuitous course of unpredictable personal relationships, physical and emotional adventures, career changes, spiritual aspirations, creative inspirations, profanities and divinities, with every circumstance judged from a particular point of view. For instance, I could be making a lot of money in the software development field right now if I wanted to (my day job was as a Fortune 500 company consultant for more than 30 years), but I’m not and I won’t because I am more interested in cultivating personal wisdom and talent in diverse fields. Playing the long professional career game would be the safest bet, but not for this character.
This proclivity, which I seem to have acquired as an intrinsic value, probably seeded itself during the late 1960’s after several experiments with psychedelic de-conditioning agents (they are definitely not drugs in the traditional sense, e.g. narcotics, amphetamines, etc, and as many have discovered with Marijuana), and reading “Siddhartha” by Herman Hesse (as well as his other works). It’s the tale of an Indian Brahmin (indicating upper caste in the novel, but for me a person who by definition is intellectually and socially aloof ) who foregoes the 'safe bet' and seeks a spiritual life among austere monks, only to abandon that path for material wealth as a business man (in order to get the girl which he does), only to abandon that for the sake of illumination! Such a path has been bolstered in terms of rational understanding within my own life by artists, writers, scholars, and philosophers as diverse as Richard Buckminster Fuller, Alan Watts, Baba Ram Dass, Terence McKenna, Gregory Bateson, Joseph Campbell, Carlos Castaneda, and Howard Zinn. Likewise, emotional harmony and divine inspiration has been quickened in my soul by the music of Beethoven, Emerson Lake & Palmer, Carlos Santana, John McLaughlin, Al Dimeola, and Robin Trower to name a few.
But now, as I survey the world today, in 2017, the kakistocracy of Trump, the hope of innovation and technology, the inspiration of great works of art, literature, and music, the courage and selflessness of individuals, I see a pattern, what the biologist and natural philosopher Gregory Bateson called the 'pattern that connects'. All life is connected, not just in the obvious ecological and globalized modes, but psychically and spiritually. Keep your eyes open enough, learn your history, and you will notice that we are in fact one spirit. Which means that as craven, venal, and duplicitous a certain character might appear, he or she is in fact a manifestation of the craven, venal, and duplicitous in us all. It is quite natural (and perhaps necessary?) to feel anger and outrage over the misdeeds of others. But it's quite another to hate. Take care with condemnations, and be profuse with compassion and understanding. Do not become your enemies (who are in fact only opponents) is the Golden Rule I learned from my wonderfully loving parents as a child.
Further, learn that political ideologies and so-called leaders will not solve the world’s problems. Indeed, history teaches us that politics and politicians mostly hasten our miseries. Only love, courage, and integrity in all of humanity, in each one of us, will turn the corner on planetary sustainability and social harmony. For we are in a late stage birth out of what Bucky Fuller called the 'womb of permitted ignorance'. Evolution has brought us to this point in history, where humanity must come into a new relationship with Universe. The new cyber-age is forcing our hand. We must embrace Universe as both participant and caretaker. Should we continue to forfeit our personal power through reliance on authority figures, thereby enabling them in their misadventures, we shall all go the way of the dinosaurs. Bucky made this prediction more than a half-century ago, and it's proving itself more prescient with every passing day.
However, we may take great hope, we can save ourselves and leave a sacred legacy for the young. For the Guardians of the Earth reside within us, in a Sacred Place within our souls. It's a power which lies dormant until awakened within those who are ready to hear. And once awakened, the power of Love, Courage, and Healing within each human being contributes to a collective effect, nudging* humanity toward harmonic resonance. Buckminster Fuller called it the 'Trimtab' effect referencing a small, human hand-sized panel on the end of a ship's rudder which when turned slightly causes a pressure differential which in turn shifts the rudder and subsequently steers the entire ship. We have a comparable power as individuals. You may be wary or scoff but consider the Hawaiian axiom 'effectiveness is the measure of truth'.** In other words, if it works it must be true as is with the magical transforming power of music, transmuting the profane into the sacred.
Or as the protagonist Hub put it in the film Secondhand Lions, "Sometimes the things that may or may not be true are the things a man needs to believe in the most. That people are basically good; that honor, courage, and virtue mean everything; that power and money, money and power mean nothing; that good always triumphs over evil; and I want you to remember this, that love... true love never dies. You remember that, boy. You remember that. Doesn't matter if it's true or not. You see, a man should believe in those things, because those are the things worth believing in."
* See Nobel Prize Winning author Richard Thaler’s book, “Nudge” 2008.
** See Hawaiian shaman Serge Kahili King's "Huna Healing", "Mastering Your Hidden Self", "Urban Shaman", http://skahili.blogspot.com, etc., for more.