“If only man would act rationally, perhaps wars and depressions and insanity could be avoided; but unfortunately, man does not seem to be any more capable of acting sanely now that he was a thousand years ago. We are still confronted with man’s own irrational behavior and the untamed forces within his psyche.” ~M. Esther Harding, Psychic Energy, pp.202-3
The troubled waters of society are the natural result of troubled waters within the human psyche. Until we free ourselves from our instinctive drives, each of us, from the most powerful leader to the most vulnerable victim, will add to the turbulence of our time. And the waters will not grow calm until our basic needs for survival, health and safety are met.
During the Great Depression of the 1930’s President Franklin Roosevelt signed the original Social Security Act into law amidst great turbulence and opposition. At the time, poverty rates among senior citizens exceeded 50 percent.
“Opponents, however, decried the proposal as socialism. In a Senate Finance Committee hearing, the Democratic Oklahoma Senator Thomas Gore asked Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, “Isn’t this socialism?” She said that it was not, but he continued, “Isn’t this a teeny-weeny bit of socialism?” Since then, “Changes in Social Security have reflected a balance between promoting “equality” and efforts to provide “adequate” and affordable protection for low wage workers.” Wikipedia
Affordable. Health. Care. Eighty years later opponents of government’s involvement in the lives of its citizens still fear “socialism.” Proponents still promote “equality” and “adequate” affordable protection. Those whose lives have been made easier by the Social Security Act don’t really care what you call it. They’re too busy being grateful for Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security pensions. For the freedom to enjoy their latter years in relative comfort and health without unduly burdening their children.
And what of their children? They are the baby boomers, some of whom are now running the government. Here’s what Wikipedia says of them…of many of us:
“In Europe and North America boomers are widely associated with privilege, as many grew up in a time of widespread government subsidies in post-war housing and education, and increasing affluence.
As a group, they were the wealthiest, most active, and most physically fit generation up to that time, and amongst the first to grow up genuinely expecting the world to improve with time. They were also the generation that received peak levels of income; therefore, they could reap the benefits of abundant levels of food, apparel, retirement programs, and sometimes even “midlife crisis” products. The increased consumerism for this generation has been regularly criticized as excessive.“
And “socialism” is still a bogeyman, even to some who have benefitted most from widespread government subsidies. And we still quibble and fear and fret over this issue; the untamed forces within our psyches still stir the waters.
I was surprised to learn from this site how many countries already have universal health care. Switzerland and Singapore have the two must successful systems and “have achieved universal health insurance while spending a fraction of what the U.S. spends.”
This Forbes article says “Many American conservatives oppose universal health insurance because they see it as fundamentally antithetical to a free society. ‘If we persevere in our quixotic quest for a fetishized medical equality we will sacrifice personal freedom as its price,’ wrote a guest editorialist in the Wall Street Journal in 2009. But according to the Heritage Foundation, a leading conservative think tank, ten nations freer than the United States have achieved universal health coverage. It turns out that the right kind of health reform could cover more Americans while increasing economic freedom.”
So if “the right kind of health reform could cover more Americans while increasing economic freedom,” what’s preventing us from devising and implementing “the right kind of health reform?”
Many people I’ve spoken to since beginning this series tell me the Affordable Care Act is the best thing that ever happened to them. But it has problems. And my friend is trapped by a particularly unjust one.
I have no answers. But one thing is sure: the troubled waters in the US will not grow calm until the basic needs of our citizens—survival, health and safety—are met. And this will not happen until the privileged few at the top of our governmental hierarchy willingly place the untamed forces within their psyches under the microscope of consciousness.
“There is no coming to consciousness without pain. People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own Soul. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”~Carl Jung
My thanks to all of you who enriched this dialogue with your many insightful comments. May the dialogue continue until the waters grow calm.
Image Credits: Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs,Wikipedia. Turbulent waters: earth data.nasa.gov
Jean Raffa’s “The Bridge to Wholeness” and “Dream Theatres of the Soul” are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at Kobo, Barnes And Noble and Smashwords. “Healing the Sacred Divide” can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications.