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More Notes on Deep Context

It occurs to me that the term “deep context” is related to interpretation & symbols.
We know in relationship, in context. Context is deep, shielded, covered, camouflaged, protected.

Is it a hope or a delusion for government to be or become transparent? As long as it operates from a paranoid and fear-based perspective it is probably a delusion.

Government is a million-headed bureaucracy, comprised of regulations and methods of enforcement; it is rule-burdened and slow, achingly slow, plodding to the point of paralysis, rigid and restricting, controlling and out-dated, sluggish, brackish and out-paced.

In who’s universe is it even possible for government to share with you that which you think you need or wish to know?

Secondarily, it occurs to me that we live our lives on the surface (not always but much of the time), rarely delving into the deeper contexts. We don’t really, really want to know.

We avoid involvement, responsibility, connection and as a result miss any opportunity to truly understand our times or our world. Any understanding we hold is a reduction of another’s opinion.

We are overwhelmed by the complexity and the vast amounts of issues, problems and resistances. Resistance as much ours as theirs, as much stubbornness and fear as stuckness and confusion.

And yet, deep in our hearts we know it doesn’t have to be this way. We know humanity is better and more capable than how it often behaves. In order to hold that knowledge we would need to simplify and de-technify our rules and the rule making apparatus.

Deep Context I

A myopathy of the mind has befallen the citizen’s sense of their own agency and responsibility.

Last night the Edward Snowden interview aired on NBC. I was struck by Snowden’s apparent strength of conviction and awed by his humble, articulate answers. Do I think he is a patriot or a traitor? As he and others have said; probably both. As we all are. Do I think the people needed him to do what he did? We needed someone to do something. He believes he is doing the right thing. I wonder, can we ask any more from ourselves or one another?

Certainly it is easier (if you don’t count the cost to the soul or your sense of self-worth) to do nothing, to go along to get along, to let it slide, to walk away, don’t get involved, tell yourself it’s none of your business. We all do it. We walk past the homeless person without making eye contact. We don’t vote. We think it’s them and not us.

During his interview Snowden mentioned the term “deep context” in relationship to explaining what he did and why. This concept is one that at cursory glance seems like a synonym for “complicated” but I believe it would be more accurate to say: “it’s relative”, meaning it’s related and connected to something else intricately as much a part of its reason or ability to be/exist. That it is part of a web of relationships and systems that depend on it and which are depended on in order to function. If there is one thing that is true when people say, “the system is broken” it is this: that there is no way in which to operate on the cancers without jeopardizing the the life of the entity; precisely because a a lack of understanding of the whole.

Isn’t the real issue here is that neither you nor I really have the time or the inclination (especially in the same week of Elliot Rodger and all these new ideas about involuntary commitments when the air smells like fear because god knows who do you trust to decide if you are crazy or not?). And if we really admit it we don’t have the ability (and god knows we don’t like how that makes us feel so let’s watch some TV) to understand or comprehend the complexities of everything we need to know in order to make a fair and unbiased assessment of the ‘truth’ of the situation? We simply do not have the time to HEAR the explanation EVEN if it were freely available. It would require STUDY and DEEP THOUGHT and the ability to weigh pros and cons and the REFUSAL to rush to judgment.

Have we forgotten what we speak of here? The outcome of both your Democracy and your Christianity depend on what happens to Edward Snowden.

It's their own fault!

I’m struggling with this idea that goes something like this: “They just could have done it differently. It was their choice. This is America. They choose to (fill in the blank)”. I hear this daily. Tons of criticism, blame and hostility is leveled at people who exhibit very little power over their own destinies, for whatever reason. We enjoy blaming them for our perception of their weaknesses and “poor” choices. Maybe it makes us feel more in control of our own, I don’t know.

Is ‘choice’ really all that available or do societal, familial, physical, spiritual, peer, workplace, and educational pressures shape the individual?

The criticism is always based on this idea of a choice that failed to be exercised differently in “the way [the speaker] would have chosen”.

I find myself wondering when and how these all powerful choices present themselves to that theoretical human.

Are they a gift that society benevolently offers though its education and civic systems?

Are parents responsible for compiling all possible ‘choices’ and presently them on a platter to their children and then instilling upon and within them proper measuring and discernment instruments for ‘choice-making’?

What if the parent fails to provide choice or is incapable of discerning the choice or does not see them in the first place, is not aware of them?

What if the parent instead chooses for? What if these choices are wrong or not the best?

What if these choices debilitate the child in ways that are subtle and difficult to understand?

I’m not arguing whether or not we have choices or whether or not some choices are better than others. I am simply attempting to point out that no two people on this planet have the same choices or opportunities and to advance my sincere belief that you do not have the right to judge someone else choices. You do not know why they made themor in most cases I truly believe, were unequipped to even see or comprehend the better choice.

And that may be the crux of it, for me. You just cannot know.

Excerpt from You Can't Go Home Again

All of this makes the paradox of our great difference as hard and strange as the paradox of our polarity. And in this lies the root of trouble and the seed of severance. Your own philosophy has led you to accept the order of things as they are because you have no hope of changing them; and if you could change them, you feel that any other order would be just as bad. In everlasting terms--those of eternity--you and the Preacher may be right: for there is no greater wisdom that the wisdom of Ecclesiastes, no acceptance finally so true as the stern fatalism of the rock. Man was born to live, to suffer, and to die, and what befalls him is a tragic lot. There is no denying this in the final end. But we must, Dear Fox, deny it all along the way.

Mankind was fashioned for eternity, but Man-Alive was fashioned for a day. New evils will come after him, but it is with the present evils that he is now concerned. And the essence of all faith, it seems to me, for such a man as I, the essence of religion for people of my belief, is that man's life can be, and will be, better; that man's greatest enemies, in the forms in which they now exist--the forms we see on every hand of fear, hatred, slavery, cruelty, poverty, and need-can be conquered and destroyed. But to conquer and destroy them will mean nothing less than the complete revision of the structure of society as we know it. They cannot be destroyed by the philosophy of acceptance--by the tragic hypothesis that things as they are, evil as they are, are as good and as bad as, under any form, they will ever be.

The evils that we hate, you no less than I, cannot be overthrown with shrugs and sighs and shaking of the head however wise. It seems to me that they but mock at us and only become more bold when we retreat before them and take refuge in the affirmation of man’s tragic average. To believe that the new monsters will arise as vicious as the old, to that the great Pandora’s box of human frailty, once opened, will never show a diminution of its ugly swarm, is to help, by just that much, to make it so forever.

You and the Preacher may be right for all eternity, but we Men-Alive, dear Fox, are right for Now. And it is for Now, and for us the living, that we must speak, and speak the truth, as much of it as we can see and know. With the courage of the truth within us, we shall meet the enemy as they come to us, and they shall be ours. And if, once having conquered them, new enemies approach, we shall meet them from that point, from there proceed. In the affirmation of the fact, the continuance of that unceasing was, is man’s religion and his living faith.

Thomas Wolfe in “You Can’t Go Home Again”