Oh, oh. Now we are headed into dangerous territory. Nothing, with the possible exception of religion, is more divisive than politics. But, we live in a world saturated with it, and as enlightened Christians, we have to have an understanding of politics, one that is reasonable, effective, and fair. In other words, like mysticism, our politics have to be based on principle and not merely what we like. The challenge is to integrate our mystical experience into the world, because the only sustainable way to get to heaven is to bring it down to earth.
Enlightened politics is based on mystical principles. Here are some of them:
The good of all
Unless everyone benefits, no one benefits. Like the human body, the world and its people comprise a whole system. You cannot neglect one part without adversely affecting the rest. Mysticism recognizes the oneness of the human race and the natural systems that support it; it supersedes partisan agendas and competitive interests. Generally speaking, there is nothing superfluous in the human body or the body of the earth. Acting as if there were can only bring disaster.
The rule of law
Principal among the foundational myths for Western Mysticism are the Arthurian Legends. In them we find the phrase, “Right is might, not might is right.” No one is above the law. Not everything that can be done should be done. The New Testament admonition to only use “righteous judgement” points to adherence to the spirit of the law and the absence of malice as the guiding principles in vindicating a person accused of wrongdoing. In order for the law to evolve, we must look to the spirit that informs it.
Respect for the individual
The highest form of government is self-government. It is not enough to obey the rules. What is in our heart matters more than merely refraining from acting out. We are more than intellectual/instinctual creatures; we have the capacity to place principle above self-interest. This is the “continue unto death” – the laying down of one’s life (ego/survival instinct) for the sake of the good. In the first and final analysis, we are answerable to God alone. But, in between we are answerable to each other.
The dynamic balance between competition and cooperation
The human nervous system has two competing elements, the sympathetic and the parasympathetic. One speeds up, the other slows down. Health depends on their dynamic balance. Business thrives in a competitive market, but only when there are adequate regulatory laws and enforcement of those laws. If either gets too far ahead of the other, system failure is inevitable. Vibrancy is key. The surest sign of life is movement.
Intuition and intellect – the interior and exterior modes of knowing – form the basis of epistemology in science, religion, and the arts. It is what we are here to learn. Some say that the only worthy goal is to escape the world altogether, but Christian mystics know that The Redemption depends upon integration, not escape. One can read the iconography of Christ on the cross as spirit affixed to matter, holding the tension of the opposites, the birthing of the new out the squaring of conflicting energies. This is the via dolorosa, the Way of the Cross, the mystery of the Rebirth. Out of two comes one, and together they make three. The Holy Family. This is the driving force behind all evolution.
Politics is a difficult subject. But reasonable people with differing opinions can bring about changes that neither could imagine without the other. It is only when dialog ceases, when gender turns into polarization, that trouble begins. Civil society is a work in progress, and it depends upon letting the creative juices flow. When one side thinks it knows all the answers, we begin the downward spiral into certain destruction. Christian mystical understanding is the balance point.