Saturday, January 7, 2012

Why is "Politics" a four-letter word?

Several people I know refuse to speak about politics. They keep their views to themselves and if the conversation goes into a territory that can be viewed as "political" they immediately stop and say that they do not discuss politics - or that the subject of politics is of no interest to them.

Some of these people are highly spiritual, high consciousness people, who think deeply about things, and have nuanced and well-read approaches to life.

And every time they bow out of the conversation, I think to myself: "Darn, I would love to have THIS particular voice as part of the debate, because he/she is so very knowledgeable, thoughtful, and nuanced in his/her views."

But their lips are zipped. They are not going there.

So being a Danish implant into American culture, I often have a bit of an outsider understanding of things that make me like an elephant in a china shop at times. Since I did not grow up here, I often do not have the cultural sensitivities that come from being immersed in a certain way of doing things your whole life.

So to me, in my outsider naiveté, politics is a subject that concerns everyone on all levels of their existence. If laws are passed that effectively take away my or my children's right to due process and free speech - this concerns me on the most fundamental level. My children's future can be influenced heavily by laws passed today on the environment, wars, and healthcare. This concerns me, it concerns my neighbors and my children on the deepest and most basic level.

Having grown up in a country that was taken over by the Germans in WWII and listening to my elders talk about the political events that led up to the war and Hitler's take-over, they all saw signs and heard voices of increasing polarization and painting of enemy portraits everywhere that were ignored. I am not saying we are necessarily in a situation that is similar to the build-up to WWII. I am also very aware of how we can create fear and manifest that which we fear.

What I am getting at is that some of the most valuable and most nuanced voices are missing from our political debates and discussions. And it is important to see our tendency to polarize and "slam each other" for what it is.

I do believe that there is a lot to be said for "being above the mudslinging" as one of my friends stated as the reason she did not want to engage in political discussions. And I can understand another one of my dear friends who simply stated that he found no place for his views as they were not along party lines and therefore made people feel "uneasy".

And here is to me something to ponder: If we have to "fall within party lines" to have a legitimacy to speak up, then we are saying that in America there are only two kinds of human beings: Democrats and Republicans (and a few lonely Independents). OK, so three kinds of human beings. But, really that is such a sad statement. This is making the subject of our common future, the plans and laws that determine our interaction a matter of tribal warfare. A matter of "us versus them". My views against your views.

The media are happy to enforce this entertaining view. Discussing politics on TV becomes a boxing match designed to get good ratings, so it needs to be sensational. Viewpoints fly across the screen like good Upper Cuts with the ultimate prize being the Sunday Punch that leaves the opposing side stuttering and speechless, flailing after the Knock Out. Extreme viewpoints are the rule. Lack of nuance and thoughtful process common place. Verbal slams abound. In this environment solutions are not to be found, because the ultimate goal in our political process, like in sports, is "winning". Winning the match, winning the debate, winning the election.

The Danish tradition that I grew up in (it might have somewhat changed by now) was based on an electoral system that had between 12 and 14 political parties in a country of 5 million people.  To arrive at any kind of forward motion, alliances had to be forged and typically this would have to happen across the middle. The common ground was often where one could move forward. Any party would have to give a little in order to get something. This was the basis of negotiation and sometimes it worked great, other times it was less successful. BUT as a general rule, the participants in the political process were able to have lunch together, hear each other out, establish where they could come together on points and where they had to draw a line in the sand. There was a great deal of spirited debate, but for the most part it had to be based on a level of information and knowledge that allowed for nuances and grey-tones to appear in the process.

In our basic two-party system, we have increasingly become masters of talking points and easy solutions. Us versus Them. The other side are slimy socialists or crusty neocons. We are holier than thou on our side, whatever side we are on. And not surprisingly there is very little progress made in an environment where the main focus is to stump and debilitate your "enemy". Any thought of actually being in the same boat and needing to arrive at viable solutions for all is considered a sell-out or throwing in the towel...

In America, if we talk politics, we talk to the ones that we agree with. If we were to discuss it with one from the other side of the aisle, then the only model we have for this is one of warfare and disagreement.  Where are the discussion clubs that further understanding and cooperation? Where are the debates that have the candidates say: "Wow - you have a great point there, and may I piggy-back on that to see what we might arrive at"? We have no role models for this kind of debate - and maybe the closest we get is on PBS, which of course has few viewers as it is not "entertaining".

In America we want to see blood in our debate. We want to sit in the Gladiator ring and turn our thumbs down and watch the opponent die in agony. And who really wants to enter into this ring of madness to be poked, stabbed and drilled but the foolhardy and those seeking to pick a fight?

So what can we do to start speaking to each other across party lines, across diversions of faith, across lines of wealth and influence?

How can we develop a language of inclusion and understanding?

How can we independently stop looking at the other side as the enemy - but simply as our brothers or our sisters with different backgrounds and different views?

How can we independently find our voices and feel safe enough to express them?

And feel safe enough to expand and grow in our understanding rather than to view it as "admitting that we were wrong"?

As I ponder these questions, I continue to speak up from my current understanding of things. And if I grow and change my mind - then I will celebrate this rather than look at it as a defeat.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Shadow Over America

President Obama rung in the New Year by signing the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011. Happy New Year indeed, America. In it are provisions that were in place in the Patriot Act, and that have now been solidified, giving the President the power to indefinitely detain American Citizens on American soil without right to due process.

The current president did issue an apologetic signing statement that was meant to reassure us that he would not interpret and implement the indefinite detention of American citizens as long as he is in the White House. So if Obama loses the election we are left with... say... President Santorum - or Romney - or Gingrich to decide what HE wants to "interpret and implement". And of course should Obama be re-elected, this signing statement can always be revoked and changed as circumstances dictate.... This is definitely a possibility! And not a very reassuring one at that!

I do believe we are marching goose step by goose step in a direction of corporate/governmental - military/industrial pseudo-democratic rule. What is up? People on the left might see it as the influence of decades of poorly regulated policies allowing the corporate agenda to penetrate and corrupt all levels of our political machinery. People on the right might see it as special interests from unions and a general tendency of big government to take away the influence of the people on their own destiny.

We can argue the validity of each side until we get hoarse. But I want to go a different route. Just a thought experiment that might add another perspective on the many reasons that might have influenced the many causes at the root of where we are now.

If we look to the American psyche of the past decade and a half, it has concerned itself greatly with " The War on Terror, Operation Enduring Freedom (originally called "Operation Infinite Justice"). These phrases were all coined to justify the need for our troops to engage in fighting a war against a faceless and nationless enemy, a small group of hoodlums who had conjured up the devious plot that was executed on 9/11. So we went into Afghanistan, then Iraq. We all know the absurdity of these wars by now. Or most of us acknowledge the absurdity at least. Quickly the tone was changed from the almost biblical overtones of "Infinite Justice" to "Enduring Freedom", and the trajectory went from being about fighting Al Qa'ida (because they were certainly not in Iraq - at least not when we went in there) to being about "ending tyranny in the world". President Bush aptly mentioned at this same occasion upon his reelection in 2004 "that the force of human freedom" was the greatest weapon against tyranny and hatred." Sounds great, right?

Well, according to C.G. Jung and his findings on the human psyche, we all carry a shadow. We carry this shadow with us but few of us are fully aware of it. On the contrary, most of us wish to only see the facade of our persona, the happy face we show the world. On some level this is who we really want to be, but necessarily not who we truly are.  The facade refuses to deal with the dark secrets, the hidden desires, the old pain or the feelings of inferiority. These unpleasantries get repressed to the shadow. Hidden away in our unconscious awareness our shadow continually attempts to get our attention by a certain level of sabotage - hidden agendas and obscure actions.  Jung's theory is that as long as we refuse to confront our own inner pain, fear, hurtful memories, we will keep projecting it out onto others. Thusly we get incensed when we encounter elements of our own psyche that we are failing to own up to ourselves. We want to bomb, hurt, create a crusade, or simply argue into smithereens against those who remind of us our own hidden aspects. And so it pushes our buttons, because we have decided that the aspect we are seeing in others, is an aspect we do not (want to) have ourselves.  We want to believe that we could NEVER do that - and the fact that someone else is doing it, means that they activate our anger, our hatred and our fears, because they precisely remind us of what we want to run away from about ourselves. Only, we are not aware.  And the more we try to convince ourselves that the enemy is without, the more annoyed, incensed and angry we get at those who somehow remind us of our own darkness. We project all our repressed fear and anger onto them - and might want to eradicate them off of the face of the earth. When this aspect is active in  a group mentality this very tendency is thought to be contributing factor to the collective cause for many a crusade, conflict and war. We fear that the fact that our enemy, who ever he/she/they may be, by their simply being in the world somehow will make them come and take us over. Well, in reality, part of what we really fear is our own shadow that we are working so hard to repress.

Now, if you think you have figured out where I am going with this - let me assure you that I am not someone who believes 9/11 was an inside job. I do not buy into this kind of conspiratory speculation. Also I want to point out that not all fear is founded in "running from one's own shadow". I am simplifying here to clarify the point I want to make.

So let me super impose the Jungian analysis approach onto what I see in our current situation - I believe it is thought provoking and sheds light on some of these recent developments. So bear with me here:

If our national persona's facade is the "freedom loving and injustice fighting" aspect, then what is it we as a nation were repressing to our shadow? What part of our own "tyranny" were we running from and projecting onto others as we saw theirs? (Please note that there was plenty of real and serious tyranny with both the Taliban and Saddam Hussein as rulers. This is irrefutable to me. Their level of tyranny and torture is well documented and absolutely horrific in nature). Yet what part of our past national collective guilt is  founded in taking over the land and kiling off many of the Indians? What part of our guilt regarding our forefathers and their cruelty in how they treated the issue of slavery might be activated here? What other layers of guilt and self-loathing might lie dorment in our national psyche? When Bush affirmed his second-term victory by stating that: "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands" what is he really saying in Jungian terms? I see a point can be made for the fact that he was projecting our National fear of tyranny out onto the world at large. As long as there is tyranny anywhere in the world, was his case, we cannot be safe from it here in the USA. In other words, as long as there is a shadow side "out there" it will constantly irritate and provoke our own discomfort and inner fear of tyranny here at home.

Another aspect of our shadow is that it constantly sabotages our endeavors. It will try to get our attention - try to get us to integrate it at all cost. Try to get us into coherence and awareness of our full potential (as there is often great gifts bottled up, hidden and repressed by our shadow.) So as it is trying to get our attention, what does it do? Well often, we will go about manifesting our shadowy fears by our projections. Of course we hated the tyrannical and dictatorial mindset of the Taliban/Bin Laden that created the horrors of 9/11. Easy to understand! Yet by failing to look at what might be an appropriate and adequate response, we became reactive. We went into blind rage and shocked and awed the world with our antics. We hated so much that in our blind focus on eradicating tyranny elsewhere, we ended up activating the seeds of it here at home. First by giving the war religious over and undertones. Almost a crusade of (Christian) democracy pitted against the evildoers, who were Muslim (or Socialists). Then we changed our focus and claimed to be perpetrators of democracy, lone cowboys riding into the sunset of liberation and self-sacrifice. Since we were not seen as liberators or heros abroad, the fear came home to roost. It manifested itself in the newly enacted Patriot Act in which the Bill of Rights and Habeas Corpus were restricted, changed or in places even made redundant. In our fight against the shadow projected out onto our enemies, we effectively activated the beginning of something that looks uncannily like a dictatorial police state here at home. The notion was at the time that the Patriot Act was to be a temporary power grab to protect our citizens.  It has however been extended every year since, and what President Obama signed, with his tail between his legs on New Year's Eve of 2011, was in effect a law that made the unchecked powers of the President over his people a permanent fact of life. This aspect of our shadow is now signed in ink and has left the President's table to live permanently and overtly in our midst.

Since January 1st, 2012 we are now effectively living in a country in which the President has the power to declare any individual or group of his choosing a threat to our country and indefinitely lock them up without right to being charged with a crime nor the right to due process. I am not saying we stone people now like the Taliban does or gas our citizens like Hussein did, yet we have taken steps in a direction that has the potential of being a very slippery slope for our democracy and our freedom at large: By giving our President, who ever he is or will be, a part of what is in a tyrannical dictator's arsenal: The power to choose who gets to go free (who is "with us") and who gets to be jailed for speaking their mind (who is "against us").

We have become a bit like that which we sought to fight. We have stared ourselves blind on our brothers shadow and therefore it has shown itself in part right here in our own everyday reality. In our fearful projections we have assimilated parts of that which we swore to fight. Like the "family values" politician who is caught in a bathroom stall seeking seedy pleasures, like the peace activist who bombs car lots at night, or like the born-again preacher who is discovered to be frequenting the whorehouse, we have found in ourselves part of that which we sought to eradicate.

The NDAA is now the law of the land. Signed, sealed and delivered - and it is now ours! There is a small group of bipartisan senators that are suggesting that we change the language of the NDAA to exclude American citizens. If you have not done so yet, please support this initiative.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Due Process - President Obama does not think it is that important. Do you?

      It is amazing to me, how quickly things are moving. A few days ago we were gathering signatures to urge President Obama to veto the sections in the Defense Authorization Act. Especially the sections that cemented the insidious and vague lanugage left over from the Patriot Act about indefinitely detaining American Citizens on American soil without right to due process. Well, Wednesday a little piece was added to the bill that allowed the President the discretion to determine when a situation warranted this special power (basically making the Executive Branch even more almighty), and our President has now declared he is ready to sign the bill.

What a disappointment!

     Yet there is still hope. There is a bipartisan initiative called the "Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011" that is  addressing this issue. The Senators co-sponsoring this bill are: Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Mike Lee (R-UT), Mark Udall (D-CO), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Rand Paul (R-KY), Chris Coons (D-DE), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Al Franken (D-MN), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO

     We have generated a petition to collect signatures in support of this initiative. If you wonder what this is all about - please read my last blog posting for more background on this subject.

     If you care about living in a free nation - then please know that the Bill of Rights in essence is being re-written  in front of our very eyes... If this Due Process Guarantee Act does not pass, it will be up to whatever president, who happens to be in the White House, to determine whether a certain (dissenting) group or individual is really a "terrorist organization" that wants to harm the homeland or not.

     So now is the time to wake up and smell the coffee before a current or future president has the discretion to declare groups of demonstrators, or single voices of dissent, for terrorists. He then can pack them off to detention camps a la Guantanamo Bay indefinitely and without right to due process. The Due Process Guarantee Act of 2011 will prohibit the "indefinite detention of lawful citizens."

     This should concern you greatly whether you think of yourself as understanding the dissent voiced by either Tea Partiers or Occupiers. And this should concern you greatly, if you just want to live in a nation that claims to allow free citizens the ability to express their views without fear of being hauled off to jail indefinitely!

Please go and support this bipartisan initiative here!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

O'er the land of the unfree and the home of the timid...

      Do you like this revision of the National Anthem's last line of lyrics?

     This little change is about to become reality.... well, no - of course we will keep singing about the land of the free and the home of the brave. Yet the words will be empty and meaningless rhetoric if President Obama signs into law Section 1031/1032 — renumbered as Section 1021 in the conference committee bill - as part of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act. If he does not veto this bill, it will signal the end of what is left of this notion that the United States is a place where freedom reigns.
     It is that serious!... what is at stake is what we know as part of the Bill of Rights - that we cannot be held indefintitely and without probable cause, we have the right to an attorney and to a trial by a jury of our peers. The bill that is now passed by both House and Senate will effectively allow our government, military or a police force to arrest any of us, at any time, anywhere and for any reason! The government or the military can hold any American citizen on American soil indefintiely without the right to an attorney, or to be charged and tried in front of a jury .....

     Does this sound free to you?

     So let's say you are part of a movement or group, whether Tea Party or Occupy, and your viewpoints differ from those of the administration's. You assemble peacefully - and protest. Someone is "planted" or trouble brews, and let's say someone throws a stone at a shop window. Now under this new bill - this can be construed and interpreted as a terrorist act - and because it is worded very loosely, your entire group could be labeled as displaying actions that are threatening to the United States. So our government or military could label your group as a National Defense liability. The powers that be could claim that your group (and I quote this piece of legislation)“supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners.” And so any cause you might be trying to further, be it the right to bear arms or to get the money out of politics, could be slanted, diverted and interpreted to be a potential terrorist act, and you could end up in jail. Entire groups could be unjustly labeled as sympathisers with "enemies of America," and end up in internment camps. Since no trial would be needed, and since there would be no right to an attorney - how would you be able to prove that you were NOT a terrorist?

     Does this sound like home of the brave to you?

     How would this impact your willingness to be any kind of protester of the status quo? How could this possibly affect your desire to assemble peaceably to let your views be heard? Would the threat of being placed in a place that resembles Guantanamo without rights and indefinitely possibly make you think twice before you let your voice be heard?

     Would you be intimidated and worry about the lives of those you love, if you suddenly disappeared? Land of the free - home of the brave no more for sure!!

     Obama is currently weighing whether he can sign this bill including these sections or not. As a Constitutional teacher and expert, he is intimately familiar with the implications. There is nobody, who can say he doesn't understand the stakes. So President Obama, where are your convictions? Since both the politicians of the House and the Senate have signed on to this shameless legislation - can you "man up" and show some backbone?

     And where are we the people?

It seems we are eerily silent. The media have been strangely silent about this too. Where is the outrage?

     I believe we are so mired in "noise" from watching the latest soap opera, the latest reality show, the latest gossip, the latest bet between Romney and Perry..... We are distracted by bogus attempts to pit us up against each other. American people against American people.... Whether you call yourself red, blue, black, yellow, purple.... this is all a country of Americans!

     Come on... this is way too important. Are we to continue acting like easily distracted children, who take delight in schoolyard bullying of those who look, think or appear different from us? Are we going to continue our little game of "us versus them"? What do we gain from that? Little easy victories that make us feel "better than the other guys"? And in the meantime the noose is being tightened around the neck of our democracy. The fabric of the Constitution is being undermined in front of our Kardashian watching eyes. While we are debating whether Angelina Jolie is getting too skinny, and we are stuffing our trunks with stuff we don't need, the very fabric of what it means to be an American is at risk of being irrepairably damaged.

     What I want for Christmas is a President who is able to finally draw a line in the sand! A country that cares enough about its future, and its past, to know that it is now - right here in the present time - that the fate of our collective destiny as a country is being charted....

      So it is time to wake up! People of America - it is time to see beyond the celebrity headlines and the talking heads talking trash!  If there ever was a time to call the White House and let your voice be heard - it is now.... If there ever was a time to call your friends and talk about this piece of legislation, and what it means for you as an American and your freedom - it is now... If there ever was a time to look beyond the party lines and the perceived separations between us as Americans - it is now! One thing should be crystal clear to us all: If we keep fighting the little partisan fights that keep separating us, we will miss the boat on the big and really important stuff. And this is it!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Afraid of the Dark?

I wonder how many of us have had this sense of fearfulness when we find ourselves in dark rooms because of a power outage, have our car break down on an unlit road, or simply wake up at night and look into the unknown. I would guess most of us at least at some time have experienced this sense that when we cannot see what is around us, we feel insecure.

Humans like to see what is around them so they can orient themselves. We want explanations so we can label and explain things - so we can anticipate what to expect.

When I take my morning walk and look around me, I delight in all the beauty around me; flowers, trees, birds chirping, above me expansive never-ending blue sky. And then I think that really, the expansive blue sky is just a limited view, since our atmosphere allows only certain wavelengths of light to come through . In daylight we see only what is in essence an illusion above us.

At night we have the illusion pulled away - no longer seeing the projection of our atmosphere above us. On a cloudless night we can see - truly see into All That Is! The Universe opens up for us and displays itself in all its glory. In the darkness we really get a much better and more comprehensive view of what is all around us!

This kind of paradox boggles the mind. In the dark we actually see clearer than we do in the limited reality of daylight.

Scientists are finding that what is visible to us, around us and in all of the Universe - all we have ever measured with the finest of our human technology is only a small fraction of what "is". About 5%. So 95% of what "is" cannot be seen or directly measured. It is so-called Dark Matter and Dark Energy. And this "darkness" is not "nothing". It has distinct properties that can be observed. Dark Energy affects the expansion of the Universe- yet most of what we know about this dark reality all around us is and remains a mystery.
"Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing." (E. A. Poe, The Raven)

This is what we do. We fear that which we cannot see, cannot measure, cannot fathom. This is embedded in human consciousness. From when we were cave dwellers to our now "advanced" state of understanding: We fear that which we do not understand. That which eludes our comprehension. That which we cannot see or measure quantifiably.

What would happen if we started accepting this state of "unknowing"? What would happen to us if we did not attempt to label, seek to control and always want to "understand" everything? What would living in the "Mystery" look and feel like? How could "I don't know" sometimes be a much more informed answer than the absolute certainty we tend to express and certainly see expressed by both politicians and other preachers?
What would be our Truth? How comfortable would we be "fumbling in the dark?"

There is a great deal of mystery around us. NASA is even starting to sound like the Religious Mystics of all time. Indeed it seems that the more science discovers the more the mystery continues.

What happens when we stop seeing our lives on the basis of the human projection and restriction of the "limitless blue sky". Might there be much beauty and meaning missed when we fear the unknown - when we cower in fear, hiding from the unknown expressed in the darkness?

To accept that which we do not understand and that we do not know the intricacies and the true magnitude all around us, might just be the first step. As Alistair Sim as Scrooge elaborates a bit on the original Dickens text in a Christmas Carol: "I don't know anything, I never did know anything, but now I know that I don't know." Might Scrooge's transformation from control freak to living fully in the infinite possibilities just set such an example for us all? Scrooge Wakes on Christmas Morning (go to minute 2:30)

To not fear the unknown in us and around us might be an important start. To dance with the possibilities. To allow the mystery to be a part of our awareness. This is not an invitation to leave our senses, values, morals and our critical thinking skills behind. Quite on the contrary: What if the paradoxical is the new reality? What if the greatest enlightenment truly is to be found in the unknown? What if life begins to unfold most meaningfully when we allow the mystery to inform our everyday reality? When we allow our faculty of understanding and comprehension to go as far as it will go, and then allow the mystery of the "unknowing" to take us into a place of curiosity, rather than to that place fear of that which we do not understand.

Maybe when we stop labeling that which we do not understand as "dangerous" or "bad" - we might discover that just as the blue sky is a limited projection - the darkness of space is simply an expression of the unknown. The mystery continues - and if we stop fearing it - maybe we will find that we can learn from it, be part of it, and ultimately like Scrooge be transformed by it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Evil Personified

I have to tell you, I struggle with the glee and the dancing in the streets, because our military have managed to kill yet another human being. A high profile one, who was himself responsible for thousands of innocent civilian deaths, yet nonetheless a fellow human being.

It seems so barbaric. Are we no better than the people in the streets in the Middle East who danced and rejoiced after the tragedy on 9/11? Are we just as simple-minded? Are we just as caught up in a game of Old Testament justice (an eye for an eye). Or a Darwinian play of who is the strongest? Smartest? Mightiest?

And then I see the joy in the eyes of the students who their entire aware life have lived with Osama Bin Laden as the personification of Evil. And I realize that there is a deeply felt archetypal component to this. By killing Osama bin Laden, we killed the symbol of Evil. Just like when Hitler perished - it seemed like it was Evil personified that died.

So Osama has become a symbol. Just like Bush and now Obama have been and still are symbols of Evil to many in Iraq and Afghanistan because of the deaths to many civilians caused by the wars there.

Maybe the battle between Good and Evil rages on in our psyches independently of who we as societies project these qualities on. Maybe personifying Good and Evil is politically expedient and a powerful rallying tool.

Archetypal forces continue to be forceful fields of gravity. The more we close our eyes to our own shadows and our own "inner Hitlers", we will continue to project them out in the world as personified Evils. Someday, maybe politically expedient rallying tools will be constructive and responsive rather than destructive and reactive.

In the meantime, justice will continue to be played out in the interactions between us. I long for the day, where justice is as much an inner guiding principle as one that is projected out in the world, symbolized by other human beings.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The more information we have the better, right?

In a world of unlimited information at our fingertips, we should be the able to make informed decisions at a drop of a hat. We are able to google anything and learn all we ever wanted (or never wanted) to know about anything or anybody. We can wiki this and google that - cnn, facebook, huffpost, foxnews, tweet, blog and bing our way through the questions of the day.

So why is it that we often find ourselves confused and filled with a powerless sense of ever-present anxiety?

Well, new research points to the fact that as the information load increases so does activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. This is the area of the brain where decisions are made - and also the area that controls our emotions. And at a certain point, as information keeps streaming in, this area gets overloaded. When inundated with a steady stream of information, the activity in the DP Cortex suddenly drops! This means that our emotions are no longer in check. As information keeps streaming in, so do feelings of worry and doubt. The research also found that along with the increased level of anxiety, our ability to make decisions disappears or gets reduced significantly. As a result we cannot make up our minds or make decisions. Instead of being level headed and clear minded, we get irritated and feel like we are in a fog of confusion. We might feel overwhelmed and just want to escape. So here we are: Highly emotionally charged people incapable of making an independent choice! 

We, the people of the internet age, have become people unable to make up our minds and therefore desperately clinging to what we thought we knew!

Of course it is great to have a tool like the internet at our disposal! Doing research is infinitely easier and more convenient. It can help us gather information and make informed choices. However research shows that there is a reason to be aware that too much information or rather too much ongoing and constant information can create a sense of paralysis of our decision making abilities.

So if you find that you too are hooked on the constant stream of information, and feel a bit powerless at the complexity of it all, just know that you might benefit from slowing down once in a while and smell something other than the electronics!

Out there on the other side of our screens something real is taking place. Something that might help make it easier for us to make up our minds and clear the sense of helplessness. Something that might help us connect to our own authenticity! I know that a visit to nature outside in quiet contemplation or a few yoga poses do more to aid my wellbeing than any google search on 'wellness'. Could it be that I might be able to make up my mind about all those things on my lists if, after doing thorough research, I stop the flow of information and simply look into my heart and soul for the answers? 

I'm going to give it a try! Please consider joining me in getting away from the information barrage of TV and internet a little bit more than you otherwise would each day...  let's take small unscheduled trips outside, take a few extra deep breaths, feel the air around us, the ground below us. Let us grab the opportunity to let go of the constant chatter. And maybe right there in the stillness around us are the answers we were looking for all along.