Last night I was watching the presidential debate, and my overall impression was that we are lacking a visionary leader. There is talk of economy, finances, getting people jobs – but there is no discussion of bringing meaning and purpose to people’s lives. There was an excitement in the 2008 elections that is now absent. I admire President Obama, and I think he is a very intelligent man. I wish he could bring more eloquence to his explanations about the need for excellent health-care for all Americans and to the need for sustainable energy sources for our future. It seemed during the debate that there were opportunities to expound on these areas, but they were not sufficiently developed. The president spoke in a manner that was reasoned and logical, but the passion and drive were lacking. I understand that he is tired; being a political leader is very demanding and exhausting, I am sure.
In the area of education, President Obama mentioned bringing more math and science teachers to the school systems, in order to prepare children for jobs that may never exist. How can we know where jobs will be twenty years from now? Why can we not realize that every person is born with an innate purpose and that as a people and as a culture we should provide children in families and at school with every opportunity to discover their inborn talents and teach each child to develop his or her inner journey and vocation. Technology is not the only area requiring development. Children need exposure to art, literature, music, philosophy, poetry, and all of the disciplines. Each child should feel cherished and know that his or her vocation lies within him or herself, just waiting to be developed and shared with others. The world is constantly changing and evolving, and we need to move and change in harmony with our world. We need to communicate with ourselves, dialogue with each other as individuals, as cultures, as nations. We need to respond as souls to the world and not as greedy, disconnected egotists. We all need to have meaningful work and relationships; we all need to be connected to ourselves, our communities, our planet. This means experiencing life as a living process. Art, images, symbols, even material objects are alive when infused with active, living meaning.
It is my experience in the United States that life for many is devoid of real meaning. Those that possess material wealth try to accumulate more wealth, and those who don’t envy those who do. We distract ourselves with endless noise and entertainment, idolize pop stars, and don’t have any idea of what we are doing on this earth. It is a disturbing situation. The truth is that the path to a meaningful life is a lonely, personal path. If we are to find purpose and meaning in our lives, we need to take real risks – and not be afraid of pain and suffering. The inner life is the ultimate adventure. I have noticed that Americans are afraid to eat raw eggs, yet they constantly seek more thrills – swimming with sharks, extreme sports like bungee jumping off of high buildings…In fact, people are hungry for real experience, and they are so fearful of the same. The continuous stimulation of extreme sensations dulls the brain’s ability to feel at all. Addictive and narcissistic personality disorders abound. The spiritual is manifesting through a lot of neurotic behavior. There are answers to all of these problems. Obviously, the government cannot create a system to heal this country. Each citizen has to take it into his or her own hands to transform life as we know it. Nonetheless, I do feel that a visionary leader could provide by example by he or she living the examined life. We would all benefit from it, and our children would at last be freed from wasting their lives in pursuits that are incompatible with their true purpose.