Politics through Levels of Reality

Mark Pottenger


The U.S. legal separation of church and state does not forbid discussions of politics in church meetings, but it does support a cultural tendency to avoid such discussions.

This is my attempt to clarify how politics may be understood depending on the level of reality of the speaker.

First Reality

This level is naive about language and accepts reality second hand from authorities. This is the level of the majority of the population and the target of most political speech and advertising. Anyone operating in this level accepts the claims of whatever authorities they have accepted as legitimate. The basis for accepting an authority will usually be upbringing or a match between the label of the authority and the self-label accepted by the speaker. A first reality “liberal” will listen to “liberal” politicians, a “conservative” will listen to “conservative” politicians, a “Republican” will listen to “Republican” politicians, etc., while discounting (assigning lower trustworthiness to) any political speech from sources that don’t match their self-label.

This is the level that can accept an administration called “neoconservative” as “conservative” because the words seem to match, even though the actual actions of the neocons involve radical changes in violation of the actual meaning of “conservative”.

This is the level that can believe a negative description of the ability to learn from new data as “flip-flopping”.

This is the level that can believe a positive description of an unwillingness or inability to learn or change as “steadfastness”. (When I was growing up we had a humorous sign posted in our house: My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with facts.)

The x-bashing mentioned in more than one second Saturday session is first reality repeating of political speech that has been accepted without examination.

Second Reality

This level is capable of self-examination and is less naive about language.

Someone in second reality participating in politics will examine meanings behind labels and will examine their own assumptions and acceptances. Rather than simply accept a self-label of liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, etc., someone operating at this level will have dug deeper. This level will also look beyond words to actions in examining the desirability of any candidate or proposition.

As an example:

“I have accepted a personal core value that human survival, growth and happiness on Earth are desirable. Therefore, I support environmental regulations that increase quality of life and preserve the natural environment humans evolved in as much as possible, I support laws that preserve liberty and privacy, I oppose reckless debt-spending that will burden present and future citizens with debt, I support maintaining and increasing the separation of church and state, I support the use of birth control (which helps keep down population growth that can lead to degraded quality of life) and women’s rights to control their own bodies, etc. Because of the values I have accepted and my awareness that the current regime has consistently taken actions antithetical to my values, I will vote against the current regime.”

Third Reality

Anything I say about this level is based on speculation rather than experience since I have spent very little time here, and politics was not a focus during that little time.

Anyone operating in third reality is aware of universality, that we are not limited individuals taking unconnected actions. At this level we realize that everything is in its proper place doing its proper function. At this level one knows that spiritual DNA is expressing and that no matter how disastrous present actions seem they will eventually lead to the working out of teleology/evolution.

If one chooses to act at this level based on values accepted at earlier levels, the action will be to practice acceptance of the outcome one desires based on those accepted values.

Copyright © 2004 Mark Pottenger

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