How interesting do you want it to be? Well, I’ll tell you, it’s going to get more interesting in just the way that it’s scary. There are changes that are happening rather rapidly, and they’re happening so rapidly you can’t quite get hold of them. There are destabilizing forces in the world you and I live in, and even our best mechanisms of denial don’t quite work so well. We sure do try, and our political figures attempt to help us try. “A little cosmetic surgery, things will be fine.” But they won’t.

In the past several decades, there has been an increasing polarization between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots.’ There is now a permanent underclass in this society that wasn’t there after WWII in the 50’s. It once appeared that the American dream was for everybody. Now if you look at who’s portrayed as the holders of the American dream, strangely enough, it has very little to do with an increasingly significant segment of our society.

This population doesn’t get the dream, and the people that don’t get it are disproportionately ethnic minorities, and the interesting question is how long are they going to sit and wait for the people that are getting the dream to get around to sharing it? The whole mentality of trickle down theory… it didn’t quite trickle down through the greed of the ‘haves’ because the ‘haves’ kept placing value on more and more. “More is better,” and “Enough is NEVER enough.”

If this is all painful to you and scary, great, because that’s what our business is today. Our business is saying, “In the midst of all of this, where can we stand as human beings? What is our work inside of ourselves?”

Denial is not good enough. We become conspirators in making it worse.

You know what happens when things get like they’re getting, when it’s becoming increasingly destabilized? In the late 60’s we had the Vietnam and Anti-Vietnam forces in this culture that were destabilizing. What happens in the presence of that destabilization, where there is human unconsciousness is that people get frightened, and when they get frightened, they use certain mechanisms; they go into denial, they become more fundamentalist; they try to find values they can hold onto, to ward off evil. They cling and become more ultra-nationalist. There’s more ethnic prejudice, there’s more racial prejudice and anti-semitism. It all increases, because this fear isn’t just in us, this is a worldwide thing.

These changes are happening very rapidly, and they are destabilizing changes. People respond with fear, and the question we must ask ourselves today is, “Is there any place you can stand inside yourself where you don’t freak out, where you can be quiet enough to hear the predicament and find a way to act in a way that is at least not contributing to the further destabilization?” That’s a fair request.


-Ram Dass