One of the systems we’re part of, of course, is the political system. We may wish we weren’t part of it often, but we are. And all of those people playing with the power of the medium of politics, and its effect on the media and its effect on collective human consciousness, and those people that are addicted to power are there because of us. It boils down to that. That we create a field in which they can play with power, and that power is more or less compassionate. And the political system is a system in which as long as you have a passport, you are a member of it whether you like it or not. You’re part of a government, and your not voting is voting. So there’s no way out. You can’t say, “I’m not going to have anything to do with politics.” You can say it, but you’ve got to watch where you’re saying it from. You may say, “I’m not going to get involved with politics because I am so busy with something else that I think is my dominant theme, and I’ll vote, but I’m not going to put my time into campaigning for candidates and things like that, or issues, because my energies are best used here.” That’s fine. If you’ve thought it through and felt that way and can look somebody in the eye and say, “This is the way it is.” If you’re saying, “I’m not having anything to do with politics because it’s too dirty and because I don’t approve of it,”. Forget it – you are abdicating your responsibility to society. It’s as simple as that.
We’re at an interesting moment within the shift of collective consciousness, specifically around the way in which we’re integrating the changes in power structures. Now business holds sway over government, over religion, in terms of social power. And business is like pirates on the high seas – the question is, do you control it from the outside, or does it control itself? Does the whole process have a meta-game that’s controlling itself, and can you stand back far enough to see how it’s playing out? How is the shift in collective consciousness going to evolve and what part do you play?
Part of the curriculum is looking at the systems that you are a part of and being able to say “That system needs work.” It’s important to be able to shift your game so that you’re not simply pushing the system away and saying “I don’t think about that stuff, because it’s too complicated. Let somebody else worry about it.” Because as long as you get really frustrated with Americanism, you may be standing in the way of everybody’s survival.
– Ram Dass, October, 1995