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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Thoughts on Personal Integrity

While I was at the Daily Anarchist looking at an article on a different subject, I came across a short piece by Davi Barker discussing some thoughts of his on participating in Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca). He discusses some thoughts about the Saudi regime, but also has some thoughts on personal integrity. He writes:
Before I left, my consciousness was centered around maintaining my own integrity along the journey. Integrity is all too cheap in this world, so cheap in fact that the public order has left almost no accommodation for it whatsoever. A person of integrity is by necessity a rebel, because one can no longer do anything, no longer travel, no longer buy or sell, so longer milk cows and drink children’s lemonade without the public order demanding that we compromise our integrity. On this journey I would contend with two bureaucracies before I would reach my destination, the TSA and the Saudi Regime.
... There is a saying of Muhammad’s that has long been my favorite which is, “The greatest jihad is proclaiming the truth in the face of a tyrant” (Tirmidhi 2174). But it has always seemed like an apparent contradiction to another of his more popular sayings that the greatest jihad is the inner struggle against the false self. During my trip it occurred to me that there is no contradiction here at all. One describes the macrocosm and the other the microcosm of the same basic struggle between truth and falsehood. Because the tyrant is a false self at large, dispelled by truth, not by force. And the false self is itself a tyrant, enslaving the true self by illusion. It forbids you from taking action, censors you from speaking out, and rules you by fear. So, the inner struggle is in reality to proclaim the truth in your own face… because your worst tyrant is you.
This has been a major change for me. Acknowledging that there is no political solution to the problem of illegitimate public order. If there is a solution to the problem of liberty and tyranny in our lives, it is a personal one. It is to act, to speak and to think with integrity. No political solution is viable. Electing a duopoly candidate is no solution. And electing a third party or independent candidate is nonviable. Democracy, and politics more generally always produces a tensegrity that must eventually collapse. Historically, tyrannical powers collapse either by over extending their military, or over printing their currency. The United States is poised for both, and any potential solution to this crash will be resisted by the powers that benefit from these policies. Candidates who propose these solutions will be marginalized. Civilians who demand these solutions with any effectiveness with be targeted. The ship is sinking. The only viable solutions are to look for a life raft, or learn to swim.

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