The Psychopathology of the 2016 Election

IT’S NO SECRET that the past several decades have witnessed growing economic inequality and deepening economic insecurity for a very large section of working people both in the U.S. and other capitalist countries around the world. Yet what most analysts miss are the hidden injuries of class that become dramatically intensified when the underlying psychological and spiritual dysfunction of global capitalism interacts with economic insecurity. Right-wing, ultra-nationalist, fundamentalist, and/or racist movements gain support as more people begin to lose faith in the efficacy of democratic governments and turn to authoritarian leaders in the hope that their own fears and pain can be alleviated. This has been happening around the world, not just in the U.S. As a nonprofit we are prohibited from endorsing any political candidate or party, so the reflections here are not meant to influence your voting in 2016, but to shape an agenda for how to build a healthier and more just society in the coming decades. In his presidential campaign, Senator Bernie Sanders addressed some of these economic inequalities by advocating for New Deal-type reforms, but he shied away from any systematic critique of the capitalist order itself.

The Worldview of Tikkun and nour NSP–Network of Spiritual Progressives

The worldview of Tikkun and our NSP–Network of Spiritual Progressives

by Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor, Tikkun Magazine
We live in a world filled with loving and caring people. We all crave a world filled with love and care. Yet most of us doubt that we can experience a loving and caring world beyond our own private lives and homes. Why? Because the ethos of the capitalist marketplace, which places greatest value on money and power, has infiltrated our personal lives, shaping our unconscious and conscious beliefs about “human nature.”

In the economic marketplace we are taught to look out for ourselves, maximize our profits, and do what we need to do to get ahead, even at the cost of people we care about.

The State of the Spirit, 2011

Human beings share a deep yearning to live in communities that provide a sense of purpose to their lives. And we have an irrepressible instinct to seek freedom; creativity; artistic expression; higher and higher levels of understanding and consciousness; love and caring for others; the creation and enjoyment of beauty and pleasure; and both joyous celebration of and awe-filled responses to all the wonders of life in this universe.

The Presence of Living Organisms

It is possible that the plant as a living and vital presence responds to the warmth and radiance of the sunlight and turns toward it responsively. This interpretation, which I favor, understands the plant as a spiritual-material unity rather than reducing the plant to the materialist dimension that is visible to the detached, scientific eye.

Forgiveness

Every night since the attack on my home by right-wing Zionists, I’ve been saying a prayer of forgiveness for them. While the political meaning of that act, and of the demeaning of critics of Israel, will be explored more fully in the July/August issue of Tikkun, on the spiritual level it is very important to not let negativity, even terrorism or violence, get the upper hand by bringing us down to the same level of anger or hatred that motivates those who act violently or those who demean and attempt to delegitimate the critics of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. If we are to build a world of love, we have to constantly work against the impulse to respond to anger and hatred with our own angry or hateful response. So, every night, I work on forgiving those who have assaulted my home, those who publicly demean me or Tikkun or the NSP, and those who spread hatred against the many people in our world who legitimately critique the policies of the State of Israel toward Palestinians. It was in this context that I thought I’d post some notes taken by therapist Linda Graham at a recent weekend retreat on forgiveness conducted by Jack Kornfield and Fred Luskin.