Increasingly it has become evident to me that the point of much of politics - and politicking - is lost in the sound and the fury of the arguments and the ideologies butting heads. Why all this noise? Why all this passion, spit, spite, sloganeering, money being thrown down black holes? What is the ultimate concern here? Is it simply to win or is it something more dark and terrible: to simply keep the noise going, to declare "I rant, therefore I am"? Or is there something else at stake at the end of all this?

Sacred_Chao_69 

Discordianism teaches us the great lesson: ordo ab chao. Order out of chaos. 

I believe we lose sight of why we fight, and of the fact that in the end we all want essentially the same thing: the means to simply enjoy life, to find meaning in what drives us to get out of bed each morning.

The ultimate concern, then, perhaps can be distilled down to one word: Love.

Spoke01_500t 

Judaism and Taoism both teach us that without many spokes there is no wheel.

Love. 

That's ONE word.

Gravity (symbolized by the apple): One word.

Love and gravity are inseparable. They are One, interchangeable, and either word one uses, it is what holds together the yin and the yang, the spokes that form the wheel. 

Do we love the argument? Do we love power? Do we love justice? Do we love nature? Do we love one another? Does anyone love us?

I was recently inspired to illustrate a point to a dear friend experiencing difficult times, by repeating the following story from the Sufi:

A young boy is sent off to school. He begins well enough, with the first lesson, along with the other children, learning the first and most basic lesson: the first number, the basis of all else, the way to write the straight line, the figure One. 

At that point the trouble began, because the boy continued to write the number One over and over, as the rest of the class progressed on through the other numbers and then combinations of numbers.

The boys' teacher became frustrated and asked him why he wouldn't move along with the rest of the class to the other numbers, and the boy replied "Because I have not yet mastered the One. When I do I will find the others easy, I am sure."

The teacher finally brought this problem to the attention of the boy's parents, suggesting that perhaps there was something wrong with the boy, pointing to his head and rolling his eyes. The parents were alarmed, and discussed the problem with the boy. 

"Why won't you do the work the other children are doing?"  

"Because I have not yet mastered the One," the boy replied. When I do I will take up the other numbers.

Eventually, needless to say, the boy was left behind, working alone in a corner on the most basic, fundamental, simple task while the others were progressing in a most satisfactory way. The teacher went to the parents again, this time stating in no uncertain terms "I believe the boy is an idiot and unteachable."

The parents that night confronted the boy, telling him they were taking him out of school because he had become a disgrace to his family. The boy was terribly saddened and ran away from home to live in the wild, because he had displeased his parents. Still, as he slept on the ground, and by day ate leaves and insects, he continued to practice the One.

After a long time, the boy returned to his old school, and when he saw his teacher he said "I think I have learned it. See if I have. Shall I write on this wall?"

And when he made his sign the wall split in two. 

"In hoc signo vinces." By this sign I conquer.

The goal of the art of politics is to refine governance of society so that the ultimate concern, the greatest good, may be realized. When that has happened, we will have entered the nearest thing to Utopia, a time and place where we can shut out the noise and let in only the life, light and love that could someday consume our time and energies while simultaneously fueling them.

Otherwise we are lost in the minutiae of gathering various Ones into countless, pointless combinations, caught up in the chaos. But when One and One become One, the power of One, of unity, of one unit, is power multiplied in quantum fashion, and out of the chaos we find order.

Politics, then, might ultimately lead us to some more meaningful level of the One, reduced to its simplest terms: One and One becoming one. Out of many, One. Learning to make the sign that will split the wall that separates us, living in that electrifying moment when we simultaneously make our sign and One and One are no longer two, but become One.

This is how I learned to understand One, to make my sign, to split the wall that separates one from another. It seems, in fact, that the very process that drives us crazy, politics, is also the thing that brings us back to that wall that is aching to be conquered by that sign, that One and One become One. 

Oddly, politics was the path that led me to the ultimate concern of politics: to live life and to live it more fully.  I've been practicing the one. I think I have learned it. See if I have. Shall I write it here on this wall?

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Comment by Christopher S. Dunn on June 28, 2012 at 6:58am

I have marveled at the chaotic process we call politics.  I am amazed that anyone could say, "I hate politics, so I just stay out of it," while at the same time, these same people complain that politics is ruining everything in their lives.  I wonder how it is that people somehow convince themselves that simply taking sides and promoting that one spoke only is somehow considered politics?

I agree, politics is really the process whereby people engage in discussion, ideas and suggestions in order to promote the common good.  There can be no singular winner without that it destroys the entire process of Oneness that such politics is intended to be in the first place.  If one is elevated above all others, then there are no spokes, just a line.

The proof that this line is not mastered is that it does not split the wall, removing the divide, it serves only to further distance that one from all the other ones.

I appreciate the act of bringing a Zen outlook into this process.  Hopefully, someday, someone will master that One.

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