TEXT: “I See Nothing as It Is Now“
Today, we have reached Lesson Nine in A Course in Miracles’ Workbook for Students. It reads, “I see nothing as it is now.”
The lesson addresses the fact that most of us are living in the past. So, we end up with a world view dictated by ideas and understandings that my wife, Peggy, keeps dismissing as “so 20th century.”
For those committed to social justice, such dated concepts and explanations have to do with patriotism, but also with Jesus whose voice is centralized in A Course in Miracles.
As for outdated patriotism, we continue to live as though the U.S. were not the failed state that it is – as though, for instance, China’s system were not proving much more efficient in providing for its people and responding to emergencies such as COVID-19. China has been spectacular in eliminating grinding poverty.
Meanwhile, the failed nature of the U.S. system is shown by its systemic gridlock. It simply cannot make the decisions that must be taken even to deal with basic health care. For instance, with a population of just over 300 million, America has lost over 800,000 to COVID-19. At the same time, with a population four times larger, China has lost fewer than 5,000 to the pandemic.
Even more basically, the U.S. economy and political system are far less efficient than China’s.
Here in the United States, we’ve become dependent not on producing goods and services, but on the financial sector – on investments, banking, debt, stocks, and bonds. As economist Michael Hudson keeps pointing out, these sectors are unproductive and parasitic. They represent overhead rather than productive income.
By contrast, China has a far healthier economic system that actually provides manufacturing jobs and a rising standard of living for its people. In our globalized economy, that’s possible, because industries are drawn to China by wages that are much lower than in the U.S.
Yet, even with low wages, the Chinese working class is prospering, because of the country’s centralized economy that provides health care gratis and free education for its people along with subsidized housing, food and transportation. Those “social wages” constitute the equivalent of thousands of extra dollars added to each month’s paycheck for Chinese workers.
Besides that, the nationalized Chinese banking system (absent the profit motive) can easily remedy any debt problems by simply erasing debts should any sector develop problems.
As a result of all this, catching up with China will be virtually impossible for the United States as long it continues embracing the neo-liberal capitalist model. For one thing, that arrangement finds it unthinkable to engage in long-term planning; it can’t see beyond projected returns on a quarterly basis. Among other liabilities, that makes it impossible, for example to cope with climate change, that demands anticipating weather events decades from now.
In fact, to actually compete with the centrally planned elements of China’s economy, the U.S. would have to follow systemic suit. However, America’s programs of privatization, deregulation and tax reduction has the country moving in the exact opposite direction.
Course correction would have to include the ideologically “impossible” steps of taming of wage spirals by:
- Taking de facto central planning away from Wall Street and returning it into the hands of elected government officials
- Raising taxes on the 1%
- Nationalizing the banking system
- Enacting a Green New Deal to provide productive, environment-saving jobs for the unemployed and under-employed
- Providing free tuition for all post-secondary students
- Forgiving the $1.5 trillion that students still owe for their educations, thus freeing them to actually buy homes, automobiles and other necessities
- Nationalizing health care thus relieving both employers and employees from the burden of meeting the costs of medical treatment and pharmaceuticals
The sad truth however is that without some apocalyptic catastrophe and without transcending our hamstrung two-party system, the chances of taking such measures (even if Democrats were to retain control of both houses of Congress) are nil. Consequently, China will continue to outstrip the United States economically and socially. Simply put, its system is more flexible than the neo-liberal model.
In today’s 9th lesson in A Course in Miracles, Jesus’ voice is once again addressed specifically to North Americans. He calls us to depart from the vision promulgated by the propaganda of our cave-prison. His message suggests for instance that China (and other socialist countries such as Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela) are not our inveterate enemies. According to A Course in Miracles, no one is our enemy. No one is attacking us. There is really only one of us here. The Chinese are our sisters and brothers. There is no distinction between them and us.
Today’s lesson tells us that understanding this simple idea (as difficult as it might be to accept) “is a prerequisite for undoing your false ideas.” It is necessary to clear the mind of its “debris that darkens it.”
So, today during your practice periods as you watch the news that touches our country’s “official enemies,” say to yourself:
I do not see China as it is now.
I do not see Russia as it is now.
I do not see Venezuela as it is now.
I do not see Nicaragua as it is now.
I do not see North Korea as it is now.
I do not see Cuba as it is now.
See if you can remember to repeat this exercise three or four times during the day.