The Original Great Mother Tradition
Mother Worship

MatriTalks 26

THE AMERICAN DREAM

Questions & Answers
with
Han Marie Stiekema Sermes

Q. How would be, with regard to what you have said in our last session, your analysis of American society?

A. The best analysis of American society usually comes from Americans themselves. Unfortunately, their opinions and conclusions are not always fairly published, while on the other hand, large parts of the population don't seem to be interested in hearing those opinions either.

Q.  Is this the reason, why you have been choosing this subject today?

A. As we shall see in the course of this talk, it is because of the Compassion of the Great Mother Herself, that I feel the need to speak out. Maybe these things have already been said by others. That's okay. It is just about expressing the Concern of the Mother, which is emphasized here. Moreover, I want to talk about the main underlying mechanism, the determining factor, through which American society can be better understood. It purposely leaves aside outstanding persons and their achievements. Although being highly regarded (T.Jefferson, T.S.Elliott, R.W.Emerson, Walt Whitman, the Quakers, D.H.Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, M.L.King and many others) - often persons, who really "made a difference" - they simply have had enough attention elsewhere. The seriousness of the situation we are in collectively, makes it necessary to reveal issues, that generally remain hidden.

Q. So, how would you assess the situation?

A. In order to be able to understand the core problem of America, we have to go back to where it all started. As you know the US was founded by the "Pilgrim Fathers", a group of religious European people, that tried to escape from persecution. To them America was the land, in which they could freely practice their faith. However, in doing so, they not only got rid of their oppressors, but also of the ties and bonds of social life. They became uprooted, being "thrown upon themselves". The only "thing" left was "their God".

Q.  "Uprooted" means: "life without a context?"

A. The difference between America and the rest of the world, is that the latter has a socio-cultural context, that links the past with the present. However distorted, there is always an awareness of a framework in which you live, the recognition of the fact, that you share life with others. America on the other hand is the only country in the world with the (self-centered, isolated) ego as a starting point.*

* Local community initiatives try to balance this. Very often these projects are based on an admirable amount of selflessness, enthousiasm, compassion and creativity. They are an example to the rest of the world, especially Europe.

Q. So the irony is, that what these founders experienced as "freedom", in fact was equal to a condition of being uprooted?

A. If you are not hindered by social conventions anymore, freedom becomes the freedom to do whatever you like. The only restriction is "not to hinder the freedom of others". Obviously, the Fathers at first were enjoying the "positive" part of it. Its shadow part popped up soon after, though.

Q. The previous would not be your definition of freedom, I presume?

A. The underlying mechanism is decisive. "Being thrown upon yourself" actually means "being cut off from reality". You live in your own world only, identified with your own personal self-image, your own personal needs, desires and ambitions, hence self-centered. You are an island in the ocean of life. It is the condition we are calling "ego". This being isolated, creates existential fear. Actually, ego is fear. "Freedom" and fear are becoming two sides of the same coin. Usually, the freedom aspect is emphasized. What is the value of a freedom, which, as its underlying current has fear as its counterpart, though? With every increase of freedom fear grows accordingly. It is a vicious circle, from which no escape seems to be possible. Thus, to be freed of all ties and "the pursue of (personal) happiness" have shown to create unexpected "side-effects".

Q. Indeed, it seems to me, that freedom and fear cannot go together. Deep down they are excluding each other.

A. The problem is, that this fear is structural. It is the indestructible shadow part of the American psyche. Eventually, this fear turns out to be the (masculine) ego-angst of falling back into the "chaotic condition" of the primordial realm of the womb; his angst is "fear of Nothingness"*. This condition is the foundation of the entire culture. Needless to say, that you will meet a couple of problems on your way.

*See also: "Fear of Nothingness"

Q. Like?

A. Ego-formation is a reaction against the angst of falling back into the womb. The greatest danger for an isolated, alienated, uprooted ego is to be swallowed by the "forces of darkness". This has to be avoided at all costs. Hence, the obsession of an entire culture with "looking forward", "progress", "expansion", "power", "future", "science" and "technology" (e.g. "science fiction"). The entire culture based on the (unconscious) attempt to avoid angst: drowning fear through virtues like "belief", "hope", "vision", "trust", "strength" and "dream". What you see is, that Americans continuously want to make themselves believe, rather than "simply" believing. They - the virtues - serve the purpose of overcompensation, hence, they have to be compulsively repeated, like a mantra. In this context "relaxation" becomes very dangerous. By relaxing you may lose the "control of your life", which means nothing else, than fear of "disintegrating".

Q. What about "being strong", another dominating phenomenon?

A. "To be strong" is another obsession with the same existential concern. You cannot allow yourself to be vulnerable or "weak", because then you may also become overpowered by unconsciousness (e.g. by others....). The consequence is a nation split up in "winners and loosers". Not to be confronted by fear expresses itself in hyperactivity, ranging from relentless activity in sports, fitness, entertainment, work and the economy to religion*, the media, science, technology and politics. It creates a kind of (artificial) intensity, for which it used to be envied for. The obsession with (national) "security", together with the justification to protect it "by every means", can be explained by it. However, this is only the surface. The reality behind it is, that it is an overcompensation for an (unconscious) weakness within.

Q. Becoming aware of e.g. accepting your weakness, is that it?

A.  Inner balance is all about accepting opposites. This is exactly what American society is not able to. It says that you cannot be strong and weak, a winner and a loser, active and passive, powerful and powerless simultaneously, no, in order to "survive" (...) you have to identify with only one aspect of life, at the expense of the other. The other part is going to be suppressed e.g. projected in other people. Unfortunately, it is the cause of American indifference toward the weak, the poor and the helpless. American life is a desperate struggle against its own shadow.  

Q. Considering the fact, that Americans are strong believers, what is the role of religion?

A. Established religion is supporting the ego, rather than breaking it down. The irony is this. Ego is equal to fear of nothingness. The mechanism of (unconscious) identification serves the purpose not to be confronted with the Essence of the Transcendence. Since God is ultimately the Divine Abyss, religion is an invocation to avoid direct contact with God.....Hence, overcoming your existential fear is the most crucial task in life.

* See: "Fear of Nothingness".

Q. What about the idealism of American culture? Couldn't that compensate the imbalance?

A. Originally, the Fathers obviously shared a great deal of idealism. To them (the European) reality was something they wanted to escape from. Their harsh life found its counterpart in what would become "The American Dream", a religiously motivated "vision" of a future society. Very soon American daily life showed its own difficulties though. It increasingly centered around "survival", "making your own living" e.g. becoming rich. The laws of capitalism - profit, accumulation, exploitation - started dominating society. Reason, why some groups started clinging to their "Dream" (of an ideal society) even stronger. In practice the gap between "vision" and "reality" was widening all the time. While in the beginning, the "Great Vision" at least had a chance of becoming the vehicle for real change, in the course of time, it got the opposite function: that of escaping into a dream world. Incentives about "changing society" are always compulsively future-oriented, hardly focused on the HereNow, a hollow ritual really. Real change it is not a matter of yet dreaming another "Dream" though. What has to save America is getting "Vision" and "reality" together.  

Q. Despite the renowned think thanks, the high quality of science and philosophy and the world famous universities?

A. This is also true with regard to American (political) philosophy, for instance. It is largely idealistic, e.g. limits itself to the superstructure of society (culture, politics, philosophy), while keeping the underlying socio-economic reality untouched, hence making a woolly impression, lacking roots. They constantly beat about the bush. "Analysis" is often reduced to "visions" only. A structural analysis of capitalism seems to be surrounded by a serious taboo. Therefore, "vision" and "reality" never meet.

Q. Despite the well-known altruism of countless (rich) Americans, who make extensive donations to charities?

A. The strong (Calvinist) conscience used to be the cause of the fact, that deep down one feels guilty about its self-centeredness, egoism, greed and the crimes that are committed. Don't forget, that the foundation of American society is built on the destruction of millions of native inhabitants. That is a.o. the reason, why many members of the "old guard" at the end of their lives - after first having been ruthless moneymakers -  used to become philanthropies. It is a key phenomenon of Western culture. At the surface talking about freedom, democracy and tolerance, while at a deeper layer being ruled by the laws of the jungle though, consisting of ruthless egoism, greed, competition and exploitation.

Q. Is it also the fear of losing what has been gained?

A. The ego has no choice, but building its existence on "having". Lacking Being, which would imply going back - surrendering - to the Source (which would trigger angst), it prevents to finding fulfillment within. Hence, it started clinging to external achievements, becoming obsessed by profit and accumulation. What you gain you may also lose though. It is giving rise to secondary fears, that of losing what you have. Everything around you becomes a threat to you. It is the threat, that "they" are taking all your things away from you. Obviously, the Third World as a whole poses such a threat. Hence, the need for controlling (and manipulating) the entire world (obviously also in order to secure the US with resources for its all-consuming lifestyle). The seriousness of the (felt) threat is underlined by the fact, that even "God" has to serve as the "protector" of the "American Way of Life". In America religion generally has become a ritual to support, maintain and extend a highly materialistic lifestyle.*

* In America there has been always a subculture, in which values like spiritual life, community, environmental concern, feminism and compassion were (are) greatly cherished. They are an example to the rest of the world. Nowadays, with the overall disaster rapidly increasing, again people, groups and organizations emerge, striving for "a better world", a very hopeful development indeed.

Q. Why does this worries the rest of the world?

A. If material wealth is the only thing you have, you build your entire existence around it. Your identity is depending on it. If you would take it away, the entire psyche implodes. That's why they have to compulsively dominate the entire world. "New markets" and "resources" are of vital interest to maintain a highly addicted lifestyle. Any hitch in the supply makes them extremely nervous. It is this collective self-addiction ("mega-machine"), that poses a great threat to world peace, a durable environment and the survival of local communities and cultures, nay of the entire planet.

Q.  The Dream turning into a Nightmare?

A. It is not accidental, that at a time in which the Ego-Catastrophe with its accumulation on the one hand and the deprivation on the other becomes increasingly visible, the Mother has revealed Herself to mankind. The insight of the Ultimate being a Vacuum, a Cosmic Womb in Which the ego has the opportunity to die in order to be reborn as the True Self, is great news. It is the first time in history, that mankind has a chance of overcoming its existential fear. Getting rid of the ego or at least the extremes of it is a "sine qua non" to a new balance, both individually and collectively.

Q. Does She have a special message for America?

A. At least it seemed to the Great Mother, that at the moment the situation is so critical, that She decided to intervene with earthly affairs. Aren't we indeed becoming increasingly helpless to solve the problems we have inflicted upon ourselves and our environment? The Mother first "goes there", where She is most needed. She knows the deep desperation Americans are in nowadays. Hence, Her Compassion with America. This time the Intervention of the Ultimate will be on Her terms though. She is incorruptible. She will only help you, if you are willing to help yourself. Being the Supreme Healer She immediately goes to the core of the problem.

Q. Which is?

A. First of all, you have to courageously face your core problem, realizing the magnitude of it. It leads to the determination to solving it, making it an utmost priority. However, this is soon followed by the recognition of the fact, that your ego is not able to solve it. Aren't the problems of the world not increasingly uncontrollable? You then call in the help of the Ultimate. What we need is a world based on inclusiveness, wholeness, cooperation, commitment, respect and compassion, rather than individualism, materialism, accumulation, exploitation and injustice. It is then, that you understand, that such a world needs a new "concept" of the Divine, a more inclusive one than hitherto known. A concept, that is more close to Reality. This turns out to be the Great Mother. She is the Cosmic Womb, the Bottomless Ground of existence, in Which everything is being transformed.

Q. What would you like to tell mankind?

A. We are at a turning point, in which the Mother asks us to trustfully surrender to Her, in order to become reborn. Thus "throw yourself into Her arms" and you will be saved. The Mother is granting you absolute security. "Come all ye unto Me, I am the All-Embracing One".*

* The only thing She takes from you is your ego....    

Q.  Problem solved?

A. In these times of decay the direction of culture is to return to the Source. Intelligent people cooperate with this Cosmic Force. The number of conscious people is rapidly growing. At the same time the Mother is ready for America and America I am sure, is ready for the Mother. Surrendering to Her is indeed the most fundamental step. From the first moment, you are actually taking refuge in Her, your "fear of Nothingness" will be melting away. Contrary to what the "fathers" tried to make believe you, Nothingness (Emptiness) is not that devouring monster, but proves to be the Cosmic Womb, the Vessel of Regeneration, in Which death is turned into rebirth. Consciously surrendering to Her, means "dying to the old", getting rid of all your fear, obsessions and addictions. The result is a New Self, one that will be spreading its quality all-around. It is the beginning of the Transformation of Self and Society. 

Q. In fact, this is all about a new concept of freedom?! 

A. Only after getting rid of your innermost (existential) fear and after a New Self is born, freedom is perceived as freedom from yourself (not for yourself e.g. the ego),, resulting in being available to others. However liberated, this New Self is still living without a meaningful context, though (...). This insight is crucial for the Transformation of Self and Society, in particular for the American situation. Wasn't the alienation of the self from its context, not its core problem? The cycle may become closed now. It consists of subsequently fitting in into the Whole once again, e.g. in "Heaven, earth and the (new) community".

Q. Shifting from the spiritual to the political?

A. Well, it will be clear, that the entire society has to become rebuilt. This is not going to work, if you want to do it by yourself only. You (the ego!) simply lack the insight, the inspiration and the power. Therefore, you have to go back to the Source all the time. You have to "cooperate with the Mother's directives". Thus, the work is including the following. You'll start with taking refuge in the Mother, the Latter bestowing insight, love and strength upon you.

Q. Subsequently?

A. Subsequently the renewed Self is translating Her Gifts into A New World View, based on inclusiveness.  A new set of values and norms will be coming out of that process. This in turn becomes your tool for building A New Community as societies' new foundation. This Community is sacred, since it is reflecting the "Web of Life", which is the Material Body of the Great Mother. Healing Her Body is where it is all about.

When we start healing Her Body, She will be starting to heal us.

The Mother embraces us all, without exception.

Praise the Mother! 

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Last revising: 02/07/10