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The President Within


The position of President of USA is seen as the most powerful position in the world. To most Americans who feel proud as Americans including through their work institutions, this is the most important aspect of that presidency.

by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam

(April 14, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I respond to the article ‘Obama's Libyan Escapade’, by Professor Andrew J. Bacevich of Boston University, published in Sri Lanka Guardian.

Professor Bacevich concludes about President Obama as follows: “Whatever his motives, by conforming to a pre-existing American penchant for using force in the Greater Middle East, this president has chosen the wrong tool. In doing so, he condemns himself and the country to persisting in the folly of his predecessors. The failure is one of imagination, but also of courage. He promised, and we deserve something better.”

Using Hindu philosophy – I analyze this on the basis that there are three presidents – the same way there are three ‘I’s – Body, Mind and Soul. (1) Who others think I am (2) Who I think I am (3) Who I really am. Similarly the President of the United States of America.

(1) Who others think I am determines my outer status which may or may not be in agreement with my own assessment of myself as per (2) below. It is towards this that we ‘show’ ourselves through our looks, educational qualifications, wealth etc.

(2) My assessment of myself is important for me to know my status relative to the society I am seen to belong to. I have duties as per that position status and by performing as per these duties I naturally connect to all those who perform as per the duties of their positions which are connected to my position.

(3) Who I really am is the one that naturally connects me with who others really are. Truth is the most Natural connector. We seek Love and Truth for this reason.

The position of President of USA is seen as the most powerful position in the world. To most Americans who feel proud as Americans including through their work institutions, this is the most important aspect of that presidency. Under the old hierarchical system, the makeup of this position was determined by predecessors of the position. In lower positions those above that position determined / influenced the structure of that position. The highest positions are the positions of Governors.

With Democracy and majority vote – this responsibility is now being shared with the voters. Reconciling the two and continuing to maintain the highest status in the world is no mean achievement.

To us, the ordinary citizens, the occupier of that highest parental position, must confirm the value of our visible investment in that position from which our child position flows. It’s like the family surname. In turn, we need to confirm and uphold the work values of positions that flow from our position. When there is failure/negligence to do this, the structure starts deteriorating especially where people are able to find other alternatives through which they think they would be able to derive better value for their work. When the structure deteriorates Truth is our Savior. That’s when we start looking inwards and deriving our own values with these positions and their occupiers as facilitators and not administrators who ‘give’ or ‘take’.

In a democracy, the position of CEO in Public enterprises and countries that are conscious of being Global participants, begins with the voter and ends with governor. The voter’s faith would work ‘locally’/for the individual and the Governor’s faith works for the whole including the individual. Where one who is seen as a mere voter feels like a Governor – that in itself is confirmation of the ‘idle’ capacity / emptiness of the positions in- between the two. A reliable system of management would position investors/workers close to their real value. Such a system works most effectively and efficiently.

In America, the Political structure is more ‘systematically arranged’ than in India. But in India, people like Gandhi, added real power by being the President / Father of the Nation – i.e the real President. Such a Spiritual example of our times is Sri Sathya Sai Baba whose words of wisdom as follows came to me through an invitation by fellow Australians, to celebrate Hindu New Year today:

Living with God is Education
Living for God is Service
Living in God is Self-realization

As would be accepted by the President and the Prime Minister of India who recently went to see Sri Sathya Sai Baba in hospital, there would be more people reading, appreciating and identifying with the above message than the political messages given at around the same time by the Prime Minister or President. This is the value of India which is the most Spiritual of all nations known to me. Spiritual India is Naturally driven by Truth. That Truth purifies all pollutions in the system. When we feel the spirit of our position, we naturally merge with the highest person in that environment. I feel that way here in Australia as well as in Sri Lanka. Sometimes I am asked whether I am Tamil or Sri Lankan; Sri Lankan Migrant or Australian. As per my realization I am a Tamil to one who believes s/he is Tamil or Tamil Community’s opposition these days – Sinhalese. To one who believes s/he is Sri Lankan, I am Sri Lankan. To an ethnic minded Australian I am her/his opposition as per my Indian looks or her/his knowledge that I am of Sri Lankan origin. To a wholesome Australian I am Australian. For legal purposes I am Australian – not just because the Government says so – but because I have paid my lawful dues to belong.

In terms of America, the likes of Professor Bacevich, are likely to derive higher value from the position of the President – including by being the opposite half of the apparent position. At that level though, we need to seek and find the ‘other side’ that matches our half. That is the real President who is a part of us. In other words, we live with the President inside us. Take for example the following statements by Professor Bacevich:

‘A president, being the most powerful man in the world, begins history anew -- so at least Americans believe, or pretend to believe. Out with the old, sordid, and disappointing; in with the fresh, unsullied, and hopeful. Why, with the stroke of a pen, a new president can order the closing of an embarrassing and controversial off-shore prison for accused terrorists held for years on end without trial! Just like that: done.’

President Obama as a voter gave that endorsement. But once he entered that position and became part of that system – he would have had to ‘lie’ to make such an order or he would have had to confidentially work to transform the system before making that order in all genuineness – from the heart. The latter would have not required an order but would have been a natural closure of those off-shore prisons.

Here in Australia, when there is a call to move towards more democratic resource management systems – CEO’s often make similar promises and orders. These orders are mere confirmations of the promises and should not be taken as ‘authority’. The real authority earned truly on the basis of work and sacrifices, would flow through all parts of the system. Towards this we often have to work bottom-up to link reality to common value. As a Resource Management Consultant, my approach often has been to endorse the real work of those who see me as an expert in that field, and then add the real value of their work to mine to bring our combined work under the structure that works naturally for that institution. This often is a combination of the vertical hierarchical system and the lateral system of democracy. Likewise, with CEO’s – including Prime Ministers and Presidents.

The problem with the work of CEO’s is that we often do not distinguish between their real work and the work that is done to maintain their status through that position. The latter has real power only when it is real work through Due Process for someone down the line and this includes the ordinary voter. Often, the top positions do contain a strong component of theory which flows as Due Process. When that process is ‘owned’ and valued by a worker – that part of the CEO’s position gets filled in real terms. Until then it is merely symbolic. This is needed to the extent others work in the consciousness of that position and therefore the value of their work is higher than that of the occupier of the position who does not do real work through that part of the position. Professor Bacevich, to the extent of his genuine work would be filling that part of the President’s position and therefore would be able to work that position through Natural powers. In an unreliable system the outcomes of such Natural Powers are often not seen to be connected to the origin/cause. But whether the connection is seen or not – they are the powers that work to produce lasting results to satisfy all genuine investors.

In democracy, when we criticize, we need to criticize those above us on the basis of the work we have done as if we are the president. When I challenged the Vice Chancellor of the University of NSW, I did so on the basis of my work as if I were the Vice Chancellor for that part of the work. Even a toilet cleaner when s/he cleans the toilet for the highest user of the toilet – is the Vice Chancellor for that part of the University.

In the case of Professor Basevich, to the extent he shared his investment in eliminating torture of prisoners, at the presidential level and beyond at UN level – he is the President if Mr. Obama’s contribution is less than his. The better way is to pool the two for which we must identify with Mr. Obama more than we identify with his opposition or become Mr. Obama’s Equal Opposition in that position and contribute through the opposition. The job needs to get done. One who is at heart the president will want that the job gets done more than being seen that the job is getting done by her/himself.

It is possible that Professor Basevich is fighting against wars in Middle East due to his own personal loss (of losing his beloved son) during the Iraqi war. That kind of pain is deeply valuable – more valuable than our systematic work through official structures and due processes. It would empower every investor who feels the loss of Professor Basevich as her/his own to eventually transform the President’s role in such issues through the common voter. Likewise the pain of victims of war all over the world including my country of origin Sri Lanka and the country I made my own – Australia. Some of us are able to express our pain at that higher common level. Others need us to help them express theirs at the highest level they recognize or combine their feelings with us towards Common expression.

Those of us who are not able to contribute to the substance of the position of President, need to respect the investments made by others in the structure of that position which is the umbrella that covers our lower positions and wait for ‘Time to Tell’ / show us the Karma. If we express prematurely assuming rights we are yet to earn – we bring the level of that position within us – down - to narrow our world – the real world we belong to – our Home where Truth Governs Naturally.

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