What if we ascribed to the word politics, at least for a moment, this definition: 'the practice and rhetoric of all immune interactions and associations both locally and collectively stimulated.' In this case, using the word 'immune' is to imply the immune system and also the immune response, local and collective.
We might consider what we call the 'immune system' as a governing concept that is made expressive and manifest through many different forms and activities. For example, a T4 cell could be considered an agent of the immune system. Following this trajectory we could classify other examples of immune agents (using our physical bodies as examples of the larger concept): b-lymphocytes, t-lymphocytes, mast cells, neutrophils, monocytes, NK cells, etc. All of these examples can be considered to be employees of the immune system as they each have the same essential job, expressed through different mechanics and fields of service.
So, if these agents are the workers employed by the system to carry out it its will and directive, what might we determine is the nature of the system itself? Let us consider, as a an organizational concept, that the 'immune system' is an idea that reflects into the local environment or atmosphere a fundamental impetus to differentiate that which is 'me' or can become 'me' and that which isn't. Simply stated, the base function of immunity is to differentiate that which relates to me, and that which isn't me.
Let's look at an example. When we eat a sandwich, and before any absorption of nutrients can begin, the immune system has to take a look at what is coming into the system and define whether any of this material can be used by the local system. To 'be of use' to the local system (a way of speaking about absorption and local metabolics) the items being introduced must have some basic sympathy with the local environment. If they are too extreme, the system is more likely to label them as undesirable and initiate a sequence of activities to remove the material from the system, often through a primary means of elimination. What it is important to consider with this example is that if the local immune concept defines something as unsuitable there is no absorption of material possible. Without absorption of nutrients (a process of related continuity) the local life weakens and eventually dies as it runs out of energy to power its metabolism. It may also be interesting to consider that this basic process extends micro to macro without losing integrity. It comprises a basic set of relationships from molecules, to cells, to systems, to bodies, to species, to planets, to stars, to galaxies and beyond.
Given our discussion of 'immunity' as a basic assessment of sympathetic relatability, we can also see that this immune concept is acting in our life environment to 'filter' everything 'coming in.' Thoughts, ideas, emotions, feelings, colors, sounds, smells, tastes, etc., all must be seen by the local immune system before being allowed into systemic circulation and interaction. Right now, as each of us read these words, our reactions to and about these concepts is being organized and driven by our local immune programming and its potential for stability. We might consider that our judgements and opinions are the externalizations of our inner immune programming.
From here, it is not at all difficult to look into our world and see that most discussions, especially at a political and economic level are really topics of immunity. The immune system uses several keywords to describe its goals and imperatives: safety, survival, comfort, quality, means (materially speaking), boundaries, and borders. Yet we can also take notice, simply by looking into our local lives, how much of our day, its activities and reactions are also focused on immune concepts. Do we feel safe and secure (borders and boundaries) in our life? Do we have a basic level of comfort and quality in our life existence? Do we have the means to provide for this going forward or is everything relatively uncertain regarding our basic needs? If we have the means are we focused on maintaining it, protecting it? If we have the means or abundant resources do we share them with the understanding that we all share and live in the same environment and we influence and condition each other in profound ways?
'Means' implies potential. To have the 'means' implies that we have the resources, the energy necessary to power and program immunity. Can we see how powerful this is? In politics, as we consider who to vote for, our local immune systems are cataloging the candidates and what we sense they can offer in regard to the basic immune key concepts. Will this candidate make me feel more safe and secure with their policies and inclinations? Will they increase my life quality by providing me with more 'means' or resources? Will they ensure the continuity of my resources over time thus enabling a more continuous and effortless immune response.
At this point, it may be worth asking a few potent questions:
Why do I make the choices I do in my day?
Regarding these choices, what is the motive behind me choosing them?
What aspects of my day am I intolerant to?
Where do I experience the most frustration and resistance in my life?
As we answer these questions for ourselves, can we take notice how these answers serve to program our local immune reactions and sensitivities. Following this, how these sensitivities determine how we will respond to the political jargon of the various parties and candidates as they seek to entrain and soothe our local immune responses into sympathy.
It may also be worth exploring that before we can begin to speak about having or tuning a life 'experience' we first must have a stable immune response and system. It is useless to talk about how we will absorb the nutrients of the sandwich we just ate if our immune system has flagged the whole meal as rubbish, toxic, and unsuitable for our needs. In the same way it is untimely and inefficient to speak about the experiential nature of our collective life until we have an atmosphere of immune stability for all life aspects that make up our collective environment.
With this in mind, and suggesting that we take purposeful steps to bring immune continuity into our lives and our local environs, Confucius, one of the great Chinese sages (551–479 BC) wrote a prescient statement regarding community building and governance that we might find very useful today: “The ancients who wanted to manifest enlightened virtue in their empire first healed and brought order to their states.
Wanting to heal and bring order to their states, they first established equanimity in their families and made them whole.
Wanting to establish equanimity in their families and make them whole, they first cultivated themselves.
Wanting to cultivate themselves, they first got themselves in line and in tune with their hearts.
Wanting to be in line and in tune with their hearts, they first became honest with themselves and purified their motives.
Wanting to to be honest with themselves and purify their motives, they first assimilated wisdom and put it into practice.
They assimilated wisdom and put it into practice by investigating and reflecting upon all phenomena and culling out what was true.”
Perhaps it is time for each of us to take stock of our own relationship in this equation and also to ask those being invited into leadership what their plans and details are regarding the above concepts. Why would we invite someone into leadership that had no experience with these concepts, that kept their motives hidden, that neither understood nor was even passably acquainted with wisdom, that behaved and modeled behaviors that seemed to oppose equanimity?
We, each of us, can demand response to these inquiries by speaking about them in our homes, our schools, in our work places. Leadership is a privilege and a great responsibility. Are we going to choose leaders that can not answer and discuss these questions and topics with clarity and purpose? How will we define what is true? Who will lead the search for this truth and with what motive will they undertake the journey? How will we practice and come to know wisdom? Can we be courageous enough to examine our true motives and share them explicitly and honestly using the language of our heart - which is the language of inclusivity? Can we learn to cultivate equanimity in our families and how will this be defined? Until these questions have been answered, how are we to write policies and programs? Don't these questions formalize the foundation upon which the policies and programs will grow and potentially bear fruit?
Maybe our leaders, the best of them, show us by example. In their lives, their endeavors, and in their behavior, in their attitude, what it means to be wise. What it means to speak the language of inclusivity. What it means to 'cull out what is true.'
Perhaps each of us is a leader in some way, big or small, making out of every molehill in our local lives, a mountain of triumph.