This is an idea I sound in my new book, “The Change I Believe In.” The book is about the journey I and millions of Americans took, from the exhilaration engendered by Obama’s election and the first months of his presidency, through the disappointments and frustrations that have followed. It is, above all, about recognizing how transformational change comes about in a system rigged against it.These people really need to get religion or something, because this is the worst journey imaginable. Well, look, the change I believe in comes from cultivating mindfulness, equanimity, and compassion. The whole lib shebang, the whole Obama schtick, the wholesale misappropriation of Gandhi's exhortation to be the change you want to see in the world--oy, outside of a philosophy of rigorous Hindu asceticism it is exactly the platitude it's become. And that is really the problem with these well-meaning progressives, I mean, the problem other than the problem of their eagerness to return a child-murdering capitalist stooge to the Throne of St. Lincoln for four more years . . . the problem is an entirely outward-looking vision of transformation; a management-guru spiritualism: five principles, six steps, and seven processes for a better tomorrow, today! It takes the pilgrimage, which is a ritual physical metaphor for a movement of the spirit and flips it and reverses it; it imagines that a lot of banal shuffling about in the phenomenal world is gonna get everyone's Kundalini nice 'n uncoiled. And so you end up at mere tautology: transformational change. Yeah, okay, we are going to transform the change in the system that is rigged against transformation in order to immanentize the system to transform itself to change us? Uh, how about we cultivons nos jardins and all that. Do you consider "navel-gazing" an insult? Maybe you oughtn't.
-Serena van der Woodsen