We talk about the characteristics of ‘fully evolved human beings’, and 3D Eye is still intending to post some descriptions of such people, taken from those which Abraham Maslow noted in his studies.
Perhaps we should also consider some well-known individuals and how well they match the ideal. I didn’t know Gore Vidal personally, but I have several of his books and several recordings of TV interviews with him and documentaries about him. To judge from his thoughts, his ideals, his manner and his eloquence, Gore Vidal was an outstanding human being, and a great credit to America – the country of his birth, and the place where he lived for most of his life. He died this week at the age of 86.
I’m not sure how well-known Gore was in Britain, or even in America. He was a liberal in a country whose politics have been dominated for some time by neo-conservatism and Republicanism, which frustrated and dismayed him. Nevertheless, he represented the decency, humanity, thoughtfulness, intelligence and generosity of the majority of ordinary Americans.
According to the Guardian, “Gore Vidal is the most elegant, erudite and eclectic writer of his generation.
The Times said, “There is no one quite like him, and if you do not know his work you should.”
The Observer said, “Vidal’s combination of learning, wit and disdain gets into your blood. He can change the way you think.”
Melvyn Bragg called him “the outstanding literary radical of America.”
Gore Vidal was a great thinker whose family background and circle of friends gave him connections with the highest levels of government, so he had every right to see himself as an ‘insider’ with a clear understanding of how power operates in the USA
Vidal thought that it’s possible to have a positive impact on society through literature and fiction. His instincts were to ‘intervene in the affairs of a sad country’.
He was old enough to remember America in the time of the New Deal, back in the era of liberal intervention and federal policies to reduce poverty and unemployment – the era before the USA’s spending on ‘defence’ went completely crazy. He spent decades living in self-imposed exile in Italy, but he was still a great patriot, in that he always believed in the ideals of America’s Founding Fathers.
“Fifty years ago Harry Truman replaced the old republic with a national-security state whose sole purpose is to wage perpetual wars, hot, cold and tepid.
Representative government of, by, and for the people is now a faded memory. Only corporate America enjoys representation by the Congresses and presidents that it pays for in an arrangement where no one is entirely accountable because those who have bought the government also owns the media.
Although we regularly stigmatise other societies as rogue states, we ourselves have become the largest rogue state of all. We honor no treaties. We spurn international courts. We strike unilaterally wherever we choose. We give orders to the United nations but do not pay our dues . . . We bomb, invade, subvert other states. Although We the People of the United States are the sole source of legitimate authority in this land, we are no longer represented in the Congress Assembled.
Our Congress has been hijacked by corporate America and its enforcer, the imperial military machine. We the unrepresented People of the United States are as much victims of this militarised government as the Panamanians, Iraqis, or Somalians. We have allowed our institutions to be taken over in the name of a globalised American empire that is totally alien in concept to anything our founders had in mind.”
– Gore Vidal
Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace (2002)
Gore Vidal wrote this about America, but a lot of it is equally true of Britain and any number of countries around the world where politicians are reviled and despised more and more with the passing years.
10 years on, and we in Britain are still afraid of the power of the banks, the City of London, international financiers, ‘the markets’, and the billionaire owners of the media. The only possible hope for the future of our politics is the much-needed emergence of political leaders and grassroots activists who will stand up for world peace, decent human values, human rights and the rights of children to live in a civil society where spiritual intelligence and social intelligence are the norm, and not the exception.
Gore Vidal said this about education:
“Our education system is designed to kill all curiosity. l seldom encounter a boring six year old. But I never get to see an interesting sixteen year old. What has the 10 years of our education system done?”
– from an interview with Melvyn Bragg for The South Bank Show