The Spirituality of #Occupy

Jack Varnell looks at the #Occupy movement through the lens of “everything has spiritual consequences”.

Let me begin by saying I have become quite adept at both identifying issues and pointing the fingers. A recovery mentor was quite fond of saying to me, “yes, that’s the problem, but what are you going to DO about it?” I’m a bit angry and embittered at the way the world has treated me, especially post-epiphany and growth. Since beginning my work to become a “good” man, I take responsibility for my part in things, make amends through the way I live and I give back. But I also have the right to be pissed. I have tools to deal with it that I choose to pick up or not, and invariably this toolkit includes the proverbial “village” it takes to raise this man-child. Whether we like it or not a natural human instinct, ingrained in us, is a desire for and need for society. For community.

Numbers, and semantics are coming from everywhere on all sides regarding the #occupy movement, but I believe at its core what we are facing is not economics, or politics. It is moral issues in play here. That makes it personal…for all. When the Mayor of Boston is making grand and uneducated statements like “I will not have civil disobedience in Boston”, and the Sean Hannity’s of the world with their exorbitant salaries are calling the movement “Un-American”, it only lends credence to the idea that the protesters have a valid point. And a right to be pissed.

So the Mayor of Boston actually said that. Let’s see, America’s favorite act of civil disobedience?…uhm, BOSTON Tea Party. To even make such an arrogant, self-absorbed statement while ignoring history, now THAT’S Un-American. The power-base sees status and power threatened now, by these “unorganized” “hippie” groups with “no goals.” Or is it the spoiled kids with their laptops and educations who are just lazy? Is the movement spreading and growing so rapidly because 99% of the USA is unorganized, hippie protesters with no goals? I think not, but it quiets the fear while the masks are removed and the machine falls apart. One thing my father taught me after becoming a personal injury attorney, beating up the insurance guys for a living, was that the entire system was broken and would need to implode before things got better. All while he took advantage of it. It is easy to be confused by this watching him and the insurance guys both lining their pockets and laughing about it over cocktails every happy hour. Most everyone fails to see or doesn’t want to admit that this is more moral than economic or political. What is right? Am I doing it? The correct answer and appropriate action fixes the problem pretty quickly.

How do we go about that? All I can say is that a large number of the protesters are well-educated, drowning in education debt, and unemployed. Others are returning veterans who cannot reasonably get the benefits they need medically or educationally because all the money is going to drones, and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. The list goes on and on. And they aren’t being racist, sexist, elitist or oligarchic in their actions. They are organizing through REAL democracy in action. I know. I watched them organize for months before the action. Unlike what the press would have us believe.

The first requirement is awareness. Sometimes it takes an encampment in the park or a little tea in the harbor to create awareness. I believe a well educated, organized, and proven heroic force is one to be reckoned with. The action will certainly come. And it is happening just the way it needs to. Peacefully, on the protesters part, methodically, and the timing is just right. Elections are coming and 99% trumps anyone in power now (not we the people). Phase I complete.


I get the Corvette I always thought I wanted. It feels good, I look good in it, and it is really fast. Even the smell of it makes my penis appear larger. Then the asshole next door comes home with a Ferrari and the old ‘Vette just isn’t enough anymore. And the cycle starts again.

I was taught that there are two other basic human instincts that are like our need for society: sex and security. As humans, particularly Americans, we have learned to gauge our worth on the fulfillment of these needs. If I am driven to have security, like money and a home then once I gain them that feeling of attainment is short lived and fleeting. It is a common component of any addiction. An imbalanced desire to meet those needs, or a fear that I won’t—in the case of security especially—is often what creates the problem. I tend to begin to take shortcut, cut corners, or step on toes to make sure that need is fulfilled. Then the cycle starts again. I get the Corvette I always thought I wanted. It feels good, I look good in it, and it is really fast. Even the smell of it makes my penis appear larger. Then the asshole next door comes home with a Ferrari and the old ‘Vette just isn’t enough anymore. And the cycle starts again.

Instincts are good. Some believe them to be God given. What differentiates us from the other creatures is free will and logic. Humans will rely on will power. When that doesn’t work we start looking for answers or knowledge, and when that doesn’t work the fear kicks in. We simply do not get the idea that out-of-whack instincts cause it. Nothing man-made can remedy that, some believe. It’s why religion and other spiritual pursuits have a place in our lives.

If a person lives in a world long enough where they are not ever getting those needs met through any means, self-directed or otherwise, yet they see the cheaters, the toe-steppers, the ones who are more than secure getting more, more of the “success” they work so hard for, it is easy to become disgruntled or find a need to “protest.”

I could run a list as long as your arm of valid reasons I could be pissed. I do not like the fact that these issues exist. I do not like a lot of things in my world are outside my control, but I can do only what I can do with the tools in my toolkit. The system that created it will crumble, and the evidence is clear that is happening. So I need to be aware and keep moving forward. Asking why is paralyzing. Doing gets results. Hope is a requirement, at least for me. The 1% is not powerful enough to take that away. Only I can do that.

At the core mankind wants to do the right thing. We want to care for others and the earth. We want all to thrive, not just exist. The ones that don’t are either not human, or lost. The #occupy movement knows this. They want to be good and fair and live in a different world than the one that has been created for them, and they are “doing” and creating awareness while the system is crumbling. They know it is inevitable and that gives me hope, and as a wise man once told me one day when standing at a crossroad, “everything has spiritual consequences”. I believe that is true and from here that makes the 99% and its village a pretty cool place to be. What do you think?

—Photo – emotionalorphan

About Jack Varnell

Jack Varnell is a writer, poet, photographer
and social media addict living in the suburbs
of Atlanta, GA.

He is a regular contributor at
various online publications.

He can be found:
Twitter, @jackvarnell
Google Plus +Jack Varnell"
and About Me


  1. Jack Varnell says:

    Thanks very much Erin. You are correct, it is not completed. This journey won’t be until it…is I appreciate the kind words and hope you will continue to come around. Lots of inspiration to be had here. Will check out G.O.O.O.H., but dont think I qualify to get in the House of Reps…

  2. erinrbyrne says:

    Wow. I Loved this Article- want Jack Varnell to run as an Honest Citizen Rep. for the House of Representatives! I hope he considers it… This article seems to me to be powerfully inspirational yet somehow unfinished…I felt the need 2 bring up the #GOooh movement, plz give it a listen, Jack–I really believe in changing the world, and getting the career politicians replaced with Honest Citizens is a revolutionary idea, yet absolutely within our reach.

    Take a moment, Jack, and ALL who have a shred of hope left that WE can take power, 2 glance at and see if anything sparks your interest… I think it’s got a fighting chance if people like you & I–PEOPLE LIKE ANYONE (excluding the liars we have in office now) will join together & tell the politicians to Get Out Of Our House! (G.O.O.O.H.) Keep fighting for the world to be right! Thanks 🙂

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