The limits to reason

How did humans get to the idea that they could domesticate plants and animals for food prdoduction? How did they do it, and what were the implications? What has changed over the millennia and how did this affect people, plants, animals and the land?
Many among us may think they know the story, but what we actually heard was the narration of the agricultural perpetrators. The picture they paint gives rationales and justifications for modern industrial agriculture, based on utilitarian materialistic notions of bottom lines and benefits. What is missing from their picture is the suffering caused by rapist practises that sprang from rapist minds. While this may sound like a harsh judgment, consider that the rapist is separating himself from his victim, and he objectifies it so he can use it for his own benefit. The victim’s “bottom line” does play no role in his calculations. In his mind, there is no soul, no heartache, no dignity, no connectedness, no oneness, no sacredness.
In various publications Daniel Quinn pointed out that this rapist totalitarian agriculture is but one way of growing food. Other ways are not about production in the first place; they help embed humans into the web of life. Experience from organic gardening and farming does support this notion, but the case may also be made historically and etymologically.
The morpheme agri- is derived from a Latin word and means “field”. -culture, again from the Latin, means “to till, to inhabit, to protect, to nurture, to worship, to honour.” The relationship expressed in the word Agriculture is therefore a close, nurturing, loving one, originally.
What we commonly understand, today by the word agriculture, because its practices have become so ubiquitous, is a subduing of the Earth, forcing our will upon soil, plants, and animals so they deliver what we demand of them. Totalitarian agriculture is the starting point and main driver of the physical destruction of the biosphere as well as the emotional and spiritual destruction of human beings.

TENDING OUR LAND. A new story. By M. G. Jackson & Nyla Coelho
By NASA Langley Research Center, public domain

Focussing on the history of Indian farming and agriculture practices since the dawn of civilization, Jackson and Coelho give a new account of the succession of ideas and notions around tending the land. This is at the same time a history of modern science and its failures to grasp what almost every culture on Earth understood: that humans are an integral part of the world, not separate from it, and that the way we relate to it has consequences on a material level; that in fact relationships are the actual substance of reality.

“17th century specialists assumed that they were impartial observers of the objects and events they study. Such findings are thus objective, free from personal bias, and thus reveal the true nature of the phenomena studied. This assumption is based on the concept of a duality of body and mind formulated by Rene Descartes.”(p73f)
But the duality between free mind and causally-determined matter makes no sense, says Whitehead (quoted after Tending our land):
“Western peoples exhibit … two attitudes [that] are really inconsistent … A scientific realism, based upon mechanism, is conjoined with an unwavering belief in the world of man and higher animals as being composed of self-determining organisms. The radical inconsistency at the base of modern thought accounts for much that is half-hearted and wavering in our civilization.” [A. N. Whitehead, Science and the modern world, 1925, p76]
Jackson and Coelho express that there is no clear separation between the observer and the observed, so,
“In view of this assumption about the process of observation — who observes, what is observed and how — it would only be prudent to doubt the entire edifice of 17th century science. It seems likely that the specialists, in fact, see what they expect to see based on their assumptions about the nature of the world. Since they are unaware of the assumptions they hold they think they are seeing ‘the’ world as it ‘really’ is.” (p73)
In other words, the world of clearly separate entities, entities which consist of lifeless inert mass, entities which can be used and manipulated as humans please, is basically a delusion. The case can be made for things the size of galaxies, as well as for atoms, and everything inbetween.
“Size, volume, shape, density, position and velocity are not attributes of the atoms themselves, but refer to the relationships among them […] abstracted from this reference frame, an atom cannot be described; it cannot even be said to exist.” (p69)
“Another way of describing the unreality of physical entities is to say that in the world we construct from our experiences there are no spatial boundaries. If there are no boundaries there cannot be any independently-existing entities”, (p70f)
because it requires a defined area or volume for them to exist.
And really, particle physicists have been unable to discover such entities. The same goes for the macroscopic level. Can soil exist or be seen without the organisms living in it, of it, and creating it? Can a human being exist without the myriads of microspecies living on our skin, off our hair, in our bowels? Can a planet exist in and of itself, without its gravity field and the gravity fields of its neighbouring celestial bodies? With everything so tightly interlinked as to be inseparable the scientific description of relational dynamics becomes utterly ridiculous.
by MLWatts, public domain

“It is not possible to describe the simultaneous interactions of three or more bodies in one equation; say for example, the sun, planet, and the planet’s moon, or the entire solar configuration, or a human body or a landscape” (p73)

Though we can point at “things” and though we canroughly or with relative precision predict those things’ near-term development, truly exact forecasts are simply impossible. But,
“If we assume that what we observe are relationships and not objects, the appropriate research protocol is to describe these relationships. It is a process of synthesis rather than of analysis.” (p72)
So if we described the world in terms of relationships like some Eastern, and almost all indigenous, cultures used to rather than in terms of forces and masses, the outcome might be quite different. It certainly makes a difference regarding our behaviour, and our relationship to the living planet. And that in turn might mean all the difference in view of the future course of the global crisis we are currently undergoing. If what happens, eg. to the climate, is the outcome of humanity’s impoverished, disrespecting and abusive relationship towards basically everything — and how could we deny that the uglification, the exploitation, the pollution etc of the planet are just that — then re-establishing a loving relationship with the universe might result in a ‘miraculous’ healing.
“Everything in the universe we [Indians] are told is not only living, but is also sacred. What does it mean to say that life is sacred? Sacredness is a feeling, not a concept. How, or from where, does it arise? We can only say: from a sense of mystery. It will not do to say that the ancients lacked our present particular knowledge and so fell back on superstitious belief. Rather we must admit, as they did, that there is a limit to human reason. Admitting this humbles us and gives rise to a sense of awe in the face of the universal mystery of manifestation; awe and reverence are the very essence of the sacred.” (p61f)
A miracle is not something we can hope for. Similarly, sacredness is not something we can work for. Both would arise from a change in our deepest understanding, therefore today’s science would be unable to explain it. From a rational point of view, reducing emissions or cleaning up pollution would have done the job (though we know already that it’s too late for this to have any significant effect), but what would have actually happened is the mending of broken ties through re-establishing the sacred dimension of things.
Our actions are the result of inner — mental, emotional, spiritual — states and processes. Whether physical actions are effective elements in a cause-and-effect mechanism, or if they are merely symptoms of inner processes is one of the great differences in worldview between East and West, and it might be the difference between a living and a dead planet.

See also:

Towards an ethics of permanenceNyla Coelho & Dr. M.G. Jackson, Ecologise, 20170510.
An essay made from excerpts from the book Tending Our Land: A New Story, Earthcare books, Kolkata, 2016

Cognitive Justice: Science and the Sacred

Let’s take a step back and forget about climate change and the planetary catastrophe called global industrial civilization for a moment. Some of the deeper roots of our predicament have been discussed here repeatedly. (see some of the articles under the label ‘collapse of civilization‘) I have also touched into the epistemological dimension of it, what I’d call ‘nature of truth and reality‘.

Today, I’d like to have my – much more learned – colleagues elaborate on how the dominant worldview, i.e. our most basic assumptions on the nature of truth and reality, not only started the cycle of destruction but perpetuate and aggravate it through a self-reinforcing mechanism called scientific discourse.

This is in no way meant to diminish the epistemological achievements of science (see below, Nagler), or to strike a blow for the deliberate distortion of facts that runs by the name of ‘alt-truth’. Yet for us to get a more accurate picture of what is going on we need to be aware that there are actually truths alternate to our own understanding and that those truths are just as valid as what is scientifically believed to be real (see below, Wilber).

Drone magic, by Mike Licht (CC)
There is an abundance of alternative views to rationalistic materialism, yet they initially are – very – hard to discover. The dominant culture is fighting an epistemicidal war against ‘the other’, a war that is unseen by most because the enemy is not supposed to even exist. Why?

Empire is not merely territory covered, not just populations made into subjects. Empire rules not only through political, economic, and military force but through the very culture that gave birth to Empire. In other words, Empire rules the minds of its subjects, and it does so by defining what they can know — what is real. This may sound overstated to some, likely most, but the cognitive injustice created by scientific discourse is actually key to the question why social injustice does not spawn the kind of movements that would overthrow Empire. Marx had it wrong because we are not simply victims, we are co-creators of oppression. Awareness has never been enough; it takes an awakening.
The totalitarian exclusion of ‘the other’ from our view has turned it from a simple alternative into the deadliest enemy of the dominant culture, because once you start seeing it, awakening to it, you can no longer buy into the common dogmas around separateness, competition, materialism, utilitarianism, or scientism.

If you are still with me let’s foster cognitive justice now, by exploring an example which helps making the issue obvious: the relationship between science and the Sacred.

A discourse provides a set of possible statements about a given area, and organizes and gives structure to the manner in which a particular topic, object, process is to be talked about. In that it provides descriptions, rules, permissions and prohibitions of social and individual actions.”
– Günther Kress – Linguistic Processes in Sociocultural Practice, 1988
Epistemology(literally, the logical discourse on knowledge) is the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge. Epistemology studies the nature of knowledge, justification, and the rationality of belief. Much of the debate in epistemology centers on four areas: (1) the philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge and how it relates to such concepts as truth, belief, and justification, (2) various problems of skepticism, (3) the sources and scope of knowledge and justified belief, and (4) the criteria for knowledge and justification.”
– Wikipedia

“The whole notion of ‘discourse‘ and ‘discourse community’ is a circular one – the community is defined as those that share certain discourse habits and functions, while skill in the prescribed discourse is a prerequisite for being taken seriously by the discourse community. Hence, academic discourse is thus revealed, from the outset, to be a self-referential self-justificatory practice that determines what may legitimately beconsidered as knowledge.”

In this era of increased knowledge the essence of religious phenomena eludes the psychologists, sociologists, linguists, and other specialists because they do not study it as religious. According to Mircea Eliade, they miss the one irreducible element in religious phenomena—the element of the sacred.“
– 1996 introduction to Mircea Eliade’s book „Patterns in comparative Religion“ (1958)
The dark side of modern science, and unfortunately it has one, does not arise from science itself, still less from any of the facts of nature. It arises from the impression we allow science to give us: the impression that we are merely biological machines in a meaningless material universe.
Science has every right to confine its attention to the physical, i.e. the outside world. It has no right to say, when it has done so, that it has given us the whole story.”
– Michael N. Nagler – Is there no other way?, 2001
Cognitive injustice, the failure to recognize the different ways of knowing by which people across the globe run their lives and provide meaning to their existence.”
– Boaventura de Sousa Santos – Epistemologies of the South: justice against epistemicide. 2014 (pdf)
Epistemicide: the war on, and the destruction of existing knowledge and the subsequent abortion of the possibility of acquiring new knowledge within a certain system of thought.
The way that a particular culture formulates its knowledge is intricately bound up with the very identity of its people, their way of making sense of the world and the value system that holds that worldview in place. Epistemicide, as the systematic destruction of rival forms of knowledge, is at its worst nothing less than symbolic genocide […]
There are others […] that view the encroachment of the scientific paradigm as a form of cultural imperialism […] They often experience the rationalization and objectivization of reality as a kind of reductionism that is inadequate to explain the complexities of human experience.”
– Karen Bennett – Epistemicide! The Tale of a Predatory Discourse. 2007
The modern age has forgotten that facts and information, for all their usefulness, are not the same as wisdom—and certainly not the same as the direct experience of Reality. We have lost touch with the intuitive wisdom born of silence and stillness, and we are left stranded in a sea of information that cannot deliver on its promise of ever-increasing happiness and fulfillment.”
The Way of Liberation is not a belief system; it is something to be put into practice. In this sense it is entirely practical.”
– Adyashanti – The way of Liberation: a practical guide to spiritual enlightenment, 2012

“When we find those types of statements in Plotinus or Asanga or Garab Dorje or Abhinavigupta or Shankara, rest assured that they are not simply theoretical hunches or metaphysical postulates. Those are direct experimental disclosures issuing directly from te subtle dimension of reality, interpreted according to the backgrounds of those individuals, but issuing from this profound ontological reality, this subtle worldspace.

And if you want to know what these men and women are actually talking about, then you must take up the contemplative practice or injunction or paradigm, and perform the experiment yourself […]
So this experiment will disclose the archetypal data, and then you can help interpret what they mean. And by far the most commonly accepted interpretation is, you are looking at the basic forms and foundations of the entire manifest world. You are looking directly into the face of the Divine.”
– Ken Wilber – A brief history of everything, 1996

The sound of trumpets

L&R: Many people are striving for a state of being beyond suffering. Would you suggest they better stop seeking?
SH: [sighs] I wouldn’t suggest anything to anyone because, what do I know? But for myself, the doing is the suffering. Psychological doing. The trying to change it, to make it better. The activity of always grasping out, that’s the suffering, and the real investigation begins when I don’t try to change it, but I just ask, what is it? It’s the absolute abandonment of improvement. This is a very different way of seeing life. It’s a deep curiosity about what life is, not the attempt to make it into something better.

L&R: It sounds like, you are very OK with it. Is that your method?
SH: It’s not that I’m OK with it. The neurotic mind is never OK with anything. But if I see that I’m actually the expression of something, [then] for that expression to try to change itself is absurd. That’s like the sound of trumpets trying to change the fingers pushing the valves. But we might be very curious who the trumpet player is.
(Erleuchtungskongress 2016, Steven Harrison, interview w Ludmilla & Roland)

Letting go of control

Kelly Brogan, psychiatrist, on a trip to Rajasthan, India, collected impressions that resonate with my own sense of being (here). A lot of what she describes got already lost for many a native, due to the fast-progressing urbanisation, mechanisation, automisation, utilisation and exploding consumption, but it is still somehow present in rural areas and can be felt, especially when I perform one of those quick leaps back and forth to Germany.
In her article Spirituality and Mental Illness, Kelly writes:

“They showed us the fact that loving creation allows them to love each other, and to love all that comes in their path. When the son asked me about my job, I seized up, certain that the notion of a psychiatrist would make no sense whatsoever to him. The idea that there are professionals trained to manage and alter the human experience through pharmaceutical drugs – to someone who has faith in all that comes, in the many ways that divinity can be expressed, and in the dividends of a commitment to integrity…to this person, Prozac would not compute. 
This is what India showed me.
It showed me what my American soul had forgotten…which is that there is something more beautiful, more sacred, more wondrous available when we live connected to our trust in something larger. Because this something larger lifts us up out of our limitations, our smallness, our distractions, and holds us in a web of the collective so that there is never something random, awful, and unlucky that can simply just happen. So that there is always meaning and ok-ness.”

Regarding psychiatry, she quotes Charles Eisenstein who said, “The reason that conventional psychiatry – whether pharmaceutical or psychoanalytic – is powerless to substantially help the vast majority of patients is that it does not, and cannot, recognize the wrongness of the world we live in,” and I really couldn’t agree more. Though, in some way, there is no wrong or right, there is just existence as such, on a certain level we are beings that need a framework to live within. Some frames work better than others, and some are utterly destructive because they are dysfunctional from the start:

“It has never been more clear to me that the Guild of Psychiatry is one of the greatest threats to a soul’s journey, perhaps simply because there is no acknowledgement of the soul. This is why I believe that avoiding and coming off of psychiatric medications is the greatest form of initiation to self that exists in the West today.”

An article worth reading, an author worth following.

Love. Serve. Give. Help.

With regard to yesterday’s sharing of an article that had a somewhat alarmist title (lol), people might think that I got a bit whiny recently: all this talk about grieving and crying and heartbreaking loss of life – isn’t it making me feel just horribly sick? Are things really all that bad… and even if so, do I need to take other people’s hope that somehow in some way everything is going to turn out quite fine? Life’s still grand, isn’t it?

Well, yes, life is great, absolutely. I couldn’t agree more. I love being alive, I love having fun and laughing at silly pictures of little creatures trying to eat a treat three times their size, or just walking the dog through a snowstorm and enjoy it – and I can honestly do so because at the same time I am aware of the evanescence of it all.

Looking at everything that’s coming up internally does not open up Pandora’s box, it provides clarity on motivations and drives. Crying for one thing does not mean I cannot laugh about another; being sad has nothing to do with depressiveness, grief is not identical to despair.

Yes, things look different from how I put them; they are way worse than the descriptions from my blog. By acknowledging the severity of the situation, letting it get through to me, and by consciously working my way through the response I come out not only heartbroken but deeply in love with the world. It is from this place that I receive the urge to act and the direction to work towards. Often this encompasses little things like listening to somebody’s story, spending extra time with a disquieted animal, pondering the aptness of my behaviour or writing an essay like the one you are reading right now – all of which is so not world-shattering on a grand scale because it is not directly restructuring society. Yet these little things are all about the root causes: the blatant uncaring dissociation from the living world in and around us, and the mute conformity to an omnicidal system that tells us being angry about the uglification of our lives is ‘bad’.

I am beyond hope because the situation is beyond hope.
To me, sitting there hoping is a greenwashed version of despair; I’d be waiting for a savior who will never come, instead of going out there myself, getting connected to others, helping them cope, and living the way I’d better had lived from day one.

Yesterday I listened to another brilliant episode of ‘Extinction Radio‘ where I found vibrant encouragement for living with passion. Isn’t it funny? Extinction Radio, and one Andrew Harvey has got the perfect words handy for all of us fragile beings who feel overwhelmed by the multitude of destructive forces of the machine:
„Don’t despair! Love, serve, give, help!“

Will Permaculture save the World?

Let me begin with a couple of uncomfortable questions.
Are you aware of the fact that, every day, 200 species are disappearing from the face of the Earth?
Are you also aware of the fact that, since the beginning of industrialization, the worldwide population of vertebrates has dropped by more than 90%?
If not, why are you not aware? Is it because in our lives as civilized people we are so much immersed in human affairs, so far removed from the natural sphere that we hardly notice what is going on around us, even when it happens on a grand scale? TV bombards us with music, films, news and other forms of entertainment, yet what is most important – because it lies at the foundation of our very survival – is never mentioned. Most of what we think we know is not experienced by ourselves, it is mediated knowledge.
Now, what, do you think, causes such gross deterioration of the biosphere? It is human activity: resources extraction, settlement, food production, pollution, all of them on a global-industrial scale. Mankind is literally consuming the whole world and turning it into human biomass and facilities.
Agriculture’s contribution to the problem are the 7.5 billion people on the planet, a multiplication by seven since 1750, the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. It is for the food we eat that we do exist. This flesh around my bones is food, it is plants and animals consumed by me.
Our human population explosion has only been possible due to ruthless depletion of the soil, killing of currently 70 billion domestic animals and 170+ million tons of fish per year for meat, as well as growing expansion of fields at the expense of ecosystems. All of this is driven by petroleum products, from herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and pesticides to chemical fertilizer and plastic packaging and cool storage and long-distance transportation.
While the numbers are ever growing, we only have one finite planet at our disposal, and dispose of it we do. For there is no infinite growth possible in a limited system.
We know this for a long time already, so why don’t we stop this madness?
The thing that is in our way is called ‘Western world view’, Utilitarianism, to be precise, and it basically says that we are separate individuals competing for survival in an indifferent world of inert masses that have neither meaning nor intrinsic value. In other words, everything around us is just ‘our resources’ and we can use it as we please.
What Utilitarianism overlooks is that we do depend on the functioning of the planetary system for our lives. Like with a brick building, we may break holes here and there for creating space for human activities, but if we take out too many bricks the building will just collapse on us, and collapse suddenly.
Organic farming and small-footprint lifestyles, if everyone actually agreed upon applying them, would in fact reduce the damage added each day, but neither is civilization willing to reduce its greedy utilization of Earth’s bounties by the slightest amount, nor would it change the fact that increasing damage is done every day by an ever growing human population. Who are we to snortingly look down on the breeding habits of rabbits, goats and locusts?
I do work on an organic farm and I do live a low-impact lifestyle, yet those are not means of “saving the planet” or just “saving myself”. They are not means to soothe my conscience either; for I know that the normal healthy impact that I would have as a member of the global ant population, the elephant population or a stone age human tribe at the end of the Paleolithic, amplifies into horrific destruction in my current existence as a member of our blown-up global civilization. Nothing that we do can make a difference to our predicament – that humanity is likely to go extinct within a few years because we are inches away from a biosphere collapse we brought about by reckless extraction.
Permaculture farms, like gift economies and intentional communities, can be an expression of a deeper understanding rather than a means to achieve a goal. We don’t want to make a buck by helping an old lady across the street. It is not our intention to achieve world domination by feeding our children. We don’t seek to trade potato chips for the lemonade we bring to a barbecue. We do all these things for the joy of doing them, and the joy comes from the joy it brings to those who “benefit” from our actions. If “the World” is “saved” it is going to happen due to the understanding that existence is about more than this little me that wants to survive. A global awakening to this understanding may well trigger forces that curb or reverse the damage done, but to think of it this way is an attempt in instrumentalizing Awakening for the utilitarian exploitation of those Forces. Awakening then evades us while those Forces evaporate into a fog of wishful thinking. It just doesn’t work like this.
To take this current moment, to hold it precious, and to live it with a sense of excellence so that we do the right thing, according to this understanding and without expectation for a specific outcome – this is reward and redemption in itself. The World, it doesn’t need saving.

To nobody in particular

“I’ve thought hard on what was emotionally so different about McPherson’s short timeframe versus my unquestioning belief in a much longer one. Obviously, the longer timeframe means I’d get to live out my natural life.

I had never, for one second, consciously entertained the idea that human extinction was conceivable in the near term.

In other words, I’m basically okay with the sadness and anxiety about some far-off future generation seeing the collapse of humanity. Just not this one. My one.”Rachel Stewart: What to do when your days are numbered. We carry on, as humans are no good at facing up to possible extinction. New Zealand Herald, 30.11.2016

A great introspective piece by a journalist, mentioning a few thoughts I had as well in that first moment of dawning, showing that, even as we are expected to stay professionally distanced and objective, we are still human beings wanting to live, wanting to thrive and be happy.

I recently caught a few questionable remarks from the Aurobindan community which really make me think that the stage of ossification into a religion has been reached. Something along the lines of, “XY foresaw another future, so it cannot be true”, or, “If you do this kind of yoga you cannot believe this pessimistic stuff”, or even, “You are doubting The Master. What are you doing here?”

Well, I’m not a pessimist; I don’t live in the physical world alone. I don’t “believe” in that stuff because believing is really a bad idea when it makes you stop looking for yourself. Read your master’s works; s/he will tell you a word or two on “a life divine, but no religion.”
Scientific data, as well, can only take you so far before you are on your own. Words, figures, opinions, predictions, holy scriptures — none of those is truth as such, At best they can point at the truth. Every time we try to limit reality to a guru’s, a teacher’s, a politician’s, a philosopher’s, or anybody else’s words we step off the path of truth.

I see what is going on around, and inside of me – not just since this morning; I do that because I have a rotten gut feeling about people’s ways as far back as I can remember. I look at the world, I look at the data, and I think to myself, “Hm, that McPherson fellow got a point. Thanks for offering this perspective” — which means I go about finding out what it means in relation to my life.

Does it mean I cannot enjoy a joke? Does it mean I despise people with a different opinion? Does rejecting “The Master” as my supreme master mean I am off the Path? — No, no, and again no, quite the opposite in each case. I am still among those of goodwill; more than ever, I’d say, because this thing literally shook me up.

Do I fail sometimes? — Yes, absolutely. Quite often.
Can my assessments be inaccurate, or otherwise wrong? — Absolutely. It wouldn’t be the first time, either.
Yet it is I who has to find my way, like you have to find yours, and no one else can walk the walk for any of us.

Distributed denial of servitude

Browsing through the web, following links where they will take me, I notice quite a few people speaking up about abandoning the old system in favour of something more worthwhile, amiable, life-centered.
I’m not promising anything we do will save us from climate disasters ahead. But becoming more authentic, sustainable, correcting the process of decision making, flattening the power structures, moving from corporations to worker owned cooperatives, and ending this multi-millennia rule by elites who live by might-makes-right is worth doing at any stage.”, says, for enstance, Jason Holland, self-described anarchist and blogger.
Maybe it is just that I happen to stir up more of that stuff because I am looking for it, but I do have the impression that it has become increasingly easy finding it, and that the time is right for a major shift. We still are a tiny minority heavily constricted by mainstream culture, yet the seed of change has taken root in the fertile soil of the human mind.
How can we bring about the manifestation of that which the mind still has to grasp and what our hearts know already since birth?
Small numbers call for guerilla tactics. We do not want to repeat the same mistakes previous revolutionaries have fallen for, though. Violence is not an option. Hollowing out the system from within is not an option. ‘Green’ consumption is not an option. Large organizations are not an option. Each of us stands profoundly alone in the face of an all-overwhelming machine, and the probability of a near-term failure of the Earth’s biosphere.
It is from this standpoint of powerlessness that we can give up false hopes for change on a large scale, chuck out the notion of educating the masses, abandon the idea of pushing the right buttons to rectify what’s ‘wrong’. What we think, what we say, what we do, and how we relate to other beings cannot immediately trigger the drastic changes on a macro level most activists seem to be calling for; the real effect plays out in how it changes ourselves, and how it changes those immediately affected by our actions: our friends, family, pets, gardens, work results etc. The life in the immediate Now, the life in dignity, the life in servitude to Life – this is what the Real Revolution is about. It maymake a difference in the long run, on an accumulated macro level, but I have the gut feeling we ought not even think about it this way.
It is a dire situation we are in –
If we don’t stand soon not only is the climate a done deal but as we slide into the gravity of collapse as a disparate group at each other’s throats we’ll become ever more barbarous if we don’t fight to end this culture of ego now.” (Jason Holland again.)
Like Jason, I don’t want to make alarmism my standard notion, but that doesn’t mean that the description of the situation as I perceive it has to sound like a preacher’s vision of paradise. On a certain level, there are real threats some of which require instant action, probably even violence. I am not about discouraging anybody from doing whatever they feel is necessary.
Having said as much, I would go into a different direction: Let’s ask the question whether we are acting from fear of what might happen if we didn’t act. Are we seeking company in order to extinguish that feeling of being alone? Why not live up to the deepest understanding we can grasp, and implement that in every minute, every move? What about standing for what we aspire, rather than against what we despise?
We could stop selling our labour for money and instead be dedicating our time for free to our neighbours;
we could start educating our children ourselves, teaching them subjects and skills the schools keep under wraps: how to relate sincerely, how to find out things, how to sustain oneself, how to recognize truth;
we could start exploring our environment at walking distance, taking in smells and sights we never notice from within our cars;
we could give up listening to the telly and start telling our own stories; in doing so, we could give preference to listening to the person in front of us over the person calling in on mobile;
we could stop buying and start creating things ourselves, like food, music, jewellery, and housing;
we could begin gathering in small tribes of neighbourhoods and friends, exchanging goods and services for free, like caring for minors; we could value family bonds; we could value the land and bond ourselves with our blood to it. The land is us, and we are the land. This is how we can stand strong in the face of the violence this culture is engulfing us in.
Each moment lived in the spirit of not being afraid is a denial of servitude to the – whatever your preferred choice of words is – materialistic, utilitarian, short-sighted, imperialistic, exploitative, capitalistic, omnicidal, psychopathic civilization. Each individual following his or her heart contributes to the resilience of the ‘attack’ on the system by distributing the denial of servitude.
Keep in mind that our actions are notto be directed against dominant culture; they are primarily expressions of the different visionsand worldviews we are beginning to manifest today. Then each of them is sending ripples through a culture that, though it has managed to overwhelm the whole planet, is built on false assumptions and ready to fall apart at any moment now, collapsing under its own weight. By refusing to act from fear we become like sand between the system’s cogwheels.
But once again, don’t think about it in these terms. Don’t antagonize, don’t anticipate. By being a builder of community, rather than a destroyer of civlization, life becomes worth living again. Let the ‘problem’ with the dominant culture take care of itself. It already does.

Instrumental utilitarianism

“I’m not saying climate change isn’t a factor. But there are causes that are a lot more tangible. In many places people say, “The rains stopped coming because we cut down the forests.” I think we need to move toward making the forests sacred again, and the mangroves, and the rivers… to see them as sacred beings and not as instruments of human utility, to be protected because of their greenhouse mitigating contribution.
The attitude of instrumental utilitarianism toward nature — that is the problem. I’m talking about the idea that the world outside ourselves is basically a pile of resources whose value is defined by its utility. If that doesn’t change, nothing will change. And for that to change, for us to see nature and the material world as sacred and valuable in its own right, we must connect to the deep part of ourselves that already knows that. When we make that connection and feel the hurts of the planet, grief is unavoidable.

From this stance, we still seek to change everything that the CO2 narrative names as dangerous, but for different reasons and with different eyes.”
~~Charles Eisenstein

To be or not to be

“To remain unconscious of being is to be trapped within an ego-driven wasteland of conflict, strife, and fear that only seems customary because we have been brainwashed into a state of suspended disbelief where a shocking amount of hate, dishonesty, ignorance, and greed are viewed as normal and sane. But they are not sane, not even close to being sane. In fact, nothing could be less sane and unreal than what we human beings call reality. By clinging to what we know and believe, we are held captive by the movement of our conditioned thinking and imagination, all the while believing that we are perfectly rational and sane. We therefore continue to justify the reality of what causes us, as well as others, immeasurable amounts of pain and suffering. Deep down we all suspect that something is very wrong with the way we perceive life but we try very, very hard not to notice it. And the way we remain blind to our frightful condition is through an obsessive and pathological denial of being, as if some dreadful fate would overcome us if we were to face the pure light of Truth and lay bare our fearful clinging to illusion. It is within the dimension of being that Truth reveals itself.”
~ Adyashanti, in, The Way of Liberation
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