There is a lot of fear in the air these days, as social and political tensions mount, as the reality and severity of climate change sets in, as the limitations of industrial capitalism are gradually exposed…as is our dependence on vast but apparently fragile supply lines for our necessary and unnecessary goods.
But to me, these times are actually very important because all the issues are out now, and we are at last beginning to face them as a collective in earnest.
Just as with an individual who has to go through discomfort to come out of an unconscious pattern… and have to grieve, go through waves of inspiration and resistance, perhaps act out the behavior/belief more intensely so as to fully feel and recognize its impact for the first time… so to, we industrial nations must go through these growing pains.
Many will be uncomfortable. Many will be afraid and rail against change. Many will be confused and frightened as they make nascent efforts at being vocal in their communities about injustices that have been ignored for centuries.
But, as Dr. King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long.” And as Zen master Soen Nakagawa would say to students struggling in the process of awakening, “March on!”
I watch and reflect on Western/industrial society a lot, especially how people relate to Earth (or do not) and to each other. I wrote the following in a discussion on Facebook about preparedness if economic and/or ecological disruptions are significant enough that people need to start providing for their own food. The meme that started the conversation spoke of creating”benevolent skilled communities” in advance of such troubles, and spoke against the idea that defending one’s food, shelter and community against thieves may be necessary. Here is part of my reply:
“What it gravely lacking in industrial nations is collective reverence for the miracle of life, social norms of grace and kindness, and rituals and practices that make moments and experiences sacred. Our modern knowing has put awe and humbleness at the back of the closet, as we favor indulgent individualism and consumerism over a spirit of service to the collective (and Earth) and gratitude for enough. And we have made Earth our slave rather than humble ourselves to our dependence on this divine manifestation that gives us the gift of life. Detached from our physical survival, living every-increasingly in the fantasy of “markets” and technology and entertainment, it will be quite a shock to most to have to do anything at all to provide for themselves from the soil up. Both markets and “lifestyles” have become so radically artificial, and even against nature, that we are actually forcing the outcomes we quietly dread. The fuse to social chaos is far shorter than most admit.”
To my mind, hyper-individualism and consumerism has the masses of industrial nations unprepared, materially, socially and in skills, to handle any serious or long-term breakdown of the massive infrastructures and supply lines that afford us the luxuries we have come to expect and take for granted.
What, if anything, do you have in place for even simple breakdown such as loss of electricity for an extended time? Are you doing anything to be ready, if necessary, to respond to potential economic and/or environmental disruptions to life as we know it?
There is no better time than now to start anew. In fact, “now” is the only time there ever is. It is all we actually have. In an on line conversation about reorienting our society so that Earth and we can thrive, I offered the following:
“Help people reestablish active interaction and relationship with Earth. Not in a woo-woo way, but simply lead them to observe and in observing they will reflect and in reflecting they will feel and with feeling they will reach out and begin serving Earth. We bought the reality in which we are disconnected from working to grow our food and build our shelter, and instead work to get money to buy food others grew and shelter other built. Somehow we let a certain mindset set things up to control our food and shelter. If we return to engaging in our rightful relationship with Earth, balance will restore. It does not take asking or begging or fighting or whining. It takes being out of doors. And of boxes. Connecting in constructive and creative endeavor with neighbors. Go play. Be inspired. Share the fun. Watch the sun rise.”