A letter to my sister | preciousness of life | Carl Sagan: freedom through scientific skepticism | Le Petit Prince

I was looking over my blog stats and saw someone read this, posted several years ago. I decided to post it again, since it’s relevant, from a moral and political standpoint – uh, yes, at one time I believe, the two were part of the same fabric. uh, now wait a minute, maybe morality and political leadership have rarely been paired, and that it is an exception! I mean, as long as royal leaders, and tyrants, and corporations have the reins, morality has little to do with the people who wish to maintain their power, control and profits.

Here’s the letter:
I am certainly happy to hear from you. Naturally I think about you every time that I enter the room to look at the lovely paper lanterns you hung for Mother’s birthday party and the teepee you constructed in the yard – which I‘m still raking! Memories of things people share and artifacts that they leave behind imbue all of these things with the spirit of the person. I am sorry that we had difficulties communicating at times. I have not been ‘above’ reacting emotionally to someone’s emotional reactions towards me. However, that doesn’t mean that I can not attempt to move beyond my reactions to reach out with more compassion and understanding.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author, Le Petit Prince, The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author of Le Petit Prince
The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupery was a pilot, and author of the remarkable children’s book, for adults, Le Petit Prince/ The Little Prince. There appear to be exceptions to this formidable quote, if the person happens to be morally repugnant and arrogant!

Le Petit Prince, Antoine Saint-Exupery, the Phenomenon

Le Petit Prince, written by Antoine Saint-Exupery
the Phenomenon

I went out with a family friend last night and afterwards, realized that he knows even more profoundly how precious life is, as he has lost both of his parents. Certainly, if we all had an acute awareness of death (sitting on our shoulders) – Carlos Castaneda style i.e. “the Teachings of Don Juan” – in each response to every moment, we would never be anything but kind to all people and creatures, at all times.

That sounds like a pretty heavy way to live. The context is not, to be continually fearful, but rather, continually present with the fact that every moment of life is precious. People need to accept the rights of others to be and perceive as they will. It is a rather large task, to put differences and competitiveness, jealousy, envy and judgments … aside. Yet it’s the only way for everyone to get along. (I just read in Salon dot com a rather scathing article about the writer Carlos Castaneda, saying that Don Juan was not only an astounding hoax, but that Castaneda went on to form a bizarre cult.) He nevertheless had strong poetic and spiritual points to emphasize in his writings.

It’s pretty much a life-long task, given the fact that all humans have a tendency to subjectively interpret and judge other peoples’ actions. I do it, we all do it, from personal complaints, grievances, expectations, disappointments on up to community and cultural, political and religious differences of interpretation, that result in the worst cases to prolonged wars and strife between ethnic groups and neighboring countries.

This appears to be one of the biggest challenges and aspirations for humankind; to look beyond differences and strive for understanding, compassion and kindness. The ‘tree-hugger/environmental activist side of me’ is kicking out judgements every time I see people’s actions or material opulence (not to mention hearing about plans for more gas drilling in the arctic etc.) which I perceive as offensive. I put them into a box I label offender/perpetrator; a personal judgement which is my own way of playing in the ‘us against them’ scenario. So, I’m as guilty as anyone. The obvious extreme is the fact that people are blowing each other up in the Middle East …. and that wars and conflicts and ominous actions of manipulation continue to proliferate worldwide, despite the fact that most humans have access to rather extraordinary tools.

We are technologically light years ahead of where we are emotionally!

As Carl Sagan mentions in this interview “A Way of Thinking” in which he delivers insights into the dangers in our present culture; based on the fact that we’re a science and technology-based culture, the inner workings of which few comprehend. That puts us in a position in which we are in danger of being more easily manipulated.

Sagan points out that science is a way of skeptically interrogating the universe. And that it’s dramatically important for each of us to ask skeptical questions about everything, particularly to those in authority; otherwise we are up for grabs by the next charlatan, political or religious, that comes along. He mentions that Thomas Jefferson said that people need to be educated in order to practice their skepticism, otherwise ‘we don’t run the government, the government runs us’.

Carol Keiter the blogger

Carol Keiter the blogger

Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

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The Eloquently and Elegantly stated Truth

Nothing is more important than reading this. And then reading it again.

The most elegant and eloquent presentation of the facts, that anyone who can understand words, must be persuaded to hear and respond to emotionally and intuitively as the truth.

I have merely copied and pasted the text of this writing within the link below (minus the original links within it), feeling it to be the utterly most important statement of vast insight, that everyone must read. And continue to talk.

-.—.—-.—–.——.-.—.—-.—–.——.-.—.—-.—–.——.-.—.—-.—–.—-.-.—.–.-

http://www.grenzbegriff.com/2017/10/leaving.html

 

these are my words at the time of writing — I am more like tree than rock — as I bend to reach the sunlight

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Leaving

Hi friends,

I’m leaving Google at the end of next week.

There’s too much I want to say.  🙂

I spent the summer away from work, outdoors in Oregon, awash in beauty.  I learned a lot.  I wept at how we’re treating the earth, as I rode past mile after mile of logged forests, polluted streams, and lifeless monocrop fields.

I got to be part of what I’ll call “alternative culture”, to explore ways of meeting all of our human needs through local community alternatives to basically everything we currently use money for.  I wrote some about this time here on this blog.  I barely scratched the surface though.  More and more people, perhaps millions now even in the West, are devoting their lives to new (and sometimes ancient) ways of living in healthy relationship with each other and with the earth.  While they are usually partly within the current system, when all of these new ways of living come together, the current system becomes obsolete.  I see joyous glimpses of this everywhere.

Meanwhile our dominant civilization is killing its own foundation: the healthy web of life on earth.  Through deforestation and pollution we are destroying the ability of the planet to support all forms of life.  We can see this in the oceans where the fish populations are collapsing, the silent fields that were once thriving forests, and the deserts where millions of people go hungry in drought.  This ecological crisis can’t be solved simply by swapping oil for solar panels.  I’m no longer optimistic that we will soon fix these problems with some new technology.  It’s quite possible that climate change is exacerbating the storms and droughts and fires, and that these will continue to become more severe in the next years.

The effects are not evenly distributed.  The unhoused breathe wildfire smoke while many of the housed have filtered air.  Some of us see our homes flooded or burnt while for others business continues as usual.  Most communities in the country and increasingly in the world have lost the ability to sustain themselves from their land, and now must import almost everything they need from elsewhere, which becomes precarious when those importing the goods see no profit in it (food deserts), or when disaster breaks down the supply line like in Puerto Rico.  Many communities no longer have access to clean water, or are losing it as I write.  On Monday I listened to a man from Guatemala talk about a new silver mine near his home that is polluting and drying up the water supply for many villages there.  Almost all silver is used to produce electronics, and demand is rising.  In Oregon this summer, ancient trees thousands of years old were cleared for fire breaks.  The entire planet is being saturated with chemicals that we ought never to have created.  These kinds of damage cannot be undone or fixed by technology.  The story for other species is even worse, as most wild animal populations have died off and we pack billions of animals in cages in horrific factory farms.  The coral reefs, the rhinos, the ancient forests, the whales, and even the insects… who speaks for them?  Some people do, and they end up in jail if their actions threaten profits.  Profits are made at the expense of Life.

And within our civilization, we have more prisoners and refugees, more drugs and anxiety and depression and stress and addiction than ever.  Even in wealthy regions, most people don’t like the work they do all day.  It’s also not physically healthy to be indoors or using a computer or riding in vehicles for as many hours as many of us who are “successful” do.  What is happening to us?

It seems the leaders of our world are apathetic or powerless, as they fight over the most gaudy deck chairs on this titanic.  While it pains me, I don’t hate them for this; their actions are the product of a traumatic history that touches all of us.  They don’t know what they’re doing.

I envision a more beautiful world where humans have a healthy part to play, to love and respect the earth, not to dominate and exploit it.  I see many people living that vision already, and want to live my life in service to it.  I see the extremes of both ugliness and beauty grow more stark.  Ugliness as we close down and protect ourselves from the ‘other’, beauty as we come together in community, in love with mother earth.  Will “society” as a whole make some kind of transition, or continue the march into dystopia and eventual chaos?  I don’t know.  It will be both at the same time.  Some people are already in an obvious dystopia, some are in a beautiful place yet in the shadow of a collapsing ecosystem.  To hope for a peaceful transition would be to ignore the incredible violence on which the current system lives.  It will be violent because it already is.  May we learn to be kind to each other as these changes unfold.

It’s been said that we need the darkness to see the stars.  We can open ourselves to what is happening, feel and honor our pain, grieve what is lost, and revel in our deep gratitude for the beauty of life.  I don’t mean to be a downer pointing at all this ugliness.  I feel that we have a deep need to see it and acknowledge it.  It makes the beauty that much more precious and worth living for.

“Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?”
-Mary Oliver

What should we do then?

I don’t know exactly what we should do.  I don’t have a rational “here’s what everyone needs to do” that will resolve all of these crises.  I want to let go of my need to control what happens, because I’m really not in control.  At the same time, even if I let go and accept whatever comes, I am a human being and it is natural for me to care and want to help, to serve what I love.  I will not deny that part of me either.  So I find myself thinking about how to help, even if it seems “hopeless” overall.  I need not stress about the outcomes, but I will still act.  What else would I do with my few short years here?

So what might I do to be practical?

I don’t believe our technology is serving us well.  We, the wealthy humans near the top of the power hierarchy may see it as indispensable, but if we consider the animals or the fish or the trees or the laborers in the sweatshops and mines and plantations, it’s not working out so well.  Yes, our technology relieves some suffering in some places, but at what cost?  We simply do not, and probably cannot, count the costs of development.  I am not enthusiastic that further technological progress will heal us.

I also don’t believe that our problems are mostly due to money being in the wrong hands.  Measuring everything by monetary value seems to me one of the roots of the crises.  The mentality that values money over life drives much of the pollution and resource extraction and oppression around the world, since humans first accumulated “property” and enslaved each other.  I don’t feel that getting as much money as I can and giving it to the non-profit side of the system is the best way for me to serve what I love.  I feel that the money abstraction and the distance it puts between us and the effects of our actions makes us feel disconnected and alone.

I also don’t like our culture’s valuing of measurable impact over everything else.  Much of what is precious to me cannot be measured.  What’s the measurable value of a 5000 year old yew tree?  What’s the measurable value of caring for a disabled child?

“May what I do flow from me like a river
no forcing
and no holding back
the way it is with children.”
-Rilke

So I don’t know what we all should do exactly, and I don’t know what I will do beyond the short term.  I’m skeptical of money and the dominant culture’s value system.  I want to trust what makes me feel alive over our culture’s normal stories that usually are rooted in fear.  I recognize that I’m one of the most privileged people in the world.  I know most people do not have the options that I have.  I don’t mean to judge, only to encourage.

Right now what’s happening is I’ve been living in a homeless protest encampment in Berkeley the last couple months, which has given me still another perspective on our society.  It got interesting this weekend and we’re fighting eviction, hoping to benefit and inspire homeless communities around the country.  With all of the disaster and war refugees today, and housing crises in many places, there are more and more people who can’t have regular housing, and we could learn to live together with more kindness and understanding.  I’m also involved with the community here in other ways like Food Not Bombs.  I expect soon I’ll be moving on to other places, to learn and to live in service to what I love.  To restore soil and help plants grow and be community.

I’ve learned I don’t need much money to live well myself, so I don’t need to earn it for myself.  Perhaps my perspective on money and impact will change and I’ll eventually decide that earning money and supporting my many friends who don’t have much money in their various causes is the best way to contribute, and then I might return to a job, but we’ll see.  “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

Wherever I am, I’ll be with some kind of community learning how to live in healthier relationship with each other and with the earth.  There’ll be dark moments and joyous moments, and this is life.  Life is good.  Whatever comes, I will give attention to the beauty around me, the beauty of community and of nature and of every form.  Beauty everywhere begs our attention.

“An eye is meant to see things.
The soul is here for its own joy.

A head has one use: For loving a true love.
Feet: To chase after.

Rumi quote Spirit Mind

Rumi quote Spirit Mind

carol return hitch from Taos, New Mexico

carol the blogger on her return hitch from Taos, New Mexico to Santa Fe. One side of my sign said Santa Fe, the other, Fanta Se

What Humans Currently Do | Excerpt from “The Universe Story”

Our Solar System arose 4.5 Billion years ago. The Earth has evolved – through a series of transformations – to even enable life to form.

From the beginning, as our universe continues to evolve in its cosmogenesis, intelligent intent is present – at all levels > towards differentiation, autopoiesis and communion.

NASA image, Cygnus Loop, Supernova Stellar Explosion, 15,000 years ago

NASA image Cygnus Loop Supernova Stellar Explosion 15,000 years ago

 

Excerpts from the authors

Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry of “The Universe Story”

Ecological Buddhism – A Buddhist Response to Global Warming

Presently, the human race enters the The Ecozoic Era.

Brian Swimme is one of the main people with whom to study, to understand the cosmological shift necessary to a new cosmology.

 

 

“As the natural world recedes in its diversity and abundance, so the human finds itself impoverished in its economic resources, its imaginative powers, its human sensitivities and in significant aspects of its intellectual intuitions.”

Devastation of Rainforest

Davastation of a Rainforest

 

Here’s a link to the footage of Forest Heroes from a drone of the devastation of a rainforest: Astra’s forest destruction in Indonesia.

 

“The pathos is that we are presently deliberately terminating the most awesome splendor that the planet has yet attained. We are extinguishing the rainforests, the most luxuriant life system of the entire planet, at the rate of an acre each second of each day. Each year we are destroying a rainforest area the size of Oklahoma.

Throughout the planet we are not only extinguishing present forms of life, yet also eliminating the very conditions for the renewal of life in some of its more elaborate forms.

We have moved from such evils as suicide, homicide, and genocide, to biocide and geocide, the killing of the life systems of the planet and the severe degradation if not the killing of the planet itself. We have moved from simple physical assault on the planet, to disturbance of the chemical balance of the planet through our petrochemical industries, to questionable manipulation of the genetic constitution of the living being of the planet by our genetic engineering, to the radioactive wasting of the planet through our nuclear industries.”

Bird sanctuary,  Gulf Petrochemicals Industries Co.

Bird sanctuary at Gulf Petrochemicals Industries Co.

 

Ironically, this image of a bird sanctuary at Gulf Petrochemicals Industries Co., is courtesy of the president of the Petro company. A public relations blog on how hunky dory everything is, with the company sitting on top of a fragile ecosystem.

 

 

“That human well-being could be achieved by diminishing the well being of the Earth, that a rising Gross Domestic Product could ignore the declining Gross Earth Product, is the basic flaw in the Wonderland Myth.”

momgoesgreen.com:my-thoughts-on-the-gulf-oil-spill

momgoesgreen.com:my-thoughts-on-the-gulf-oil-spill

 

 

“These centuries of “progress” are now ending with increasing stress for the human is final evidence that;

what humans do to the outer world they do to their own interior world.

 

! Next Blog ¡ What we humans need to do in our emerging Echoic Era, to allow the paradigm shift in our conscious awareness to emerge.

We are Earth> Occupy the Planet!

A letter to my sister | preciousness of life | Carl Sagan: freedom through scientific skepticism

I was looking over my blog stats and saw someone read this, a very early blog. I decided to post it, since it’s relevant, from a moral and political standpoint – uh, yes, at one time I believe, the two were part of the same fabric. uh, now wait a minute, maybe morality and political leadership, have rarely been paired, and that it is an exception! I mean, as long as royal leaders, and tyrants, and corporations have the reins, morality has not a fucking thing to do with the people who wish to maintain their power, control and profits.

I am certainly happy to hear from you. Naturally I think about you every time that I enter the room to look at the lovely paper lanterns you hung for Mother’s birthday party and the teepee you constructed in the yard – which I‘m still raking! Memories of things people share and artifacts that they leave behind imbue all of these things with the spirit of the person. I am sorry that we had difficulties communicating at times. I have not been ‘above’ reacting emotionally to someone’s emotional reactions towards me. However, that doesn’t mean that I can not attempt to move beyond my reactions to reach out with more compassion and understanding.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, author, Le Petit Prince, The Little Prince

Antoine de Saint-Exupery author Le Petit Prince
The Little Prince

I went out with a family friend last night and afterwards, realized that he knows even more profoundly how precious life is, as he has lost both of his parents. Certainly, if we all had an acute awareness of death (sitting on our shoulders) – Carlos Castaneda style i.e. “the Teachings of Don Juan” – in each response to every moment, we would never be anything but kind to all people and creatures, at all times.

That sounds like a pretty heavy way to live. The context is not, to be continually fearful, but rather, continually present with the fact that every moment of life is precious. People need to accept the rights of others to be and perceive as they will. It is a rather large task, to put differences and competitiveness, jealousy, envy and judgments … aside. Yet it’s the only way for everyone to get along. (I just read in Salon dot com a rather scathing article about the writer Carlos Castaneda, saying that Don Juan was not only an astounding hoax, but that Castaneda went on to form a bizarre cult.) He nevertheless had strong poetic and spiritual points to emphasize in his writings.

It’s pretty much a life-long task, given the fact that all humans have a tendency to subjectively interpret and judge other peoples’ actions. I do it, we all do it, from personal complaints, grievances, expectations, disappointments on up to community and cultural, political and religious differences of interpretation, that result in the worst cases to prolonged wars and strife between ethnic groups and neighboring countries.

This appears to be one of the biggest challenges and aspirations for humankind; to look beyond differences and strive for understanding, compassion and kindness. The ‘tree-hugger/environmental activist side of me’ is kicking out judgements every time I see people’s actions or material opulence (not to mention hearing about plans for more gas drilling in the arctic etc.) which I perceive as offensive. I put them into a box I label offender/perpetrator; a personal judgement which is my own way of playing in the ‘us against them’ scenario. So, I’m as guilty as anyone. The obvious extreme is the fact that people are blowing each other up in the Middle East …. and that wars and conflicts and ominous actions of manipulation continue to proliferate worldwide, despite the fact that most humans have access to rather extraordinary tools.

We are technologically light years ahead of where we are emotionally!

As Carl Sagan mentions in this interview “A Way of Thinking” in which he delivers insights into the dangers in our present culture; based on the fact that we’re a science and technology-based culture, the inner workings of which few comprehend. That puts us in a position in which we are in danger of being more easily manipulated.

Sagan points out that science is a way of skeptically interrogating the universe. And that it’s dramatically important for each of us to ask skeptical questions about everything, particularly to those in authority; otherwise we are up for grabs by the next charlatan, political or religious, that comes along. He mentions that Thomas Jefferson said that people need to be educated in order to practice their skepticism, otherwise ‘we don’t run the government, the government runs us’.

“Battle for the Elephants” documentary speaks Louder than Words

I’m getting closer to figuring out what it is that I am here for in this lifetime. Though I am not sure where I will go next, having just watched a documentary featured on PBS http://www.pbs.org/programs/battle-elephants/ about the near extinction of elephants due to the skyrocketing pricetag of ivory on their heads primarily coming from the demand in China, I just had another realization.

wildlife_conservation_society_battle_for_the_elephants

I returned from a city that rarely sleeps – Berlin, Germany – to this sleepy town in Pennsylvania where I was raised. The impetus was to spend time with my father and reunite with my family, an homage to my parents. In this quiet place, I have maintained health and physical and intellectual fitness; doing outdoor sports, being in nature, playing musical instruments, reading, attending classes and taking in a lot of information. I’ve read plenty of articles in magazines such as the Smithsonian, National Geographic, UTNE Reader, Christian Science Monitor with worldwide scopes on social unrest, inequalities, imbalanced values, environmental hazards, greed (and some positive things ‘-) … I have been very fortunate that much of the information that has presented itself to me through local classes has been completely in synch with subjects that I have interest in. I believe it’s synchronicity or synchrodestiny, that I chose to return at this time. It has been a time and place of going inwards and absorbing – so that I could distill all of this information about the heart, spirit and mind…without distraction. Though I am absolutely pulled in many directions because of my interests, I realize that I very much adore and value the creatures that share our planet, many of which are nearing extinction. Something about this particular documentary, this evening lead me to believe that my purpose is to make a commitment to be a voice for those who have none. I don’t quite know how to effectively influence a population of a billion people to have empathy for the creatures that are being sacrificed for their commercial use of ivory – that has been going on for a thousand years – to satisfy their need to display wealth, taste, fine art, uphold religious iconography, meet their health needs or extenuate their impotence… but outside of joining a rebel force in East Africa to fire weapons at poachers, I will, to the best of my ability, convey information and tune whatever means I have with my body, mind, creativity, word, music and art, to raise the awareness and consciousness of the world to the plight of the creatures that we share it with, and to speak, for those who can’t speak for themselves. Statistics on Elephants in Africa

http://www.wcs.org/elephants/ The Wildlife Conservation Society provides you with various ways to help.

Stop the Demand


WCS plans to utilize Chinese social media platforms to encourage public engagement to reduce demand for ivory and influence how government agencies respond to the illegal ivory trade. We will support the creation of a social media hub in Beijing that focuses on information sharing, opinion mapping, building partnerships, and mobilization.

How You Can Help

Elephants can’t protect themselves against organized, armed criminals. To face down this tremendous threat, they’ll need the help of dedicated ecoguards who can intervene immediately. They’ll also need you.

http://events.nationalgeographic.com/events/films/2013/02/26/battle-elephants/

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/04/world/africa/africas-elephants-are-being-slaughtered-in-poaching-frenzy.html

nytimes_poaching_frenzy_africas_elephants_wiped_out

National_Geographic_information

“Law enforcement officials say organized crime has slipped into the ivory underworld, because only a well-oiled criminal machine – with the help of corrupt officials – could move hundreds of pounds of tusks thousands of miles across the globe…Like blood diamonds from Sierra Leone or plundered minerals from Congo, ivory, it seems, is the latest conflict resource in Africa, dragged out of remote battle zones, easily converted into cash and now fueling conflicts across the continent.”

Another recent article in the New York Times just appeared on the subject, with respect to the illicit trail of African ivory to China. Here is an important resource with many articles on the subject. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/world/africa/the-price-of-ivory.html?ref=asia

new york times article illicit trade of ivory to China

new york times article illicit trade of ivory

Here’s more information on the subject. http://www.care2.com/causes/will-african-elephants-be-extinct-in-ten-years.html

elephant_shot