Small Is Beautiful

Members of the US Supreme Court are political appointees for life, whether or not we admit it. The Supreme Court declared that corporations are people with attendant rights and privileges. It was extraordinary poor judgment by these judges in terms of outcome as well as a sell-out to corporations which desired it. Corporations are man-created devices whose goal is to make money. They focus on getting more for those who own shares as well as for their CEOs whose wages are extraordinarily inflated which reflects the lawlessness of power and our tendency to worship those who make money.

Corporations are instruments which have no conscience. They are Legal fictions, calculating devices which seek new pathways into the land of money. Corporations add money to their coffers often by subtracting life from living things. It is simple arithmetic. If you look around, see the number of homeless people, the closing of public schools, factory farms with impoverished immigrant workers who are sprayed in the field with pesticide, absent health care, indebted college students, parks burning down or falling prey to insect populations moving north, oil spills,  typhoons and glacier melt,  earthquakes and tsunamis, and radiation leaks ……Behind these disaster and largely causing them are corporations which cheat Mother Earth of necessary care. There is no worshipful “hands off” in the “mind” of corporations which will sacrifice all to make money.

Helena Norberg-Hodge whose writing first came across after visiting Ladakh a once independent country in the Himalayas before the entry of India and her profit motive. Ladakh is/was a land of happy people who live within their means. They preserve their pure glacial streams, grow apricots and huge root vegetables in the huge summer sun, live in enormous unheated houses endlessly visited by families and friends. They plant barley as a family with the young working hardest and elders digging at their pace all of them singing mantras. They love their children. There is no end of holding them, no lonely children here.  Mom tends her sunflowers, milks her goat, puts apricots on the roof to dry, hardens her goat cheese which she serves in soup. Everyone is readying for the coming freezing winter in which they are cut off from plains India.  Then they hang out in the kitchen around the  stove. There are/were no distant jobs for men with women stuck in the house. No work or child care separation by age and sex although grandparents were favored by the children on whom they doted.

Helena Norberg-Hodge points out how we in the west have lost our connection with one another as family and with Mother Earth as our refuge. Corporations which have the mind of plunder lead the charge. What can we extract most cheaply? Corporations cut corners. They did not have a shut-off device on the oil extractor in the Mexican Gulf which went into massive oil spill. Then they put dispersant on the oil floating on top of the water to make it look smaller so that the ocean around became contaminated and destroyed all living things. They cut the tops of mountains to get at the coal, contaminate the streams with slurry spill and make down stream villagers sick.

One can go on and on about the consequences of corporate short-sightedness and people accepting  false leadership. But this need not be so. We need to stop thinking globally, even nationally. Every area has its own climate and soil. Every person needs to eat. Feeding ourselves is our number one responsibility . Membership in widely spread groups is about loss. We need to have our hearts and minds focused on where we live and those who live around us. We need to make local decisions. Is what we consider doing good for Mother Earth? If we anticipate negative consequences we are not to try it out. We are naturally cautious which represents our share-it-all philosophy. It is a philosophy in which every living creature has its place. We are not to be pulled into the corporate philosophy of going for more. The same or even less is better. Like Bhutan, another Himalayan country is doing, we need to develop a philosophy of happiness which has nothing to do with getting more things.

Have we no gardens to tend? No place for cows and sheep, no place for sleeping under the stars, no place for singing and dancing? Have we no way to entertain ourselves without the numbing hypnotic effect of watching TV. Separation breeds fear. Passivity makes you helpless. Do we really want what advertising is telling us that we need? Can we bike instead of ride; how about sharing chores with neighbors? Imagine coming out of your 4-walled container and getting to know those who live around you. Do we need to learn how to do something for the first time including the art of friendship? What of the skills you’ve always wanted to learn? Some of these neighbors can be our teachers. We can heal our loneliness while learning and celebrate life together.




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