Hubris

No better cage

For the snowball effect

than pride left unchecked

like a runaway train

Momentum only grows

and the destination

is long gone

and destruction is inevitable

just a matter of time

before the whole thing derails

for what was a force

of strength

is all but lost to chaos

all that’s left

is the crash

joseppi.28oct.2017.nyc

Joseph Chang

We are carried away by the hubris of the politicians mad with power and lying to suppress our fear. Know that you are afraid that the destruction our country pours around the world has now come home to us. It is us who have to put on the brakes. We cannot do it individually but only as a mighty “we,” an “us,” “noi” in Italian, as Pope Francis just said it on HuffPost. See the speech. It’s wonderful. 

His Holiness Pope Francis – Huff Post

 

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Allow Yourself to Feel

I saw a polar bear struggling on the ice, falling, pulling itself up, then falling again and again, finally giving up and staying down. This was not characteristic of the species, a majestic animal that thrives in that environment, but man had made the bear weak. I wept and wept, thinking of the dying species—not because of some sort of natural selection, but because of our chemical waste, our need to extract from the land and use the land on which to spew pollutants (it costs money to extract them), because of our lack of caring for life. I cried some more.

I told a dear friend about my tears and he said that polar bears are the only animals that will kill humans simply for pleasure. I laughed with him but part of me felt how humor, and even facts, keep us away from feeling tragedy. People do it with dry facts, with marijuana and alcohol and mood-altering drugs, both legal and otherwise. Boy, are we ever prepared! This is a sarcastic remark. It means the opposite.  

Perhaps the fact person and the drug taker would be overwhelmed by feeling. Perhaps our culture has taught us to feel ashamed of weeping or shouting. Shhhhh. Keep it in. But we need to fully feel. Feeling our pain, our terror, our loss, keeps us present and within the realm of reality.

For example, we need to know what our bombing is doing to the rest of the world—children with burned faces, eleven-year-olds working in factories or in mines. What has so long been denied, ignored, subverted by dry facts or humor, is increasingly happening to us.

Turn your eyes away. But blindness does not protect you. And how could using devices to keep us from feeling make anything better? It is childish, magical thinking. The psychopathic politicians use your fear to control you. They promise you protection while they covertly doom us all. They are greedy users who are making sure that they will have much more than enough. The more we are taught to feel ashamed of showing feeling, the more likely we will fall into their pit of robbery, disease, and death.

Know that bad is coming. See it. Feel it. And be prepared. Figure out alternative ways to maintain yourself (and your family if they are with you). The ability to feel the pain all around us is a sign of strength.  Seeing reality for what it is keeps us from putting our faith in politicians who make false promises. It makes us self reliant. It helps us create extended families we call friends who will work collectively, share the pain, the joy and the fun of the job of creating change.

The Corporate Agenda is for Dying

Their eyes, the eyes of those who have the power to decide, are on making more money now. Later doesn’t exist for them. Needing ever more money is a form of addiction. Their eyes are on making money from the ways that worked for them before, the ways they already are invested in. Change is expensive and therefore to be suppressed, ignored, minimized. The way that made America rich is based on extraction including extracting work from slaves. Take it, dig it, cut it out, net it, use all ways of taking, pay off (bribe)those who have the power to stop you including Congress people. The theme is take take take take take.

Using enormous nets, fish out all that lives in the ocean (discard the species you do not want. Think that the quantity of fish is endless. You have to think that to make your taking moral. Ignore reports of their dwindling and total extinction. Dig more coal. Clean coal as the President calls it. Ignorance united with greed shapes his speech. Dig for oil in national parks. Now they are going for parkland in the north where, a huge number of birds fly to propagate. Sell the parks or cut them way back to mine them and overcharge entry. People are seen as worthless eaters who soon will be replaced by AI. Put pipelines through Indian reservations. Ignore the endless leaking pipes carrying corrosive oil by pipes not built to handle it. Despoil areas that produce our food and water. Science will fix it, won’t it? When?

Hunt the biggest and oldest in the pack of caribou, bears, seals, elephants… the elders  breed the strongest offspring, they lead the herd and train the young’uns. But they look good mounted on your wall. Ignore the potential power source of sun and wind and geothermal and tides. Arrest those who march against this, the tree sitters and tribes praying for water. Spray them with water in the freezing cold, tear gas them, shoot, maim and kill them. Run them over with your car or truck. Arrest those who make noises to scare away the game. Label them terrorists.

Remember the interdependence of life. Take down trees in the Amazon to grow short-lived grass to feed soon-to-be hamburger meat whose top soil soon blows away so you have-to move on. Cut more trees. No trees. No oxygen. Take away the money for medical care and education and park care and roads maintenance and railroads. Keep it for the 1 percent who never have enough. Stop funding birth control as the world population explodes and jobs disappear in an AI world.

Pretty soon you have raving and starving and sickly people in the streets and at your nation’s gates. Where are the rich and the rest of us going to hide when the world explodes with unmet needs?

 

What Is Your True Self

We choose a president who chose a cabinet which is robbing us every single day of things which offer popular support – to give tax breaks to the obscenely rich or great profit to equally powerful corporations. Did we not know this when we voted?

I would say yes and no. We saw a scheming television personalty who promised not to take away Medicare, Medicaid, health care and on and on…. All of these now are on the chopping block. The TV stations went crazy for him because his appearance sold a lot of on-air products. They pretty much ignored everyone else, especially Bernie Sanders.

His reputation for not paying almost everyone who worked for him was not mentioned by mainstream media but seeped into the news elsewhere. Why did we choose to fall into the trip of deceit? Probably because we already were there. People most easily scammed were raised by parents who both terrified and took away their right to think for themselves. These child-minded adults saw the candidate as a powerful figure who could harm them. They chose to accept his words of self-glory as well as promises of help, jobs, etc. that he would not keep. The child within is too frightened of severe parental mistreatment to do otherwise.

But how are we who had a terrifying childhood and, as a consequence, a terrified inner child to move away from our submissive persona and become a free and  and powerful self? That is what this column is about.

I set myself to thinking about people I’ve seen who live in the adult self. I remember going to a NY library to research documentary films because I was about to film one myself on the mothering practices in the Venezuelan Amazon. To my surprise there were few of them. I guess corporations that fund television do so to sell their toothpaste, bombs and bullets through adult educational programming. They are certainly not interested in a tiny bunch of people living off the land. I saw a pygmy family, beautiful small people sitting in an igloo of leaves and branches. It was the rainy season and it sure was raining. There seemed to be some complaining and pointing to the roof until Dad went out and got a few more leaves to cover the holes. Then he sat down next to Mom, next to their older boy child, a boy and a younger child leaning against them, and began to sing to to sing. Momma sang. Daddy sang. The older boy and the baby sang, mouth wide open, not yet quite using words. The melody was beautiful. The harmony even more so- not just the music, but the family itself. Everyone unselfconsciously joined together, entranced.

I then looked at another film of a small group of people, several families on an Indonesian Island. I heard from them that the children never fight. something we in the west call normal. These people gather food from nature around them including mussels in the stream. They leave no imprint on the world.

They too sang. They sometimes sang together, sometimes alone. Even a child would sometimes sing alone. They sang on camera and the tune was beautiful. They sang to celebrate life. They asked the embarrassed and cornered anthropologist to sing. He croaked out “Old McDonald…” They smiled and made happy noises as they were a kind bunch of people.

So this is the image I use for an adult self-singing together, all included. Any “leader” who shuts out certain singers as unworthy, evil, like the Muslims, African Americans, Latinos, are Jews, women, are not singing the song of self. The true self is inclusive. Martin Luther King Jr., made that point. To love all is not to like their aggressive and destructive deeds. A true self feels unity with the living planet which that person will not and cannot despoil.

So find a group in which you can sing your song. Your music needn’t be one of sound. It can be selling solar power, teaching creating. It can be inventing, writing poetry, preserving species, leading hikes. It can be anything in which your spirit sings, so long as you sing with everyone – a beautiful harmony of the human family; more than that, the family of life.

 

 

 

Get the Losers to Fight

Political statements which support depriving middle and lower classes while holding onto wealth and power are repeated by the writing of corporate funded news. These stir up hatred by stating that one group steals the ever fewer jobs from the other. Those with their hands in the till (of our tax money and their investments) tell us that we are endangered by ….. Muslims, blacks, Jews, women, Indians trying to protect our water, ….  anyone who wants to protect those with power from being accused and punished for their life destructive incursions.

The 1 percent goes up and the 99 percent goes down, down, down. Let us look at Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, who has zero experience, understanding and interest in public schools. She said that public education “is a poor investment.” Part of her family’s great wealth comes from collecting student loans. She stated that she wants to offer vouchers to poor people so that their children can go to the assumed superior charter schools. This stated intention is a scam. After receiving the voucher, poor people still cannot afford to send their child to a charter school so the child does not attend. Children in charter schools are there from the start because their parents have money to pay. Voucher money is taken from the public school kitty for the sole goal of impoverishing it. Look where the money goes when assigning responsibility.

The Trump group is talking about closing the Department of Education (i.e. public schools) in 2018.  Education when effective, creates a thinking person. DeVos has stated her intention is to have the schools endorse religious principles. She called it God’s Kingdom, presumably a Christian enclave. Remember the separation of church and state? Now forget it. Such restricted schooling gets students to submit to the propaganda of millionaires and billionaires who enhance their wealth by getting rid of public services; to end Medicare and Medicaid; to privatize the Social Security they call an “entitlement, a misnomer which is a euphemism for a lie. Social Security is a lifetime investment taken from your “pay check”; Teachers increasingly “teach to the exam” which means suppressing thought. The controlling 1 percent has got its claws in creative teaching. Passing a test does not mean you can think.

We are inundated with the false understanding about what threaten us instead of how we are actually being robbed. Panicked by an imagined history, we ignore the threat of EOs (Executive Orders) one after the other. Recently an EO proposed to end the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) which reveals money-making environmental damage, the EO canceling the CPB (Committee for Public Broadcasting) which supports air time for small and public supported voices. Day after day, on and on and on. All the basic stuff of life is being turned into money. They are pulling up the sidewalks.

I was quite depressed and fearful last night, even of the consequences of my being noticed for writing this. Then I had this dream.

I saw a group of children, perhaps about 50 of them standing together and not of the “same” racial group. One of them did or was said to have said something negative against another. It was stated by the teacher as if being a criminal act. The teacher asked, “…who did it” to the crowd. Asked them to expose that child so that the others would get angry and attack. “Speak up. Talk. What is your reaction to this behavior?” But no one spoke. She tried to up the ante by characterizing the unknown child as “a bad one.” But still, there was no speech. The teacher could not stir up fear and hatred. She was defeated, silenced.

At the end of my dream, there was happiness in the children’s eyes. Also in my own eyes as I awakened. I felt the spirit of love shared by all the children. Love sustains life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Return to the Garden

Mother Earth is beginning to shake us off like a dog does to mud and water and fleas.

What we do is causing Earth’s shaking. We call these self-created incidents unintended accidents although we are deluged with facts which say differently.  We refuse to connect this with that. We ask the engineer to correct our designated “mishaps” rather than change the basic notions of how to live.

We are not horrified at being labeled “consumers.” Our ability to adapt to the impossible has consequences. It was eating the forbidden apple that caused God to throw us out of the Garden. What was in that apple? I imagine the ability to detach ourselves from life so that we can consume it. It is the hungry consumer’s “mouth” which banishes us still.

The Gaia vision shows that all things are interconnected. We nix that. We treat Earth’s living parts as “things.” Destroying the part unravels the whole. All life is connected.  One energy. As a result of our incursions, life is held together by fraying strings.

Let us look at a few of our attacks on the web of life. We bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki to impress the Russians. Now Fukushima, victim of a tsunami is spewing radioactivity into air and ocean but we refuse to discuss it. We fear our knowing “fear” itself as well as a reprisal for speaking the truth by the nuclear industry. Our silent mouth destroys us. We napalmed the Vietnamese which poisoned their land for generations. We poisoned the soldiers who dropped our napalm and then refused them medical care. People who do our catastrophic bidding are treated as “things.” War is a tremendous money maker. Those who sell war stuff create catastrophes to alarm the citizen who is minding his own business to go out and fight.

Consider what we eat. Our national food is burger and fries. We kill cows raised in the suffering of a factory. They do not wander the fields and eat grass. We unthinkingly devour them. In our mind, the beef on our plate never lived. Trees in the Amazon are cut down to plant grass for McDonald’s. A couple of rainy seasons and is all is dragged away by the seasonal flood. McDonald’s should have the logo of a desert flying over her inviting doors.

We frack for gas which poisons the water and causes landslides. What we inject in the earth is unknown. It is a corporate secret. We accept a gas pipe being laid alongside the spent fuel pools at Indian Point. In a school where performance counts, someone with this idea would be left back. Instead, we gamble away our safety and secretly accept the death of millions to save a few bucks. Eyes on the prize, we are harbingers of death.

The methane pouring out of the heating up of tundra in Russia which holds onto heat adds to the heating done by gas. All is setting the world on fire. Mother Earth is growing angry at the shredding of Gaia by folk who do not use the enormous energy of the tides and the lesser energy of sun and wind.

Mother Earth is shaking us off with landslides and tornadoes and droughts and floods, with new diseases brought on by its being too warm, too wet by starvation because it’s too dry. Animals and plants die in the heat. Roots rot in the flood. Food is disappearing. Life is clinging but losing its grip. But still we kill our animals to gorge on life; still, we buy clothing made by slaves in China. We grossly overpay our CEO’s and conversely underpay our teachers. We wait for a better tomorrow rather than change our ways today.

Earth will shake us off as a failed experiment. Gaia will recover over millennia. Time means nothing to her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Need A Commons

The Indian nations at the Sioux Standing Rock anti – DPL encampment, state they are there to peacefully protect the water. They call water the basis of life which it is. Astronomers scan the universe for signs of water. Unstated and possibly not admitted, we all seek the source of life from which we come and the planets are our nearest destination.

The Missouri River which flows into the Mississippi is the water that the DPL wants its pipe to cross. Currently,  the number of planned crossings is 5. This company which claims safety has had at least 200 recent pipe breaks. These breaks leak oil in huge quantities. Underwater leaking is hard at first to see and harder to fix. Newspapers claim that the Sioux are concerned about drinking water for their reservation. This representation is dismissive. It eliminates the 18 million mostly non-Indians who live downstream.

There is an American Indian saying that one should look into consequences of one’s action up to the 7th generation. The 7th generation is not to be taken literally. It means for the good of all who follow. This expresses the meaning of the Commons, land owned by none and there for all.

To dig up what can be sold and which seriously pollutes  is a short-sighted and extremely destructive philosophy. The  natural gas liked by Hillary stimulates earthquakes. The frequently stated, even by Obama, “clean coal” is never is clean. People who breathe dust-polluted air develop asthma and other diseases. Miners develop pneumoconiosis from coal dust which destroys their lungs. People living downhill from the mines drink from sludge-polluted streams, their homes beset by landslides. To the corporate mind, these consequences are unintended so do not count. What counts is, “how much are you making?”

Companies fear they will be tossed aside if we switch to biodegradable sources of power: to sun and wind and geothermal and waves, so are fighting to keep control. They know that a switch to biodegradable renders their not yet extracted produce worthless. They get congress to endorse wars to get more of it. They pay for propaganda to keep people’s allegiance to their produce: e.g. wind and sun can’t do it and other manufactured lies.

The idea of an individual or even worse, a company owning land is anti-life. Chief Leonard Crow Dog at the DPL, responded to soldier’s representative Wesley Clark, Jr’s. request for forgiveness for all the damage done to the Indians, first said, “World peace,”  then said, “We don’t own the land. The land owns us.”

This is the meaning of the Commons: all life cared for,  the young and the old,   pure water, plants to eat, for herbal medicine for beauty, for their own sake, shading trees which create oxygen; no harm done.

We do not think this way in a society based on the profit  of extraction. As long as we live in terror of our stock losing value, our lives are increasingly at risk. The 6th great extinction is happening. For the first time, the young are living shorter lives than did their parents even though they have more “stuff.” Stuff does not create life. Stuff devours it. Being hypnotized into feeling we lack something leads us.

Instead of buying or planning to buy, especially on credit, we need to make music, to tell stories, to farm together, to share the cooking and eating as a festive event. Our current religion seems to be going to the mall. Instead, we need to care for the Commons, to make that our church.

The Commons is about living and sharing. You can have that now.