"All the World's a Stage We Pass Through" R. Ayana

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Quantum Consciousness – A Trap for the Unwary


Quantum Consciousness – A Trap for the Unwary

 
photo

by Riley Hansard Crabb

 


Theoretical physicists are making continuous efforts to bridge the apparent gap between mind and matter. The Jesuit-trained French philosopher, Descartes, claimed the gap was unbridgeable and Western science has followed his lead for too long. Eastern science says there is no such gap, and has said so for thousands of years. Now, physicists like Fritjof Capra in his book “The Tao Of Physics”, are turning to the writings of Eastern philosophers to prove that Western physics has bridged the gap without knowing it!

One such physicist, Fred Alan Wolf, outlines his effort in a brief article in the September 1985 issue of “Omni” magazine, “Quan­tum Consciousness”; but instead of following the lead of his teachers—East and West—and accepting the principle that mind precedes and controls matter, he reasons that matter controls mind, and the emotions.

In enunciating the Law of Indeterminacy years ago, the Ger­man physicist, Heisenberg, acknowledged the supremacy of mind over matter. He told his students of the 1930s that the experimenter is a part of the experiment, that his attention on it will affect the outcome. This resulted in a wave of scepticism in the scientific world then, but the recognized wave-particle duality of quantum physics confirms the German’s inspired observation.

Wolf poses the question: “When does an atomic object behave like a wave and when does it behave like a particle? According to many quantum physicists the answer depends on whether the object is observed. Unobserved the object appears to be spread out over space as a wave, but the instant it is observed the wave collapses to a point and behaves like a particle. The action of a simple observation ’causes’ a wave to collapse, producing a par­ticle. But what kind of action is a simple observation? Nobel laureates Eugene Wigner and Brian Josephson and many other physicists, including myself, believe that it may be a fundamental event beyond physics. We view it as an act of consciousness.”

But then he goes on to claim that the action of consciousness is controlled by the particle behavior of electrons in the brain “orchestrating the behavior of individual nerve cells as they relay their chemical messages to one another. Iargue that the wave-particle duality action of electrons, for example, could give rise to feelings of loneliness, of ego and hatred.” I argue, as a student of metaphysics, that waves of loneliness, of ego and hatred give rise to chemical changes in the molecules of the body. “Similarly,” writes Wolf, “love and feelings of compassion may be created by photons, particle-wave units of light.” It seems to me that it would be just as proper to say that feelings of compassion are waves of energy from the emotional or Astral world—what physicists call the virtual state- creating photons or particles in the physical, the actual state.


MIND an OUTGROWTH of QUANTUM PHYSICS

“Love and hate, success and failure, violence and peace could be but manifestations of energy, of forces and atomic objects flowing through our bodies, brains and minds as particles and waves. What we call the brain,” writes Wolf, “is the particlelike behavior of our observations. What we call mind is the wavelike behavior of atomic objects, invisible and unobserved. Mind is then the outgrowth of the basic laws of quantum physics together with the actions of the observer, which I believe are the acts of conscious­ness.”

Fred Alan Wolf claims to have studied the Cabala with an internationally acknowledged expert, Carlos Suares. This is while Wolf was an associate professor of physics at the University of Paris. If Suares taught him that mind is an outgrowth of matter I am surprised, and disappointed; for that philosophy is characteristic of the Left Hand Path. It is quite the opposite of another internation­ally acknowledged expert, Professor Whitehead, who held the chair for Mathematics at Cambridge. His cosmology assumed that physical events were the result of mental events, with mind, not matter, as the basis of life. John Wilcox in his excellent book “Radionics In Theory and Practice” (Herbert Jenkins, London, 1960) compares Whitehead’s positive philosophy with that of the late lamented founder of Scientology, a prize pupil of that famous or infamous Cabalist of the Left-Hand Path, Aleister Crowley.

“Conversely,” writes Wilcox, “Mr. L. Ron Hubbard, an Ameri­can nuclear physicist, subsequently turned his attention to psychol­ogy in the belief that mental events partake of the same fundamental characteristics as physical events. Under the name, first, of Dianetics and subsequently Scientology, Hubbard evolved a technique of psychotherapy based on the methodology of mathematics and atomic physics with which some remarkable results are said to have been obtained.”

One of the remarkable results was that Hubbard obtained a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars from thousands of devotees all over the civilized world, using scurrilous business practices which made him persona non grata in many American states and in foreign countries such as England and Australia. This is one of the major reasons he made himself inaccessible to process servers by living on a yacht in the Mediterranean for years, then returning incognito back into the United States after his lieutenants had surreptitiously purchased the old Gen. Harrison hotel in Clearwater, Florida.

We can see here the results of particle-like behavior at work as described by physicist Wolf in the Omni article: “In the quantum world, electrons suffer a paradoxical life. Because of their particle behavior and their electrical repulsion, no two electrons can ever occupy the same space. They are doomed to solitude. In their wave-like guise, however, electrons are forever seeking their opposite par­ticle, the positron, even though such a meeting would result in their destruction. The electron’s electrical charge is a cry for the return to the void. It hopes and fears to attract its opposite, its antimatter partner, the positron, in a dance of death.”

Cabala, Qabala, Kabala, Kabbala
Four Worlds of the Cabalist


The RETURN to the VOID

To the Cabalist on the Right-Hand Path of love and service, the “return to the Void” is a return to the Father’s House, “O* zero is Infinity: Infinite Power, Infinite Wisdom, Infinite Love. To the Black Magician who says, “Evil, be Thou my Good”, the Void is the end, total destruc­tion because of the depen­dence on the self-limiting cycles of matter—and the inorganic beings who re­side in it, in some cases refuse from an earlier cycle, in Theosophical terms the Moon Chain, whose physical planet was Maldek. It was blown up by Evil Forces in an all-out atomic war about 700,000 years ago.

Rumors of the sud­den demise of the Apostle of Quantum Conscious­ness, Ron Hubbard, were rife in Southern California long before I left it in Sep­tember 1985. In fact his oldest son went to court to get control of his father’s estate, but lost the fight to the Los Angeles leaders of Scientology, who pro­duced evidence that con­vinced the court that Ron Hubbard was still alive— though they could not pro­duce Hubbard! Now they say he is dead, of a stroke, at his California ranch, ac­cording to an Associated Press dispatch of Jan. 28, 1986, and that “Mr. Hubbard left most of his estate to Scientology”. Two other facts are known for sure. His surviving wife, Mary Sue Hubbard, is in jail for committing crimes in his name against the U.S. Government and his younger son died of mysterious causes in a Las Vegas hospital. He was found unconscious in his car, without identification, on the Nevada desert, apparently on his way to visit his older brother who was living at that time in the gambling capital. Police finally traced the ownership of the car to Clearwater, Florida and Scientology, but the staff there at first denied any knowledge of the young man who passed on, alone, and for no discernible medical cause.


from the May-June 1986 Journal of Borderland Research
via Borderland Research @ http://borderlandresearch.com/quantum-consciousness

 

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Saturday, 30 March 2013

Food for Thought: New Era of Food Scarcity Echoes Collapsed Civilisations


Food for Thought
New Era of Food Scarcity Echoes Collapsed Civilisations


Tikal Mayan ruins in Guatemala. The Sumerians and Mayans are just two of the many early civilisations that declined apparently because they moved onto an agricultural path that was environmentally unsustainable. Credit: cc by 3.0
Tikal Mayan ruins in Guatemala. The Sumerians and Mayans are just two of the many early civilisations that declined apparently because they moved onto an agricultural path that was environmentally unsustainable. Credit: cc by 3.0


The world is in transition from an era of food abundance to one of scarcity. Over the last decade, world grain reserves have fallen by one third. World food prices have more than doubled, triggering a worldwide land rush and ushering in a new geopolitics of food.

Food is the new oil. Land is the new gold.

This new era is one of rising food prices and spreading hunger. On the demand side of the food equation, population growth, rising affluence, and the conversion of food into fuel for cars are combining to raise consumption by record amounts.

On the supply side, extreme soil erosion, growing water shortages, and the earth’s rising temperature are making it more difficult to expand production. Unless we can reverse such trends, food prices will continue to rise and hunger will continue to spread, eventually bringing down our social system.

Can we reverse these trends in time? Or is food the weak link in our early twenty-first-century civilisation, much as it was in so many of the earlier civilisations whose archeological sites we now study?

This tightening of world food supplies contrasts sharply with the last half of the twentieth century, when the dominant issues in agriculture were overproduction, huge grain surpluses, and access to markets by grain exporters. During that time, the world in effect had two reserves: large carryover stocks of grain (the amount in the bin when the new harvest begins) and a large area of cropland idled under U.S. farm programmes to avoid overproduction.

When the world harvest was good, the United States would idle more land. When the harvest was subpar, it would return land to production. The excess production capacity was used to maintain stability in world grain markets. The large stocks of grain cushioned world crop shortfalls.

When India’s monsoon failed in 1965, for example, the United States shipped a fifth of its wheat harvest to India to avert a potentially massive famine. And because of abundant stocks, this had little effect on the world grain price.

When this period of food abundance began, the world had 2.5 billion people. Today it has seven billion.

From 1950 to 2000 there were occasional grain price spikes as a result of weather-induced events, such as a severe drought in Russia or an intense heat wave in the U.S. Midwest. But their effects on price were short-lived. Within a year or so things were back to normal. The combination of abundant stocks and idled cropland made this period one of the most food-secure in world history.

But it was not to last. By 1986, steadily rising world demand for grain and unacceptably high budgetary costs led to a phasing out of the U.S. cropland set-aside programme.

Today the United States has some land idled in its Conservation Reserve Program, but it targets land that is highly susceptible to erosion. The days of productive land ready to be quickly brought into production when needed are over.

Ever since agriculture began, carryover stocks of grain have been the most basic indicator of food security. The goal of farmers everywhere is to produce enough grain not just to make it to the next harvest but to do so with a comfortable margin. From 1986, when we lost the idled cropland buffer, through 2001, the annual world carryover stocks of grain averaged a comfortable 107 days of consumption.

This safety cushion was not to last either. After 2001, the carryover stocks of grain dropped sharply as world consumption exceeded production. From 2002 through 2011, they averaged only 74 days of consumption, a drop of one third. An unprecedented period of world food security has come to an end. Within two decades, the world had lost both of its safety cushions.

In recent years, world carryover stocks of grain have been only slightly above the 70 days that was considered a desirable minimum during the late twentieth century. Now stock levels must take into account the effect on harvests of higher temperatures, more extensive drought, and more intense heat waves.

Although there is no easy way to precisely quantify the harvest effects of any of these climate-related threats, it is clear that any of them can shrink harvests, potentially creating chaos in the world grain market. To mitigate this risk, a stock reserve equal to 110 days of consumption would produce a much safer level of food security.

The world is now living from one year to the next, hoping always to produce enough to cover the growth in demand. Farmers everywhere are making an all-out effort to keep pace with the accelerated growth in demand, but they are having difficulty doing so.

Food shortages undermined earlier civilisations. The Sumerians and Mayans are just two of the many early civilisations that declined apparently because they moved onto an agricultural path that was environmentally unsustainable.

For the Sumerians, rising salt levels in the soil as a result of a defect in their otherwise well-engineered irrigation system eventually brought down their food system and thus their civilisation. For the Mayans, soil erosion was one of the keys to their downfall, as it was for so many other early civilisations.

We, too, are on such a path. While the Sumerians suffered from rising salt levels in the soil, our modern-day agriculture is suffering from rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. And like the Mayans, we too are mismanaging our land and generating record losses of soil from erosion.

While the decline of early civilisations can be traced to one or possibly two environmental trends such as deforestation and soil erosion that undermined their food supply, we are now dealing with several. In addition to some of the most severe soil erosion in human history, we are also facing newer trends such as the depletion of aquifers, the plateauing of grain yields in the more agriculturally advanced countries, and rising temperature.

Against this backdrop, it is not surprising that the United Nations reports that food prices are now double what they were in 2002-04. For most U.S. citizens, who spend on average nine percent of their income on food, this is not a big deal. But for consumers who spend 50-70 percent of their income on food, a doubling of food prices is a serious matter. There is little latitude for them to offset the price rise simply by spending more.

Closely associated with the decline in stocks of grain and the rise in food prices is the spread of hunger. During the closing decades of the last century, the number of hungry people in the world was falling, dropping to a low of 792 million in 1997. After that it began to rise, climbing toward one billion. Unfortunately, if we continue with business as usual, the ranks of the hungry will continue to expand.

The bottom line is that it is becoming much more difficult for the world’s farmers to keep up with the world’s rapidly growing demand for grain. World grain stocks were drawn down a decade ago and we have not been able to rebuild them. If we cannot do so, we can expect that with the next poor harvest, food prices will soar, hunger will intensify, and food unrest will spread.

We are entering a time of chronic food scarcity, one that is leading to intense competition for control of land and water resources – in short, a new geopolitics of food.


*Lester Brown is the president of Earth Policy Institute. For further reading on the global food situation, see Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity, by Lester R. Brown (W.W. Norton: October 2012). Or read more here.


From IPS News @ http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/02/new-era-of-food-scarcity-echoes-collapsed-civilisations/


Food shortages could force world into vegetarianism, warn scientists

 

Water scarcity's effect on food production means radical steps will be needed to feed population expected to reach 9bn by 2050



Historic Drought Cripples Farms And Ranches In American West
A bull grazes on dry wheat husks in Logan, Kansas, one of the regions hit by the record drought that has affected more than half of the US and is expected to drive up food prices. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images


Leading water scientists have issued one of the sternest warnings yet about global food supplies, saying that the world's population may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic shortages.

Humans derive about 20% of their protein from animal-based products now, but this may need to drop to just 5% to feed the extra 2 billion people expected to be alive by 2050, according to research by some of the world's leading water scientists.

"There will not be enough water available on current croplands to produce food for the expected 9 billion population in 2050 if we follow current trends and changes towards diets common in western nations," the report by Malik Falkenmark and colleagues at the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) said.

"There will be just enough water if the proportion of animal-based foods is limited to 5% of total calories and considerable regional water deficits can be met by a … reliable system of food trade."

Dire warnings of water scarcity limiting food production come as Oxfam and the UN prepare for a possible second global food crisis in five years. Prices for staples such as corn and wheat have risen nearly 50% on international markets since June, triggered by severe droughts in the US and Russia, and weak monsoon rains in Asia. More than 18 million people are already facing serious food shortages across the Sahel.

Oxfam has forecast that the price spike will have a devastating impact in developing countries that rely heavily on food imports, including parts of Latin America, North Africa and the Middle East. Food shortages in 2008 led to civil unrest in 28 countries.

Adopting a vegetarian diet is one option to increase the amount of water available to grow more food in an increasingly climate-erratic world, the scientists said. Animal protein-rich food consumes five to 10 times more water than a vegetarian diet. One third of the world's arable land is used to grow crops to feed animals. Other options to feed people include eliminating waste and increasing trade between countries in food surplus and those in deficit.

"Nine hundred million people already go hungry and 2 billion people are malnourished in spite of the fact that per capita food production continues to increase," they said. "With 70% of all available water being in agriculture, growing more food to feed an additional 2 billion people by 2050 will place greater pressure on available water and land."

The report is being released at the start of the annual world water conference in Stockholm, Sweden, where 2,500 politicians, UN bodies, non-governmental groups and researchers from 120 countries meet to address global water supply problems.

Competition for water between food production and other uses will intensify pressure on essential resources, the scientists said. "The UN predicts that we must increase food production by 70% by mid-century. This will place additional pressure on our already stressed water resources, at a time when we also need to allocate more water to satisfy global energy demand – which is expected to rise 60% over the coming 30 years – and to generate electricity for the 1.3 billion people currently without it," said the report.

Overeating, undernourishment and waste are all on the rise and increased food production may face future constraints from water scarcity.

"We will need a new recipe to feed the world in the future," said the report's editor, Anders J├Ągerskog.

A separate report from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) said the best way for countries to protect millions of farmers from food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia was to help them invest in small pumps and simple technology, rather than to develop expensive, large-scale irrigation projects.

"We've witnessed again and again what happens to the world's poor – the majority of whom depend on agriculture for their livelihoods and already suffer from water scarcity – when they are at the mercy of our fragile global food system," said Dr Colin Chartres, the director general.

"Farmers across the developing world are increasingly relying on and benefiting from small-scale, locally-relevant water solutions. [These] techniques could increase yields up to 300% and add tens of billions of US dollars to household revenues across sub-Saharan Africa and south Asia."


via the Sydney Morning Herald @ http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/aug/26/food-shortages-world-vegetarianism


Recently, a worldwide survey was conducted and the only question asked was: "Would you please give your honest opinion about the solution to the food shortage in the rest of the world?"

The survey was, not surprisingly, a huge failure. Because:

In Africa they didn't know what "food" meant.

In Eastern Europe they didn't know what "honest" meant.

In Western Europe they didn't know what "shortage" meant.

In China they didn't know what "opinion" meant.

In the Middle East they didn't know what "solution" meant.

In South America they didn't know what "please" meant.

And, in the USA they didn't know what "the rest of the world" meant.


From Speaking Tree @ http://www.speakingtree.in/spiritual-blogs/seekers/philosophy/the-international-food-shortage


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Friday, 29 March 2013

Liberation from Civilization!


Liberation from Civilization!
 Preparing for Civilization's End

http://cdn.thedailybeast.com/content/newsweek/2011/10/30/niall-ferguson-how-american-civilization-can-avoid-collapse/_jcr_content/body/inlineimage.img.503.jpg/1337256000000.cached.jpg
,

by Dave Pollard


collapse scenario 2025-2050
third chart in my collapse scenario for civilization


For many years the thesis of [my] blog has been: Our civilization is in its final century, and there is nothing we can do to prevent its collapse. When I began writing this, I was largely dismissed as a defeatist and a depressed ‘doomer’ (or worse). As awareness has grown about the now-inevitable end of (a) cheap energy, (b) stable climate and (c) the growth economy, there is a growing acknowledgement that the collapse scenario I have written about is at least conceivable.

This acknowledgement tends to come from people fortunate enough to have the intellectual curiosity, critical thinking ability, undiminished instincts, and time to study and learn how the world really works (not how we are told it works by those powerful and moneyed interests best served by denying the extent and potential impact of these crises and prolonging as long as possible the current unsustainable way we live). And to the extent those knowledgeable people find their way to this blog, they tend to ask the same question:

If the collapse of industrial civilization cannot be prevented, what should we do now?

In a way, much of what I’ve written on this blog is an attempt to answer that question, without being too presumptuous, and appreciating that there is no one right answer to it. My answer: Liberate myself, from civilization’s bonds and destruction, before it collapses on top of me.

Here’s what I’m doing to that end:


1. Understanding what is really going on now

The newspapers and the other media, including most of the independent and progressive media, are of little help in this regard. Here’s what I have written before about more useful reading:

Our world (like all ecological and social systems) is inherently, staggeringly and wonderfully complex, but everything we are taught about the world and how it works (in schools, and in the mainstream media) is reduced to simplistic, mechanistic terms. We continue to believe that “the environment” (something that is portrayed as somehow apart from us) is just facing “problems” that need “solutions” (political, economic, scientific, technological, or spiritual). In complicated systems (like your car), “problems” can be fixed. But in complex systems there are no problems, only predicaments, unintended consequences of actions that cannot be undone.

Nature teaches us (if we will only listen) that we don’t fix a predicament, we adapt to it. The reason so many of our modern crises are so wicked and intractable is that they are not problems, but predicaments, unintended consequences of (mostly) well-intended human actions. To understand how the world really works, and how we can start to learn to adapt to our modern predicaments, we need to understand complexity.

With that context, of the need for adaptation rather than futilely chasing “solutions”, these are the books and articles that have given me a better understanding of how the world really works and what to do about it. Seven books, which I read in approximately this order, have been the most illuminating:

1.     Full House, by Stephen J. Gould. The improbable emergence of humans on Earth.

2.     Story of B, by Daniel Quinn. A radical revisionist history of civilization, in fictional format, and an explanation of how we got to where we are now.

3.     A Language Older Than Words, by Derrick Jensen. A dark explanation of the reason for the core of grief at the heart of the modern age.

4.     A Short History of Progess, by Ronald Wright. Why all civilizations collapse. A survey of past civilizations’ savagery and short-term thinking. Jared Diamond but shorter.

5.     Against the Grain, by Richard Manning. Why Jared Diamond said monoculture agriculture was the greatest mistake in human history, and what it’s come to now.

6.     Straw Dogs, by John Gray. While we have a responsibility to try to make the world better and joyful, for those we love and leave behind, we cannot be other than what we are: a fierce, brilliantly adaptable species destined to bring about the next great extinction, and annihilate ourselves in the process.

7.     The Long Emergency, by James Kunstler. What the near future will look like when this century’s looming ecological, economic, political and resource crises begin to cascade.

I also regularly read the blogs and other resources listed in the Post-Civ Writers section of my Gravitational Community in the right sidebar. And of course I talk regularly with people who have reached a similar understanding of what’s happening in the world. As a result, I think I have a relatively solid understanding of our current situation.


2. Acquiring essential knowledge and abilities for living sustainably in community

essential capacities

As the collapse worsens, large, centralized institutions (corporations, governments, universities, social services, banks etc.) will start to fall apart, as their analogues did in previous dying civilizations. As this happens we will need to re-acquire the knowledge and skills of resilience and community-based, sustainable self-sufficiency. We will have to reinvent local, small-scale institutions within our communities to do all the things we now depend on large, far-away organizations to do for us.

The knowledge we will need includes, first and foremost, knowledge about ourselves: Our strengths, motivations, needs and personality traits. It also includes knowledge of what we’re meant to do in this world, which entails knowing what we are uniquely good at, what we love doing, and what the world needs now that isn’t being provided, or at least not sustainably so. That kind of self-knowledge can’t be learned in books: It requires experiment, exploration, research, discovery, taking risks, just trying things. It’s taken me a lifetime to figure out. There’s a great Jessica Hische poster circulating on Google+ that suggests “The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.”

Some of the skills we’ll need are technical skills (like growing our own food, making our own clothes and repairing things instead of replacing them), but more of them are ‘soft’ skills and personal and collaborative capacities that we were born with (like curiosity), or which our ancestors learned just to get along in their local communities (like presence, and empathy), but which we no longer learn in our disconnected, fragmented, hyper-competitive society. I created the chart above and this downloadable checklist, to self-assess which of these abilities I have, which I would look for in community partners, and which I aspire to acquire or practice.

One of the critical abilities on this list is the ability to learn. To acquire it, and to instill it in our children, we may all need to deschool ourselves and unschool them. I was fortunate enough to experience a year of unschooling, but completely deschooling myself will be a lifelong endeavour.

When our economic systems collapse, our investments, currencies and commodities will become worthless, so I’m investing in learning instead.


3. Reconnecting with the Earth, with my instincts and senses, with the place I live and the other creatures who live there

Our civilization tries to break the bond between us and the natural world. We are taught that the “environment” is something apart from us. Before I can really understand what is happening and what I can and must do about it, before I can be ready to face the enormous challenges ahead in ways other than denial and attempts to perpetuate the status quo, I need to reconnect, to re-become a part of all life on Earth, to see just how empty, meaningless and intolerably destructive our consumerist industrial civilization really is. I need to become centred, aware, and outraged.

There are many ways to reconnect, and each of us must find the way that works for us. Joanna Macy teaches courses in reconnection, based on the principles of appreciation, presence, and openness. Eckhart Tolle and Richard Moss describe meditation-based ways to live in the Now, instead of being paralyzed by the past or fixated on the future as so many humans have become. Derrick Jensen talks about listening to the land. David Abram shows us how to rediscover the spell of the sensuous by paying attention to the natural world until we just melt into it, become part of it.

This is a long and difficult journey. I’m still trying to find my own way.


4. Living as sustainably and responsibly as possible

Here’s Keith Farnish’s summary of how to do this, which is advice I follow seriously:

Don’t buy anything that you don’t need. If you have to buy something, remember the 4 R’s: Reduce, repair, reuse and respect. Become vegan, or as near as you can to remain healthy. Buy local. Eat simply. Reduce the energy used in your home to the bare minimum. Change your behaviour to allow for this. Become energy independent. Have fewer [than replacement level] children. Travel as little as possible. Don’t fly. Don’t drive. Instead: walk, cycle, use the bus, go by train.

I could do better, but I’m working consciously at it, every day. I understand that this is not enough to make much of a difference, even if everyone in the world could and would do so. But it is still necessary. I feel I must try to stop feeding the machine of industrial civilization, and at the same time try to minimize my personal contribution to the damage that civilization inflicts upon the world, as the sixth great extinction of life on Earth continues to accelerate. I am striving to become a model of a better, more responsible, more sustainable way to live.



5. Daring to tell the truth, and showing others how to prepare for collapse

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_mveHL3n_4ME/S3NocNMZhDI/AAAAAAAADO8/RiQTFwFkFuY/s320/life_after_people.jpgTalking about the collapse of industrial civilization as inevitable, in “polite company”, takes courage. Most people don’t understand, and don’t want to. They want to believe that the future will be wonderful, that ‘leaders’ will fix what’s broken in the world. As Kenny Ausubel and Nina Simons explain, I have to get past the internalized oppression that I carry inside me, the fear of saying and talking about what I most care about, even though doing so makes me vulnerable and may expose me to disbelief and even ridicule.

I have found it easiest to begin by talking with others that seem to get it — people in the Transition initiative, people living in intentional community and people living an alternative culture lifestyle. But I’ve discovered that even these relatively enlightened people don’t really grasp the speed, extent and inevitability of collapse, and, as a result, are mostly clueless about what really needs to be done. It’s easy to get disheartened, and to stay silent, complicit with the inadequacy of our response to the cataclysm we have unleashed on this planet.

I am striving, through this blog and in my daily conversations, to make the discussion of our civilization’s inevitable collapse and the preparations we need to begin now to equip ourselves and our children for a post-collapse world, part of mainstream social discourse. I will continue to do so until a critical mass of people turn off their TVs and stop listening to the propaganda and denial of the media, corporations and politicians. I believe that the creation of the self-sufficient communities we will need after collapse will only begin when we are ready, in large numbers, to talk about it. I am not optimistic that this will happen in time, but I have to try.

And recently, I am beginning to have this discussion in a new light: Not the grim business of surviving a long series of cascading crises, but the joyful business of liberating ourselves from a way of living that has never been right for us, and which has always been constraining, oppressive, debilitating, and horrifically destructive to our world and to our souls.


6. Fighting back against those destroying the Earth

I have met many of the ‘leaders’ whose actions and organizations are destroying the Earth. I have met few who are doing so intentionally. Many of my post-civ writer colleagues believe that if we’re going to shake ourselves out of our complacency we have to get angry, have to identify the perpetrators of destruction and confront them with all our energy and will. I can’t sustain that kind of anger, but I have no illusions about the fact that we are destroying this planet, so quickly and utterly that its recovery to full health will take centuries, even millennia, after we’re gone. And that destruction is causing unimaginable amounts of suffering.

My passion to reduce suffering motivates me more than anger. So that’s the motivation I’m trying to draw on, to put to work fighting back against the destruction.

The ways in which anyone chooses to fight depend on their personal passions, energy, time and appetite for risk. I’ve decided it’s important to avoid getting sucked into methods of fighting that don’t work (petitions, writing letters, protest demonstrations, and donations to environmental groups seem to me to be usually ineffective, which is why I guess they are the most tolerated forms of activism). I’ve decided it’s equally important that I not exhaust myself quickly (e.g. by getting caught and arrested) — this will be a long fight.

We each must select our own battles and what tactics we’re willing to use. I plan to do my part to fight the Alberta Tar Sands and factory farming, but I’m not yet sure how I will do that. My sense is that I need to meet and collaborate with others who have chosen the same battles. My sense is that guerrilla tactics that capitalize on the vulnerability of civilization’s massively centralized, globalized, hyper-efficient systems will work better than direct confrontation or symbolic actions, no matter how well covered or clever the latter may be.

What matters, I think, is results — less destruction, less suffering, a less ghastly transition to a post-civilization world.


7. Living joyfully

Lately I have been writing a lot about living more joyfully: Spending time with people I love in gentle, natural, beautiful places. Filling my day with healthy, natural pleasures. Finding and conversing with bright, informed, creative people. Learning to laugh, and let go. Playing.

I don’t see this as being at odds with preparing for civilization’s end. Just as I seek to be a model of responsible, sustainable living, I also want to be a model of joyful living. I want to show others that there is a better way to live, a way that does not depend on consumption and acquisition and ownership of stuff for gratification, for fulfillment, for pleasure, for joy. For all the material wealth it bestows on a fortunate few, our civilization is too often a joyless place, a place of endless insecurity, anxiety, envy and despair. The laughter I hear is mostly forced, mean-spirited, alcohol-induced, and almost desperate.

Living a simple, joyful life is not only exemplary, it is essential, I think, to keeping our sanity and our energy in a world seemingly gone mad with acquisitiveness, escapism, violence, war, competition, arrogance, fear, sadness and anger. We need our wits, and our strength, for the challenges ahead.

.     .     .     .     .

Liberation

All seven of these actions — (1) understanding what is really going on, (2) acquiring essential knowledge and abilities, (3) reconnecting with the Earth, (4) living responsibly, (5) showing and telling others why and how to prepare for collapse, (6) fighting back against the destruction, and (7) living joyfully, are aspects of what I am now calling my liberation from civilization. They are analogous to seven steps one might go through to liberate oneself from an abusive spouse or relative.

I feel for that reason ambivalent about liberating myself from civilization. I have become dependent on it. For most of my life I felt it treated me pretty well. Or maybe not — maybe it was just, like an abusive spouse, psychopathically clever at convincing me it was good for me. Part of me says liberation is scary. Not ready to change yet.

But the other part of me, responding to Gaia’s quiet and unwavering voice, cries out for liberation. I long to be feral. As anarchist writer Wolfi Landstreicher wrote:

In a very general way, we know what we want. We want to live as wild, free beings in a world of wild, free beings. The humiliation of having to follow rules, of having to sell our lives away to buy survival, of seeing our usurped desires transformed into abstractions and images in order to sell us commodities fills us with rage. How long will we put up with this misery? We want to make this world into a place where our desires can be immediately realized, not just sporadically, but normally. We want to re-eroticize our lives. We want to live not in a dead world of resources, but in a living world of free wild lovers. We need to start exploring the extent to which we are capable of living these dreams in the present without isolating ourselves. This will give us a clearer understanding of the domination of civilization over our lives, an understanding which will allow us to fight domestication more intensely and so expand the extent to which we can live wildly.

This yearning to be feral is something I feel every time I see a bird or wild animal, every time I harvest and eat wild, raw, pure food, every time I walk in the woods, and every night when I sleep outdoors, naked. It is a yearning to be free, free of a civilization which, with the best of intentions, has abused me, enslaved me, placed a veil between me and the natural world, as it has for everyone.

We can’t prevent civilization’s collapse, but we can still make the world a better place as it falls, and, despite our justifiable fears of the suffering its collapse will surely cause (much as its awesome and brutal reign has) celebrate its fall, and our liberation.

(this article is an attempt to shorten, personalize and update my signature post A Framework for Personal Action)


From How to Save the World @ http://howtosavetheworld.ca/2011/07/19/liberation-from-civilization/
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