I am attempting to connect two ideas that I have never tried to connect before: compassion and politics. I just returned from a nation-wide event, the launch of Bernie Sanders’ grass roots campaign organization. The event was attended by more than 100,000 people at 3,500 locations across the U.S. But that is not why I am writing. I am writing to let people know why I think this is important to every human being in America.
The local event I attended was organized by a young man, Cameron is his name. With the help of a couple of other people, he rented a hall, invited people, distributed campaign materials and served as the introductory speaker. But these are not the reasons I am writing. I am writing because of what he said.
Cameron is dying. He is about 25 years old and has only months to live. He has severe liver disease and has no insurance. Cameron has no way to pay for the expensive treatment he needs. He probably needs a transplant. Cameron told us he is working for Bernie Sanders because he wants everyone to have medical coverage, coverage that he will die without.
I am sure there are many other people in similar situations. After all, 35 million people in this country have no insurance and millions more are underinsured. Bernie Sanders supports universal health care for all of our citizens, the kind of care that exists in most other developed countries. Medicare for all is a simple, proven way to do that.
I hope that you will join the political revolution that Bernie is talking about. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for the many people like Cameron. They need you. Support Bernie Sanders
“I am so sad about this.” That is how I reacted to the news and shared it with some friends. Another young person, which now makes three, has died since I camped with them on Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. in the fall of 2011. All three died long before their time, in strange and unexpected ways. All of them were so inspired, so full of life and such an integral part of our community. It is hard to believe it has happened again.
Kyle, the latest to fall, was killed in his home yesterday where he lived with his father and brother. He died from smoke inhalation on the second floor. His brother tried to reach the window where Kyle struggled to escape, but was unable to find a ladder in the predawn darkness. Only 25 years old, Kyle had already effected the lives of many. Like most of the people who were there on the plaza, Kyle showed up with a backpack, the clothes he was wearing and not much else. Despite a lack of possessions, he carried a huge load of enthusiasm, he just brimmed with energy that was as memorable as it was infectious. Kyle was constantly in motion, talking, sharing and waving his arms trying to express the strong beliefs he held. He believed in people, he believed in justice and he believed in helping others.
Over the days and weeks I spent on the plaza, I came to know Kyle with his wild blonde locks dancing in the breeze as he walked. Actually, he seemed to float over the ground, his excitement lifting him as he went. Initially, he and I talked about New England, home for both of us. He was from Maine, one of my favorite places on earth. As time went on, I saw that Kyle’s vision was bigger than he could sometimes hold. This vision took him away from our camp many times. He left to participate in rallies, marches and any event that spoke to him, often marching for long distances. During a cold and wet November, Kyle and many others walked 300 miles from Occupy Wall Street in New York to our camp in D.C. As they neared the city, I went to march with them in the rain on their last five miles. Along the way, Kyle learned much and eagerly shared his experiences with us upon his return. Sometimes, he left to return to Maine to help his folks, traveling on foot, bicycle and by bus when he could afford it. Like many others who knew him, I am sad to see him go. He had so much to offer the world.
I hope that his death will inspire me and others to persevere in our struggle for freedom, for justice and for a vision of human beings living and loving together in peace. In that world. Kyle would find a fitting place to rest. We who are still on the planet can create such a place. Kyle believed we could. I hope you do too.
A brief prelude….This is my first post here in more than a year! Yes, really, it has been that long. Wow. So it may be a shock to actually see a post here, but here it is!
Why Do I Keep Falling In Love?
Yes, why do I keep falling in love? Sometimes it seems like weakness, sometimes insanity but it always seems wonderful to me. That is the short answer – I love being in love. And I don’t mean the short, superficial kind; I mean the deep, powerful soul-shaking kind. I love when that happens and strive to keep it alive and growing for as long as I can.
However, what is really behind my desire to be in love? I wonder about that sometimes because one of the unfortunate side effects, at least for me, is that I sometimes hurt and feel pain. At various times in my life, this kind of pain almost killed me and did some serious damage to my heart center, damage that took a long time to heal. Knowing that this could happen, why would I opt in again? I think this is why.
Being with an intimate partner is, for me, like living in two different worlds simultaneously. I realized that as I was comparing my current single status to what it was like living in a loving relationship, I noticed that I only occupy one world, my world. And that world is pretty boring; let’s face it I’ve lived in that world for more than 60 years now. The experience of my alone world is vastly different than when I experience it within the world of another.
The accompaniment, the counter-point, the harmonious melody I experience while living in a loving, intimate relationship, is simply joyous. I enter into another dimension of my consciousness and my humanity when I am with someone I love. Not only I am fascinated with learning about their world, I also discover reams of new information about mine. I learn about my behavior patterns, my preferences, and most of all, the deep spiritual self that lives in me. In relationships, I have learned so much about myself and others, it is quite amazing, and when new challenges slide into my life, more growth becomes quickly available.
So, yes; I benefit greatly from being in love and I also become more capable of benefiting the one I love. Loving has transformed me and my life many times. I know too that my love has made an impact on those I have loved. Recollections of those experiences tend to vary from reality, if there really is one, so I don’t spend much time imagining what impact I had on others. I am too busy imaging the impact they had on me! LOL!
The only chance I have of gaining any wisdom during my lifetime is to be open and listening for guidance of Spirit. I am clear that left to my own intellect, I would continue to blunder about through life, as likely to smash my head as to walk through an open door way. Without the development of my consciousness and my desire to access it and use it in my life, I would suffer much more than I do now. Oh yes, I still suffer, but at least I am conscious of it now, I can step outside and away from it. From this perspective, I can shift the energy of the suffering and bring it into the light of my consciousness. I can then transform the energy from darkness and sadness to light and joy. However, doing so reliably is a life long endeavor; I readily admit I am far from having that level of power in my life. Living within intimate love gives me access to that power.
I have been struggling to express this thought from some time now. I have come up with different approaches, but none seemed simple or direct. Today, I came across an article I hope will help me illustrate it.
In the article, the author weighs the the costs and benefits of vaccinating children. I am not going to talk about that, but rather the underlying distrust that I think is responsible for this controversy as well as the germination of many others. The distrust I am speaking of is our individual and collective distrust of our institutions and the people who work within them. This distrust seems to be why many of us simply don’t believe what we are told be these institutions and their spokespeople.
In the case of vaccination, a great many people apparently do not believe the medical establishment (i.e., professional groups, pharmaceutical companies, academics, etc.) when they tell us that vaccinations are safe for our children. The reasons for this disbelief vary. Some think the vaccines cause autism or other diseases while some believe that the mercury-laced thermisol used to preserve most vaccines is poisonous. Of course, others do not believe either of these things about vaccines. But this is really not about facts, it is about trust.
There are many reasons why distrust develops, but usually it involves the sharing of false information (e.g., lying) or the selective withholding of information. Since the general public is not trained in immunology or related disciplines, they are forced to rely (or not) on the advice of those who supposedly know the truth. However, sometimes the truth is not compatible with the economic interests of the “truth holders.” In the case of the medical establishment, everyone involved in it is making a good livelihood from the study, manufacture and administration of vaccines. In the case of large organizations, like the corporations who make these vaccines, huge profits are at stake as well. Thus, we see a possible conflict of interest between what may best for the individual medical services consumer and the people who benefit from the vaccine industry.
My point is this. Even when there may be strong evidence that vaccination is preferable to epidemic childhood disease, many will not believe the evidence because it is presented by those who we think benefit from their own advice. This public perception of the economic corruption of businesses, professionals and government officials is damaging our society in many ways. In this case, the lack of vaccination could cause serious epidemics. Conversely, if the truth holders are corrupted by the economic benefit of their advice, children could be permanently damaged or disabled by the vaccines themselves. Either way, people will suffer harm.
This social distrust is not limited to the vaccination debate. It pervades public discourse in many areas. For example, do we need more military weapons to counter the threat to our country and its citizens, or is it the vested interests who benefit from manufacture and sale of these items who are telling us this? Is global warming and climate change human caused as many believe, or is it part of a normal, long-term variations in our climate as those who own the fossil fuel industry tell us? Is it even possible to obtain credible, un-biased information from people who stand to gain from ignoring anything that threatens their continued profitability?
In this complex society which has evolved, we are increasingly dependent on “experts” to tell us what is going on and explain it to us in language we understand, no easy task. Unfortunately, these same people have a vested economic interest in presenting information in the way that is most favorable to them, and not necessarily to everyone else. On the other side of the coin, there are smaller, less funded individuals and organizations who present alternative information that contradicts what we hear from the corporations and government institutions. And yes, these contrarian views and their advocates also have an economic interest in their view points. However, there is one big difference – their economic interest is miniscule. The advocates who hold opposing views do not reap much in the way of economic benefit. In fact, the vast majority struggle simply to survive and continue their work. In addition, many of their viewpoints are oppressed by big media (also part of institutional structure) and some individuals are arrested, fined and jailed because of their beliefs. Big corporations and their brethren, on the other hand, reap enormous profits and support multitudes of people in very comfortable lifestyles.
The loss of trust is a steep price to pay. It means we no longer trust much of what we are told and even wonder if we know what we think we know. When distrust prevails, fear triumphs. Ultimately, we stop trusting everyone. And that is no way to live.
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln
For many years now, I have been interested in economics. Not enough to study it a whole lot in college, just enough to know higher math is not my forte. Nevertheless, I continued to be fascinated by the concepts of economics, particularly monetary systems.
For quite some time, I have been thinking about how we got into a situation where so many people have so little and so few have tremendous wealth. It is easy to blame the wealthy and likewise, it is easy for them to blame everyone else. As we have seen, this approach has gotten us nowhere, and in fact has been responsible for a great deal of death and destruction. So I thought maybe if I go back to the origin of wealth, how it is created, I might be able to understand how we got to this point.
As most people who are interested in this topic have no doubt done, I read about the history of economics, which in the Western hemisphere, is mostly about feudalism and then capitalism, the system which dominates the world today. Along the way, there have been attempts at alternate systems, like communism and socialism, as well mixtures of these various philosophies, or ideologies as they are sometimes called when applied to governance. All of these philosophies are intimately involved with economics, and are in fact, mostly explanations and justifications for the social order and how wealth and income is distributed within societies.
Wealth is generally represented by the ownership of assets. The foundational asset is land, and serves as the source of other wealth generated by the land such as food, water, fuel and other necessities of life. Thus the acquisition of land is historically the source of accumulated wealth. So how does one acquire land or other assets (like money in our modern society). There are only two ways this can happen initially: through savings obtained by forgoing current consumption or by force.
It appears that at least some people have gradually acquired wealth through a combination of savings and later, by fortuitous use of that savings to generate more wealth. Once a sufficient amount of wealth is acquired, it can serve as an accelerating spring board to greater wealth obtained in the form of passive income (i.e., interest and/or profits). This form of wealth acquisition can pass from one generation to another, and once it reaches a sufficient level, forgoing current consumption is not required.
Unfortunately, most wealth has been acquired by force, by an aristocracy or later, by governments. Using this approach requires a claim of right to do so, which has been legitimized by some belief that is shared by those on whom force is applied to deprive them of land and the fruits of their labors. Historically, religious belief systems have been the justification for the use of force. At the heart of these systems is the generation and sustenance of fear among the people. Between the threat of death from force and the threat of eternal damnation after death, fear was a cultural imperative. Since the transition from an feudal to modern society, the justification for the acquisition of wealth and its form of expression have changed, but the same cultural imperative that supports it continues – fear.
In modern times, fear is perpetuated in a much more sophisticated and effective way. Since governments are beholden to the source of their funding, they mostly express the desires of their benefactors with an occasional reference to some form of legitimacy (i.e., elections) in order to claim the right to impose force on the people (i.e., the people agreed to it). With greater centralization and new technologies, the imposition of control over the people accelerated such that most people are more controlled than the feudal lords could have ever dreamed. The greatest achievement of the wealthy elites who now govern the world is convincing the people they are free when in fact, they are enslaved. For now, not only must the slaves feed, clothe and shelter themselves, they must borrow money to do so and thus, are debt slaves as well. Obviously, in this scenario, fewer and fewer people will ever have a shot at forgoing consumption in order to save money. After all, in the pyramid of wealth, only few people can ascend its heights and fewer still perch at its top. Thus, competition for these spots destroys the humanity and peace of even the few who perch upon the “pinnacle of success.”
So what is the point of my meanderings about wealth? The point is that there is no real justification for the acquisition of excessive wealth, riches which far exceed anyone’s capacity to consume or maintain a physical existence on this planet. As stated earlier, there is only one legitimate route to wealth, and that is by forgoing current consumption in order to create savings. Although that route has been available in some places at some times, it has not been available for the vast majority of people. And why is that? Because people can not generate savings when they do not have enough income to support their existence. When people are struggling to survive, when they don’t have adequate food, shelter or clothing, never mind health care and educational opportunities, they can not accumulate savings.
As the level of wealth and income declines for people around the world, they are no longer able to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”, assuming they had any real opportunity to do so, which at best, has been true for only a few people in a few places. Consequently, the only people who have vast wealth are those who either took it and by force or who siphon it from the labor of people who work directly or indirectly for them. Or both. When people have no choice but to live in such a system, they are not really free.
Freedom is not something written on a centuries old document. It is not something we hear about from the mouths of politicians and others who are invested in maintaining a myth that legitimizes their power. No, freedom is a way of life, a way that needs no justification and is self-evident wherever and whenever it exists. If you don’t experience your life as free, then you aren’t free.
No, I am not talking about what you think I am. That doesn’t dangle all the time, although it certainly does so more than it did when I was younger. I am talking about everything else but that. Everything else that I live with.
I live in a dangly world. In my world, everything dangles in accordance with the angle of my residence. When I am in a level place, which rarely happens, the dangle almost disappears, but not entirely. Except on those rare occasions, everything in my world dangles to some extent, depending on the angle of the tilt.
For the last year or so, I have been dealing with a modest, but persistent tilt. About 5 degrees I think. I haven’t measured it, but based on past experience with this phenomena, it seems about right. I encountered one of the more difficult aspects of the dangle angle tonight making dinner. Frying pans tilt along with everything else. So when cooking with them, in this case making pancakes, I have to take the dangle angle into account. If not, hot burning substances can easily overrun the lip of the pan. In order to cook things evenly on the pan, it is necessary to tilt it in the opposite angle occasionally. This can be tricky and requires both skill and good timing, neither of which I seemed to possess tonight. Only one of the three pancakes came out right; the other two were under or over cooked.
Sometimes, the dangle angle isn’t obvious. I often cook rice in my old cooker which I balance on top of the closed toilet seat (it just falls in and sinks if you leave it open). After finding a pool of rice water on the floor a few times, I realized that the dangle angle was responsible. With some experimentation, I learned to prop up one of the legs of cooker with any available object that lifts it to a semi-level position, compensating for the dangle.
The biggest issue with the dangle angle is sleeping. If the angle is too steep, or in the wrong direction, sleeping is precarious, literally. It can feel like you are going over a cliff in the middle of the night and it does not seem like a dream. Presently, the dangle angle elevates the head of the bed which is actually a better position than completely flat, at least for me. So long as I occasionally grasp the mattress above my head and drag myself back up to the top, I am fine.
This was probably much more than you wanted to know about my dangle angle. I hope you found it amusing and fun to read. God knows, we can all use more levity in our lives. Wait. Isn’t levity about dangle angles too?
Earth – A Balancing Act
Mother Earth, as I hope we all know my now, is immensely powerful and a fully conscious being, a power much greater than I think we humans can comprehend. Gaia has ways to heal Herself; after all She has been here a helluva long time.
One way in which She heals was just revealed to me. This way takes place in the interaction between the atmosphere and the land. This cooperative interaction rids the Earth of unhealthy (i.e., inharmonious energies or vibrations) elements. In our current situation, it is quite possible that we human beings may be an unhealthy element as far as Mother Earth is concerned. After all, Mother Earth and all the Universe is an expression of the One, the Universal Mind, the Single Consciousness That Permeates All and is All, constantly manifesting Itself through living forms, including us. Why are we more special than any other Creation? The Universe can express Itself in any form, it is not necessary that it be human.
But I digress…The rebalancing works in this manner. The atmosphere generates abnormally high and low pressure areas. In cooperation with the water, the atmosphere creates extreme weather as a result. But it is the atmospheric pressure exerted on the land that causes shifts in the outer layer of the earth that we perceive as earthquakes and volcanic activity. As you may have noticed, the frequency and intensity of earthquakes and eruptions has steadily increased in recent times. Although I haven’t tracked it precisely, I have been interested informally studying natural phenomena like earthquakes, volcanoes, storms, all kinds of extreme environmental events, my entire life. When I was a child, I remember voraciously reading every book I could find about volcanoes and earthquakes. One book, which I especially liked, had a whole chapter about the eruption of 1888 in Krakatoa, the post-eruption remnants of an island that is now part of Indonesia.
Krakatoa, is thought to be the most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded human history.
“In the year following the eruption, average global temperatures fell by as much as 1.2 °C (2.2 °F).The eruption darkened the sky worldwide for years afterward, and produced spectacular sunsets throughout the world for many months. This caused several cubic kilometers of material to enter the sea, displacing an equally huge volume of seawater. The town of Merak was destroyed by a tsunami 46 m (151 ft) high. The pressure wave radiated across the globe and was recorded on barographs all over the world, which continued to register it up to 5 days after the explosion. Barographic recordings show that the shock-wave from the final explosion reverberated around the globe 7 times in total. Ash was propelled to an estimated height of 80 km (50 mi).” – Wikipedia
Today, as we speak, no less than six major volcanic eruptions1 are underway around the world and four major earthquakes2 have taken place in the last 48 hours. And of course, a super typhoon3 devastated the Philippines this week. It seems fairly evident that some global adjustments are underway, adjustments that could be quite damaging to human health, and could even exterminate our species.
In sharing this information, my intent is just that – to share what has been given me. I am not asking you to believe it, but only to hear it. By all means, take a really big grain of salt with it. As I mentioned above, Mother Earth’s healing modalities are concerned with establishing harmony, balance and unity. Those things that are aligned with Her vibration I feel will not be effected by Her re-balancing, It is only those inharmonious conditions and vibrations that will be re-harmonized in order to balance the Earth’s energy.
I don’t pretend to consciously understand how all of this works. I am sure complex scientific knowledge is required to fully appreciate the adjustment mechanisms involved in the Great Re-balancing now underway. I don’t know the ramifications of this re-balancing and nor all of its implications. That wisdom is currently beyond my mind’s comprehension.
Volcano Blows Its Top in Eastern Russia
No one of us has the same perspective as another. Actually, it is impossible for us to have the same perspective as anyone else. When you or I or any other group of two or more look at something, no two or more of us is perceiving the same reality. For illustration, assume that you and I are both looking at a cloud moving across the sky some distance away. You and I will have a different experience of the cloud. This is occurs simply because we can not both be in the exact same place at the exact same time, at least not physically, but that’s another story.
If you can imagine many people scattered around the local area and all looking at the cloud, there would obviously be many perspectives regarding the cloud. Again each perception of the cloud must be different. Thus the perception of each of us must be different and can not be the same.
Recognition of this principle in our experience, provides some beneficial ideas. One idea is that we need not expect that our perception is the same, or even similar to another’s. When we realize that this is impossible for us human beings to perceive anything the same as another person does, we can more easily let go of our expectations of others. Releasing these expectations gives rise to the idea that we can only share unlike perceptions of reality with other human beings. And the sharing of these perceptions is obscured by differences in understanding words, meaning and emotional content of the description we create about the perception.
So when we look at a cloud, a flower or anything else in the world, including each other, we understand that the beauty of life lies in its variation and variety. What could be more enjoyable for us than to share our deep and rich experience with each other?
What if the “new world” or what Eckart Tolle calls the “New Earth” was now emerging into our experience? What if what is emerging is not expressed in the dimensional experience which we perceive? Is this what is happening? Yes. Let me tell you why I think this is so.
The new dimension is not visible. I have not seen it and I probably won’t until I integrate further with the new dimensional field. Although I haven’t sensed this new field physically, I have been feeling something, kind of like spiritual pressure for quite some time now, for years really.
One of the most amazing aspects of this shift is that the fundamental perception which we use to experience our existence is itself transforming. So basically, in addition to the entire game changing, the human tools we use to experience (e.g., measure) the game are changing as well.
Right now, I am experiencing a beautiful, organic salad, my primary lunch staple. I am feeling so blessed to do so. I am so grateful for the experience of life. Peace be with you.
While reading about the Fukushima reactor disaster that continues to impact us, I sought someone to blame, someone to hold responsible. Like many people, I want to blame TEPCO, the electric company that owns and runs the reactor and now, the government of Japan for not regulating and monitoring industry safety and the dysfunctional clean up effort. I thought about what blaming them would look like and how it might help.
In the case of a corporation like TEPCO, we could fine them a lot of money. That is the course we usually take with corporations. The fines are our collective approach to punishing them and compensating those negatively effected by the corporation’s actions. Since TEPCO reactors have caused tremendous and perhaps permanent damage to millions of people and the vast number of life forms living the Pacific Ocean, it seems that any fine would be have to enormous to even come close to the cost of the damages incurred. Let’s go with that then. It seems fair, huge damage, huge fine.
The largest fine that could be assessed would be equal to the total value of the company. After all, they can’t pay more than they have. If they are like most large companies, they keep a relatively small amount of liquid assets on hand, usually just enough to cover ongoing expenses like payroll, utilities, etc., operating costs. The rest of their assets are in held in the form of the land, buildings and infrastructure used to provide, in this case, electricity. So if we assessed the largest fine possible, it would equal the total assets of the company.
In order to pay this fine, the company would have to sell off its assets because the cash on hand would pay only a small fraction of the fine. Now this is where it gets interesting. How do you suppose a company like TEPCO could sell its land, building and infrastructure? First of all, who or what would have the resources to pay for such a huge purchase? Such a purchaser, even if they exist, would not buy the assets. Why? Well, the fact that this disaster occurred and the impact it has had calls into question the viability of the entire nuclear power industry. In other words, TEPCO’s assets only have value to the extent they can produce a profit. Once TEPCO’s basic operating assumption – that nuclear power can provide power efficiently and safely – is invalidated, the value of its assets plunges to near zero.
Sure, some of its assets like office buildings and land not located near reactors or fuel storage facilities would still hold significant value, but it would be nowhere near sufficient to pay off a huge fine. Oddly enough, the very recognition of its failure and its responsibility to pay damages eliminates the possibility of recouping funds or penalizing the corporate culprit. Not only that, such conviction and assessment of monetary penalties impacts the value of other companies in the same industry. After all, a disaster could befall them as well at any time.
Given the economic system we have, it becomes apparent that our ability to impose meaningful monetary punishment on any corporation is severely limited. No matter what damage or destruction they cause, any attempt to “punish” them monetarily in any significant way is doomed to failure because the process used to punish them diminishes their value and thus their ability to pay. It is clear then that there is no effective way to control the actions of or mitigate damages caused by large corporations except when the damages are minor and easily paid from operating funds. Once an assessment is large enough to threaten the existence of a corporation, it can not be paid.
To get back to the Fukushima disaster, what can be done? Obviously, there is no way to recoup the cost of the damages from TEPCO. But what about the government of Japan? Well, they have assets too, much like a large corporation. Thus the concept of selling off assets is an option and perhaps they have sufficient value to raise the money needed to pay for the on going damage. However, doing so would require selling parks, buildings and infrastructure to other corporate entities which would perpetuate the circular corporate responsibility concept I have been talking about here. Another option, and one that most governments use, is issuing debt in the form of bonds, borrowing the money. But again, there are issues with this too. At some point, the ability of the government to pay back the money it borrows will diminish because of the damage to the country from the TEPCO disaster. Investors might feel that lending money to deal with an ongoing radiation disaster that has no solution in sight, might be just too risky. Who knows.
The bottom line is that we as a society can not rely on monetary remedies to control corporate behavior, even when this behavior causes massive damage to life on this planet. When unrestrained corporate behavior results in disaster, using a commensurate monetary assessment to extract punishment damages or kills the corporate goose which is laying the golden egg we expect to receive. This leaves us with two unsatisfactory options. Either we limit the assessment of fines such that corporations can pay them from its profits without damaging the asset base it uses to generate such profits (as we did with BP in the Gulf of Mexico), or we must be content with shutting down large corporations and entire industries with little expectation of compensation. This later option would require major changes in how we meet our needs for energy, food, clothing, shelter and the other necessities of life. Ultimately, I think this is our only viable choice, the only way to avoid the annihilation of life on the planet. There really isn’t another option.