I get so furious and sad. In fact it brings me close to tears. The fact that we are so trapped in a story of our own creation and most of us don't even realize it. Those of us that do are not really sure what to do with this information - not to mention that our society constantly tells us that we are wrong to think that there is an alternative or that maybe there is something inherently wrong with this system - this culture!
I am not just referring to American culture or even European culture. I am talking about western culture but also the overarching human cultural story of violence, power, sex and capitalism. It is not that these are the only cultures that have or do exist. In fact we know that there are far more healthy ways to co-exist.
I just heard Derrik Jensen on the radio show Flashpoints on KPFA. I had not heard of him before but he spoke so blatantly to the ugly truth of our cultural situation. Sure - he may be attempting to highlight and emphasize the outliers in our culture - the extremes. But, he is right to do so in an attempt to capture the story line and the space in our media. What he said, that really struck me, actually there were two things that he said.
First, that when you seriously think about it and recognize the fact that when the Europeans arrived here in the USA they had been living here for close on 12,000 years. That the entire land was in pristine shape, that they lived decent lives filled with leisure and a deep sense of community (this is not to say that there were not issues and troubles with their lives).
In the course of the subsequent 400 years we have managed to pollute, decimate, and wipe out most of what was indigenous about this land. Were are we now? Well, according to the EPA you can't drink out of a single river or stream in the US because they are almost all poisoned with carcinogens. We have to work to earn salaries to buy food because all the wild food has been killed, co-modified or fenced off.
Somewhere along the line a sense of value and worth has been lost. The fact that we are part and parcel of this place has been removed from our sense of being. Derrik may say that this is a form of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome - that we live in a culture that traumatizes us from start to end; through our schooling systems, our police forces, our media of violence and sexism, our constant reminder to be afraid and our sense of having to work as slaves to the dollar bill.
Repeated stress, repeated trauma with no relaxation or down time. No sense of security has been emphasized, a sense of the ability to explore, to be who you are and to do what is natural to you and me.
I sit in my life now - at 30 years of age with my stunning wife and my beautiful baby and I wonder what I can do as a husband and father to provide the space and community that will raise a baby filled with a sense of safety and love, compassion and exploration. How do we do this in our own lives? How do we engage this in a way that both transforms our selves and our culture?
I wish I had the complete answer here. But, what I do know is that I do not want to be a slave to my money to the need to earn dollars, to be afraid and to feel stressed and overwhelmed. These things make us operate from a place of adrenaline and leads us to see life in a vision of a tunnel - thereby excluding options and opportunities that are there but outside of our tunnel.
I know that my contribution to this is around exploring and evangelizing a new form of value thinking - of what we value, how we value it and why we value it.
To me this is one of the roots of our problem - one of the big lies we have been fed. That of value! We need to value things that are not valued things that can't actually be commodified and that is why it is such a threatening space to go into. Because, as far as our economic and cultural system is concerned - if you can't commoditize it it holds no value. The problem is that the things that are of some of the highest value are not things at all but are rather rights and access. "fresh water" "clean air" "access to healthy food" "clean environment" "the right to rest" "the right to health care" "the right to relaxation and compassion"
What I do know is that I need to make this change in my life as quickly as possible because there is not much time to sort this out. There is no time to wait to see what happens - I need to voice my voice to share my ideas and help to lead this change - because this change will not occur till enough of us choose to lead.
I don't know what this is nor where it is going. But - I hope we will all help each other get there with love, compassion and joy!