Category Archives: materialism

“Why worry about what can kill you tomorrow when so many things can kill you tonight?” 

 

(title is a remembered quote from the movie, “Lord of War”)

[thoughts from  ~burning woman~  ]

I’m sure that title and quote is also a paraphrase of something else I’ve read somewhere in my travels.  It is a line however that I have often thought about.  What does that mean to me?  Does it mean, in the hedonistic sense, “Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die!”?  Throw caution to the wind, live for the moment, and the Devil take the hindmost?

While I completely disagree with the common politically correct phrase, “we’re all in this together” (which is obvious bullshit in spades when you think about it seriously for a second) there is definitely one thing we all have in common: death.  Whatever we do to avoid it, and believe me that the amount of money people spend to try to avoid it is beyond staggering (well, OK, I don’t know how much, I just know it’s a whole lot more than “that”) we simply can’t.  Death is our constant companion through life.  We’re born to die, with a little lunch break in-between we call life. (We don’t get paid for that either, the opposite actually.)

I’m not trying to cheer you up, but I’m not trying to depress you either as both would defeat my purpose.  I haven’t (yet) said anything you don’t already know so if this feels uncomfortable, think of it as a reality check.

Why do we worry?  Why so many stressed to the max and depressed?  What happened to the pursuit of happiness, the verve, the “joie de vivre”?  What is this terrible darkness that is descending upon the planet which seems to increase every time some major man-made event is propagandized?  Why can’t we be infected by a beneficial virus for a change? Why can’t we have at least one major truly joyful man-made event of gargantuan proportions to celebrate ourselves within?  Since we can’t outgrow the need for leaders, why can’t we have smart ones? Why must everything of major import be sad, dreadful, horrible, hopeless, destructive, death-dealing, polluting and/or costly with no end in sight when we are sick and tired of hearing about it or experiencing it? Why must what we hope for be forever out of reach, more likely to recede from our grasp than approach it?  Why does the carrot always turn into a stick?

I think it all goes back to death.  Consciously we may choose to ignore the monster and try to live relatively normal, happy lives among those we love or the society we fit in, but subconsciously “it” is always there, just like *Joe Black, not always recognized for what it is but suspected, distrusted and feared; the entity with its own agenda over which no one has any control.  Death, the great equalizer it’s been called.  Well, I don’t know: I see a lot of death, I don’t see much equality arising from its presence, quite the contrary.  Death is like that bouncing ball that after it’s set a bouncing, every time it’s touched it bounces even more wildly and unpredictably.

In a moment of wild ecstasy I suppose, John Donne wrote “death thou shalt die.”  Literally or figuratively?  It really doesn’t matter “how” it matters more “when.”  Until now man has been the slave of death and the certainty of having to face that executioner has caused man to behave in quite irrational and contradictory ways.  For the average Earthian, the way to avoid death is to be the first to deal death to some whose existence is perceived as a threat.  This knee-jerk reaction is called survival of the fittest but is better defined as war, man’s most precious invention; the one he spends the most resources upon by far; his joy, his baby, his heritage, his great love.  Makes me want to write an ode to war, or a love poem:

O dear war,
How I missed thee in the dark days of peace!
How I praise thee now that thee art returned
To fill the aching void in my human heart,
To stop the aimless wander of my soul!

O dear war
Promise me from thine bloody throne
Thou shalt abandon me never again!
I could no longer bear the emptiness
Caused by your troubling absence!”

Well it’s a start.  Dark humour, but how far from the truth of the matter?  We kill remorselessly in vain attempts to save our own life, a life that was forfeit from the moment it was conceived.

OK, so I’m not looking for rationality among the species, I know such a thing is anathema to man’s thinking.  I’m just wondering if there is a cure to worry.  Let’s spread the reasoning net.  All animal life dies, sooner than later.  Do animals worry about dying?  I don’t think they do, although many animals experience powerful emotions when one of them dies, some more than others.  They know about death; about the end of the body, but they don’t seem to be worried about their own coming death.  It’s only when the predator appears that they resort to their fight or flight mode.  If they get sick they do not linger.  Either they heal themselves or give themselves over to death with hardly a struggle.

For whatever reason, Earth people approach the matter of death much differently than animals.  Animals don’t form armies to attack and decimate their enemies.  They may be territorial for naturally mandated purposes but they don’t try to expand their “empires” outside limits set by the Alpha male of the tribe or queen of the hive.  Those outside the limits are safe from attack and free of harassment.  Animals kill to survive, not to enhance their own personal power or “wealth” as the expense of others.  {Oh please God, make me into an animal this minute!  Amen!}  Animals gracefully surrender their bodies to the earth and shortly no evidence remains of their passage.

It is foolish to worry, even more so to allow oneself to get depressed.  Depression isn’t a disease, it’s the dirty diaper of the spoiled and entitled modern bratty Earthian who wants more than it’s willing to earn for itself; who is not willing to share.  Depression comes from a “I want it, and I want it now” civilization whose technology provided a lot of stupid, unnecessary polluting toys and continues to promise more toys while the natural resources that fueled that technology are wasted by misuse and war or vanishing from the planet in waves of entropic energy like climate change.  Depression from not getting what one feels entitled to leads to worry about more serious things, like losing one’s home or having no money to buy basic necessities such as food or losing one’s children through violence… Ah yes, the list of things that cause worry grows long.

I choose to live by my first quote.  I don’t worry about what could kill me tomorrow.  I think about the things lurking in the night of my mind, the things tonight, that can kill me.  I think about the dangers of reverting back to being a common Earthian; of waking up tomorrow morning worrying about food, clothing, shelter, money, sex, what’s been stolen in the night, etc.  I think about spiritual regression and mental devaluation from nightly visitations of “demons” from the darkness of the capitalist, consumerist Matrix.  I think of the horror of discovering I’m no longer immune to the foibles of man but rather fully back in establishment clutches.  I think about what it would be like to lose my sense of self empowerment, of knowing what I am; of losing sight of my purpose… in the night.  And I shudder.  That would be worse than any conceivable depression.

Ah, but I’m a witch!  I have spells to protect myself from demons who would steal my self-made personhood:  “I think my own thoughts, therefore I am my own person.” And spells also to protect me from well-meaning people who would destroy the essential me with their verbal weapons of fear-based mass distraction.  My simple response to all of it is “I choose me.”  Then I remember that death approached at through self-determination has become my greatest gift, my doorway out of a dying place to another I know of and look forward to – no: not heaven!

When does death die?  It dies when transcended every waking and awakened moment.

PS: this isn’t in response to the current Covid 19 pandemic. I wrote these thoughts some years ago but they do fit the moment.

*Joe Black: reference is to the movie, “Meet Joe Black” with Brad Pitt as Death.

 

 

 

 

The Higher Mind

I’ve been too occupied to give blogging much attention lately but I’ll say this: menial work has one great advantage in that it frees the mind to “wander at will” while the hands are busy. So here I was trudging through mud and brambles, clearing fence lines through blackberries and vine maple and red osier dogwood, all very romantic when seen from a novel, not so when in the field wearing heavy winter boots, thick gloves and equally heavy rain gear and it’s pouring, and pouring, and pouring… 

But back to that thinking bit. I thought, as a follow up to some mind-expanding reading I was doing, that I’d practice thinking in higher mind mode.  I wasn’t sure what that would entail except it would encompass bits and pieces of much thinking practice I’d done since I can remember. I thought, well, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts so this should be interesting.

It was.

What keeps the “lesser mind” occupied? Stuff such as love, romance, job, money (gotten, lost or lacking), food, shopping, relationships, family, relatives, house or home, taxes, a political hope, a new car purchase or the current vehicle’s maintenance costs, a party, a vacation, Netflix(!), Facebook(!), Tweeting(!), texting, a dreaded or hoped-for medical procedure, a new drug, all mostly to do with a body’s pleasure, comfort, discomfort and temporary escape from an ever-present underlying fear arising from a sense of threat or dread which refuses to elicit a solid clue as to its source.

The higher mind, at least the one that has been given the language to express itself relatively freely, doesn’t much care about most of those things, some just listed, that interest, confront and combine to enslave the lesser mind. This is where it truly becomes interesting because one would think that in higher mind mode the physical body’s needs and desires would be denigrated in favour of the kind of thinking that once was called “heavenly minded” or “spiritual.”

Once again I saw how the programming; the propaganda of the marketplace had lied. The higher mind doesn’t disparage or cast aspersions on the body but the opposite. It removes the conditions of enslavement to small deleterious though patterns and frees it to enjoy “life” without worries. The body ruled by the higher mind will drop its worries one by one as each is examined in the light of reality and common sense. Why engage things that present no resolve? Why make fists at the clouds, or the sun?

What makes higher mind thinking so different? It doesn’t care about stuff, and by stuff I mean every single thought that makes one aware of life in its detailing process. The higher mind sees itself as a legitimate member of all that is, with nothing it needs to be subservient to, nor needs to rule over. It sees itself as an observer, first of all, then as a servant of Life however the need for such servanthood manifests. The higher mind shares itself but never appropriates. Whatever energy it needs to function it already possesses by virtue of being who and where it is.

The higher mind may inhabit a body – a common state in this universe – and therefore that body becomes the recipient of the mind’s desire to serve. Unlike the lesser mind however, it will not cater to the body/brain unit functioning in the negativity of servitude to desires, lusts, fears and unfounded hopes which are the things that cause sickness and death. The higher mind has zero tolerance for *“sin” or what is so often described as “the lesser of evils” when the Matrix forces programmed beings to choose one form of evil over another, as in political elections for a prime example.

Living in the higher state of mind does not equate perfection or living in some utopia. Conflicts abound here also, but they are the kind that call for resolve, not the ones chasing each other in the hamster wheel of the Matrix or if you prefer, the System, the Status Quo. It’s more like expressing one’s beingness within an ever expanding *Fibonacci sequence or golden ratio. To my way of thinking the golden ratio perfectly defines the higher mind.

*Sin, as defined by the Teacher El Issa to me: “Sin is any thought, word or deed that harms another in some way which the “sinner” uses to benefit him/herself, spiritually, mentally or materially. The worst sin isn’t murder, it’s slander and lies. Slander and lies (self-aggrandizement) always precede murder.

*Explanation of the Fibonacci sequence or golden mean ratio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_ratio

 

 

 

Christmas 2005, a Prophecy

        (Voice from the other side ~burning woman~ )
[Yes, this was written in 2005, and every year since the truth of it has only shone brighter. The world as we of the West have enjoyed it, is passing as water through our fingers and nothing can hold back the winds that are sweeping it away]

What is it about “Christmas” that evokes such confused and contrasting feelings in people of the Western world? 

Certainly, it is not about some redemption from sin – Christmas gives rise to more “sin” than possibly any other time of year.  Certainly it is not about the story of a poor family in Judea 2000 years ago from which the Christian Savior or Christ purportedly issued.

What is so gripping about Christmas?  The hype?  The commercial lies so thick one can barely wade through them day after day?  Some distant hope for something better?  Something eternally stolen, ever hidden and ever replaced with artificial concoctions from the minds of gods, of rulers, of systems, and swallowed so eagerly by deluded, egotistic masses?

Christmas is the saddest time of the year for me.  But I know my feelings and I know what generates them.  It isn’t movies, TV, books, religious rituals, radio or garish store displays. 


It is the awareness of the monstrous lie Christmas has become and how it chokes all who try to swallow it by participating in it.  Particularly religious people.  Particularly those who claim to be followers of Jesus; of the Christ; the being, entity, person, prophet, divinity — call him what you will — whose “birth” Christmas is supposed to be all about.  (And please don’t remind me that Jesus was not likely born on Dec. 25, Gregorian calendar, if he even ever existed – I know that and that’s not the point.)


How in “Hell” I ask myself, did Christmas become such a time of debauchery?  Of gluttony?  Of revelry?  Of covetousness and cupidity in this post-Christian society? 

I was taught as a child that “Jesus” was the gift of God to the world, the gift of the richest person to the poorest.  I was taught that in turn, the rich of the earth were to share their possessions with the poorest.  I was taught that Christmas was such a reminder that such an act need take place regularly to maintain life’s balance. 
Maybe because where I originate the people celebrate this “gift” on January 6th and it did not then  entail the gross and crass commercialism so in your face here; maybe because it did not translate in piles upon piles of trashy “gifts” did I remember what I was taught.  And maybe, living here, in a pathetic carbon-copy world of “American Santaclawism” the message I got as a child resounds that much louder these days in hollow greed-swept outer malls where empty cans, plastic bottles, half-eaten Big Macs, cigarette butts, paper and plastic cups and tons of broken and torn packaging collect inside vending machines, along curbs and under cold, wet benches covered with the grimy film of diesel fumes from city buses… 

Yes, inflatable plastic figurines and fake icicle lights are out; decorated trees bleed to death in living rooms, ante rooms and dining rooms.  Yes, the jolly fat man (who reminds me of the utterly evil, utterly depraved baron Harkonnen of Dune) is out and about, promising more goodies to the rich, more junk foods to the obese, more whatever to whomever will spend their last overdraft dollar… and collecting money for “the poor” after it is laundered by the official charitable organizations…


At Christmas, a “celebration” that belongs primarily to the richest segment of earth’s people, as many as always, and perhaps more, people will die “out there” and their pain will never be felt, will never be known, will never be acknowledged, neither by the churches, the charitable organizations, the politicians  nor, heaven forbid, the Media.  They will pass away as clouds that give no rain.  Empty, hollow laughter will sound for a few moments all over this Western World, not knowing that it too is passing, just as the dying poor, the “Lazarus” types who died at the door of the rich man. (ref: Luke 16: 19-31, New Testament, the Bible)


Tonight I give a prophecy — in full realization that no people, no collective, no nation, has ever appreciated the prophet, for such a one always comes at a time of ending, not to make change – such is not the purpose – but to warn (and such warning is always so damned inconvenient!) — and this is the warning: this Christmas will not generate as much happiness as the last for merriment seekers.  Next year’s will be far less happy.  And after that?  Even for those who can afford to hoard and to lord,  there may not even be one.


Many more small businesses will fail as this year passes.  Christmas will not bring the expected and needed revenue.  The largest greed-based corporations will last a bit longer for they still have the fat of millions of slaves to eat or burn – but not as much as they’d like their greedy share-holders to believe.  All of them are bankrupt, no matter how much money or power they claim to hold.   


It is the end for this society.  The world of the rich is corrupt unto death.  The world that worships money and mindless pleasures, whatever the cost to life, is finished. 

And why?  Because compassion is scorned; because the real spirit of caring, giving and sharing is gone from most human hearts and the world is split between the billions who go about naked and hungry and the millions who wear the emperor’s new clothes. 

Those who sow nothing must ultimately reap nothing.  Those who sow the wind (resource wars today) must reap the whirlwind. 

Purpose

[an essay, by   ~burning woman~ ] 

Until perhaps a decade of Earth years ago I had not yet realized that any intelligent, sentient, self aware life form needs a purpose in order to make sense of itself and to give itself direction. Without purpose such a life falls into an endless treadmill. How can any intelligent life with the ability to self propel move forward, or in any meaningful direction, without purpose?

Serving a purpose instead of just existing as asset, a “labour resource” or a consumer makes sense. But in a world teeming with billions of Earthians how can one develop a meaningful purpose? How can “I” make myself mean something outside the dictates of a system that by observation increasingly tends to go off the rails and doesn’t seem to have any meaning in itself?

That’s a legitimate question, I think. What is our civilization’s purpose? There was a time that “purpose” for Earthians was to serve the gods. For better or worse, we lost that, or deliberately turned against it. Not totally our fault since the gods, real or imagined, no longer responded to our prayers and left us to our own devices, lead by unabashedly greedy certifiable morons in the field of religion. It wasn’t long before the System offered a new type of belief I would call political atheism.

We were swayed by a new idea: evolution, or natural selection. Instead of gods, nature was the arbiter of everything that had ever been, was, or could be. To top that, man rediscovered himself to be a meaningless physical, finite entity with absolutely no hope of any future beyond his one pointless life. Essentially that is the atheist creed. Like belief in God, gods or whatever, belief in no hereafter is just another type of faith-based concept. The difference is that this belief does not exactly promote the seeking for greater purpose.

For an ISSA being, purpose can only be properly expressed in a mind conscious of existence beyond one physical lifetime. Purpose carries across time and space to encompass cosmic reality. Purpose means partnership with life and its creative force.

Purpose awareness brings one dangerously close to thinking like a god also, and that is a place one must shun with every part of one’s being.

We’ve done the god thing and all it has accomplished is help solidify a societal reality that is destroying us as a species. While pretending to worship some God or other Force, what we have done is create a civilization wherein we would rule the world as gods. In that we have been abject failures. Instead of developing purpose as self empowered individuals we have corralled all the available resources of the planet, human and non, to jerry build a mindless, directionless, self-defeating finite monstrosity that is ever poised to destroy itself through internecine warfare. Our civilization is a predatory Frankenstein without specific direction, without purpose. When we read the questionable records of its history the final question that remains is, what was the point? What’s the point? What comes after?

If we use the Pleasantville allegory as indicative of the development of civilization – and why not? – we end up with the same question: what comes next, once the Pleasantville illusion is shattered? In the movie the answer is we’re not supposed to know. The same answer you get if you do religion. “In my father’s house are many mansions.” Fine, well and good, but that is not an answer. The type and condition of life in the father’s house are never answered. Why not?

Neither religion nor its nemesis atheism, want, or can, give anyone purpose. Purpose relates to a “higher” type of thinking. Purpose shatters the programming of the Powers and sets the mind free to be itself. To develop its own thinking patterns. To see reality, not propaganda. To dare accept a knowledge once sought by mages, visionaries, dreamers. A knowledge ignored and despised in today’s academic and political circles.

Purpose takes us out of mindless existence on the wheel of fate, or karma, or dead-end as is the more common case today. Purpose is the action field where an individual practices living at the expense of her mere existence until all that’s left is life. Once one discovers life society and its manifold chaotic beliefs no longer hold sway.

I can think my own thoughts and know beyond any doubt that they are superior to any expressed by society and those who rule and ruin it to their own destruction. From purpose I can see the past and I can walk into the future, up to “the 13th Floor” and beyond. Can you?  

 

 

 

 

Unapologetically Yours

(dotting some i’s and crossing some tees – Sha’Tara)

At the risk of sounding pedant, I’ll start with, “who am I?”  OK, we’ve all heard the question, and probably all asked it of ourselves at some point or other in life. It’s a valid question, though, because if we cannot definitely answer it, we’ve got a lot of mind processing to do.

I’m going to answer that question because it’s time. I am all those awarenesses, those beliefs, those thoughts, those observations, those acceptances and rejections, those likes and dislikes, successes and failures, those highs and lows, that surround me, fill me or haunt me. That is what defines me, what I am: no apologies.

Once I was an ardent Christian. I believed IN God and all I wanted to do was serve God. Thus I focused my young life and that came to naught, through no fault of mine. I concluded God didn’t need me, or want me, therefore I didn’t need him and certainly didn’t want him. At that time of my life – pre-and early puberty – I desperately needed someone I could trust. I still believe (know) that God exists but as I learned more history of his church and his other religions, I no longer want any of that in my life: no apologies.

From interactions with non-Earth beings, three in particular whom I call “The Teachers” (YLea, El Issa and Phaelon) I gained understanding and daring, I might say, beyond the norm. Rescued by those same people (the Altarians) from death, I concluded they were worth listening to. They never said how, or why they came to my rescue in particular. Perhaps they knew more about me than I did. They did ask me to change my life and lifestyle and they knew that I already knew what costs would ensue. I had, after all, a good grounding in Catholic catechism, the gospel teachings, and an above average knowledge of biblical scriptures. The costs of “discipleship” clearly enumerated by Jesus and the ancient prophets would be my legacy as I followed Altarian philosophy. The losses I entailed were real. No apologies for stating facts.

For a time, when personal hubris was riding much higher than it is today, I thought I had become some sort of mystic. Then I realized that if mystic was synonymous with misfit, I was probably right and it certainly was nothing to feel proud of. The realization gradually toned me down. Yes I experienced powerful visions and yes I was open to channeling and other esoteric things but when I refused to use such to titillate or entertain (or write best sellers), that was the end of that. No apologies to disappointed would-be followers. I walk alone.

Once again, it’s poppy time in the West. We have to “remember” the “fallen” as heroes. It would not do to call them what they were, and continue to be: mass murderers. What’s the difference between a soldier (mercenary) and a murderer? One is a sort of institutional hero for killing “enemies” in step with orders from above. The other is considered a danger to society because s/he kills without orders, hence too much of a wild card. The killing is OK but it has to be sanctioned by the powers that be or it becomes a crime. I’ve always been innately anti-war and anti-killing. I’ve found a better way to express my own humanity; a way guaranteed to end all warring conflicts on this benighted world. That is why that way will never be followed: it would end gratuitous violence. Stupid is as stupid does, my mama always said. (Forest Gump). There are no soldiers in my world, only killers, some to obey, others to make money. I’m not claiming I don’t have enemies but they too are manufactured by consent. No apologies for that statement.

Why do people act in such anti-life ways? Why the lust for violence? Why can’t man end his racism, misogyny, pedophilia, exploitation, oppression, suppression, rape, enslavement and murder? Why does greed rule and ruin the world? No, not just today. Ancient proverbs state that money is the root of all evil, so there were other times when money (gold!) ruled the known world and did to it what our greed is doing to ours.

What’s wrong with people? I’ll tell you, but don’t think you can believe it – you won’t be allowed. You are a programmed entity. Your “soul” is an implant by which you are programmed and directed. If you could freely reason the insanity of all the evil you do so “naturally” on a daily basis, you wouldn’t do it – you couldn’t. But you do it and you find it so easy to justify it afterwards. That’s programming, and it didn’t come out of the swamps your Darwinist-evolutionists insist you arose from. It came from those who invented mankind. No apologies for stating this either. This blatant fact will come out when the programming is broken, not before.  

When I got thoroughly fed up with earth I attempted to escape through suicide. I was rescued by non-Earth entities, and given that one chance to change my life. There would not be another chance, I knew. When I came out of that “amazing” experience and realized this second chance would manifest on Earth, in the same place I was in already, I rebelled at first. Then I decided to take my first step on the path of personal change and self empowerment. Was it 40 years ago already, or was it yesterday? It feels like I’ve only just begun. Fortunately for me, there is all of eternity to live through and infinity to search out as I develop this ever-new me, new self, in dauntless self-awareness and eagerness to learn more, to change with each new lesson.  This is my reality and… no apologies.

Oh yes, that solution to all of your social problems of injustice, of corruption, of gratuitous violence and greed. Although I know no one will have the fortitude to accept the truth of it and put it in personal practice – imagine the price to be paid – it needs stating: compassion. That’s right, that’s it, and that’s all.

You can invent all the solutions you want to all of your problems and you will notice that they will morph endlessly into other, and bigger, problems. You can bury them with legalese and political correctness, self-help studies and philanthropic efforts and they will rise up again and again. You will despair at your helplessness, blame elites, rulers, CEO’s, bankers, other classes, races, genders, even divinities but nothing doing. The evil your ancestors did, you are doing. Your future generations will generate more of the same. Choose instead to become a compassionate person. Don’t question it, make no excuses. Compassion is the final act. It will put “paid” to your society’s grossest  sins. Guaranteed. No apologies for that claim.

Now I can go to another peaceful sleep, perhaps to dream, perhaps to not wake up in this reality. It’s all the same to me.  

How then does one achieve enlightenment?

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~  and essay, by Sha’Tara]

Quote: “Prescience reveals no absolutes, only possibilities. The surest way to know exactly what the future holds is to experience it in real time.” (Sandworms of Dune – Kevin Anderson)

How do I approach this? Let me say that lately I have been allowing myself to “feel” and that has translated into deep and abiding sorrow for this world. Certainly if one is remotely aware of the many sick things going on here, or being done here, there must arise a sense of anxiety. But “anxiety” means concern for one’s self, or one’s “special people” within the greater body politic.

Sorrow is a different thing, as I have written about before. My understanding of it is, it isn’t about me (or mine, if I had any special people) but about all of it, about the flow of life… and death… all around me, as far as my senses can reach.

One achieves “enlightenment” when one gathers enough personal courage to look at her or his world exactly as it is and not as the conflicting sources of propaganda declare it to be. Yes, that takes courage because it removes all the facile excuses we constantly make up to justify our sustaining beliefs regardless of how such beliefs affect others. Enlightenment means I no longer regard others as conveniences to supply my endless wants; I no longer view them as competitors for space or resources; I no longer see them as threats to my personal, or national, beliefs and security.

Enlightenment means becoming aware of reality without blinders or protective armor. It means choosing to become vulnerable so that others may not have to feel vulnerable but safe in our presence.

Enlightenment then means living the compassionate life does it not?

If we accept the truth of our current social condition, that being a very difficult thing to do, we will of necessity plunge into a maelstrom of personal conflict. If we are of the relatively “rich” West, we will feel the weight of responsibility for many of the world’s ills and we won’t know what to do about it. We will want to protest; we will seek to blame someone, particularly “they” for the world’s major problems. We will think that just changing “me” is useless in the grand scheme of things and when we see that all our struggles, our protests, our votes and our hopes are increasingly dashed, we will go the route of despair, despondency, denial or seek solace in “old time religion” and our spirit will die within. We will go through the motions of living and when death comes, that will be that. It might even be seen as a relief from pointlessness and boredom.

This reminds me of a song I once wondered about so long ago, sung by Peggy Lee: “Is That All There Is?”

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sWTnsemkIs

Lyrics:
I remember when I was a very little girl, our house caught on fire
I’ll never forget the look on my father’s face as he gathered me up
In his arms and raced through the burning building out to the pavement
And I stood there shivering in my pajamas and watched the whole world go up in flames
And when it was all over I said to myself, is that all there is to a fire?

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is

And when I was twelve years old, my father took me to a circus, the greatest show on earth
There were clowns and elephants and dancing bears
And a beautiful lady in pink tights flew high above our heads
And as I sat there watching
I had the feeling that something was missing
I don’t know what, but when it was over
I said to myself, “is that all there is to the circus?

And then I fell in love with the most wonderful boy in the world
We’d take take long walks down by the river or just sit for hours gazing into each other’s eyes
We were so very much in love
And then one day he went away and I thought I’d die, but I didn’t
And when I didn’t I said to myself, is that all there is to love?

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep

I know what you must be saying to yourselves
If that’s the way she feels about it why doesn’t she just end it all?
Oh, no, not me I’m not ready for that final disappointment
‘Cause I know just as well as I’m standing here talking to you
When that final moment comes and I’m breathing my last breath, I’ll be saying to myself

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is

Yesterday was my 73rd birthday, a pretty good milestone, even by today’s standards and I realize that all my life I have refused to accept that “is that all there is” condition.

In “Sandworms of Dune” Kevin Anderson wrote: “By following the same beliefs and making the same decisions one wears life’s path into a circular rut, going nowhere, accomplishing nothing, making no progress.”

That is “the” problem Earthians seem unable to confront and move beyond. Many a time I suggested doing something outside the status quo in order to get off the treadmill. I was mocked and accused of not knowing the difference between imagination and reality. Eventually I chose in favor of imagination and against man’s sacrosanct reality. I chose against “Is that all there is” and went on a life-long quest for whatever lay beyond this view.

I found the doorway, and I saw the future, yes, and experienced it in real time. That is what the gate keepers do not want Earthians to realize: that their future exists, that it is waiting for them to enter into it and experience it, that it is neither some bullshit religious “heaven” or “hell” nor equally bullshit materialistic annihilation.

If we would become truly enlightened we all have to take that chance and go questing for our own particular future. It’s a strictly personal reality and not a collective affair. Scary thought that, hm?

Embarrassment of Riches-George Monbiot

When it comes to being a voice for our stressed and possibly dying natural environment, George Monbiot’s has no equal.

Please read on. (Hopefully all the links are working as this is a copy, not a reblog. They do work at this end, I checked.)

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Embarrassment of Riches – monbiot.com

Embarrassment of Riches

Posted: 20 Sep 2019 01:22 AM PDT

For the sake of life on Earth, we should set an upper limit on the money any person can amass. (My emphasis)

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian, 19th September 2019

It is not quite true that behind every great fortune lies a great crime. Musicians and novelists, for example, can become extremely rich by giving other people pleasure. But it does appear to be universally true that in front of every great fortune lies a great crime. Immense wealth translates automatically into immense environmental impacts, regardless of the intentions of those who possess it. The very wealthy, almost as a matter of definition, are committing ecocide.

A few weeks ago, I received a letter from a worker at a British private airport. “I see things that really shouldn’t be happening in 2019,” he wrote. Every day he sees Global 7000 jets, Gulfstream 650s and even Boeing 737s take off from the airport carrying a single passenger, mostly flying to Russia and the US. The private Boeing 737s, built to take 174 seats, are filled at the airport with around 32,000 litres of fuel. That’s as much fossil energy as a small African town might use in a year.

Where are these single passengers going? Perhaps to visit one of their superhomes, constructed and run at vast environmental cost, or to take a trip on their superyacht, which might burn 500 litres of diesel per hour just ticking over, and is built and furnished with rare materials, extracted at the expense of stunning places.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that when Google convened a meeting of the rich and famous at the Verdura resort in Sicily this July to discuss climate breakdown, its delegates arrived in 114 private jets and a fleet of megayachts, and drove around the island in supercars. Even when they mean well, the ultrarich cannot help trashing the living world.

A series of research papers shows that income is by far the most important determinant of environmental impact. It doesn’t matter how green you think you are. If you have surplus money, you spend it. The only form of consumption that’s clearly and positively correlated with good environmental intentions is diet: people who see themselves as green tend to eat less meat and more organic vegetables. But attitudes have little bearing on the amount of transport fuel, home energy and other materials you consume. Money conquers all.

The disastrous effects of spending power are compounded by the psychological impacts of being wealthy. Plenty of studies show that the richer you are, the less you are able to connect with other people. Wealth suppresses empathy. One paper reveals that drivers in expensive cars are less likely to stop for people using pedestrian crossings than drivers in cheap cars. Another revealed that rich people were less able than poorer people to feel compassion towards children with cancer. Though they are disproportionately responsible for our environmental crises, the rich will be hurt least and last by planetary disaster, while the poor are hurt first and worst. The richer people are, the research suggests, the less such knowledge is likely to trouble them.

Another issue is that wealth limits the perspectives of even the best-intentioned people. This week Bill Gates argued in an interview with the Financial Times that divesting (ditching stocks) from fossil fuels is a waste of time. It would be better, he claimed, to pour money into disruptive new technologies with lower emissions. Of course we need new technologies. But he has missed the crucial point: in seeking to prevent climate breakdown, what counts is not what you do but what you stop doing. It doesn’t matter how many solar panels you install if you don’t simultaneously shut down coal and gas burners. Unless existing fossil fuel plants are retired before the end of their lives, and all exploration and development of new fossil fuels reserves is cancelled, there is little chance of preventing more than 1.5°C of global heating.

But this requires structural change, which involves political intervention as well as technological innovation: anathema to Silicon Valley billionaires. It demands an acknowledgement that money is not a magic wand that makes all the bad stuff go away.

On Friday, I’ll be joining the global climate strike, in which adults will stand with the young people whose call to action has resonated around the world. As a freelancer, I’ve been wondering who I’m striking against. Myself? Yes: one aspect of myself, at least. Perhaps the most radical thing we can now do is to limit our material aspirations. The assumption on which governments and economists operate is that everyone strives to maximise their wealth. If we succeed in this task, we inevitably demolish our life support systems. Were the poor to live like the rich, and the rich to live like the oligarchs, we would destroy everything. The continued pursuit of wealth, in a world that has enough already (albeit very poorly distributed) is a formula for mass destitution.

A meaningful strike in defence of the living world is, in part, a strike against the desire to raise our incomes and accumulate wealth: a desire shaped, more than we are probably aware, by dominant social and economic narratives. I see myself as striking in support of a radical and disturbing concept: Enough. Individually and collectively, it is time to decide what enough looks like, and how to know when we’ve achieved it.

There’s a name for this approach, coined by the Belgian philosopher Ingrid Robeyns: limitarianism. Robeyns argues that there should be an upper limit to the amount of income and wealth a person can amass. Just as we recognise a poverty line, below which no one should fall, we should recognise a riches line, above which no one should rise. This call for a levelling down is perhaps the most blasphemous idea in contemporary discourse.

But her arguments are sound. Surplus money allows some people to exercise inordinate power over others, in the workplace, in politics, and above all in the capture, use and destruction of natural wealth. If everyone is to flourish, we cannot afford the rich. Nor can we afford our own aspirations, that the culture of wealth maximisation encourages.

The grim truth is that the rich are able to live as they do only because others are poor: there is neither the physical nor ecological space for everyone to pursue private luxury. Instead we should strive for private sufficiency, public luxury. Life on earth depends on moderation.

http://www.monbiot.com