Refusing the Call of the Hero's Journey

Luke on Modesto, TatooineImage by Rubink1 via Flickr

According to Joseph Campbell, a common theme among those who are called to the Hero’s Journey is the Refusal of the Call. When faced with the daunting challenge to step out of his comfort zone, the hero often flinches, doubts, or runs the other way. Both Luke Skywalker and Han Solo did it before going to rescue Princess Leia. Even Jesus toyed with the idea when he asked God if there was any way this cup could be taken from him.

The Hero may find several reasons to refuse the call to adventure. He may bring up familial obligations. He may not think he has what it takes and has intercepted someone else’s call. He may simply be selfish. Or he may be afraid. In all actuality, whatever reason he may cling to, it is usually based in fear. Indeed, whenever one of us shirks from a challenge, it is often fear which motivates us.
Perhaps we are afraid of letting down our loved ones or losing their respect. Perhaps we are afraid that we are unable to succeed so we opt not to even make an attempt. Perhaps we are afraid of losing out on something which is dear to us, to let go of our security blankets. Or perhaps we are afraid of our own success.

Marianne Williamson puts it extremely poignantly in her book A Return to Love when she quotes A Course in Miracles and states, “’Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

For each of us, in whatever adventures we may be called to, no matter how big or small, let us remember that we are never given a problem to face without the means to achieve it. Though we may flinch, or balk, or run the other direction, let us realize that we truly do have the power to face any challenge and accept the success we envision.

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Meeting the Magician

Tarot card from the Rider-Waite tarot deck, al...Image via Wikipedia

As the Fool continues on his journey, after making his leap of faith, the first person he meets is the Magician. This card portrays the Magician in a red cloak standing before a table outdoors. On the table are the symbols of the four suits of the Tarot (swords, wands, coins, and cups) which represent the four basic elements of nature (air, fire, earth, and water). Additionally these four elements mirror the four aspects of mankind (mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional).

Above the Magician’s head is the symbol for infinity or eternity. His right hand holds a baton aloft (sometimes seen as a two-ended candle) and points his left hand to the ground, genuflecting the axiom “as above, so below.”

The Magician is sometimes called the Mage or Magus, and he does indeed bring some wonderful gifts.

The Magician’s message to the Fool is two-fold. First, he lets the Fool know that he has everything he needs to accomplish his journey through the combination of his mind, spirit, body, and heart. Secondly, the Magician reveals the bridge between Heaven and Earth by illustrating that all things done on the spiritual plane are manifested in the physical plane.

For each of us, as we take our own journeys, we must remember and be aware of the tools we have at our disposal. Our minds allow us to conceive of new plans and goals. Our spirits urge us on toward greater ambitions. Our bodies provide us with movement and conduits for our energies. And our hearts help us to share our journeys with those we meet along the way.

And let us not forget as we travel on our paths that the seeds we sow in heaven are made manifest in our lives. Be it the law of cause and effect or the law of karma or the law of attraction, there is profound truth in the idea that what we sow we shall also reap. Let us sow good seeds as we plant our magic beans, and may their growth carry us onward toward the realization of our dreams.
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Overcoming Guilt

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In his book Power vs. Force, David Hawkins outlines the various stages of human consciousness and places them on a scale of one to one thousand the highest being Enlightenment. Though the lowest level of consciousness lies at Shame; not much higher than that is Guilt. For instance if after eating of the Forbidden Fruit, Adam and Eve first felt Shame over being naked, they followed it up with a good dose of Guilt over disobeying. This concept of Guilt, this consciousness of Guilt, has permeated our collective consciousness ever since.

Especially in the Judeo-Christian culture, the concept of Guilt is rampant. As I stated in another blog, for Christians, Guilt is where the philosophy begins. “All have sinned…” is the message Paul gives us in Romans, and it is that idea which has historically been used to convert people to that particular religion. I don’t wish to argue the merits of the religion here, but suffice it to say that bringing a person into a consciousness of Guilt where the levels of conscious power are so low allows for great manipulation and control.

In America today, and in the Western culture that we are spreading, the concept of Guilt is rampant. The covers of our tabloids seek to find it in all of our celebrities. It seems that we’re often obsessed with finding it in others because we long so badly to escape from feeling it ourselves. We may love our neighbors as ourselves, but when we’re mired in our own Guilt, that doesn’t amount to much. Guilt is the bedrock of our Capital Punishment system, whereby we are so consumed with the idea of punishment for wrongdoing that we mete out sentences that do nothing to actually deter the crime but only address and feed the nature of Guilt, thereby expanding it and drawing us deeper into its confines.

But for those who find the power of Forgiveness, by whichever means, when they are able to let it burn within their own hearts and purge the Guilt that has plagued them and then spread that light to others, true change can occur. Just as Guilt can force coercion and control, Forgiveness has the power to foster freedom and choice.

I believe that the concept of Forgiveness is finding new footing in our society today. I believe that we are overcoming the age old concept of Guilt as the millstone around our necks. I believe that we are getting to the point where we can love our neighbors as ourselves, and love ourselves as we truly deserve to be loved.

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The Call to Adventure

Cover of "The Power of Myth"Cover of The Power of Myth

According the Joseph Campbell, the next stage in the Hero’s Journey, after he is established in the Ordinary World, is the Call to Adventure. In each of our lives, when we find ourselves in our own little comfort zones, we often get the opportunity to expand our reach to new endeavors. Be it a new relationship, a new project, or an actual journey, every day we are called to a new adventure. For those who live consciously, every day is an adventure.

In his interview with Bill Moyers on the Power of Myth program, Campbell stated that we needed a new mythology. Although we have multiple myths that are drawn from our legends and folklore, our religions and histories, and even our books, movies, and TV shows, it would seem that the influx of these stories has somewhat diluted the message as it has been spread all around us.

I think that we are at a point where it’s not that we need a new mythology, but we need to bring the mythology inward and realize that we are the heroes that we have been waiting for. Throughout our cultures we have told tales, written stories, and enacted adventures about other beings that have risen to heights of which we can only dream. But we have dreamed them. And the fact that we have created them means that we can attain them. This Hero’s Journey which which has encased our consciousness is our story, and on some level, we have created a map to follow in order to become that which we dream of.

This is the new Call to Adventure. Not to necessarily write a new mythology, but to Become the new mythology. In all of our stories and legends and prophecies, there must come a point where they intersect with reality. Our history is an image from our past. Our prophecies are images of our future. But our Lives must take the essence of them and culminate them into the moment of Now.

This is our new Call to Adventure. To become the heroes we have been waiting for.

To read about my adventure, go to www.themcallistercode.com now and sign up to read The McAllister Code.

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A strange place to start a philosophy…

Buddha Light and Jesus Christ LightImage by annamatic3000 via Flickr

When I was an evangelical Christian, we had a system by which we would share the Gospel of Christ with others (although it is based on a book written by Paul). We called it the Romans Road.

The first step on the Romans Road is taken from Romans 3:23 – “All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.” In one sense, this seems to be a starting point of shame, something I once considered to be a horrible place to start a philosophy. However, on the other hand, it is a tenet of equality. For if we look out into the world around us, when we often see people who enrage us with their selfishness, stupidity, fear, and violence, this verse reminds us that we are all in the same boat.

We have all forgotten the spark of divinity which resides within us. As Marianne Williamson put it, in archery, to “sin” is to miss the mark, and we have all done it. Not one of us has been at our best one hundred percent of the time. Very few of us fully dwell in the Presence of God.

So as we make our way down this road of life together, let’s remember that we’ve all fallen at one time or another. Let’s give each other a hand up when we’re able instead of opting for the compulsion to shame.

I also find it an interesting correlation that the first of the Buddhists’ Four Noble Truths is that “All Life is Suffering.” While the rest of Noble Truths and the steps along the Romans Road differ greatly in their unfolding, they both start with the idea that we are lacking, handicapped, and in need of a new understanding.

I’ll be writing more about the rest of the Road as well as the Truths in later blogs, but I wanted to point out that two of the largest religious traditions in the world start out in relatively the same place. And while I want very badly to dismiss the idea that we are lacking and realize the perfection of the Universe, I can’t help but look around at the state of the world and realize at least some truth to this idea.

We’re engulfed in wars and battles of ideologies. We’re wreaking havoc on the environment. Our economic system is in turmoil. We’re almost defined by our addictions. And I just have to wonder if it is our nature to live our this idea of our necessary suffering and separation from God, or if our belief in this idea is creating the fact for us.

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Welcome to the New Revolution

There is a revolution underway. It goes by many different names depending upon a person’s upbringing and station in life. It has been called the Rise of the Cultural Creatives, the Environmental Movement, a Spiritual Revival, the new Renaissance, and many other things. We have come to call it the Modern Hippie movement.

Though it is perceived differently by the subgroups of people taking part in the movement and by those on the outside looking in, it is heralded mostly by a growing awareness. It is defined by a choice to take a more active part in the collective life we are creating. It is a movement of conscious living.

The first Hippie movement brought an anti-authoritarian attitude that bucked the system, fought for peace, and found joy in the simpler things in life. Building upon the stamina created by the civil rights movement, this generation of rebels and dreamers all but defined the 1960’s. But alas, the rebellion eventually petered out and the dreams remained as only visions lost in the ether as many of its proponents gave up the fight and merged into the mainstream.

But the spirit of the movement, though it seemed vanquished, never truly died.

Four decades later, we look back past the caricatures of the tie-dyed pot smokers that have been portrayed to us over the years and see again the essence of what the movement was really all about. It was about caring for the environment. It was about helping your neighbor. It was about attaining world peace by attaining inner peace. It was about achieving social justice for all. It was about living simply and simply living.

That is the spirit we wish to celebrate at Modern Hippie Magazine. That is the revolution that is rolling our way once more.

We are constantly seeking creative answers to the questions that plague us. We are seeking a cleaner environment and healthier living in body, mind, and spirit. We are forging new paths apart from the antiquated methods which no longer serve the greater good. We are finding new opportunities to serve one another and build communities. We are realizing the potential to use new technologies to bridge gaps and to build a more solid foundation for the generations to come.

Forty years ago, this spirit seemed to die. We cannot let that happen again. Humankind has come too far to falter now. We, as a people, have developed revolutions based on agriculture, industry, and information. It is time for us now to come together and take part in the Revolution of Wisdom. Though we will surely find opponents to the good that we try to create, just as all revolutionaries have before us, there is a spirit in us that can never die and never be defeated. Let us hold dear to it, allow it to flow through us, and be created anew by it as it creates the world around us.

Welcome to the new Revolution.

For more information, go to http://www.modernhippiemag.com.

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We are what we think

We are what we think: Why the press fails us and how to fix it

* Michael Tobis
Posted 8:32 PM on 24 Jun 2009
by Michael Tobis

We are what we think. With our thoughts we create the world.—Buddha

OK, first, let me hasten to say that I find myself, as most any physical scientist would, irritated by the ancient quote above.

I expect a modern person to know, though the Buddha may or may not have known, that the logic of the physical universe is so intricate and so precise that mere human thoughts are grotesquely insufficient to create it, that some objective reality must exist.

What You Think About Determines What You Think

There is another sense, though, in which it is precisely true that we create the world with our thoughts. We live in a world both of artifice and of nature. Our environment shapes our minds and our minds shape our environment. What we are thinking about matters.

Consider the matter of Iran, for instance.

By now everybody’s talking about Iran, but early last week there was immense frustration directed at the major media in a small niche community, for ignoring the story entirely. That niche community was Twitter users.

It was an unusual week among Twitterphiles. We were experiencing the world much as one did when the Berlin Wall was coming down, with a sense that noble events of great and auspicious consequence were happening in the world, that one should at the least fervently wish for the success and safety of those of pure heart, and that little else could possibly have comparable relevance, not even climate change or health care or the economic, um, thing.

But if you were not the sort of person to use Twitter to get news, you might have barely registered that something was going on in Iran. You may have had a mild interest in the events but you are still a bit confused about who possibly stole what from whom, and what Twitter could possibly have to do with it.

This fact in itself is an interesting part of the story. Not only was Twitter an important player, your level of interest in Twitter was at one point a strong predictor of your level of interest in the outcome of the whole crisis in Iran!

Isn’t that strange?

Perhaps not. The ideas that fill our minds are the ideas we are exposed to every day. One reason we were upset was because we saw events of immense importance taking place, and a press that was treating it as a non-story. Recall the substantially similar events in the Republic of Georgia six years earlier. There was some news coverage, but it didn’t take over our consciousness, because none of us were watching media where the story was pervasive.

What we think about is determined by what we experience, and what we experience is determined by what we think about. As a result, we live side-by-side in different worlds.

Idea Clusters

Comparisons of how different groups, be they professional or ethnic, construe related ideas are usually revealing. Trouble and misunderstanding often arises when the habits of mind of different communities of interest are brought to bear on the same subject.

These ideological clusters emerge from habits of mind. The habits of mind emerge from language, and from the accessibility of concepts. Russians, who have no word for blue, but rather two separate words for light blue and for dark blue, apparently are quicker to distinguish light blue from dark blue objects than speakers of other languages. And then there is the infamous precision of Inuit with regard to snow and ice, which may or may not be apocryphal, but I suspect there is something to it. Have you ever listened to a conversation about snow among skiers?

It can be stunning how differently different subcultures address related ideas. Economists vs energy providers, reporters vs bloggers, cat lovers vs bird lovers, industrialists versus environmentalists, ecologists versus climate physicists, scientists vs politicians, journalists vs entertainers, engineers vs economists. The consequences of differing vocabularies and habits of thought are everywhere and are increasing as the world becomes more crowded, complex and interdependent.

Economists’ faith in eternal growth as opposed to the environmentalist’s fear of imminent doom is a case in point. It leads me and a few stalwart others to a synthesis position: an intent to find patterns of thought and action that avoid the doom associated with compulsive growth, and instead create a reasonable steady state economy. This is the idea cluster that I’m trying to participate in building.

An idea cluster (or maybe let’s call it a “meme complex”… ideas?) is much bigger than a meme. It is sometimes identical to an ideology, but it isn’t always that. It is a cultural predisposition to notice certain things and think about them in certain ways.

Where Idea Clusters Come From

To see where we’re going it often helps to consider where we’ve been.

In the past century, the century of mass media, it was the media that mostly provided the language, the Lego blocks, the molecules of thought for most people. Tiny little cultural clusters coalesced under the pressure of very powerful aggregators and distributors of information, not just through news but even through entertainment.

In America, the news media developed a set of scruples that reporting and commentary functions should be kept very distinct. The reporting people in particular were taught this as a bedrock ethical principle, and continue to defend it fiercely. A news medium is an economic entity, but its success depends on public trust, so the thinking went. Thus the reporter should be scrupulously “neutral”. Because the ownership wanted an outlet for its own ideas, the “editorial” sandbox was set up for them.

So the raw materials for thought, the mindsets, the idea clusters, become 1) the world of commerce, trade, profit, wealth, “free enterprise” to give it its triumphal name 2) the world of strife, controversy, secrets kept and secrets breached, objectives baldly stated and objectives obscured, speech honest and speech mendacious, in other words the gritty world of “muckraking”. Even the opposition to these ideas was framed in the same terms: “the workers control the means of production”, “power to the people” “el pueblo unido jamas sera vencido” etc.

For a long time, this model served well enough. When there is a local question, say a road bond or new convention center, the tension between fiscal conservatism and boosterism is very well suited for this constellation: there is a horse race of two ideas, both resonate with the values of the community, no special expertise is required to understand the issues, and eventually, one side or the other will win. (Then, if the project is approved it will be executed well, indifferently or badly, again stories which the traditional media are well suited to examine.)

In the past, even national questions were somewhat more disjoint than they are now. Everything wasn’t deeply enmeshed in everything else, specifically because the American landscape wasn’t very crowded. So for the most part, even national issues had a local, parochial flavor; a public dance of debate, a backstage drama of arm twisting and intrigue, and on the whole, an increasingly homogeneous national character that matched circumstances well enough.

Thus emerges our habitual mental model: “there are two sides to every story”. Everybody bends the
truth in their direction. The public interest is the sum of every individual’s self interest. Some people are especially influential because they control large institutions or large pots of money. Decisions are based on cultural affinities, alliances, and exchanges of political capital.

But the questions we face now are very different. Try to map this habit of mind onto questions of managing the earth as a tightly coupled and disrupted system and what do you get?

There’s an nerdy joke among scientists, that a mathematician who knows what to do when confronted with a burning building will set non-burning buildings alight, thereby reducing it to the previous problem. When there is only one side to a story, the press will manufacture another.

The press has a natural cultural affinity for politics, especially the brawling, sometimes cynical and always entertaining world of local and state politics. The vocabularies and intellectual maps of the press and the politicans are closely entwined. Propositions have winners and losers, advocates and opponents. Eventually they are either enacted or defeated. Is that how we have managed to find ourselves in a world with people who are willing to be called “anti-environmentalists”? With our “friends” at Climate Depot, whose response to existential uncertainty on a planetary scale is mockery with a side order of cherry-picking?

I think so. This “opposition” is partly political opportunism of course, and it’s partly entertainment for a certain sarcastic and defensive state of mind, but ultimately it is a creation of the media, which given an issue of importance goes off in search of an opposition. And so we have reached a pretty pass. We’ve managed to create a constituency which stands in opposition to the persistence of a viable planet.

We are thinking about our circumstances as if we were in opposition to each other, but it is in the interest of everyone on a ship at sea, be they communist or jihadist, butcher or vegan, that the ship not sink. Why are the words we use to think about our collective future so adversarial?

They didn’t start out that way. If the issues came from the deliberations of scientists and academics, the discussions would remain polite, truth-seeking and unpolarized.

The polarization may not originally come from the press, but it is maintained by their conceptual maps, idea clusters, meme complexes. Polarization is embedded in their model of human activity as economic activity, of politics as contention. As a result, the words and ideas and conceptual maps that the public draws upon date from the industrial revolution: workers against capitalists, rich against poor, centralization of decisions versus distributed decision making, nation vs nation, lifestyle vs, lifestyle, sect vs. sect. Of course these problems have not gone away; of course they only make our new problems that much harder.

But our new problems do not look like that. And what we need is a new cognitive map.

A Better Word for Doom?

All of this is by way of addressing one of my perennial questions, which Andy Revkin again raised recently in a Dot Earth column:

If the science pointing to a rising risk of dangerous human interference with climate is settled, the thinking goes, then why aren’t people and the world’s nations galvanized?

People are casting about for the right words to describe our moral and existential quandary, words that will galvanize “action”.

Revkin points out an article on Seed where several very appropriate people (myself oddly excluded, hrmph) take up the topic with varying degrees of success. I am most sympathetic to Ann Kinzig’s approach. She concludes “If we accept that language is never neutral, why not adopt the terms that resonate with a broader swath of the public?” And indeed, I think language is never neutral, despite the protestations of people inculcated in journalistic culture. But what language should we use?

In the Seed article, Matt Nisbet, whose article with Chris Mooney is often credited (somewhat to my personal irritation since I’ve been going on about this stuff for fifteen years) with starting the conversation about how these ideas are communicated, starts off on the right foot but then stumbles into a rather feeble pair of examples:

The point is not to “sell” the public on climate change, but rather to use research on framing to create communication contexts that move beyond polarization, promote discussion, generate partnerships and connections, and that accurately convey the objective urgency of the problem. If the public feels like they are being marketed to, it will only continue to fuel additional polarization and perceptual gridlock. In shifting the frame on climate change, the goals should not be to persuade, but rather to start conversations with the public that recognize, respect, and incorporate differences in knowledge, values, perspectives, and goals.

In one prominent example of re-framing the debate, strategists Ted Nordhaus and Michael Schellenberger have led the way by advocating that climate change should not be defined as a pollution problem that requires additional regulation but as an energy problem that provides an opportunity for growing the economy and creating jobs around clean technology. This reframing moves the debate beyond a narrow constituency of environmental advocates and opens the doors for a broader climate movement that includes labor, business leaders, and the investor class. The frame was a major emphasis by both presidential candidates in the past election, is emphasized in Al Gore’s “Repower America” television ads, and continues to be a dominant focus of the Obama administration.

A second framing strategy to move beyond perceptual gridlock is offered by scientists such as E. O. Wilson and Evangelical leaders such as Richard Cizik who frame environmental stewardship in terms of morality and ethics, engaging an Evangelical audience who might not otherwise pay attention to appeals on climate change. This frame is more than just a talking point or a rebranding of the issue: When scientists and religious leaders join together around shared values to work on a common problem, it builds bonds of trust that enables long-term collaboration and that breaks down prejudices.

Sorry, a shallow appeal to the fading paradigm of personal greed as one example, and a scolding from an evangelist on the other? Out of the frying pan and into two fires? What sort of help is that? Does that help you? It doesn’t help me, and it apparently doesn’t help Revkin who ends on a note of futility:

So what’s your view? Is the climate challenge one of communication style, of inadequate energy choices, of the hard-wired aspects of human nature?

My sense is there’s a big dose of the latter in this arena. Humans remain mainly focused on the here and now, and the worst outcomes in a warming world remain someday or somewhere. There’s still scant evidence we’re able to invest against inevitable shocks even when the danger is clear and local …

Stop the Presses!

Stop the presses, Andy. You missed the point. Of course you missed the point, or pretended to, because the problem is you.

No, not you, Revkin, personally. Revkin, (despite my constant harping about you) you are among the best of a bad lot, trying to bring a journalistic sensibility to a set of problems that do not map onto the intellectual style of the journalist. The point is that that style is serving us badly.

If f the science pointing to a rising risk of dangerous human interference with climate is settled, then why isn’t the press galvanized? Why do the stories run on page 13?

What we need is not a noun phrase, a new name for doom. The qeustion of “global this” or “climate that” is not going to help. We need a noun phrase embedded in a new way of thinking, an
approach to planetary maturity on a suddenly depleted world. You can call it Mrs. Renfro’s Corn Relish for all I care; it’s the context that matters.

The Sustainability Mindset

Sustainability on a crowded and finite world is a fundamental challenge to every culture and ideology that ever emerged on the growing and open world. Humans are vastly adaptable, but the cultural matrices in which we find ourselves are not. The buildings of Rome are mostly not new, but they are much newer than the routes that the streets take through them. The main street through Bastrop TX carries little sign of the Spanish empire but is still called El Camino Real.

Most of us don’t have a sustainability mindset.

Those few that think they do, mostly don’t. The green movement have a Luddite view, a romantic view perhaps workable on a planet with a tenth of its present population. They are, I think, good people with much to teach us, but they aren’t really facing up to the scale of the problem any more than most other people are, and their culture is actively suspicious of quantitative thinking. So much as I love greenies, as much as I hope the agrarian ideal eventually pans out, this isn’t the time for it. We have big, collective problems to solve and we need a big, collective way of thinking about it. And not even a Woody Guthrie-esque “one big union” is big enough. Big government, big business, these are part of the solution.

The press isn’t giving us the vocabulary to think about our circumstances.

Where the media are bored by a topic, the public is implicitly informed that the topic is unimportant. My experience of understanding that events unfolding in Iran were important before the press caught on was sadly familiar to me.

Just as early last week, when non-Twitterphiles were not thinking about Iran, most people aren’t thinking about a way out of our quandary. People may think there is no quandary, or they may think there is no way out, or they may think that some other “They” have everything under control. What they don’t think about is which approaches they would tolerate, what the menu of scenarios, getting uglier by the month, looks like. There’s little awareness of the nature of the choices we face, and hence little support for people in the position to make the decisions/

The media are, in fact, bored. Sustainability, for the most part, doesn’t map onto what excites them. Read my lips Andy Revkin.

There is no proper word for doom when that word only appears on page thirteen.

Even running the same old stuff on page 1 won’t do. The entire way we organize ourselves, not just our cultures and our subcultures, but everybody else’s too, have to change in ways that lack any precedent. And they will change, too. There is no maybe about that. The only maybe is how much suffering we will have to endure before our thoughts adequately conform, to the world we actually end up with. All of which depends, as Buddha says, on our thoughts.

Exhortation

I only know what to do in the broadest sense. We need to start thinking about the things we need to think about. All of us, not just a few wonks and nerds.

The new nominee to be head of research and development at EPA, Dr. Paul Anastas, puts it this way: “It’s not enough to simply care about the environment, you need to learn about the environment and understand it deeply.” I think this is precisely what I am saying. We need to develop a vocabulary of understanding; habits of mind that are planetary in scale and scope. We need to think globally.

We don’t need a friendlier name for doom. We need a 24 hour doom channel. God knows it’s not boring once you actually get the picture.

It’s the future. The press, or whatever replaces it, needs to read more like science fiction. Let’s talk about scenarios, about what problems nature will present us with, and about coalitions, how we will address them. Let’s talk about social organizing tools. Let’s look backward from 2400 AD and describe how we overcame the nation-state, the porliferation of mutually hostile religions and ideologies, and the ethic of greed. Let’s think about how to extract unity from hostility and fear. Let’s try to understand why surplus feels like poverty.

Let’s not wait for “Them” to rescue us. There is only us. And whatever ends up serving the purposes of the “front page”, let’s put the “stuff that matters” on it, and not just “what’s fit to print”.

——-

(This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Republication in whole with attribution to “Michael Tobis, Austin TX” is encouraged.)

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