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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Something to Talk About 

A lot of people are thinking and talking about what seems to be the need for an individual to step forward and in effect save us from ourselves. "Who will it be?"

Will it be Al Gore, Russ Feingold, or Barbara Boxer? Will it be the Pope, or the Dalai Lama? Or will it be someone few people have heard of? "Whoever it is, I hope he or she hurries up."

Although I believe that most people are born with the potential to play the role themselves, I'm not unaware of the distance between the world as it is and the world as it should be. I'm afraid that in the world as it is - where one person is expected to play the role for everyone else - the sort of person capable of fulfilling such Herculean expectations is quite rare. Think for a moment about the kind of person it would take to successfully lead the world out of its current predicament; and think about the unprecedented levels of confidence and cooperation that he or she would have to inspire in order to accomplish the task. You certainly won't find that sort of person in the usual places, connected to the usual things.

In addition to the requirements of character - which many people can fulfill - the task requires a person with a clear, wise, large and lovely vision that appeals to the best in every person. The most important and perhaps most difficult requirement to fulfill asks for a person with enough confidence and courage to defy the conventions of power, and launch a popular movement based on that vision.

As I watch and write, it occurs to me that I may be the only person positioned to accomplish such an immense task. Perhaps I am the person that so many people are waiting for. If it is me, the suggestion is that nature has a fine sense of humor. I'm certainly willing and able to lead people through the passage that I've opened here, if that's what they want.

But first, someone will have to come to terms with what it means to be publicly associated with a person like me, and find a way to invite me into the public eye. Then, we'll see what happens. We'll do it together, one step at a time.

If you're worried that I'll end up dead, don't worry, because it's a risk I'm willing to take. Besides, nature is watching my back.

If you're worried that I won't be able to handle the pressure, you will be pleasantly surprised.

If you're worried that I want to be queen of the world, (or something along those lines,) I have to admit that the thought has crossed my mind. Don't worry though, the title I prefer is "mediator of the world," (and I prefer it in lowercase.) ;)

If you're worried that it's not possible, I must reluctantly ask you to trust me. All I have to offer you at this point in time is what you see here; I expect you to judge me accordingly.

So there you have it. If you're holding out for one person to save the day, here I am. Of course, scenarios involving more people would be much better, (and more equitable in terms of glory.) A lot of good things are possible, but let me tell you something that worries me. If it takes a person that has jumped out of their nature as far as I have, to show people this perspective, I truly fear for the world. Perhaps it does take someone like me to save the world. Stranger things have happened. Well, maybe not.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Rising Above Nature 

One of the most painful lessons is learning the value of a good thing the hard way: when it no longer exists. It's a lesson that almost everyone has to personally deal with at some point in life. It's intrinsic to the nature of human consciousness as a mechanism that forces us to reevaluate and reprioritize, and gives us the opportunity to become wiser people with better lives.

If you haven't already noticed, some people are instinctively attuned to the wisdom of values, while others are instinctively insensitive to it. Some people are better than others at internalizing objective wisdom. Of course, the way in which a person is raised can make all the difference in the world. Parents that are wise, loving and patient can tune even the most insensitive children. And lousy parents are capable of reducing even a perfectly tuned child to a jumble of cognitive dissonance.

The primary responsibility for raising children belongs to parents and families, but it doesn't - or at least it shouldn't - end there. As a family of families, a society is also responsible for raising its children. Wise, loving, patient parenting is made more difficult and becomes rare when a society raises an excess of lousy people, desensitized to the wisdom of values. When wisdom can no longer maintain a balance, a vicious cycle is ignited and the society begins to consume itself.

People don't set out to destroy their own civilizations, but somehow, civilizations always end up in ruins. Sometimes it's mother nature or one civilization destroying another. Dominant civilizations like the one I live in usually end up doing themselves in. We can look at the cold, hard facts of history through a Darwinian lens and conclude that the evolution of what we call civilization is simply a repeating pattern: creation then destruction leading to improved creation then destruction leading to improved creation then destruction leading to... I can accept that as reality but only to an extent. I can't accept the conclusion that it's a pattern that we're doomed to repeat until our future no longer exists.

The pattern ends in one of two ways: if it ends with creation it will mean that we have managed to retire the pattern, if it ends in destruction it will mean that the pattern has retired us.

We have reached a decisive moment in our history and in our evolution, and we have a choice to make. Collectively, we have earned enough objective wisdom to recognize that the human race is dominated by a brutal and primitive paradigm that concludes in cosmic Russian roulette. If we choose to keep pulling the trigger, we're as good as dead. Cheating doesn't count. When you're pointing a gun at your own head with the intention of pulling the trigger, it's pitiful and pointless to pretend that it's not really happening.

I can accept that it took nature millions of brutal years to turn an animal into a human being, but I can't accept the idea that 21st century human beings are still nature's helpless victims. If nature wanted to exterminate us, it could do so at any time, without hesitation. If we exterminate ourselves, it will be our fault. Human consciousness is mature enough to know where nature ends and human nature begins. We are not the pawns of nature, condemned to play the victims in a cosmic snuff show. Nature is alive, aware, able, and free to shape itself, through us, based on the choices we make. Nature is not against our survival, and it isn't in favor of it any more than we are. Accidents happen, worlds shake, asteroids collide, and stars explode. There are no guarantees. It's time for humanity to accept responsibility and control of its own destiny.

Learning the value of a good thing the hard way is something that an individual can afford to do over and over again. Civilizations don't have that luxury anymore. "Western" civilization is next in line anyway, dragging all of humanity with it. It has to stop, now.

We need to reevaluate, reprioritize, and become better people, without having to lose all of the good things we have - and are. That is wisdom, my friend, and too many people are sorely in need of it. When I talk about civilization reinventing itself, I want you to know that I don't envision a pie in the sky utopia devoid of competition. We need to work with what we have. Our rotting civilization has serious flaws, but it has an excellent framework. What would you like to make with it? That is the question.

By the way, I'm certain about the room's function now. It works like a lighthouse.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Room to Muse 

While searching for a clearer perspective, I found a small room carved several miles high into the enormous barrier that divides yesterday from tomorrow. The room appeared empty, except for an old, dusty chair. I wiped off the dust and sat down.

It's lonely here, and I'm often overwhelmed by what I see, but the view is spectacular. From here I can see time almost as well as space.

Sometimes I feel that I'm not particularly well suited to be here. So I remind myself that I'm here for a reason - no doubt it takes a special relationship with reality to find this place, and to make sufficient sense of it. And I remind myself that I'm worthy of it, even if just barely.

The room has a function, a long history, and it has its own rules. What you read and see here is as much a product of the room as it is of me - perhaps more, now.

I can't tell you exactly what the room's function is, because I'm not certain yet. But I can tell you about the potential that's stored in abundance here. There's more than enough of it to recreate the world from scratch. I want you to know that, so you'll know we're not helpless and hopeless.

The room's history is evident in the names engraved in the walls. Most of them are in languages that I can't read. Among the names I can read, there are only a few that I recognize. There's space for mine but I hesitate.

L.A.K. - February 9, 2006

As for the room's rules, there's really only one: no graffiti. Oops.

I'm allowed to make you smile, but I'm prohibited from taking advantage of you, or the room. For what it's worth, I want you to know that for me, being here is an honor and a sacred duty.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Hanging America by the Loopholes 

Any "realist" worth his or her salt will tell you that nations don't have morals, only interests. It is the prevailing philosophy of power, as it has been throughout most of human history.

As a humanist and idealist, I'll tell you that if you want justice and peace on Earth, this paradigm is precisely what you need to help change. Here it is again, by itself; take a good look at it:

Nations don't have morals, only interests.

The Bush administration is not an anomaly. It is the distilled expression of a predatory, historically discredited philosophy of power that has been infecting American culture for decades.

Corporations don't have morals, only interests. Naturally, as chief executive officer of the corporation-nation America, George W. Cheney doesn't have morals, only interests.

It's no surprise to find a "culture of corruption" in such a corruptible culture. As long as people allow exceptions to the rule, they will be ruled by those exceptions. Here we are, ruled by "interested," immoral people doing "whatever it takes" to maintain and extend their power. Judging by their words and deeds and using history as a guide, it's reasonable to conclude that this "empire" has peaked (perhaps prematurely), and predict that it's headed for the precipice that swallows corrupt civilizations.

That's not to say that the situation is hopeless and decent people are powerless. On the contrary, the words and deeds of decent people are the only things keeping the situation somewhat civilized. Without the words and deeds of good people, we are at the mercy of people that have no moral restraints. Our hope and power resides in the words and deeds of good people.

The "conservative" cabal's vision of America is corrupt, oppressive, pernicious, and unsustainable. It is an affront to humanity and it will fail. Mark my words. In order to survive the fall, this civilization will have to reinvent itself. In order to avoid the fall, this civilization will have to reinvent itself, in good faith, starting now.

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