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Archive for the ‘spirituality’ Category

As much as I feel riled up by atheists for instance denouncing the abuses and manipulation of religion, and liberals ripping on the repressive conservative right, at the end of the day, I sadly realize, we are all one single species rid with hopeless fragmentation. As offended as I may be when compared to the Bill O’Reilly’s of the world, a deeper side of me argues I am not that different from him who I have always been considered a despicable individual representing a lot of what I think is evil in society. The fact of the matter is that demonizing no longer brings any value to me. After a short moment of identifying or honoring truth and justice, I immediately feel a sad vacuum in my soul. A vacuum I am learning to fill in with compassion. Not an easy task to perform, May I add. In my last years of sustainability study and reflection about the nature of this planet and its human inhabitants, I have solidified my belief that we are destined to raise our consciousness sharing the pain and suffering of the global crises that will sweep us in this us planet leaving us no place to escape to. We will be stuck with one another being forced to survive together and cooperate. This is going to feel like a sinking boat where we will all have to lean on each other’s efforts if want to tell the tale. It is a well-known fact the planet is shrinking for all of us, and that the consequences of our actions, and I would dare to say even our thoughts have an unavoidable impact on everyone and everything else. In this quickly shrinking planet where we are increasingly forced to co-exist in harmony with our approaching neighbors, human and non-human, we cannot afford to feel, think or act in isolation. Even our emotional state has become a responsibility to our living environment. More than ever before we have the right and the duty to cherish LIFE, starting with our own and continuing with every life form in this rare cosmic jewel called Earth. I find Ken Wilber’s philosophy somewhat persuasive and aligned with my view of reality and human beings. Grounded in objective historical study of human behavior, he conveys a message of hope in the face of the overwhelmingly complex, interconnected and challenging reality.

The time of culture wars has become obsolete and significantly dangerous. Although I will never buy into the inherent hypocrisy of political correctness or religious self-righteousness, I am awake enough to realize we are just one single humanity which at the end of the day is completely dependent on itself and the natural system that keeps it alive. We are altering the living conditions of this biosphere so quickly that we do not even have the time to argue or keep us apart based on our cultural or ideological differences. Our petty human dramas and cultural issues become dwarfed by the need to cooperate and assist one another in the face of the upcoming planetary disruptions, which we have already started to experience. The times of ego-centrism, ethno-centrism and other excessive individualism are essentially over. Survival and thriving will depend on our willingness and ability to serve the planet.

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If you are excited about sustainability and global justice let me commend you. The planet needs you. But before you rush into saying or doing anything in name of sustainability I would check my consciousness score if I were you. There are many means to check that score. This article by Ervin Laszlo has a 14 point check list that may just do the job. Enjoy.

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Before you read the lyrics to the song below please know it is not intended to be a neo-ludite manifesto. The song in this post is not written to persuade folks the only way to reach sustainability and save the planet is to go back to pre-industrial times thus giving up on technology and progress.

The need to take a hard look at the risks and consequences of our existence on Earth and the even greater need to understand what it will take to inhabit this planet sustainably is not in conflict with honoring our inescapable technological and overall creative nature.

I agree with the common view that human progress based on science and technology cannot be stopped unless our species perishes. And I believe our ability to investigate and even shape the world is one of our greatest strengths. However this virtue needs to be checked by a higher human strength which is our values, also known as human consciousness.

Our capacity to shape the environment at the planetary scale brings an equal planetary sense of responsibility. We have been lured by our technological might and in that episode we have made a serious mistake. We have forgotten the responsibility and the respect we used to have for the land. We forgot how to interact with the environment in a harmonious non-disruptive manner. And now we must realize we have created a situation that is destabilizing our life sustaining system with the potential of irreversible consequences for the whole planet.

Let’s get completely out of our comfort zones; let’s stop pretending we are greening the world when quite often we are pursuing our own selfish profit driven but green marketed agendas; let’s for once stop putting our interests before anyone or anything else on Earth; let’s honor truth and justice by taking responsibility of the situation we have created; and let’s use our creative passion to transform our socio-technical environment into a truly sustainable one.

This will not be possible until we can correct our perception of reality and our relationship with Nature. Until then I will sing this song.

The howl of the wolf is the soundtrack of wilderness
And wilderness, the ferment of the soul
Primal humans knew what modern humanity has forgotten,
that life is balance
The world endlessly consuming itself
and joyously making love to itself through its constituent parts
Every species equal, with an inherent, intrinsic value
sacred worth, sacred worth
Civilization is a mere 16,000 year imbalance
after the shared adventure of three and a half billion years of ecstatic evolution
Now called Deep Ecology,
this sacred worldview was the life and practice of all primitive peoples
and it will be the worldview once again of any peoples to survive the Earth’s cataclysmic cleansing

– Lone-Wolf Circles and Friends (Oikos – Songs for the Living Earth)

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I set my priorities and direct my life driven by one single but critical motive. I ask myself how I want to feel when I reach my old age.

I take myself to that moment and imagine how self-satisfied I would like to feel; what kind of legacy I would have like to have left; what positive impact in the world I will have want to give myself credit for.

When I get to my old age I will have realized how every second of my life will have been precious and unworthy of being wasted; how much time I should have spent serving the planet making full use of my creativity, skills and talents fueled by my passion for truth, justice and ultimately preserving and restoring life.

When I grow old I do not want to have regrets for the time I may have wasted indulging in consumption, materialism and other modern distractions. I do not even want to feel like I spent too much time and personal resources in what has been called the human drama, the material of soap operas and one of the greatest human addictions.

When I grow old I definitely want to have the only two valuables that nothing or nobody can take away from us, our experiences and our legacy.

Despite the argument that we must live in the present I find I need to allow myself to visit the future, at least briefly, so that I can set my life compass that will guide me to the future while grounding me in the present. I cannot avoid addressing the consequences of my feelings and actions to steer my present towards the future I dream of. One of inner peace and satisfaction with myself.

With great humility I am thrilled when I contemplate what would happen if everyone made a least effort to transport themselves to the future and imagine and how they would feel about  the value and consequences of their actions across time and in space. Such personal effort would take us to new unprecedented heights of responsibility, integrity, and ultimately consciousness. Imagine what could happen if many of us took such an approach. The effect of those modest single efforts would accumulate and  grow exponentially knocking down so many of the barriers that keep us in the status quo, most of them created by our current fear, comfort and complacency. I am excited about the possibilities.

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DSC00789We would not damage the environment if we realized it is a part of us in the same way we will avoid hurting our hands as they are part of us.  Humans need to expand their identity beyond the levels of individual, social group, and even species. The day we learn we are one with the rest of the Biosphere and learn anything else alive is after all a cousin, we will reconnect with Nature.

What barriers do we need to remove at the psyche’s level to understand the fact that we are still an element of the Natural Ecosystem? One of the most erroneous and deeply held believes is our socio-technical environment being separated and autonomous from the natural world. Despite the comfort, convenience and resources our manmade environments may offer, they all result from our life-sustaining system, Nature.

If we saw the myriad of interactions between our man-made environment and the natural environment such as the air we all breathe and the food we eat, we would realize the notion of separation is nothing but an illusion. But our Western cultural heritage makes us believe we are isolated egos fighting and surviving a world outside of us. Such notion is not just unhealthy but false. We are connected by blood, ethnicity, faith, ideology and other cultural bonds. Those who were at the Occupy movement protests in New York this year experienced something that cannot be reduced to a mere collection of individuals but far more than that: a collective psyche emerging from the interaction of the crowd and its protesting leaders.

Unfortunately despite how popular protests are in the environmental movement, they are still a long way from enabling humans to reconnect with Nature. The fact is that the same connecting factors that connect us in groups are ironically the very same ones that create the fragmentation that separate us from other human beings that belong to opposing groups. We make the old emotional and intellectual error illustrated by the expression ‘you are either with us or against us’. But in Nature and by default, in the outside reality beyond the human drama, it seldom is ‘either or’. Most times it is ‘both’ and ‘many’. Reality is a highly complex, multi-dimensional and interdependent living system where each one of us has something to share and build with every other human and non-human being.

Disciplines such as deep ecology and eco-psychology use the facts above as premises for their work raising (environmental) consciousness.

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I can better understand now people how so much of the public can persuaded by political and corporate powers to deny the global environmental crisis and even be turned against the green movement.

You need not bribed scientists to make fake or unfounded scientific claims denying climate change, discrediting the benefits of clean-tech or promoting the cleanliness of carbon, just like the ‘scientists’ that were paid to promote tobacco as a healthy product.

The mere fragmentation and inefficiency of market driven sustainability and overall green washing we have reached today can alone turn the average citizen you into a skeptic. The Powers that Be take advantage of such deceptions no different than other powers take advantage of social inequality, oppression and exploitation to radicalize people and turn them against the West.

As objective as science and material progress has tried to be, we know no human activity, including science and business are not value neutral. Just like politics they both have had vested interests. Science cannot happen without a budget and quite often that budget has not come from the highest moral standards.

The collateral damage of material progress and the rate at which our current global economic system and our socio-technical infrastructure is devouring the environment makes it extremely urgent to re-infuse much of the science and many of the institutions who have sustainability in their mission statement with old fashioned core human values, the very same values that are at the essence of ecological thinking and sustainability: true respect and responsibility for all life.

The ancient and rediscovered discipline of DEEP ECOLOGY analyzes and promotes such values, which in turn generate a far more accurate, value-based and scientific perception of reality as well as extraordinary behavioral changes consistent with such values and perceptions.

A good introduction to the subject is this enlightening interview with Professor Michael Zimmerman who describes Deep Ecology in the context of the industrial paradigm I believe we are still lingering to as a civilization despite the urgency to shift to true sustainability.

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Have shallow ecology, the fragmentation and inefficiency of market driven sustainability and overall green washing turn you into an skeptic?

I do not blame you. You can however survive such skepticism: going to the essence and the origin of sustainability: DEEP ECOLOGY. I will be writing more on this subject on my next blogs.

The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17

Titled ‘Blue Marble’ the photograph above taken from Apollo 17 was one the first shots capturing the whole planet from space. These powerful pictures helped coalesce the modern environmental movement as it conveyed the fragility of Planet Earth. Today ‘Blue Marble’ is one of the symbols of Deep Ecology.

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