Category Archives: 1 Perspective

What in the world …?

Change is not new to the modern era.  Shocks have become commonplace.  The threat of war is dulled.  The nuclear threat is muted.

We all like stability.  And we go about our daily lives in as normal a way as possible.  We might even ignore worsening crises, as does the proverbial frog in boiling water.

So, even though a sense of foreboding crept over me at the beginning of the year, even though my conscience prodded me to speak up, I just kept quiet. While I’ve known system change is coming for a couple of decades, timing has been impossible to predict in the short term, though it is clearly coming in the next decades.  But in January I started to feel that humanity is now in the end-game: either we grow-up or we regress.

My perspective is unusual. A diverse lifestyle allows me to tune in to global events and humanity’s behaviour, while being rooted in the soil and growing food. This gives a unique, big picture perspective on the patterns in nature, the cosmic rhythm as I call it, which is naturally obscured to the casual observer. The big picture view is far removed from our daily lives but how the world works and the choices we make every day are connected and increasingly so.

Rising concerns that change is accelerating rapidly started with a rather discombobulated event in early December, A Vision of the Future, which proved productive and concluded that change is coming fast and planning for it is not possible, but being prepared is.  This has influenced our strategic perspective since.

Then, in January as we recovered from the holiday season, we heard of the murder of an Iranian general at Baghdad airport by US President Trump.  It seemed surreal.  That sense of mesmerised concern continued as Trump and Netanyahu announced a “peace plan” for the Middle East which proposed taking more liberty from non-Jewish people.

Then the impeachment trial was a farce.

Meanwhile thousands continue to suffer and die because of war, starvation or simply murder by incumbent regimes …

Soon, the flu flew in to the news.  It was bad from the beginning.  How could you tell?  Because China locked down a city of 11 million people, Wuhan, overnight. And then built a full service hospital in a week.  The real lesson was that there is no way anyone can match China for mobilisation of people and resources.  Too much complacency and distraction spread by greedy millionaires and politicians has got in the way of a common vision for collaboration.  And that’s beginning to show as covid-19 runs around the world because symptoms are not displayed for two weeks after contracting the virus so you can have it and seem fine and travel around … Every major airport is probably full of it …

But it’s not the flu that’s going to get us.  That’s just a symptom of our disease.

Humanity is suffering from a terminal disease.  Decadence.

Our society is over-ripe and beginning to decay.  There are many looking for rejuvenation and many who are showing the possibilities.  But the voices for status quo are loud, louder than they have been for a long time.  It is a crescendo.  Even as the wave of democratic socialism rises to show how people can live together without killing, without suffering, with each other, with nature.  But that wave of enlightened change might yet break upon the rocks of intransigent capitalism so that we regress again to wilder ways. 

Even the terms “social democracy” and “capitalism” belie the phenomenon: One is looking for a democratic social organisation of communities, the other a community ordered by who owns the capital. 

As a graduate of Wharton and IMD, two pre-eminent business education institutions, it is embarrassing to be so unaware of the reality of what we capitalists do.  Capitalists are merely the progeny of slavery and feudalism – slightly less obvious, but still only caring about the control of stuff and people.  There is no room for humanity in that model. 

There might be room for transhumanism in the capitalist system. We are rushing to implement artificial intelligence, robotics and global data as integrated super-androids, cyborgs etc.  But that trajectory must soon exclude the human element.  The attachment of mechanical and silicone appendages to the brain can only limit the potential of consciousness to emerge, just as the illusion of scarcity is used to limit our values to base instincts of greed and fear.  And, just in case ethics is of interest to you, it is questionable that conciousness and with it morality can exist in a silicon system (as opposed to a carbon based organism).

To see the dynamic at play demands a big picture perspective .  Luckily we have the big picture model in ourselves.  Those who have read a bit of psychology might have come across Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs.  That is a model showing a natural progression of values from survival needs to safety needs to security needs to transformational needs to community needs.  There are numerous other models reflecting the same dynamic and, as you can see, slavery, feudalism, capitalism, socialism, fit the pattern too. 

However, it is NOT INEVITABLE that humanity will progress before it regresses.  That kind of thinking is human-centric, which is not how the universe works.  The universe follows natural law which is reflected in all of existence and does not put humans (let alone men!) at the centre, pinnacle or focus.  Rather, in order to progress we must choose to behave differently.

That is the great battle that now wages around the world as people look for answers to personal, yet universal, questions.  Like “Why can’t I make a living?” “Why can’t we get on?” “Why are they taking stuff I don’t have?” …

So what will happen?

Perhaps nothing much this year, though maybe.  And if not this year, soon.  Time has run out.  It’s not about climate change.  It’s not about politics.  It’s not about economics.  It’s not about religion. It’s about energy.

It’s about the energy we share when we love or hate, but right now, it’s about the energy we demand to fuel our decadence. That energy is the currency of the biosphere, the currency of life, and we’ve raped it for 300 years. The oil addiction must end.

Do you think oil will run out?

(It will.)

When?

Most people say between 10 and 50 years, some saying system breakdown will occur first.  50 years is the oil industry’s estimate. I think that’s a self-serving over-estimate: “Peak-oil” is not mentioned because it’s passed and “climate breakdown” takes the headlines instead to distract us. Oil-heads know the tank is empty.

Any way if there’s zero oil in 50 years, we’ll feel the pinch long before.

There is evidence to suggest it will run out much sooner (including analysis from inside the oil industry).  You can make your own guess and do your own “what if?”.  20 years is my horizon.  And we’re feeling the pressure now, even if there appears to be an oil inventory glut … When it comes the stresses will be extraordinary because most of our conveniences depend upon oil, like the washers in your household plumbing and car to the screens of your phone and TV.  There’ll be no more plane delivered fresh beans from Africa or South America.  Life will resort to the old ways, unless we’ve restructured systems, which seems a long way off …

Even 20 years is far off.  What about now?

The battle will continue as the titans of capitalism resist the need to open systems, collaborate and care for nature.  They have the resources.  They have the evidence of current practice.  They have the power of vested interests. They have the strength of ignorance and selfishness. And it is always the altruistic who are martyred first, often for no good end.  For most of us, we choose sides: to continue in the same divisive ways, follow the “success” stories, do what we’re told; or to change. 

Change means looking for answers, informing oneself, collaborating and nurturing altruism.  The downside of change is finding answers (which are increasingly available) and implementing them (increasingly easy to do) which demand that you let go of what you’ve been told in order to recognise the truth that you feel in yourself.  The upside is remembering what life is about and finding there’s a chance of living again. So, take a breath, think about your challenges and let your consciousness find your flow.

Impeachment 3.0

…part of the problem is that we think its about the election.
It’s not.
It’s simple. He betrayed a US citizen. He connived with the head of state of a foreign country against a US citizen. Could’ve been anyone. Could be you, one day, Mitch. No, it’s not good. I don’t want to be in that gang, whoever they are whatever they stand for. Lethal.

Of course Mitch knows his gang’s days are numbered. And that’s why he’s twisting it for all it’s worth. He’s old. Maybe he’ll last a decade or so. But that’s the maximum widow in which system breakdown will result in chaos.

America is only one example of where system transition is burgeoning to break out.

People like Mitch choose how it happens. He’s chosen the volatile path.
People put up with the boot on their neck up to a point. And the inmates outnumber the wardens, Mitch.

So if you want to do the right thing the right way, point out that The Impeachment Story is not about politics, not about the upcoming Presidential election.

No. It’s not about that.

It’s simple. He betrayed a US citizen. He connived with the head of state of a foreign country against a US citizen. Could’ve been anyone. Could be you, one day, Mitch. No, it’s not good. I don’t want to be in that gang, whoever they are whatever they stand for. Lethal.

And there are loads of people like that around the world dividing one against another. They are lethal. And they are dividing us all with violent rhetoric.

Shame really.

We could choose another path. But we haven’t so far. And the signs have been thick and strong since 4 April 1968.

Time for you to change course, dear reader? Even if the system hasn’t, yet.

Impeachment – There is a problem.

There is a problem.

Trump did nothing wrong.

That’s how Mitch and friends see it.

Put yourself in their shoes and you can see with their eyes.

They all would have done the same. They would have protected their interests. Why look after other people instead of yourself, after all?

The people supporting Trump believe that people, their people, agree with them.

They are right.

Everyone who supports Trump would have done the same thing.
They would have demanded a favour (blacken the name of their enemy – Biden) when they offered charity to a stranger (aid to Ukraine).

Now, think about what’s going to happen?

Continue reading Impeachment – There is a problem.

Unplanned and Unexpected – A Vision of the Future

Life’s journey has no beginning or end yet events, like seasons and birthdays, mark its progress. So, in anticipation of astraea turning 20, and to say “thank you” to all the people who had helped us along the way, we thought about having an exposition of our work and a party.

Many people around the world have helped and supported us, so, while we would gather here at Ballin Temple, we wanted to share with everyone who couldn’t come. We planned to broadcast the event on the web.

We planned to share a broad, experiential perspective on our adventure over the past two decades. We’d give a walk around the vegetable plots, tool shed and so on offering little demos such as digging, harvesting, chainsawing, splitting logs and so on. Then we’d have a chat in The Tent on big picture perspectives like holonics, metaphysical dynamics, money, nature, consciousness and more. Followed by “tea” and chat (to include drinks, snacks and music).

Continue reading Unplanned and Unexpected – A Vision of the Future

Marching past paradise

The following piece comes from Media Lens. It combines the magic of legends with the reality of today. Perhaps it will help you look up from the rush to decadence and notice the paradise you can enjoy. To get a glimpse of paradise visit Ballin Temple where the air is fresh, the water clean and the people lend a hand …

This is most of David Edwards’ Cogitation: Imperial Ambition – Expanding Selves, Shrinking Planet. Enjoy!

Meeting With A Mystic Madman

The great emperor Bahramshah, the Sultan of Ghazna, was moving with his army to conquer India; at his side, Hakim Sanai, the renowned court poet. The army was in a hurry, as armies always are – the time was right, but short, for conquest.

And yet, at some strange moment, riding past a great walled garden, or ‘firdaus’ (the origin of the word ‘paradise’), something happened: the Sultan stopped. It was impossible to do otherwise. The Indian mystic and master story-teller Osho takes up the tale:

‘The sound of singing coming from the garden caught the Sultan’s attention. He was a lover of music, but he had never heard something like this. He had great musicians in his court and great singers and dancers, but nothing to be compared with this. The sound of singing and the music and the dance – he had only heard it from outside, but he had to order the army to stop.

‘It was so ecstatic. The very sound of the dance and the music and the singing was psychedelic, as if wine was pouring into him: the Sultan became drunk. The phenomenon appeared not to be of this world. Something of the beyond was certainly in it: something of the sky trying to reach the earth, something from the unknown trying to commune with the known. He had to stop to listen to it.’ (‘Unio Mystica, Volume 1, Discourses on the Sufi Mystic, Hakim Sanai,’ talks given from 01/11/78 to 10/11/78)

We can imagine the scene: the enchanted emperor, his impatient army stretching back as far as the eye can see. Throughout history, it has always been the same story – huge effort expended on a cause that, at the time, seemed so vital, so just, worth any cost.

Continue reading Marching past paradise

Speaking Truth To Power

Be aware.

In a couple of minutes you can hear what is wrong and how we can change to save ourselves from our most primitive instincts, like fear and greed.

“The real power belongs to the people.”

Transcript:

“My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 15 years old. I am from Sweden. I speak on behalf of Climate Justice Now. Many people say that Sweden is just a small country and it doesn’t matter what we do. But I’ve learned you are never too small to make a difference. And if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to.

But to do that, we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake. You are not mature enough to tell it like is. Even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few.

Continue reading Speaking Truth To Power

We’re just not smart enough.

Let’s take our leader, Donald J.

He grabs pussy. We allow it.

Let’s take another leader, …

OK there are a couple who are thinking. Ahern. Merkel.

But too many megalomaniacs.

And we allow it.

When did we stop thinking?

When did we stop caring?

When did we give up?

It’s not about them. It’s about all of us. It’s about who we are, who we might be, who we might have been? That sounds final.

Is there time to change?

Maybe it’s just that we’re not being who we want to be. Maybe we could be who we want to be. More than who we are.

Change while we can. Change while you can.

Take a breath, and take a step in the right direction.

We are smart enough. We need to think.

Let’s all babble!

In their article Babel is better The Economist encourages education in a person’s mother tongue, rather than English, and they are right to do so. It would have been helpful to explain why from a neurological and personal development point of view, rather than simply rationalise that it is difficult to find teachers that speak English, so here we go.

Thanks to Noam Chomsky we understand language in a deeper, relevant way. Chomsky revealed the critical importance to personal development of each individual’s language. Sadly, over 50 years since the science of linguistics impacted fields of neuroscience and psychology as well as its own field, it remains largely ignored

Language is for thinking. Sometimes it is used for communication.

The faculty for language is distinctive in humans because it demonstrates higher consciousness by unique characteristics, namely meta-cognition and understanding of higher numbers and the idea of “infinity”. The nature of language development in humans is consistent across all humans and differences in form are a function of the environment in which people find themselves. Linguistics would say we all use the same language, just different dialects. Some dialects are close, like “Tom” and “Pam”, others not so, like “English” and “!Kung”.

Each person develops their own language – no two people speak the same language, though they might be close enough to understand one another. I speak “Tom” she speaks “Pam”, yet we understand each other (sometimes!!).

“English”, “French” or “Chinese” are agreed codes to facilitate communication, but they are not representative of nations, for example Gaelic is not Irish or Scottish it is of a Gaelic people. The woman from London’s East End might be unable to communicate with the woman from Healaugh, Yorkshire simply because their dialects are so different, though they speak “English”.

The development of language in each person reveals innate creativity, problem solving abilities and the preference for collaboration. When children are told how to speak these innate, human abilities are suppressed creating a sense of frustration and anger and diminishing each person’s personal development.

As you rightly point out, we should learn language from our mother, not a text book and certainly not from a foreign textbook. If we are to learn other languages, the best way is by immersion, not instruction, during primary school years, as demonstrated by bilinguals. (If immersion occurs in these years there is a good chance different languages will even be acquired without incongruous accents.) The teaching of English, French and Chinese should be addressed just like Science, Maths and Geography – a tool selected by choice.

It is long past due time to change the mistaken views of educational institutions.

Let’s all babble.

What makes the “God Letter” important.

Written in 1954, when Einstein was 74, the one-and-a-half page response to German philosopher Eric Gutkind was sold at auction for  … Three Million Dollars!  Give or take.

Is $3 million a big number?

It seems so to me, but then, crazy people …

It certainly drew attention, which is good because of what’s behind it.  A clever, thoughtful mind, in collaboration with others.

My attention was drawn by Albert Einstein writing about god!

Einstein was a scientist.  The scientist.

Talking about religion.  In a deeply spiritual way.

If you are a bit like me: a scientist (small “s”, ie asks questions) who is religious about some things (including “antitheism” for a while), the”God letter” would intrigue you.

It is seen as a key statement in the debate between science and religion.  In the letter, written in his native German, Einstein summarises his views:

“The word God is for me nothing but the expression and product of human weaknesses.”

“The Bible a collection of venerable but still rather primitive legends.”

“No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can [for me] change anything about this.”

The physicist also muses on his own Jewish identity, writing that it is “like all other religions, an incarnation of primitive superstition”.

“The Jewish people to whom I gladly belong, and in whose mentality I feel profoundly anchored, still for me does not have any different kind of dignity from all other peoples.”

Skipping to the end, the newsflash read:

In 2017, a note in which he gave advice on happy living sold for $1.56m in Jerusalem.  A single sentence, it reads:

“A calm and humble life will bring more happiness than the pursuit of success and the constant restlessness that comes with it.”

Fascinated that this “laboratory based” character, this “mad professor” would express such complex spiritual understanding, a quick hop over to Wikipedia was in order to find out more about his perspective, which appears sensible and sound:

Einstein distinguished three human impulses which develop religious belief: fear, social or moral concerns, and a cosmic religious feeling. A primitive understanding of causality causes fear, and the fearful invent supernatural beings analogous to themselves. The desire for love and support create a social and moral need for a supreme being; both these styles have an anthropomorphic concept of God. The third style, which Einstein deemed most mature, originates in a deep sense of awe and mystery. He said, the individual feels “the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves in nature … and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole.” Einstein saw science as an antagonist of the first two styles of religious belief, but as a partner in the third.[34] He maintained, “even though the realms of religion and science in themselves are clearly marked off from each other” there are “strong reciprocal relationships and dependencies” as aspirations for truth derive from the religious sphere.

In Einstein’s view, “the doctrine of a personal God interfering with natural events could never be refuted, in the real sense, by science,” for religion can always take refuge in areas that science can not yet explain. It was Einstein’s belief that in the “struggle for the ethical good, teachers of religion must have the stature to give up the doctrine of a personal God, that is, give up that source of fear and hope” and cultivate the “Good, the True, and the Beautiful in humanity itself.”

In 1936 Einstein received a letter from a young girl in the sixth grade. She had asked him, with the encouragement of her teacher, if scientists pray. Einstein replied:

“Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of nature, and therefore this holds for the actions of people. For this reason, a research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by a prayer, i.e. by a wish addressed to a supernatural being. However, it must be admitted that our actual knowledge of these laws is only imperfect and fragmentary, so that, actually, the belief in the existence of basic all-embracing laws in nature also rests on a sort of faith. All the same this faith has been largely justified so far by the success of scientific research. But, on the other hand, everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe—a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.”

The following was written a few years before the “god letter”.

“The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mystical. It is the power of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms—this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the rank of devoutly religious men.”[33] In December 1952, he commented on what inspires his religiosity, “My feeling is religious insofar as I am imbued with the insufficiency of the human mind to understand more deeply the harmony of the universe which we try to formulate as ‘laws of nature.'”[41] In a letter to Maurice Solovine Einstein spoke about his reasons for using the word “religious” to describe his spiritual feelings, “I can understand your aversion to the use of the term ‘religion’ to describe an emotional and psychological attitude which shows itself most clearly in Spinoza. (But) I have not found a better expression than ‘religious’ for the trust in the rational nature of reality that is, at least to a certain extent, accessible to human reason.”

We people have consumed nature over the past 60 years using his, and others’ insights in to “technology”.  The nuclear age and sixth mass extinction began in 1945.  We have nuclear power and weapons, cars and guns, drugs and drugs, and food and houses and people and fewer other species and climate breakdown …

Sadly we paid less attention to the enlightened perspectives on the meta-physical and on liberating human potential which have been smothered as we clamour for more, … more stuff.

Happy christmas.

Three million dollars …

 

… breathe … think … flow….