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  • Haunted by the Future: Part 2

    Bison Skulls, circa 1870s, stock-piled for fertilizer

    I turned on the TV Saturday morning for a little while before going to work and found a program airing on Discovery about the American Indian. In it the image above was used as emphasis for the way the white man had treated the Native American. Once they had forced them into a small tract of land in the middle of the United States, far from their homes, they then proceeded to lay waste to their food supply in the form of the Bison, from which they not only fed themselves, but also clothed and used the skins as shelter.  A haunting image from our past. What is it within the white man, and I include myself in this, that needs to control that which is free, and to feel power over something through the ability to destroy it?

    On the Friday morning before going to work I managed to see a copy of the Christchurch Press and to see on the front page a banner telling of all the interesting news in the other sections. In the world section I was directed to an article on The Vanishing Face of Gaia by James Lovelock.

    According to the article the prognosis for humanity and its co-habitants isn’t that flash. And apparently we’re too late to avert the catastrophe. Not only do we have the future haunting us on a personal level, we also have it haunting us collectively.  And how is this haunting represented?

    • Climate change wiping out most of the life on earth by the end of this century.
    • Population may shrink from 7 billion to 1 billion.
    • Parts of the world turning into desert.
    • Sea levels rising.
    • Crop failure, drought, death.
    • Attempts to cut emissions of greehouse gases probably doomed to failure.
    • Destruction of natural ecosystems for farmland, deforestation, and the rapid growth of the human race is exacerbating the problem.

    Lovelock has a belief that recycling and the use of renewable energy sources (wind and solar power) are now a waste of time and he’s advocating the use of nuclear power. He’s also “struck by the public’s lack of urgency about the problem”. He says that “we have to stop pretending that there is any possible way of returning to that lush comfortable and beautiful Earth we left behind sometime in the 20th century”.

    For me while there are many green spaces in our cities we spend 90% of our time detached from the natural world. We live in contrived surroundings, eat mostly contrived food. We’re not living in a state of connectedness to nature.

    A few pages over in the newspaper was an article by Margot Roosevelt, the environmental journalist with the Los Angeles Times. She follows the story of Katey Walter, an aquatic ecologist and biogeochemist, as she studies the effects of Global warming in Alaska.

    Her studies have brought to light:

    • Warmer temperatures are relaeasing methane from beneath Arctic waters
    • Melting permafrost could accelerate pace of Global Climate Change
    • These releases of methane are a wild card that could lead to abrupt changes that may be irreversible.
    • Polar regions have warmed twice as fast as the rest of the globe.
    • Polar bears and Emperor penguins are threatened with extinction.

    Are we simply oblivious to this information that is becoming more insistent as the days pass? Are we apathetic? Or just pathetic?

    I return to the metaphor of movie making that I alluded to in the last post. The editing process and leaving scenes on the “cutting room floor” seems relevant. And life isn’t at all like that. We live life moment to moment. We can’t pick and choose the scenes we want to include in the movie of our life. We can create intentions and allow them to colour our experience of the moments we live within. Our story flows from one instant to the next and what we are able to choose is how to be within that instant. We can change how we experience them emotionally. We can change fear to love. We can choose to experience emotions that serve us, our sadness, our grief, our frustrations without feeling as though we have to put on a brave face. Or our joy and excitement more deeply without feeling as though we must restrain them.

    Many of the emails that come through my inbox from the so-called Internet Marketing Gurus focus on finding this passion, joy and excitement in life and that money can be made if we follow their advice and their processes. I’m finding these increasingly difficult to read and have taken to unsubscribing from most of them. The feeling I get is that while they may have the best of intentions in assisting people to become wealthy in the different aspects of their lives, PLANET EARTH isn’t considered as part of this equation. What sense will there be in having lots of money if we allow our home in the Solar System to become a desolate waste land. These IM Gurus seem to be perpetuating consumerism through their attention on money. I’ve witnessed the graphs produced regarding Climate Change, National Debt, and Oil production and supply. Each seems to describe a similar arc. A sharp rise before a fall.

    I’m reminded of watching aerobatics when I was a chef in the RNZAF. The plane would fly a similar arc to this until it eventually stalled and then dropped earthward. On its downward arc there was time to start the engine and have it operational again. Is this what is happening to us on a planetary scale? Are we reaching a Terrestial stall? How will we reorganize ourselves during that downward passage? Will the values that drove us to that tipping point be relevant as we are brought back to Earth. Are we able to reach that stall consciously or will we be ambushed by our seeming rampant unconscious or tunnelled vision behaviours?


  • Questions

    I’ve had a challenging week. I’ve been working and it has meant not attending to my blog. I’ve felt something amiss. Back to working in kitchens. Standing on my feet in one spot for hours. Preparing the same old dishes for the same old rugby games. Feeling the pain in my feet at the end of the day, looking forward to a day off and the pain to recede. Knowing its going to be the same old again when the next shift starts.

    Arriving home last Wednesday and turning my computer on I found the message, “msconfig is missing or corrupted – use recovery disks to reboot your system”. And I knew what that meant. I’d loose everything that was there and I’d have to start anew. Starting anew. And that was the way I saw it a new start. I was back online by later that night. Downloading updates. My laptop is circa 2002. And the speed of cable broadband. A few hiccups and stumbles. Still stumbling even now. A toddler just getting up on his legs for the first time. Finding it interesting with both Firefox and Internet Explorer on my system after the recovery. Downloads not working in Firefox will work in IE.

    Questions arise when things aren’t working properly. How do I make this work. Are the resources I have limiting what I am able to achieve. I was working on a website for a friend just prior to this happening, inspired by the tutorials I found on YouTube, and the templates in HostGator. I can do this I thought. And the more I used the little knowledge I had the worse it got. Am I meant to do this? I’d love to put this together for him. Playing with the templates in Photoshop. Sorting through the code, but not really feeling I know enough about more complex pages. Sure I’d put together a simple page but somehow this was different. I need to honour my limitations and be honest about them and either seek help or pass the project on to someone more knowledgeable.

    The Code. A funny thing happened to me while I was in a bookstore. I found a book. The Code. ByTony Burroughs. It is subtitled 10 Intentions for a Better World. Was my sorting through html code in fact a pointer to a deeper code? A code poses questions. A code delineates an ethical basis for living. And The Code certainly does that. The 10 Intentions are: Support Life, Seek Truth, Set Your Course, Simplify, Stay Positive, Synchronise, Serve Others, Shine Your Light, Share Your Vision, and Synergise. Each of these intentions will beg a personal question or questions from us. How do I? What might I? Who with? Where will I?

    When we set set an intention and walk with trust into our day we are posing a question of Life, of the Universal Intelligence, – “How will my life unfold now I have set this intention”. No doubt there will be wonder and mystery.

    I was inspired by my blogger colleague Marvin D. Wilson from Free Spirit where he poses the question, “Should Christian fiction provide answers or lead us to questions?”

    Maybe that question could be posed for not only Christian fiction but also for fiction of a spiritual nature. And non fiction as well. As Marvin says, “In non-fiction, say the memoirs of a Christian missionary, or a theological discourse, or a texbook for seminary, then yes – of course – you are writing for Christians … present your best Christian ideas and revelations and lay out your premises for leading a good Christian life. Give me your scholarly interpretations if you have exemplary intelligence and enlightenment on the subject of Christianity and are able to explain the path in new and refreshing ways”.

    These can also lead to questions about whether what is interpreted is a truth for me personally or whether I need to walk a different path in order to discover my personal truth. I prefer to exchange the words Christian and Christianity for the words Spiritual and Spirituality. They offer a more universal context.

    Mythology arises from the spirituality of ancient and not so ancient cultures. And as a result we find questions arising as we study different cultures. Though there is a certain disbelief to mythological stories what are the things we can believe? What are the elements that we question? Are there questions we imagine will lead us to an understanding of our spiritual natures.

    Questions create answers. Answers create meaning. To look more deeply into ourselves we need to ask the deeper questions of ourselves. And the more profound the questions the more wisdom becomes rooted in our psyche. I heard the term Coyote Teaching from a VisionQuest protector trained by the Tracker School in New Jersey when he visited Christchurch early last year. It seems this method invites trainees to look more deeply into whatever process is going on for them and to pose more questions based on what they discover.

    Each question we pose of Life opens up more questions for us. There is no doubt that each question posed will open up cracks in the shell of the ego allowing the light of divinity to shine more brightly as time unfolds. Through questioning the Divine Sculptor chips away at the stone of our being carving out the beauty of our soul’s form.

    Nothing is certain when following a path of intention. We’re not sure what the universe will provide. In the unknowing is a darkness and the deeper into darkness I go the closer I feel to the light.