Archive for the Big Questions Category

Confounded “Carbon Conundrum” Continue’s

Posted in Big Questions, Not your normal letter to the editor with tags , , , , on February 4, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

(This is a letter to my local newspaper regarding a five-week series on the damages of fossil fuel burning. Our resort town of 2800 people in the north part of this valley is located 30 miles from the closest traffic light and 4 hours from a larger population center, also known as a “middle of nowhere paradise”.)

Yes, this “carbon conundrum” is here to stay. Thank you to the author and publishers of our paper for devoting so much time and space to this issue. We are blessed to have the many knowledgeable resource people quoted in this region doing great work on our behalf. Thank you all.

Now could be the time to address deeper, more difficult and potentially even more interesting questions—Why are we here? Why after billions of years in the creation of this universe are you and I here?

After answering these we could inquire—Why are we willing to accept the current status quo consensus reality of living the American Dream when it is detrimental to the health and wellbeing of most people? Why are we so easily brainwashed into thinking that one more new electronic device will bring happiness?

Really, this conundrum of climate change, peak oil, economic collapse, spiritual bankruptcy, these can all lead us to go further within and ask—What is the point of our lives? This fantastic confluence of events, billions of years in the making, all leading to this moment, you and I standing right here—What will we do with this time, this moment, now? Does this society, this culture, this way that we live our lives, and all that we take for granted, does any of it lead to extreme happiness, joy, generosity and compassion for all? Witnessing the levels of depression, addiction, apathy, and mania present, I would guess not, though it doesn’t have to be this way, we are capable of so much more.

Will building another house, another subdivision, another bar or restaurant lead to deep fulfillment in the long run? Will another tourist or visitor really fuel the blossoming of love in our community? Will continuing to believe in the stock markets rise and our retirement time, these relatively recent fictions of our imaginations, will they really lead to bliss?

When will we notice and pay attention that our world is changing rapidly? Adding to what one of last weeks writers said, it’s not the 20th century anymore, heck, it’s not last week anymore. There is a very high probability that the “way things have always been“, will not be a part of our future— including what we think of as the economy, our fantasies regarding capitalism, and what we think that we are entitled to. Seven plus billion humans will not live the way that we have been privileged too. The cost of this privilege has been disastrous for most of the worlds people. This “dream” needs to drastically shift. Our old structures and paradigms are crumbling, right before our eyes, as new ones are emerging— paradigms of connection, simplicity, fairness, oneness, the opening of collective hearts.

With the emergence of these, we can take responsibility for our carbon mess. Every single one of us can change every one of our behaviors. Mr. Horn says its doesn’t have to mean that we go back to the Dark Ages. There is nothing backward about not wasting resources. There is nothing backward about questioning why we think we need these insane wasteful levels of alleged comfort. There is nothing backward about providing one’s livelihood in ways that matter and that don’t destroy our land-base. We can gather together in larger numbers to inhabit these oversized homes. We can become comfortable with drastically lower indoor temperatures in drastically smaller dwellings. We can live much closer together, even Mr. Norton mentioned the 25 foot lot. We can end our “affair” with private polluting automobiles. We can alter our diets, thereby becoming healthier by producing and eating locally grown foods in season. We can relearn how to successfully store foods to eat in winter. We can create more community gatherings and celebrations of being alive. We as Americans have gone so far overboard in attempting to escape from each other, that we are now reaping the devastating effects that this has had upon our planet, and upon ourselves for not growing into our true capacities as human beings.

We are here right now, in one of the most exciting, challenging and potentially transformative times ever. Clinging to the past of the “Dream” will not be the road forward. Clinging to our hope that more and more will come, in an era of dwindling resources and the devastating effects from the use of them, verges on the delusional. What do we really need? And what can we do right now, with who is here to create our new world?

Lets gather and develop a wholly new vision for our planet with a wholly new vision of why we exist as human beings. If this group vision is to manifest as a sanctuary of inspired, soulful, responsible citizens creating a “sustainable destination”, we will have to drastically alter our behavior regarding everything, absolutely everything. The same altering of behavior and attitudes will need to occur regardless of community vision. We can do better, we are capable. Humans are evolving everywhere, shifts in consciousness are possible. Continuing this human experiment will demand it and we will have a greater possibility to co-create a world truly worth living in for everyone.

 

“Carbon Conundrum” Indeed

Posted in Big Questions, Not your normal letter to the editor with tags , , , on February 4, 2011 by matthewstruth

 

(Originally posted on a separate page earlier in the week, now moved to its new category)

I read with alarm the opening three paragraphs of last weeks otherwise excellent article “The Carbon Conundrum”. The author is portraying our entitled citizenry as caring about our environmental challenges in word only, while he writes that no one seems to be willing to personally do a darn thing differently and heck, why should we, this is after all a resort playground. This is indeed the crux of a severely disturbing problem. Can the behaviors listed in this article’s paragraphs really be sacrosanct? While I don’t believe that we can lump everyone in the same boat, taking a good hard look around town it is easy to see why the author began his piece as he did–there is wastefulness just about everywhere. Our current US way of life can be labeled as arrogant and is in no way sustainable. And if this is so, what does it say about us that many just don’t care? Where are our scruples?

The agitation in me kept saying “it doesn’t have to be this way, we can transform these attitudes”. Thankfully around here there have been, and are, many people striving to make a difference. Bucking the trend of this cultures misguided misuse of resources, both finite carbon varieties and personal inner ones certainly is difficult, but it is also becoming mandatory. Do things really have to remain the way they have been for these past decades?

Focusing on what governments and large entities could potentially accomplish as part one of this article states is important, but each of us as individuals have the first responsibility to clean up our own act. This begins with awareness, education, and a sense of fairness–essentially expanding our consciousness to question every element of our existence, how we think about it and what we take for granted. And then changing. Colin Beavon’s No Impact Man Project is a great primer for just what one person can accomplish. Regarding our impact, Bill McKibben’s 2010 book Eaarth– that’s the correct spelling because his thesis states that we are in fact living on a new earth, the old one is gone, and that we are going to have to very quickly adapt. Rain in CB South in December is a harbinger for what this new planet might look like.

Pondering any of this might lead to questions such as–Is it really my God given right to squander everything in sight? Do resources, including animals and plants really exist solely for my benefit? Is huddling together, in tiny nuclear family units, within single family boxes really conducive to societal health? Is outright disregard for the consequences of our actions bringing about a saner, more peaceful, open hearted society? Does pumping ourselves up with substances of any kind that are inherently addictive create a connected loving world? Isn’t this the moment in our species’ evolution when we can grow into our hearts and leave behind our adolescent cultural inebriations?

We here have so very much to cherish, we can look out any window or be walking anywhere and gaze around us and witness and experience the splendor absolutely everywhere. The sky’s majesty and ethereal lighting upon our neighborly peaks is enough to bring us to our knees. What would happen if every one of us knelt down?

This valley offers such a richness for potentially re-visioning what we can be. Several others recently in this paper have lamented about either the wishywashyness of, or lack of clear vision. This is certainly understandable if the former visioning was seen through the eyes of money, exploitation and our unquestioned entitlements.

What would happen though if we saw ourselves as inherently connected and deeply blessed? Where might these feelings lead us and what kinds of visions might manifest? We could become an incubator as a community, willing to learn or relearn how to live within the finite limits of reality. We’d recognize the problems with becoming, as the PA governor said, wussies. We’d live with vastly lower indoor temperature’s, more of us would bicycle, as many in this town already do. We’d produce, in an ethical manner items that are truly necessities, right here. We’d gather together to really learn about our dormant capacities as human beings, namely our underdeveloped spiritual selves, and how this leads to an awareness of love, that until this moment was only thought to reside with “the enlightened ones”. We could be a place where “friendliness” was never again questioned. People would arrive here and recognize something much, much deeper about us, think Findhorn in Scotland, or Damanhur in Italy. We could become a “Transition Town”, modeling something other than greed, and not with green washing, but with actual behavioral transformation.

This will take so much deliberation, dedication and action, both external and internal. People have been gathering, having been drawn to this place, and are in fact beginning the move towards healthier aspects of being that are truly the antithesis of the article’s first paragraphs. We can care, we can learn, we can change, we can evolve. We are.

Shootings Heart Opening

Posted in Big Questions, Feelings, Men with tags , , , , on January 30, 2011 by matthewstruth

On a typical day in this winter paradise, thoughts and feelings of mine are usually focused towards the majestic knee buckling beauty of ethereal lighting upon rugged peaks, and basking with delight at my husky’s exuberance at being in her primal element. But on this day, while checking email before heading out into the splendor, there it was, highlighted, at the top of the page, “Arizona Congresswoman Shot”.

My body went into a shock that I haven’t felt in quite this way before. I cried, and I ached while clicking to the appropriate page. My instantaneous inner reactions to these few words told me that this was a moment of grave importance and that no matter what the motive was behind this, forces at work in our culture had laid the groundwork for this tragedy long ago.

My shaking and tears continued as the news of the massacre became more apparent. So many humans gunned down. A man shooting a woman. A man shooting a member of Congress. A man shooting, randomly, dozens of human beings, terrorizing what in this country has become our misguided civic symbol, a shopping center. As initial reports of the congress woman’s death emerged I broke down even further with deep anguish for the fate of our culture and world.

What was it about this particular violent act that penetrated my usual armor of numbness? Why am I crying now, when there have been oh so many violent crimes committed by governments and individuals that left me unfazed? How come I didn’t weep and break down over the tragedy’s of natural disasters that have effected hundreds of thousands of people? Why haven’t I become enraged at the heinous activities of corporations and some businesses that are raping our world? And why have I done virtually nothing to stop any of this?

So why was this day different? There could be so many reasons. I know that on this day the two words “congress” and “woman” had an enormous impact on me, as did the third “Arizona“. While I am generally not a huge fan of government activities, witnessing a member of our government being potentially assassinated got through my defenses of non-feeling. I was just a toddler and then a child straight jacketed in a catholic school uniform when black and white leaders of our country were slaughtered. Playing with my Tonka trucks didn’t become interrupted by these crimes, though my manic depressive mother’s howling at being in love with JFK, and not us, certainly contributed to my innocent childs heart closing down.

Could it be that this was my first experience of attempted assassination in my country. But Reagan was shot and I felt nothing. Others world leaders have been shot and killed and I felt nothing. People are being killed by our government every day and I generally feel nothing. People are murdered every day and still I feel nothing. How many of us allow these events to penetrate our tightly constructed lives?

Why was this day different? Maybe it’s that this was a member of our government who was a woman, being brutally attacked by a man. How long have these supremely barbaric attacks been going on? For thousands of years men have been bludgeoning women and our planet to death. What would happen if I, we, all men, would stop and feel this? We have been killing and tormenting those that bring life into existence. When will we stop? When will we kneel on the ground, bow down and stop? When will we cry and cry for our perpetrated atrocities upon those who are magnificent beings of wonder?

This day was different because I felt. My heart opened and hurt. My body and soul cried tears of rage, fear, deep sadness, and love. Love for a woman, love for a gathering of human beings brutally attacked, and love for a man much like my deceased, mentally ill brother, enveloped in the deepest anguish. Why aren’t we loving those among us who are troubled and disturbed? Why aren’t WE troubled and disturbed? When will we awaken to our inherent birthright as glorious human beings, inhabiting an awe inspiring planet with other sentient beings, all of these animals, plants and minerals that share this place with us. When will we awaken to love?

On this day I was one man deeply touched and less numbed. I am not going back.

Why Are We Here?

Posted in Big Questions, Not your normal letter to the editor with tags , , on January 30, 2011 by matthewstruth

The ramifications of climate change and concern about the “economy” can lead us toward questioning whether our livelihoods are in any way healthy, conscientious, necessary or ethical. On top of this, most of us of working age have lived our entire lives under the cloud of potential nuclear annihilation. That we in this country perpetrated and began this calamity often goes unrecognized or else is rationalized, while we engage in fears of all stripes regarding those “others”.

Do you ever question why we are here, alive right now, and wonder what our collective purpose is? Can it really be just to keep ourselves consuming and breathing, and going about the daily business of entitled survival in our hermetically sealed dwellings? Our consensus reality way of life is indeed negotiable. It is long past time to question every single element of it.

We can choose to perceive this particular time in history as being fraught with existential challenges stemming from our complete disconnect from our landbase and each other, and simultaneously perceive it as the most fruitful time in history. As old orders crumble or die off, tremendous evolutionary impulses are emerging all around us to birth a truly compassionate humanity. We can choose to radically transform the old unconscious social order toward one that experiences the vast interconnectedness of everything. This is our opportunity to get at the heart of our true purpose–to love and take care of everyone, everything and experience the divine everywhere. Will we take it?

(This was originally published as a letter to the editor with a 250 word limit.)