Saturday, August 16, 2008

Catalysts for Change

Global climate destabilization/peak oil/overpopulation and the destruction of the environment. The triple threat. So, are they crises, challenges, or catalysts for much needed change? More and more, I am seeing them as catalysts for change. This change is not even about carbon emissions, alternative fuels, or environmentalism and population control. This change is more fundamental -- it has to do with how we view power and wealth, with who we are as human beings, and with our place in the greater scheme of things. Maybe this is the Revelations of the Bible. Maybe this is about creating heaven on earth at long last. Maybe it will take all the horrors of the Biblical apocalypse to get us there. And maybe not. I've never believed destiny is one path, pre-determined.

If we are to have the future we want, then we must choose it consciously and with all the wisdom we can muster. In the past, we have viewed power as a control issue. How many movies and books and animated cartoons have featured nefarious villains who want to rule the world? How many times in history have real-life nefarious villains have attempted to rule the world? I always ask myself, "Why?!?" Why would anyone want that burden? Power means control. Control means decisions. Decisions are tiresome. The bigger the decision, the more tiresome. I don't like to decide what we're having for dinner, much less how to rule the lives of others. But neither do I want others making my decisions for me. I cherish my freedom and I will fight to defend it. And so I choose a future in which people have more personal freedom, a future where the power of governments and corporations has been strictly limited. In it's place, I choose power stemming from cooperation. I choose rule by consensus, compromise and direct democracy.

As for wealth, I choose a future in which wealth is measured by needs fulfilled. The basics will still apply -- food, water, clothing, and shelter -- if those needs are not met, survival itself is threatened. But beyond those needs are the more intangibles -- love, respect, community, health. In the world I choose, love is given freely. Respect, including self-respect, is earned. Community is a way of life. Health is more a by-product of right living than doctors and drugs. We return to our tribal roots, living in villages where work and responsibility are shared, from each according to his or her ability. This does not preclude personal responsibility but rather enhances it. Each is responsible to himself, his family, and to the community, in that order. Where conflicts arise, the wisdom of the elders is sought and unique solutions for unique individuals are devised. It is not a one-size-fits-all world.

I choose an overriding paradigm that has shifted from exploitation to partnership -- whether it be our relationship to the earth, our relationship to governance, or our relationship to each other. It is no longer a world of domination but a world of balance.

If you want change in this world, you must be the change. So that is where I begin.

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