In systematizing reality to comprehend our own existence, we are presented with the unique opportunity to rearrange reality as seen fit. However, our potential as co-creators does much to foment hostile opposition by those who assert that this type of action constitutes a neo-heretical activity, steadfastly maintaining that God’s creation should remain unchanged as the primary manifestation of perfection. In contrast, Thomas Berry describes the inherent spontaneity our genetic coding is prone to, revealing the Natural law wherein order arises out of the coherent and collaborative articulations of its principle members:
“They can be understood as facets of a mystery too vast for human comprehension, a mystery with such power that even a fragment of its grandeur can evoke the great cultural enterprises that humans have undertaken. (Berry pg. 198, 1988)
Whereas the cosmos that engulfs us so profoundly reveals an extraordinary complexity of numinous existence, the human species, deriving from its billions of years of physical development, is perhaps the most interesting outgrowth of such being. Diverging from the “natural world” that seems so unerringly harmonious, humanity does much to exemplify an antithesis to such amity with our environment and those we share it with, demonstrating an intellectual void that births such complications as the unpreparedness to deal with climate change, habitat loss and species extinction, massive carbon sink shifts, ocean degradation, “dirty” industries and unwise production, deforestation, and the general depletion and exhaustion of various ecosystems.
These seemingly insurmountable problems we face at the dawn of a new millennium contextualize the need to reevaluate our social agreements and responsibilities to one another. The information and technologies that provide alternatives to these envisioned scenarios are still so relatively new that it will likely take a herculean effort to not only mobilize the forces necessary to enact the monumental change needed, but ably distribute the consciousness critical to sustaining such a shift in values and social processes as well. By properly energizing the various movements engaged with the society that encompasses them, while simultaneously maximizing their communicative abilities to alleviate incomplete and deficient interpretations of the motivating rationale behind such forces, vitality can be restored to those who ameliorate the world they reconstruct. Out of the resulting power “network of networks” emerges the controlling entities needed to achieve the culture we each seek to enjoy.
Toleration of Earth’s processes undoubtedly requires our respect for creation and life. Accepting the intrinsic value of natural systems and their instrumental roles in providing sustenance for our own human societies lets us forge new imperatives that extend communal wellbeing far into the future. In this way, an empathetic civilization predicated on bio-mimicry materializes, offering the greatest chance of survival while accentuating the possibility for success and prosperity:
“We are recovering our unity, not by returning to a prior culture and consciousness, but by moving beyond the fragmented, egoic civilization that has dominated humankind for the past two centuries—moving toward a cooperative world constituted by free people who are capable of representing the interest of the human species.” (Lazlo pg. 86 2008)
The fact that we have essentially criminalized nature in favor of synthetic programs that process the Earth through monolithic corporations should adequately demonstrate the unsustainable and artificial nature of our economy. Capitalism has been critiqued by many as representing an unmitigated failure prioritizing planned obsolescence at the expense of the world we necessarily convert into “resources,” so as to accumulate capital and wealth through constant and committed exploitation. Thus, the capitalist market impairs even its own social and environmental conditions through the reflexive premise of scarcity, leaving us to recognize capital as “its own barrier or limit because of its self-destructive forms of proletarianization of human nature and appropriation of labor and capitalization of external nature.” (O’Connor 1988)
Moreover, the system we reside within is perpetually contextualized by the future, in that every action taken or investment protracted is based on an abstract mental projection predicated on our need to consume material goods for advantageous profit. Unfortunately the effect is one where the present moment, the “Now,” is hardly prioritized: we struggle to define what we will eventually need, thereby trivializing the most important tenets of the human experience: those day-to-day activities that alone offer the possibility of finding ever-present joy in the world around us.
A facility that can foresee and forestall the detrimental consequences of a social development uncategorized by the necessary maturation processes then becomes essential for sanctioning new behaviors that embody patterns of compassion and insight into chaotic and complex social functioning. The present moment may therefore be transformed by some conscientious delivery system sympathetic to positive cultural change to effect the generation of a healthy balance between nature and society—a soul and eco-centered designation engendering mature and imaginative manifestations of personal application. Identifying boundaries of unhealthy modes of being thus provides the means to rectify reality with ideality, infusing the system we are each engaged in with lasting ramifications to ensure accessibility for positive growth.
Employing Habitual Difference
Being that our cognitive abilities have evolved from the natural conditions that preceded them (while maintaining the capacity to change those very same conditions), it should not be surprising that the collapse of our social values corresponds to the instigation of many of the ecological crises we find ourselves confronted with. Using this logic to craft a comprehensive response, the development of an eco-psychological value system could potentially remedy the situation. The resulting “ecology of mind” clarifies a central purpose for directed action—namely, the integration of interiority into systemic processes.
Through honoring the diverse perspectives of various worldviews, we can model changes in behavior to take place through new understandings of self in relation to our environment, learning to live and situate ourselves in a Holarchy of ecological wellbeing:
“In short, you become an embodiment of multiperspectival awareness, which increases your intimacy with reality because you are in more conscious contact with it through multiple modes of being and knowing. In turn, this presence allows you to be more timely and skillful in responding to circumstances and situations.” (Esbjorn-Hargens, Zimmerman pg. 320, 2009)
This emphasizes the importance of education, without which there could be no ideation of a society based on partnership principles and consensus organization, or any other alternative to the callous corporate system that “suppresses democracy and personal choice, limits the protective power of the nation-state, and reduces financial support for public services, while radically increasing the income gap between the wealthiest and the poorest people and nations.” (Goerner, Dyck, Lagerroos pg. 325, 2008)
Consider then that any possible opposition to such a malevolent force (one based on greed and unapologetic self-interest) would require a certain program to institute some sort of difference to what is perceived as “undesirable.” The mathematical and logical formulas needed to create infrastructure that betters the quality and quantity of life must accordingly be decentralized and dispersed so that access can be maintained at all levels of civil society. Transmitting knowledge achieves major impacts through crystallizing patterns, ensuring a universal intelligence relevant to establishing a healthy sense of self-sufficiency. And through “blueprint copying”—that is, the identification, documentation, and dispersal of successful models and processes—social innovation and adaptation to new problems can likely be achieved at a much faster rate. (Bornstein pg. 266, 2007)
Action complements theory through praxis; in this respect, any movement instilled with education remains pertinent in a social context. Mastery of a social system lets us transcend barriers so that an agenda of “change” can be implemented through action with the creation of new substance. The result manifests new culture, contingent upon our own understanding of ourselves and the space we inhabit—“when we perceive our place in the universe we come to know our role and our mission: to be truly one with the world of which we are an intrinsic part.” (Laszlo pg. 93, 2009)
This movement into education generates wiser actions, leading to a society we might qualify as “good.” We are able to work towards something “other” than a reality rooted in “vice,” or those actions considered inherently “wrong,” by sustaining such a revolution in an empire of disorder. Thus we can maintain our rights and healthy living habits despite any conflict, establishing independence through the programs of peace that heal and maintain the world we depend on.
Personal Action Project
When confronted with an oppressive force that poses an extreme threat to life and liberty, one must not commit to passive discontent, but rather take active and necessary steps to confront and expel its effect on one’s own comfort. While violence surely cannot be sustained (as it necessarily ends once there is no one/nothing left to do violence to), the learning process most certainly can (and must!), with students taking on the enormous responsibility of accomplishing unending social change using classrooms as laboratories to effect the difference they wish to see, through the knowledgeable understanding of a shared global system: “solving for pattern arises naturally when one perceives problems as symptoms of systemic failure, rather than as random errors requiring anodynes.” (Hawken pg. 178, 2007)
With this conjecture we might develop new voluntary course descriptions to be offered for at-risk students (since simply passing the GEDs might seem a bit uninteresting), bearing on issues of Social Responsibility. As part of the coursework, students can seek out and attend public “Town-hall” meetings, keep track of current events at local and global levels (to understand the relationship between microcosm and macrocosm), and create their own projects pertaining to stress relief, nutrition and physical fitness, the rekindling of family relationships, alleviating prejudice, volunteerism, topics of social protest (while confronting musical lyrics in a historical context), and recognizing factionalism/violence to consider possible responses. Project proposals model common methods employed in “Intervention” scenarios, in that each student becomes knowledgeable about a particular point of relevance to them to understand the factors contributing to its continuation; then attempting to resolve their individual concerns. By learning how to apply solutions through civic engagement, students can work towards discoveries, formulating thoughts and realizations so as to better develop themselves as thinkers and future innovators.
Education however is simply not enough for a society seeking to produce an “other” reality as soon as possible. So, finding like-minded movements and dedicating efforts to maximizing success may provide a positive vehicle with which to “monkey-wrench” the oppressive social environment. This helps alleviate the separation between citizens and the natural world: by engaging with the natural world to provide food, clean energy, clothing, medicine, textiles, fiber, etc—able to be grown by virtually anyone anywhere—a lasting blow may be dealt to the heart of the mechanistic system which imprisons and fines anyone engaged with agriculture so as to protect the generations to come from succumbing to corrupt and asinine abuses of authoritative power.
Furthermore, by structuring citizen initiatives so that a percentage of all revenue goes towards funding public programs, developing bio-fuels, promoting nature-based products, maintaining a balanced and representative governing body, and providing treatment facilities for those in need of them, while at the same time educating students about the realities of plants instead of using fear tactics and prohibition (which has proven to be a failure) to prevent its use, we can properly effect a social order cognizant of respectful actions.
The goal would be to end the government’s “War on Nature” and billions of dollars spent imprisoning citizens so that we might each enjoy the beauty of the natural world, developing green industries to sustain this new culture while at the same time ensuring global security. By protecting the natural cycle of energy derived from the sun, from which each of our basic necessities are primarily obtained, we can substitute it for the poisonous makeshift economy we have made real, devised through ignorant conclusions based on fallacious premises:
“The solar resource could replace all need for oil, coal, and nuclear resources in the United States…In addition, solar offers a nondestructive solution to the land that it uses, whereas coal and nuclear taint and contaminate the land they use forever.” (Pg. 55)
As Ward Churchill writes,
“In order to be effective and ultimately successful, any revolutionary movement within advanced capitalist nations must develop the broadest possible range of thinking/action by which to confront the state. This should be conceived not as an array of component forms of struggle but as a continuum of activity stretching from petitions/letter writing and so forth through mass mobilization/demonstrations, onward through the realm of “offensive” military operations.” (Pg. 94, 2007)
Using this logic, and borrowing from original ideas of the past, we can experiment in sustainable community organizing. Through social media networks and contact with groups familiar with organizing festivals, we can induce a national strategy that unites various movements, effecting political pressure through a politically plausible social revolution to rally against all forms of war while engaging in the democratic process. This networked movement can provide a vanguard to act out the “will” of the cosmos while protecting its various creations through the unique collaboration of organized dissidence by which a “different” reality (besides one that promotes war profiteering) might be established.
In this way, a movement can stay informed to the nature of its opposition as multiple constituents determine the course of its events in a self-organizing process. Human development can thus be conditioned through expertise to construct and create new substance, manipulating policy through self-empowered directives. By creating events, procedures, programs, and never-ending “experiments” where students are taught to grow, utilize, and discern reality for themselves, a constant revolution can be forever sustained: theory is proposed, results are produced, and competence is proven through a scrutinizing dialogical assessment. However, since language itself is self-reflexive, those who endeavor to do outright harm to an opposing force will necessarily fail, as their movement will likely be void of any genuine motivations, based on antipathy instead of rapport:
“Apart from negative messages, however, the specific picture of what [terrorism] would replace these international circumstances with is deliberately vague. There is a lot of evocative language, general references to restoring peace, instituting [God’s] law, and installing a modern [system of governance]—a hazy dream of a better, more just future to be achieved through a defensive [holy war]. But what exactly would that new [holy] “state” (or entity) look like? This is not specified, as doing so would undermine the movement itself. (Cronin pg. 180, 2009)
Berry, Thomas. (1988) The Dream of the Earth. Sierra Club Books: San Francisco, CA
Bornstein, David. (2007) How to Change the World: social entrepreneurs and the power of new ideas. Oxford University Press: New York, NY
Churchill, Ward. (2007) Pacifism as Pathology. AK Press: Oakland, CA
Cronin, Audrey Kurth (2009) How Terrorism Ends: understanding the decline and demise of terrorist campaigns. Princeton University Press: New Jersey
Esbjorn-Hargens, Sean and Michael E. Zimmerman. (2009) Integral Ecology. Shambhala Publications: Boston, MA
Freeman, S. David. (2007) Winning Our Energy Independence: an energy insider shows how. Gibbs Smith: Layton, UT
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Hawken, Paul. (2007) Blessed Unrest: how the largest movement in the world came into being and why no one saw it coming. Penguin: New York, NY
Laszlo, Ervin. (2008) Quantum Shift in the Global Brain: how the new scientific reality can change us and our world. Inner Traditions: Rochester, VT
Laszlo, Ervin. (2009) WorldShift 2012: making green business, new politics, and higher consciousness work together. Inner Traditions: Rochester, VT
O’Connor, James. Capitalism, Nature, Socialism: A Theoretical Introduction
CNS 1, Fall, 1988. Retrieved 5/5/2010 from http://members.cruzio.com/~cns/Occasional/
Plotkin, Bill. (2008) Nature and the Human Soul: cultivating wholeness in a fragmented world. New World Library: Novato, CA