It’s happening all around the world. Once thriving oceans, seas, lakes, rivers are dying. People are experiencing various forms of cancer at unprecedented rates. Also hypothyroidism, diabetes, and other diseases are increasing in prevalence. Then there are the dis-eases often categorized as mental disorders: anxiety, depression, anger, and more. What do all these things have in common? All of these maladies, environmental and human, are either caused or exacerbated by one or more of the various forms of pollution which are rampant in our world today.
These forms of pollution include pollution of our water, air, earth, bodies, minds, and spirits. Many types of corporeal pollution are listed above. Regarding our minds and spirits, we are currently experiencing widespread pollution of human kind by greed, fear, and hate. It only takes picking up a newspaper to find instances of this pollution at work.
Who to blame, or is there anyone to blame? Do we always have to look for someone to blame? In this case, yes, there most definitely are people at the root of the problem.
One source; a company, government, church, or other agency with financial or other special interests produces “Y” amount of pollution, another company produces 2 times as much. Another company maybe only produces 1/2 as much. And all of them are saying that they do not produce enough pollution to be causing such problems. And all of them are right. And all of them are wrong. If you aren’t familiar with Aesop’s fable of the “The Crow and the Pitcher”, I hope you’ll read it. It explains a lot.
And where is the E.P.A. in all of this? They’re busy repeatedly firing Dr. William Marcus and then repeatedly trying to defend that action in court. And I imagine other activities of similar ilk, all conducted behind closed doors. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Many believe that today, under the Trump administration, the fox has been put in charge of the henhouse at the E.P.A. (Personally I think that has effectively been the case for at least a few decades.)
Don’t people see what’s happening? Don’t people understand the real and potential problems associated with pollution? Don’t we, with all our technology, possess the means to prevent and correct such problems? The answer to all these questions is the same: “Yes”. However, there is another question and answer which, together, underlie all these problems: Don’t we collectively, around the world, value life, human and otherwise, more than money? Unfortunately at this time, the effective consensus is demonstrably: “No”.
Too many people want their stock dividends, too many CEO’s want their 6, 7, or 8 figure bonuses, the power and influence of too many public offices are for sale, too many people want their cheap stuff. As with the devastating effects of pollution itself, it’s a matter of no one contributing factor being the whole cause, but again, “The Crow and the Pitcher” tells the story.
I think at some point in the future when archeologists, quite possibly from another planet because Earthlings will have become extinct, look for the answer to the last great extinction event on Earth, they will find a direct causative chain of: human greed-pollution-willful ignoring-extinction.
Yet, around the world, little by little, people are waking up. So the last question is; will enough people be awake and taking action before it is too late? It truly is a case of “United we stand, divided we fall.”
I am using the same artwork for this article as the last one because, well, it is just so appropriate. And I would rather think optimistically then post a picture of the pollution we can all see without any great effort.
This is a “laundry list” of things which, if put into effect, would go a long way toward effectively stabilizing human culture, re-humanizing humanity, doing away with war, decreasing the prevalence of many illnesses, and making life worth living! None of these, except one (I won’t say which one), are my original ideas. They are from people who have studied the issues and weighed the related factors. As I have accumulated them over years I apologize that I do not cite the source. In the interest of brevity I have sometimes combined what were originally separate ideas but which dovetail nicely together.
A three day work week with a living wage.
Abolish the stock market. Keep companies in the hands of their founders and workers (employee ownership). Let the consumers decide via their purchases, or lack thereof, when a company’s product is no longer desired.
New ideas for products/companies can be financed via bank loans, personal loans or the sale of bonds. All at a reasonable rate of interest and able to be paid off.
Eliminate speculation in agricultural or any other products. This only artificially raises prices thereby fueling inflation. (Essentially do away with a “casino economy”.)
All industrial or other waste which poses a threat to the health of our environment must be discontinued or treated in such a fashion as to effectively neutralize any threat it may pose.
Legalize the production, sale and use of all natural substances which may be categorized as “drugs”. These include marijuana, coca, poppies and their derivatives. No prescription needed for these substances. In order to purchase these substances a person must have a card indicating they have completed an introductory class of at least 3 hrs. in duration about the potential dangers and benefits of each substance they wish to be allowed to purchase. Including tobacco and alcohol.
Re-institute regulations around the number of television stations, radio stations, newspapers and other media outlets that any one person or corporation may own.
Via regulations affecting banks, arms manufacturers and other government contractors, remove the the profit motive from war.
Make the dissemination of false and/or misleading information by elected and/or appointed government officials/employees a criminal offense (if it isn’t already) and enforce it.
Restrict election financing. Cap the dollar amount any one candidate can spend during an election campaign. Make it a felony with significant penalties for any person, corporation or foreign nation, or any agent thereof, to give donations, gifts, or make promises of future financial/material gain to any elected or appointed government official/employee. Or for any elected or appointed government official and/or employee to receive such donations or gifts.
Maintain and adequately fund community based (not private) and regulated police forces, fire departments, schools, parks, hospitals, ambulance/EMT services (universal healthcare) and other services. Such as concert and sports venues as a community desires and can support.
Income from concerts, sporting events, etc, above and beyond that used to pay workers, performers, athletes, etc., should go to public coffers and to fund public services and infrastructure.
Establish and enforce both a minimum and maximum personal income. The minimum income would insure basic housing, food and essentials for all. There could be some work requirement (public service) upon those receiving it. The maximum income would include income from all sources combined. This would be in force for all people regardless of profession. The maximum income should be no more than 7 times the minimum wage (not the minimum income which may be slightly less than the minimum wage).
While in a rough draft format, as mentioned above this is at least a partial “laundry list” of actions which, if instituted, would serve to stabilize and re-humanize our cultures and our world.
When a soldier fights, what are they fighting for? There is what they have in their minds and there is what the leaders who pay their wages, supply their guns and give the orders, have in their minds. Which set of ideas is actually going to determine the effect the events taking place will have in the world?
(Well, it didn’t take long for me to drift away from trying to post on Saturdays.) Anyway, I recently had cause to be researching the topic of “stewardship”. I think most people are familiar with the concept of stewardship, but maybe not. So to begin with, here is an excerpt from the Merriam-Webster Online definition:
“2 : the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care”
That pretty much sums it up.
The first I can remember hearing anything about stewardship was when I was young and attending a Methodist church in the small Midwest town I grew up in. Stewardship was an important topic in that church. Probably the most well known Bible story relating to stewardship is the story of Joseph in Egypt. How Joseph, acting as a good servant, espousing good stewardship, was a blessing to the Egyptian people. You can read more about the story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis beginning at chapter 37. The topic of stewardship was one that came up every now and then in the topics being presented.
That association of stewardship and religion led me to look to see what some other religions had to say on the topic. There is a lot that is written and discussed online around this topic related to various religions. However, there did clearly appear to be a consensus to be found among many of the world’s religions. Most of the information I have listed below are excerpts taken from the website “Religion Answers” although I often found similar quotes within other sources:
Within the Islamic faith we find: “The three most important principles of the Prophet’s philosophy of nature are based on the Quranic teachings and the concepts of tawhid (unity), khalifa (stewardship) and amana (trust).”
The Hindu teaching has this to say: “Stewardship is Right Conduct, what the Hindu calls dharma. Stewardship extends to water, to land, to animals, to food, to resources. Nature is Prakriti, Mother Earth is one of the Gods. Earth must be treated with respect.”
Buddhism: “Stewardship is management of the Earth and its resources in accord with the dhamma, the teaching of the Buddha. This includes respect for all forms of life. Stewardship scopes to include environmental ethics, obligation to future generations, risk, and development of technology.”
Sikhism: “The holy scriptures in Sikhism say God is the creator of all that exists., Man has a duty to care for the creation, The world reflects what is inside man – pollution, global warming, ecology disasters – all these reflect what is inside every man, woman and child.”
In the Old Testament:(This does not come from “Religion Answers.) I have to say this is one area of discussion that got a little blurry. It seems to be accepted that God gave man dominion over the Earth. The blurriness seems to be in how that may be interpreted from one place to another. Does “dominion” mean do what you will? That the Earth and it’s resources are here for our plunder? Or does it mean that the Earth belongs to humankind for our caretaking? For our stewardship in keeping with love for God and for one another? Big difference. I think (and hope) most conscientious, spiritually minded persons from both Judaism and Christianity regard it in the latter context.
From the New Testament: Titus 1:7 ESV : “For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain,”
These are just a few examples. From what I’ve found Taoism, Confucianism, Shintoism, Native American teachings, African native spiritual practices and Paganism all hold the value of respectfully and responsibly, if not lovingly, caring for the Earth and it’s resources. I have not researched every religion, however, from the pattern which clearly shows within the ones I’ve listed, good stewardship, especially of the Earth and it’s resources, has been a shared and cherished value within the religious traditions of most, if not all, people from all around the world for a long, long time.
Imagine, human beings from most, if not all, cultures and locations on the Earth, who have sought wisdom within our spiritual reality, have for centuries, if not millenia, held values consistent with one another about how we should revere and care for, how we should engage in good stewardship of, the Earth and it’s resources. Talk about common ground! What has happened to divert so much of humanity from this very common understanding of our role as stewards upon the Earth?
If humankind, around the world, were to in deed practice conscientious, responsible, loving stewardship of the Earth and it’s resources, keeping in mind that humankind itself may be thought of as another resource upon the Earth, imagine how wonderful this planet and the cultures we build upon it might be?
Fake news. It’s a term which we’ve encountered a lot the past couple years. However, as history attests, it’s not a new phenomenon. Fake news, or the reporting of fabrications as if they were real, is older than the invention of the printing press. It’s not that there aren’t reporters and media genuinely dedicated to bringing honest news of the world to the general population. It’s just that it seems a media with widespread customers who rely upon that media to know what’s going on in the world is apparently too readily manipulable a commodity for unscrupulous politicians and profiteers not to take advantage of.
Most of the time, in centuries past or the past several decades, it seems “fake news” is most often used to incite fear and conflict. Or to cover up the misdeeds of those powerful enough to manipulate the media to do so. A recent movie, “The Post”, memorializes the spirit of some who were willing to be politically incorrect, and more, in order to bring the truth to the public. Does that spirit still exist?
Just in my lifetime the shadow of unexplained realities around some horrendous events calls to question whether genuine, hardcore, investigative journalism, at least in the “mainstream media”, has become unfashionable, threatened, if not facing extinction. The Kennedy assassinations, Oklahoma City, 9/11. These are a few instances in which the media is used to repetitiously reassert highly suspect official stories. Those who do dare point out the inconsistencies are often dismissed with the label “conspiracy theorist”. What makes the difference between a “conspiracy theorist” and an award winning investigative journalist? Is it too often merely the willingness, or reluctance, of those who control “mainstream media” to report certain realities? We need a media which consistently places truth above politics.
For the next few weeks, months, years (?), I am going publish short commentaries on what’s happening in the world rather than longer essays. My goal is to publish one a week, on Saturday mornings. I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read, “liked” and/or commented on articles on my blog!
A lot of (most?) people in the U.S. have played “Monopoly” at some time. The board game that’s designed to produce a winner and losers in an imaginary battle to acquire wealth. There is maneuvering for advantage, developing properties, lucky and unlucky roles of the dice. In the end someone bankrupts everyone else and owns it all. Then everyone can put the game away and head to the kitchen for snacks. That’s the part that’s missing in real life.
As in the game, in real life most (all?) people contribute in some way to building up and maintaining our communities. Most contribute throughout most of their lifetime. Building, serving, performing tasks meant to help keep the community vibrant. Unfortunately, these days it is happening within a system that is increasingly resembling the board game: designed to produce a relatively few big winners and lots of losers. Because we live in a finite system, there cannot be unbelievably extravagant winners without a whole lot of losers.
In the U.S. it hasn’t always been this way. Regulations against monopolies, a progressive tax system, wages and benefits people could thrive on, social safety nets and other safeguards kept the playing field more balanced; viable for the majority of, if not all, people. Then, those with more wealth began to find ways to manipulate the system. The regulations and safeguards which previously existed to protect the well-being of the whole have been, and are being, dismantled. This is leading to increasing economic imbalance with all the attendant debilitating effects on the general population that one can expect, even predict. We’re now seeing individuals with more wealth than millions of others. Others who have also been contributing.
The system needs repair. We need to restore lost safeguards. We need greater community mindedness. We need greater recognition of our inherent interdependence.
Update, 6/15/18: The best laid plans of mice and men and all that. I thought this was a good idea at the time, however, life has intervened and this plan for my blog did not materialize. I’m not quite sure what I’m doing in terms of blogging these days. I am certainly in a period of transition in my life. To everyone who has read my blog at some time, maybe “liked” it or commented; thank you! I hope to be more actively involved at some time in the future…
We read or hear every now and then about someone “going down a rabbit hole”. That is no doubt an allusion to Alice in Wonderland (Or Alice Through the Looking Glass) and a young girl’s journey into a fantastic, somewhat disorienting world. These days “going down a rabbit hole” is most often used to describe someone who is delving into information having to do with conspiracies, manipulations of the public consciousness. Often these people may also be described as being “on the fringe”, nut jobs or nut cases, conspiracy theorists, or even lunatics. However, is this really the case? Are the people who delve into such information, trying to discern what is or isn’t real, actually going down a rabbit hole? Or, are they trying to climb out of one?
It certainly seems many people live in one of two ways: Either blindly, unquestioningly accepting the information they are handed by “the authorities” and adjusting their lives accordingly. Or, some do feel, suspect, things really aren’t what they have been told they are, but the prospect of trying to peer into the darkness is too frightening. These folks then continually seek other people and institutions which will reinforce the status quo and, at least temporarily, soothe the uneasiness which lies below the surface of their lives.
Then there are the people who don’t, can’t, fit into either of these groups. People whose consciousness, whose intuitions about our world are persistently and relentlessly sending them alerts: something doesn’t feel right, something doesn’t make sense when analyzed using all the available evidence. These people often feel like the proverbial square peg in a round hole. So these people read, watch documentaries, talk with others. Not just the books, videos and others that will reinforce the information that is already being mass-produced and presented repeatedly on all the mainstream media. These people welcome all the information they can get their hands on. Including the material being presented on the six o’clock news and the front page. These folks welcome the alternative perspectives, the “outside the box” reasoning, and all the facts, all the evidence, they can find. No matter where it may come from and, more importantly, no matter where it may lead.
It is important to note the critical distinction between “welcoming” of information and “accepting” information. One, the welcoming, is the act of opening one’s senses, one’s mind, to input. Accepting information is the act of internalizing, assimilating, the information as true and accurate. When we do this we are doing more than simply restructuring our mental, abstract concepts about whatever the information pertains to. We are actually directing our brain to arrange our neural connections in such a way that the information becomes “hardwired*” into our neural processing patterns. This is an organic process which requires time, energy and effort on the part of our body, our brain. Our brain is building an organic network of thought, reasoning patterns which become part and parcel of our conscious processes. These concepts, true or false, become the matrix, the foundational fabric of our thinking processes.
In between the “welcoming” and the “accepting” what should exist is a critical, analytical process of vetting the information. What too often happens is that merely the fact that somebody in a position of culturally recognized “authority” spoke or wrote the words passes as vetting information. Is it that millions of people in the U.S. and around the world are too complacent, to think, to research for themselves? Or is there more to it than that? People around the world are often required to expend such a large amount of their time and energy in just striving to keep themselves sheltered and fed that, maybe, there just isn’t enough energy to go around? To look at this phenomenon from the perspective of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we can’t do too much on the higher levels of our lives when we’re unsatisfied with and/or expending all our efforts on the lower levels of the Hierarchy. However, no matter what the reason(s) may be, if we aren’t critically analyzing the important happenings in our world, some of our oversights are going to affect us more than others!
*Back to the “hardwiring” our brain is busily involved with. This “hardwiring” is not immutable. Just as these neural circuits were formed via our acceptance of, our assimilation of, information into our belief system; our working concept of reality can be reformed/reshaped in the same manner. But it takes time. Our brain’s neural network is not just a series of “off/on” switches. It is a living organ and change requires time and energy. When we construct complex concepts in our minds we are employing an army of neurons. Some of them are carrying data more central to the concept, some are carrying data more peripheral. Some are doing the work of associating one concept with another. Our brain doesn’t operate like a military drill field where one central command can result in hundreds or thousands of soldiers making an instantaneous change of direction. Our brain, our thought/neural constructs, change via many recursive visits to the subject. Slowly, gradually, change begins to become pervasive throughout our neural network. Sometimes it may take years, decades, for an intention for change to have thoroughly replaced the pre-existing concept(s). To try to change too much, too quickly, can be a traumatic event for the organic neurology involved. It can result in mental illness, and I am told, even death.
That’s why we don’t want to beat ourselves up when we find ourselves falling down on resolutions we make. Our neurology just doesn’t respond in an instantaneous, pervasive manner. It is also why we do not want to “program” ourselves or allow ourselves to be programmed with faulty, inaccurate, untrue information. It is not in the best interests of our species to have to engage in major conceptual changes. It takes a lot of time and energy away from being able to cope with the “here and now”. It is profoundly better to have good information to begin with and to be able to build increasingly complex, increasingly sound conceptual networks over time.
Human kind is probably the only species on Earth in which adults of the species will knowingly lie to their young. Of course, sometimes the adults who are transmitting false, inaccurate information to their young aren’t doing it intentionally. They are doing it because they themselves have accepted false, inaccurate information. Information which was handed to them by an “authority” sometime, someplace during their lives. This false, inaccurate information might be thought of as parasites which have been introduced to the family, dressed up, and have taken up residence, attempting to influence successive generations. Kind of like a horror movie.
When we’re under the influence of false, inaccurate information one can think of it as living at the bottom of a rabbit hole: in the dark.
For decades the American public has been living under the influence of lies. Lies coming from the White House, the Pentagon, and Congress. Lies being regurgitated by much of the media. The lies have gotten so deep, going back decades; so much has been built on top of those lies, those in power must cringe at the thought of the public ever widely knowing the truth. As George H.W. Bush said to Sarah McLendon, a Texas journalist: “Sarah, if the American people ever find out what we have done, they would chase us down the street and lynch us.” That was in 1992. The corruption, lies and abuses, the darkness being cast over our understanding of our world, have only gotten deeper since then. The Kennedy assassinations, the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the Oklahoma City bombing, MK Ultra, 9/11, these heinous actions, actions which the American people have been lied to regularly and repeatedly about, are only the tip of the iceberg. Financial abuses, wars, economic disparity, the list of ways the American public has suffered as a result of the lies is long and grievous. Because I live in the U.S., events in the U.S. are what I am most aware of. However, corruption and abuse of the public by those in high office is by no means limited to the U.S.
So, in reality, those seeking the truth about these things aren’t frivolously going down the proverbial rabbit hole, they’re determinedly trying to climb out of one.