Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Near Future and the Distant Past

In the last post, I predicted certain dire outcomes in the near future. In the comment space, Nemesis, my friend, asked me:

"Satish, your blog seems to perish, it seems to go extinct, commenters are getting rare... why is it?"

Let me tell you a couple of things about Nemesis first. I have always shared his views on Empire, the workings of Empire, the nature of Empire, the impacts of Empire, everything Empire. He's been ranting about it all on that now-defunct comment space of another blog called "Nature Bats Last", NBL in short. That's where I met Nemesis... on NBL. That's where I met a number of other friends as well, none of whom I have ever met in person. And yet, I consider them good friends because we agree on a lot of things and we share certain uncommon non-mainstream views.

I dedicate this blog post to all my NBL friends... you know who you are! Thank you for following me on to my blog and listening to what I have to say and saying the things I need to listen to... I appreciate your company.

My blog might very well be going extinct. There's not much new to say anymore. I feel like I have said it all. I have talked about indigenous peoples, how our ancestors were all indigenous peoples and how we gradually started seeing ourselves as separate and apart from the rest of the creation around us (what we refer to as 'nature'). We have now reached a point where this journey of separation and all the associated trends are coming to a head. And rapidly so. This is what I was talking about in my last blog post. Sure, it seems "negative", but it's what I see happening and I am simply mentioning it. Any characterization or judgment of unpalatable trends and events as negative is simply that - a judgment. There's nothing wrong with judgment either... it's a healthy part of the process of discernment, which is a healthy and normal part of living.

If you watch the documentary on the Kogi of Columbia ("From the Heart of the World: The Elder Brother's Warning") and its sequel (Aluna), you might be able to see better that I am simply paraphrasing what our indigenous older brothers have been telling us all along. Is the warning of the Kogi to the civilized man to be seen as negative? When they tell us we are choking the Earth, should we take it as an insult, as a negative assessment of who we are and of what our culture stands for? Perhaps it's a good question to ask ourselves why we are so turned off by criticism. In some ways, running away from criticism is in itself a cultural phenomena of modern times. We would not have built our cities and highways and technologies if we didn't "successfully" turn a blind eye to the warnings and criticism from indigenous peoples for well over 400 years.

Nemesis goes on to say, "What about some positive message, some positive perspective, some positive inspiration? I mean, all that evil and destructive shit in the world is more than obvious for everyone. There must be more than just negative messages."

I still haven't figured out the whole issue with "negativity". It's not a descriptor I would use and I understand that when it is used, it more or less means "unpalatable", "unwelcome", "unpleasant" and generally "uncalled for". The words "positive" and "negative" are simply descriptors that apply to an experience. When I hear feedback on my writing that says it's negative, my interpretation of it is that reading what I write creates an unpleasant experience in the reader's consciousness. I'm aware of the fact that a lot of what I have been saying recently portends much unpleasantness. Thinking about an unpleasant future understandably causes an unpleasant experience in the current moment. It's up to us to sit with it for as long as it requires us to process all associated emotions. Burying unsavory thoughts works temporarily but they will be back.

At this point, let me repeat what I have said before - this blog is not for everyone. And it may not be for you at certain times in your life. We are all stressed out enough by the simple act of existing in the modern world. More often than not, our plates are full and we can't handle anymore stress-inducing stories that come our way. It is important to take care of yourself and if it is too much to handle, simply stop reading and turn away. Recently, I shared a couple of my slideshows including Geophilia with a few friends. One of them, a 22-year old woman, saw it all and then she wanted to watch an animation film called "Lilo and Stitch". It was her way of balancing her heart and mind after witnessing a number of "negative" things going on in the world. We all need to take time off now and then. I have been doing more of that myself, hence the fewer posts this year compared to previous years. I encourage you to stop reading if you're called to do so. I have known from the beginning that this blog wasn't going to be for everyone and I won't mind if you unsubscribe :)

There is a reason why so many documentaries that shed light on what's going on in the world end on an optimistic note. The recent Lenoardo DiCaprio film, "Before the Flood" is a good example. As dire a picture as it paints on the real possibilities we are to expect from abrupt climate change that's now underway, it ends by proposing such oft-quoted "solutions" as electing leaders who will fight climate change, ending fossil fuel subsidies and investing in renewables. We civilized people simply can't handle it raw. We want to hear it's all under control. Filmmakers realize this and throw in a bunch of action items at the end. Recycle those soda cans and you're helping the environment. Drive a hybrid and you've done your part. I agree with Guy McPherson when he says this sort of misdirection amounts to fraud. Someone said that the ultimate form of optimism is jumping off a high rise building and as each floor passes by, telling oneself "so far so good"! Culturally, we civilized people living in highly complex and vulnerable systems are doing something very similar as each year goes by. But don't say that out loud or no one will watch your documentary or read your article!

I'd like to mention a few common responses that I have noticed when people encounter information that upsets or unsettles them. There is this idea shared by many in the New Age movement that it doesn't matter how we live on this planet because it's not as important or as real as the higher planes that we will ascend to after death. At best, this response is a personal adaptation resorted to by the naive when confronted by a sick culture and at worst, it's a gross dereliction of one's responsibilities to fellow humans and Earthlings. The Earth is not here for us to use as we please on our way to higher astral planes. Any such notions are strikingly similar to the technologist's view that we're not to worry about our planet just as soon as we devise a way to get to Mars and colonize it. Consider what Stephen Hawking, the "celebrated" Physicist says in a recent article:

"We now have the technology to destroy the planet on which we live, but have not yet developed the ability to escape it. Perhaps in a few hundred years, we will have established human colonies amid the stars, but right now we only have one planet, and we need to work together to protect it."

As if the main reason to worry about planet Earth is that we haven't yet figured out how to get out of here. If we do, we can trash the Earth as we say good bye! Such levels of disconnection from Mother Earth go by unnoticed by the mainstream media and the masses who celebrate dysfunctional minds like his. He's concerned about his species but he treats it like it has always been an orphan looking for a home. Well, we had a home here. We had one for 200,000 years before we trashed it, before highly trained Physicists and Scientists like him helped trash it.  It's hard for Stephen Hawking to see humanity's disconnection from land, the rise of psychopathy and other trends that have caused the mess we are in... he instead views it through a Physicist's lens and as much as he tries to understand the problems at hand, he fails miserably, and ends up making statements such as this.

Another common New Age response to unpleasant thoughts and ideas is to block them, shun them and move away from the source they are emanating from. There's this notion among some New Agers that thinking about negative things gives them energy and makes them bigger and helps them to persist longer. It's as if ignoring what we refer to as negative would make it go away. I believe there is such a thing as the Law of Attraction in the Universe and it most definitely works but one should be wary of the numerous misinterpretations of this law. Ignoring our impact on the planet will not make the impact go away.

Related to all this is the cultural denial of death itself. The idea that we are going to be in trouble in the near future is related to the idea that we are going to die at some point. Our culture doesn't incorporate death as a natural aspect of existence. As a culture, we cause death all around us and yet we seldom take a moment to ponder over our own collective mortality. Some in fact believe that we are close to more or less conquering all human disease and death with our awesome technology. Our stories and culture couldn't be farther from reality. We surround ourselves with screens and pick and choose the stories that appeal to us with little effort while so much that goes on in the world goes unmentioned, unacknowledged, and unaddressed. Many still believe technology will save us from our problems. Very few see technology as a part of the problem. Recently, I overheard a conversation that revolved around using technology to "hack" consciousness. It was about using electronic gadgets such as headgear to record brain waves! It somehow doesn't make sense to me. Maybe it does to you! Understanding one's consciousness shouldn't involve electronic gadgets that use rare earth minerals like Coltan mined by children with their bare hands in hostile conditions in the Congo. There's something twisted about it that jumps out at me. How about expanding our consciousness by becoming more aware of what feeds the global supply chain that brings us our smart gadgets? Isn't that part of becoming more conscious? I firmly believe that the path to a higher consciosuness starts with and goes through the Earth. We can't bypass understanding what's going on right here in our quest for enlightenment. A woodpecker told me that!

I'm not trying to knock the New Age movement. In an overly materialistic culture, it's popularity is gratifying. Spirituality is absolutely necessary in our modern left-brained overly-rational overly-masculine culture. Grounded in care, compassion and empathy, spirituality acts as a counterweight to Scientism. But the question arises: has it become a shortcut that encourages seekers to look beyond their physical reality and ignore the creation directly around them in a quest to attain transcendence? How did the notion that life on Earth is just an illusion gain such prominence? It turns out that in many cases, modern Spirituality (New Age or otherwise) conforms to the larger social and cultural system that is currently dominant: this can be seen in the form of Yoga and meditation rooms on leafy campuses of technology companies in Silicon Valley, for instance. While the technologists are leaning way too much to the left, the spiritualists are leaning way too much to the right. Right-brained imbalance shows up as lack of rigor and logic and an absence of methodical analysis and a lack of skepticism.

Perhaps this historic time that we find ourselves in is meant for slowing down and taking stock of the situation. Our near future is highly connected to our distant past. What we are about to see and experience in the next few years and the next decade will be better experienced physically, mentally and psychologically by working on understanding our connection to the past, our indigenous ancestors, our lands we called home when we were all still indigenous and our once-healthy relationship to Mother Earth. It is important to figure out what we had, what we have lost and what has been forgotten. It is important to understand how we used to live in balance with land and with other species and how the masculine and the feminine energies worked together. It is important to understand that we live in a highly artificial set of constructs today that normally keeps us from inquiring into matters of this nature. It is important to be skeptical and yet trust in the larger Universe that is always guiding us to where we need to go... if we only slow down and listen! The Universe is magical and synchronistic and our time here on Earth these days is perhaps meant for us to realize that.

Hopefully, there's something positive and hopeful there for you.