Surface and Depth

 Surface and Depth

Last week, for the first time since March, I was able to go to my Tai Chi class in person.  There were only 4 people there; we kept distance and were masked, following the official pandemic protocols.   Even so, being able to do the form along with other people in real time, to talk in person, unmediated by machine, and to simply sense each other’s presence was a poignant reminder of something slightly suppressed but not forgotten and for which most of us long – being in community with other people in the way people were created to be. 

The sudden advent of the virus, the avalanche of change in reaction to it, and the subsequent rapid chaos has made the apparently mutating virus and the responses to it difficult to understand.  Even though we may understand the opportunities the virus has opened by unmasking the need to make social changes, even though we are cognizant of the relationship between the virus and our own part in the increasingly rapid progress of the death of the planet, even though we have observed the continued predilection for war and concern for individual benefit when many others suffer – even though we may be aware of the connectedness of all things, there is something not quite right about the way this virus is being handled.  It is hard to finger exactly what, but the sense is there.

Most obvious is that people are being asked to change their behavior into patterns for which humans are not designed.  Humans were never meant to exist distant from each other, masked as if the other might harm, not trusting and out of fear putting social pressure on each other to conform.  How are we expected to cooperate with each other (such as agreeing to wear masks as a communal practice) if we are told to stay apart, peppered with fear from media, told our very surroundings may make us ill, hampered in communication, and, basically held in isolation?  Fear is being used to make sure the majority comply.    Something is fishy here.   Is fear not the means used to keep populations stable under a quite different kind of government than we have assumed is ours?  So, we have first required unnatural behavior and next, rule by fear.

We hear a lot about staying healthy by wearing masks and avoiding each other, or by frequently scrubbing any available surface.  We hear that we have hope of health because a vaccine will soon be readily available.  It is good to maintain hygiene, and people do need hope even if there are questions about time for testing of new forms of vaccines and questions about related topics such as the effectiveness of related flu vaccines, given that those viruses tend to mutate, too.  However, where is the information on how to strengthen the innate human immunity or to use the plants found in nature for immune support?  They seem mutually supportive approaches with the masking, distancing, scrubbing and prospective vaccines.  Do those in authority not want us to know about those, or do they want us to consider them inferior to the approved and supported approaches?

There is also a strangeness in the response to economic effects created by requiring people to stay apart.   Small businesses are the most effected.  Small businesses are the lifeblood of a free, cooperative, and resilient population.   Yet, which businesses are going under, some perhaps unable to open again?  It is the small businesses; the corporations are somehow getting enough bailout support to carry them through the crisis.   It is the poor and the small who seem to be getting a choice between death by virus or death by economic decimation.  It is though the destruction of existing society (including major social institutions) were a goal, in favor of an order favoring even further the entrenched privileged.    Yes, the social order we have had has major flaws and needs re-structuring; but is the vectoring towards the upper few the direction in which we want the change to go?

Then there is the prolongation of the situation.  Yes, there is the explanation that it is because of the people who would not comply, and because of incompetent political leadership, even because the virus itself is mutating and re-infecting people.   Those would seem to be reasonable explanations, except that it is highly suggestive of scapegoating – the effort to point the finger elsewhere so as to not have to look at what really is.  Notice also that the fear in the media is increasing – the virus is reported to be more and more deadly and contagious, something we need to fear even more deeply, as if we were not already enough afraid.  Yet an equally dangerous, if even more deadly situation is not even being mentioned – the rapid increase in climate change and direct destruction of our planet, as pollution, soil destruction, CO2 emissions, and waste continue.  The response to the virus is even exacerbating them, such as the increased use of single use plastics.

What we are encouraged to trust is communication technology – internet, social media, email, texts, smart phones, and the like.  Marvelous as the technology is, it is certainly not the natural way to be, human communication mediated by machine.  Many, though, have learned to consider it as natural, to even be more comfortable communicating that way than in person.  The attitude apparently is to not question the situation because we have the technology to turn to.  But is the technology as trustworthy as it seems we are supposed to believe?   There are the scammers and hackers which prey upon the users of technology, targeting the unwary and those not up to par on computer security.  They may be criminals, and they may also be those who want to know what we are thinking so that they may target ads to us.  They are the surface.  Artificial intelligence has made it far easier for our life’s data to be collected, stored, and used to entice, manipulate, or perhaps even punish us.  Use of sophisticated technology is being considered to ensure that we all get vaccinated, whether or not we feel the vaccine itself is trustworthy; in addition to being vaccinated, it is proposed that we be tracked.  Ostensibly, the tracking is to ensure vaccine compliance, but such systems are certainly capable of following people wherever they go, watching with whom they associate, what they say, and perhaps what they think or feel.   Is this the society in which we wish to live?

There are more questions than answers.   Yes, there is a virus pandemic, and precautions need be taken.  Even with consensus on that condition, however, there is a sense that more is underfoot than a pandemic.  It is worth paying attention to.  While we are dealing as best we can with the virus and attempting to stay afloat as we navigate the extant chaos, we need also to maintain an awareness that more may be going on than obviously meets the eye.  Maintaining awareness is the price of retaining choices.  May we all learn to touch the deeper consciousness of the gathering forces and processes endeavoring to change our world, so that we may be able to choose between them and grow to realize our ability to use our choices to shape a world in which we wish to live.

Peace, Diane

A Call to Community

Wisdom tells us that the present is the only reality.  The past is gone, the future not yet here.  Thus, a snapshot of the present is the clearest truth.  The rest is memory or guesswork.   Currently, my state of Virginia has just gone into stage 3 of opening its economy, which had been closed by the Coronavirus.   Other states are in various stages of re-opening.  Yes, the virus is still being transmitted, but the consensus seems to be that if the states do not open their economies, we can choose between death from Coronavirus or death from deceased economies.  Most states have added precautionary regulations to their re-opening plans.  Some states are more consistent about enforcement than others.  Many people are rejoicing, seeing a return to “normal”, or the way things used to be before the virus.  Others are reserving their joy, maintaining a ‘wait and see” attitude. There is no consensus.

In true Alice in Wonderland fashion, events keep happening and creating chaos.  Given, needed changes can emerge out of chaos.  Ending racism, economic justice, and climate change are three of them currently in the news; others, such as restorative agriculture and abolishing war seem to garner less attention now.  No one really knows what will happen.  The only development with some certainty is that the “normal” of before the coronavirus is gone and will not return.   The new normal is yet unformed but will be different than before.

There are predictions by pundits of oncoming catastrophes of one kind or another that will inform the new normal.  One such prediction is economic collapse; the dollar will lose its value, there will be massive inflation and disruption to supply lines, creating shortages of foods, medicines, supplements (and maybe more toilet paper).  Another is a physical calamity, such as an EMP, or the sabotage of the power grid, or perhaps earthquakes or volcanic eruptions.   Yet another is the advent of massive Big Brother type tyranny, and the digitization of everything, even our bodies, so that we and everything else can be tracked.  A fourth is the effects of climate change, such as droughts, storms, floods, and dwindling water tables.  Each prediction has its reasons, and they can be investigated online. Some may happen, in full or part, and some may not.  Or, the other extreme, none of these things will happen and we will somehow attain a utopian society without much effort at change-making.  Whatever happens, it will not be the same as pre-Coronavirus.

Many of those who see catastrophes happening are busy preparing silently for the difficulties they foresee.   Most of this prepping is done individually by families who prepare for themselves, in as much detail as they can.  A few groups prepare together.  An underlying theme is that there will be chaos, and everyone will have to fend for himself/his family amidst looting and violence.  Cooperation is not the largest goal.  The thrust is to have as much of everything necessary or desired for oneself and one’s family and protect that from the envisioned chaos.

There is wisdom in being prepared, and perhaps the anticipated chaos will occur, although that cannot be known for certain.   What is missing, so far as I can see, is the element of community, cooperation and sharing.  This used to be a part of the lives of our ancestors, whether those in tribes or neighborhoods or frontier homesteads.  One cooperated and shared with one’s neighbors and hosting a stranger with generosity was a virtue.  We seem to have lost this in modern times.  It is not that there was no struggle; tribes and homesteaders fought, and neighborhoods tended to be of people who had known each other for a while.  However, the concepts of the virtues of cooperation and sharing were there.

We need to recapture these virtues if we are to create a new normal that is nurturing for people.  We need to expand these virtues, extending them to others who are different.  We need to combine our skills, wisdom, and energy to create a new normal in which all of us can live with dignity, exercise our creativity, be assured that our world will not poison us and that there will be enough food, shelter, water, clothes, medicine, education and the like for all who are open to receiving it.  That cannot be legislated from above.  It must come from people changing their own hearts and attitudes and working together cooperatively to create these conditions.  We need to recapture the attitude of community.

Communities, of whatever flavor, such as tribe, neighborhood, extended family, intentional community, are self-governing groups of people, from, say, 10 or 15 to as many as say, 50 (there is no set number, other than that which is workable for the group in its entirety) who commit to helping and supporting each other, working together, and who have the intent of staying together over time.  They occupy land of various acreages (some are rural, some urban) and are often self-sustaining.  They tend to be cognizant of the needs of the earth and the non-human life which inhabits it, and work in cooperation with those needs.   Generally, they govern themselves by consensus.  This contrasts with what now exists (and is in chaos) such as nations, states, counties, and other large units using forms of governance which are top heavy and authoritarian.  Voting still exists, but direct participation of the governed is rare.  People usually tend to look out for themselves and their families, embracing an ethos of competition and a race to the top or a sinking to the bottom.  Resources are indisputably unevenly distributed; those at the bottom often do not have enough.  The needs of the earth and other creatures go unseen or are neglected, following the apparent belief that the entire Earth and its resources are there simply to serve the needs and convenience of humanity.  (Some human beings were once held in slavery on plantations under a similar assumption.)

What now exists does not seem to be working very well.

Examples of how a modern community can function exist.  These extant communities show that people are truly able to come together and create successful community not only now, but also more prevalently into the future.  Like-minded people tend to gather into communities with others who hold similar values.  They are also willing to allow other groups their own values and beliefs.   Other than not attacking and harming one another, they recognize structures which are different from their own.  They also recognize the value and the right to continue living of the Earth and the plants and other animals who inhabit the Earth along with us.   Their ability to use communal wisdom enhances their ability to live in general harmony with the Earth and with each other. This is a summary; details can be found online at www.fic.org , for one, and also from many books written on the topic, including a directory of communities worldwide, available through www.fic.org .

We need now to examine how such a lifestyle might be possible for us.  Yes, there are difficulties to overcome; they are difficulties inherent in ourselves as people of a dominant and prosperous culture.  For example, we need to be less dependent on being right, on being one up on another, of being dependent on having many things, of tending to argue rather than try to reach agreement.  We can choose to overcome these difficulties and learn to truly cooperate, or we can carry our current stances into our demise.  The Earth will not choose to die so we can continue to be “right” until the end.  Even if the Earth did so choose, the death of the world which sustains us is also our own death.   Community is our hope; it is people working together, as cooperative units, to learn to heal the Earth and to give value and sustenance to every living being on the Earth.   People, is it harder to learn these things, or to continue to struggle with the chaos around us as we refuse to change?  Neither will be easy, but I do believe that the former will be exponentially more satisfying.

Let us now, before it is too late, to ponder the changes that need to be made, and the ineffectiveness of top-heavy government to make those changes.  We cannot avoid individual responsibility.  The struggle and chaos of the virus have given us our second chance.  Let us examine the format of cooperative community as a supportive medium in which to make these changes.  Let us research websites, read books and talk to those who have already made community, and then talk with each other about how we might do the same.    It is time.   We need community if we ourselves are to survive.  The whole supports the many, and the many support the whole.

Peace, Diane

Creating Our Way Forward


It has been two months now since most of us have been in lockdown over the Coronavirus, and many of us are out of work.  Those of us who are still at work are in many cases risking contracting the disease by continuing to work.  We have been through shock, grief, and suffering, and many are still having difficulty accepting that the world as we know it has changed.  In the news now is talk of “opening the country”, allowing some businesses, closed because of the necessity of close contact between people to operate, to re-open, and the people employed by those businesses to return to work.  The issue is polarized.  On the one hand we have those who prioritize economic activity, and who are sometimes even willing to take up arms to force state governments to “re-open”.   On the other side, we hear the warnings from those who are looking to scientific advice to avoid as much as possible themselves and others contracting the virus.  Those scientists warn that “opening” too early will serve only to spur a resurgence of cases of Covid19 and lead to higher death rates.   Both sides have valid points, and neither side has the full story.

Three important aspects in particular are not being mentioned.  For a successful recovery of the country, human societies, and the Earth, these aspects need to be understood and internalized.  One is that our world has permanently changed, in that we cannot, ever, return to the way things were before the virus.  For better or for worse, things will be different.   Another is that the virus, irrespective of how specifically it came to be,  is a direct result of the negativity we have created upon the Earth, in our human societies, among the plant and animal denizens with whom we share our planet, and within the physical Earth itself.  Unless we cease creating the negativity and mitigate the damage we have caused, we will continue to experience disasters, and even more viruses.  The permafrost is currently melting; as it continues to melt, it will release ancient viruses it has stored in frozen limbo from ages ago.  We are no longer immune to these.  And last, we need to fully understand that the future that will emerge will be a creation of our collective consciousness.  The thoughts of mystics and visionaries, activists, workers who tend to the  Earth and  to each other, lovers of the Earth, lovers of technology, the apathetic who want to receive good while putting little out, the pessimistic who believe we are already on a path of destruction – these thoughts will all merge to create an outcome proportionate to their prevalence in the common subconscious.  We need to make those thoughts conscious, look at them, decide if this is a future we want, and have a real conversation about them.  To neglect to do this will almost certainly bring us results we will find we do not want.

There is no lack in literature and among the people concerning visions of what may be.  There are visions of catastrophic occurrences that throw us all back to prehistoric hunter-gatherer times.  There are visions of highly technologically developed societies, a la Brave New World or the evolved (and often invisible) citizens of otherworld cultures, as in the Star Trek series.  There is the thrust towards an ever-larger organization of a World Government (without a plan of how this will not be an overarching force to make all people conform).  There is the proposition of no big government at all, only many small self-governing groups cooperating with each other (and not completely acknowledging how we will all need to grow in the ability to peaceably get along).  There are plans for grand cities, and thoughts of rural life.    The story of Oversoul Seven shows most people in a domed city surrounded by complete wilderness which is inhabited by a few secluded people who have managed to adjust.  The author Richard Bach predicts a possible future of people who have converted their bodies into robots of themselves and uploaded their consciousnesses so as to be able to withstand a polluted Earth and care for the remaining animals, who live under a dome.    Religious prophecies foretell times of great tribulation followed by a time of reward.

Whatever outcome one envisions, there are underlying principles which need to be accepted in order to heal the Earth and ourselves and construct any kind of stable future.    We need first to recognize the very basis of our life, named by many with many names, the Creative Energy from which we are all formed; it is the substance which comprises and sustains the cosmos, the Earth, Nature, the plant and animal life on Earth, and humans as well.  There are patterns to that Energy, called perhaps laws of creation; they are the way that life functions.  We may learn from them and develop technology which is consistent and cooperative with them, so that we may more efficiently follow those patterns to support all life on Earth.   We may not use our technology to dominate Nature and to go against it when we think that will be more convenient to us, or more exciting.  When we try to conquer Nature and take its riches for ourselves, we destroy it.    Technology is a wonderful tool, used correctly; it is not God, and it will not save us, nor spare us from making changes.

We need to evolve from the either-or attitude that we are all the same and all have to agree about what is and what we are to do, or the alternative attitude that anyone who is different from ourselves is an enemy.  We need to accept that we are created different, and that it is possible to respect who/what is different from ourselves and acknowledge it as a creation of the Source.  In floral terms, we are not all roses.  We are daisies, sunflowers, violets, azaleas, begonias, honeysuckles, four-o-clocks, morning glories, baby’s breath, Queen Anne’s lace, marigolds, and many others.  We do not have to be the same, and we do not have to think alike and agree.  We do need to hear and honor each other, and to refrain from physical or verbal (or even mental) violence against each other, focusing on cooperation rather than competition and fear.  Especially, we need to avoid fear.  Priests and philosophers for ages have given us the message to “Fear not”.

We need to move beyond war as a means to settle differences.   This is a direct outcome of the above.  If we cease to fear each other and truly respect each other, much of the motive for war will be gone.   We need to abstain from the ideas that war is honorable, or that one side is right and the other side wrong, or that war is justified.   Our animal heritage might tell us that we need to fight over mating rights or territory.  I think we have grown beyond that, and we need to now renounce those thoughts.  A positive world cannot be created while war exists.

In addition, we need to cease making war on life itself.  We need to carefully watch ourselves to ensure that we are celebrating the life we are given and of which we are a part, declining to participate in its destruction in any form.  We will not by consuming destroy the Earth or the plants and animals on it.  We will not destroy our babies or our elderly. We will live as healthy lifestyles as possible.  If we do not wish ourselves to be conduits of life, then we will not conceive it.  We will not pollute the land or sea.  We will not destroy our protective atmosphere.  Instead, we will embrace and honor life.    We cannot create a positive future if we continue our habit of killing what is not convenient or what we do not like.

We need to shift the current economic inequities, which leave some people without the basic means of survival and shower others with more than they could ever need.  This needs to be an adjustment to our thinking and our beliefs, not simply governmental action that will measure, regulate, watch, and punish to ensure everyone is complying with rules designed to avoid greed and want. It needs to come from our hearts, our love of life and respect for each other, and from abstaining from collecting more than we need.   It needs to come from attitudes of cooperation, rather than competition.  Perhaps this is more easily done in small groups of tribal size, but it is not impossible in cities.   We also need, each of us, to grow a part of our subsistence, and create part of the energy we consume.  Whether this involves restorative farms, small indoor or roof gardens, closed systems of waste disposal/use and resource generation, or other creative means, it is up to each of us to participate personally in some small way.  We need to let go of the idea that we are privileged above others, and that it is someone else’s job to give us what we need.  Concurrently, we need to take the responsibility of governing ourselves, individually and in small groups. 

We need to learn to listen.  We need to listen to ourselves, to nature, to the mystic overarching Energy, to the wind and the waves, to our hearts.   We need to build into our systems time to reflect, to pay attention to what we hear, to share our insights, and to listen to each other – really listen, even if we do not agree.   We need to carve from our busy-ness the time to be still.      We need this time to, at least for the moment, understand what it is to be satisfied and what it is to be grateful.   We need to cultivate these attitudes.

I’m sure others may come up with more parameters; these are the ones I now see.   Whether we exist in vertically built cities surrounded by undeveloped land, or in small groups in clustered homes with the surrounding land farmed or wild (there are currently prototype groups that do this sustainably and self-sufficiently), or in whatever other form we envision, the principles above need be applied.   They are basic as we move forward.

Are we ready to answer the wake-up call, to let go of the past, have the needed conversations, and move forward to a more just and compassionate society and a healed Earth?   I hope we are.  We cannot sleep our way to it.  Let those of us who are awake each wake up at least one other and put our shoulders to the task of creating what we wish to emerge from the wreckage of the past and the tribulation of the coronavirus.

Peace, Diane

A Wake-Up Call

The dark just before dawn is a magical time.  The earth is morphing from the dreamlike state of night to the brightness and focused attention of day.  In like manner, most people are transitioning from sleep to wakefulness, from the slower pace of sleep to the activity of the day.  The dawn is special; it is the coming of the light.  A light switch in a home is also magical, though more sudden. It, too, brings light into a darkened area, revealing that which we could not see in the dark.  Often, it reveals to us work which we need to do, work which we may have preferred to ignore in favor of the more relaxed pace of the dark.  Sometimes, if we have ignored that work too long, it is painful to address: mountains of filing to be done, dusty clutter in basements to be cleared, overgrown lawns or gardens to be tended to are some of these.    Our current pandemic situation can be construed as a time of dark, when everything slows, pending work of the world is ignored or concealed, and the media at least try to keep telling us how lucky we are to have this time off.  Times of darkness are valuable times of introspection and renewal; they are also times when we are tempted to give in to the human fear of the dark and ignore anything but our fear.

Whatever our individual opinions on the coronavirus pandemic may be, it is obvious that the attention of most of us is placed on the pandemic, repeatedly focused there by the media.  Whether we think of when the lockdown will end, how we will survive unemployment or partial employment, the chances of getting sick or dying, staying six feet apart, the usefulness or need of masks, gloves, worry about whether others are following the rules, how to keep kids amused and engaged, opportunities to exercise or availability of food and supplies, the attention is on some aspect of the pandemic.   Other critical issues seem forgotten by most, except for activists or those who are campaigning.  We need to learn our lessons of introspection and begin emerging from our darkness to pay attention to what else is going on.  Our Earth, especially, needs our attention, including our planet and all its denizens, among them humans and their cultures.

Without a planet, any other issue with which we may be concerned is immaterial, because we will no longer be there to engage with it, and the Earth itself may or may not continue to be able to support life.   Our lives after this coronavirus dissipates will not in any case be the same as they were before the virus began.  However, if we wish to shape the directions our lives take, we will need to be ready to make changes on many fronts.  It is time we began looking at those fronts.

As our systems are interconnected, it is difficult to isolate any one of them with which to begin.  Perhaps they need to be addressed at the same time, each part by those with expertise in that part.  Our economic (especially banking) systems enable our energy systems, which enable our food production and distribution, which feed into our health systems and our medicines, all of which enable our media systems and our military systems, which in turn support our economic systems.  It is a Gordian knot.    We creative humans have built a massive, impressive construction for ourselves; that creation is on the verge of destroying the planet.  Three video productions, one older, two recent, vividly illustrate what is happening that we prefer not to see.  Earth 2100 (PBS) is fictional; it is an excellent pseudo-documentary of the years between 2000 and 2100, well done, based on fact and interesting to watch.  The Story of Plastic (by the environmental group The Story of Stuff, shown on the Discovery Channel) is a visceral revelation of what we have done with our desire for convenience and profit and the overwhelming task of cleanup.   Planet of the Humans by Michael Moore, available on You Tube, pulls back the curtain on what we are headed towards on the path we now walk.  They are not pleasurable distractions, but thought-provoking and hopefully action-inspiring information we need if we have the courage to look and act.

The main components of the Gordian knot we have built ourselves can be summarized as Big Oil/Big Energy, Big Agriculture, Big Health and Medicine, Big Media, Big Military, and Big Banks. Big Technology facilitates all of them. It is hard to talk about one without the other, and certainly there are experts on each topic.  However, it does not need a technical expert to know some things. One is that technology is an extremely useful tool and may help us if we can use it with humility.  However, it is not God, and it will not save us, especially if we worship it, put our hopes and reliance on it.  It will not help us to make no change and simply continue with some variety of the systems we are now following. 

The changes we need will not be convenient.  They will require us to take care of ourselves and each other, rather than being taken care of by a hopefully benevolent government.  They will require us to accept and respect each other with all our differences; we cannot require everyone to be the same, nor can we require everyone to adhere to the same ideas.   We will have to find ways to peacefully cooperate and to join as one while at the same time honoring each other’s differences.  We will have to give up the idea of killing – each other, the old, the young, the Earth and her denizens – for the sake of short-term profit or aggrandizement.  We will have to learn to live more simply, attaching our self-worth and comfort to inner/spiritual health rather than the production, consumption and amassment of things.     That is a huge task.

For example, in order to reduce the rising temperature of the planet, we need immediately to stop extracting and using fossil fuels. That is not so easy when we realize that the technology needed to make such things as solar panels or wind farms consumes fossil fuels and releases carbon dioxide as much or more as the panels or wind farms save.  Those things will not save us.  In addition, the electricity on which we all depend is itself dependent on fossil fuels. Yes, it is cars and factories, but not just that.  Imagine a world without electricity.  Imagine how we will live in such a world.  We also cannot burn up our forests for fuel, as the forests themselves are the lungs of the world, sequestering the carbon and providing us with oxygen.  Imagine living in a world in which our only fuel to burn would be the twigs and dead wood which are naturally created in the lifespan of a tree.  We may need to know how to do that.  It is not convenient.

Many people think that reducing our population is the answer to our problems:  fewer people, less need for resources.  Of course, none agree on who it is who should be culled.   Killing off the unborn or the elderly or the disabled or those different from the powerful does not result in a better situation; it results in an unbalanced population.   Pandemics are an equalizing way of reducing population, but most of us would prefer to avoid them.   Nature has a way of balancing populations; when an ecosystem can no longer provide for an ever-expanding species, that species simply quits or limits reproducing for a time.  They do not have the technology to create (imperfect) contraceptives; they simply abstain.  Are we as strong as they?  Can we do that?   (Try reading Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis and focus on the description of the Hrossa.)

We need to reduce our sprawl, which has devastated the habitats of animals who now try, to our chagrin, to live among us.  No more suburbs.    Cities can be built vertically, both in high rises and low rises (beneath the ground).  Here, our technology might be useful in making these more comfortable.  Or, we can build rurally in clusters, with the expanse of land around the clusters rather than around individual homes.   Can we agree to live in density?  Can we agree to govern ourselves based on the decisions of likeminded groups gathered together, respecting the decisions of other like-minded groups different from ourselves?  Can we trade peacefully with someone with whose philosophy we disagree?

We humans, with our advanced technology, have succeeded in polluting our land and waters with factory farm runoff and pesticides and genetically engineered plants and animals not in nature, and we have succeeded in destroying the living nature of our soil.  We need to immediately cease operations of our factory farms and slaughterhouses and clean up the mess they have created.  We need to give up our pre-prepared foods, our out of season foods, our excessive meat consumption, our sugar addictions.  We need to engage in restorative, regenerative agriculture and organic family farms.  We need as much as possible to grow our own foods and re-learn the arts of cooking from scratch (men and women) and preserving foods.  Are we willing to learn?

We must realize that the time to abandon war has come.  If we believe that to stop killing each other is a sacrifice, can we understand the benefits of not existing under the fear of being attacked by another group or individual?  War is a major destroyer of the planet, and a major contributor to the systems which have brought us to where we are now.

We must give up the systems of banking and interest, which fuel the entirety of the destructive components we have now and create the massive inequality of resources with which we are now faced.  (check out the video, The Biggest Scam in the History of the World by, I believe, hiddensecretsaboutmoney.com, and posted also on Socratesgold.com/crucial-education-about-money/         Video #4) .We need to learn again to trade with each other and be willing to help a neighbor.  I think those are our basic instincts.  Are we willing to change to use them?

We need to give up big government, which by its very nature is more interested in amassing power than in the welfare of the people.  We need to give up the instruments of government control, such as massive surveillance, and instead be willing to agree on laws and mores in smaller groups, with the basic tenet being that each group respects the other and does not engage in violence against another.  Countries could still exist, but the control would be with the people, not from the top.  Can we have that conversation?

In all this, a respectful use of technology could help us.  It is the abuse of technology to dominate and consume the planet and disregard the other beings which inhabit it that is destructive now.  It is the use of technology to discourage the personal, physical connection of person to person so as to live behind a screen in an electronic interweaving which ignores nature, assuming that technology needs no nature,  that turns technology toxic to life.  Used correctly, this amazing tool could help us to do what we need.  We could start with science fiction (from which inventions often come) for ideas.  For example, in Frank Herbert’s Dune Trilogy, the people of the desert had unique ways of conserving and creating water which enabled them to live in the desert without destroying the often-fragile desert ecosystem.  We can turn to existing communities (check www.fic.org ), some of which have made great strides in sustainable, off-grid living, and some of which are expert on how to live and get along with others.

This posting has been decidedly longer than usual, and still covers only a part of what needs doing.  The bottom line is that it is time to stop focusing on the pandemic, or on whether our neighbor annoys us, or even on political parties (focus on candidates and issues instead).  We need right now to have the conversation of how we will make the many changes needed to save the planet which is our home.  That is a real and urgent issue, not a sentimental one.  The time is now.  Later will be too late.   Let us awaken now and put our energy into this conversation and these actions.

Peace, Diane