Fighting the Muppetocracy

(I wanted to talk about the absence of allies, the fact that there is nothing to lean on, and nobody to protect us at the most fundamental levels. This is not an easy or reassuring post, and I may move it to my personal blog later.)

 
People talk about the 1%, the rule by the rich, as a The Fundamental Problem. But it's not, and we know it's not. The fundamental problem is that we're eating the earth. Our resource distribution issues, the 99% and the 1%,  exist within a wider framework of a "net ecological bankruptcy" where our species is at many times its sustainable footprint on the planet, and is killing the biosphere by degrees, sometimes faster and sometimes slower. We're out of resources, and we're drowning the poor, those closest to the water line, as we attempt to maintain our high consumption lifestyles.
 
People use terms like "rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic" but it's not until you consider the plight of the people of Haiti that you really understand that this metaphor is surprisingly literal. They had a crisis: an enormous earthquake which killed 300,000 people, about 3% of their population. Then the international community stepped in, raised billions of dollars to help, and nearly two years after the earthquake, around 800,000 people are still homeless. There is a pile of money, and yet the people sit on the streets or in cholera-ridden encampments, wondering why nobody helped them. Thousands of dollars per family sit in relief bank accounts, unspent. They have protests, asking for the money, but it was raised on their behalf by agencies which hold it in trust, and have no effective way to spend it. The crisis continues. What went wrong?
 
George Monbiot once said "nobody ever rioted for austerity!" and he was right, but right now, we're in a cleft stick, trapped between two crises, and we're not talking about rioting for austerity, but fighting for survival. The same set of forces which left the people of Haiti homeless and bereft, while funds raised to help them sit unspent repeats at many other levels of complexity, creating the global paralysis we are all trapped in. Once you understand, in your bones, that what is happening in Haiti is real, and much the same kinds of actors (governments, charities, the international community, the UN, the military) are attempting to solve the financial crisis and the environmental crisis, with about the same degree of success, the whole thing becomes much, much clearer.
 
What they have done, in failing the people of Haiti, is what they are doing to all of us on climate. Once you understand that it is much the same actors, in a much, much more complex and higher-stakes game, the full weight and presence of the situation can land. There are only two choices: face the situation, that our global governance systems are failing to safeguard our futures, and try to solve the real problem, or fail to face the situation, and risk standing on the deck with a rag in your hand polishing the brass on a handrail, the other end of which is plunging into the vasty deep as Spaceship Earth sinks below the waves. Does what you're doing matter?
 
I'm 40. I'm not sure that I'm not going to see the end of the world: more likely to be bio or nano than climate alone, or just possibly those old devils, nukes, but the escalating cycles of ignorant destruction increase, oscillations on a pendulum. One thing I took from Jamais Cascio's talk on climate geoengineering at Hub Westminster was very simple: "desperate people do desperate things" and a scenario that he described which involved warming, then fixes, then fixes for the problems or failure of the fixes and total nonlinear chaos as everybody scrambled to fix the climate seemed entirely plausible. Why is this even remotely plausible?
 
Because the alternative is that we cut carbon emissions, and then the rest of our footprint, enough to stop the process. And that ain't gonna happen while our primary energy generation technology is coal and oil. Our alternatives, solar and wind, get trivial amounts of government investment, and aren't profitable on huge scales in the marketplace without government subsidy because BLUNTLY it's a whole lot easier to burn oil than to capture the sun. That's just how it is, right now, until we fix the technology and it's been "two years out" for quite a few years. The miracle may be just around the corner, but it's as tough as ever to do the research, and the sheer capital requirements of transforming the global energy economy, even with the panel technology, never mind the political ructions caused by the abrupt end of the age of oil leave us looking at a hard path, even with the miracle in the bag, and it's not there yet.  Energy efficiency has been just-a-bit more profitable than energy waste for decades, and getting people to move even a centimetre in that direction works about as well as stamping out AIDS with only condoms. Without a technology breakthrough like protease inhibitors, a theoretically perfectly-effective policy measure does almost nothing. We don't have a sledgehammer yet, and history shows us that in general we need one.
 

Worse, we just don’t have the governance capacity to do it. The same muppets which left 800,000 Haitians on the street with billions in the bank to help them and told us that everything possible had been done are exactly the same class of muppets that we’re counting on to save us from climate change and oncoming nanobiotechnology risk. What’s happening in Kyoto, Cancun, Copenhagen and Durban is just the same thing that happened in Haiti: the responsible parties from the international level have completely dropped the ball, and reported it as the best possible outcome. And the tragedy is that it is.

 
Still they sit, on the streets, 800,000 afeared and hungry, the evidence of utter failure so much more tangible than the few dozen extra parts-per-million of CO2 etching its mark on our future. But it’s the same failure, by the same class of actors offering the same type of solutions.
 
They were not lying: everything the international community etc. were capable of doing had been done. They had money, they had a clear problem, and they were not able to act. Climate is just like that, but dozens of times more complicated, and with vastly more at stake. The worse case in Haiti is perhaps another thirty or fifty thousand people die, and millions live in poverty when they could have been cared for. The worst case globally is an unprecedented collapse in our global systems or, worse, a technological mishap trying to repair them, with even worse consequences.
 
This show brought to you by the international community, by government, by the NGOs, by well-intentioned individuals, by the UN, and all the rest of it. The same cast of clowns that screwed up Haiti.
 
Get it yet? Is it landing? 
 
We are screwed. We don't need to speculate on how or why, but we have an absolutely clear and rational expectation that there will be no sudden, effective, global and complete transformation in our global governance systems resulting in an effective resolution to our climate crisis.
 
We did not do it for poverty.
 
We do not do it for natural disasters.
 
We will not do it for climate.
 
Everything rests on us getting a technological fix for climate, and we're massively, dramatically underfunding research into those breakthrough technologies in favour of continuing to subsidize oil. These are the facts.
 
Now, let me stamp on the last piece of hope, and then pose a question to you.
 
Do you think Occupy, or any political group, Left, Right, Green, Libertarian or other, has any hope of doing so much better than our existing system that we actually manage climate?
 
I thought not.
 
You read about them in the papers. You might have even gone to your party conferences. Clowns, right? Bickering clowns, arguing back and forth over tiny points of doctrine. Given power, they make all the same mistakes that people make under the circumstances, and however much the policy changes, the politics, the process itself, is unchanged.
 
We've tried it all kinds of ways. It doesn't work. It's even worse at times, and there are moments of brilliance, moments of hope, but it doesn't work. We keep screwing the poor. We keep screwing the environment. We keep starting absolutely absurdist wars over imaginary sky faeries, royal bloodlines and other such triva.
 
We live in a dream world called history. History is in danger of turning into a nightmare.
 
Wake up.
 

Life has gone seriously wrong. You can point the finger at the assassination of Gandhi, or Kennedy, or Parsons. You can suggest it was The Bible, The Communist Manifesto or Left Behind. Gore vs. Bush in 2001 is another key turning point in history. Some weirdos blame the invention of agriculture. I, personally, think that a wave of assassinations and dirty tricks campaigns starting with Gandhi and ending with… well, perhaps still going, is substantial part of the problem. But even if none of that had happened, how can you expect the world to work as one, to work as a whole, if we are divided into these arbitrary political units called “countries” each one of which has the complete right to ignore everything happening outside of its borders at whim. From the divisions have come wars, but again, not without the consent of the people.

 
Now we have a truly global governance problem: how to tell people they are not allowed to burn coal and oil any more, at anything like these levels. But having seen the horrors unleashed by continental governments in the Former Soviet Union, and watching the with abject helplessness as America becomes a criminal enterprise, eating its own Constitution after ten years of horrific wars against populations entirely unrelated to the events of 9/11/2001… with this as a background, how could we ever trust a world government?
 
Gandhi’s last card was this: with enough discipline, we could govern ourselves and our own affairs so that the State had little or nothing to do. Everyone perfect in their duty to their family. Everyone perfect in their duty to their neighbour. Every village perfect in its duty to its poorer neighbours: a global wave of responsibility displacing coercive models at every point.
 
That’s not happening either.
 
And now the question: do you know what to do?
 
So here we are, face to face, at the end of our tethers. If you're not aware of this situation, I guarantee you it's because you're not paying attention, alas. The more people know about these issues, the more worried they get. The best of us are chronically depressed and grasping at straws, fighting our own minor battles in full expectation of futility, while awaiting results that seem to take forever to come.
 
This is the failure that the Dark Mountain project seeks to address in a new way, if I understand Dougald Hine and Paul Kingsnorth correctly. Not to fix it, but to tell the story of it, and to find new ways to live with the reality of it, impossible as it is.
 
Perhaps our grandparents felt this way when people invented the nuclear bomb and then announced Mutually Assured Destruction. Our most recent ancestors lived under a much, much darker shadow, but it was one that relatively small numbers of extremely skilled and knowledgeable humans controlled, however much we may have doubted their sanity.
 
I am among the most capable of my generation. I do not have any cards left to play. I do not have any master plan. I do not know what to do to make this better.
 
All I can do is tell you the story, honestly, and hope that you understand.
 
And if you have any God-Kings, send them.
 
(I wanted to talk about the absence of allies, the fact that there is nothing to lean on, and nobody to protect us at the most fundamental levels. This is not an easy or reassuring post, and I may move it to my personal blog later. But if you made it this far, please sign up and leave a comment.)
Has Likes

Not bad, Mr. Vinay Gupta.

Noticed a couple of typos. ‘triva’, ‘desperate people do ?’

History, historically, has always been a nightmare, IMO.

“Some weirdos blame the invention of agriculture.”

Eh ? Unwarranted, unnescessary, irrelevant smear, IMO.

So…

There’s no answer, no solution, no escape. Just sit on the Dark Mountainside, bear witness, and others will join you, laugh, cry, remain serene, don’t make things worse…

Does any of it matter ? is a koan I cannot answer, even for myself…

http://uncivilisation.ning.com/forum/topics/easter-island?commentId=5530720%3AComment%3A49741

Vinay says:

"we are divided

Vinay says:

“we are divided into these arbitrary political units called “countries” each one of which has the complete right to ignore everything happening outside of its borders at whim”.

To which I reply:

We are divided into these arbitrary units called “people”, each one of which has the complete right to ignore everything happening outside their homes at whim, and furthermore, has the inalienable right to believe whatever they want, regardless of any lack of factual / evidential basis, and to proclaim that their ‘opinion’ is just as valid as anybody else’s.

I’m not suggesting any solutions here, because there probably aren’t any; just simply pointing out that  the problem starts at much lower level than the nation-state.

Phil

Bugger.

That’s a really good point. I hadn’t taken the analysis in that direction.

Thank you.

I look forward to sharing time, my friend

I look forward to a face-to-face chat, but in the meantime, I found Charles Eisenstein’s work helped in this kind of place.

There’s a taster republished on my site here: http://www.darkoptimism.org/2009/10/16/rituals-for-lover-earth/

All that we have left from Gandhi… is the method of Satyagraha: truth-force.

I made a mistake in my early attempts to integrate Gandhi by sticking too close to his political and economic theories. That was a mistake because so much has changed in the 60ish years since Mahatmaji died that a lot of it just doesn’t make sense, and he died before much of the theory was tested, which means we don’t have his experience and learning about his own philosophies to learn from. His models constantly evolved, and we have no idea what he would have added, subtracted or changed about his theories given more time!

So I’ve had to go back and apply the method: first speak the truth, then live it. I’m not doing very well at living the truth - still tied to market capitalism, and hedging my bets with the military-industrial complex. I have not achieved ahimsa - I’ve got an intellectual understanding of non-violence, and the soul of a killer. I’m still working towards it, but it seems further away than ever: rage gets fast, easy, destructive results.

But that’s the key: I am where I am, and I tell the truth about what I know. The method is what counts from Gandhiji, not his results from the method.

We have very little hope of implementing his conclusions, but there is absolute freedom to implement his methods and reach our own conclusions. It’ll likely destroy everything we believe and most of our cherished assumptions along the way, but isn’t that the point: it cost Gandhi his racism, his caste privilege, his gender privilege and everything else as he went along coming to the conclusion that so much of his own native culture was abuse and lies, and polished layer after layer clear, abandoning each unsupportable prejudice within himself and within the world as he went.

Such are our demigods of the past.

Such may we become!

The only card I have left is to acknowledge that I am out of cards.

I really was listening to that old devil Bembo Davis.

All that we have left from Gandhi… is the method of Satyagraha: truth-force.

I made a mistake in my early attempts to integrate Gandhi by sticking too close to his political and economic theories. That was a mistake because so much has changed in the 60ish years since Mahatmaji died that a lot of it just doesn’t make sense, and he died before much of the theory was tested, which means we don’t have his experience and learning about his own philosophies to learn from. His models constantly evolved, and we have no idea what he would have added, subtracted or changed about his theories given more time!

So I’ve had to go back and apply the method: first speak the truth, then live it. I’m not doing very well at living the truth - still tied to market capitalism, and hedging my bets with the military-industrial complex. I have not achieved ahimsa - I’ve got an intellectual understanding of non-violence, and the soul of a killer. I’m still working towards it, but it seems further away than ever: rage gets fast, easy, destructive results.

But that’s the key: I am where I am, and I tell the truth about what I know. The method is what counts from Gandhiji, not his results from the method.

We have very little hope of implementing his conclusions, but there is absolute freedom to implement his methods and reach our own conclusions. It’ll likely destroy everything we believe and most of our cherished assumptions along the way, but isn’t that the point: it cost Gandhi his racism, his caste privilege, his gender privilege and everything else as he went along coming to the conclusion that so much of his own native culture was abuse and lies, and polished layer after layer clear, abandoning each unsupportable prejudice within himself and within the world as he went.

Such are our demigods of the past.

Such may we become!

The only card I have left is to acknowledge that I am out of cards.

I really was listening to that old devil Bembo Davis.

clanging cymbal

I am sorry, I cannot follow you along this line of thinking. You are a clanging cymbal today, dear. Clear your mind. Chaos is a friend of mine. – Bob Dylan

In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.

Allies, THERE ARE. You don’t see them, but they exist. Maybe there is no army running behind you, but there is something. There is always something working to meet our desires. We have to allow time for the details, timing, and delivery to be organized.

See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin!

This does not mean to stop working. It means to stop W-O-R-R-I-N-G. We do things, and believe that our actions have no impact, but they do have one. Things are changing slowly - far too slowly for my taste - but I have no doubt they evolve. No doubt. Absolutely none.

Because I know that intention and desire, in the field of pure potentiality, have an infinite organizing power. What I want is obviously too large to be carried by one individual. But I want it anyway. I plant the seed of intent.

Instead of believing you played your last card, why don’t you aim to become a miracle worker.

Have a bit of faith in yourself and those around you. You are capable of great things, you know it. You are extremely talented. If you do not know what to do or how to do it, then stop moving for a while, do no-thing. Non-action. Let go.

No Faith.

Roughly a thousand children an hour die of malnutrition or preventable disease, Lynn.

I have no faith. We have taken no effective action to stem that tide in our generation.

That doesn’t mean that it won’t work out in the end, but it is not working right now, and the compromises we have made on realism to remain positive and remain active are destroying our operational effectiveness in analysis of the problem and action to prevent further damage to the world and the people.

It’s that simple: until we can admit that this is not enough, and not working, we cannot go further.

We have to admit failure, and do the analysis on what went wrong, before we can realistically move forwards to a strategy that might convert our good intentions into a global solution for all of us. It’s the tendency to minimize our failures, and not to count the dead among the poor, and the loss of species etc. which is betraying the accurate feedback loop which would bring us to the conclusion that we are achieving almost nothing.

It’s like protecting a single house as a city burns down and calling it victory because, well, we’ve saved one house. Perhaps it’s a museum or the center of government we saved, but the city itself is being abandoned to the fire, and our minor successes are hailed as great victories.

We need a desolation of the spirit which matches the desolation of the situation.

From that, if we are strong enough, emerges light. But we must go all the way to get to the other side, and not stop at the false hope which comes before dispare if we are going to figure out how to really affect the situation, because every piece of false hope we carry turns into flawed action, factors we did not consider in our analysis. And the worse the material is, the more likely we are to exclude it from our mental models, and the more critical actually planning to deal with it is.

We are biased to ignore the facts it is most vital that we include in our strategic and political models of the world.

We are biased to ignore the most powerful facts.

Overcoming this blindness is the most critical first step in giving a new birth to a realpolitik for the environmental age.

Faith Requires Truth

I too have travelled many paths to get to my current understanding that we have been deeply remiss in our care for the poor and we all face disaster unless there are fundamental changes in the very near future.

As time gets shorter, I have been impelled to switch my efforts from the traditional routes into a combination of preparation for dealing with the likely disaster combined with a parallel effort to find the right people to enact what we Americans refer to as a “hail Mary pass” from our football when your side is down so far that there is nothing to be lost by just throwing the ball as far as you can and hoping that someone from your side can catch it.

There is one thing, and one thing only as far as I can tell, that can save us from the global collapse and die-off that seems inevitable given current trends.

We must organize from the bottom up to take on power directly. Not through force but through economic warfare. Money controls the levers of power. Consumers and investors control money and profits through their actions. The right set of small changes can have large effects if done in a coordinated way. This must be guerrilla warfare, a frontal assault will only be crushed. That does not mean a centralized and controled way, nor does it mean that the coordination will not organic and bottom up. We just need the equivalent of Gene Sharp’s work for economic revolution.

There is much we can do.

But first the truth, the real truth, must out.

Voting with your time

Inflecto and all, I am interested in the bottom up approach. Which brings me back to the Edgeryders approach: not so much to duplicate existing broad-spanning conversation, however interesting, but finding out about what people are actually doing. The thinking is this: if young people in Europe are putting time, energy resources in trying to achieve something, it means they really care about it. Whereas talk, as we know, is quite cheap - especially on the Internet.

So, guys, there is a lot of intellectual firepower here, and I would be curious to find out exactly what you are up to. I know a bit about Vinay, not so much about the others. Would you be up for sharing with us what you are doing? It could fit on Share your Ryde, The Quest for Paid Work, your user profile or wherever you want, but it would be interesting!

Humans and hope

I do tend to end up with a similarly bleak view of the world - it seems “rational” to end up with an analysis like this.  And I increasigly distrust my “rationalism” - it doesn’t offer solutions.

I have no idea how we resist the American monster.

I’m 52.  Even a few years ago I thought  I’d escape the main thrust of climate change in my lifetime.  I understand the exponential rate of change well enough to know I’ll se a lot of shit, more than we can hope to turn back.  0.8C in 150 years and 5 more in 90 years speaks for itself - the last 1 degree rise will take place over about 5 years.  All 19 high growth climate models show the arctic rise is 4 x earth average = 24C by the end of the century.  And we expected 2C ten years ago, 4C 3 years ago and 6C now…

Sense of time is important - we (working class) lived throuh shit for much of recorded history.  The bubble of the last 50 years has coccooned us from that reality (in the west) - most recently via the exploitation of anyone left in the world to enslave.  It doesn’t have to be like this and it is probably going to be a lot worse than this in future.  An ecologist could predict huge population collapse without having to do the maths.

However,  humans regularly surprise me and I never give up hope.

And I don’t wish to negate hope with dark stories - we need examplars to accompany the problem - possible solutions.  Make the examplars well known enough that the oppressors or muppets crush or mismanage that hope?

Structure drives behaviour to a large extent; the hope for individual actors to escape muppetdom is slim, if non-existent.  A charismatic “leader” might go the way of Gandhi.

Do we make great strides by somehow removing oligarchical media?  In what ways are new stories going to reach a critical mass without removal of this disease?  Distributed information and filter bubbles don’t seem to help there either.

We need to support each other with positive messages, as well as promoting awareness in others.

At the moment my default behaviour is to stay local and build whatever awareness and resilience I can.  It is a drop in the ocean - at once both a bounteous and hostile ocean.  If I think too hard I start sinking, if I dream I find the energy to swim

I agree, but not on positivity

I think it’s very important that we don’t disengage from the small steps - we don’t understand the structure of the problem well enough to know if one of those small steps will suddenly unravel the entire situation. It’s happened before: who could have predicted that The Pill (birth control) would turn out to be such an enormously critical part of social development in the last 50 years, not just for women, but for the whole of society as control of fertility turned into a key aspect of human freedom?

At the same time, I could not be more against positive messaging. We need realism about the situation, and we need the kind of bleak perspective which does not cause us to swallow our negative emotions about the fate of the planet and the state of our lives because without that bleak realism, we cannot be fully integrated.

How should members of the dominant species feel as they wreck what, as far as we know, is the only repository of Life in the entire universe?

Perhaps if we all felt that way, we would act differently.

This is my challenge: an emotional cartography of the human experience of being aware of ourselves killing the world, as a way of making change. I’m out here feeling the terrain as well as I’m able, in much the same way that I did for genocide, nuclear terrorism and pandemic flu, to try and know it emotionally well enough to act on it.

When I feel positively about it, the world will know.

Sorry if that seems bleak, but that’s my real state today.

yes, we need the call to action

and it may well be easier and faster to get people to collaborate against something than for something.

It is a big task to wean our econoy from oil, coal and other polluting technologies and to make progress with what we have. Lots of machinations to uncover. Some will go there and clear out the rat’s nest, others build a new economy.

“Who said renewables are not competitive?” Gunter Pauli

how did the duplicate happen?  sorry, deleted

Interesting thinking (but wrong campaign?)

Vinay, it says a lot about you that you would bring up global governance issues in a mission of the “Making a living” campaign! I would see this truly biblical “cry in the desert” more on other campaigns: given the nature of climate, one about common resources springs to mind. The point is legitimate, and we might want to bring it back with some force later into Edgeryders.

Me? I had in mind the individual scale; I still do. Allies are people (or non-human entities, such as institutions) that we can turn to for help as we angle for making a living with reasonable integrity. Maybe I am just petty; on the other hand, maybe not. One thing that I like to say in collective action debates - I would certainly use it if I were sitting in a conference and you were to deliver a speech like this:

there is no “we”

That is to say, there is no entity called “we” that acts in a coherent way in pursuit of its goals. “We did not do it for poverty” implies that this guy “we” has agency, and chose not to do it. But of course “we” has no agency, it is an emergent property of several things lower-level entities (people and organizations) do in a tightly interrelated world.

So, to figure out why the world looks the way it does, it makes sense to start at the lower level. Who can help you, or me, or any of the other Edgeryders in our quests (plural) for making a liing with integrity? Let’s resolve “we”, and figure out its componenet parts and their mutual interactions. Which brings us back, I guess, to “Bring on the allies”.

The Practical Side of Making a Living

I couldn’t agree more on There Is No We. I keep finding myself correcting other people, and making them name the “we” to which they refer - all sentient beings, all humanity, their social group, their family, just themselves. I refer to the hexayurt project as “we” sometimes, but it’s only really become a “we” in the last two years. First person plural, as @dymaxion often says.

For me, the bottom line is that I’ve had to structure my life around not being able to get paid for working on the real problems, because our institutions won’t admit they exist.

I can’t get hired to help save the world from the problem of broken institutions and failed global governance by those same broken instututions and failed global governance. There’s just never really been a place for me at the table in government because I’m ruthlessly insistent on dealing with the big problems, not the stuff inside of the four year electoral cycle, but the stuff on the same basic scale as the Policy of Containment, the long-haul intergenerational struggles for coherence and clarity in the face of our global threats.

So I’ve had to learn to make a living while working on the real problems outside of the government funding streams, and indeed, even outside of the academic funding streams -

  • no place in government,
  • no place in academia, 
  • no place in industry. 
I've had friends in all three sectors who've helped me get by, but if we were actually getting on top of these problems globally, probably I'd run a department in some critical area inside of one of those three sectors: I'd be a director, not a starving political artist fighting a guerilla policy war from the trenches on the wrong side of town. My inability to get funded comes directly from the inability of even progressive funding institutions to understand the problem, and the color of money required to directly address it.

I live in the funding shadow, in the blind spot, in the cognitive dissonance of the State as it struggles to face these problems on behalf of all of us. It’s like riding in the wake of an enormous truck or ship.

…probably I’d run a department in some critical area inside of one of those three sectors: I’d be a director, …”

And in the immortal words of Ian Dury and the Blockheads, what a waste that would be !

Havn’t we already got more than enough ‘directors’ ? If you get ‘inside’, you are already co-opted and next thing you’ll be worrying about your  status, the model of car you’re in, your tailors, advancement up the ladder towards your pension scheme. Much better to be lean, mean, hungry, fierce and free, and accept that your path will be unique, nothing like anything a careers adviser will have ever encountered in the history of the world…

And stop complaining, ffs, you seem to think it is your personal task to save all and everything, and reconstruct the human species, - in a way, it is - but the fact that it can’t be done by snapping your fingers and producing ‘the instant result’ shouldn’t be a surprise. Should it ? If it was easy, someone would have fixed everything by now. Doesn’t mean you are failing, means that the task is kinda BIG and weird.

You excell at analysis, Vinay. Help us all to understand how the machine works, teach us, explain how things are, so we can better see what to do. Stop worrying about your identity, you’re not THAT important, whether you are a gentle peace guru or a rabid killer, who cares ? do what you’re best at, delegate, spread the load out in ripples, so that people you’ll never know or meet hear and learn and understand. Ask for donations, set up a payment method, so others can assist you so that you don’t starve :slight_smile:

Another thought…

It would

Another thought…

It would be a good start, before getting carried away with massive idealistic intentions, just to do the ordinary everyday stuff - well, I was going to say superbly, but just adequately and efficiently would do - for example, Vinay Gupta, if you are going to go to all that trouble to give a fine lecture to 20 people, why not get a decent video camera and set it up properly first, and do a sound check and lighting check before hand, so that the projections can be seen and read ? Then you can reach thousands, millions of people. The content of the lecture was superb, important, the delivery was professional and amusing, but the technical problems were pitiful, a school kid could do better.

Why aren’t there youtubes and transcripts for those ideas freely available and widely distributed ? because the technical quality was total crap ! that’s why.

Separate self VS Oneness

I shake my head in disappointment when I read through this thread. To the point that comments here made me dream at night about missed planes.

I would certainly not waste my time to sit in a conference where someone would deliver a speech like this: “There is no We.” That would amount for me to a speech about “The earth is flat.”

Until now, there may not have been much ‘We’ conveyed by our institutions, because these are conducted by people who themselves focus on the separate self.

Life has taught me that a person’s identity is a “socially induced hallucination”. I found out that there is no such thing as a person. I realized that we are a localized expression of a unified field. “Every drop of sap contains the fullness of the whole tree.” (Maharishi Mahesh Yogi)  Which means that in reality, there is only a bundle of consciousness constantly in flux. We perceive a separate self (Me). But it is an illusion. The real nature of beings is that there is only a We.

Deepak Chopra explains that the biggest challenge now is that most individuals of our society believe in the separate self. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at6d5yjFGeE

Bringing our attention to oneness inspires the gathering with a power or synergy that gives access to a field of possibilities. I’m not saying that all problems will fly away. But by making an effort to focus thoughts on oneness, it opens up possibilities.

Alberto Cottica suggested the other day that I think in a Paulo Coelho-like way. This is how Coelho describes separate self VS oneness:

The vast multitude of humans (i.e., the sheep) know only the physical aspect of their existence. When an individual realizes his or her oneness, he or she sheds identification with the material world thereby raising consciousness higher to a purer realm.

I like to think that this (raising consciousness to a higher level) can be applied to the economy and to governance. It gives me hope and faith in humanity. It self-motivates me to continue to raise awareness about open government principles.

To keep repeating that there are no allies, that there is no We, is to remain in a separate realm. If this concept is not internalized, I hardly see how to move to the next step, the next Edgeryders campaign, ‘We the people’.