Well, it seems our goober cousins from Texas have done it again. In case you haven’t heard, the good people of the Texas school board have banned Thomas Jefferson, evolution, Latino/as, and anything resembling reason from their curriculum. I know, I know: this is Texas we’re talking about and you can’t squeeze blood out of stone (nor intelligence), but the Texas decision will affect your school-aged children no matter where you live. More on this later...
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Awakening from the Trance
The planetary crisis we’re facing is an awakening signal. If we don’t shift our consciousness... we can destroy ourselves.
-- Barbara Marx Hubbard
I am a radical, but I understand that the only revolution that’s going to make a real difference is one that transforms us into human beings more capable of intelligent responses to the many crises we face.
Though we have confronted major problems throughout our shared history, the challenges we face today are unique in one important aspect -- they now affect the entire globe as a whole system. Never before has humanity been on the cusp of wiping out the earth’s biosphere and crippling its ecological foundations for countless generations to come. Never before have we been faced with the very real prospect of being the first known species to make itself extinct. Never before has the entire human family been called to work together to build a sustainable and meaningful future. Never before have so many been called to make sweeping changes in so little time.
Today monarchs, dictators, or even elected governments no longer control the world. We live in a world controlled by multinational corporations. Most of us work for them, we eat and drink their products, we are exposed to their pervasive assault on our senses via their advertising campaigns, and we live on an earth that provides the raw materials for their endless “production” and the storage for their endless garbage. Corporations have become more powerful than the governments that are supposed to regulate them, and in fact, they pay for the process by which a government can afford to be elected.
Throughout the world McDonalds, Coca Cola, Nike, and corporate marketing are invading local cultures. The danger of this encroaching corporate presence lies in its basic motivation. Corporations are primarily responsible to their shareholders. Profitability has more value than the health or well-being of a population. Creating and satisfying short-term goals and profits are more important than environmental sustainability or social justice.
In this way, the gifts of the earth are all being patented and made into commercial products.
Oppressive regimes such as the British in India or Nazi Germany exploit a population and can be eventually rejected by revolution or the intervention of an outside force. The power of commercial interests, however, is more insidious. It’s a power similar to the relationship between a drug pusher and an addict, a power that runs on the addictions of a population, without necessarily serving their deeper well-being. This is the collective trance of a consumer society and the global economy it creates. It works only because our collective feeling of lack. It thrives on the inner sense that something is missing, that there is something wrong with you and your life.
It’s quite simple, you’re compelled to believe that you need to buy their product. Drink this soda, this machine or pill that will make you less fat, this car, this house, this grill; fly to this great place for a vacation and you will feel better. Look at all the happy people smiling in this photo here. They feel better. See?
The global economy as we know it would not work with a contented population. You would have a hard time selling endless plastic gizmos to people who feel connected to themselves, to their environment, and who feel whole, who feel generous and grateful, and who know they have enough. This trance of lack recreates itself endlessly; it never reaches a level of contentment. You want more, and more, and more... and it does not bode well for our future. We live in this trance from birth to death.
It will take only a very small percentage of the world’s population to wake up for there to be a global awakening. This isn’t some pie in the sky optimism. There is evidence that one man’s stand against gang violence, for example, was directly responsible for the decrease of overall violent crime in New York City. The more people raise their consciousness and wake up, the more those people will be affected by a collective awakening. And the more they are open to that, the more it will facilitate their own awakening, and that of others. So it becomes a positive feedback loop. It is like a snowball gaining momentum as it rolls down a hill.
If you awaken from the trance, then one of two around you will resonate with your awakening. They in turn will affect one of two around them, and that’s how real change happens. It’s always been like that and it is the only thing that will save us.