The Summer of 2017

Many years ago, I forget how long ago now, I was looking ahead at the future. I was going along, one year at a time, just looking for anything I thought might be a significant event or turning point. I saw lots of things, but the one thing that stood out in my mind was that when I got to 2017, the mood of the entire U.S. was at a fever-pitch. In the summer of 2017 there was a huge mob of people that descended on Washington DC and someone – I thought someone ‘presidential’ – was run out of town on a rail after being practically tarred and feathered!

As last year’s election drew near and everyone was saying that Hillary Clinton was going to be president, I thought, “Uh-oh! Hillary might get run out of town!”

When Donald Trump was elected, I thought, “Uh-oh! The Donald might get run out of town!”

When I learned that Obama was still in Washington, that he was organizing protests against Trump and using taxpayer money to bail out protesters who were arrested, I thought “Oh my! Obama might be the one who gets run out of town! Those activities are seditious, illegal, and probably treasonous.” 

So now I’m watching to see what happens. It’s possible we’ve taken a different timeline, but certainly the mood of the country is pretty feverish…guess I’ll just have to watch what’s unfolding. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about clairvoyance, it’s patience. You ‘see,’ and then you wait and watch, remaining ready for anything and creating whatever good you can along the way.

Immaturity Among Nations

I have to laugh. The new trend in inflammatory rhetoric is complaining about other countries that “interfere” in national policy or procedures. First, it was the U.S. blasting Russia for the alleged hacking of Clinton emails. The latest is China blasting the U.S. because we invited Taiwanese delegates to Trump’s inauguration.  This reminds me of my children as they grew up. Each one got into trouble in some way and got caught…because adults talk to one another

I will never forget the day my second daughter stood in front of me, hands on hips, and said in her strictest, most powerful voice, “You may not discuss me with anyone. I forbid you to talk to other people about me!”

Trying not to laugh out loud, I simply said, “Sorry! Parents talk, teachers talk, and neighbors talk. That’s how we make sure no one gets into serious trouble.”

“That’s not fair!” she argued loudly.

“Life is not fair, and I want you to get to adulthood in one piece!” I replied. As I walked away I added, “And I’m going to talk about you with whoever I need or want to as long as you’re under my roof.”

The nations of the world are like a bunch of siblings with no parents. The truth is, there is no way that any nation can afford to not do what it must to find out what the rest of us are up to. There is no way that one nation can forbid others to talk, visit, or trade with anyone else. We need to talk. We need to know what is going on. We need to know one another. It will keep us out of trouble.

Thinking About the Future

We have problems. Serious problems. Problems like poverty, hunger, homelessness, wars, immigration, financial systems, corruption, and many more. Something is wrong.

A worldview is a way of organizing ourselves, it’s a system, a collection of beliefs about how the world should be. Do most of the people you know believe that we should be hungry? Homeless? Killing one another? Poverty-stricken? I don’t know anyone who believes that that’s the way we should live. So why do we put up with such conditions? Is it because we have never stopped to examine the roots of such a system?

Well, it’s time. And what do we find when we get right down to those roots? We find two things.

One is the distortion of ownership. Ownership is not bad, in itself. However, it is not good to allow the idea of ownership to pave the way for the bullies, corporations, or nations to take over everything – to claim that the land is theirs, the water is theirs, the money is theirs, and all the power belongs to them.

The second thing is the concept that some people are better and more deserving than others. Healthy competition helps to nurture our growth, but not when it results in the belief that some people are more important than others. This paves the way for gross imbalance in a system. We are all valuable in different ways.

What if the person who was the best gardener was obliged to feed the most people? What if the group that made the best cellphones had the job of supplying the most people? What if the best artist, writer, or singer was expected to present visionary material to the widest slice of the public? What if the best leader was expected to negotiate only peace and service to others?

And what if 6.9 billion people woke up one day to realize they were cold, hungry, thirsty, homeless, cut off from what they needed to survive because of money, and being encouraged to slaughter one another? Would they continue to go along with such a system? Or would they begin to notice that there was something ass-backwards about that system?

We are right there!

This is the end of an age…the age of industrialism, of coal, oil, and chemistry, of nation states and capitalism, of religion. Industrialism has gone as far as it can go without totally destroying the Earth. Coal, oil, and chemistry have gone as far as they can go in covering up the discovery of free energy. Nations states and capitalism have gone as far as they can go without completely destroying civilization. And religion has gone as far as it can go without completely arresting all human development.

What is beyond the end of our age? It’s time to think creatively about the future.

 

Pristine D.C.

Back in 2011 or thereabouts, I happened to be in Washington D.C. to give a lecture. I met someone for lunch in a nice neighborhood, and on my way home took a wrong turn and got lost. Trying to find my way back to my hotel, I ended up driving through one neighborhood after another. These were fabulously expensive neighborhoods with beautifully landscaped yards. Workmen were everywhere, mowing lawns that looked like green carpeting, pushing wheelbarrows filled with new flowers to replace the ‘out of season’ ones, trimming bushes and trees, sweeping driveways, blowing leaves and miscellaneous debris into neat piles to be picked up. It was all so pristine.

I thought about my farm back home in Michigan with its dandelions, wildflowers, untrimmed trees, and the wildness of its fields. I thought about Detroit, and Flint, and the many abandoned houses I saw everywhere I went across the entire state. I thought about how I was struggling to hang onto my place, how everyone I knew was hurting financially, looking for work – any kind of work – when it suddenly struck me that the people in Washington D.C. had not even been touched by the financial collapse of 2008. They were living in a different world. They neither knew nor cared what was happening in Michigan.

I eventually found my way back, but the stark awareness of the ignorance of Washington D.C. about what it was like to lose your livelihood, your workplace, your security, and your home never left me. With the election of Trump, I wonder if Washington is going to have their own version of upheaval, loss of livelihood, workplace, security, and home.  

 

 

 

 

12 Wishes for Christmas – #12

#12 – May this Christmas bring us truly new lives in which we remember how to sing and dance. Under every tree may we find treasures of hard-earned insight and wisdom. May we celebrate our age and good health, and may our stockings be filled with possibility and sass!