Now It Is Time to Emerge from a Time Of Chaotic Loss of Understanding to a Time of Peaceful Empathy.

Wouldn’t it be awful if we somehow forgot everything we knew? Believe it or not, that is exactly what has happened to us. While we’ve learned a lot about technology and book-learning, we’ve lost what we knew living in tribal society about living moral and satisfying lives. The shamanic tradition of tribal societies shows evidence of being not only fifty-thousand years old, but also being very nearly the same in all the remote corners of the world. The picture I see is of peoples who are self-consciously communitarian, finding sustenance and gratification in playing the unique supportive rôles made possible by their special talents and ambitions. I don’t mean to suggest they were free from the plagues of hatred, distrust, war, and famine that we see occurring now. I am not seeking perfection. I am seeking a sustainable path for the human race.

A World Spirituality before Religion

The values tribal people held in common about how to treat themselves and each other became the bases for great religious traditions. But as I watch interest in the patriarchal, desert religions diminish or disintegrate into spiteful, dogmatic fundamentalism, it seems to me in this picture I see that for fifty-thousand years we had an unconsciously common world heritage in how to be good humans interrupted about five thousand years ago by the growth of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. What we see around us now is that the desert religions are fading into irrelevance and choosing sides, in a chaos in which we don’t know what to do and have lost our unconscious common heritage in how to behave. Native Americans as well as other shamanic cultures saw this destruction happening and became nearly lost souls themselves in the agony of being cut adrift from their families and relations, their leaders, and their understanding of human existence. We cannot undo that unbelievable atrocity but we can learn from it.

Let us Be the People We Dream Of : Setting our Intention

The purpose of my writing, indeed my life now, is to learn how to set the stage for a return to the loving, adult value systems we once knew and for the development of earth-based societies which operate independently but are bound in harmonious mutual encouragement and self-defense by some kind of sheltering federation to be maintained by concerned representatives of all the people. This dream of mine is based on the dream of David Korten expressed in his 2006 book, “The Great Turning : From Empire to Earth Community”.  My effort is to draw from my old-man’s view of the world to create a vision of how we can shift from our enormously unsustainable chaos to an Earth Community which shares the intention of living in constructive peace and harmony to bring up our families and find ways to increase the happiness and security of the world.

I believe, with Korten, that when humans are interested in their own self-development, they can attain the spiritual maturity required to start to dream about a feasible society. We know from the ancients that we have to have the intention and the dream first in order to flesh out mechanisms for living harmoniously and sustainably. I think this is not the place to list the horrors we have constructed for ourselves but instead to discover which direction we want, to grab the tiller, and start making progress toward what we want for ourselves. Many great things are already happening across the world, but without a self-conscious unifying coherence we need to truly work together for a common end.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights,  ratified by many nations in 1948, is a spectacular beginning at assessing the conditions for life we all need, even though it is generally ignored and not even known about by most people. Many people think the United Nations is a curse and a threat to our “freedoms” while others think it is a plot to take over the world and enslave us, and still others think it is a tool of United States imperialism. Such ideas represent merely our fears; but a world at peace with itself absolutely must have a common thread, an international web of life, to borrow a phrase from a shamanic worldview. Any time we decide something is impossible or unattainable, we have erected a wall across the road we would need to travel, and we must be aware of that so we don’t strangle our own dreams before they are born. What I am calling for seems to me reminiscent of a universal grail quest, and to be sure can be undertaken exactly one step at a time.

Three Steps

The steps I imagine are: first, the cooperatively individual self-development into Korten’s “spiritual consciousness” so that we can shake loose the shackles with which we do enslave ourselves; second, the coming together around the values and circumstances we wish to attain in common; and third, the development of the mechanisms by which we can flourish as individuals in small communities linked together in a common network. I’m sure we can do this, and we have a near perfect starting model in the Iroquois Federation destroyed by the United States. Many who have not started thinking along these lines would say, “Oh, for Heaven’s sake, he’s dreaming!” But that represents the self-destruction in the suppression of shamanic cultures, in which the dreaming was completely the reality of the situation, exactly the place to begin, the discovery of the spiritual seed from which our prosperity must come. If ever we needed the benefits of non-ordinary reality, or Shamanic Spiritual Consciousness, as Michael Harner calls it, it is here and now.  We must remember that dreaming, whether in Ordinary Reality or Non-Ordinary Reality, is available to all of us. We also must remember that there are hundreds of great efforts currently being made in all of this, all around the world, but the linkup between them is just beginning. In short, we are never alone.

First Step : Insights into Being a Grownup Person.

There is a definite “web of life”, or one-mind as some traditions see it, by which we all have at least subconscious access to the thoughts, the spirits, the existences of each other even outside our own species. That can be construed as something fantastic or simply as obvious common experience. Like everything else in the way of ideas, we may see it any way we wish, and it will become part of the world we create for ourselves. We all have many things happen to us, and we interpret every one of them, and it is our memory of those interpretations that constitute our world. Thus the same things happen to all of us, and yet through our individual interpretations, we all live in different worlds or our own creation.

We have to remember this world of different worlds when we imagine we are understanding what someone else is saying. We also have to remember that people are always doing the best they can under their circumstances. Their circumstances may be crippling indeed, but people still do the best they can as they perceive themselves and their surroundings. So with all these different worlds, so close and yet so far, we have no real knowledge of each other, and the judging, blaming, attributing motives, etc., we are all accustomed to, are all out the window and not any part of real adult communications.

Whenever we feel stopped in our tracks, it is uncertainty and fear, which we can quietly explore and absorb without raising hell with ourselves or with others. When I am labeled a “fucking retard”, I must realize that something I said or did raised the curtain on some of that person’s fears. It does not tell me a single thing about the value of myself or about the value of the other person. It is always clear out of my realm, except that I must also appreciate and revere myself and others, in a fashion quite disconnected from whether I understand what they are talking about — because I know I can’t know what they are talking about. I may occasionally get little hints of resonance that make me feel “I know what you mean”, but I can’t make much more of it than that.

Still, we must expect that as we are all connected to the web-of-life, we will be able to hold conversations and come to agreements, even with our infinitely different but parallel experiences and interpretations. We know there are always lots of times when our interpretations conflict with those of another person’s, and exposure of that may feel threatening and that’s all a misunderstanding is. It is always something we can clear up, provided we both recognize there is a misunderstanding we would like to resolve. The distillation of all that is what all of our teachers, new and ancient, have meant by the encapsulating word “love”. It’s ridiculously simple and yet a rather elusive idea which really takes most of us quite a few years to get the hang of. Some children find it in their repertoire immediately and never lose it. Most of us find we have created for ourselves a life more difficult than that, and have to work on our lost innocence, our “Paradise Lost”. But it plainly is always there waiting to be taken. Is the cross in Christianity for example, anything more than the burden of love? It is a universal problem instantly solved by each of us by a simple choice and a decision to add it to our living consciousness. So we make good habits of thoughts, words, and deeds, and are much happier and empowered to work out big dreams with other people; indeed, with other people we don’t know, since we don’t know anyone to begin with. Our spirituality is not in conflict with any religion because it has the values of all religions.

Thus we are freed to choose how we feel, understanding that all our interpretations are our own creations.

Second Step : Let us come together around the values and circumstances we wish to attain in common.

Spiritual Consciousness Manifestations, with notes from David Korten, “The Great Turning”, and the Shamanist website “ShareWisdom”, by Hank Wesselman and Jill Kuykendall

“Spiritual Creatives live in an intensely democratic, complex, evolving integral world, which they engage as evolutionary co-creators. They know that their intention or dreaming is the underpinning of their co-creation of the future of their dreams, and they find meaning in serving as active partners or co-creators in Creation’s evolutionary quest to actualize its possibilities.

“They awaken to Creation as complex, multidimensional, interconnected, continuously unfolding whole, intimately connected to the one mind to which we all have connection and access.

“They return to the original sense of oneness we were born with, but with a richly nuanced appreciation of the complexity and grandeur of the whole of Creation as manifest in each person, animal, plant, and rock.

“They feel the interconnections and patterns between all persons, animals, plants, rocks, etc., as a personal presence which is a natural part of the presence of the planet on which they live, and treat all these relationships as spiritual experience, so that they are responsible for the sustainability of the planet and all it’s components, even as all these things are naturally changing. They seek the simplest possible manifestation of a society of all people with equal opportunity, justice, and peace for all. They understand that world problems exist awaiting solutions.

“They support an examined morality grounded in the universal principles of justice, love, and compassion common to the teachings of our most revered religious prophets.”

They keep opening windows to pieces of reality previously hidden from the conscious mind and find a profound sense of the spiritual unity of Creation.

They share the belief in the existence of an alternative reality, often referred to as the spirit world or dreamtime by traditional peoples, or as non-ordinary reality by modern mystics, along side the deeply interconnected material world to which we are accustomed, so that everything is material and spiritual.

They share the belief in the ability of some individuals to achieve transcendent states of consciousness and enter the alternative reality for problem solving and healing of self and others; this belief is usually accompanied by a strong desire to personally experience the alternative reality.

They have a common set of core values, including strong concern for social justice, social tolerance, individualism and spiritual freedom. strong support for women, children and the elderly, the rebuilding of families, neighborhoods and communities, in which human relationships are seen as more important than material gain. They have cultivated for themselves a sense of balance and harmony, a strong regard for the environment, a strong interest in alternative and preventive health-care modalities

They have learned to be responsible for themselves in understanding that how they feel in general is a matter of their own creation and interpretation. They realize that shaming and blaming is only self-destructive, for they can not have the information necessary to judge, and they know better than to resist what has happened.

They know they can think best when they are in a reflective, meditative frame of mind and refrain from making pronouncements in an elevated emotional state.

They know that an egalitarian, sustainable Earth Community must respect everything on the planet and treat all people as equal partners. Most economies have a more-or-less natural size, and the world population could be made of a federation of small natural economies, no stronger than necessary to meet the collective needs.

They know that worker-owned-and-directed enterprises are ideal for many in fully engaging their human abilities in a way that satisfies them and supports their families.

They know that infrastructure systems and perhaps several other systemic needs will involve much greater aggregates of people, but they must be structured so that the least of the workers can support a family and the workers most responsible for the whole may earn as much as four or five times the minimum. But the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have shown us conclusively that free capitalism becomes predator capitalism, so any enterprise that resembles capitalism will have to be seriously limited and controlled by some authority accountable to the people.

They know that bodies of human force, like police, national guard, militias, etc. may be formed for common protection from natural disasters and for rescue efforts, perhaps even emergency civil projects, but will not be armed in any way that gives them power over other people.

Much has been learned from the French Revolution, the American Revolution, the Iranian Revolution, and a variety of other structures invented around the world, and these can be adapted as desired provided that there is never again a class system that can interfere with a family’s reasonable, chosen effort to support families and educate children to the capacity of their interests and talents.

The Third Step : What mechanisms can we create by which we can flourish as individuals in small communities linked together in a common network?

Some Characteristics of Civil Government

A reasonable civil government has a minimal defense budget, just for keeping order in the vicinity of its borders and rendering assistance to people in distress. A growing coalition of such governments have international agreements and discussion channels so there is no excuse for wars between them. As discussion channels are opened, modifications will be made to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to make it inclusive of peoples outside the European-American cultural framework in which the 1948 copy was written.

A reasonable civil government maintains public accountability for all essential aspects of infrastructure, so there can be no privatization of banks, voting and elections, health insurance, prisons, police, armies, security agencies, postal services, retirement insurance, and real estate, although individuals and enterprises will be able to arrange finite leaseholds on necessary land. Media and schools are government infrastructure with constant direct interfacing with the populace at all levels, so that they are known to be accountable to the people and meeting the need perceived by the people. There will be formulated explicit limits on what can be privatized.

A reasonable civil government eliminates the creation as waste products of people, profits, society, and nature intrinsic to capitalist practice, and appreciates the linkages between all of them. The people will determine limits and guarantees use of the land the seas and other waters, and the air. There will be international protections for earth, water, oceans, and air, and for natural resources allocations and disposal.

A reasonable civil government, being of, by, and for the people, understands that available resources exist for the people rather than people existing for corporations, and nurtures cooperative planning and communal property. A reasonable civil government has an unavoidable progressive income tax, which supports infrastructure and assists the people as they decide. All people will have a livable wage, with capital available from a public bank for capital improvements. It undertakes to reframe the current notion of workers as isolated people and encourages an acculturation to a collection of workers working together for their own good. It knows that individual people must have an indelible use-right to the minimum necessary space on the planet to support their mental and physical health.

A reasonable civil government promotes and supports worker owned and directed associations for trade, manufacturing, agriculture, and other necessary industry.

A reasonable civil government enacts the following legislation to protect the dream of reclaiming the planet and to arrange the general well-being of all its citizens.

Twenty possible legislative themes

⒈ A sustainable planetary ecological action plan underpins everything and must include protection of oceans, atmosphere, forests, and water tables, an end to fertilizer that runs off fields, an end to privatization of water, an end to antibiotic use in meat production, and massive cooperative efforts for water conservation and reclamation.

⒉ The physical and financial infrastructure required for commerce and personal mobility.

⒊ A living wage for all, with focus on worker owned and directed local enterprises, or alternative worker organizations.

⒋ Affordable medical care available to all, with all medical decisions to be made only between doctor and patient.

⒌ Government that is transparent and open, with no secrets, which are basically lies and always trouble.

⒍ Freedom of the press and speech — for the people rather than the corporatocracy; freedom to assemble, with a demilitarized police which has no need to fear the people.

⒎ All voting must leave a tamper-proof paper record. Our two-party system and electoral college must be replaced by direct popular election and a preferential ballot for all elected offices.

⒏ Severe constitutional limits on lobbying by special interests.

⒐ A public study to see whether stock markets serve the collected people any benefit.

⒑ Public-only banks and no speculation — it’s our money, our planet, our future.

⒒ An end to wars and their profits — no excuses.

⒓ No exploitation of workers.

⒔ Respect for all other peoples as we respect ourselves.

⒕ Free public education with public accountability, an end to privatization of schools and restoration of our tenure system, so our universities once more have appropriate, paid, full-time, professional faculty.

⒖ An end of student debt.

⒗ There cannot be privatization when public accountability is required.

⒘ An end to schools for profit, privatized vote counting, private prisons, and the disgraceful abuses within them.

⒙ An end to profits made from public funds.

⒚ An economy in which necessary goods cost what they really cost, with profits limited.

⒛ Human respect for people means decent education, housing, opportunities for all.