It has occurred to me that when I post a blog, or a meme to Social media, I am writing as much for myself and an audience. For instance, I wrote a meme the other day saying,” Perhaps, instead of making excuses for not doing something, you should find reasons to do it.” Writing this was as much for myself, a reminder, to find reasons to complete work, that it was for anyone else. That said, the meme is certainly true for everyone. This is what our culture conditions us to do, preventing change, to find excuses not to do a thing.
This brings up the real topic of this post, not taking things personally. When you realize that most posts are more about the person posting than about you, or anyone else, you come to the conclusion that is is not a personal attack. At least you should, both realize it is not about you and is not personal. But there I go shoulding all over everything. As we all know, social media is full of reactionary behavior, in fact it prospers when it is. This is why social media is such a two edged sword: The business of social media thrives on dissension and divisiveness, while the promise of social media is about connection and communication. The challenge is, how to keep the positive and avoid the negative? If anyone has figured this out please share it with me!
So, dancing with myself… Everything is about me, when it comes to me, and everything is about you, when it comes to you. Keeping this in mind makes communication so much easier and fruitful. What I say and do is not about you, it is about me, about how I see the universe, how I chose to act and connect. The same is true for you. We are dancing with ourselves. We are also engaging with the rest of the world at some level. Confused yet? When we are connecting with others, if you can remember that we are specking for ourselves, and listen with that in mind, you can actually find a place where we understand and can connect, authentically, find common ground and begin building a mutually agreed set of symbols on which to build. This can be referred to as real communication.
When you look at it, you realize that we are, always, both dancing with ourselves and others, and when we can agree on the steps, we can make something beautiful, and meaningful.
I struggle with providing validation to the world, because that is how we are structured, isn’t it? We are asked to validate our existence at every level, with letters after our name, people that we know, the schools we have gone to, the restaurants where we eat, the books that we read and every other thing. We feel weighed, measured and found wanting, in our own eyes.
I say this, because I am offering you the only validation that I believe matters, that I am on this journey with you, and am willing and wanting to share my discoveries. If my level of education matters to you, or what kind of car I drive, what my income level is… stop reading because I will never meet your requirements for value. The value I offer is my insights on this life we live and on the potential to make it more human and make us all a bit more resilient. If that interests you, then this is my story from the road.
First I need to tell you that I have not lived the classic path to success, the life we all get pushed toward with promises of success if you take these steps. I did not go to the right schools, I was not part of the in crowd, I never drove the right cars, and a corporate gig was never something I was going to easily get. I did work for a corporation, briefly, and swore to never do that again. I could say something snarky here, like I would not sell my integrity, and that would be true, but I was paid off to leave, because I challenged the norms, asked questions, and said when I was dissatisfied with the answers. This will tell you much about my approach to the journey… Ask until you get an answer that makes sense, which holds honesty and value. I believe, there are core truths that become evident when you clear away the garbage laying on top.
What I am saying is that you need to clean up a lot of garbage before you can even see the road and take the first step. At least I did, and it seems to be true for everyone, even the Buddhist monk needs to clear his mind and learn to see before he take the path to enlightenment. While I do no expect to put on robes and sit in lotus looking for Nirvana, I can get the CD on Amazon… I am following a path to truth and looking for a way to a better, more human and resilient, existence for myself, my family and the rest of us. And like many things the work starts with a shovel…
The hardest work I have done was to forgive myself for my mistakes and failures… RIGHT! This is an ongoing effort that will take the time I have remaining to me, and still not be done. We are conditioned to focus on our failures and our mistakes, and taught to consider them as weaknesses. In fact, nothing is further from the truth, It is only through failure and mistakes that we learn, and eventually succeed. This, after all, is a journey, not a destination, and all of the steps you take bring you further down the path of discovery and accomplishment. Failure and mistakes are part of that, in fact they are necessary for you to see the road at all. The only true failure is to stop moving forward, not taking the next step. The hardest work is learning to accept that noting is truly permanent and that change is a natural state of the universe. Having a fixed, rigid expectation of life, will only disappoint you.
Human beings are hard wired for living in a cultural framework. That said, the framework is a construct of agreed upon ways to interact. This is how we can live together. We perceive culture as a rigid, fixed thing, when in fact it is multiple overlaying perceptions of how we are, being manipulated for the benefit of the few. We cannot think of this a a recent, today, affect, it has been happening for centuries. We are only seeing it now because it has continued until it has become extreme. Normally it would be temporarily reset through a revolutionary process. As it has for thousands of years. There is a saying that doing the same thing over and over again is insanity… One of the things I have accepted on this journey is that we are culturally insane. Culture is a living construct, it has been changed many times, we do not always understand this because the change is often generational. The issue is that the changes have never addressed the sickness at the core. I speak of this to provide context to my story, and to help you move along on yours.
I do not know when I became aware of a great wrongness, a disconnect, between who we are as humans and how we live. I know that I was pretty young, maybe even before I was 10. I know that I was deeply aware of it throughout my teens and less aware in my twenty’s. Life being what it was, I was trying to fit into a world that I was not suited for, and much of my time was spent trying to validate myself in this cultural framework. It was not until the birth of my daughter that a glimmer of my core truth began to make itself known again. I was 40 years old. I cannot say I took a step on the path, I can only say that I began the work of many years to shovel the garbage off the path so that I could see it again.
It was 2002/3 before I can say that I began to walk in earnest. Now all of the work is part of the journey, that is absolutely true. That said there is a vast difference between just doing the work and seeing where you might be going. And that takes faith and the development of awareness of the feeling of wrongness and rightness. It took unlearning so that I could truly learn. Is that zen enough for you…lol
All of what I say in the Resilient Ecosystems workshops is built on our need to unlearn the indoctrination of culture, to become less rigid and fixed, so that you can see the road to making a better place for us all. This is truly the journey to reclaim our humanity, to create a culture that addresses our humanity. And it is a journey that might just save us from ourselves.
It is not comfortable, it is not without emotional challenge, and it is most certainly not without fear. It cannot be, because those are the tools our cultural construct uses to keep us in line. You ask, why should I take this journey if it is so much work, and so uncomfortable? I can only say, that you must figure that out for yourself. I am never turning back, I understand the wrongness and am journeying with many folks that also understand and want a better future for themselves and the ones they love. That is why I am on this path, and in truth everything gets easier once you stop being angry at knowing what has been happening and begin addressing it.
I invite you to join us, the decision is yours. The question is how much you would like a different outcome that the one clearly in front of us today?
The picture above is how we see our world and the various parts that touch us and affect our lives. We try to make sense of it, and we might even try to connect two or more pieces, but the shear chaos of it all can overwhelm any us. Seeing our reality this way, it is hard to understand that there is a bigger picture that we can affect to change our reality and make life better for ourselves, our families and our communities. What if I told you that by changing a few basic things, and spending a little time learning how to see, you could make your world a better place and give yourself far greater security?
Because we see the jumble of seemingly unrelated pieces we experience fear… We feel that we lack control over our environment, and we feel alone. We should not, but we do, because we live in a culture of the individual and not the community. There is lip service given to the concept of community, but lip service is all it is, on every other level we are driven by the ever ongoing messaging, to be afraid of each other, focusing on differences instead of commonality. We are pushed into fictional tribes, or left and right, black, red, yellow, brown and white, rich or poor, male or female. Until we lose all sense of our humanity, the great commonality we all share.
In truth what we understand as a jumble looks more like the picture below, however, in order to perceive this we need a massive change in our perception. This change often is caused by significant events that lead us to see our world differently. Again the ability to maintain this understanding relies on our ability to maintain separation from the whispering we get every minute of every day.
What we see when we attain this point of view is an organization to the jumble that provides order without humanity. It benefits a few, and disregards the rest. This is good for those few, but bad for the remaining 90% who have fewer and fewer resources and more and more risk. It take not account of the available resource, the planet, diversity or humanity. In fact it cannot and function. This construct is our culture, and humans need culture, we are hardwired for it. The question is: do we need this culture? This toxic cancer in which we live? As an aside, one of the side effects is that we spend all of our attention and resources on the symptoms and never even know we have a disease?
What would it look like to change this toxic picture puzzle in which we live, into something more human? This is what the core of Resilient Ecosystems framework process is about. Helping people and communities see another possibility and develop the tools to make changes. Changes that begin to create a more human and supportive picture.
No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.
~ Albert Einstein
There is a tipping point being reached, not only in the United States, but globally. This is why the vast minority is being so loudly defiant of any change to a system, a culture, that benefits them. This is interesting because, the fall for the majority is also a fall for the minority. If the species fails because of lack of resources, all parts of the species fail, not just the poor, female, gay, brown people, but all people. This proves that being one of the minority that this culture provides benefit for, does not make them wise. It only makes them greedy and entitled. It also shows how very broken they are, and unconnected to the world in which they live.
Lets, talk revolution? We have done revolution over and over again for thousands of years, and here we are? No time to revolve again. We do come up with better systems but each time they get corrupted and we end up back to inequality. This is partly because we are looking at a jumble of pieces, maybe we see some of the edges, but we are not seeing the puzzle and not changing the core cultural issues that create the weakness in any system we form. We need to address a core change in our own understanding in order to change the cultural picture and move on to a better way to be. This is difficult when the pressure of current affairs is driving change and a revolutionary answer seems appropriate. I suggest that this is just another tool that culture provides so that it maintains its continuity. Culture works on a generational scale and it makes it hard to see or guess at the outcomes if you are looking at a daily, monthly or annual time-frame.
I would like to suggest a different approach? Intentional evolution… It is also a generational approach to the issue, but every step makes a change that can exponentially change the present as it addresses the future. This is a change that can only be done in a grassroots way. People need to come together and decide that enough is enough and decide to change it… together.
Our culture does a magnificent job of conditioning us to avoid taking action that will create change. This is true from our reluctance to engage to the methods we choose to drive change through activism.
I would like to begin with two quotes:
Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different outcome.”
Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
As you can see from the quotes chosen this article is going to address the process of change. First, I would like to state that I believe that both of these quotes are unequivocally true, and if looked at together provide a prospective that can help us engage in the process of change we so desperately need at this point of history.
You need to understand that humans need a cultural framework in which to live, the question then becomes what to do when the cultural framework becomes toxic to humanity?
15,000 years of revolution
Roughly 15,000 years ago in the fertile crescent humans developed agriculture changing human culture from hunter gatherer to community dwellers. This was a major shift in the culture of humanity because is led to the onset of control and absorption that has continued through today. Daniel Quinn in his book Ishmael tells this history far better than I waver could and I recommend you read it. For this article I want to focus on the insanity we practice and the process of change we need to engage in.
Here we are again at the edge of a revolutionary cycle… For 15,000 years the human race has gone through cycle after cycle believing that this time it would be different, and every time it ended the same. As long as we walk this path we are going to end up with massive inequality again and again and the revolve and begin again… There are minor differences, from an historical perspective they are almost identical. Making Einstein’s observation all the more relevant, we are by that measure insane and have been for a very long time.
What can we do to get off this merry-go-round? Decide to!
Why now and not at the next turn? Because it is my opinion, and that of a majority of scientists, that we do not have the time to make another round and survive.
There are many reasons why I believe this, many are due to the fact that for the past decade I have researched clean technology and the need for it. In this process I have met with experts and scientists that have shown me data that shows a growing rate of failure in infrastructure, food supply, water and all the basic needs, escalating over the next 10-15 years until we are on the edge of irreversible extinction. Many of you are scoffing and some are thinking in that time an answer will be found, some are petrified and cannot move. None of these are answers that are useful to doing what is needed.
More to the point, In the Northwest from Vancouver Island to Crescent City California there will be a 8-9 magnitude quack offshore that will result in a tsunami wiping out the shoreline cities and communities. We are well into the window and the only thing that is know for certain is that every day that it does not happen is one day closer to the time it does.
It is time to decide and more importantly act. I ask those of you who think that your elected officials or government will take the action… when have they ever? Statistically government changes when 75% of the people are already there.
I get that this is overwhelming and hard to accept, and that you do not know what to do. You are not alone in this, and you are not alone in changing this.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
If I could show you a way to get involved and provide a framework to make this change that will be successful in time… would you get involved? Then ask yourself: If only a portion of what I have said is true, is there any other choice?
This is what the Kitsap Resiliency Project is all about. Follow us on Facebook, visit the website and go to an event. Get involved in making a better future for yourself, your family and your community. All you have to lose is everything if you don’t.
Good Morning Kitsap County and welcome to our dirty white world. I don’t know how many of you shared our power outage, followed by another several hours of internet outage? But many, many people are still stuck in their homes as the county strives to clear the roads.
Perhaps this is the time to ask some questions of yourselves about acceptance and accountability?
Why do we believe that we must accept this as our norm?
Did you know that when we deregulated power in the 1980’s there was no clause that required the for-profit power utilities to improve the infrastructure? That’s right they have continued to patch and replace the same infrastructure that we installed during the golden years of the 1950’s and 60’s. Did you know that the technology to find an outage and the cause was available in 2000? Did you know that there is technology that would prevent surges in your home and give you the power you use, saving you money?
And, did you know that Germany, a highly industrialized country, is implementing these technologies and much, much more in a country wide upgrade to renewable and sustainable energy sources? That in May of 2018 they ran 85% of their country on renewable energy alone.
Are you aware that the Net Metering program to “promote” solar energy is really a disincentive program that fails to meet the customers and the utility’s needs? Let’s look at the realities instead of the hype? For the homeowner the power company pays retail, the same amount you pay them, for power generated by the solar energy, 100% of which feeds into the grid. This means that when a power outage occurs the homeowner with solar is as dark as his neighbors. For the power company… the power generated by solar on the home is unusable in any measurable way to a power company, and they are paying retail for power they cannot effectively use. So, this program is bad for the homeowner and bad for the utility? How is this an incentive to install solar?
Most of these post deregulation corporate utilities and brokerages are for profit… The shareholder return on investment if a much higher priority than you, the customer, the security of the service or the real efficiencies they could provide. We accept that it is our personal responsibility to be energy efficient and not their responsibility to implement newer and more efficient technology.
Why do we accept this as we write out check or pay our bills online?
That said, let’s talk about accountability?
It is past time to hold these entities accountable for the poor service they provide, and the risks that are placed on our lives to profit from a necessary service we cannot do without. Increasing power outages, brownouts and failing infrastructure is a part but the toxic reality of the equipment and production of power is another. Remember Erin Brockovich? PG&E has still not dealt with the pollution they caused that sickened and killed so many, in fact it has spread, and they are now filing for bankruptcy.
The federal government deregulated these companies and has worked diligently to prevent any real oversite, lest they be required to take responsibility, in fact they are not only protected but have monopoly status preventing real competition from occurring.
So, who is responsible for holding both these companies and the government accountable… look in a mirror, then learn about the Kitsap Resiliency Project, on Facebook, and the Power 4 All initiative at www.reseco.org, projects tab.
This is the working hypothesis for Resilient Ecosystems and the Kitsap Resiliency Project. We believe that if you address the cause the symptoms will go away.
So what am I talking about? When a body has a cancer, it exhibits symptoms that are what bring you to the doctor for diagnosis? These symptoms are serious, but are in no way the core issue. When the core issue is addressed and the body heals the symptoms will go away. When you strip away all of the veneer of culture, education, civilization (as we recognise it today) you might get deep enough to begin to see the human being. When you get to that point you can learn what being human is and what it means, you begin to understand the core drivers, the DNA so to speak that make us part of this world and yet unique. As you strive to understand who and what we are, it becomes apparent that the way we live and the culture that we live in is in opposition to our humanity.
If we think of our cultural environment as a cancer, we can see that many of the serious problems we have are the symptoms of that imbalance. Racism, greed, sexism, war, and all other behaviors based on the us against them societal teachings.
In our hard and cold world, where survival is uncertain and the dream of wealth has replaced the dreams of community, we have lost our ability to connect. This is beyond a crisis due to the fact that as human beings we are hardwired for community, tribe whatever you want to call it, we only thrive when connected to other human beings.
Several thousand years ago, a large portion of the human species stepped onto a divergent path. This alone would have been nothing more than a deviation, except that the introduction of totalitarian agriculture and development of agrarian civilizations, also caused the spread of conquest for more lands and food until the majority of the remaining peoples were assimilated. A key component of this process was adopting the greater identities and loosing interpersonal/tribal connections.
15,000 years later we have begun to realise that we need to re-establish the links that have been lost, we need both create both interpersonal and global relationships and they need to integrate in some way. In fact, our survival as a species depends on us being able to accomplish this task.
How do we accomplish this monumental task; We just decide to, together.
We cannot move backwards so we need to go forwards onto another path that more closely meets the needs of our humanity.
How do we do this? On step at a time, as Lao Tzu said: the journey of a thousand mile begins with a single step. This is not a personal journey, though there will be an enormous amount of personal work for all along the way, it is a journey that we must take together.
More to the point of this writing, that is what the framework provided for the Kitsap Resiliency Project is designed to facilitate. This is what the workshop series is designed to accomplish, beginning with a few and building until a tipping point is reached.
The developing framework is a means to plug in information, goals, projects, needs, direction, and tool until a plan emerges and directions forged. Who decides what goes into the framework? You do, the project is owned by the people of Kitsap and they through participation will determine how the framework develops. They will also be reaching out to the greater community to gain more participation, insight and tools.
Where are the leaders? If you mean the political or business leadership, they can engage whenever they want, usually after 75% of their constituents are already engaged. If you mean who is leading this effort, I will ask you to look into a mirror and ask the question again…
If the answer is that you do not have the time, that you have nothing to offer, or that you are not a leader, I ask you to really think about who is? This country was founded on the principals of by the people and for the people, despite what you may hear or think is true, that has not changed. The people together is the only agent of change there ever has been, the question is whether we continue the revolutionary path we have walked for 15,000 years and cycle back to where we are now, or take an intentional evolutionary path to a new road?
We at RESCO have reached out our hand to help you build the bridge and cross to a new road, the question is will you join us in changing our future for the better and walking a path more human?
The single most important element in the equation is value. Our existing culture requires an understood, clearly stated value to get peoples attention, let alone to get them thinking about engaging in a meaningful conversation. With this understanding we can see the need to develop value propositions across an entire spectrum, as we engage in any project of intentional change. As the saying goes; If it was easy… we would have already done it.
Agreements need to be based on real values, and those values will be different from person to person, situation to situation, group to group. That said, the greatest work will be in our own personal growth as we engage, listen to discover what important/key values people have, and how those relate to ones we may not even know we have…
We can extrapolate some basic agreements addressing a range of issues by observing the clearly stated values that people seems to agree on:
Economic sustainability, the availability of jobs that allow people to live secure lives doing meaningful labor, and beyond that having the availability to enjoy themselves.
The Security Basics: Food, Shelter, Water, Power, Communications.
Essentially, the base two levels of Maslow’s Pyramid:
It is virtually impossible to focus on doing work to get to more intangible needs met, when the basic needs of survival are not being met.
Getting to the point of agreement is more about the details and the wording than actual negotiation. If you listen to what keeps coming up as we are heading into election cycles, you soon realize that what is important to most people, around 60-70% is meeting the basics. If these issues were not at risk they would be far less focus on them. The issue with a top down approach is that the political solution seems to give lip services to these needs while pursuing an agenda that has nothing to do with meeting them. Part of this is due to the fact that most politicians come from a level of society that does not have the same struggles, and that these are not easy to address without a major overhaul of the entire system. Understanding the actual issue is key to creating value and motivation for changing the current systems.
Here is one more chart that will help clarify this argument:
This means that for nearly half of the people in America the basics are not being met. It is a safe bet that building a value based approach for getting these needs met will get you a conversation and help you identify more common ground.
As always, the devil is in the details. Getting to those details lay in our ability to put aside the impulses that could create conflict with people who hold differing views. And the knee jerk responses all people have that will need to be listened to and acknowledged, then addressed one at a time. The point is to reach an understanding of the true values and to both attain and provide clarity around the effort, and come to initial agreements on mutual value. All of this happens long before any discussion can be begun about reaching agreements that may lead on working together toward a change this major.
It always comes down to human interaction and getting beyond the cultural roadblocks to relationship. Building any relationship requires building trust and gaining knowledge, the only to accomplish that is by taking the time necessary. It all, always, comes down to taking the time, to grow, to listen, to connect, to trust, to know, to work together.