Archive for June, 2008



June 24, 2008

Dan linked to these excerpts of a book called Waking Up by Charles T Tart. This quote nicely summarises a philosphy that has become more and more important to me over time.

Few of us may be in a position to have a decisive influence on world peace, but cultivation of our own inner resources can create peacefulness and effectiveness in action in ourselves and the people we come in contact with, and this can spread. As we attack those near us less and care for them more, we start to have effects on the kinds of political processes that need enemies for hidden psychological reasons. It is my hope that furthering the creation of inner peace in people will contribute to outer peace.

So being a nice person is a radical act in this world!

The only thing I have to to that add is that attempting to influence world peace or any other issue before we work on ourselves can often be ineffective or even counter productive as our actions are coloured by the need to ‘attack’ those around us.

I saw a great example of this recently. The unschooling list we’re on, which is usually a totally awesome list, started discussing vegetarianism and carbon footprinting. It was very clear from the discussion that the vegetarians and carbon footprinters assumed that they were occupying the moral high ground in these discussions. Leaving aside debate over whether they were right in the first place there were several things I noticed.

The first was the subtle coercive nature of the debate. In fact it wasn’t a debate to start with. No one argued against them until either myself or Karen began that side of the debate and then there was a flurry of responses from people who presumably felt they now had permission to give their ‘incorrect’ point of view.

The other thing that I noticed was that the proponents of these issues seemed to take a semi religious approach to vegetariansim or carbon footprinting. One person told me that angry responses were part of the normal process where people went through an anger stage before they get to the acceptance stage. It’s certainly true but what I didn’t say at the time is that sometimes anger is a stage people go through when someone is trying to lay a guilt trip on them and it usually passes as soon as that person backs off!

Anyway I’m sure most people feel really satisfied after they have told someone off for not being a vegetarian or a carbon foot printer but I’d really like it if they tried a different approach. And as I said at the time I’m not arguing against anyone being a vegetarian or a carbon footprinter – quite the contrary in fact – I encourage anyone who has strong beliefs in these areas to pursue them because what we need more than anything else in this world are people who follow their hearts. All I want is the space to be able to follow my heart too.


Family Matters

June 21, 2008

Here’s the part of the recent Rigorous Intuition post that I noticed most of all:

So this is my dilemma, and my paralysis. It’s not every day you get to spectate the real-time collapse of a planetary civilization and biosphere. (Or, I suppose I should say, I remember a time when it wasn’t.) But watching this unfold with fascination feels complicit and worse than if I were blithely ignorant, and analyzing it at this seeming late stage futile and ridiculous. What’s important now, what’s more important than ever, are the close-to-home matters: being a good father and husband, and learning how to best cushion the crash of our coddled urban lives.

I think the looming crash is helping people to focus on what is important in life. I imagine that when the matrix completlely loses it’s power a lot more people will come to realise what really matters to them but for the moment it’s nice to come across someone else who thinks that attending to family matters actually rates. Some of Jeff’s readers were confused by this new development but Steven Lagavulin was not one of them:

I blogged over at Deconsumption for several years about the impending “collapse of civilization” (as I saw it and still see it over the long haul). And as you alluded, I found it strangely fascinating, perhaps like a deer in the headlights…and I felt a sense of urgency in understanding what might come so that I could “Be Prepared”. And all that study and observation truly helped, I must say. Over time, I stopped being worried about what was coming down upon us. I began to see it as inevitable, but not something I couldn’t adapt to. So eventually, I became confident enought to embrace some big decisions and started steering my life in a way that was both exciting and interesting to me as well as creating flexibility enough to meet whatever may come.

And at that point I became completely bored with apocalyptic news and thinking. So now, just as so many people are just beginning to tune in, I’ve turned off. I used to feel that if you weren’t getting your news from the internet, you were either ignorant of what is really happening in he world or worse, feeding on the steady diet of distractions and lies that is our MSM. I spent at least a couple hours a day surfing and analysing and trying to comprehend the objective picture. Now somehow, I find I lose patience if I’m online for more than about 20 minutes.

And meanwhile, as you perhaps seem to be experiencing as well, my life just gets better and better. Not because I’ve sunk into denial, but because my time is rapidly filling up with things that really matter to me right now. My family and I are in constant movement, but it’s movement towards something. Things are busy and frustrating but also fun and exciting and worthwhile. And it just keeps getting better and better.

But my point is that, at least for my own experience, all of this came about as the result of taking a full look at the worst. But (unlike Mark McKinney’s character) also knowing when I’d seen enough to inform my decisions and to get on with living.

I don’t know if any of the above is even interesting to anyone here, and I apologize if not. But I’ve spent a good ten years coming to a point where I could write exactly that.

The only danger we face over these next few years–as a full understanding of what we’ve truly sown is being reaped–the only danger is that we may succumb to fear, worry, and the desire to calm ourselves through wilfull denial and ignorance.

Yes, I re-posted the entire comment. Call it a guest posting.

I actually wish Steven had kept writing over at Deconsumption because it’s this stage of an individual’s journey that fascinates me most.