The Re-Emergence of Common Wealth 

Our society, communities, knowledge, beliefs, practices, culture, arts, stories, myths, philosophies, psychologies, healing arts, education, innovation, expression, and connection are all forms of common wealth that humanity either builds together . . . or depletes and destroys. I regard these as part of my “true wealth”, and they are all intimately tied to the wellbeing of others. Our common wealth of culture and community is connected to each person’s ability to create, invent, express, live, breathe, heal, nurture, and explore. If my fellow human beings do not have the time or opportunity for these experiences, the “richness” of my own life within our culture and society diminishes.

And, as I wrote in the Billionaire Buddha, our fellow humans are only one small sliver of the total equation. Our human existence is reliant on a vast network of living systems. In this time of climate crisis, our fate is tied up with the vitality or demise of all other species of plants and animals that co-create the ecosystems upon which our own existence depends. No amount of fortune is worth anything on a dead planet. Our human wealth relies on the “wealth and prosperity” of the forests, oceans, plains, rivers, skies, glaciers, mountains, deserts, lakes, and so on. Buddhist perspective (on one level) rests on an understanding of the interconnected web of existence. We make true wealth together or not at all.

Source: The Re-Emergence of Common Wealth | Kosmos Journal

Yes, America Is Descending Into Totalitarianism 

Thus I resist the idea that fascism can happen in Germany, Italy or Russia, but not in the United States. It can happen here, and all signs point in an ominous direction. Moreover, the United States was never a model of liberty or justice. The country was built on slave labor and genocide at home and violent imperialism abroad. It is a first world outlier in terms of incarceration rates and gun violence; it is the only developed country in the world without national health and child care; it has outrageous levels of income inequality with few opportunities for individuals to climb the socio-economic ladder; and it is consistently ranked by people around the world as the greatest threat to world peace and the world’s most hated country.

Furthermore, signs of its dysfunction continue to grow. If authoritarian political forces don’t get their way, they shut down the government, threaten to default on the nation’s debt, fail to fill judicial vacancies, deny people health-care and family planning options, conduct congressional show trials, suppress voting, gerrymander congressional districts, support racism, xenophobia and sexism, and spread lies and propaganda. These aren’t signs of a stable society. As the late Princeton political theorist Sheldon Wolin put it:

“The elements are in place [for a quasi-fascist takeover]: a weak legislative body, a legal system that is both compliant and repressive, a party system in which one party, whether in opposition or in the majority, is bent upon reconstituting the existing system so as to permanently favor a ruling class of the wealthy, the well-connected and the corporate, while leaving the poorer citizens with a sense of helplessness and political despair, and, at the same time, keeping the middle classes dangling between fear of unemployment and expectations of fantastic rewards once the new economy recovers. That scheme is abetted by a sycophantic and increasingly concentrated media; by the integration of universities with their corporate benefactors; by a propaganda machine institutionalized in well-funded think tanks and conservative foundations; by the increasingly closer cooperation between local police and national law enforcement agencies aimed at identifying terrorists, suspicious aliens and domestic dissidents.”

Now with power in the hands of an odd mix of plutocrats, corporatists, theocrats, racists, sexists, egoists, psychopaths, sycophants, anti-modernists, and the scientifically illiterate, there is no reason to think that they will surrender their power without a fight. You might think that if income inequality grows, individual liberties are further constricted, or millions of people are killed at home or abroad, that people will reject those in power when conditions worsened. But this assumes we are a democracy. A compliant and misinformed public can’t think, act or vote intelligently. If you control your citizens with sophisticated propaganda and mindless entertainment, you can persuade them to support anything. With better methods of controlling and distorting information will come more control over the population and, as long the powerful believe they benefit from an increasingly totalitarian state, they will try to maintain it. Most people like to control others; they like to win

Source: Yes, America Is Descending Into Totalitarianism | Reason and Meaning

Dangerous Spirituality 

Thurman’s spirituality was grounded not only in the beauties of the black experience, but grounded as well in the terrors of the black experience, as only someone living in Florida and Georgia could know them in 1915 and 1920 and 1930. At the same time, it was a spirituality that says: “And knowing all that, I also know that all human beings are one.”

This kind of strange combination of spiritual truth with hard political social truth led one young man in the 1930s to say this about Howard Thurman: “I’m disappointed in him. We thought we had found our Moses. And he turns out to be a mystic.” That’s the spirituality that gets people all riled up.

Source: Dangerous Spirituality | On Being

Seeing Through The Debris 

Imagine being Joe Schmo on main street in 1964… Sitting outside a drug store (not a Starbucks) but the fake wooden streetscape of our earlier mental conjuration still remains the same. It’s a time before ‘real’ commercial airline travel — the first flight of a 747 is still 5 years away. The closest thing Joe has to the idea of air travel is a 1st generation airliner like a De Havilland Comet and only then because he heard about it on the radio (My Grandpa worked by the way on the De Havilland Comet decompression investigation), and Black and White TVs are still sold more than colour.

Meanwhile, you tell him this: there exists a separate world of classified technology and just one of those things is a Mach 3 Stealth Plane that can fly to the edge of space.

Do you think you could tell Ol’ Joe this without his hackles being raised? Do you think he’d believe you? There would be much shaking of heads and remonstration. I’m not sure Mr Schmo would accept it at all. It would just bounce off the carefully constructed bubble of Red Reality that he’s unknowingly internalised. At the time it would be indistinguishable to him from UFO reports.

Source: Seeing Through The Debris – Anomalous Engineering – Medium

Collapse Fatigue 

And then there are those who adjust well to their new life. They show few signs of fatigue or regret for turning their lives upside-down. We think the difference is that at some point, either before or during their self transformation, they began moving towards the concept of a more physically rewarding and emotionally healthy future, rather than running away from perceived dangers, real or otherwise. Geographic cures rarely work, while personal transformation often does.

By moving toward an embodied vision of what it means to live well, to be safe and secure, life stops depending upon specific events to occur, or other people waking to join our new herd, for us to be happy, healthy and well adjusted to our new surroundings. When we begin to create our own reality because we want to, rather than because we feel we need to, only then can we free ourselves from the need for constant confirmation that anchored us to the self destructive world we once lived within.

Once we free our mind from the ties that bind us to our chains, we can more easily walk away from the need to be constantly confirmed in an old way of life that is neither natural nor healthy. The reason we desperately seek affirmation is because we all know deep down within our inner being that the old ways are addictive and self destructive. This truth is self evident, regardless how strong our denial may be.

The common thread for those who awaken, yet do not suffer from collapse fatigue, seems to be finding some degree of inner peace. The way forward is always rough, full of roadblocks and potholes, with two steps forward and one (or two) back. It can be a lengthy and frustrating process if we are reluctant participants.

The biggest stumbling block appears to be pangs of loneliness and isolation, the feeling no one really sees life as we do. Most of us find it very hard to function without the affirmation of the herd to assure us we are on the right track. We are programmed from birth to crave verification, especially when what we wish verified is contrary to our very nature.

But at the end of the day, just before we fall asleep, ultimately we are alone in our head. Upon awakening, it remains the same. When facing decisions throughout our day, no matter who else is in our life, we are the only one inside our mind thinking and reasoning through the choices. Once we accept we are indeed ultimately alone, we come to realize we, all of us, are united together in our aloneness. It is then we cease to be lonely. It turns out to find the others we must look within.

Source: Collapse Fatigue | Two Ice Floes

Infrastructure for Anarchists 

–put it all together, though, and what you have is
—individual and tribe-scale infrastructure
—under your own autonomous political control
—with excellent portability
—that you may be able to make a lot of yourself
—that could scale to millions of people
—–That’s a new potential.

Source: Talk outline for Jan 7th in London – Infrastructure for Anarchists | The Bucky-Gandhi Design Institution