Exploring Humanity (Part 2)

wall-st-greed-st1Greetings Dreamers!

This is part two in my five-part series on Exploring Humanity.  Today we are going to explore a very important subject — Greed.

I’ve chosen this particular topic because it seems to be one of the major aspects of human existence that is tearing our country and our world apart.  It is the epitome of selfishness, it is the cancer that plagues our society and keeps us from being one people.  But the question is why?

I often scoff at people who say “Greed is Good” after the Michael Douglas movie “Wall Street”.  Greed is in no way, at all, even slightly good.  It is an asinine pursuit for things that do not matter.  It is eating until you burst. It is acquiring endless things you can’t possibly appreciate.  It taking from those who do not have. It is wrong, pure and simple — and we can’t begin to change the world until we have learned temperance.  Too much of anything, yes even money, is a bad thing.  But we have not learned this simple lesson.  If you had a billion dollars, what would you do with it?  Collect a bunch of shiny things, like a raven, and store them in ever larger abodes?

Greed is what keeps us apart.  The proverbial 1% vs. the 99%, and in the end what have we gained?  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.  We have all seen this time and again through human history.  Greed never ends well, because, my fellow Dreamers, there is always someone more greedy than you and they will try to take what you have. This is an endless war that we’ve been fighting amongst ourselves since the dawn of humankind. We are all willing soldiers.  We buy things we do not need.  We strive for goals that do not improve our society.  We think that the measure of the person is the size of their wallet.  This is not so.  The measure of any person is the size of their heart.

If you have everything you’ve ever wanted, what do you do next?  When there’s nothing left to buy, and you’re used to having anything you want, this can lead to darker pursuits.  There are people in this world that have so much money they can do literally whatever they want — human trafficking, corruption, manipulate the populace, even get away with murder.

I am not writing my books to be rich, or famous.  I am writing my books to spread an allegorical message that things in this world are going bad, and that in the end, a great calamity is going to happen — I’ve just wrapped it up in a dark fantasy novel.  I know anyone who has chosen to read my blog will agree with my postings, otherwise you wouldn’t be following me. You are all fellow Dreamers, and we are the ones who have to take on the responsibility of understanding our role in this change and just start doing it.

Our world is starving.  Not just the people, but the planet itself.  We are raping the planet of all its resources in this pursuit of greed, and eventually, we will end up killing ourselves and turn this planet into a uninhabitable desert, like Mars.  We have allowed the television, the politicians and the banks to tell us we need this or that.  We are only being told half-truths or just bold-faced lies.  We need to force the truth.  We need to stop electing people who tell us how to live.  We should be telling our governments what we want and not the other way around.  Because the people in power are the ones who cultivate greed like corn in an endless field.

I am not for one moment saying that we should incite a revolution, or a war, or protests — these are fruitless endeavors, and seldom make a lasting impact that is positive.  We start within ourselves, within our families, within our communities and as it spreads from person to person, the world will change.  Look around you as you read this post.  How many things do you have that you don’t really use or care about?  How many things can you donate to someone who doesn’t have something?  How many things can be recycled or reused elsewhere?  When you’re at the store looking to buy something, is it something you really need?  Will you even want it a month or year from now?

I don’t have a lot of money, and I never have my whole life.  Every single item I retain has a purpose for me.  As soon as its lost its purpose, I give it away or recycle it, or simply trash it if it has no use.  Of course, there are things I simply retain because they have sentimental value.  And when I go to the store to buy something I think I want, I ask myself, “Do I REALLY need this?”.  I also realize that if I keep buying things, I’m just making someone else rich.

So today I leave you with this question: What would you do if I gave you a million dollars right this minute?

How to Change the World (Part 1)

Our Waking DreamGreetings, Dreamers!

I want to introduce you to a very special thing — Our World.  As a part of this series, we’re going to explore our wonderful world together, and figure out how we can change it — changing ourselves in the process.

You may ask why I feel the world needs changing — but I think everyone who bothers to read this post already knows the answer.  We are on a collision course with disaster — it is almost inevitable, almost.

I chose the picture above for many reasons.  First, because we are the stewards of this glorious jewel in the crown of Sol, our Sun.  We should always hold it with care, and ensure that our children and children’s children have something to look forward to as the centuries roll on. But we must be the example of how best to care for our planet.  Second, I chose this picture to demonstrate that there are no boundaries other than the ever shifting continents.  We have created these imaginary lines, which have become a means to needlessly segregate our countries, cities, towns and neighborhoods.  We are better than that, and we know that we do not need to be separate.  A thinking person knows that we must have one world, unified for all humankind.  This is a fact, and not speculation.  We will never overcome our problems as long as these lines remain.

Now, how do we begin changing the world?  It is really quite simple, it begins in your own heart and mind.  It must begin with each of us looking within and seeing the things that are wrong with ourselves, rather than pointing out to others what is wrong with them.  Life is a journey, there is no destination other than the place we go when we give up our last breath, our last heartbeat, and venture into the unexplored realm of Death.  We all will die one day, and that is the only inevitability we cannot change — though we may try with science and medicine — we must give up our bodies at some point so that others may live and enjoy this wonderful world of ours.

At this point, you may ask who makes you the authority on this?  I’m no more an authority than any of you.  Even the most educated people on our planet have no more answers than you will find within yourself.  The most simple answer to beginning this change is to learn to shed your fears.  Until you have shed your fears, you cannot begin to live.  Fear is what drives all of our actions.

Fear of not having the best material things.
Fear of dying.
Fear of being alone.
Fear of not being correct in your belief system.
Fear of being harmed.
Fear of not being loved.
Fear of being an outsider.
Fear of not being recognized.

The list can go on forever.  And it is fear the drives all of the horrible things that happen in our world.  We fight over plots of land that we are merely temporary occupants.  The Earth is the owner of all the lands and the seas. She merely lets us lie our heads upon her lap, while she slowly rocks us to sleep each night.  We should break down these barriers and exist together, work together, change the world together.  This is not to say that we should lose our own personal identities — we are all Dreamers in this world.  We all have things that we wish to pursue, all we need remember is that our dreams and goals should not harm or interrupt the dreams and goals of others.  It’s very simple — yet we cannot accept this.  We think that if someone does not believe the same thing as we do, that they are wrong.  We think that if someone does not do what we feel is right, they are wrong. We are all wrong and correct, and the cycle ebbs and flows like the tides of the sea.  We will all be correct and wrong through the course of our existence — it is how we learn, share and grow.

We should gently, carefully, admonish one another when we are clearly doing something that harms our collective existence — lying, cheating, stealing, killing.  We all know this, it’s very apparent and we know when we do wrong, but we are mostly unwilling to take responsibility for these things we do.  That again is because of the fear we harbor in our hearts — fear that at one time served a purpose for our primitive ancestors to survive, but we should now evolve.

We are all friends and family.  We are all related at some branch in the tree of life.  It all began with One, and that One is whatever you want it to be — God, The Big Bang, The Earth, the Self.  But it is not our place to define the One for anyone else but ourselves.  Each of us is entitled to our beliefs, but we are not entitled to impose our beliefs on others, unless we are cautioning others of their harmful ways.

Today I end with this simple message: Reach out to those around you, whether they be friends or not.  We all want to be heard, loved, appreciated, and nurtured.  It’s amazing how quickly we can change the world with a smile and a wave to everyone and anyone we see during the day.

Reach out to my lovely friends on twitter, and they will bring you into their circle: @gongleshanks @anmarie63 @grimnian @HelgaVonClapp @mrsnickih @KaraJarina @MortonBalthus

Now I lay me down to sleep, I beseech the earth my soul to keep.  And if I die before I wake, I entreat the earth my body to take.

Pure Imagination

Come with me, and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.  Take a look, and you’ll see into your imagination – Willy Wonka

As we get closer to the end of the world, ahem, I mean the elections in November, many issues are coming to light that pose significant problems for the rest of us.  But I have to say that we all have the ability to fix all of these problems, but it comes back down to taking action.  I know I’ve said before that we have the power to change the world, but I feel that I must constantly say this, because we all get distracted, disenfranchised, dissociated, depressed, detached and that leads to disbelief.  But we can do it, if we just put our minds to it.  The problem is that we are assailed with one things after the other that kills our spirit.  If you just watch ten minutes of the news, its enough to kill any positive thoughts you may have had.  We sell sorrow on the news, happy doesn’t sell ads.  People want to see death, disorder and destruction.  Why?  I do not know.

“If you want to view paradise, simply look around and view it.” Such a simple thought, and it is simply true.  The most amazing thing about humans, and life in general, is that it has the ability to overcome the equations that define the universe.  Gravity is constantly pulling things together, yet even a blade of grass can overcome its relentless force to grow up to the sun — whereas a lifeless rock can only roll down a hill. But let us not view gravity negatively, let us just assume that it is a mostly benevolent force that takes over in the absense of thought. And gravity gets stronger the more things cluster together.

So, to continue with this allegory, let us look at our society.  Politics, as well as social and moral order, can be viewed as gravity.  These things bind us together, we have rules to govern our lives.  We have a government because we have proven that in many cases we cannot or will not govern ourselves.  We are a society with a fleeting sense of personal responsibility.  And, because we cannot govern ourselves, we have created a tangled web of limiting rules, that have not only limited our actions, they have limited our sense of creativity.  And like gravity, laws and rules have taken over in the absence of thought, or common sense.

What can we do, you might ask.  How can we overcome this ever-increasing legal, social and moral gravity?  We take responsibility for ourselves and learn to create our lives.  Each day, we should wake up, smile that we’ve survived another day, and say, “Today will be another great day!”  It’s not the power of positive thought, it’s the power of will.  I’m not advocating these pyramid schemes, such as the scam known as “The Law of Attraction”.  I don’t need a gimmick to create my life.  I need to have resolve and force of will.  That is all everyone needs.  There is no magic pill or trick to make you anymore in control of your life than you are.  We choose to be where we are, whether we accept it or not.  We chose to be the way we are.

In November, once again, we will be faced with a challenge.  We must choose the right people to lead us.  This is not ideal, because we should each be our own leaders, but we have not been.  It is a very important decision, this year more than ever, because we are in a downward spiral into the abyss. We must all work together to create a better place, for ourselves and our children.

So I will leave you with this — “Anything you want to, do it.  Wanna change the world?  There’s nothing to it.”

 

Change – Promised Yet Always Undelivered

Man’s yesterday may ne’er be like his morrow; Nought may endure but Mutability. – Percy Bysshe Shelley

Back under the frayed quilt of politics we go, listening to the heads bobble and talk.  Every single candidate heralds a change.  Change in taxes, change in jobs, change in our way of life, change in our dealings with other countries.  Words Words Words!  We never change, and it’s because we are resistant to change.  We feel change is unnerving and uncomfortable.  But the reality is, everything else is in a constant state of change.  It is a fundamental principle of the universe. All things change, and fight as we might, we cannot stop it.

I bring all this up because I’d like to start a new movement.  I don’t want to sit in a park and complain about the haves and the have-nots.  I don’t want someone to give me something for nothing.  I don’t want to protest. I don’t want to war.  I just want to commit to bringing about change, for better or worse.  We must change, and when I say “we” I mean every single living being on this planet.  We cannot continue forward in the manner we have been conducting ourselves.  We must find new ways of bringing about a global change, because if we dont the planet will do it for us — as it has countless times before.

A recent study I read, found here, has some extremely interesting and compelling arguments about the current state of the Earth’s Geomagnetic poleshift, which has already begun.  For those of you unfamiliar, a geomagnetic poleshift is the natural process of the magnetic poles, both north and south, moving from their current position to some other position on the planet.  This is caused by the constant churning and spinning of the molten iron that makes up the Earth’s core.  The magnetosphere is the most important aspect of the Earth’s geomagnetic processes because it is greatly responsible for reducing the harmful particles that are constantly stream from the Sun to the Earth.  Think of the solar winds as a very hot hairdryer, and the magnetosphere as a hat.  If you take your hat off, your head will get really hot if pointed at the same spot for too long.  But if you keep the hat on, the hat absorbs a great deal of the heat, allowing your head to get warm, but not too warm. 

The Earth’s magnetosphere becomes very weak when it is in the process of switching.  This means that we will received larger amounts of harmful solar radiation than normal, and this has detrimental affects on the planet, such as increased volcanic activity, bizarre weather patterns, increased earthquake activity and even social impacts as all living things on the planet are attuned to this magnetic field.  There is no question of “if” this will happening, it “is” happening now, and I think if everyone stops for a moment and looks around, you’ll realize that things are changing on the planet, but we are too absorbed in our petty lives and differences to see the forest through the trees.

There are so many other reasons for us to begin entertaining a Movement of Change.  The gaps between the middle class and the upper class are growing at alarming rates.  Wars and discontent breed and fester like a global virus.  We have become lazy.  We have become greedy.  And all the while, we have run ahead foolishly without pay attention to the cliff up ahead. We must begin now, and all of us have a responsibility to get the word out. 

As humans, we crave social acceptance, but also want to remain individuals — there is nothing wrong with that as long as we keep in mind that we need balance. However, we should not only do things for social acceptance, because that is not the “right” mindset.  We should do things that make us feel good about ourselves, yet also improve the world around us.  For instance, one very small thing that we all tend to forget is the simple principle of causality, or cause and effect.  It is at work every single moment of your day.  Everything cause you initiate has some sort of effect.  I have seen this principle at work when I am at my office.  I have seen how one person’s mood, particularly a bad mood, slowly affects everyone’s mood.  One simple word said in anger, can cause a chain reaction that eventually spreads like wildfire from the office, to the gas station, to the restaurant and finally back to one’s home.  Thinking that your mood is your own is a foolish assumption.  Each of us is a ripple in the pond of spacetime.  So one form of change is to be more cognizant of how you treat others daily, and how you are treated.  If someone is in a bad mood, it is always your choice to be affected, or try to reverse the process.

But this is something we should all know, and we do, we just allow other things to keep us from being sucked in.  I have found that when I wake up in the morning and remind myself, “People are going to try to affect you today”, I am able to remain in a good mood all day, despite how people act towards me.  It is so easy to get frustrated.  But also, I have to constantly remind myself of the things that truly matter, and the things that are truly a problem.  When I start to feel myself fall into a melancholy state, I stop and say, “Hmm, is this really a significant problem?”  and more times than not, I find that what I was worrying about was really quite silly.  This is not to say that there are not real problems in the world, and we are all facing difficult times.  The only way we can change the world is to focus on the things that really are a problem.

It’s no surprise that we are so upset all the time.  Just watch ten minutes of the news and you’ll see how we are constantly and relentlessly bombarded by bad news.  Here’s a neat little experiment you can try for yourself — next time you are watching the news, count the number of “negative” stories you hear versus the “positive” stories you hear.  When I tried this, I found that for every 5 or 6 negative stories, there was only 1 or 2 positive stories.  Also, the negative stories were much more emphasized in dramatic, for example one negative story was a triple homicide and the only positive story was a local restaurant opening.  Bad news sells so much better than good news and for the life of me I do not understand why. So it makes me wonder, can we really ever trust any of the stories we hear on the news — is our world really this depressive?  I don’t think so.

So how do we change all this?  First we have to start with ourselves.  From now until November we are going to be bombarded with ads, debates, speeches and road shows centered on the Presidency.  We’re going to hear all sorts of promises that will be broken — yes, they are always broken.  We want to believe, and they know we want to believe, so it all comes down to who is more of a “glad-handed-dandy”.  In the end, it is painfully obvious that the politicians we elect are only interested in one thing — status quo.  So we have to begin by taking a long hard look at ourselves, are we reflected in the mirror of our own politics?  Yes, unfortunately we are.  But the good news here is that we can break that mirror and get us a whole new way of looking at ourselves.    Its time to vote “none of the above”, because we dont’ have any good choices this time around.  Let us stop praying for someone to save us and focus on saving ourselves.

In my opinion, change starts with me and it starts with you.  After you read this, be nice to the next person you see — tell them you value them as a friend, buy them a cup of coffee, tell them a joke or anything you can think of.  I guarantee the rest of your day will feel great because you’ve started an effect, that while fleeting, will travel far and wide.  Its more than “pay it forward”, because you’re not just anonymously doing something nice.  Do something nice because you want the world to be better, not because you’ll get a pat on the back.

We have so many erroneous views of one another as we have been told for a very long time that one person is better than another person for any number of reasons.  No one is better than anyone else.  We all come into the world the same way, and we will all leave the world in the same way.  All of us are scared and worried about things to come, and the uncertainty of the future.  We are all the same at the most fundamental level.  So really, the only thing you need to know to live a good life is to remember – I am you and you are me.

Let’s fix it together.

 

Political Accountability

Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away, only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air. You better watch out, there may be dogs about! – Pink Floyd

I cannot tell you how much I despise the political machinations of our democracy.  As we approach the presidential elections in 2012, the annoyance factor increases exponentially with each passing week as the candidates frantically try to sway us into thinking they are the best for us and America.  I have to say, in my opinion, we have a horrible choice of candidates available to us.  Indecision, infidelity, inexperience and insanity — my summation of our choices.

As I’ve mention before, I’d rather have root canal than listen to any more drivel being spewed by all the candidates.  The more I talk to people around me, the more I realize that people do not truly understand their choices, and subsequently, their ability to affect this country.  With each passing election people have become increasingly disenfranchised to the point that they have become utterly confused on what it means to vote in our democracy.  But our duty does not end with casting that ballot, because as we well know, all politicians have the attention span of a goldfish [Which is 12 seconds as determined by a multi-million dollar federal grant to some university — Probably the same one who got a grant to see if shrimp can run on a treadmill].  With such a short attention span, and a general lack of loyalty to their constituents, we must always ensure that we are making ourselves heard by the ones we’ve chosen to represent us.

We are responsible for ensuring that our representatives are doing what we want — and not what they are being paid to do by lobbyists, or other coercive entities, that troll the Capital like remora following a shark.  We must remember that they “represent” us, and it is our responsibility to manage what they vote on.  I know it sounds very idealistic and simplistic, but so many people have forgotten that our politicians are supposed to represent what the we want, and not what they have decided on their own.  Now, we can only blame them so much, because only a small minority of people actively take part in guiding their representatives towards the will of the many.  If we don’t get actively involved, you can be assured that others, who have considerable resources, will drown out the voice of the few with the bullhorn of greed.

Our country is in a very precarious position.  We have over-extended ourselves in so many ways, it’s just a matter of time before it all collapses in on us like a black hole, from which there is no escape.  Unemployment is high, national debt is high, housing values are low, personal stability is low.  We should not couch this in terms of “consumer confidence” any longer, we should call it what it is, “Citizen Confidence”, and we have lost confidence in our leaders — yet we continue to re-elect them.  What’s more, is the fact that we get the usual, corrupt suspects to try to represent us.  Mitt Romney already tried to run for president and failed, does he think we forgot?  Newt Gingrich lives in a world of make-believe.  Rick Perry suffers from the same inexperience as President Obama, though they have the best of intentions – “Hell is full of good wishes and good intentions” St. Bernard.  [L’enfer est plein de bonnes volontés et désirs]

So what are our options?  We could wait patiently for the proverbial “Philosopher King” as Plato suggests or we can actively begin to “Manage Upwards”.  We are not a monarchy, so the people we elect are subject to our will and not vice-versa.  We must stop waiting until an election to expect our representatives to listen to us.  We should be voicing our opinions to them constantly.  We cannot let them continue to stand on the political lies they tell when trying to get elected.  If they say they will lower taxes, force them to vote to lower taxes.  If they do not, then make sure everyone knows that they have not voted in the prescribed manner and don’t re-elect them.  It’s really that simple, but we forget these things.

Take a moment and look at the Occupy movement.  In theory, it is attempting to do the same thing, however, they have not articulated a list of salient points that they wish addressed or the manner in which they wish them to be addressed.  The spirit of the movement is lost in the news stories about the people in the movement, rather than the movement itself.  We have moved beyond the ability to protest, because protests in countries like the USA do not have as much weight as they do in a country that has been systematically oppressed for decades.  We are not oppressed, we are disinterested — that’s the difference.

Everyone needs to take responsibility for the actions of the people they elect.  If you voted for Obama, and you think he’s done a horrible job, don’t re-elect him just because he’s a democrat.  We must move away from this bi-partisan system, and start to investigate other ways to make this country better.  Both of the major parties have significant flaws, and really, if you look at it from outside the party and not as a member of that party, you’ll see that there is clearly no real winner.  This simple fact can been seen by looking at how slim of a margin there has been in the last few presidential elections.  There has been no clear winner in quite some time.  I also find it hard to believe that we are all that polarized.  If we were as polarized as the polls make us look, none of us would be able to coexist, and we do coexist quite well, its our political parties that do not.

So today I just want to end on this note:  Take a long hard look at why you support the politicians you do.  Are they aptly representing everything you want them do?  Are you voting for them based on party or on their accomplishments?  Do you know how to contact any of your representatives? 

2012 is another opportunity for the citizens of this country to make significant change.  Are you willing to be accountable for 2013 and beyond? [Assuming the world doesn’t end 12/21/12]

What Rough Beast?

 “Do every act of your life as if it were your last.” – Marcus Aurelius

I am not at all politically inclined — to save my sanity.  I simply do not understand the machinations of the modern political system.  On my 30 minute drive home each day, I listen to NPR, mostly for the Arts value, and rarely for commentary on the state of things.  There have been quite a few pieces about the Occupy Wall Street Protestors, and the people fighting for and against it.  Everyone is making this matter far worse than it has to be.  It is our right, as Americans, to protest injustice in our system.  This is the very thing that our country was built on, the very thing our constitution was written to protect.  We must be allowed to speak, we must be allowed to ask for equality in all things, we must coexist here.  However, we must understand what exactly we are protesting.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is a very important movement because it represents a microscopic look at the macroscopic problem we are faced with, not only in America but in the world as a whole.  Mathematically we would call this “self-similarity” — something exhibited in the structure of fractals.  Recently this has been applied to many things to show that the whole is represented by examining a small part of the entire object or system.

From the global population to each individual household, we can gauge the success of the whole by looking at the part.  When we are looking at the state of America, we can see that individual households are struggling, localities are struggling, on up to state then country.  And then these problems can be propagated down from the world to the individual. So what does this all mean?

The answers to our global problems must begin in each household.  There is no way to sugar coat these issues, or redirect blame to others.  We as citizens must fix ourselves before we can hope to fix the world. 

Protests are important because they shed light on the systemic problems we all face.  And while the Occupy Wall Street protest is focused on the “haves” and the “have-nots” [yes, it really is that simple, no matter how you couch it], it will force us to look at what has caused this chasm between the classes.  Both sides in this, the 1% and the 99% have forgotten that we share a dichotomous relationship.  The 1% cannot exist without the 99%, and the way of life desired by the 99% cannot exist without the 1%.  This means that the 1% are people who provide a service that the rest of us require or want — whether it be a software giant like Microsoft, or a media giant like News Corp, or a bank Giant like AIG.  The 99% create the 1% by needs and wants.  I want an iPhone, so I will give $200 to Apple, and $75  a month to Verizon.   We are not being forced to buy these products.  We want to buy these products. 

The banks failed because we wanted houses bigger than we needed or could afford.  Does a family of three need a 5000 square foot house?  Probably not.  But we live in America where that is possible, but we cannot blame everyone else when we can’t make our house payment.  We have built this empire of wants and needs all on our own.  We need Coach purses, SUVs, LED TVs, Laptops, iPads, Xboxes and Smart Phones.  All these things we think we need, but we really actually just want it.  Blaming the banks for giving us large mortgages we can’t possibly pay is like blaming the bartender for giving you too many drinks that made you sick.  We must have personal accountability. 

I have spent time evaluating my own purchases and how I use them.  I’ve bought things that were fairly costly, only to let them sit in a drawer somewhere, because I “might” need it at some point.  Did I need a smart phone? Not really, I just got it because everyone else had one.  Do I need an SUV? No, I need a compact car for my commute.  But, all these things I bought under my own volition, and as such I have gladly supported the rise of the 1% to suit my own desires.  And this is the rub in it all.  If we feel that the rich are too rich, then we need to stop buying their products that making them richer — otherwise, we need to cherish the things we have and stop complaining.  It’s just that simple.

I understand that people are frustrated that the 1% are so much more well off than the 99%, but we have to accept the fact that we have done all this to ourselves.  We bought the things that made them rich.  We buy these things because we think we need them.  If we want to change this, it has to start with each of us.  Its been said many times before, but we must be accountable for ourselves, and the outcomes of our actions.  We have to evaluate our lives, and only then can we change the world.

Occupy Wall Street has opened my eyes, not only to the perceived injustice, but to the frivolity of my own life.  I want to change the world.  I just thought I would share my opinion, in case you feel the same way.