to [address removed]
The Beginning is Near
The best sign I saw at the Occupy Pittsburgh camp said, "The Beginning is Near." It reminded me of the cartoon where two old guys are holding signs, one saying "The End is Near", the other saying "The Beginning is Near". That's the attitude we need to take at this most crucial moment in Earth's history, that we should look joyfully and participate lovingly in the new world that is being born. We all know there is plenty going on to be afraid of. And many more
troubles are coming. But in order to make wise decisions to handle these problems we must be absolutely fearless. The only way to make sane decisions is to enjoy each moment. If we concentrate on what we're losing, allowing that to make us unhappy, we will be of no use to society. Keeping our eyes on the prize by focusing on all the good things happening, such as technological breakthroughs that solve these problems, is what our lives are about. We don't need another drink or a new drug to face all the terrible things going on in the world. We need to take a long deep breath, look at all the emergencies around us, and go to work on one at a time.
To overcome depression and get rid of that feeling of hopelessness that frustrates, I read the quote of Mother Teresa on my fridge: "If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I
will." Here's a woman who literally facilitated miracles, and enjoyed her life doing what most of us would consider hard labor. There's a sweet spot in every "impossible" problem which only shows up once you get into gear, hoping against hope, working on that problem.
What am I talking about? We are losing our ecosystem. People often accuse big businesspeople of destroying our economy, but how often do we think about the fact that our economy is based on the ecosystem? We are all a part of Earth. When we destroy plants and animals and even bugs and microbes we are threatening Nature's checks and balances and ecosystem services. The saying "All life is one" is more than some nice-sounding mystical mumbo-jumbo; it's good science, good big-picture logic. The labor slogan "An injury to one is an injury to all" can be applied to we humans' relationship to the rest of the
living world too. We have for many centuries closed our hearts to life by pretending we are better than the other living things. We talk of animals, for instance, as if we ourselves were not animals. We use the world "animal" as a derogatory, in the same way as a racial epithet. If we call another human being an "animal", that means we think they are less than human, immoral. If we say someone is a vegetable, we're saying they're not moving because their brain is dead. But we ARE animals, part of Nature. And the best scientists ( and other wise people) know that plants are exquisitely sensitive, respond to human emotions, have sex and are motivated to reproduce for the future, and even have intuition.
Earth's ecosystem IS collapsing, and all 100% of us are in trouble (not just the bottom 99%). The glass half-full part of
this equation is that this crisis makes us all see ourselves as in the same boat, so we can work together to fix the problems.
As children we have a feeling of connectedness to each other and to the Earth that is lost as we get older and become more "logical" and "practical". Einstein said something to the effect that our perception of seperation is an illusion. Like many things scientists say, this is hard to fathom, but it is an ecological principle that everything is connected by cause and effect. Think about it - No matter what two things you want to talk about, they are directly or indirectly connected one way or another. So that means, for instance, that when we in the U.S. wear clothes made from slave labor somewhere else in the world, we're eventually going to get bad consequences return to us from those bad decisions. What goes around comes around. It's natural to say
don't worry about how working people are treated so far away in other countries. But we CAN do something about how workers are treated in other countries - and at the same time help get decent jobs back in this country - by refusing to buy clothes (or anything else for that matter) from unethical manufacturers.
We are each a part of God, the Universe. When the 99% becomes the 100%, we will all be able to work together to usher in the new age. Everybody in. Nobody out. Feed the People! The problems are solvable when we work together. We are Japan. We are Somalia. We are Chernobyl. We are Afghanistan, Pakistan, Thailand,...We are the World!
St. Jim the
composter and biotech researcher