History has shown that great nations start out dedicated to high principles, and that, as they grow, those principles get lost in the ongoing process of providing resources for and protecting an increasing population at ever higher levels of consumption. As this process unfolds, the people become lazy and unhealthy, while the government becomes more and more autocratic and inept, until economic and population pressures cause the nation to fall apart. This has happened over and over again throughout the history of Western, Asian, and other civilizations. And as a culture watcher, I’ve been fascinated to watch the US move through this process, step by step, over my lifetime.
At the same time, as a student of cultures around the world, I’ve discovered that most other cultures see nation-states or empires as a temporary form of insanity that is so out of balance that they must dissolve. Many other cultures have prophetic myths or carefully worked out calendars that predict or prophesy the end of the way of life you, if you are reading this, think is normal. It’s part of what the Mayan 2012 ruckus was about. (For more about that, check out my book Make the World Go Away).
Studying previous cycles of history, it’s clear that the next stage – after collapse of the mega-government – is usually a wide mix of community styles and local governance, with more or less allegiance to the remnants of the nation that once held them together, and wandering gangs raiding them. (Robert Heinlein’s novel Friday provides one interesting image of what that might look like for us.)
Studying the prophecies and predictions of other cultures, it’s likely that the main operating principles of many new communities and local governments will tend to focus, not so much on material needs and growth, but on spiritual abilities and potentials, and that those who do so will thrive, while those who strive to live “life as usual” will suffer greatly.
Looking at the current levels and kinds of destruction being implemented across the planet, and projecting them even a short time into the future, we can see that the way of life we know cannot be sustained very much longer – it must either evolve into a high-quality, low-resource consumption pattern of living, or devolve into something like subsistence gathering and farming, in a very short (15-25 year) period.
So, with all that as the context, I’ve come to define the “Emerging Culture” in the most positive terms possible: as a way of life that is intentionally harmonious with the planet, other beings, and our inner spirit. There are elements of this culture emerging all over the world, and people by the thousands are discovering this way of thinking and acting every day. Continue reading What is the emerging culture?
It’s true, our great-grandparents knew far more about language, philosophy, and history when they were in 12th grade than most Ph.D.s do today. They could usually read Greek, Latin, and a smattering of Hebrew, as well as at least one “living language” (usually French or German) and could describe the unfolding history of the Western Empires and Republics. They understood how to build a barn using trigonometry and geometry and how to figure the prevailing direction of the wind. They could plant and maintain a garden or a full farm, without pesticides or fertilizers. They knew the constellations and could find their way home from almost anywhere. They were familiar with the essential teachings of Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Hume, Smith, and Mill. They also had memorized long passages of Shakespeare, Dante, Blake, and Homer, as well as much of the Old and New Testaments.
This terrifying “dumbing down” of the education system has to do with sending people to college in the 1960s-’90s who didn’t like school and encouraging them to major in education because that’s easier than a “real” major… and to having tv sets and easy-to-read romance/adventure novels instead of old books in many languages on home and library shelves… and “everybody wins” instead of real challenges… and keeping kids the same age in one classroom instead of having younger kids watching (and wanting to catch up with) what the older ones are doing.
But, to be fair, the students of 100 years ago didn’t need to know much about Continue reading 100 Years ago we taught Greek & Latin in school; now remedial English in college – what happened?
The more I travel and experience this “global” western empire culture, the more I realize that the problems we are experiencing in the world and in our lives today emerge from the fact that more and more of us are living as “cityfolk”.
Why is living that way a problem? It comes down to the effect that growing up in crowded conditions has on us.
Since the Sumerians, the first urban empire-builders, we’ve heard about adolescent males wreaking havoc on the people around them in the urban environment. Gangs are as old as cities. Mob violence—an extension of the gang mentality—erupts on a regular basis throughout history, usually about every 35 years, in urban settings. Passive aggressive behaviors and thievery become the norm in an environment where it’s possible to slip into anonymity simply by not going to the same places you have before. Likewise, promises are meaningless.
Disease spreads quickly in urban settings, regardless of the care taken to minimize the spread of “germs.” In large part this is due to the fact that a city dweller is always prepared to be attacked, or at least to have one’s privacy invaded—the stress level is high and takes a toll on the immune system. And, because there’s always a low level of adrenaline pumping, numbing the senses, there’s a need for greater and greater intensity of experience: louder, more intense music, more powerful stimuli—including drugs, images, colors, sound, and interactions. The result is that “cityfolk” move more quickly from one thing to the next, not fully taking in anything because they’re always seeking more.
The strange thing about the past 50 years is that all this has moved out of the cities, through the suburbs, and into the rural parts of Europe and the US—and perhaps other places as well. Continue reading Is urbanization the heart of our global predicament?
Minimum Wage is not and never has been intended to be a “living wage”. Entry level positions that offer minimum wage are just that: entry into the job market or the profession. They are intended to last only as long as is needed to learn the field or the process. Then the worker is intended to move on—either ahead in the field or on to another one, depending on what was learned in the entry level position. In a way, they could be considered apprenticeships.
Workers in entry level positions have always shared living spaces and used inexpensive transportation. Owning a home or a car is not part of this stage in life; it’s something one builds up to over time. Entry level workers have always eaten the cheapest food, worn secondhand clothes, and found creative ways to enjoy their lives for the few years that they were in those positions. Whether they had lots of schooling or virtually none at all, they knew this was a temporary experience on their way to something greater, and they spent some hours dreaming and planning around the future they were creating. (Note, I said “creating”, not “expecting someone to hand them.”)
The fact that people have begun to act as if entry level positions are “careers” is one of the dangerous results of our media and failed educational system. Continue reading Why shouldn’t we raise the minimum wage?
James the Just, also called James the Greater, is usually said to be an “older brother” of Jesus, a son of Joseph by a previous marriage. James the Lesser is said to be either a younger brother or cousin. In all likelihood they were part of a cohort of students or near-relatives who called each other “brothers”.
According to the Book of Acts in the New Testament, James the Just took on the formation of a community in Jerusalem based on Jesus’ teachings, after Jesus was no longer around.
The name James comes from the Greek word iamos, which means “healer” (and became Iago in Spanish; hence Santiago meaning “Saint James”). Aramaic sources call both of these men Ya’acov, or Jacob, which is probably their given name and means “usurper, supplanter” referring to the Genesis story in which Jacob (who later becomes Israel) supplants Esau to receive his inheritance. Unfortunately, as a result, many people think that the name James means the same thing as the name Jacob.
While I greatly appreciate Linzey’s work and his clarity about the issues around environmental protection (see his organizations website at www.celdf.org), I disagree that the founders were creating a state based on corporations for the simple reason that both Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson warned us against allowing corporations to endure on several occasions. Also, the Mount Vernon estate was not a corporation according to the materials I’ve seen there, but George Washington developed a self-sustaining community that produced almost everything the several thousand people who lived on it consumed and, through a corporation (a means of raising funds and not imperiling the estate if a shipment got lost—which is the reason the corporation was invented in the 1600s), exported some to Britain and other European countries.
The corporation as an entity with rights entered the picture about a hundred years later, in 1886, and was reaffirmed by the recent Supreme Court decision. So, while the Constitution was not created to protect corporations, those two “minor” changes have set it up to do so. (Thomas J is, I’m sure, causing earthquakes in his grave!)
You may recall that it’s only in the past few decades that more than a handful of folks could incorporate–and most of them did so in Delaware–so the phenomenon has had a long exponential growth curve, has probably exceeded its limits in the US economy (which is why the Limited Liability Company has been invented), and may be approaching its limits within the global economy.
Thanks for asking! This is an interesting commentary on what’s unfolding inside us and around us.
She says: “In the Old Age, you received information that all would be erratic” So true! But it was because the “filters”, the people who were receiving and sharing the information, were clogged with conflicting ideas and egoic influences, more than anything else.
She goes on: “Even though the broad categories of the 12 astrological signs continue, as earth and the Universes shift so do stars in the heavens. ” This doesn’t feel quite accurate to me… my understanding is that the earth is shifting on its axis and its position in the galaxy so it looks like things are shifting in “the heavens”… but more, my sense is that all is constantly shifting as a reflection of our inner state, so of course, as our inner state is “uplifted” the externals shift as well.
Her statement: “Eclipses and full moons, as will be occurring this week, are not necessarily worrisome as has been true in the past.” No longer applies. It’s been decades since most of us felt worried about these events–in fact, aware folks have been celebrating them and applying the energy that they exemplify in their lives!
Then she says: “will Lightworkers who have awakened be more joyful and sparkle a bit more? Yes.” I’m certainly feeling this right now–got my glow back! Feels like it’s about the shift from “endings” energy to “beginnings” energy that happened Mar 21. We’ve completed the cycle of the past Aeon and are truly beginning the new. What a fabulous time to be alive! Continue reading Brenda Hoffman’s latest blog (Apr 24, 2013) hints at the New Energy. What are your thoughts?
The statistics describing religious activity in the U.S. and Europe today are confusing, at best. On the one hand they describe a tremendous increase in spiritual beliefs and membership in some denominations and religions, and at the same time describe an equally tremendous decrease in participation in some of the same denominations and religions. To understand the pattern, we need to look at the historical dynamic.
The tradition of attending church on Sundays (or temple on Fridays or Saturdays) is one that most Americans have grown up with and believe is necessary for our spiritual well-being. We plan our weekends around it. We have special clothes that we set aside to wear for the event. We learn special songs and prayers to be used then and there. We teach our children to behave in certain ways then and there. In short, our weekly visit to the sacred sanctuary has been a significant part of our lives.
Unless, that is, we’ve grown up in a family that doesn’t—as some babyboomers did and many have chosen for their children. Or we’ve turned away from a family that does—as many babyboomers and their children have. Or, in more and more cases, we’ve realized that what is done every week in the sanctuary is a nice beginning but is not sufficient to keep us spiritually nourished—as many people in their senior years have, for centuries.
It’s clear that, following the Viet Nam Era of the late 20th century, and into the early 21st century, many Americans are joining these latter groups, as did many Europeans following World War II in the mid-20th century.
When asked why, such people will have one or more of several responses, they say that they:
- Don’t see the relevance of the services to the life they’re living;
- Don’t accept (or understand) all the things being said in the services;
- Don’t see the need to create a separate sacred space when everything, everywhere is sacred;
- Don’t believe it’s necessary to dress up and go somewhere to commune with the divine;
- Don’t think observing someone else read and speak and sing adds to their spiritual life.
These explanations are worth paying attention to, and a number of churches and temples on both sides of the Atlantic are doing so. They’ve created a more casual atmosphere, where dress is no longer considered an issue. They’ve involved more people in the service, so the focus is on what’s being shared rather than on who’s standing up in front. They’ve updated the language and music so people can see that the ideas being presented really do apply to life today. They’ve refocused their message to be upbeat and entertaining. They’ve created programs that extend beyond the weekly services to engage people in other ways. Continue reading What’s happening to churches and temples in the world today?
This is in reply to a question about an article by Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer on LiveScience.com The link is: http://news.yahoo.com/nazi-acquired-buddha-statue-came-space-172319961.html
Talk about hype!
The answer is No, it’s not. A 10,000 year-old meteorite was carved into a human figurine in about 1,000 c.e.. There is no Buddha and no “statue from outer space”.
The article doesn’t say it’s a statue of the Buddha, but rather a “war god” of the Buddhists, who, the article suggests, is named Jambhala or Vaisravana.
There’s at least 3 reasons why this can’t be true:
- Buddhists don’t have “gods.” They have demons and bodhisattvas and other non-human beings, but not gods in the sense of Christian or Greek theology.
- Buddhism is a philosophy of peace—the only weapon encouraged is the one that cuts away internal blocks to that peace—and that’s not a lemon but a dagger or dorge, which means thunderbolt.
- Buddhist leaders generally have little or no hair on their heads and faces—shaving it off is part of their practice of renunciation—and this guy is as hairy as a Viking!
In fact, the figurine is wearing several crosses and a helmet that suggests he is far more likely to be a Templar than anything else—just one more sign that those mysterious “brothers of the Temple of Solomon” have been far more places doing far more things than anyone ever told us.
So don’t buy the hype… the truth is even more mysterious!
A good question, and my apologies for posting without explaining!
It’s a reference to the Advaita Vedanta. The Encyclopedia of Eastern Philosophy and Religion says “Advaita-Vedanta teaches that the manifest creation, the soul, and God are identical.” It tells us that Shankara (788-820), the main representative of Advaita-Vedanta, uttered, “Brahman alone is real, the world is appearance, the Self is nothing but Brahman.”
Amit Goswami, a retired professor of quantum physics from the University of Oregon, is a self-admitted Vedantist, which helps to explain the books he’s written (The Self-Aware Universe, The Physics of the Soul) and the films he’s been in (What the Bleep?, The Secret) since he retired.
Erwin Schrodinger, of “Schrodinger’s cat” (is it alive or dead or somehow both, when we haven’t seen the outcome?) is said to have been attracted to the teachings of the Vedanta back in the 1930s, as well.
To suggest that a Jewish agnostic psychiatrist in New York in the 1960s who finds herself “taking shorthand” for a voice that calls itself Jesus and provides over 800 pages of manuscript that’s later called A Course in Miracles and transforms humanity’s idea of the Son of God, the Holy Spirit, and the nature of reality “Advaistic” seems a stretch, but somehow isn’t too far wrong!