“Some things are worth believing in whether they are true or not.” So said Robert Duvall in “Second Hand Lions” regarding a speech he gives to young men about How to be a
I’m waxing philosophical right now because a lot of things are coming together at once for me. For openers, I am reading both James Howard Kunstler’s “The Long Emergency” and John Michael Greer’s “The Druidry Handbook.” Both of these books with the backdrop of LATOC’s daily Breaking News financial and resource depletion horror stories and Survival Acres lamenting the demise of the planet and the ability of much of the populace to respond. (Their thought processes apparently restricted by the tightness of the anal sphincters around their necks.) He concludes that it doesn’t matter anyway because the climate change tipping points have already been reached, there is nothing we can do, and we, the fish in the ocean, and all but maybe sea slime are going to die off.
I quote him from one of his recent missives:
“A divided and bankrupt nation. A world running out of energy and food resources. A depleted environment. Oceans heating up and aquifers collapsing. Icecaps and glaciers melting rapidly. Energy demands skyrocketing. Massive ignorance and denial. Fascist and socialist policies and practices to herd the population. Resource wars and jockeying for energy around the world. Political and ignorant leadership still calling for failed policies and practices, including bio-fuels and dangerous technologies. Scientific reticence from experts who know better. Promises of a technofix solution with technologies that don’t even exist or are entirely unproven. Business as usual models in finance, industry, agriculture, mining, deforestation, shipping and on and on.
I could go on, but I don’t feel like it. In fact, I don’t really know why I’m bothering at all anymore, because I realize the futility of trying to change anything (and I’m not the Messiah). Nobody is going to change anything, and I mean nobody. We’re on this headlong train that already plunged off this very, very high cliff and we are going to crash with a sickening thud. Period.”
Admin has his dark days, as we all do. But, I am not so sure that things are set in stone. I distinctly remember when I lived in Tahoe and the area suffered a five year drought. The experts all reported glumly that it would take a minimum of five years of sustained higher than average rainfall if
But, for the sake of argument, let’s say that it is so.
We recently watched the movie “
Hence, my search for a new religion, or philosophy if you will, to help me to deal with all this apparent chaos and collapse. For some reason I seem to have always been one to explore differing religions and philosophies. I was born to parents one of whom was a former Catholic and the other a Lutheran. I was raised Lutheran, but the entire time I attended Lutheran confirmation classes, I wanted to be a Jew. To this day, I feel sorrow for the young assistant pastor who had to deal with my unending challenges to everything he was trying to teach me. About a month after I was confirmed, I wrote a letter to the Church announcing that I would never darken the door of another Lutheran church due to them refusing to allow a black family to enter for Sunday services. It was at the height of the Civil Rights movement, and it was a great failure of my church at that time to adhere to what I considered to be Christian principles.
After that, I came across a Theosophy book at the library called “Some Glimpses of Occultism” by C.W. Ledbetter that got me rolling on metaphysics. I was fifteen. My parents, as well, began their own search and settled on a challenging form of Hindu thought called Radha Saomi, and became devotees of the Maharisha Saran Sing Ji. We became vegetarians and meditators in the
After several years, I pretty much gave up on the Hindu practice, and went on to study existentialism and the Buddhism of Alan Watts and the Beat Generation. Then, on to the Dali Lama and Tibetan Buddhism. But, in
So, with this ridiculously diverse spiritual background, why in the world would I be looking for yet another religion? Because I think we need one. We need to synthesize the best teachings of the others and root them in a planetary base. We need to cultivate a reverence for Gaia, Our Great Mother, The Earth. It’s going to take more than Al Gore and T. Boone Pickens or British Petroleum or wind mills to give people the strength and the motivation that will sustain us through the coming end times of financial and planetary systems collapse.
I want to be inspired. I want to see the sacred in all natural beauty. I want to be devoted. I want art and music and rituals that give me goose bumps. I want to crawl into the lap of the Great Mother and be comforted. When I die or when my loved ones die, I want to believe that they are welcomed into the loving embrace of our Mother, the Earth. Well, actually, I already do believe that. Is it true? I don’t know. But, for me, it is worth believing in. If something else works for you, believe in that. But, if we are to change the paradigm, our belief system must exhort us to live in harmony with nature. Of course, the Wiccan and American Indian traditions are centered in the sacred fabric of nature as well. If this line of thought catches on, it might pull some of the American (or Islamic) fundamentalist recruits from the line-up for Armageddon. That would be a plus.
So, when some pundit predicts in dire tones that our income might be reduced by twenty five percent, I’d like people to not panic. After all, I am living on about half of what I used to, and I am feeling pretty good. And, the more I get right with the natural world, the better I feel. So the next generation might be “reduced” to living in tents and dancing around campfires. It sounds good to me.
Trying to maintain this moribund culture is like fishing in the same spot just because somebody caught a fish there a hundred or a thousand years ago. Somebody needs to tell you, “Look, Dumbass, you have to move to where the fish are now, or you are going starve.”
I’m only a few pages into the book on Druidry. But what appeals to me is that it seems to be in the process of creation. While it honors many traditions from the past, it looks toward the future with eyes wide open exploring our contemporary relationship with the life forces of this wondrous planetary system in which we live. We are not cast out of the garden. We are a part of the garden. And, it’s our sacred duty to figure out how to be in harmony and nurture it. In Druidry, one is encouraged to plant trees, learn traditional skills, study ecological systems, make medicine, write poems, and play music as part of one’s spiritual practice. I am not trying to jam it down your throat, but I think it is a healthy response to the situation we are in. Worth looking into at any rate.
We have been out of touch with the earth for so long that we don’t have any idea what is possible. A friend of mine recently told me about black earth that has been discovered in traditional Mayan lands that was created thousands of years ago by pre-history people that is capable of growing incredible food crops. Who knows what secrets may be revealed if we start looking to the natural world instead of the man-made one for our salvation. Maybe there are ways to heal the mess we have made.
I look at Paulson and Bernanke and Wall Street and the G7, and the whole sink hole of our culture of debt and decline and all I see are dead men walking. This truly may be The End of the World As We Know It. Maybe it is time it was kicked to the curb.
Perhaps it is time to honor the North. Time of winter. Time to contract, evaluate, for some to die, for others to ponder what to keep and what to throw away. Time to make wise decisions for the Spring that will follow. For a lot of us, this may, indeed, be the last of our seasons. For others, it may be a beginning. Either way, these days are important.
How do you want to spend them?