The Future Is Inside Out

Posted on 19 December 2017 | No responses

Flowers by Katherine Phelps 2017

When I was growing up I frequently asked myself, “What is the most important thing?”

I was looking for direction and clarity in a chaotic world where I was surrounded by inconsistent parenting and inconsistent social messages. My first answer to the question was my religion. Christianity offered a universal outlook concerning my relationship with myself, others, the world, and all eternity. My second answer was “love”. My religion taught me that was the core of all right action. So, it became my duty to understand my religion, but even more important was to understand the nature of love and thereby better guide my actions.

Before long I found many people, my family included, treated their religion like a club, rather than a system of values. I was taught to hate anyone who isn’t Christian. I was taught to hate anyone who isn’t the right sort of Christian. I was taught to hate people for their politics, their taste in music, their choice of clothes, and more. I at first tried to abide by these strictures.

My family moved frequently from small town to small town. As the new kid in these towns I was an outsider. Many people teach hatred toward outsiders. So I was bullied and ostracised. Of the kids who were left, I could technically only make friends with a very few. I would go through the rules in my head as to who was acceptable and who wasn’t and I felt like I was painting myself into a corner. Worse, I felt like I had to paint myself out of my own corner by these very same rules.

It was time to turn the rules inside out!

It was time to see all the places where I would want to include people. Yes, I still needed to exercise some caution, recognising who was dangerous to my well-being in some manner. Nevertheless, it’s astounding how many people from how many places can be gloriously beautiful human beings!

In these days of imminent catastrophe we are all feeling the need to hate more. We are being to taught to:

Hate people of the Muslim faith
Hate people with religions
Hate people who are atheists
Hate people with the wrong color skin
Hate people with the wrong ethnicity
Hate people who are anti-vaccination
Hate people who are anti-capitalism
Hate people who are pro-socialism
Hate people who are communist
Hate people who are business workers
Hate people who are poor
Hate people who are unemployed
Hate people who are wealthy
Hate people who are from the wrong countries, including the US
Hate people who are fat
Hate people who are fit
Hate people who are pro-life
Hate people who are pro-choice
Hate people who are meat eaters
Hate people who are vegetarians
Hate people who are vegans
Hate people who are pro-environmental
Hate people who are using up the Earth
Hate people who are left-wing
Hate people who are centrist
Hate people who are right-wing
Hate people who are activists
Hate people who are complacent



No grouping of human beings seems to be immune from a felt need to hate. We are drawing each other in such absolutist terms, as if no one can change and no one can grow. This makes apparent solutions to the world’s problems very dangerous indeed.

Aren’t you tired of all the hating? How profoundly dark must your life be, if you have let yourself be sucked into this vortex of fear. Whether our world’s environment collapses or not, the collapse of human kindness will most assuredly mean the end of humankind. Love is not about being nicey-nice and accepting bad behavior. It is about doing the hard work of trying to include everyone and every living being at some level.

These are the lyrics from one of the songs I’ve written for my musical about youth unemployment and homelessness

“I Do Believe”
Katherine Phelps
2017 August 21

I do believe life can be good.
I do believe that people can be good.
I’m told that I’m naïve,
Been tricked and deceived.

I don’t think so…

And yes, I do believe in grace
I do believe that goodwill has its place.
And when they say life is dire,
People consuming fires,

Who are they helping?

…I know suffering finds us at any age.
Hurt ourselves through senseless rage.
Cowards stop looking for the light,
Giving darkness its might.
Behind those clouds are big bright stars,
Each star a burning sun.
Wake up, wake up, so much to be done.

Much to learn and unlearn.
Sometimes change is just a season’s turn.
I’ve lived more experience
Than some have lived in years.
I’ve never forgotten smiles,
Even through all the tears.

I do believe life can be good.
I do believe that people can be good.
I’m told that I’m naïve
Been tricked and deceived

I don’t think so.

In peace and kindness,


Business Carol

Posted on 19 December 2017 | No responses

Scrooge and Jacob Marley's Ghost

“But you were always a good man of business, Jacob,” faltered Scrooge, who now began to apply this to himself.

“Business!” cried the Ghost, wringing its hands again. “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!

― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Artistic Hype Cycle

Posted on 18 December 2017 | No responses

Quantum computing chip
In technology there’s a thing known as the “hype cycle”. It has to do with the progression of new technologies into public use. It seems to me this applies to new talent as well.

  1. The trigger: a technological breakthrough or a successful first outing as a performer.
  2. Peak of inflated expectations: people get over-excited by the potential. Performers may experience ego-inflation.
  3. Trough of disillusionment: reality sets in. The technology doesn’t provide the expected magic. Performers find they don’t just get rich and famous.
  4. Slope of enlightenment: people start recognising the real benefit of a technology. Performers start recognising where respect is genuinely due and are ready to do some real work.
  5. Plateau of productivity: a technology is picked up by the mainstream. Performers become a solid part of the artistic community, creating and getting recognition, whether or not they attain “rich and famous”.

I’ve seen friends come out with a first book or gain a role in a television show who suddenly fly up to the rafters cawing: “I’m going to be famous forever!” If they then do not put in the work to support that new found visibility, their fame evaporates. You have to keep producing work that is of value to your public. Should their interest wane, you keep at it: improving your skills and working harder to create works of real soul and integrity. In this way your public will eventually return to you, because they trust your vision.

In peace and kindness,


Love Is Not Capitalist

Posted on 16 December 2017 | No responses

Hugging someone in a disaster zone.

Some years ago I founded a writer’s group. At the foundation the members discussed how to ensure our group was as useful as it could be for each of us. We decided to place an upper limit on our membership of twelve people. That way everyone would have the opportunity to be critiqued at least once every year, preferably twice.

This was a purely practical decision. Of course with that limit we would need a system to vet new members, since we only had a few remaining places. We then put together a set of guidelines for determining who would be compatible with our group.

Between those two decisions our group created something of a stir. We were seen as exclusive and therefore a desirable group in which to gain membership. Every week I had to sort through numbers of applications. I had people angry with me for not letting them in. I kept repeating, “Nothing says you can’t form another group.” We had gained status because we rejected people. It was crazy.

NPD Love

Love is an important way that we relate to ourselves, one another, and the planet. Currently what this planet needs most is more love. Sadly, love is used as a commodity, an enticement, and a weapon, thereby not being love at all. We rightly worry about fake news, of even greater concern is fake love and the consequences of real love lost.

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder will draw others in with something known as “lovebombing”. They will flatter you, they will shower you with affection, they will give you all the attention they want for themselves. If you have experienced a deficit of love in your life, it is very easy to be caught up with their show. The problem is they don’t have a lot of self-respect. Therefore the moment you offer them genuine love, what is going on in the back of their minds is that your love can’t be worth very much if you love them. You are therefore not worthy of respect. You are only valuable as a resource to be used.

If after making a connection with such a personality you try to walk away, suddenly you are a precious commodity because your rejection shows in their minds that you are more worthy of respect. If they manage to lure you back, you will just be converted once more into their tool.

From Cool Kids to Lovebombing Companies

Sadly, we see elements of this throughout our society. We have people who manage to take up the role of “the cool kid”. Others are terrified of their judgement, but feel empowered when they can gain the scant approval available from the cool kid. The cool kid’s love is doled out insincerely by the eyedropper full and this causes people to crave what they have to offer. Rock stars, journalists, successful artists, and high-flying businessmen are all good at playing the cool kid game.

Some companies will advertise about how special you are and what loving care they will offer you if you just give them your money. However, when you enter their business you find employees with forced smiles, who are underpaid and under-respected, offering you shoddy goods. They will find ways to get you hooked, while offering you less than your time and money deserves. Insurance companies are notorious for this.

From parents to presidents we have people who will do the most destructive things while saying, “I do this because I love you.”

What Do You Mean by Love?

All of this is enough to drive people into a cynicism that says there is no such thing as love. Some may take a less strident position that simply believes that it’s too dangerous to trust anyone’s offers of love.

Deeply disturbing is how few people understand what love really can be. It’s why I end my messages with words like “in peace and kindness” in order to help people understand that I am doing my best to offer love…the real thing, by using descriptors of that sort of love.

As a child I thought love was the warm feeling I held toward my family and friends. I had been taught by my religion that I was to extend love to everyone, but I couldn’t make myself feel the same way I felt about those closest to me. This became a particularly fraught activity when my feelings toward my family became more complicated. Romantic love can be even more tangled as all our emotional needs come to the fore, and what we call love can be barely controlled rage.

Of Love and Respect

Our society tells us that the most basic love is love of self. It would be true to say that someone with a genuine and healthy love of themselves would be better equipped to genuinely offer healthy love. What our society sells us as self love is in fact vanity and narcissism. Why? Because vain narcissistic people can be easily manipulated to buy goods and vote for toxic leaders.

True love starts with respect.

Vanity says, “Do it if it makes you feel good: take the drugs, over-indulge, over-spend, etc.” People find themselves caught in self-destructive behaviour.

Self-respect says: “Do it if it contributes to your general well-being: exercise, take part in community activities, live modestly, etc.” Respect for others says, “Do that which is mutually beneficial, give one another freedom to choose, generously offer kindness, and always wish others well.” Respect for our living world says, “Walk lightly on this planet: use only what you need, tend to the needs of other living beings, be grateful for what this planet has given you.”

This is not the sort of respect that demands obedience. This is the respect that comes from true concern, and as it is offered expands upon the pool of love, making it more valuable through abundance rather than a lethal scarcity. We are all so much safer when we offer one another goodwill, friendship, kindness, and respect. We are more likely to have a physical safety net and enjoy the benefits of emotional security. Lamentably, some people will see these things as weaknesses and will try to manipulate us using mock formulations that look something like love.

The Future Belongs to Love

This is where we cannot afford to be naive. Respectful love will not accept that which is injurious emotionally or physically to self, others, or this planet. Respectful love will stand strong and hold firm against destructive forces without resorting to destruction itself. That’s how appropriate action distinguishes itself from hateful action.

We must go out with the sort of solid dedication to love found in some doctors, nurses, veterinarians, and firefighters, not the crazed fury of warriors, to ensure we have a future. Love is a powerful force which will reform this planet, if we let it.

With all my heart,


Dear Roboticists: a favor

Posted on 9 December 2017 | No responses

Silent Running robots

Silent Running (movie) 1972

I am both a nerd girl and a nature girl.

I was swept away along with all the other kids in 1969 when American astronauts landed on the moon. I remember eating the astronaut breakfast bars, drinking the astronaut Tang, and lusting after the astronaut pens. My mother was a Trekkie and we would watch every episode of Star Trek as a family to get our fix of what a wonderful future we had in front of us.

I also remember watching the movie Silent Running directed by Douglas Trumbull only three years later. I was nine years old. As a nerd girl I spent a lot of time by myself. Frequently I would walk out to where I could sit in nature, watch the animals, and scribble in my journal. I wrote down poems, personal thoughts, and bad Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe fan fiction. My other family became those plants and animals I bonded with in my after school time. Silent Running hit me hard. I was sympathetic with both the robots and the last Earthly ecosystem adrift in space. The protagonist was an upsetting but understandable figure, trying to rescue Earth’s other children with the help of his little robot friends.

In the 1980s I watched the equally moving film Laputa: Castle in the Sky directed by Hayao Miyazaki. In this film we also have a robot whose purpose is to protect the wildlife on its floating island. The most iconic scene from that film is when the robot offers the child Sheeta a flower.

Laputa: Castle in the Sky - robot offering flower to Sheeta

Laputa: Castle in the Sky (movie) 1986

Right now our living world is in grave danger from the fall out of Global Climate Change. People talk about how jobs are disappearing due to the rise of robotics. However, I keep thinking that this must mean we have more people with more time to help rehabilitate the planet. Even so, we need help to do as much as we can as quickly as we can. Surely, we have people who would relish the chance to create robots like those in Silent Running and Laputa to help rescue the natural world?

When I see news about “cool” new robots for military applications such as these “dogs”, I feel chilled to the bone. I find them terrifying and a complete waste of human intellect.

Military BigDog robots

BigDog robots trot around in the shadow of an MV-22 Osprey while given commands via remote control at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., June 26, 2006. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is considering plans such as weaponizing the BigDog robots…

We can be so much better than this. Where are the builders of appropriate technology? Where are the builders of inspirational technology? Where are the builders for creating a bright new world where economies and starvation are a thing of the past, and a lush world teaming with life is still possible? Don’t for one moment throw at me the names of millionaires and billionaires whose egos are larger than their genuine green credentials. They are not the future. We are the future: just like in Star Trek.

So who is going to start building these robots? Please start straight away. We need you.

In peace and kindness,


My robotic wishlist:

  • Robots that clean up the space debris circling around in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.
  • Robots that clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
  • Robots whereby endangered animals can be protected from poachers.
  • Robots that reverse ocean deoxygenation…

Please help me add to this list!

Singing Songs of Love

Posted on 1 December 2017 | No responses

Baby bonobo

CCBY 7 March 2011 Rudolphous Becker

What do you do when the world comes crashing around your ears?
You sing songs of love to it.

When you look deep into people’s eyes,
Think of how few generations have passed before you are related.

When you look at the beings that walk and crawl upon the Earth,
The beings that fly in the air,
The beings that swim in the sea,
Know that not that long ago you too are related.

Back to the tiniest amoeba
Spawned by stone soup,
Kissed by lightning,
We must find finally that
We are all family.

We are all family.

What do we do when the world comes crashing around our ears?
We hold hands
And sing songs of love among ourselves.

In peace and kindness,


That One Insight (to save the world)

Posted on 18 November 2017 | No responses

American indian girls

We have been applying the wrong answer. We have been trying to create harmony within and among our nations by integrating people into a Western monoculture: a culture that is deeply flawed, a culture that has failed us, a culture that is destroying our living world.

We need to be seeking to integrate with those who have successfully lived in peace with our planet and one another, recognising the various ways in which it has been done. We need to stop insisting on being the teachers and open up to being taught.

Nobody has a corner on wisdom, and most especially not those within our dominating culture. Find the humility to accept help from small meaningful voices who know so much more than you are giving them credit. Someone sleeping in a city alley or travelling alone on a desert may have your answers. A small girl, a black elder, someone struggling with a walker may have that one insight that can save this world. Will you hear them?

Step back and give others a chance to transform this planet.

In love and peace,


Ego and Godhood

Posted on 17 November 2017 | No responses

Solar flare
Imagine a voice, the voice of the universe, telling you:

“You are God, there are no others.”

Our egos can take this voice and we hear:

“You are the only God in this universe, no one and nothing else is God.”

But the intended message is:

“You are God, everyone you know is God, all things are God. There is no otherhood, we are one.”

The same quiet voice of the universe says:

“You are nothing.”

Our egos can hear:

“You are insignificant, your existence is worthless.”

But the intended message is:

“You are nothing and therefore can be anything. Let go of status. Choose what brings peace and joy into your life. You are not in fact burdened with destiny or even purpose, other than what you assign yourself.”

So long as we are frightened, we will want control. So long as we want control, we will want to see ourselves as all powerful while fearing we are powerless. That’s the crux of the matter.

From a journal entry in 2013

Peace and kindness,


The Necessity of Kindness

Posted on 6 November 2017 | No responses

Boy digging sand

A: Although it looks reprehensible, I’m pretty sure almost all of the companies and people acted legally within the laws of their respective countries.

B: Doesn’t make it “right” though, does it.

A: What is right? What is right often is seen from a moral point of view and morals change as fast as fashion.

We are seeing a lot of cynical self-interest passing itself off as realism. This form of realism is polluting all ends of the political spectrum. The problem is that it’s ultimately self-destructive. If you only protect your own house when your neighbors’s houses are burning, you may suddenly find they were providing essential services you no longer have.

This was my answer to the above conversation:

What is right is to support the pro-social.

What is even more right is to support the life-affirming.

Allowing people to die in suffering and poverty will never be right.

Using up what our living world has to offer such that we are bringing about its extinction will never be right.

You can get a solid beginning in understanding what is right by reading these documents:

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
In 1948 of the 58 members of the United Nations, 48 voted in favor, none against, eight abstained, and two did not vote.

Declaration of a Global Ethic
This Declaration was signed at the Parliament of the World’s Religions gathering in 1993 by more than 200 leaders from 40+ different faith traditions and spiritual communities. Since 1993 it has been signed by thousands more leaders and individuals around the world.

Declaration of Human Rights and the Environment
On 16 May 1994, an international group of experts on human rights and environmental protection convened at the United Nations in Geneva and drafted the first-ever declaration of principles on human rights and the environment. The Draft Declaration is the first international instrument that comprehensively addresses the linkage between human rights and the environment.

In peace and kindness,


Digging Holes

Posted on 2 November 2017 | No responses


Some people dig holes for others to fall down.

Some people who haven’t fallen down a hole walk past the holes and just ignore them.

Some stand next to holes wringing their hands saying, “This is awful”.

Some from high atop distant mountains shout that something should be done about those holes.

Some people jump down holes because they believe they deserve no better.

Some believe that if a person has fallen into a hole, they deserve it for not watching out for holes.

Some believe certain people should be in holes.

Some believe that those in holes should remain in holes in order to protect the rest of us.

Some believe that hole digging and people falling into holes is an inevitable part of life and absolutely nothing can be done about it.

Some believe everyone should be in a hole.

Some pretend to offer a hand of help to those in holes. This brings them the praise of those who don’t dig holes. However when no one is looking…they withdraw their hand.

Some in the holes lose faith that anyone will offer them a hand.

Some lose faith that anyone even wants to hold out a hand.

Some within the holes curse all those outside and are surprised when no one offers to help.

Some within the hole refuse the help of those outside the hole, because they cannot believe anyone outside the hole can be any good.

Some shout angrily from within the hole, “I didn’t dig this hole! It’s others responsibility to fill it in.” And while this is true, in the meantime they remain in the hole and their children will remain in the hole.

Some inside holes will dig even deeper holes for others in their hole.

Some inside holes come to hate everyone inside and outside of a hole.

Some within flatter those outside, then when they are helped out, join those who are digging holes.

Some will actively try to drag others into their holes.

Some who have newly fallen down the hole are abused by those who are already there.

Some people crawl over the bodies of others to get out of these holes.

Some believe that the bad behaviour of some in a hole gives them a reasonable excuse to continue digging holes or not helping people out of holes.

Some within holes give up all hope.

Some within holes give each other a foot up.

Some who are calling out, “Hey, we need some help!” are smashed over the head with a shovel.

Some who are just making it out of their hole are smashed over the head with a shovel.

Some who are helping remove people from their holes are either kicked down the hole or smashed over the head with a shovel.

Some communicate the need to get people out of holes, because they believe it’s important to get people out of holes.

Some communicate the need to get people out of holes, because they want to be well thought of.

Those who are in holes are not given many opportunities to let others know what it’s like to be in a hole.

Those in holes who speak out are often not heard by those outside holes.

Some in holes feel they should be the only ones who speak about their condition.

Some believe that not digging holes is enough.

Some believe giving money to someone else to sort out the hole problem is enough.

Some believe that praising those who aren’t digging holes is enough.

Some believe that pulling one or two people out of their holes is enough.

Some believe they can just leave the hole digging problem with their government and that will be enough.

Some believe that taking a shovel to the head of those digging holes is enough.

Some try to stop another from digging a hole once, and when that doesn’t stop all hole digging, give up.

Some seek a great savior to follow before bothering to help those in holes.

Some seek to be a great savior and demand people’s attention for their efforts pulling people out of holes. When they attain greatness, they use it to satisfy their own needs and damage the cause.

Some seek to be a great savior and demand people’s attention for their efforts pulling people out of holes. When they do not attain greatness, they join the other hole diggers and say that it is others fault they have been reduced to hole digging.

When some people are critical of the hole diggers, the hole diggers complain of how their backs hurt and their hands are calloused…won’t someone be sorry for their pain?

Some work so hard to pull people out of holes that they are used up and become sick in body and mind.

Some do what they can to help those in holes, when they can and without notice, their entire lives.

Eventually so many holes have been dug that it is easy for almost anyone to stumble into one.

The answer to these people’s problems is not easy. Together they must: stop hole digging, pull/push people out of holes, fill in the holes, learn how to respect one another, and stop wanting to dig holes.

How will you respond to the holes?

In peace and kindness,


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