Germinating Utopia

Posted on 25 July 2018 | No responses

Edward Hicks Peaceable Kingdom

An End

We are without question seeing the end of an era–perhaps the end of a collection of eras: the industrial era, the era of capitalism, and the anthropocene are all on the verge of collapsing. In the stages of grief humanity is feeling, many sense the darkness of ending but are lost in denial. This is not just the anti-vaxxers or the climate deniers, but also the entrepreneurs who think simply greening consumption will be enough, or the technocrats who make pleasant noises that scientific progress and invention will surely sort things out.

These people have blinded themselves to the speed with which we have already used up the planet. Without resources we have no shiny trinkets to sell no matter how recyclable. Without resources we can create no mechanisms by which to enforce our will upon the climate and all life. Scientific advancement will necessarily slow, not due to a lack of intelligence, but means.

We have been pushing our problems onto the future for too long trusting children or grandchildren will wave their magic wands like Harry Potter wizards and save the world.

What The World Needs Now

The biggest breakthrough our planet groans for has nothing to do with jet packs or androids. The biggest breakthrough must be one where we revolutionise our culture, overturning our current ways of thinking, feeling, and interacting with ourselves, each other, and our living world.

Central to this will be a sort of spirituality that challenges us to enlarge both our hearts and our imaginations in order to embrace the inter-relatedness of all life. I’m not speaking of anything spooky, just a conscious anima mundi whereby we make a choice to recognise and understand that the well-being of all living beings is our own well-being. With that vision we must evolve our sense of compassion and responsibility such that we build a renewed foundation of values, which we support through ritual, meditation, and creative expression. These sorts of activities help to bond communities in their commitment to understanding and enacting those values.

We must honour and promote all that is prosocial and life-affirming. This is where we will find utopia.

The materialist vision of the future was always bankrupt. When we learn how to be content with ourselves, we will need so much less of the trappings of our current lives. When we learn how to accept ourselves as limited and flawed beings who nonetheless embrace the wonder of our lives, we will no longer need to indulge in the anxiety that comes from the felt need for status or domination. These two changes alone would finally make possible an equitable society, one where democracy could finally and truly flourish.

Both A Particle and a Wave

Critical to this utopian endeavour would be to mature as interdependent beings: interdependent with one another and interdependent with the web of all life.

Once we relied more collectively on our living world, our communities, our friends, our families, and on our marital partners. Our circle of support has become smaller and smaller until we are held hostage by what few relations we have left. One lover does not have the right to enslave the other. Parents do not have the right to enslave their children. The loyalty of friendship can turn sour through a gripping dysfunction. Governments and corporations can clench us firmly within their fists until we have no choice but to be their captives. Individual relations can become burdensome, but through a web of relation we can more readily receive the sort of support that empowers each and every one of us.

Whole societies do not have the right to hold certain of their members locked into roles and behaviours simply to feel secure in an easily understood and controlled culture. No one should expect to know another simply by looking at them. No one should be able to claim status simply for the circumstances into which they were born. We do not live in a child’s shape sorting ball: square peg goes into square hole, circular peg goes into circular hole…then what do we do with the fact that so many of us are secret tesseracts?

We must embrace the mystery of diversity while acknowledging that we are all one. We need to overcome a desire to privilege one person over another, and simply hold every one in the compass of our goodwill. In this way we find both freedom and connection without putting anyone in the way of ego corruption through too much attention or power.

The Shape of the Future

I can foresee a future where we will have to make some hard decisions or have them made for us. We will have to learn how to share with all of humanity and all the living world. We will have to significantly reduce our numbers. We will have to decide which technologies we are going to keep and which we are going to let go. We are going to have to learn how to live simpler lives.

I can easily imagine a world where we rely on trains, bicycles, and even horses, but only a very few cars. I can see cities emptied of humans and being converted into materials and farming space. Perhaps we will keep internet communication, but we turn into a world of small villages.

Work would change from what we do for money into what we do to maintain the well-being of our planet and ourselves. As such work is a community activity. Together we decide on what needs doing and volunteer to have jobs assigned us as needed. We will also have regular jobs to do with everyone’s emotional wellness, the wellness of our community relations, and our peaceful interactions among nations, including the animal kingdom (and perhaps even plant).

A high level of skilled socialisation is critical to our future survival.

No matter what we do now future generations are going to have to cope with extreme weather events and be responsible for preventing complete ecological collapse. This sounds dystopian, but if we change ourselves, we can learn to live in such times with dignity, grace, and great love. Fulfilling lives will be possible. We must start building this future now.

In love and kindness,

Katherine

Dear Hon Christian Porter MP,

Posted on 22 July 2018 | No responses

The Defence Amendment (Call Out of the Australian Defence Force) Bill 2018 gives the federal government greater power to use the Australian military (ADF) in the control of its own citizens. This includes the use of lethal force, by which is meant the killing of those citizens.

Your purported reason for this was to support state police in the case of a Lindt Café-style siege. That siege involved one man holding ten customers and eight employees hostage in 2014. Gun person Man Haron Monis killed one hostage, the police killed Monis and accidentally killed another hostage. Police have been criticised for the lack of negotiation during the siege. Hostage Marcia Mikhael called radio station 2GB during the siege and said “They have not negotiated, they’ve done nothing. They have left us here to die.”

In that siege would military presence have actually resolved the issue? Why use that event as reason now for a new extension of miltary powers given to the federal government? Why does the federal government feel it needs to be able to send the miltary with threat of death when dealing with the Australian public?

The bill speaks about being prepared for the sort of violence that has not happened in this country. It states that the ADF who is being used under a call out order must not use force in such a way that is likely to cause the death of, or grievous bodily harm to, a person, EXCEPT where the member believes on “reasonable grounds” that using such force is: necessary to protect declared infrastructure against the domestic violence or threat specified in the order, or when taking measures against an aircraft or vessel (up to and including destroying that aircraft or vessel) or, “reasonable and necessary” for the purposes of giving effect to the order under the authority of which the member is acting.

According to the United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, Article 3: “The use of firearms is considered an extreme measure. Every effort should be made to exclude the use of firearms, especially against children. In general, firearms should not be used except when a suspected offender offers armed resistance or otherwise jeopardizes the lives of others and less extreme measures are not sufficient to restrain or apprehend the suspected offender. In every instance in which a firearm is discharged, a report should be made promptly to the competent authorities.” Your bill steps over this line in order to protect inanimate objects of war.

What are you preparing for that you feel you need to give yourselves the ability to protect military vessels by killing Australians? Does this have anything to do with Federal spending of $35 billion per year or equivalently about $95 million per day on the miltary and promising support to any US military action?

Are you getting nervous because you have given $65 billion in corporate tax cuts, while making welfare assistance harder to access and more punitive in nature, in order to save money by worsening the lives of those suffering in poverty?

The Defence Amendment (Call Out of the Australian Defence Force) Bill 2018 is unnecessary and raises many questions about the motives of our current government. We Australians are anxious that you will make use of this Bill in order to curb nonviolent protest, when we are concerned that people are being mistreated or our common future is being endangered through environmental devastation. Who decides what is “reasonable and necessary” and how when it comes to sending forces against our citizens? Perhaps one minister with an axe to grind? That is indeed a terrifying thought.

Withdraw The Defence Amendment Bill. It does nothing to make Australia a more secure country.

Thank you.

Regards,

Katherine Phelps
BA (Hons), MFA, PhD

The Burning House
~ or what are we going to do when our world turns to ashes?

Posted on 9 July 2018 | No responses

Burning mansion
Every nation divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.

In the mansion of humanity there are three floors. On the top floor live the matriarch and the patriarch of the controlling family. On the middle floor are all the children and grand-children. On the bottom floor are the servants, who come and go to the lands where livestock, wheat, and vegetables are grown.

One day a fire breaks out on the lowest floor. Those on the top floor have not concerned themselves with the state of that floor and have allowed it to become dilapidated. The walls are dry and rotting, and the means to stop the fire have become rusted with age. The servants are, nevertheless, doing their best to quell the flames.

The people on the middle floor start to smell the smoke and wonder where all the servants have gone. When a few begin to realise the mansion is on fire, they rush to the narrow staircase leading to the top storey in order to escape the flames. One or two of those make it to that floor. The patriarch then closes and locks the door, afraid that too many people on his level would endanger his safety.

Those remaining on the middle floor take several actions.

Some of a religious bent begin to pray for the well-being of themselves and their elders, but do nothing to help those fighting the fire. Those of a spiritual bent meditate to find inner peace during this emergency, trusting that ultimately all will be well, but also do nothing to help stop the fire. Some deny that the house is on fire, angrily denouncing anyone who says otherwise. Some claim that it is not their problem, and even worse, that the servants who are risking their lives deserve to burn. All too few run downstairs to take up buckets and axes, and pitch in.

On the ground floor the struggle is hard because they have received so little support. Don’t the people above understand that we all share this house, and the welfare of the lower floors is critical to the welfare of the upper floors?

Some on the lowest floor are so angry and so frightened that they fight among themselves, then run from the house to save their own individual lives, without noticing that the flames are spreading to the fields and villages.

The remaining firefighters cry, “Surely a better way of living would have prevented this tragedy! What are we going to do when our world has turned to ashes?”

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

Big Changes: New America

Posted on 3 July 2018 | No responses

Flag dove

Okay, people! It’s time to sharpen your pencils (or charge up your laptops). Now is the time to think big and make out your wish list. We all need to be ready for the next couple of Federal elections.

Our democracy is seriously broken. Some of it was broken from the beginning. Some of it has been broken through corruption. Some of it is straining to evolve into something better than our forebears could even conceive. A simple patch job is not going to fix this mess. We are going to have to recreate the US from top to bottom (and bottom to top), if we are going to keep this country from imploding or collapsing into irrelevance.

Electoral Reform

Every adult US citizen has a right to vote. Every adult US citizen has a responsibility to vote. Each vote must be given equal weight or we are not living in any form of enlightened democracy. Everyone must be given every opportunity to vote.

Wishlist items:

* Easy national standardized means of gaining voter registration.
* Every US citizen of voting age is required to register and vote. (This is done in Australia and the world doesn’t come tumbling down.)
* Easy access to voting: for one week make available 24 hour voting booths evenly dispersed throughout cities and towns. Ensure that people have the right to petition for a booth to be placed in their community and then get one. Make postal votes easy to access as well.
* Dispose of the electoral college.
* Institute Single Transferable Vote. People can start putting this in place in their local electorates and experience how well it works.

People have a right to have their needs and concerns fairly represented within their government. Currently, we have a disconnect whereby politicians may be more answerable to monied interests rather than their electorate.

Wishlist items:

* Candidates can only accept individual donations: no business or organizational donations. This includes in-kind donations
* Donation caps 1: only so much can be donated by any one individual–cash and in-kind.
* Donation caps 2: all candidates have a cap on how much they can spend on their campaign.
* Anyone who runs for office, and passes a reasonable threshold of signed support, is given campaign resources by the government equal to every other candidate.
* All publicly endorsed candidates must have equal access to media coverage.
* All candidates who are voted into office are given a reasonably generous wage that is pegged to the national minimum wage. They can only ever make twelve times the wage of the lowest paid worker (and now we are aware of just how poor some people are). This includes when they leave office–we do not want them voting for their next job.

Structural Reform

Various governmental systems have been deeply abused. For instance governmental loop holes have allowed the position of president to be disproportionately powerful in relationship to Congress and the Supreme Court. All of these must be answerable to the people and to our country’s highest values.

Wishlist items:

* The powers of the president must be better circumscribed.
* All people involved in governance must be clearly answerable to the law of the land to the same extent as their people.
* A better method of appointing Supreme Court justices must be found, with equal opportunity laws applying in this instance as well.
* Controls must be put on the proliferation of enforcement bodies and the sorts of weapons to which they have access.
* Better oversight of government functioning and better protections for whistle-blowers.

Critical to structural reform would be the updating of the US Constitution and its Bill of Rights. This strikes terror in the hearts of people on both the left and the right. However, I don’t think at this point we have much choice.

Wishlist items:

* The overt inclusion of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the Bill of Rights.

* The overt inclusion of On Human Rights and The Environment in the Bill of Rights.

NOW is the time to start a national conversation about what we want from our country. NOW is the time to start practicing these ideas on a more local level. If we see these changes happening at the state level in more and more states, you better believe that we would eventually see Federal change as well. NOW is the time we get involved, ensuring everyone can vote and that we have people up for election who are worthy of their vote. Think of this moment in time as an opportunity for a better nation and a better world. Get engaged people!

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

A Bad History of Ideas

Posted on 24 June 2018 | No responses

Mount Olympus by Abraham Janssens

So, we have people who want to convert you to their way of thinking.
This could be for reasons:
Sometimes to make the world a better place,
Sometimes to validate those people’s sense of self.

“Hey! I have great ideas!
You should agree with me, so that I can feel secure that I have great ideas!”

Let’s say a few people convert their thinking to this person’s great ideas.
Then let’s say other people with other ideas also have people converting to their ideas.

But who is right?
Does someone believing in a different idea mean we are wrong?
Does someone believing in a different idea make them wrong?
(No reason to worry about who is right. Not when insecurity is at stake!)
How hard do we want to think about this?
“Surely, the ideas we already have are obviously the best ideas!”

To feel even more secure maybe we convert these people to our ideas as well.
Maybe we start forcing people to agree to our ideas?
Perhaps we should stop people from converting to other ideas?

So certain groups of people convert and dominate other groups of people.
Lots of little groups are absorbed into bigger groups.
No one is allowed to question these ideas, because…scary!
You are even told: question these ideas and scary things will happen!
Gods will punish you!
The world will fall apart!
Someone will come and kick you out, or beat you up,
or just make sure you have a rotten life!

Soon people are converting other people
just to make sure their group is big enough to protect themselves from the other group.
It’s not even about the ideas any more.

Lies are told about the other people and their ideas to keep us scared.
Lies are told about our own ideas in order to keep them intact.
These lies are told from cradle to grave, generation after generation.
No one knows what the truth is any more.

Sometimes some of these ideas could have, at one time, complemented one another.
But we will never know.
Too much is at stake.

Maybe we should be capable of discussing lots of ideas
without freaking out!
Maybe we should be capable of changing our minds occasionally,
without being terrified that something essential about ourselves will die.
Maybe we should find the fortitude to look closely at ideas
in order to better determine their place and value…
perhaps allowing for many ideas!
Maybe we should stop being so scared of one another
and find a little inner security.
Maybe we should stop scaring one another.

Maybe the most important thing is to
JUST BE KIND!

In peace,

Katherine

Posted on 21 June 2018 | No responses

Chocolate oatmeal cookies
I have spent much of my adult life trying to get people activated.
It can be hard and discouraging at times.
People don’t want their lives ruffled.
They don’t want to self reflect and find themselves feeling guilty.
They are scared of the consequences of stepping outside of the norm.

I promise you, if you step outside of the norm toward kindness,
I will be there offering you cookies.
Forget the dark-side.
It’s not worth it.

In peace,

Katherine

We are not fighting men…

Posted on 18 June 2018 | No responses

Vincent van Gogh

We are not fighting men.
We are dismantling patriarchy,
Most especially white patriarchy.
Even women can be part of the patriarchy.
But we must remember that men are the ultimate beneficiaries of this system.
And consciously or unconsciously, many will act to defend their privilege.

We must practice self awareness.
We must consciously choose kindness, until it comes to us unconsciously.
This includes standing up to those who would dilute and abuse our goodwill.

In peace,

Katherine

Ending Bully Culture
It’s not just about kids

Posted on 14 June 2018 | No responses

Broken Window

CC BY-SA 4.0 WiseWoman, 13 May 2013 Wikimedia

“I’m just beside myself with sadness because our president is a bully, our president is a punk, and he just doesn’t get it. I don’t know where he was raised but his family didn’t do a good job raising that guy.”
~Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney 2017

A scenario

A bully knocks a child over on the playground. A number of other children observe this youthful act of violence. They most assuredly feel empathy for the child who has been harmed. They are also now afraid of being the next target. They back away. They avoid the victim and are superficially friendly toward the bully.

The victim

The victimised child finds they have to pick themselves up and seek help. The playground supervisor glowers at all the children and tells the bully to stay away from this child. The supervisor feels they have done their job and leaves. However, a number of things remain unresolved.

The child who was pushed still has cuts and bruises that need tending to and has been left to sort that out for themselves. The other children are now even more afraid of this child because they brought in a threatening power of their own. The kids are now caught between a powerful adult and a powerful bully when dealing with the bullied child. This child is not only left alone, but positively ostracised.

The child now has more than just physical wounds to contend with. They must deal with the emotional wounds of someone wishing them harm and actively pursuing that wish, the wounds of realising none of their friends were willing to stand by them, the wounds of a supervisor half doing their job thereby leaving them open to even more wounding, and the wounds of being isolated.

More victims

The children on the playground have also been victimised by this exchange. The bully’s actions could have been done as a moment of emotional venting, or deliberately to assert control by making an example of one particular child. Either way the child audience is now in terror. Having a powerful adult come in and not resolve the issue, such that they can all feel safe, generates even more fear. They have no one but themselves to rely upon to create any sense of safety. They have neither resources nor experience to choose wisely and effectively on how to do this.

Victim and perpetrator

So far I have been describing the child who used violence as “the bully”. This is unfair, but we tend to focus in on either or both the bully and the victim as “the problem” and dehumanise both of them. They are both children. They are both people: young people who are just learning about what it means to be human in the world.

The child who was pushed can sometimes face adults who feel they somehow provoked the harm they received. The adult may express the desire for the child to not say anything and to stop complicating the adult’s life. “Why can’t you just let it go? These things happen. You should just stand up to the bully or ignore the bully. You are too sensitive.” And thus this child is diminished.

The child who did the pushing is often seen in isolation to their circumstances. They are just a “bad kid”. They may come from a difficult situation or set of situations. They may feel powerless at home due to poverty, family in-fighting, or abuse. So creating power at school is important to their sense of well-being. If a parent has found it effective to bully a child at home in order to control behaviour, the child will learn that as an interpersonal skill and take it to school with them. They may have tried it once with useful results. If using bullying repeatedly gets useful results, then the behaviour is reinforced.

The tangle

Shutting up a victimised child is often easier and less frightening than coping with all the issues that create a child who uses bullying tactics. Trying to shut up a bullying child makes things worse. The unadressed emotions with which they are coping become magnified. If it seems to them that the only thing they did wrong was get caught, then they may find more stealthy and subtle means to continue victimising others. The child who called them out may become the target for a sustained campaign of punishment.

Dealing with a child who chooses physical and/or emotional violence means addressing the child, their family, and the culture at large that caused all the choices this child made seem perfectly logical in their world. If poverty was the cause, then this demonstrates how we must address poverty. If a culture of domination was the cause, then this demonstrates how we must address a culture of dominance. How many hours of violence is this child exposed to on television, movies, games and the like that all help to normalise violence when they see it enacted by friends, family, and the wider community? Violent media may not cause violent behaviour, but it certainly backs it up once someone has gone down that path. Addressing bullying properly is hard. However, it is disastrous to not grapple with it.

When bullying has happened everyone has to be healed: the child who was bullied, the child who chose to bully, and all the children who observed the interaction. Everyone has to be reconciled…anything less and children learn they can’t trust one another, since they cannot and do not help one another; they learn they cannot trust authority because authority’s solutions often make things worse; and they find that interpersonal isolation is the safest path through life. Is it any wonder that people turn to social media and computer games to feel interpersonal connection? The problem is that these spaces can be so safe as to be sterile of meaningful relationships. Otherwise, they can be equally endangering.

We tend to treat this dynamic as if it only happens in childhood. It is established in childhood. It becomes entrenched in a generation’s culture as everyone learns skills in how to cope without changing anything. Children may learn they cannot use physical violence as adults, but they may learn more inconspicuous means to manipulate and damage people for their own benefit. We all have to take responsibility for this and early. By adulthood a person may no longer have any reason or desire to change. They may have learned clever ways to go underground when they are called into account, then continue enacting disastrous behaviour. As a society we should feel ashamed that we let things get so far.

What it means to stop bullying

If we truly want to stop bullying, then we need to start by ensuring everyone takes responsibility for the elements that made bullying an option.

The bullied should not be made responsible for being brutalised. However, their broad participation in changing bullying culture should, with everyone’s help, be a possible source of healing and empowerment.

Feelings need to be listened to and validated. Being “rational” can be disempowering and dehumanising in its own right. We have feelings, they get hurt, sometimes to such a degree that people seek to kill themselves or others. They cannot by any means be left out of the equation.

Punishment is often just more bullying, in which case it is not an answer. Rehabilitation wherever achievable is critical and part of the process of reconciliation.

Forgiveness cannot be forced onto victims or bystanders, because in fact what is being asked for is acquiescence to wrong-doing. The delicate web of trust must be rebuilt. Forgiveness happens when people feel sufficient empowerment to free themselves from internal pain and to extend compassion.

Contending with the problem of bullying is core to revolutionising our society so that we can live together harmoniously as families, communities, and nations. We can no longer afford to be bystanders in the effort to free everyone from its grip.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

STOP WAR!

Posted on 5 June 2018 | No responses

Demand love now, stop ww3

According to the Atomic Scientists Doomsday Clock we are 2 minutes from midnight. Two minutes from global nuclear disaster. The last time we were that close to disaster was 1953.

Thousands of mental health professionals have petitioned that Donald Trump be removed from office because he has serious mental pathologies. It is completely within his power to set off nuclear war on a whim. He has been isolating the US. He has been vilifying and dehumanising whole swathes of humanity. Now he is starting a global trade war.

How far do things have to go before he feels a global military conflagration would be convenient?

Trump has had approved a $61 billion increase in the US military budget which boosts its overall budget to $700 billion this year. the Pentagon is already on course to spend $6 trillion to $7 trillion of US taxes over the next decade. This money is largely going toward weapons that are being sold to countries around the world. Australia has recently decided to get into the weapons racket and has invested 3.8 billion tax dollars to boost foreign sales of locally manufactured arms. Why would Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull take such a dark turn?

We are all told that this is being done in the name of jobs. Is it really worth taking jobs that are going to ensure the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people? I suppose that means more job openings, but honestly, you or your children are the ones who could end up dead or in a world of suffering.

Look at the numbers. War-making is big money. It keeps people terrified and in line. You can get people to do all sorts of things in the name of protecting their country, including carting neighbors off to detention centers and gas chambers. Don’t believe the lies, none of us needs war to live a secure life…quite the opposite.

We have been forced to work longer hours or more jobs for less money. When we are forced to rely on government help, we are treated like criminals to whom citizen and human rights are seen as no longer applying. We are made to feel desperate…and therefore too frightened to do anything. “As long as I’m safe, I will avert my eyes. I will keep from doing anything that will make my life harder.” This is a disastrous strategy.

Given how this is all tangled up with both human and planetary well-being, right now we stand to lose everything: the mountains, the trees, the streams, the otters and platypuses that play in them, the plains, the deer, the oceans, the dolphins, the festivals in places like Rio de Janeiro, the sweet faced children in Tibet, the beautiful saris in India, the people who help you find your way when travelling through Japan, the rousing dance music of Mexico, the yummy soups of Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, on and on and on… Look outside. This is a beautiful world. Look at the faces of your best friends. Remember the friends you loved but who are now gone. So many incredible people. We stand to lose everything.

Can you feel that in your heart? Is it worth losing the world out of petty stubbornness? Is it worth looking away? Do you feel the need to do something? Then act out of love! Anything less will put us in a cycle of violence that will mean the extinction of all humanity. We cannot find a hole to meditate in or to wail prayers for redemption. We must do something. We must join one another. We must rediscover empathy as a bridge to becoming a compassionate collective. We must take back our power from the wealthy few and reinvest in a more equitable world of kindness. This will mean rallies, this will mean voting, this will mean boycotts, this will mean speaking out so we can find one another and understand the issues.

The situation is urgent! Take a stand now! Demand love!

In lovingkindness,

Katherine

Time for Utopia

Posted on 30 May 2018 | No responses

Cover of Galaxy magazine April 1955

We have been watching far too many distopian fictions. Distopias are meant to be warnings. If things go on as they are, they caution, the consequences will be dire. This is what stories like 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale are all about. They are meant to spur people on to make change.

We as a culture have been consuming so many distopian stories, I am afraid we see these futures as inevitable and even heroic. People watch movies such as Mad Max, already feel helpless that nothing can be done to stop the collapse of our civilisation through human division and environmental damage, identify with the hero, then cast themselves as a romantic lone survivor.

I’ve had people try to recruit me for their survivalist dreams. The most recent fellow wanted me to move to King Island where we were going to preserve knowledge and be the stable providers of necessary commodities, thereby ensuring that we “the good people” would take over the future. He had no plan to help save our planet now. He had no interest in joining forces with people who were creating solutions for a better world we could all share.

I’ve heard it said that people find it easier to imagine a dead world than a world without capitalism. This is a deeply entrenched position. This is a “my way or no way” stance. When some of these people want to seem progressive, while still clinging to our society’s worst sins, they will talk about how change has to be deliberate and slow. What the message really is: “Over my dead body”. “My world, my way, while I still have breath. I don’t care about what happens to anyone after I’m planted six feet in the earth.”

People want a future they can understand. They want a future where they feel they can be in control. Largely this means, left or right, they want a world mostly like it is today with a few tweaks that are favorable to themselves. The political difference is the size of “themselves”. Are we talking a small upper caste or a broader more middle class collective? Neither are thinking deeply, broadly, or far enough.

As things are going, the future will be profoundly alien to those of us alive today. If we start imagining utopia now, we may be able to get to that place with less suffering. If we do not, we face either tremendous suffering and/or total extinction. Human beings have not been powerful because we stand apart, we have been powerful because we have worked together for better or for worse. Let’s start choosing better more often. Let’s embrace the mystery of the future and allow it to be utopian.

In peace and kindness,

Katherine

PS: Stay tuned. I am planning on writing something about a potential utopian future.

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