The Eternal Library

TRC contributor, Christoper Weller

[This essay is lovingly dedicated to Carl Sagan.  Also, see Editor’s note at the bottom.]
image
“Present global culture is a kind of arrogant newcomer.  It arrives on the stage following four and a half billion years of other acts, and after looking about for a few thousand years declares itself in possession of eternal truths.  But in a world that is changing as fast as ours, this is a prescription for disaster.”

“No nation, no religion, no economic system, no body of knowledge, is likely to have all the answers for our survival.  There must be many social systems that would work far better than any now in existence…our task is to find them.”

Carl Sagan, Cosmos
Forty thousand generations of the human species have existed up to this point.  There have been many peoples that have risen and fallen. So much of our history has been lost along the way.  We are unable to recount the countless cultures who may have existed.  Our earliest histories were mouthed from generation to generation, an oral tradition that only survives as long as the story-telling culture does.  Paradoxically, the very culture that has culminated into the one which is on the verge of destroying us all, the culture of civilization, is the same culture that birthed the written word. Similarly paradoxical, the rise of our scientific and philosophical understandings of every characteristic of the world, the universe, and our minds began during the rise of human civilizations. Our technological advancements, an integral part of this evolution, have brought us miraculous advantages, yet simultaneously responsible for our pending self-destruction.
The culture of civilization from its beginning has taught us that our advances in knowledge and technology, as well as their unintended consequences, are what comes along with what it calls “progress.”  It is no wonder then, that the majority of us in modern, industrial civilization have built upon our psyche a well-reinforced sense of pride.  It is no wonder we have so easily adhered to the belief that we can, and will eventually accomplish all things.  “It’s just a matter of time.”  It is no wonder we are filled with a great arrogance about ourselves and our place on this planet.
It is what our belief in the right of dominion over all things has created — a belief that has only become reinforced by our advances in knowledge.  We have built up a “Library of Humanity,” but it only sits atop infertile ground, it sits atop the ashes of a history of failed culture — It is the failure of the culture of civilization.  It is no wonder that things have gotten to the point that they are today.  For, with all of our acquired knowledge we seemed to have gained no wisdom, no compassion, and have lost the connection to what is infinite and eternal in the Cosmos.
It is no wonder then, with the great tragedy of the history of human knowledge so plain to see, of its seemingly endless ascent and decline as it continues to adhere to the culture of civilization, that we believe it can only continue — that we will once again fail and lose everything, and upon the ashes attempt to build this Library of Humanity anew.
But what of us in the Transition Culture?  What about us, who have made it to the realization of how the world really works, and are fully aware of where it is headed?  And, in addition, why is it that there are so few who have been able to achieve our sense of existence and understanding?
Many of us have seemingly two polar positions when it comes to the collapse of industrial civilization.  We believe that the current global paradigm, and the evolution of human progress will continue along, devolving into a state of dystopia, with the majority of the human race in absolute slavery to a well — entrenched minority, until there remains nothing left to consume but ourselves. Or, we will end up in a seemingly post-apocalyptic wasteland, devoid of community, compassion, and a life of meaning, and possibly devoid of life altogether.  Either way, we believe we will eventually lose everything we have gained. But, when we realize we must abandon the culture of civilization to survive, must we likewise abandon the knowledge we have gained from it as well?
When most of us had awakened to the knowledge of the impending doom of the collapse of industrial civilization, we experienced a level of pain, fear, and dread that we had never experienced in our lives.  Many of us scrambled to find some way to prepare.  It felt as though the world became more dangerous than it had already been.  What seemed to have overwhelming effects on our lives was the thought of losing all that we knew to be safe and secure in our lives.  We wondered: Could it come to a point where we would lose everything?  Would we lose all that we had found to be sacred in the culture of civilization?  Would we lose all that we had gained?  Would we lose the very advancements in human thought, knowledge, and science along with the collapse?  Would there be a new dark age, where the human race would have to crawl out of the quagmire of desolation and misery once again?
image
Some have claimed that the fall of the Greco-Roman era, signaled by the fall of Rome and the rise of the Holy Roman Empire as being the dawn of what has been hailed as The Dark Ages.  The most significant event in this great paradigm shift that symbolized the collapse of the old order was the destruction of the great Library of Alexandria in the port city of Alexandria, Egypt, a center for culture of the ancient world for seven hundred years.
The Library inspired much of what we have grown to believe is common sense.  What we know of medicine began there with the likes of Alexandria thinkers such as Galen.  What we know of mathematics and geometry began with the likes of Euclid studying at the Library.  What we know of astronomy came from studies at the Library by Hipparchus, Eratosthenes, and Aristarchus.  The foundations of drama came from Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides, who wrote their tragedies in the Library.  It was a place where all human knowledge, from all cultures were welcome — from Arabia, Syria, the Hebrews, Persians, Italians, Gauls, and so on.
It is believed it held hundreds of thousands of texts, ranging from history, philosophy, drama, science, to some of the first writings of both the New and Old Testaments.  Scholars would come there from all over the ancient world to study, exchange knowledge, share ideas, and test their theories.  Ships would arrive at its grand port on the Mediterranean carrying elements of the cultures from which they had come, and the inhabitants of the Library would eagerly trade goods and supplies with the mariners for any samples of knowledge they had brought with them from afar.  They’d copy down the knowledge upon their papyrus scrolls, and thankfully return the precious documents back to the seafarers before they left port.
They had built nothing other than a true, complete “Library of Humanity.”  A place where knowledge became sacred.  As infinite as their gods, their pursuit of knowledge had no limit.  The dream of a human civilization built upon science and reason was coming to existence upon the Earth for the first time.  Nonetheless, their ambitions to create a center for human knowledge had but one major flaw. Equal to their advancements in knowledge was their arrogance.  They had locked out much of the cultures around them by not making an effort to bring their discoveries to the vast majority of the population of the ancient world.  The vast majority of those in their society were not only shut out from the rights to study there, mostly because of social class or status, especially those who inhabited the lands around the Library, but were mostly illiterate, and had not the ability, and hence the interest, to indulge in or even understand the blessings of the epistemological achievements that were developing inside the walls of the Library complex.
However, the paradigm had begun to shift.  The dominant culture which had controlled this civilization for centuries had begun to collapse, opening the void for a new dominant culture with very little sympathy for the old.  The Greco-Roman world was collapsing, and the new paradigm of the Holy Church of Rome was to take over the reigns of civilization.  The Library soon became a target of Church dogma, and a growing animosity began to develop rapidly around the city.  The Library became to be recognized as not only a symbol of the old order that Christianity had suffered under for so long, but it also came to be believed as a center of paganism and, most especially, a symbol of sin against the edicts of the Church.
Cyril, the bishop of Alexandria, began a fear campaign amongst his devoted followers that inhabited the city. And upon the decree by Holy Roman Emperor Theodosius I, in 391 C.E., paganism was declared unlawful, giving the bishop an open door to instigate a mob to attack and overrun the Library complex and its surrounding temples.  And, what had allowed for such animosity to be so easily gathered against the inhabitants of the Library was, ironically, their extreme arrogance which blinded them into believing they could not be harmed atop their “ivory tower,” especially by those who they saw as uncultured, illiterate heathens.
image
With backing from the hierarchy of the Church and the Emperor, nothing could stop them, and his followers and parishioners destroyed what was left of the Library, and burned whatever documents they could get their hands on, deeming them evil, sinful representations of the fallen, pagan Empire of Rome.  The Library was set ablaze, and what remained of the complex was turned into stables for animals.
Through this example of what can happen during the collapse of an empire, collapse of a culture that extended to half the world at the time, we can imagine the pain of the loss for those that had survived, and had gained so much, and knew how much was being lost forever.  It took centuries for humanity to regain the loss of human knowledge that was destroyed there — to rediscover what had already been known centuries before in Alexandria.  It was not until over a thousand years later, with the Renaissance, that the dreamed Library of Humanity was beginning to be built again.  It is no wonder so many of us in the Transition Culture have the belief, the dreaded fear of losing the whole of human knowledge as the Collapse becomes complete.  What we must contemplate in the Transition is why this had failed humanity?  As with other failed civilizations, why is it that much of what is gained is just as equally lost?
The answer becomes clear.  It is because of what drives the culture of civilization, then and now.  It is because it influences and instigates a sense of separation from the world into every human endeavor.  It creates an arrogance in all human pursuits, which includes the pursuit of knowledge and truth.  It corrupts our passion for knowledge by subsuming it with the belief that by achieving greater understanding of the universe we are somehow elevated above Nature herself.
We discover the mechanism of the stars and planets, but we don’t recognize them as part of ourselves. We understand the workings of our bodies and minds as no other culture has before, but we have ignored what true health really means — we ignore that our entire anatomy is a product of the Earth from which we sprang, and that as it is destroyed for greed, power, and pride of dominion, so do we destroy ourselves.  We can entertain the human mind faster, with more potency, and reach the entire globe in an instant with our works of drama, literature, and the arts, but we have forgotten the soul, we have forgotten what art really is for — to reflect upon the experiences of our time, whether it be progress or decay, happiness or tragedy, praise or judgement.  When our advancement in knowledge has no harmony or foundation with the natural world, when we have forgotten our heritage upon the Earth, when we have lost our connection to the infinite and the eternal nature of the universe, our knowledge will always be vulnerable to being lost forever.
Today, because of the culture of civilization, we are not only about to lose what we have gained since the Renaissance and the subsequent Age of Reason that followed, but also we are losing an even greater wisdom from the indigenous cultures of the world, slowly being pushed out of existence by the dominant culture — knowledge that had survived, and thrived, much longer than any other, only to be forgotten, many times intentionally, by the rise of the current culture at the reigns of civilization.
But what we are losing as dominant culture erases these ancient, indigenous societies out of existence, is the true Library of Humanity we have been seeking — that which we seem to have been pushed by the forces of Nature to find, the ultimate collection of knowledge.  Nature is telling us its secrets, all of its knowledge.  It is telling us to let go of the culture of civilization, and we will find the knowledge we seek.  Instead, we continue to ignore her.
We must not be the ones desecrating this true, eternal Library, burning its books, destroying our memories, our passions, our ideas, and our dreams, extinguishing them forever.  To do so, is to continue erasing the chance of learning the very wisdom of true existence and a life of meaning on this planet.  It is the wisdom and knowledge necessary to live in harmony, in absolute synchronicity with our Mother Earth.  Without taking this wisdom and knowledge with us through the Transition, we will never be given the opportunity, and the right to begin to fully understand the great clockwork of the universe, and for us there will be no time left.
As the rise of our knowledge expands the entirety of the human race, across the globe, and as long as it is held captive, just as we are, to the culture of civilization, it will continue to rise and fall, ascend and descend, be rebuilt and collapse, until all that is left of life on this planet is destroyed — all will be lost until our pursuit of knowledge lets go of the false sense of pride, the arrogance, and the belief in dominion.  We must come down from our ivory towers and be part of the Earth again.
What must occur this time, the final time, during this final paradigm shift, is for the knowledge and truth found through the beaten path of civilization and the sacred treasure of the indigenous knowledge, that which is found by listening to Nature, to both be taken with us through the Transition — for they are both part of our past and must be part of our future.  Only through a union of the ancient with the new can we begin to finally mature as an intelligent species on this planet.  Only through such an alliance can we conquer the fear, the pain, and the loss of what the pending collapse will surely produce.  If such a merger were to occur, they will enhance each other.  They will immortalize each other — one teaching us how to survive, how to exist on this planet, to be one with it, and the other teaching us how to understand it, to further develop the human mind, and give us a seat in the college of intelligent beings in the Cosmos.
image

 

“Those afraid of the universe as it really is, those who pretend to nonexistent knowledge and envision a Cosmos centered on human beings will prefer the fleeting comforts of superstition.  They avoid rather than confront the world.  But those with the courage to explore the weave and structure of the Cosmos, even where it differs profoundly from their wishes and prejudices, will penetrate its deepest mysteries.”

Carl Sagan, Cosmos

 

With all the lies, trickery, and false promises of the decaying, culture of civilization, they are like a dying superstition about to be revealed as a grand cult of fear, scaring the world, abusing the world into submission, completely out of sync with the mechanism of the Cosmos.  It has held not only our minds, our bodies, and our souls as captive slaves to its dominion, but it has held captive the breadth of all human knowledge.  It has separated our science from our spirituality.  It has kept separate our love from our planet and from each other.  It has kept separate the alliance between human knowledge and human existence.  For to divide is to conquer.  But to pass through the Transition, we must let it conquer our lives no more.
Do we really have any thing to fear about losing the collection of human knowledge as we pass through the transition?  Will it really be lost forever?  Will a doctor all of a sudden lose her ability to treat a sick, dying patient when the money system collapses?  Will our pharmaceutical scientists suddenly lose the ability to design medicines when the stocks of their companies are finally reduced to nothing?  Will our astronomers abruptly lose their understanding of the vast magnitude of the Cosmos, of space & time when their funding runs dry?  Will our teachers lose their passion for educating the young when our governments fall?  Will our soldiers lose their courage and heroism when the wars of conquest & acquisition become obsolete?  Will our artists and dramatists lose their ability to interpret and express the state of the world, to inspire, and to entertain, once the entertainment industry goes bankrupt?  Will writers and essayists lose their ability to create great works of literature and satire?  Certainly not.  We will only be losing what has tainted it, what has corrupted it, and what has poisoned it.
Part of what it means to accept what is happening to the world and coming to welcome the Transition joyously is that we recognized that we have the opportunity to shed the elements of the dying culture that has plagued us for so long, once and for all.  But this doesn’t necessarily have to mean losing everything.  We will be astounded by what will come about in the world when it reaches the end of that which has corrupted and infected our society for millennia, when they are washed clean from humanity.
Advancements in science, philosophy, logic, literature, and the arts will no longer be valued through the marketplace.  They will no longer be driven by the greed and corruption of the sick, dying culture. These disciplines will be enhanced as they have never been before.  Like the chains of Prometheus upon Mount Olympus, they will be broken and we will be set free to explore the true limits of human knowledge and our minds, when we have no longer strained the limits of our planet, our communities, our emotions, and our souls by the destructive culture of civilization.  The totality of our human knowledge will no longer be attached to the fantasy of “growth” at all costs, but be a part of the development of the human mind, body, & soul — to the development of the world entire.
It will merge with the Great Remembering.  It will become the moment upon which we have finally matured.  Development will become wisdom as it should be.  The entire culture of Transition will lead to a point where the entire Library of Humanity will include us all and it will exist in every corner of the Earth.  For the Library had always existed in the hearts and minds of humanity, and its pages and scrolls existed all around us, written in the sky, water, land, air, and life of this planet, safely preserved in Nature, to be uncovered, rediscovered, and understood for eternity.
For human knowledge came from Nature and can be understood through Nature, because we are part of Nature.  And, only if we are a part of it can we learn from it.  Once the plague of the culture of civilization has been lifted from the pursuit of knowledge and truth, it will settle amongst all of the sources of wisdom in the world.  It is like that of the Phoenix.  It can be burnt, but through the fire of Collapse can be, once again, reborn anew.  Just as life can return to this planet if it is beaten down from the wrath of civilization, so too can the knowledge be gained from it.  It is like evolution itself. Once the species has shed its line of descent with that which limits its survival, its development on the planet, the species can then thrive.  What is lost is forgotten, and what is gained is embraced — it has become truly free to exist, free of its chains, once and for all.  Knowledge & truth are never lost, but are infinite.  The true Library of Humanity will finally be discovered.  It is the Eternal Library.
image
EDITOR’S NOTE:  When Christopher and I were discussing ideas for the next essay, I was promoting Banned Books Week — so when he mentioned this particular subject matter, I felt it was beautifully timed.  I would like to dedicate this post to my fellow Indiana native, Kurt Vonnegut, a man who understood disgust with civilization, not to mention savvy to peak oil, and also to Ray Bradbury, whose particular work, Fahrenheit 451 inspired me to share important works of unconventional literature throughout my life.  We can tell him We’re Remembering.
Christopher was interviewed on Michael Ruppert’s Lifeboat Hour radio program, Sunday, 9/30/12. We hope you’ll give the archived show a listen.  Many thanks to Mike. ~ Gabrielle

Lost in Space

TRC contributor, Christopher Weller
“We’ve got to evolve to a higher form in order to survive…This form we’re in right now is just too primitive.  We have to evolve into something higher, more angelic form…Intelligence is what makes us special, isn’t it?  Moths can’t screw up the world. Catfish can’t screw up the world. It takes intelligence to do that.” – Julie
“In that case, what do you make of your daydream quest?  As you head into the universe to learn how to live, are you looking for angels?…” – Ishmael
“No…I’m looking for intelligent races just like us – but they know how to live without destroying their worlds…It’s like we’re specially cursed…” – Julie
“This is why, in your daydream, it’s necessary to look elsewhere in the universe for the knowledge you seek.  You can’t find it amongst yourselves, because you’re a ‘cursed’ race.  To find the knowledge you need to live sustainably, you need to find a race that isn’t cursed.   And there’s no reason to suppose that everyone’s cursed.  You feel that someone out there must know how to live sustainably…”
“The ‘curse’ under which you operate is very, very localized….It doesn’t even remotely extend to the whole of humanity.  Thousands of peoples have lived here sustainably, Julie. Without difficulty. Without effort.” – Ishmael
– From My Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn
Since the dawn of civilization, the dominant perception of our place in the Cosmos is to explore, to extend our race out to every corner of the Earth, and our imaginations have been filled with dreams of leaping the planet to continue the odyssey out into space.  We believe that the exponentially accelerating advances can only continue, that we will rapidly approach a level of technological achievement that will allow us a place in the stars, joining the community of advanced civilizations amongst the galaxy and beyond, and we have no need to look back.  It is as if we believe this is hardwired into the nature of intelligence in the universe – that it is the destiny of all intelligent life.
The history of Western Civilization is replete with the stories of explorers crossing the vast oceans, over and across distant lands, to “discover new worlds.”  As we know now, the history of civilization here on Earth has been written by the minds of the civilized, where to the countless indigenous cultures, all the explorations and discoveries of this history were a nightmare of conquest and slaughter.  This is because the conceptual belief of civilization is to dominate what it conquers and explores.  It is because the way of civilization that has evolved from the beginning is to believe in the myth that domination is some how equal to progress, that Nature, and hence the universe entire, is to be explored, tamed, and conquered to our liking. And, our stories only naturally reflect this.
This leads only to arrogance of our species.  It leads to a blind faith in our abilities.  The culture of civilization, wrapped in the confidence in our technological advancements, is blinded to our true place in Nature.  As we have reached out into space, we have forgotten that it is our symbiosis with this planet and all of the natural world that has allowed us to exist at all.  This belief in our dominion has become intertwined with our dreams of conquering the vastness of space, yet the true laws of Nature will forever keep us held down until we begin to recognize that it is only our conciliation with it that will allow us to have a place in the Cosmos at all.
The systems of civilization, laced with delusions of grandeur and progress, have broken with the symbiosis we once had during our origins.   We have forgotten how to live at peace with the world. Our economic systems, our social systems, our religious systems, our political systems, and so on, are at war with Nature, rather than in union with it.  The only connection to the Cosmos has been to attempt to bend it to our will.  For us to have a chance at truly reaching for the stars, we must begin to heal the damage we have done to her, and to our souls.  We must return to being at peace with the world.  We need to have a connection, once again, to the Universe.  We can gaze out into space, in awe of its majesty all that we please, but we will never get there unless we make this connection.
The entire history of space science and exploration has only been possible by those cultures who have exploited the most out of the bounty of the Earth.  And this pattern can only continue as long as the dominant culture is permitted to exist.   Most of the world is shut out of the adventure. Our population is headed straight past the carrying capacity of what this planet can support.  The portion of the human race living every day with poverty and struggle is exponentially growing as the dominant culture devours the last resources of the planet.
This delusion of human progress, birthed at the dawn of civilization itself, has lead us to a state where there is not one system on this good Earth that is free of a state of decline.  Ecological collapse, oceanic collapse, global climate change, the peaking of all major resources, and on and on, are leading us into our own black hole, that very soon will suck us into a singularity of extinction, and along with it will go the dreams of exploring space.
As we continue on the path of self-destruction, our arrogance only seems to grow stronger.  A greater faith in our technologies develops, ignoring what Nature is telling us.   It seems that if we can survive at all, after the dust has settled, there will not be much of a human race left.  If we achieve a society of space voyagers, the vast majority of us will not be around to enjoy the glory.  As it is today, the dominant culture ensures that it is only the minority that takes the step “for all mankind.”  If we are to explore the Cosmos as one species together, we will have to conquer our cultural hang-ups first.
As Ishmael tells his young student, Julie, our delusions have brought us to the desperation of imagining that somewhere, out there, someone knows how to live at peace with Nature.  Someone has been able to solve the problem of self-destruction, and allowed their species to explore space. Even part of our imaginations reflected in movies and books projects this fantasy – that some day these extraterrestrial beings will let us in on this secret, and we will be saved from ourselves. We mistakenly believe that we can find these answers and solutions within the same story we’ve been following up to now – the same story that got us into the calamity we face today.  But, we need not look out into space for this answer.  We only need to look back at ourselves, and to our true history of how we were at one time, in complete synchronicity with our world.
Are there such peoples out there somewhere in the Universe?  When one understands the magnitude and vastness of the Cosmos, when one understands the basis of life, when one understands the physics and chemistry that is ubiquitous throughout all space & time, the answer to this question can be an overwhelmingly positive possibility.  With over one hundred billion stars in our galaxy alone, and over one hundred billion galaxies in the known Universe, the chances of intelligent life developing is astoundingly high.

 

 

But, what does it take for a race of beings to achieve this status of having a true place amongst the stars?  As mentioned above, the first step is to achieve peace with ones own planet without destroying it, and themselves along with it.  Part of the answer has to do with what has been the key to success or failure of all past civilizations here on Earth.  It is surely our acquisition, exploitation, and use of resources, but primarily it is the employment of energy.
This concept of relating the use of energy and the expansion of intelligent peoples into space is not new.  The same concept is used in the study of collapsing of past civilizations here on Earth. The study of the evolution of our use of energy leads scientists of all genres to come to the same conclusion that without the proper use of energy, a civilization goes no where.  It is always a profound loss of food energy, human energy, domesticated animal energy, kinetic energy, steam energy, chemical energy, fossil fuel energy, nuclear energy, and so on, that causes a civilization to collapse into chaos.  Some had fallen back on other, less complicated forms, but it is always the need for energy that keeps civilization going and growing.  And, as we in the Transition Culture are fully aware, it is our current use of energy that is creating the trap that will extinguish our chances of going anywhere.
In 1964, Russian scientist, Nikolai Kardashev, developed the concept of measuring the growth of civilizations expanding into the Cosmos, basing it correctly upon the use of energy.   He classified civilizations into three main categories.  A Class I civilization would have achieved the complete use of the entire energy output of the home planet, and would be in a completely efficient and stable form that is sustainable only if the civilization decides not to grow from there.  A Class II civilization would have had the need to expand beyond the energy capabilities of the home planet, and have harnessed the entire output capacity of its home star.  And, finally, once the civilization decided that it needed to grow from that point, it would move to a Class III civilization, of what Kardashev referred to as a “galactic civilization,” where they have now achieved the entire energy output of either regions, or sectors, of the home galaxy, or even the entire galaxy itself.
Through the development of the S.E.T.I. project, or the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, this concept from Kardeshev was broken down into sub-categories, particularly by the famed astronomer Carl Sagan, where its number system was taken out to incorporate a decimal system.  In the seventies, Sagan and others concluded that at that time we were about a 0.7 civilization – not quite at the level of Class I. However, Sagan and others in the project were not so naive, and strongly suggested that we could very easily slip into a lower position, even to 0.0, which equates to complete collapse.  The S.E.T.I program, searching for radio signals that they believed would emanate from civilizations of higher class ratings, believed that even with the vastness of space and the statistical use of the class system, there still may be a chance that they may never find the proof they so painstakingly searched for, because maybe, like us, most civilizations grew beyond their carrying capacity, never becoming at peace with their home planet and each other, and had self-destructed.

 

In our local environment, in our own solar system, which has been thoroughly explored, we have discovered possible planets and moons that we believe may be possible to colonize some day. We imagine colonizing the surface of the Moon, harvesting the water discovered at its poles, or the Helium 4, necessary for the prospect of fusion energy here on Earth.  We dream of someday exploring Jupiter’s moon Europa, with its possible shell of ice covering the surface, where underneath a vast ocean of life, kept alive by volcanic activity, is awaiting our brave explorers.  We imagine going to Mars, where the possibility of transforming it back into a living, breathing planet through the process of terraforming, will allow us to inhabit the planet, truly beginning to colonize the solar system.  Yet, through this scientific study of changing Mars to suit us, we develop models of how it can be done, where in each and every model, efficiency, sustainability, and symbiosis all must be a part of the plan.
Even in our travel locally around Earth, we must create an environment for the occupants of our crafts that is as efficient and self-sustainable as possible, for us even to have the hope at going elsewhere amongst the planets.  We are blind to this fact that although we have not understood the importance of efficiency and sustainability with our home planet, we certainly realize we must provide it to the astronauts we fling out into the blackness of space.  We certainly understand that it must be done in order for us to colonize the solar system and beyond.  Why not here?

 

Again, we must return our thoughts and minds back to Earth.  Our reality draws us much closer to home. Gaia whispers in our ears the solutions, yet today, we don’t listen to her wisdom.  For even if we are to have the right to look out into space and dream of a place there, we must acknowledge that we have had no respect for our home that has given us life, that has even allowed for us to have the ability to dream at all.  If we are to join the community of civilizations that just might be out there, we must begin to think more of how we ought to live here, how we should live at all.   If there is anything that has allowed any intelligent civilizations to flourish in the Universe, it has been through wisdom and reflection such as this.
We must not look to some mysterious signal from space or monumental arrival of extraterrestrial beings for answers, or wait for some savior race to rescue us – we must rescue ourselves first. We must start making our planet inhabitable before we claim any right to inhabit other worlds.  We must begin to redesign how we live on this planet, just as we design our spacecraft, basing our interaction with the world as efficiency, sustainability, interdependence, and symbiosis.   If we are to even consider us to be an intelligent race, we must demonstrate it in the first place.  Otherwise we will remain “lost in space” forever.
We do have the ability to achieve the various stages of Kardashev’s classes of civilizations in the Universe, but only if we become wise.  Is it wise to use vast amounts of precious energy to launch just a few of us into the punishing coldness of space?  Is it wise to power our space probes with plutonium, the most poisonous element known to man, an element that just a mere, few kilograms could wipe out the human race if one of these crafts exploded in our atmosphere?   Is this “progress”?  And, as said above, if we are to make it at all as a species to the end of even this century, is it “progress” that most of the human race and most of the life on this planet, must suffer and die so that only a few of us can explore the Cosmos?
You see?  We have just projected the same element of the sick, destructive culture that dominates our lives, our planet, and our souls into the project of space exploration thus far.  We waste and we poison for a glory we have no right to experience.
If there is a dream that many of us in the Transition Culture have about the future of space exploration, it is more like a looming, surreal nightmare.  It is of an arrival of a projection of some truly wise culture from the depths of space.  A robotic probe arrives to our atmosphere a few centuries from now, sent in search of intelligent life.   It studies our air, our water, and our land.  It discovers a wasteland of our former civilization, slowly being consumed by a healing planet, healing itself of a once omnipresent disease of dominion we unleashed upon it.  It becomes utterly puzzled by what it has found.  Its grand mission seems a failure, at least for this corner of the galaxy.  In its computations it concludes that there is no intelligent life here on Earth, and it leaves us behind, lost in space.

 

Mitch Daniels Not Running for Captain of the Titanic

 

Aside from the recent news from Washington that The Health and Human Services Department rejected changes in Indiana’s Medicaid plan Wednesday, saying it illegally bans funding for Planned Parenthood, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has also made headlines by stating he will not be running for the White House next year.

Good news for women on both counts…but I’m not getting too excited, Hoosier ladies…he is still in office, can still pander to the Right and can still touch stuff.

What caught my eye recently were statements he made regarding his decision not to run in 2012.  Specifically, in regards to the economy; something Mitch should know something about as former Budget Director for the Bush White House.  This also means he’s familiar with changing the story when it suits PR.

My question is if he’s not running and can’t seek re-election here in Indiana, these recent statements and pandering are all for what, exactly?

In a recent piece of commentary in my blessedly local county paper; respect for Gov. Daniels shines through as well as disappointment for Mitch not taking that ‘road untraveled’ to the White House.  I myself have much more relief than disappointment.

After doing a lot of research about the current Gov. Daniel’s time in the former Bush White House, I wasn’t surprised to find myself looking directly at yet another inconsistency in his statements.  Seems I can’t even escape fact checking over morning coffee with a weekly suburban paper.  One of Daniels’ statements makes me scratch my head as to what on earth he’s planning to do next because I don’t trust the man as far as I could throw him.  I don’t care how cool his motorcycle is.

This isn’t about why he said he wouldn’t run;  this is obvious from his statements about his family, which (aside from his Planned Parenthood decision) most find noble. But it was the statements about our national economic crisis that continue to leave me questioning his logic. The same logic of wanting a “truce on divisive social issues” to focus on the financial challenge that “threatens us all” yet Indiana women got no such ‘truce’ when he pandered to the Right (breaking federal law) and never planned to run for the White House?

You have to wonder.

In regards to not seeking a White House run, Daniels’ stated, “The answer is that I will not be a candidate. What could have been a complicated decision was in the end very simple: on matters affecting us all, our family constitution gives a veto to the women’s caucus, and there is no override provision.” [Mitch is the only male in his family unit. Many Indiana women are curious if the decision about Planned Parenthood was discussed with that mini-caucus.] “Simply put, I find myself caught between two duties. I love my country; I love my family more.”

Daniels continues, “I am deeply concerned, for the first time in my life, about the future of our Republic.” Speaking at an Indiana Education Roundtable meeting at IUPUI, Daniels said, “This nation is facing what the president’s own Deficit Commission Chairman says is the most predictable crisis in history and we’re not doing anything about it. And that’s why I thought about it [running] at all.”

Here is the part where I explain why that particular statement made coffee come out of my nose.

After the 2003 Bush Administration budget release, Mitch Daniels went to Capitol Hill to testify and put on the most ridiculous display of his tenure, refusing to admit the role of the tax cut in the country’s fiscal deterioration. When Senator Kent Conrad, D-ND, asked Daniels about the deficit during a Senate Budget Committee hearing on February 5, 2003, the OMB director simply denied the role of the 2001 legislation, claiming that “it simply is not true that any policy, let alone the tax cuts, is responsible for the deficit we’re facing today.” Conrad incredulously asked, “The tax cuts have no part of the deficits going forward?” Daniels denied he meant this, but when Conrad said, “I am talking about the ten years of this budget window. The tax cuts have played a major role in the return to deficits and burgeoning debt,” Daniels’ reply was “Well, sir, your comment moves me to use a four letter word: bunk,” to which he later added, “The only deficit we know about is the deficit we’re experiencing right now, perhaps the deficit for next year. Let’s be a little humble about what we can and cannot see going forward.”

 

So now Mitch is deeply concerned about the “most predictable crisis in history”? The hubris was at full speed when the Titanic slammed into the iceberg. Mitch has to see the folly of fighting for that public spot at the Captian’s table, especially since he helped provide the fuel for the ‘full steam ahead’ Bush tax cut policy…the one that has continued to this day.  I’m sure he’s deeply concerned that many of the passengers aboard know just how predictable this part of the crisis was.  Add throwing the ‘national’ female caucus overboard by breaking his own ‘truce’ during such a colossal economic disaster – and ‘humble guy on motorcycle’ really doesn’t fly.

It’s certainly not the first time for many of us ‘out here’ to be deeply concerned. Media is just one aspect of my concern for the Republic. I’m glad Mitch is not running; for whatever reason it is he tells the short-attention-span press, his family or the public. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the Gov. has up his sleeve next that made him pander to the Right. A cushy corporate job promised? Perhaps a lobbyist? Or could it have been as simple as a dig at the current administration?

I’d like to suggest a new line of work for the future ‘former’ Governor – something socially harmless, like motorcycle sales. Time to earn those cool points back, Mitch.

The last thing the Republic needs while taking on water is to watch ‘yes men’rearranging deck chairs, pandering to religious zealots, worried only about keeping their political careers afloat while praying on their knees that the ‘too big to fail’ ship really isn’t sinking, but sucking up to the shortsighted assholes that built the thing to fail without regulations in place to prevent it. But who needs regulations when you can kiss some ass to get room on the best lifeboats, right?

Most predictable crisis in history, indeed. And there are other icebergs not being discussed that led to this – but the important thing to know is how to get through it. Molly Brown would have been wise enough to see why Wall Street, Big Banks, Congress, politicians, even the President won’t warn the public. It’s because they don’t have enough lifeboats. They are ill-prepared to deal with a panicked Republic tugging at them for safety. They are in ‘save yourself’ mode.

Which is where we all have to be. We are all going to have to build our own lifeboats, in our states and local communities. If the heart and soul of the Republic is going to make it, we have to focus on our local elections more than ever, grow our own food, know our local farmers, community organizations, banks, police, firefighters and our neighbors. The world is about to get a whole lot smaller and a whole lot simpler. I can’t think of too many people who think that’s a bad thing at all.

Does Mitch have some plan for Indiana that reflects his deep concerns? I don’t know and don’t care because he was not concerned about the national economy a decade ago or my health in this current failed economic decade. So I’m not one for waiting around in chest high water for some guy in the engine room, or Captain Obama himself to tell me I need a lifeboat. I’m happy to report that there are many of us who saw the damn iceberg and are far away from the sinking ship.

The Refreshment Center is transitioning in our lifeboat and connecting with others who are doing the same all over the country and around the world. Make no mistake, this is a global economic crisis – the Republic isn’t alone but it is waking up and catching up with the rest of the world now. And we’re finding we want the same things.

Democracy, accountability, sustainability and peaceful community.

We’ve got a lot of work to do.

Got Lifeboat?

_________________________________________________________________________
What happens next is up to all of us. You can help The Refreshment Center get the word out by donating during our June ‘angel donor’ fund drive – where all donations are DOUBLED through June 29th to launch the The Refreshment Center – Transition News You Can Use radio station on the web. We’re all in this together, let’s prepare, prepare, prepare!