For years, my self-appointed mission has been to become as educated about the world situation as I can, and to then spread that word to others. It was a lonely task at first. Few people had heard of peak oil, or believed the science around climate change, or understood how money is created and the reasons why debt is unsustainable.
And now we have 2011: a year when our collective consciousness has taken a giant leap forward. It began with a street vendor, shamed by the treatment accorded him by a local official, igniting not only himself but the flame of rebellion across the globe. This revolution of awareness, currently manifesting as the #Occupy movement in thousands of cities around the world and ongoing protests on streets that cannot be occupied without spilling blood, feeds on the energy and passion of downtrodden, exploited humans. It is born in the imaginations of young people, hardly acculturated to blind obedience to authority, and taps their willingness to demand change in a system they do not want to join. The system we have allowed to overtake our own sensibilities of youth does not appeal to them: a life filled with consumption and isolation and domination. They will not be subjected to the abuse of a monetary system that requires debt to function. They will not continue to serve in the death squads sent into foreign lands or the streets of the homeland, merely to enslave a population and to ensure that the flow of wealth into the hands of a few rulers does not cease. They do not accept that modern warfare, thanks to drones and “smart” bombs and retribution borne by suicide bombers, now kills 9 civilians (read: children, babies, women, parents, lovers) for every soldier.
I remember my own protests against war. We thought we had changed the world when we brought Americans home from Southeast Asia. What went wrong? Maybe we rested on our laurels too soon, or too much. Maybe we did not understand capitalism. We had not been taught that business thrives; first as it supplies armies with the tools of death, and then as it reaps the rewards that flow from rebuilding the lives and structures it so recently destroyed. We were not told that money is created out of debt, but that the money to pay the interest demanded on the debt is not created. This necessitates someone losing and, as if being caught without a seat in the game of musical chairs, being unable to find the money for interest payments, going into default and paying a steep and sometimes deadly price. We did not follow the logic that higher interest rates on our debt would just funnel all of our money to our Masters, faster. We were not told that through so-called “free trade” agreements with other nations, we would enter into a global competition for jobs that would push wages lower and end many lucrative industries in America. We did not anticipate that the computers, and later robots, that promised a life of leisure would in fact take over our jobs. We didn’t grasp that Nature is finite: we cannot just throw our waste away forever without filling once-pristine air and water and lands with toxins and unintended consequences. But I have not forgotten my own need to change the world, and it has re-awakened deep within my heart.
What are your first thoughts as you read: “The system is broken for you, too”? You are part of the solution, if you begin to craft a vision of the future that replaces those dysfunctional parts that you just identified with a compassionate, caring, and sustainable lifestyle and share that dream with others. I don’t have to wake you up. You are already feeling that sensation in the pit of your stomach that signals, “Something is very wrong here.” If you spend time with that feeling, you know we cannot continue down the path that leads to our own extinction. You will also feel the tickle that says something amazing is possible. Like the caterpillar entering the cocoon, we are hard-pressed to say exactly what that is. But humans have joined in community first as family, then as tribes, then city-states and nations. Now we stand on the verge of our next step in the evolution of humanity and of our home, Earth. This new consciousness has been pointed to by prophets and seers and shamans for thousands of years. We know, you know, that we have to change course. Whether we redefine work to include caring for our young, our elderly, and our sick; or we manage to get corporations out of politics and reclaim our government and our democracy; or we stop using oil and coal and instead embrace what our own, local community provides within biking distance; or we find a spiritual strength that feeds our soul and allows us to disengage from the consumption-driven economy as we walk our path to fulfillment; in all these ways a future is coming towards us that offers challenge and opportunity. With love we can meet these challenges. We can come together as one organism that we now call humanity: seven billion manifestations of energy that cherish, see, feel, taste, touch, and thrive. Seven billion who come together and act as if we are all connected, all family, all one being. Do you feel it too?