Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Harvesting the Eternal

contributor Christopher Weller


Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;

To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.


-John Keats, To Autumn (1819)
 
Autumn approaches. The smell in the air floats on the autumn breezes, enacting fond memories of festive times in our minds and lifting our souls, and bringing about feelings of togetherness, tenderness, warmth, comfort and joy. You can almost hear the sounds of jovial laughter and celebration through the rustling of the Fall leaves, blowing about from the trees. It invokes the deepest sense of connection to our world -- to our family, our friends, and our neighbors. It arouses a sense of joy and happiness like no other time of the year. This time of year comes with one of our oldest celebrations -- the celebration of the Harvest.

You feel the jubilant passion for the season. There’s an upbeat pep in in everyone’s step, as each of us anxiously anticipate the coming festivities. Our mouths begin to salivate, imagining the dishes that will be served at each and every Thanksgiving table. Somehow we can’t resist our thoughts lingering toward what’s coming. Our jobs, our bills, our tedious, petty lives we suffer throughout the year slowly become meaningless as the season approaches. All that seems to matter is the feeling. It is when our atmosphere, our entire milieu, becomes carnivalesque -- we rebel against our lives of pain, subject to the authority of life in the culture of civilization, and our souls push us to resist.

This resistance we feel comes when the season reminds us of how the foods of the season are somehow so much more satisfying than at any other time. The tastes of the Harvest foods are much more scrumptious, delectable, savory, and luscious. They are sustenance for our souls. So much more do we look forward with anxious cravings the treats of the season. They are created with our own hands.

Sometimes, it is our own hands that had turned the soil that nourished them. Our loving mothers, or grandmothers, create some of these dishes, as we may have contributed to growing their ingredients. With loving care, the bounty of Mother Earth is molded into wondrous healing creations, nursing our damaged souls. It is a sharing of everlasting motherhood. Their smells, the aromas of them cooking, as family & friends gather, invokes the deep taste of what is eternal. We crave those succulent treats of the Harvest, because we hunger for the taste of the eternal.

 
Harvest festivals and celebrations are as ancient as human culture. It is ubiquitous around the globe. What we know of the tradition continues to have hints of prior epochs interlaced within the rituals of the recent past and today, so it is unclear how far back and how widespread it goes. We have measured its arrival by either season or position of the Sun. Each culture has a different marker for its beginning and end. But, nothing marks its true climax for all cultures as had the moment of the Harvest.

From the first to the last stalk of corn, the feeling of joy, comfort, and connection took place that not even an astronomer, or even an astrologer, could calculate. As today, we needed no calendar to tell us the season was approaching. Like today, we felt it coming in our blood. It was the connection, the sensations we felt, the togetherness with community, which had always let us know it was time.

This yearning for the season was so great that the peoples of the past would believe that by taking the last ears of corn or grain and making it into a symbolic doll, figurine, or idol, was somehow carrying with them the spirit of Autumn through the winter months, in an attempt to prolong this elated feeling, that which seemed to sustain their lives. Then, the harvest could never end. It would be  eternal. By the following Spring, it would be buried in the rich soil of the planting season, as if to give good fortune to the new crop.


During the formation of the Church in the early Middle Ages, it had attempted to wipe out all signs, symbols, rituals, and traditions of the old pagan religions that culminated during the previous Greco-Roman era. Anything of indigenous origin that had not held to the canons of the Church was to be banned or washed out of everyday society and culture. But, one tradition was too joyous, too harmonious, and too righteous to let go of. Not even the Church fathers could abandon it to time. The power and magnitude of the Harvest was too great. The need for it by the human soul was too strong to go on unsatisfied. They could not bury the Harvest like they had buried so many other people, traditions, and sacred spirits.

But, why was this? So many other traditions were lost in the past, so many indigenous cultures, so many rituals wiped clean from humanity. Even today, the new “Church,” the religion of industrialized capitalism and monetary glory, dictated by its god “the invisible hand of the market,” with its evermore growing appropriation of sacred holidays with marketing and sales, cannot mimic the feeling of seemingly endless joy that emanates from the Harvest season. No matter how many costumes, plastic pumpkins, or candy that is sold, nothing can recreate the closeness one feels to the season such as the mere giving & sharing of the bounties of the season with friends, neighbors, and loved ones can do.

The materialistic fervor of the market, and its drive & ambition to acquire & consume, and squander the precious, finite resources of this world, its lustful greed, could never deplete the bountiful, eternal resource we find in the Harvest, nor could it extinguish the burning flame of warmth & joy it brings to our hearts.


In some cultures, the harvest period would end with a last row of corn or wheat to chop. It became a bad omen or bad luck for the one who was to cut down the last row or the last stalk. It is as if they would not want the feeling of harvest to end. It is as though dread, sorrow, and melancholy, was placed upon the end of the harvest season.

Likewise, today, with this connection long lost to time, we cut down the last bounty of our harvest by allowing for industrialized capitalism to poison the last mountain stream, blacken the last piece of clear, blue sky, and kill the last human being so that few can prosper. It places doom upon all of us. And, if allowed to continue, there will be no next season of good planting to look forward to.

For it is this belief system that destroys our human traditions and our connections to this planet, which is merely the culmination and end result of the long-obsolete culture of civilization. Its oppressive edicts force us to have to continue with our degrading, pointless, unwanted jobs and professions just to survive, its dogma encourages us to forget the Harvest, and its propaganda puts us into a cultural sleep.  Our connection to the world is destroyed. It is as if this tradition of the unlucky reaper as being an omen for our time today. It is no wonder the reaper became a symbol of death.

All of these historical facts about our relationship with the Autumn season tells us volumes about ourselves. It is as if our desire for the blissful feelings of the season is the echo of Great Mother Earth speaking to us. It is why the familiar aromas of your grandmother’s cooking can bring back distant memories of comfort and joy, peace and happiness, even if she has long since passed away. It is why we are drawn to come together. It is why we are all drawn to the season, calling us home. The Earth whispers to us through the leaves calling us to the bounty of the harvest. It is what creates this connection -- a connection so great that not even the conquest and rage of the dominant religion of the market, in control of our culture today, could steal away.


The resistance to end the bliss of the Harvest tells us that this is not how we are supposed to live on this planet. It reveals to us the lies and betrayal of this culture we are held captive to, and becomes the key to the prison that leads to eternal freedom. The passion for this time of year, of which we feel in our blood and in our souls, is what truly lasts and endures.

From these truths we can see, feel, and recognize why the old system is dying- why it had never worked in the first place. Our symbiosis has survived all this time, throughout the long, painful history of civilization. It confirms why letting the old system go and following the path of Transition is truly following the continuous, eternal path of connection to our world. It is the same sensation we feel at this time of year -- the yearning and longing for it, the warmth and joy we feel in it. It is the call of our ancestors to connect with them. It is the call of the Earth to connect with it. It is the endless symbiosis of comfort and care, taking and giving, continuously sharing with each other of the bounties of the Earth that becomes the Eternal Harvest. In this we harvest each other’s souls. In this we harvest the soul of the Earth. In this we are harvesting the eternal.



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Lesser Evil and Outsider Politics

contributor Tesha Miller

Where are the progressives in the US?  What has become of them?  We must consider these questions from a historical perspective to properly understand our current political bent toward far right policy and fascism.  The attacks made on news media should be recognized as one of the primary culprits in the decline of the effectiveness of the left.  The Fairness Doctrine, a policy which required the holders of broadcast licenses to present issues of public importance in a balanced manner, was eliminated in 1987.  This allowed news media to present the public with news stories told from a single perspective.

Even as the news messages were being manipulated, they were also being consolidated under fewer corporate umbrellas, too.  This was accomplished through the deregulation of media ownership in 1996 via the Telecommunications Act and the results were devastating to diversity in reporting.  By 2006, six corporations controlled nearly everything the US public viewed and heard and these media giants were vertically organized to control every aspect of production all the way to her distribution of information.

Is a liberal media message actually being delivered from such predatory corporations?  It would be far easier to discover a unicorn neighing from their microphones then to expect such an allowance to take place. The conflicts of interests between corporate media and progressive ideology abound: regulation, taxation, anti-capitalism and labor rights...to name a few; which would directly affect their continued economic domination and success.  The very idea that a major liberal news media exists is a fantastically preposterous notion.

Progressive viewpoints are currently lacking in the US news media, but the attacks on left ideology stem further back in time.

The gains made by the left during The Progressive Era, alongside the US alliance with Russia during World War I generated fears among capitalists.  The American people were becoming sympathetic, if not supportive, to the ideology of the far left.  Through continued class struggles, which were spearheaded by radicalized leftist, living and working conditions were starting to improve for a wider portion of the American population.  An emergent middle class was developing and a subtle form of economic democracy was taking shape, through the formation of strong workers unions.  These gains for labor were a direct affront to capital and measures to undermine them were sorely needed.

World War II provided the capitalists with the perfect situation to undermine the gains made by left ideology and action during The Progressive Era.  American corporations had profited off of their economic relationships with Germany during the war and afterward, two distinctive powers were structured.  The Western world was led by the US and created NATO and the communist world was led by the Soviet Union which created the Eastern Bloc.  Cold War policy was in full swing and anti-communist propaganda afforded US corporations and finance capital a two pronged attack upon the left: to rid itself of unwanted anti-capitalist sentiment among her citizenry and legitimize hegemony and empire as a means to protect her people.

The demonization of the left had begun and any viewpoints, outside of liberalism, were deemed Un-American and political parties or groups of the left: socialists, communists and anarchists were closely monitored and suppressed by the state and shunned by an unwitting public.  Liberalism, which in truth is the political moderate ideology, was erected as progressive ideology and became the acceptable form of left political expression; the Democratic Party, her platform within the political arena and crown jewel.

Third party political representations, which more closely resembled the values of progressives and not those of liberals, were undercut through the electoral laws established over time and especially those developed in the past 60 years such as: registration fees, petition requirements and individual state ballot laws.  These hurdles could be remedied by a simple national ballot access standard, but attempts to do so have so thus far failed to pass The House.

What does all of this mean for progressives and the country as a whole?  Firstly, it means that our supposed “representative” democracy would, by default, come to be non-representative of an entire class of her people, effectively disenfranchising any political threat to the established powers and their means of economic domination over labor, via capitalism.  It would effectively shut out all public debate about capitalism, hegemony, empire and class.  Finally, it would render the left a fractured population of outsiders unable to effectively challenge the powers within Federal government, outside of their own direct organization, acts of civil disobedience and dissent.

While it is true that progressives are learning the hard lesson of sectarianism, duopoly and political exile, it is also true that many more are relearning the power of organization and solidarity.  We must resist the urge to vote for lesser evil and be contented with the outcomes and instead redouble our efforts to reclaim local elections and create ports of refuge for progressive movements.  This will grant us the needed protections and time necessary for a broader community root to be established; one which would become effectual for establishing meaningful change.


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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

MOC: Why You Don't Even Know That A Presidential Candidate Was Arrested Last Night

contributor Lee Camp

A Presidential Candidate was arrested last night AT THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE.  And as if that's not insane enough, it's not even news?!  Is that the kind of country you want to live in?


Monday, October 15, 2012

I Had A Friend Once…

contributor Christopher Weller


I had a friend once.  We played until the sun went down.  We laughed in fits of joy until we collapsed upon the ground.  We shared our world, our dreams, our nightmares, and our imaginations.  We looked out for each other, and shared each others' secrets.  The world was an endless playground, and we were invincible as long as we were together.

We grew together, and we felt the pains of growing up together.  We experienced the fears of entering each milestone of life together, and we would carry the weight of the challenges of life together.  Each event, each holiday, each celebration, we'd be right by each others' side.  The future was ours to conquer.

Through our childhood to adolescence, we rode the journey of life together.  We entered the world cradled by the culture of civilization.  We were assimilated the same.  We became inducted into the role of what the culture asked us to be, ordained into the dominant belief system of the culture, and graduated from its catechism together.

Yet, once the imaginary world of childhood passed, we were soon indoctrinated into what it means to exist in the culture, what it takes to find happiness, what it means to have success, and what it takes to even survive.  We had to start thinking about what we will "be" when we become an adult, and when childhood is over.


The culture began to mold us into individual units, categorizing us into our roles as the various cogs in the wheels of its machinery. Our dreams began to become our ambitions, and the culture would welcome this.  

Yet, our friendship persevered through these changes. We entered our adult lives together, and our roles in the culture didn't impede upon what we shared- our lives together.  As long as we played the game together, as we did as children, our journey through this life would continue unabated.

The pressure began to build upon our lives.  We started our lives with our own responsibilities.  Soon came finding a job, cutting the ties with family as we entered the world on our own.  Families of our own were built.  We found shelter and hoped for stability.  The onslaught of these new responsibilities brought on the struggles of our lives.  More and more time became consumed by bills, taxes, and rent.  The walls of life closed in all around us.  Yet, we still were able to hold on to our friendship.

The forces of living in the culture took us away from our innocence, and both of us still played the game, the role of the civilized, the role of the consumer, and the role of believing in the glory of being a part of the promises of civilization.  We had found and grabbed hold tight to the American Dream.  Yet, there would soon be one of us that would let go.


Soon I would come across the truth of how the world works.  I would learn what was happening to the world.  The way we had been living was destroying the world.  All that was promised by our culture had been lies.  Everything we believed as being the right way to live, the only way to live, was about to cause the death of everything.  It would not happen to some distant society far into the future.  It would not even happen to the next generation.  It would happen during our lifetime.  If the world was to continue operating in this way, we would experience the collapse of all that we knew the world to be.

Upon such an epiphany, I found it most urgent to talk to my friend.  I felt the innermost desire to give my friend the news.  If there was anyone in the world who I would want to present my discovery, if there was anyone who I could trust, and if there was anyone who I could confide in, calming my most horrifying fears, it would be my friend.  With the utmost fervor I contacted my dear friend, hoping to bring about the same sense of concern as I had felt upon my awakening.

I had laid out everything to my friend.  There was not one detail left out of the discussion -- the ponzi scheme of the monetary system, civilization reaching the carrying capacity of the planet, the peaking of oil and other resources, the acceleration of global warming, the rapid decline of species diversity, the reason for the growing international instability, the reasons for our rights being evermore rapidly demolished -- nothing was left untouched.  I showed how it all was connected.  I felt as though I was  part teacher and part prophet.  I was simultaneously giving the truth of the doom of which we faced, and also the good news that what I had discovered was that there was a true way to live upon this planet -- one that the whole world could embrace as it threw away and let go of the damaged past the culture had created.  I had thought that I was to be my good friend's savior from a world of lies, betrayal, and delusion.

However, the dream of having an everlasting friendship began to fall apart as quickly as I had begun to leave the world of which I was once so familiar.  I would never be on a park bench some day with my friend, as the years took the better of us, and we would talk and chat about a long life lived together as lifelong friends.  For as much as I had begun to abandon my belief in the culture of which had brought us together as friends, I had equally become something quite different.  I had become something of which my friend could not fathom.  I had become something that could not be understood.

The culture had taken too strong of a hold upon the psyche of my friend over the years that had passed.  My words fell upon deaf ears and my friend began to see me as someone who is sick, crazy, and need of help.  I don't know if it was the way I approached.  I don't know if it was just too much for my friend to handle.  But, something struck a blow to our friendship -- something that was too much for my friend to bear.



The extraordinary times that I had become aware of, that I wished to share with my friend, what I believed could further solidify our friendship, was something that was not so remarkable.  I was in disbelief.  How could anyone ignore what was happening?  How could anyone not acknowledge that what I was saying was something other than the key to what has ailed humanity for so long?  That which had made all the struggles and hardships we had faced throughout our lives come to be?  How could anyone continue with their life as usual, when presented with such a level of profound dread on the horizon?  

Why couldn't my friend see that I was only trying to warn, to enlighten, and to help?

The months had passed since our discussion.  The calls, the emails, the meetings became less and less.  Each and every time I attempted to slip in another fact or occurrence on the global scene that vindicated my argument, it seemed to only further separate us, and numb our friendship.  Our conversations soon became shorter and shorter.  My friend seemed to talk fast in hopes that I would not bring up "that topic" again.

But, just as our conversations began to imitate the cultural norm, as it continued to involve more and more of the usual gossip, mainstream news, politics, or pop culture, the more I became less interested.  I would hear but not listen.  What rang through my head was only a hope that my friend would suddenly awaken, give me one factoid that came up, which could lead the conversation toward the subject of Collapse.  As we talked about our families, our kids, and what they were up to, I daydreamed that my friend would say, "Hey, I was thinking about what you said about oil, and...." or "I remember you were once saying something about the money system, and...," but it would only remain a dream.  We had become unrecognizable to each other.

As time passed, we grew more and more apart, even though our time together never decreased.  We became part of different worlds -- my friend part of my old world, and I part of the Transition, the real world that has always existed.  I was evolving, and my friend’s world was becoming extinct, obsolete.  I wanted so much to bring my friend with me, so that we could share this extraordinary experience.

At least my friend could continue on 'till the End not being seen as an outcast.  At least my friend could go on in the delusion, continuing to reinforce the fantasy promised by the dying culture, surrounded by others, hiding within the bubble, and I would not be around to burst it.  The enchantment created by the culture that had given birth to us both had captivated my friend beyond what I could understand.  I had awoken from the trance, and there was no going back.  I would remain awakened from the long sleep of civilization, but I would be alone.

There would be others that I would find, similar to me, who fully understand what is happening to the world and where we are going, but they would never be the same.  They were not a part of me as was my friend.  But, I have come to realize that as a part of me, my friend will come with me through the transition, and will always be part of my soul.  I realize that no matter what I become following the evolution of the Transition, I will still take with me all that was good.  I will still take with me all that I had learned.  I will still take with me all that I shared and all that was given to me.  I will still take with me all those that I had loved and who had loved me.  As I meet others in the culture of Transition, I will share with them such stories of my life, as they will with me.  

I'm sure that most of their stories and mine will begin with such words as, "I had a friend once...."




TRC is run solely on single donations from patrons via PayPal. If you enjoy TRC's work, please consider donating. Any amount is generous. Receipt will read The Road Home, Inc. Thank you!

Moment of Clarity: Lee Camp Returns from Cayman Islands Tax Haven Investigation

contributor Lee Camp

A small team and I went all the way to the Cayman Islands to get to the bottom of Mitt Romney's tax havens. But it's not just Romney - It's Apple and Google and literally thousands of other people and corporations.

[Editor's note: I'd like to share a little investigating I did in 2010, which led to this post: H.R. 2136 - Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act.  Kudos to Lee for digging a bit further -- I think we all should and demand that those companies and individuals doing business in the U.S. pay their back taxes now that the economy is set to tank and our infrastructure is failing -- before it is too late. ~ Gabrielle]



RAP NEWS 16: OBAMA v ROMNEY - The Final Debate

submitted by Gabrielle Price

Juice Rap News - Episode 16: Electile Dysfunction.

It's nearing the end of 2012, and bastion of world democracy (The United States of America) is displaying its free and open process of elections for the world to observe.  As is customary every four years, the rigorous selection process has served up a number of philosopher kings and queens from which to choose.  But why have so many choices when with a bit of effort you can whittle it down to two candidates and let the people pick from those?  Especially when it makes for such scintillating debates.  Join Juice Rap News stalwart host Robert Foster as he shares his dreams for the Presidential Debates... and then receives something of a rude awakening.


Monday, October 8, 2012

The Eternal Library

TRC contributor, Christoper Weller

[This essay is lovingly dedicated to Carl Sagan.  Also, see Editor's note at the bottom.]


“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?



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.


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.


"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.

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


TRC is run solely on single donations from patrons via PayPal. If you enjoy TRC's work, please consider donating. Any amount is generous. Receipt will read The Road Home, Inc. Thank you!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday Matinee - Robert Newman's History of Oil ~ A Comedy?

submitted by Gabrielle Price

Robert Newman is not your average funny man.  He's also the author of four books and a published journalist.  Last year he lectured on the economics of ecology at universities and at the Center For Alternative Technology in Machynlleth, Wales.  He contributes a column titled No Planet B to publications Vice and for Earthmatters.

This video is funny, informative and absolutely rife with whimsical, vaudevillian genius.  You owe it to yourself to watch this and share it with others who seek a deeper understanding of geopolitics, energy resource wars and environmental stewardship -- with LULZ.

Robert Newman delivers crucial knowledge with wit, charm and earnest humor.  The Refreshment Center hopes you will make time to view and share this 45 minute gem.  A filmed stage presentation, run entirely on energy provided by Eco-cyclists!



TRC is run solely on single donations from patrons via PayPal. If you enjoy TRC's work, please consider donating. Any amount is generous. Receipt will read The Road Home, Inc. Thank you!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Moment of Clarity: The Propaganda Film You Probably Don't Know You're Watching

 TRC contributor Lee Camp
 
The movie "Won't Back Down" starring Maggie Gyllenhaal is hitting theaters across the country. Who REALLY made this film?  You'd be surprised...

This episode M.O.C. is based largely on this article from Salon.com.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity

submitted by Gabrielle Price

The following slideshow presentation is available for download as a Powerpoint and PDF here, thanks to The Permaculture Research Institute of Australia.  From the site: Some permies may wish to download the slideshow files to use, or modify to use, for "It’s time to wake up" type presentations in your local schools and community halls, etc.

Food is the new oil.  Land is the new gold.

Full Planet, Empty Plates Slideshow Presentation from Earth Policy Institute
 
The world food situation is deteriorating.  Grain stocks have dropped to a dangerously low level.  The World Food Price Index has doubled in a decade.  The ranks of the hungry are expanding.  Political unrest is spreading.

On the demand side of the food equation, there will be 219,000 people at the dinner table tonight who were not there last night.  And some 3 billion increasingly affluent people are moving up the food chain, consuming grain-intensive livestock and poultry products.

At the same time, water shortages and heat waves are making it more difficult for farmers to keep pace with demand.  As grain-exporting countries ban exports to keep their food prices down, importing countries are panicking.  In response, they are buying large tracts of land in other countries to grow food for themselves.  The land rush is on.

Could food become the weak link for us as it was for so many earlier civilizations?  This slideshow presentation, based on Lester Brown’s latest book, Full Planet, Empty Plates: The New Geopolitics of Food Scarcity, explains why world food supplies are tightening and tells what we need to do about it.

The slides are designed to be shared, so feel free to pass along the link to others who might be interested.  Use the slideshow to anchor a lesson in the classroom or to spread the word within your community on why and how we need to mobilize to fix our food system.  You are welcome to modify it to suit your needs.  We ask only that you appropriately credit Earth Policy Institute and the photographers, notably Yann Arthus-Bertrand, eminent French photographer and friend of EPI, whose works appear within.


TRC is run solely on single donations from patrons via PayPal. If you enjoy TRC's work, please consider donating. Any amount is generous. Receipt will read The Road Home, Inc. Thank you!

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Moral Question

Submitted by Gabrielle Price


A Moral Question from Sustainable Man on Vimeo.


TRC is run solely on single donations from patrons via PayPal. If you enjoy TRC's work, please consider donating. Any amount is generous. Receipt will read The Road Home, Inc. Thank you!