Transformation of Our Living Paradigms
The paradigms of our lifestyles are not always in our control, so quality of life and sustainability are not always protected by the engineers of those paradigms hidden in the executive offices of government, business and religion, nor in the implications of lopsided value systems such as 'capitalism'.
I was surprised to learn the real meaning of the word career this morning. It turns out that it is a verb: to proceed with great celerity (as in pursuing or competing). Throughout most of my life, the word seemed to mean one's lifetime job. Perhaps this kinds of misunderstanding is due to the use of this word in common practice. Younger people seem to believe in 'the system', needing a career to get them through life. Perhaps this is simply the manipulations of an educational system that secretly divides us into working class and other classes. It seems that the word 'career' might have come into use through the short-term goals of ladder-climbing yuppies and their scheming guidance counselors, the paradigm of endless growth and progress, the chase, the race, tearing through it all, hustling the deal. But this paradigm could only fail in the long run for most people, since it is a predator model. Terence McKenna's essay, Plan, Plant, Planet speaks of the botanical world as being a more sustainable model for human activity. Once the defects of lifestyle paradigms are uncovered, we want to transform the system that enslaved us.
Growing up in a society that has suffocated itself with asphalt, people probably find it hard to see the alternatives. I found that my studies of other cultures from other times and places has given me a much broader imagination of what my life could be like. It seems that many people go through life as if it were scripted by a room full of advertising executives in the employment of consumer goods manufacturers. The lack of vitality of imagination boggles my mind, and I want to shake people up a bit. I guess it all comes down to education. How wide is the scope of exposure to other ideas, cultures, realities, histories, paradigms, economies, infrastructures, art forms?
In new projects, one can start working with the tunnel vision of the first impressions, or one could take a wider view, and get a sense of the long-term implications. It's takes vigorous honesty in the evaluation of the components of one's research, and third-party opinions often reveal omissions in the matrix of possibilities.
In the dynamics of conflict, one often sees the destructive effects of inflexibility. The energy devoted to protecting ingrained ideologies often leaves little for expansion of alternate beneficial possibilities. The conflict between loggers and forest protectors is one example of defective paradigms and their self-destructive ends. The old-growth forests around the world are being logged by huge multi-national companies motivated by financial profit. The a small part of the profits are fed back to the workers, who find themselves with no other options once the forest has been destroyed. Species of animals and plants are brought to extinction because of the destructive short-term goals of selfish individuals. Money is a lie that is used to manipulate people into unsustainable paradigms of living. Money is created by governments working with corporations to manipulate people into doing the work for corrupt, selfish, earth-destroying executives. How many of the loggers have pursued other locally-sustainable lifestyles? What has been their success? Certainly people deserve a roof over their head, clothing and food, and a good quality of life. But it is not sustainable for so many people to live so extravagantly with large houses, picnic tables, redwood decks, fences, etc. for their private use. People are essentially a type of primate, a large monkey, and in this basic reality we can see the irrational disproportionate use of space and resources in our modern industrialized lifestyles. No fabrication of the human mind, imagination, religion, government, corporation or cultural movement can justify the voracious, unbalanced use of our environment. The recent film, The Corporation, ominously itemizes in standard psychological terms the pathologies of the corporation as 'person'. Our only sustainable future on Earth is one balanced with all other species, and it will take dedication to transform to this from our current defective paradigm of dominance and waste.
I have always been grateful for the milestones of paradigm change in my life, sometimes a book, a conversation, a movie, or sometimes the result of dedicated research. The important thing seems to be to not rigidly limit oneself to a single belief system. Integral Psychology, a Ken Wilbur book, has several diagrams in the back that show the commonalities of human development throughout the world's religions and educational systems. As an infant, one seems to be the center of the universe, dependent on the parents for everything. In successive stages of one's life, the circles of interdependence and
The world has seen enough of colonialism and destruction of self-sustaining economies. The transformation of locally used food cropland into cash crops for export continues to destroy the quality of life for those local economies. And with the end of the fossil fuel era drawing perilously near, the need for 'global re-localization' of our economies becomes ever more urgent as transportation costs skyrocket for exporting cash crops. The illusion of money and the relentless fabrication of reality for short-term goals is a problem for each of us to solve in our own way.
Money is printed by the 'government'. The government may or may not be aligned with the sustainability of the biosphere of earth and it's local bioregions. Corporations are like governments, manipulating through employment and production of goods and services. Lifestyles can be like straightjackets. Regular people do not determine the value of the money. Regular people are manipulated statistically by government with the value of money, employment, food and housing supply. If people were to stop 'buying' the goods and services of big government and corporations, and focus on locally sustainable ecologies appropriate for their bioregion, the effects of corruption in big government and business might eventually diminish. It's the massive populations under government control and massive customer bases of businesses that amplify the damaging effects of inefficient or defective design or corrupt intentions.
The models of very long term ecological systems provides the best model for sustainability, beauty, diversity of experience and quality of life. Slow evolution seems to be the norm in the Eden we find ourselves in after penetrating the veils of corporate and government brainwashing. The fast evolution we need now is the transformation of our paradigms of living.
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