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Re-aligning the Future

What can we do in our one short life to create a sustainable, just, future?

First we need a 'level gaze' at the global situation as it is today - the wars, the marginalization of people, the economy, the gap between haves and have-nots, the environment, and all the other problems threatening this planet.

And then we need to look at how things work. How do movements begin and how do they affect change? Do they have to be funded by corporations and governments? Is it possible for grass roots values to emerge and challenge the status quo, staying true to the original cause?

Given the endless examples of corrupt power that began with good intentions, it would be easy to turn away from the world and entertain ourselves to death. Anyone who dares to utter ideals is likely to be laughed at or viewed with suspicion. That is the problem - we have lost faith in humanity's  ability to solve the big problem.

Imagine an alien nation visiting this planet after everything has been destroyed, scrambling through the ruins looking for clues to the final cause of our demise. The answer might be that we were smart enough to build rockets, write symphonies and create political systems, but couldn't work together for the sake of our survival.   Humanity showed signs of being experts on what was wrong, and what or who was to blame, but in the end, were unable to identify their own culpability.

Each age has its own allusions of grandeur and every nation its own conceits, and these are the blessings and threats to our survival - the tragic flaw.  It's not a solution or an invention that we need now, it's humility and compassion.  The way to the future cannot be mapped out onto a blueprint. 

It is, I believe, a spiritual quest where we learn how to honour the other equally with the self, to recognize when we are misguided, acknowledge mistakes and then recalibrate the journey.

We have the scientists, the healers, the visionaries, the artists and musicians, to guide and inspire. There will always be the optimists and pessimists, those who say too much and those who don't speak up, those who give and those who take.  And we have communities that work because of the focus and commitment of individual members.

We have the capacity for empathy and to read between lines. We have emotional intelligence and rational objectivity. We share the bond of one mother.  Our home provides enough air, food, water and shelter for us all.  So what is holding us back? What is muddling the discussion and obfuscating the goal?

The answer, I feel, can be rendered down to one simple flaw which possibly goes back before history, to the beginning of patriarchy, when men sought control over women and women sought protection from men.

The muscular male body appears fit for the hard labour of social construction, and the softer female for nurture, and so each has been socialized to fit into one gender or the other. Other primates with similar social systems remained close to earth, but we, with each century magnified power, worshipped it, extracted it from the life force and turned it into a god. Graded all elements into a  hierarchy through rituals that keep beings in their designated place.

What we need now is to align our sights, to see how ideology and socialization that breeds false illusions of superiority, is the cause of our inability to live together, to find a way through.

We need to understand that power belongs to all in strength and responsibility, and not be diverted by the attempts of the few to intimidate the masses. Or to hope that saints and saviours will rescue this global human project. Nurturing a place for the future is our task, our power.

What each one of us can do, in our one short life, is dis-invest in power-over and re-invest our goals and hopes in power-from-within in terms of influence and responsibility.


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