That Which I Seek

Cult of Ecstasy: This is the symbol of the Cult of Ecstasy, one of the Traditions from Mage: The Ascension.I’d like to start this entry with a quote from the Charge of the Goddess:

“If that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without. For behold, I have been with you from the beginning, and I am that which is attained at the end of desire.”

In other words, if you’re not happy inside, then nothing on the outside can make you happy. Some people, I suppose, would take this as an excuse to abandon revolutionary pursuits and just sit around contemplating the inner peace of their navel. But for me, I see it as just the opposite — a powerful lesson in the most powerful source of all revolutionary action.

Earlier in life, I saw revolution as some sort of overwhelming impersonal duty. My emerging empathic abilities informed me very quickly that billions of people are experiencing great suffering right now, not to mention the ecological havoc that is annihilating whole species each and every day of our lives. Since I could see the problems… and since “my” government/corporations had contributed to the problems… and since I might have the power to stop the problems… then wasn’t it my responsibility to take action?

The short answer is yes. Yes… all of us who see these problems have a responsibility to act. All of us who contribute to the problems have a responsibility to act. All of us who could conceiveably stop these problems have a responsibility to act.

But… and there’s ALWAYS a but… the true question lies in HOW to act.

Is it productive to walk around feeling physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually crushed by an overwhelming sense of the horrors of the world? Is it productive to burn ourselves out in the span of a few precious years with forms of activism that only address the barest of symptoms? Is it productive to forbid ourselves the little joys of life, simply because other people are suffering and we don’t feel that we deserve joy until after the revolution?

The answer to these questions is no. No, no, and no. And no to a thousand other conscious and unconscious questions that haunt many of the activists and revolutionaries that I know.

I want to live in a better world. I can envision that world quite clearly now, and I believe it’s a vision that goes beyond my own personal preferences, into the realm of securing greater freedom and justice and peace for all people, and for the land itself. And for a long time, I feel like I’ve been holding back my own personal pleasure, as if waiting for the creation of a utopian society, or at least a small community that was prefigurative of such a society.

Maybe after the revolution, I’ll be happy, and joyful, and peaceful, and free, eh? Maybe I just need to hold all of that personal passion for life back until then so that it doesn’t get in the way, eh?

Well, as some of you may have noticed already, all of that holding back is over for me. I’m not waiting until “after the revolution” anymore… I’m living for that passion now, and I’m here to tell you that you should do the same.

What we really need right now is some passionate revolutionaries. We need people who feel that same sense of duty to fight oppression, but use that duty as an opportunity to let their passion and creativity shine.

Some people would say that it’s disrespectful, or perhaps even shameful, to live a life of passion, joy, and celebration while most if not all of the world is burning. But really… how are we going to create a better world if we can’t feel the beginnings of that world inside of ourselves? If we can’t feel that new world inside of ourselves, how are we going to create it on the outside, and who’s going to believe us that it’s really possible?

Passion is life… passion is love… passion is power. We are born to be passionate — to experience divine ecstasy in a way that most people alive today can scarcely even dream of. And yet, the systems of authority and oppression rob us of our birthright through a combination of physical, social, and psychological violence.

In order to change this system, we must start with some of the usual steps that activists and revolutionaries start with. We must come to a greater understanding of the problems, and we must work to formulate principles, strategies, and practicies that will lead to solutions. But once this rational organizing has formed the cold, firm flesh of our revolutionary movement, our passion must be the hot blood that animates every ounce of it.

When we’re in the midst of a campaign, we must pursue our goal with a single-minded passion, like wild berzerkers whose very survival depends upon success. And when we’re in the midst of our purely personal time, taking an hour or a day’s break from any organizing work, we must approach our own life with equal passion. We must sing and dance with our fellow travellers until the wee hours of morning. We must paint, draw, or write in a fit of focused fever, burning inside as though our very life depending on finishing that creative project. We must swear to ourselves and each other that we will no longer let our passions be tamed by any governments, corporations, groupthink, or any of the senseless inhibitions that they inspire.

I swore to myself long ago that I would live to see the destruction of this entire system of oppression. I swore that one day, I would be free, and all people would be free, and the Earth as a whole would be free and healthy. I swore that I would live to see this, or that I would haunt the Earth forever until it finally came to pass. And now, I’ve come to discover that the greatest force of all in this struggle will be our heart’s deepest passions, expressed in harmony with our visions for a better world.

Apathy is the engine of all systems of oppression. Why? Because your passion is at the core of your humanity. Once you learn to imprison your passion, you are essentially learning to imprison your own humanity. Therefore, with your humanity under lock and key, it becomes quite easy to teach you how to dominate others. This is the foundation of fascism — to suppress healthy human desires so that they may be replaced with an apathy for genuine humanity and a passion for service to the Machine.

Well, I say fuck the Machine. It may be struggling to control my body, but my mind has broken free, and it will never have my heart again. No walls can imprison me, and no chains can bind me. I’ve found freedom and passion in my heart… nothing can take that away from me, and it’s a gift that I intend to share with all the world.

It’s going to take a long time to make all of this renewed passion a reality, both in my personal life and in my political life. Let’s face it… I’ve spent the better part of the last ten or more years keeping a tight lid on my passions, either to fit in with the social reality or to deny myself pleasure in favor of supposedly revolutionary pursuits. But in the end, I learned that my passions are so strong that restraining them would literally be the death of me.

I have a deep, genuine desire to be free; to share the joys of that freedom with a community of people who think and live freely; and to serve in securing the freedom and well-being of others. If I resist this core passion of mine in any way, for even a moment, my very flesh starts to wither away. I don’t know if this is how it works for other people… but this is how it works for me, and I’m not going to deny my passions any longer. Merely living in the presence of the profound apathy that surrounds us is painful to me… if I embrace that apathy myself by repressing my emotions, then it literally makes me ill.

So what does all of this talk of passion really mean? In the short term, it means that I’ve been doing more singing, more dancing, more playing, more creating, and at times more mourning and anguishing over things that are beyond my control. [Wailing passionately is better than not crying at all…] But in the long term, I can tell already that it means that I’m becoming a more holistic person, capable of riding through the peaks and valleys of ecstasy and despair without losing my sense of inner peace and vision for a better life. On a personal level, this means my life is becoming more rich, more meaningful, more rewarding, and in an odd and unexpected way, more focused. On a political level, it means that my understanding of the personal aspects of revolution is deeping, and my ideas on revolutionary organizing are evolving.

How do the corporations sell people a bunch of worthless plastic crap that they don’t really need? They do it by appealing to their suppressed passions. “Hey, this product will make you have fun, look younger, feel more self-confident, and have sex with someone you desire.” Well, what would the corporations do if we found our own fun, our own youth, our own self-confidence, our own sexuality, without the help of their worthless products?

If that happened, we would truly be free. And if that were the end of it, it would only be a victory for us personally. But what if we felt that all people had the right to be free too? What if we took some of our newly liberate passion and directed it to the service of freedom for one and all? Why, we’d have a revolution on our hands!

THAT is what people want from revolution — something they can feel passionate about, and something that liberates their passions in return.

So that’s a theme I’ve been exploring in my life over the past few weeks… both philosophically and on the dance floor. If you’d like to explore it with me, you know where to find me. In the meantime, I’m off to express my passion further through some more writing elsewhere…

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Another Oak Falls

A few months ago, I wrote about a tree friend of mine that had been cut down on Oak Street. Alas, I found out recently that another of my favorite tree friends has fallen — this time, the one on Campus Lake that I call Leaning Oak.

Some people may think it’s silly for a human like me to call a tree their friend, or to mourn the death of a tree. To these people, I say that you should sit at the base of a tree for a while and see if you feel any differently.

When I sit at the base of a tree, or climb up in a tree’s branches, I find a peace inside of myself that I rarely find anywhere else. Whether you think it’s genetics, or ancestral memory, or some combination of the two, I believe it’s only natural for former tree-dwelling primates such as ourselves to form close and personal connections with the trees, and with all of the plants and animals of the living ecosystems that we call home.

Leaning Oak was almost certainly the tree that I’ve known the longest. At some point early on in my college years, I encountered this peculiar specimen during one of my many walks around Campus Lake here in Carbondale. From the looks of it, this tree had originally grown up much like any of its siblings on the same bank. However, unlike its siblings, this particular tree had laid its roots down very close to the shore.

Was the tree planted so close to the edge by some reckless human? Did it wander there as an acorn, driven by a sense of adventure to explore the boundaries of its earthy home? Or was its placement a random combination of wind, gravity, and other natural forces?

We may never know the answers to these questions. In any case, once the tree had laid down its roots, its fate may have been sealed. For at some unknown point in the life of this tree, a great cataclysm occured. I wasn’t there to witness it, but judging by the results, I can only imagine that a combination of erosion and the tree’s own growth lead to a partial collapse of the shore.

By the time I walked Campus Lake for the first time, this tree had fallen on its side. It leaned out over the lake, almost parallel to the water, with its roots still clinging to the eroded shore. At first glance, its position seemed quite precarious… but after years of occassional visits, I became convinced of just how strong and stable this tree really was.

Leaning Oak meant a lot of things to me at a lot of different times in my life. Sometimes, it was a refuge — a place to go when I felt alone, or afraid, or in need of a renewed connection with the Earth. Other times, it was a source of connection — a place to bring friends and loved ones who I felt would enjoy playing on a tree above the water, or at least enjoy watching me do the same. Other times still, it was food for thought — a place to contemplate the meaning of life, and death, and perseverance, and the connections among the elements.

Most of all, though, this tree was a friend. I see the trees as our elders, and this was a tree who listened and spoke to me on many occassions. And now, through some unknown final act, Leaning Oak is gone.

I first discovered the disappearance of Leaning Oak months ago, when I took a friend out there at night for a visit. For a moment, I thought that I must surely just be missing the tree in the dark. But the path was so familiar that I could have walked it blindfolded — and once I saw the large chunks of gravel lining the shore, I knew that someone had done work to prevent erosion in the spot where Leaning Oak had once stood.

That night was a curious night unto itself, so I didn’t have a chance then to honor the Leaning Oak’s passing. A few days ago, though, I took the time to walk out to Campus Lake specifically to pay my respects for one last time.

It was really good to make it out onto Campus Lake. On some level, that place feels more like an urban park to me than like a wooded lake, with its asphalt paths and abundant evidence of human habitation. However, Leaning Oak was one of the first places where I truly started to see beyond the false dichotomy between humanity and nature… and sure enough, as I sat on that shore, I felt a deeper connection to the Earth and the natural world than I had in months.

I felt sad… almost surprisingly so. I knew that this day would come eventually, even though Leaning Oak’s branches budded with new life every year… but somehow, I always thought that this fateful day would come much later, perhaps even after I had passed on. Something of the character of that side of the lake has been lost… another tree fallen to erosion, just as so many tres in the rest of the world have fallen to an erosion of a different sort.

But really, on another level, I felt almost happy. Surely, it must have been a struggle to stay on that shore… and now, however its final days had unfolded, this tree had found its peace. As I watched the many ripples on the face of the water, I felt a tremendous sense of peace… one tree was gone, but the water still flowed, and the wind still blew, and the wheel of life continued to turn. I felt myself shifting into my forest consciousness, even with so many buildings and roads and people criss-crossing this wounded landscape.

I don’t feel that my time with Leaning Oak can be distilled into any single lesson… but as I looked out on those waters, I knew in my heart that I had learned a great deal since the day, not so long ago, when a young man named Justin had anxiously stepped out onto that Leaning Oak to sit above the lake and look for a moment’s peace.

I have other things to talk about too… news in my life, and news that may go beyond my own little bubble. But I’ll leave that for another entry… perhaps even another day. In the meantime, let me close this entry by thanking Leaning Oak for our time together. And if you’ve never hung out with the trees before, now is as good of a time as any to start!

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I envision a world…

A lot of people complain about the problems in today’s world. Not a lot of people spend their time articulating their own comprehensive vision for how the world could and should be if we’d live up to the best of our human potential. Since my last entry pretty much raged about how we should do something positive and revolutionary, I’ve decided to re-articulate some of the general principles or practices I have in mind when I talk about revolution.

To be honest, I’ve been fending off depression and despair all day today. I’m broke, I’m tired, I’m alone, and none of those are going to change tonight. But tomorrow is another day, with a few clear glimmers of hope on the horizon. And now that I’m actually sitting down and writing this entry, I can feel my spirits lifting at the prospect of actually talking about a lot of what I truly value in life.

I could try to weave this all into some sort of complex theoretical structure, but that tends to get boring sometimes, even for ME… 🙂 So I’d rather just talk about it, point by point.

You may find some of these points offensive or objectionable. You may find some of them silly. You may find some of them pointless. But hopefully we can agree to disagree, because I’m sure that we have SOMETHING in common, and we can work together on whatever that something may be.

Therefore, let me say that I feel that the world would be a better place, and our deepest human potentials would be realized, if many or all of the following came to pass:

* Free Cooperation. This is an overarching theme of all of these points. I believe that as individuals, we have the right to be completely free – and as members of the human community, we have a responsibility to cooperate with others rather than inhibiting their freedom by exploiting or harming them. Basically, I have infinite personal freedom, and my infinite personal freedom ends where any harm to others begins.

* Permaculture. We need to stop destroying our planet’s living systems. The only way to do this in the long-term is by working in harmony with ecological principles rather than against them. On one level, it’s simply a no brainer requirement for our continued survival. Play by the rules of life, or the game is over. On another level, it’s an ethical question – do I respect other life, or do I exploit and destroy it?

* Gender, Sex, and Sexuality. This ties together feminism, queer theory, and other related perspectives on gender. Gender is our personal or cultural identity – our sense of who we are, whether it be purely internal or socially constructed, with terms such as “masculine” or “feminine” or “manly” or “girly.” Sex is our biology – male, female, intersex. Sexuality is our desired sexual activity – heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, and beyond. Most of the issues we face here fall under the “free” portion of free cooperation. People must be free to embrace whatever gender identity, biological sex, and sexuality they feel defines them. This includes many things such as gay marriage, cross dressing, nudism/naturism, polyamory, and beyond. These can be seen as separate issues, but I see them all as freedom issues. People should have limitless freedom to express themselves in these ways, as long as they’re not interfering with your freedom to express your own gender, sex, and sexuality. If any of the above is against your moral beliefs, then don’t practice it – but stay the fuck out of the way of people’s free right to do so for themselves. [And while you’re at it, ask your deity of choice why he’s so eager to control people’s sexuality.] If you want practical details about how this would translate into law and policy, ask me.

* Science and Consciousness. I won’t really get into this one right now, but I believe that human consciousness is the most powerful force for powerful transformation that currently exists on this planet. I believe that there is so much left unexplored that still needs to be explored. Instead of spending billions on developing weapons or smearing competing politicians, we should be funding programs such as research into energy healing [see below] and advanced human cognition.

* Health and Wellness. Sickness is probably inevitable – but I’ll be bold and say that 90+% of illness that exists today could be cured in a single generation if we simply chose to (A) live differently and (B) dismantle economic and political structures that keep people in poverty. Complimentary and alternative therapies have the power to treat and prevent so many human illnesses that it’s absurd for us to continue ignoring them. The best cure to diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and many emotional/mental health disorders is prevention – and that would be possible for the majority of people if we simply took the knowledge that we already have and applied it across the board. Preventable sickness is destructive of our freedom; therefore, any corporation or government that stands in the way of public health is an enemy of freedom and must be dealt with accordingly. This includes marketing corporations, media corporations, junk food distributors, fast food chains, governments that embrace anti-poor and anti-health-care policies, and others. In a better world, we would make it infinitely easier for people to be healthy than it is currently. They would still be free to choose otherwise, of course… but at least they would understand their options, and have access to the best health information and services available.

* Race. Let’s face it — racism is dumb, and racists need to stop their idiotic discrimination and race wars. I reject “white supremacy” and openly speak out against racism of all kinds. I also openly support movements such as the Black Power movement and Indigenous Rights movement where cultural groups that have traditionally been targeted by racists seek to establish and celebrate their own identity and power independent of white authority or other racist authority. I understand that people can be really fond of their own cultures, and that they may like embracing those cultures. Sometimes, this is a great way to celebrate diversity. But sometimes, cultural identity movements lead people to think that their Culture and/or Race is Superior to all others. Well, that’s frankly just baloney, and it’s usually just an excuse for people in power to get more power. We’re all individuals, and trying to put people down because of their “race” is both absurd and horrific. In a better world, we’ll see each person as an individual, and each culture will be celebrated and explored rather than being used as a tool for division and domination.

* Ability. People should be honored and respected for who they are and what they can do, not discriminated against because of what they supposedly can’t do. Granted, some jobs require some physical or mental abilities that an individual may not have. But if there’s any way for them to do the same tasks in their own way, then they should be treated equally and fairly. In a better world, everyone would be supported in doing what they choose to do, and not viewed through the lens of an ability that they may not possess.

* Economics and Class. This is where the “cooperation” aspect of free cooperation comes into play. I believe in a social economy, which means I believe that we should secure our survival and make major economic decisions through social cooperation rather than competition. I don’t believe that we can own the land any more than we can own the water or the air. And I don’t believe that having The State own everything is much better than having The Corporation own everything. We need to think of ownership itself differently than we do now… which can get pretty complex, but not nearly as convoluted as the global banking system that exists today. [Currency speculation? Futures markets? How much cocaine are those jokers on Wall Street snorting in order to believe that such things actually make real-world sense?]

* Worker’s Rights. This relates strongly to the above. Many of the people who make your clothes, make and serve your food, and so on were not paid a living wage for their work. Some of them may live in terrible conditions and suffer abuse in the workplace because their employer is trying to maximize profit. Take the time to learn about where your products come from, whether they be food or clothes or electronics or beyond. Choose to support Fair Trade and other programs that ensure that your products are made by people who are duly compensated for their work. In a better world, the workers themselves would run the workplace, thus ensuring that they were treated fairly.

* Non-Violence and Peace. I’m not a complete pacifist. If you walk into my home and attempt to harm me or my loved ones, I will stop you with whatever force is necessary. But there’s a big difference between personal self-defense and the political mass violence of war. War is an organized campaign of violence that has no place in a sane world. We won’t end it by blowing people up… we’ll only end it by swaying the hearts and minds of the world into acceptance of peace as a core value. And if anyone thinks that we can only sway hearts and minds through the use of violence, then I understand and honor their perspective, but insist that there are other ways which I would be willing to discuss at length.

* Animal Rights. Animals are living beings, many if not all of whom can feel and suffer much like we do. I’ve currently fallen back on eating dairy products because it’s the only way I’ve found at my disposal to maintain body mass while I tend to my adrenal health concerns. But I do still advocate veganism for people who are open to it, and more humane food and clothing options for the people who insist on animal products. Unless your dairy and meat foods specifically say that the animals were free-range and humanely treated, you can be sure that animals suffered greatly to bring you your meal. In a better world, animal product use would be greatly diminished, and animal suffering as it exists in factory farms and similar places would be eliminated. If you want to eat an animal, you can either hunt it yourself or get it from someone who treated it as humanely as possible. [And dairy equals meat, at least in today’s factory farm system. If you’re eating from most dairy sources, animals are dying for your food. Ask me for details if you don’t believe me.]

This has been an incredibly long message for a blog entry…but what’s ironic is that this is all only the tip of the iceberg. Each of these issues has greater depth, and there are more issues left untouched. BUT… to make a long story short, let me sum it up in a single sentence:

I envision a world of free cooperation; a world where permaculture guides our design of living systems; where people of all genders, sexes, and sexualities are free to discover and be who they truly are; where we explore human consciousness to the fullest of its potential; where we are healthier and happier through the benefits of holistic health practices; where we celebrate our ethnic diversity rather than seeing it as a division; where people of all abilities are honored for what they can do instead of limited by what they can’t; where cooperation rather than competition is the basis of our economy; where the workers of the world share fully in the fruits of their own labor; where peace and non-violence are our greatest goal in resolving conflicts; and where all other beings on this planet are seen as valuable and treated with respect and compassion.

Long sentence, eh? Leave it to a philosopher-poet to try to pack all of that into a single sentence… 😉 But seriously… that should give some small inkling of what I believe, and why I believe it’s important. Just talking about it all is more than enough to fill me with renewed energy even at 1:33 in the morning… I really want these good things and more to happen, and I’m willing to work toward these goals, even if I will never see the fruits of such labor in this lifetime. [Freedom of religion, too… I’ll put that one in the next list, eh?]

It’s a long road ahead. Sadly, I’d say that on most fronts described ahead, we have a ton of work ahead of us. But the good news is that we stand on the shoulders of giants who have struggled to further these revolutionary causes since time immemorial. All that remains for us is to finish the job, if we so choose…

If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this message, I’m truly impressed. 🙂 Let me know what you think about all of this… and don’t pull any punches here! Let me know how you REALLY feel…

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Plans Within Plans

Dune's Muad'Dib Leads Fremen: This is an image from the movie Dune that I found floating around on the Internet. I used it in the Plans Within Plans entry in my Song of the Trees blog.I watched Children of Dune recently, and I couldn’t help but draw a connection between the classic Dune phrase “plans within plans” and my understanding of what’s going on in the real world right now.

What does this phrase mean? Plans within plans… puzzles within puzzles… layers of plotting and strategizing stacked within one another, like layers of an onion that peel away to reveal yet another miniature onion at their center. Reality is extremely complex… therefore, it should come as no surprise that human social structures, and any efforts to control or modify them, are also extremely complex.

I live here in the United States, in a lovely place called Southern Illinois, in a college town named Carbondale. This is where my story of plans within plans starts.

On the surface, everything is fine… people go to school, go to work, spend time together on the weekends, and do their best to live out the American dream. But this is only the dry, lifeless exterior of the onion — a layer that is easily peeled away. Beneath it lies layer after layer of human drama, with Carbondale being a single point on the surface of this very stinky and tear-jerking onion.

I can see it all so clearly… with each passing day, I discover another layer of the onion. In our personal lives, each of us has a hidden depth that most of us haven’t explored… in our communities, there are problems that we ignore, or deny, or simply overlook… in our nations, there are power struggles from the grassroots to the upper echelons, as people all struggle to secure more money, more power, more meaning.

Even in a place with such a surface level of material abundance and social order, there’s a terrible storm brewing… the technologies of social, economic, political, and ecological control are sweeping across the landscape, devouring more and more of the Earth’s flesh that gives us life. Even as this machine gone mad drives the global climate out of balance, it also wreaks havoc with our inner landscape, teaching us that we can only derive our sense of personal empowerment and freedom through external sources like rampant consumption and subservience to hierarchies of authority.

And amidst it all, there are plans within plans… plots within plots… puzzles within puzzles. The Democrats struggle against the Republicans, even as both parties are controlled to an increasing degree by elite private interests… the Greens push to establish a viable third party that may bring us back from the brink of destruction… the odd mix of Neo-Cons and Dominionists who dominate the global economy and U.S. government openly wage cultural warfare at home and abroad in the service of their ends… the rag-tag alliances of radicals and revolutionaries wage their own counter-cultural war to promote their social and ecological values… and beneath it all, epic mythological tales are unfolding in the collective unconscious as all of humanity struggles to make sense of its existence here on Earth.

On some days, I just go about my daily business and act like I believe the consensus reality that has been drawn over our eyes to conceal the truth. I go to work, I go to meetings, I watch movies and TV, I eat my favorite snacks, I hang out with friends, and I just try to get by as best as I can. But on other days, I feel like I’ve taken too much spice… I walk alone in the world, looking and listening and feeling, observing the ebb and flow of broader energy pathways playing out in all details great and small of our everyday lives. I watch TV, and see more than TV… I listen to music, and hear more than music… I talk to friends and strangers, and see more than just individuals… I recognize myself as a grain of sand blowing in the wind, or a drop of water flowing to the sea. I watch as plans within plans unfold, with many people struggling in many ways to shape the destiny of themselves, their communities, their societies, their planet, and beyond.

Today started as one of the “consensus reality” days, but it’s ending as one of the “awakening” days. I don’t even know what exactly to DO about all of this… but I know that I must do SOMETHING! No matter how big or small my contribution may be… I must contribute SOMETHING to the effort for creating a better world.

I’m reminded of an old Paolo Friere quote:

“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.”

As someone who strives to be an empathic and compassionate person, I’m not quick to share my anger with the world or act in a way that challenges other people’s chosen goals and directions in life. I long for peace, and my longing for peace makes me very hesitant to add to the conflict in the world. But sometimes in the pursuit of peace, we must actively challenge the warmakers so that the inherent harm of their actions may be revealed. On the surface, it seems that this challenge is creating conflict… but really, this sort of challenge is simply bringing pre-existing conflict to the surface so that it can be resolved. It’s a “healing crisis”, if you will… unpleasant, perhaps, but necessary, like when a person raises a fever in order to fight off an infection, or vomits to expel poison from their digestive track.

What we need now more than anything is a healing crisis. There’s a sickness on the rise… a sickness in the hearts of our people, and a sickness in the many lands that we call home. It’s the sickness of oppression… the sickness of war… the sickness of ecocide… the sickness of fundamentalism and fascism, spreading from heart to heart and nation to nation like a plague. If we pretend that everything’s okay, then our hearts and our lands will be laid to waste by this sickness… but if we spark a healing crisis, then we may still have time to heal before the global ecology and economy both collapse all around us in a rather unfortunate and downright apocalyptic manner.

We must be healers… we must be agents of change… we must be revolutionaries. In the past, we’ve simply waited for rulers or heroes to solve these problems for us… and when the right leader arose, we flocked behind them, adding our power to theirs so that they might find the strength to create the needed changes. But that won’t work anymore… we’re handing our power to the wrong people, and the only way to fix what’s ailing us is to reclaim that power for ourselves and use it in a free and cooperative manner to create a new society amidst the ashes of the old.

How do we do it, then? This is something I’ve seen on the horizon for years now… but it’s bearing down on us faster than I realized, and so many people of conscience seem to be caught without a plan of action. We see that something’s wrong… we know that something has to be done… but what do we do?

We must reclaim our power — our power as individuals, our power as communities, our power as whole societies. It’s time to raise energy — material energy, personal energy, social energy, embodied energy — in the service of our beliefs. We need to live our lives with more passion AND more discipline than we ever have before. We need to delve deep into our hearts to find what it is that we truly desire, then leap outward into the world to make that desire manifest no matter what obstacles stand in our way.

As long as we sit around complaining about what the people in power are doing, we’ll always be powerless. But once we discover our positive inner vision for a better life, and unite with others in free cooperation to pursue that vision, then we will have a shared power that no force on this planet can contain.

As always, there are plans within plans, and I believe that the recent victory of the Democrats is on some level just part of a broader plan to reinforce the destructive two-party system. But on the flip side, just because it’s part of a plan within a plan doesn’t mean that there’s not something genuine underlying it. We revolutionaries can also have our own plans within plans… we can point out that the Democrat victory is hollow, yet use it as a foothold to push for far more revolutionary change than the Democrat leadership is calling for.

Dissidence and dissatisfaction are on the rise… and the Democrat conquest of House and Senate is a clear indication that the people of the United States are dissatisfied with the machinations of the Bush administration. Now, while the system is destabilized by a swing from one party to the other, we can seize the moment and demonstrate that what we truly need more than any hollow Democrat victory is a genuine revolution.

We can talk about revolution all day, though, and nobody will listen. Or if they listen, they won’t act. Or even if they act, they won’t step outside of their comfort zone in response to mere talk. If we really want a revolution in this country, what we need is action.

I’m not just talking about mass demonstrations here. Those still have a role to play… but ultimately, the true power lies in “micro-macro demonstrations” — actions which demonstrate our principles and our vision on both a local/individual level and on a regional/global level.

We need to take bold, decisive action that will make our beloved friends and allies in the Green Party look like a bunch of stuffy conservatives. We need to start revolutionary culture collectives that will use performance art, creative arts, media activism, and strategic direct action to actively encourage the flourishing of a growing culture that embodies our social and ecological values. We need to amass the material resources — houses, land, businesses, finances — that will be necessary to enact sweeping changes in the social, economic, political, ecological, and psychological landscape of our society.

Most of all, we need to truly believe in our hearts and minds that our shared visions for an ecological society of free cooperation can — AND MUST — become a reality in our lifetimes. Once we’ve come to feel the power of this belief in every cell of our body, we must take action to make our vision a reality.

Vision becomes passion, which becomes will, which becomes action, which creates reality. Through our vision, through our passion, through our will, we must act now to create the world of our dreams. This has always been the case… but now, that fact has become especially clear to me, and especially important to all of us as we stand on the verge of a time of tremendous change.

It’s a task far too big for any leaders or heroes to accomplish… there will be no vanguard, no central coordinating committee that forms a unified vision for the rising revolution. But that’s a good thing, because we seek to create a world in which each of us is a leader, and none of us are leaders. And finally, in this very generation, we will realize that the only way to do that is for each of us to take up the very personal and very political task of reclaiming our individual and collective power.

I could go into more detail about how I think the particulars will unfold… but that’s more than enough for today. In the meantime, if you take anything from this blog entry, let it be the knowledge that you have a powerful role to play in the changes that are happening all around us. There’s no being neutral here… letting yourself remain captivated by the “status quo” / “apathy” / “consensus reality” is an act of support for the forces that define and control that framework. And simply by breaking free of that frame — by thinking for yourself, discovering your passion, talking with your loved ones about all of this, and struggling to find your own unique place in the coming changes — you are joining in the timeless struggle for the creation of a better world.

The choice is yours… if you have any thoughts to share about it, let me know. In the meantime, I’m going to go get some sleep…

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My name is Treesong. I'm a father, author, talk radio host, and Real Life Superhero. I live in Carbondale, Southern Illinois. I write novels, short stories, and poetry, mostly about the climate.

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