LOCAL NEWS BRIEFS

8 05 2016

The first thing I want to tell you is that The Green Party of Tennessee will be holding itslugo for senate annual meeting/convention in Knoxville on June 4th. We will meet to select new state party officers, new representatives to the national party, and to consider nominations for offices that will be on the November ballot here in Tennessee and whom to endorse for President. You can find details about this on our  Facebook page.

Here in Nashville, Council member Fabian Bedne’s resolution, which is intended to make it gascompressormuch more difficult for gas pipeline compressor stations to locate in Davidson County, was accepted at Tuesday’s council meeting and will be discussed at the June 7th Council. There are two such stations proposed, one north and one south of town. This gives all of us who are Nashville residents a month to contact our council members and ask them to support Bedne’s resolution. This local situation is our piece of the great struggle going on in this world about whether or not it’s OK to dawdle along and make just a little more money selling fossil fuels before we quit. If it sounds like an addiction, that’s because it is. “Jush one more drink, and then I’ll quit!”

And lastly, so far Nashville has not–recently–been blemished with the police murder of an unarmed African-American, but we’ve had some close brushes with that kind of infamy. A recent Nashville Scene article detailed a near-tragedy at Cayce Homes in East Nashville, and pointed out that only eight years ago, the Scene had satirically announced that the

bigbrothercayce

Big Brother Is Watching You

 

police department was installing security cameras at Cayce–and lo, it has come to pass.

I had some suggestions that I think are much more constructive. I sent them to my council member, and I’ll share them with you.

The first would be to identify appropriate members of the community, of both genders and a variety of ages, give them training in conflict de-escalation and resolution, and then pay them to walk around their community on a regular basis and interact with people as they see fit, and let them be the ones to call in the police if they think things are getting out of hand.

Another couple of things that might create more stability and community there would be to allow residents to buy, rather than rent, their homes, and to turn as much of the management as possible over to a residents’ council. Both these moves would empower residents and increase their sense of ownership and responsibility.

Beyond that, we have to find ways to make up for all the blue-collar jobs that have been shipped to China and elsewhere, as I think the loss of stable, decent-paying employment opportunities has had a very destructive impact on working-class people in general.

That’s what I suggested. If it makes sense to you, tell your council member and pass it around. The federal and state governments may be lost causes, but here at the local level, we average citizens still have some leverage. Let’s use it.
music: Jackson Browne, “Lawless Avenues




NONDOING

8 05 2016

This is a chapter from Charles Eisenstein’s “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible.” You can read the whole chapter here, and buy the book here. Please help support Charles’ work!

The problems we experience in our lives and in the world (whether relationship issues or world hunger) stem from energetic weakness and disconnection, from our lack of capacity to feel ourselves, each other, the earth, and how life seeks to move and evolve through us. The issue is not whether or not to act and “do something,” but what actually prompts us to act.

—Dan Emmons

Before they are able to enter a new story, most people—and probably most societies as well—must first navigate the passage out of the old. In between the old and the new there is an empty space. It is a time when the lessons and learnings of the old story are integrated. Only when that work has been done is the old story really complete. Then, there is nothing, the pregnant emptiness from which all being arises. Returning to essence, we regain the ability to act from essence. Returning to the space between stories, we can choose from freedom and not from habit……

….

In this I draw inspiration from a beautiful verse from the Tao Te Ching. This verse is extremely dense, with multiple meanings and layers of meaning, and I haven’t found a translation that highlights what I’m drawing from here. Therefore, the following is my own translation. It is the last half of verse 16—if you compare existing translations you will be astonished at how much they differ.

tao-te-ching16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

music: Material, “Devotional Dub





SPIRIT

13 09 2015

This is the 14th chapter of Charles Eisenstein’s “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible.”  You can read the whole chapter here and buy the book here.  Please buy it.  Charles Eisenstein is worth supporting!

There is another world, but it is in this one.

―W. B. Yeats

The cynical reader might suppose that I will unveil “spirituality”as an escape from the bleak, dispiriting universe of the Story of Separation. I won’t, because unfortunately, spirituality as we typically conceive it is itself a key component of Separation. It concedes that the desolate materialism offered by science is essentially correct: that sacredness, purpose, and sentience cannot inhere in matter itself, cannot be found among the generic subatomic building blocks of the material world. These things, says spirituality, reside instead in another, nonmaterial realm, the realm of spirit.

Given that premise, the goal of spirituality becomes to transcend the material realm and ascend into the spiritual. A kind of antimaterialism infuses such teachings as “You are not your body” as well as aspirations to “raise one’s vibrations.” Given that our environmental collapse comes from antimaterialism as well (a devaluing and desacralization of the material world), we might want to reconsider these teachings. What is so special about “high” vibrations? Is a bassoon less beautiful than a flute? Is a rock less sacred than a cloud? Is Earth less sacred than Heaven? Is superior better than inferior? Is high better than low? Is abstract better than concrete? Is reason better than feeling? Is pure better than messy? Is man better than woman?…..

….That doesn’t mean that every person “should” address every level. We each have unique gifts that draw us toward the work for which those gifts are best suited. Although a healthy, well-rounded person will generally engage the world on multiple levels, being as she is an individual, a friend, a member of a family, a member of a community and a place, an inhabitant of a bioregion, a citizen of a nation, and a member of the tribe of all life on Earth, even a cosmic citizen, it is also true that we go through phases of relative inward and outward focus, action, and quiet, expression and retreat.

When we no longer hold a rigid self/other distinction, then we recognize that the world mirrors the self; that to work on the self it is necessary to work in the world, and to work effectively in the world, it is necessary to work on the self. Of course, there have always been spiritual practitioners who are politically active and political activists who are deeply spiritual, but now the attraction of each realm to the other is becoming irrepressible. More and more social and environmental activists are rejecting mainstream beliefs in ways that are more personal. The Occupy supporter is also likely to support attachment parenting, practice meditation, use alternative medicine. The hippies and the ’60s radicals are converging.

music: Indigo Girls, “Get Together





GREEN PARTY ANNUAL MEETING!

11 04 2015

field-of-sunflowers-gptn

Are you looking for an alternative to corporate “Earth Day celebrations” and corporate political parties?  Then come to The Green Party of Tennessee’s annual meeting this coming Saturday, April 18th, from 11AM to 3PM at Long Hunter State Park near Nashville, and help create a new vision for Tennessee politics!  Details at greenpartyoftennessee.org





DESPAIR

7 03 2015

This is a chapter from Charles Eisenstein’s “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible.  Please purchase this book!  You can buy it here, and you can read the chapter on line here. While many people understand that the solution to climate change involves more than a disembedded choice of alternative technologies, few would say that those dedicating their lives to marriage equality for gay people, compassion to the homeless, or care for the autistic are doing something essential for the survival of our species. But that is only because our understanding of interbeing is still shallow. I would like to suggest that anything that violates or disrupts the Story of Separation will heal any and all of the consequences of that story. This includes even the tiny, invisible actions that our rational mind, steeped in the logic of Separation, says cannot possibly make a difference. It includes the kind of actions that get squeezed out by the big crusades to save the world…..

….Readers of my earlier books will forgive me for requoting this passage from “A Free Man’s Worship” by Bertrand Russell, one of the great minds of the modern era:

That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins—all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand. Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.

As I have hinted, the story on which Russell bases his conclusions is no longer so certain. A philosophy that rejects them can indeed hope to stand—on the foundation of the quantum interconnectedness and indeterminacy, the tendency of nonlinear systems toward spontaneous organization and autopoiesis; the capacity of organisms and environments to purposely restructure DNA; and the proliferation of scientific anomalies that promise further paradigm shifts to come. Without attempting to make a rigorous philosophical case for it, I will observe that all these scientific revolutions lend themselves, at least metaphorically, to a very different Story of the World.

music:  Jane Siberry, “Gospel of Darkness

Tabla Beat Science, “Sacred Channel

Jane Siberry  “Then We Heard a Shout” (first link is album version, second is live performance w/ commentary)





FORCE

14 12 2014

This is the sixth chapter of Charles Eisenstein’s “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible.” You can buy the book here.  Please do!

The state of interbeing is a vulnerable state. It is the vulnerability of the naive altruist, of the trusting lover, of the unguarded sharer. To enter it, one must leave behind the seeming shelter of a control-based life, protected by walls of cynicism, judgment, and blame. What if I give and do not receive? What if I choose to believe in a greater purpose, and am deluded? What if the universe is an impersonal melee of forces after all? What if I open up, and the world violates me? These fears ensure that ordinarily, no one enters the new story until the old one falls apart. It is not something we attain; it is something we are born into.

The same interbeingness that makes us so immensely vulnerable also makes us immensely powerful. Remember this! Indeed, the vulnerability and the power go hand in hand, because only by relaxing the guard of the separate self can we tap into power beyond its ken. Only then can we accomplish things that are, to the separate self, impossible. Put another way, we become capable of things that we don’t know how to “make” happen…..

the chapter ends:

This book is a call to surrender control-based thinking, so that we can accomplish things far exceeding the capacity of our force. It is an invitation into a radically different understanding of cause and effect, and therefore a radically different conception of what is practical. Acting accordingly, our choices often seem, to those operating within the old paradigms, to be crazy: naive, impractical, irresponsible. Indeed, they seem that way to that part of ourselves—and I trust that it lives just as much in you as it does in me—that also inhabits the old story. You might recognize its voice, critical, disparaging, doubting, insinuating. It wants us to stay small, safe, protected in our little bubbles of control. My purpose here is not to urge you to fight that voice or purge it; simply recognizing it for what it is already begins to loosen its power.

None of this is to imply that we should never use force, or that we should abandon all forms of acculturation that depend on winning acceptance from parents, elders, and the group. These will always be important parts of the human drama. However, our deep ideologies have blinded us to other ways of initiating change. This book will explore the return of force (and reason, linear thinking, etc.) to its proper domain.

 





BREAKDOWN

2 08 2014

(This is the second chapter of Charles Eisenstein‘s book, “The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible.”   MBW_fullI have reproduced the opening and the closing paragraphs.  You can find the whole book here, for free, but please support Charles Eisenstein by buying the book!  Thank you!

 

The kingdom of God is for the broken hearted.”

–Fred Rogers

It is frightening, this transition between worlds, but it is also alluring.  Have you ever gotten addicted to doom-and-gloom websites, logging on every day to read the latest evidence that collapse is coming soon, feeling almost let down when Peak Oil didn’t start in 2005, or the financial system didn’t collapse in 2008? (I’m still worried about Y2K, myself.)  Do you look toward the future with a mixture of dread, yes, but also a kind of positive anticipation?  When a big crisis looms, a superstorm or a financial crisis, is there a part of you that says, “Bring it on” hoping it might free us from our collective entrapment in a system that serves no one (not even its elites)?

……superstorm

We do not have a new story yet.  Each of us is aware of some of its threads, for example in most of the things we call alternative, holistic, or ecological today.  Here and there we see patterns, designs, emerging parts of the fabric.  But the new mythos has not formed. We will abide for a time in the “space between stories.”  It is a very precious–some might say sacred–time.  Then we are in touch with the real.  Each disaster lays bare the reality underneath our stories.  The terror of a child, the grief of a mother, the honesty of not knowing why.  In such moments our dormant humanity awakens as we come to each other’s aid, human to human, and learn who we are.  That’s what keeps happening every time there is a calamity, before the old beliefs, ideologies, and politics take over again.  Now the calamities and contradictions are coming so fast that the story has not enough time to recover.  Such is the birth process into a new story. 

music:  Grateful Dead, “New Speedway Boogie” (first is the studio version, second is gret live footage from a 1970 concert)








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