Do These Dots Connect?

Charles Jeanes
By Charles Jeanes
April 29th, 2015

By Charles Jeanes

Home alone and deranged

My manner of choosing a theme for an edition of the Arc is not methodical.

I describe it as the Free-Range-Chicken Method. My mind ranges around whatever stimuli come my way, and I entertain interests and responses to random inputs. Not an ideal way to find focus, but it serves the purpose.

To be candid, my interests seem to lead me habitually into depressing facts. This week’s column is a prime example of letting salient news and serendipitous personal reading map the discourse.

Let’s get strange: conjectures in esoteric soul science

There are around seven-and-a-half billion people on the planet now. The first time the planet reached one billion was in 1830, and by 1930 it was double. At the time of Jesus, there were only a quarter of a billion. In 1965 it was 3 billion, and by 2040 it is predicted to hit 10 billion.

Let’s get strange… In terms of a theory that every human body incarnates a soul/single point-of-consciousness, there are questions about the urgency of incarnation at this moment in time. So many unborn beings clamour to inhabit a body, it seems. I ask why.

Does Earth, or the material realm generally – at this point in cosmic history –  demand there be irresistible attraction for millions of souls to incarnate now?

From another perspective, is there a force necessitating the expulsion of soul/ consciousness from beyond into physical lives in the material world?

One more question: has the balance between the material and immaterial planes gone disastrously out of alignment — and is this disequilibrium the immaterial cause for the material crises of the planet?

Too many humans consuming a finite amount of material is not only, as we say, “unsustainable,” it is positively lethal. The Sixth Great Extinction is the result. This just in: 30,000 species of life are extinguished every year.

The new servitude: 36 million enslaved humans

A nasty new statistic published recently asserts there are now 36 million enslaved human beings on earth today, more than ever before in history.

The physical lives being experience by billions of incarnated human souls cannot be wholesome lives under circumstances of war, famine, drought, epidemic, climate crises, crime, slavery, and political terror we witness. As you consume your daily news from the world, you feel it. “Interesting times,” we say.*#

Ancient Nazis face war crimes trials

The worst atrocity of the 20th century in the memory and history known by Westerners is surely the Nazi Holocaust, and that horror is not over so long as war crimes trials go on. Current news reports on such trials in Germany keep this event in the forefront of our consciousness. I might say that Stalinist and Maoist death tolls due to political decisions, in USSR and China, ought to be known fully as well as the toll perpetrated by Hitler. Wars since 1945 have their own toll of inhumanity, but whatever math you favour, the 20th century offers scant evidence of progress in human history.

Seaborne Migrants to Europe, “illegals” to Anglo-America: a better life

Africans, Asians, and Latin Americans prove every day that for them a life in the USA or Europe is desperately coveted. The mass deaths of migrants by sea to Italy lately are the latest chapter in this depressing tale of Third-World folks trying to enjoy First World lives by getting from the former into the latter.

Canadian readers, please feel this fact. Our federal leader decreed a happy day of celebrations in Ottawa, at great public expense, to mark Canada’s victory in Libya when Khaddafi was overthrown and murdered. Does Mr. Harper still feel good about the mission as he observes the failure of that state and the crush of migrants trying to escape? And sees the migrants from Syria, another state our air force is bombing at this time? “War, good god, what is it good for?”

The better life in the rich West is not a mere dream; it is real for us in OECD nations. We have not a hope of justifying our “good fortune” to be born here. It is not luck that we are rich and secure and they are not. It is a consequence of history. We got richer from about the year 1700 as they got steadily poorer by comparison. We absorbed them into our empires and economies on a basis of mass inequality. We kept foreigners from entering our nations as we sucked up resources from their territories. We crushed them with force when they fought.

The inequity accumulates; 1% of the world’s people will own 50% of all wealth by next year. Is there anyone still arguing for the fairness of history?

Canada’s Budget bait for an apathetic electorate

As I write this, the Conservative budget unveiled by the Conservative [Harperite  version] government in Ottawa is the hot topic of the day.

There is nothing for First Nations in it. There is not one sentence about climate change. The military gets more cash – in a post-dated way; in 10 years, they will have recovered the amounts cut by this same government in the last four years. No investment in our decrepit infrastructure or healthcare is in it.

Most of this budget is a promise, not concrete until years ahead. It takes money from a Contingency fund ($2 billion) and from EI to generate its “balance.” Nauseating to me. Quite a pleasing document for The Base.

Every analyst agrees that senior citizens of Canada benefit from new budget lines; the 64 to 74 year old demographic votes in the 75% range at elections, while the 18 to 24 year old cohort only manages a 39% participation rate in voting.

For me, younger-voter disengagement is the number-one issue for democracy here. Politicians do not want to alter it, just use the fact to advantage. Youth have good reason to disengage from politics, in my opinion. Why seem to endorse a system one condemns on moral grounds? Our systems have brought the earth to a dire threshold of collapsing ecology and gross social injustice.

Politics are broken. The moral vacuity of the budget, its naked opportunism and hypocrisy designed by people with power to sustain their power, tells any perceptive mind that politics are amoral. Morality matters to young people.

Not letting politics touch one’s private life and self-chosen community is the choice young people are making. Keeping institutional politics out of life is a workable ideal, as they see it. They’re trying hard to make their reality by intentional plans, untouched by politics, opting out of the overworld’s frame. I wish them luck. Funny, I felt the same in my 20’s. Now I am old, and I vote.

The Tipping Point for climate, or mere pleasant dreams on the Titanic?

Our record hot weather in April should be talked about by all media weather reports but is not; this is subtle climate-change denial. Do not draw attention to the record-breaking temperatures and very low snow-packs: the bosses of corporate media have solid economic motives for not upsetting the public.

The Guardiannewspaper in the UK recently had a long think-piece about fighting climate change and having economic growth. Is this like having cake and eating it?  We can end fossil fuel use and economies can grow in the rapid change to other energy sources, says the writer.

It is not too late for human governments to choose the path of salvation and not alter the basic rule of our economic system, to wit, Growth. Do you believe this? Do you want economic growth to be perpetual? .

This question – “Is your employment more important than saving the planet’s ecologies?” – need no longer bother you. Happy you. We can simultaneously have jobs and reverse environmental degradation. The new economy still Grows but not on a basis of fossil fuel, so the climate is saved. It’s win/win.

The Paris conference on climate late this year is being touted, as all former international conferences have been framed, as the right moment for the right choices by world leaders. Get the policies right, get a global agreement, save our future… the First world will voluntarily slow its growth, the Third will grow faster and catch up.

The Fate of the Planet and Humanity: it’s all about perspective

This environmental/energy issue now is about you. Are you an optimist, a pessimist, a scientist, or a spiritual seeker? – to name prominent attitudes toward the future. You must act within the parameters of your personal perspective.

I am a pessimist (surprise disclosure!) with some fraction of spiritual seeker. I am burdened by profound skepticism about human capacities to improve.

Neuroscience says it can prove happiness is a choice; pictures of “the brain on pessimism” are evidence we must choose to feel good. One simple formula for feeling much better within 30 days: every day, list 3 gratitudes you feel, praise 3 people, and meditate for 2 minutes. You will notice the difference…

Canada has been rated #5 on the list of happiest nations on earth in a poll, behind Switzerland (#1) and Scandinavian nations.

History as Usual, Stoicism for catastrophe

Do you believe history is a source of evidence for humans making the right choices in crucial moments? We have at least a possibility of choosing right.

John N. Gray, whose conclusions I find more convincing than Charles Eisenstein’s, says “history as usual” will unfold in the future. War over resources among the nations of the earth is to be expected.

 Why? because that is what history shows is the patterned response of humans to crisis. Eisenstein says it is not our nature to act like this, it is the Story we tell ourselves that patterns our behaviour.

Gray urges us to do what we can to preserve life in a “civilized” fashion as best we can but not to expect we can do much. He calls this perspective “stoicism.” A dark-age regression is probable for humanity, in his view. After the dark age? Perhaps an improvement develops. But progress is a myth; highs and lows are the reality of human development, not steady advance.#**

What matters? Pope, Queen, IS, and our appetite for biography

The Pope, the Queen, and Islamic State leaders, have made news also in recent days. The pope for his humility and strong criticism of his Church and many of its personnel, the Queen for her record-setting 61-year reign, and IS for violent actions in Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Canada and African states.

News can misidentify what is significant. I think those three actors on the world stage are not as important as the media seem to believe. Their doings are marginal, not crucial, to the issues of humanity at this moment.

But there is a human need to connect individual faces and personalities to concepts and topics; human nature demands news about larger-than-life leaders and not just facts such as I have been tossing out in this column.

We need the intimacy of names. Our prime minister knows this; he loves to name Putin a bad guy. The most popular form of history, as evidenced by book sales, is biography. We consume history hungrily as stories of prominent individuals’ lives. Any plans for the future that do not ground themselves on a substantive understanding of what it means to be human cannot help us now.

What we absorb from History is taken one famous person at a time.

Rich and poor, image and substance

I live in Nelson and I am opposed to growing this city. My remarks above about Growth in the economy are the basis for my dislike of adding people and buildings to my home town.

I have three times used an anti-Growth message as the foundation of my platform when I ran for city councillor, and came dead last in the elections. My message is unwelcome and rejected by large majorities.

Nelson is growing. Rich newcomers are evident in expensive new homes and the inflated value of real estate here. But the poor are the other face of our growth. Homelessness and poverty are major talking points in local politics.

The poor arrive in larger numbers every Spring. Nelson has a reputation across Canada and into the USA and other parts of the English-speaking world as a comforting place to be poor. Baker St. on a warm March or April day is my proof for that statement. I also walk the forested perimeters of Nelson and find nomadic homeless folks building campsites. I know what I am talking about.

A poverty policy, or homelessness policy, are worthy political plans. If Nelson gets a home for the poor as Pastor Reimer intends, for sure more impoverished incomers will migrate here — the need will be steady no matter what new residences and services we add. Canada’s reservoir of poverty is deep and wide.

A city with more-polarized distribution of wealth and a shrinking middle class is not a wholesome community. I see no real solutions offered by Nelson’s “leaders” and policy makers. A tiny city cannot provide solutions for poverty. It cannot take from the rich to redistribute to the poor; only the Province and the Federal government can do that. All other “solutions” are the proverbial rearrangement of deck furniture on the Titanic.

Tie it up with a bow?

I have not made any argument, not supported any thesis, with all the data I have thrown at my readers. But I trust readers’ perspicacity to discern the pattern underlying the nuggets and chunks of information.

I have continued my meandering path from the topics of last column. So I say again, find your own meaning, situate yourself in a story about human life on planet earth, and be as happy as you can learn how to be.


______________________________________________________________________________*# Footnotes:

#*    A random pick from a Facebook post, to explain why our times are perilous:   

Imagine a planet where you are at a point on the precession where things are starting to get out of balance. Suddenly the magnetic field of the Earth, over a very short period of time (usually three to six months) starts fluctuating a lot and undulating. What happens is that people start losing it. They go crazy. That is what breaks down all the structures of the planet. Without their balance, everything falls apart. The magnetic field will go away entirely for at least three and one half days. Usually you will see a buildup of chaos.
The magnetic field is what we use to interpret who and what we think we are, and also to store our memory with. We need an exterior magnetic field to retain memory…. changes take place, everything begins to break down – all the social structures, etc. begin to dissolve and break down.

#** in re: my favourite voices for commentary.

Lately I have been imagining The Most Inspired Debate about the Future. I would keep the number of debaters to 3 or 4: Eisenstein, Gray, Naomi Klein, and William Irwin Thompson are my selections (for English speakers). Perhaps there should be a parallel debate among spiritual teachers, so maybe the Dalai Lama, Barbara Marx Hubbard, a prominent Muslim (?) and Jeremy Rifkin would discuss how humanity evolves rapidly enough to save the planet by transforming into a species beyond the shackles of its historical patterns.

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