Friday, November 19, 2010

Bullies at the Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Watching politics is like going to a high school football game, minus the hot dogs. Two teams vying for the playing field, locked in opposition, with Sarah Palin as the head cheerleader. Rah, Rah, Siss Boom Bah. Rousing cheers that rally the crowds, yet say nothing intelligible. Such is the conversation at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

News reporting focuses more on the scorecard between Reds and Blues than the real qualifications of the candidates. Reds just won one for the House, now the Blues are behind. Team spirit is nice, but don’t we see that the whole game has to change? Team spirit should reflect the best of human cooperation but it’s devolved into mob mentality. Wasting taxpayer money on the stalemate, while the media sells advertising for it, not only halts progress but makes us all look like fools. Meanwhile the average guy who’s in danger of losing his job is petitioned by emails to help pay for the ads. If politicians spent as much time and money solving the issues as they do trying to outwit their opponent, we might actually get somewhere.

The far right plays the archetypal Bully. They’re like that dumb, fat kid who feels intellectually insecure and makes up for it by being tough and mean. He increases his power with numbers, drawing his friends into the drama, and picking on anyone that lets them get away with it – including the President. The Progressive movement, ever on the defensive, ends up placating through compromise, arguing on the other’s terms, and consistently losing the high moral ground. No wonder their political ground is shrinking as well.

What’s the role of a bully in someone’s life? Most of us remember being on one side of the fence or the other in this ancient dynamic. The bully knows they can get you and taunts you again and again, knocking you down, until you finally stand up and fight back. Then the bully’s job is done. We play this out in our movies and novels, and now we see it in our politics, to say nothing of personal relationships.

The fact that the rallying cry mobilizing the Conservative movement can be based on this degree of nonsense is a testament to the poor articulation of the Progressive message. This will continue until the Audacity of Hope becomes, well, audacious enough to wake us up.

Let’s name the real moral ground here. Is it about who’s sleeping with whom and what gender they might be, or the fact that we’re threatening the future of four billion years of evolution with mindless consumerism? Is it about collecting a few stem cells from an unwanted fetus, or polluting the seed stock of the future? Is it about too much government spending on social programs, or ripping off millions of homeowners with foreclosure fraud? Is it about the extension of unemployment benefits or the fact that 59% of our budget goes to the military?

Gandhi based his movement on Satyagraha, which translates as the force of truth. The bullying will continue until there is clear and coherent articulation of the real dangers that threaten us: global warming, toxic waste, economic collapse, to say nothing of the media’s weapons of mass distraction – and our willingness to fall for it.

Anodea Judith
San Rafael, CA
November 2010

Friday, January 1, 2010

Using the 12 Steps for Global Recovery

The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous have been used by millions of people for addressing a variety of harmful addictions, not only with alcohol and other drugs, but gambling, sex, food, and the enabling behavior of those who deal with addicts, called co-dependents. The phenomena of addiction – using a substance or a process to the degree that it threatens the functionality and stability of your life – is widespread.

As a society we have a collective addiction. We are addicted to consuming the Earth. This addiction is threatening our health, our economy, our political stability, and the future of civilization as we know it. Our addictive consumption is deeply embedded into our economic system, which is wholly dependent on exploiting natural resources to produce goods. Economic prosperity means more shopping malls, car sales, and home building. As we pollute the biosphere with industrial waste, drive up global temperatures, and fight wars over resources, this addiction is life-threatening. It is even part of our identity: we are called “consumers,” continuously urged by advertising to consume as much as possible.

What if we adopted the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous to address our addictive consumption of the Earth? Here’s what it might look like:

1. Admitted that we were powerless over the culture’s addictive consumption and destruction of the planet, and that our environmental crises had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that the divine power of Gaia, the living Earth, could run the biosphere correctly and heal the destruction over time.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and the legislation of our behaviors over to the balance of nature, as we understand it through our sciences and spiritual practices.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of the extent of the damage we have done to the planet.
5. Globally admitted the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to let the needs of Gaia override these destructive policies and behaviors.
7. Humbly returned to simpler ways of life, allowing our connection to Gaia to guide our habits.
8. Made a list of all systems we had harmed, and realized the need to make amends to them all.
9. Created direct policies, legislation, and practices to address such harm wherever possible.
10. Continued to monitor the way we live upon the Earth, and when wrong, promptly exposed it.
11. Sought, through appropriate activity and spiritual practice, our conscious connection with Gaia, seeking knowledge of Nature and the power to live collectively in harmony with Her.
12. Having experienced a global awakening as a result of these steps, celebrated and sought to help other people and nations find their way to a healthy relationship with their environment and fellow beings.

Anodea Judith, Ph.D.

Download PDF version of Using the 12 Steps for Global Recovery

Read Anodea’s latest book Waking the Global Heart.

Waking the Global Heart articulates a guiding vision for the transformational passage of our time. Positing that we are an adolescent culture in search of our future humanity, our maturation into the next era of human civilization will occur through an initiatory process that is at once both personal and collective. The agents of our initiation are the very by-products of our culture––from population expansion and environmental degradation to scientific breakthroughs and the blossoming of the World Wide Web. Such rites of passage force a shift in identity and awaken a fundamental change in values. A new identity must emerge that is based on planetary stewardship and global community, rather than ego-based individualism.

This requires the enchantment of a new myth––a fundamental awakening to an inspirational vision. Lasting transformation cannot be generated by fear, guilt, or control, but must be motivated from the heart. This comprises a shift from our current values based on the love of power to those motivated by the power of love. What awakens the heart is the soul of the world itself and the very real possibility of a wondrous future.

The primary focus of the current era, oriented to power, aggression, and personal ego must change. The old story of warring empires struggling for power must give way to a new myth of interdependent reciprocity. An era of the heart, based on values of integration, compassion, human rights, and environmental sustainability, is essential if we are to survive into the future. This shift takes us from opposition to synthesis, competition to cooperation, separation to integration, markets to networks, and most importantly: from power to love.

Waking the Global Heart chronicles the story of this passage. It takes the reader through an examination of three basic questions: Who are we? Where did we come from? Where are we going? The answers take us on a tour through 30,000 years of the human story, examining the mythic themes that guided past eras. Each era is compared to stages of individual psychological development from birth to adolescence, and correlates these stages of collective evolution to the levels of consciousness related to the chakra system and to masculine and feminine archetypal dynamics.

The book then describes the elements of a new organizing principle based on self-organizing networks, values of compassion and cooperation, synthesis of divorced polarities, and the awakening of both transcendent and immanent forms of spirituality. Through a fundamental shift from seeing our world as an object to embracing it as a complex and divine subject, we can fall back in love with the world once again, and join together in balance and respect with the original partner in our evolutionary journey. By this act we can send the message through the global brain that it is time to awaken the global heart.

Buy the Book