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While We Still Have Time

In spite of the grimness of the times in which we live, there is still hope. If you feel, like I do, that the usual discourse about matters of critical concern tends to be superficial, misguided, and false, then you might find some solace and inspiration here. I will try to offer insight and a holistic perspective on events and issues, and hopefully serve as a catalyst for raising the level of dialogue on this planet.

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Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States

I was born in 1945, shortly before atom bombs were dropped on Japan. I served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1971. I earned master's degrees in Economics and Educational Psychology, and certificates in Web Page Design and as a Teacher of English as a Second Language. I followed an Indian guru for eight years, which immersed me in meditative practices and an attitude of reaching a higher level of being. A blog post listing the meditative practices I have pursued can be seen here.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Backtracking from the future

A scene we'd like to see
One can read, hear, see, and even feel myriads of different views on the future of the Bush crime family. They are in their last throes, they are all-powerful and can’t be defeated, they are having a streak of bad luck, Bush needs a "bullhorn moment" like his pose with the New York fireman, he needs a success, etc., etc.

I have tried throughout this blog to put things in a broader perspective, broader at least than the usual narrow divide between "left" and "right," two poles of a spectrum that exists only in the mind. The dialog does seem to be changing a bit, as more people are getting tired of the same old same old. What "leftists" don’t realize is that if the "right" is defeated, it will come roaring back, because you can’t have a "left" without a "right." There would be nothing to be "left" of. So the best that "leftists" can hope for is bragging rights, like winning the Super bowl. Next year everything starts over.

Another way of looking at our prospects for a true civilization is to make some assumptions about what it would look like. Let’s say 100 years from now, just to give homo sapiens enough time to get it right. If we have some idea of what a future civilization would look like, we can work our way back to the present and see what we need to do now.

The first thing that would be obvious is that there would be a lot fewer people on the planet. Regardless of how that is achieved, whether by population control, natural disasters, plagues, wars, the spread of radiation, or any combination of factors, the world of the future is going to have a lot less people living on it. The ecosystem will not sustain the amount of people now living, to say nothing of the pending increases.

The world of the future also will not be dependent on fossil fuels. If there are any left, they will be used only as backups, for emergencies or research. Whether we, as a species, are foolish enough to use up all the oil and natural gas in the ground, or decide to conserve, there will be little or no amounts of these fuels left to squander.

The economic system of the future will not be a corporate-criminal system like we now have. The main reason for this is that this kind of system depends on the drive for infinite wealth, for the opportunity for the few to have riches vastly greater than what is necessary for their subsistence and enjoyment of life. Most of the harm of this present-day corrupt system has already been done, and the cost to the planet and people of doing it any more will be too great and too obvious.

The cultural values will not be driven by short-run thrills and acquisition of money. Because the economic system will necessarily be characterized by sustainability and harmony with the environment, things like crappy television shows, crappy fast-food restaurants, outrage of the moment celebrity hype, and gas-guzzling excesses like car racing and off-road environmental destruction will be a thing of the past.

We are also not likely to have an authoritarian system, though the trend seems to be going in that direction. Democracy will be the only workable system in order to get cooperation, and also to keep the system from being skewed to the pleasures of the few. In the present condition the rules are made by the few and for the few, and because of this predicament, irresponsibility is fostered.

The spirituality of the future will of necessity be universally oriented, rather than the us versus them that is so much in vogue today. The paranoia that characterizes the various fundamentalisms will eventually fall out of favor as people come to realize the harm it causes. When human society is on a path of sustainability and democracy, demagogue-based fundamentalisms will seem embarrassingly comical.

There are many characteristics of a true civilization to be imagined, explored, theorized, and studied. Hopefully, as the mad un-utopia that the Bush crime family has tried to foist on us finally goes to the dustbin of history, we can progress towards such a civilization in an intelligent and compassionate manner.

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