Ecology and Economics and Poetry and Social Issues20 Apr 2009 05:22 pm

In the last blog I focused on the incredible progress mankind has made over the last few centuries. I mentioned how, for many on our planet, the quality of life has improved greatly. I also discussed how old belief systems such as human existence being based on pain and the fight for survival limit our personal sense of joy and contentment….. and how this negative view of life prevents us from believing in and constructing healthy social systems.

I am very aware that for many on the planet life in still rife with pain and suffering, and war, starvation and disease dominate the human landscape. Yet, at the same time it is difficult to deny we currently have the resources and knowledge to eradicate a good portion of this pain and suffering. The obstacles to our reducing humanity’s woes is more political and psychological than anything else. Which, as I mentioned before, I address fully the scope of the problem and its solution in my book Exploring Intimacy which you can read free in its entirety in the words section of this site.

Yet, in my world, and the world of many others on this planet living a life generally free of suffering is immediately available. I live in an enironement which is both convenient and sustainable. An environment in which my ability to be happy is mostly up to me and is not limited by outside forces.

Everyday I walk two to four miles through some of the prettiest scenery nature has to offer. Right outside my front door there are roads cutting through lush ever changing foliage which evolves with the elevation from valley to mountain ridge. My walks go along rural neighborhoods and even include a couple of horse farms. I’m surrounded by deciduous an evergreen trees and changing foliage which includes azaleas, rhododendrons, pampas grass, bamboo, various ivies, etc. Intoxicating sights and smells cradled amongst the sounds of mountain creeks and song birds. Wild turkey’s, snakes, turtles and the occasional bear are also staples of my visual world.

Though beautiful, this is not wilderness by any stretch of the imagination, for I’m less that 3 miles from a huge grocery store and less than five from the downtown market area containing all a modern man needs to live a life of convenience. Likewise, I am minutes away from quality medical services. I live in a community which is both safe and beautiful.

Is where I live a dying breed or could it become the norm? Can we create rural/urban communities which preserve nature while providing safe and technologically current life worlds?

While in recent times we have often taken paths which seem to be moving away from creating a healthy environment and a caring society, we still have many opportunities well within our reach. The dye has not been cast and our fate has not been determined. Yet, there is much politically and psychologically to overcome.

If we continue to place commerce, profit and the individual above health and kindness, we will not only not maximize our potential but waste our opportunities. If we continue to mistrust our neighbors and try to centralize and horde wealth we will continue to foster war and wasteful winner take all competition.

Capitalism and nationalism are not evil, but rather formats that have outgrown their usefulness and now have become counterproductive. The psychology inherent in the fight for survival has made us resourceful, resilient and creative. Yet, once again it is a viewpoint which has outlived its value.

Seeing real threats is an important survival tool, yet imagining dangers leads to paranoia and loss of freedom and joy. Many of the conflicts and problems of our modern world are self initiated and maintained. When one approaches a new situation with balled up fists and prejudice it seldom can result in friendship.

The biggest problem I see us facing is in our world psychology. When it comes to our planet we take the current political and economic structures as givens and view all other possible views as either too idealistic (utopic) or irrational. This is amazing when you consider how long we’ve had civilized life on this planet and what small portion of the time our current economic and political structures have been in play.

Just as we created democracies and capitalism out of systems which were antithetical to many of its basic premises, we can create new social structures once again. Our lack of confidence is our biggest obstacle. We can and will one day create societies which are more in keeping with the times and status of our post modern world.

The only question remains how healthy and adaptive the new structure will be. Without structure social systems and societies would lack, meaning, direction and predictability. Social structures can be confining or liberating, restrictive to growth or fostering new ideas. As I noted earlier, much was gained by our current structure, yet now it has become outdated and limiting.

Developing new social structures should not be about rebellion or utopia, but rather they should be viewed as the natural outgrowth of progress and human evolution. Viewing the potential of new paradigms by comparing them with old paradigms is often self-defeating. Healthy structures are born of common sense and the meeting of people’s current needs, not in meeting the needs and goals of the old paradigms.

Much of what I’ve said in yesterday’s and today’s blog will become more understandable if you go to the words part of this site and read Exploring Intimacy.

Here is a recent lyric which fits into this theme. The song is still in production and will not be on this site for a few more months.
To Your Health                                 12/3/08

I felt fear, but never dread
I’ve been scared, but never fled
I improve, with a critical eye
Sometimes it keeps me, from enjoying life

Keep the wind at your back
Don’t fight the world nor go on the attack

I felt joy, not exaltation
I seek freedom, amidst limitation
I feel pain, not agony
I yearn to grow, amidst harmony

At my core I seek more
At the same time I feel fine

I love to laugh and smile
for it has me feel so alive
feeling calmer each day
seeing more opportunities to play

let it go it’s OK
sit in silence listen and sway
health is a treasure most precious
all that’s sensuous, delicious and luscious

Well I feel lighter than air

Jim Guido

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