Introduction to the Fouth Edition:
Because we are in a time of transition and the issues facing humankind and all of this planet’s bio-diverse kin are urgent, we didn’t just extend the work of “Words and Violence” to the big picture; we extended it to the biggest—as we addressed bullying the planet. There are innumerable ways we bully Planet Earth and only one way to save and steward her—to not just a state of survival but to “thrival.” That way is active compassion.
The ways we bully the Earth are countless:
•Irresponsible environmental stewardship •Exploitation of the Indigenous • Mismanagement of land, oceans, water, air •The greed of earth's resources that belong to all, not to those who wish to conscript them as commodities and commerce •The skewed and exploited economy
• Climate change •Artificial agriculture and food production •Political indifference or the abuse of influence •The treatment of animals •Land grabs and mismanagement •The collective psychic disconnection and denial •The moral vacuum in business and commerce •Racism •Double standards •The rising phenomenon of a spiritual vacuum •The abuse of authority and power •The trampling of human and civil rights •Slavery •Conflict •Gentrification •Terrorism • Genocide •War...
It’s the frantic, irresponsible and runaway “colonization” of our planet and it resources that have led us to this detour from enlightenment in human evolution and to the path of possible extinction. Urgent and drastic change must be implemented if we are to save our planet and turn our course away from destruction. There is one thing we can do that will turn this capricious runaway destruction around: employ and deploy compassion.
The way we reverse the damage and institute the responsible stewardship of Earth, her life and her myriad species including humans, is through compassion. From now on, we must act from and with compassion.
Who Will Save Us Now?
Earth to Crew: “You are cordially Invited…”
By Barbara Kaufmann
I used to love Star Trek. It was pure magic. Then came Star Trek the Next Generation Series and its sequels, there was Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Avatar. The science fiction born of the human mind took us into deep space, propelled us at warp speed, examined the “dark side,” found us heroes, brought us champions of humanity, showed us the power of true community and gave us magic—all bubbling up from the well of human imagination.
Imagination is the birthplace of reality. To create something, you must first imagine it. Everything that exists was once an idea in somebody’s mind. Before a wheel was a wheel, it was one neuron triggering a million more neurons firing in some outlander part of the human brain. Tiny ideas hatched and incubated have made medicines that save lives, machines that fly to the moon, explored the human genome, harnessed ions to heal burns, flung voices and pictures through the air and brought the entire world to a tiny device on our lap or in our hand. Humanity follows micro ideas drafted for macro evolution.
The micro dimension always has its macro counterpart. One grain of sand multiplied makes a beach just as one drop of water becomes an ocean. Echoed in many sacred texts in metaphor and allegory, this idea translates: “as above; so below.” It’s the mirror effect—what is seen here has a reflection there. The mirror principle works also in the making of worlds. There is a correlation between who we are being, what we are doing and—how the world is.
“Down here” standing in my singular footprints upon the earth, I have an impact on our ecosystem we dub “the world.” We together, are inventing the world every day. The world’s reality is the vectoring of all human endeavor from the time our species first appeared on the planet. Every action I take impacts my world – both micro and macro just as it did my ancestors and their ancestors. And yours.
In our demanding and challenging lives, we can sometimes forget our connection to the macro, or we ignore the macro entirely and even deny our part in its construction. We impact our ecosystem—the totality of our surroundings—with every thought we think, every decision we make, every action we take. With every alive breath, we are leaving a footprint, a legacy, an imprint on our world. That legacy doesn’t just live here and now and contribute to the present state of affairs, it lingers long after we’re gone.
So is our state of affairs hopeless? Not as long as there are humans willing to access their creativity and inner brilliance. We have created this world and we can create another. What kind of world do you want to create? Our footprints and legacies and imprints create that world—the one we inhabit and live with. It’s not just the land mass, it’s the collective of humanity’s mind that creates the invisible but prevailing “weather” that our minds, vectored, have spilled into our atmosphere—where we all must live and breathe daily. It’s custom. It’s what we do and what we will tolerate—or not. It’s the choices we make—or not. It’s the “stuff” that humanity “agrees with” because it is the result of what humanity tolerates and produces—or not.
Humanity must stop agreeing with violence. In the past, it certainly has accepted war. Humanity has tolerated greed and exploitation and something relatively new on the scene—terrorism. Those are not necessary ingredients for the building of nations, cultures and a world. If we agree on something, we can create it. If we eschew something collectively, we can create it out of existence. Some ancient cultures unearthed by archeologists show no evidence of violence or war; instead there is abundant evidence of community and cooperation.
Unfortunately we have a history of learning more from fear than from love. We have lived with half a heart. If we engage the other half, there will be no place for fear and no for creating artificial differences, dividing lines, separation, and making some humans “other” or enemies, and for banishing undesirables, gentrification, genocide, racism, war…
Perhaps giving an immature species a planet to play with before they were ready to be responsible for it and each other, was not very wise. As a logical outgrowth of all our previous immature and unwise customs, we’ve even invented a way to destroy ourselves.
Have we grown up? Are we aware of the sobering consequences of our neglect, and indifference and do we understand that we create our reality by the vectoring of each of our contributions? Do we understand that "we the people" determine what we will "agree with:” tolerate, produce, invent, disseminate, foster, foment, ignore, deny, and tightly hang on to? That vectoring so far has gotten us to a dangerous place. Rather than abdicate our responsibility and stewardship, we must each step up to share our voice and action to create the reality we want. We are the ones who must lgive voice and action to the will of the collective. We are, after all, the world.
Science tells us we have a deadline: we have about 2 years to save ourselves. The paid climate deniers, profiteers and exploiters, those who hide their real agenda of profit over people even at the expense of the planet, will remain in their self-centered infancy and arrogance. They are gripped by a disease of greed and entitlement. They will continue to claim that entitlement because they’re conditioned to believe that their fortunes will buy them whatever they want. They can’t connect the dots that would clearly illustrate that if humanity is extinct, there will be no one to sell to or profit from.
This madness and infectious disease is not sane, and it will continue to live in those infected until the very last tree is cut down, the last drop of water gone. The native peoples and elders have called this afflicition "Wetiko" or "Windigo." We can't cure it; the disease is in the mind of the greedy, is not rational and has taken up residence there. The only chance for Mother Earth is for the collective to work around those infected and call for reform.
If we looked at the ingredients we have stirred into this “recipe” of life on the planet we’d see that the stew we are in, is toxic. We’re stewing in something that doesn’t support life and diminishes the quality of existence. Some of our human family are sick; some are starving; some are arguing with others over turf that they staked out and claim to own. Who owns the earth? Who can own the earth? Who gives the authority for that? Divvying up parcels of land and establishing borders is manmade and artificial. When you look at this island from space, do you see dividing lines?
It’s our worldview that established a culture of "colonization." That was before NASA left the Earth and brought back photographs that glimpsed the truth: this is a finite, fragile world we share. The worldview of the past is no longer relevant and the old ways don't work anymore because it simply doesn't reflect the truth anymore. It still lingers, however, as the reality soup we are all immersed in at the moment, and we are close to drowning in our own concoction. We can stir in new ingredients and sweeten the pot so we can all live here in harmony. We create the world by what we are willing to support. Time to employ compassion in all our affairs? Compassion for self, for others and for the planet? Is it the antidote? Shall we experiment?
We must employ something other than what we have been doing if we want alternate results. As we live out our short lives on this tiny ball of dirt out on the arm of a single galaxy in a sea of galaxies floating in the vast and frightening-black-endless-nothingness-of-space, it might be wise to understand that if we humans mess up this unique little island, there is nowhere else to go. There is no twin planet to move to. There is no backup system, no emergency life support. Our endless “colonizing” of Earth, has led us to the edge. Beyond that fragile, precious thin edge of earth… awaits the cold sure grip of… death.
Earth, it turns out after all, is not really a big place. It is impossible to do something here on this side of the world that doesn’t impact somebody there, on the other side. This planet, our Earth, if compared to an apple with its core, body and skin—has a viable atmosphere that is only the thickness of that apple’s skin. Peel away that skin and life ends.
To make the soup we're in nourishing, we must move from an ego-centric species to an eco-centric one and begin cultivating those other innate but latently engaged characteristics that are also hard-wired into humanity—compassion, kindness, empathy, gratitude, reverence, a sense of common good and community. Those ingredients make for a healthier soup of existence.
We alone decide the ingredients. We can pretend we don’t see the effects of a toxic ecosystem of insanity, separation, conflict and violence. What if we stirred in unity, solidarity, love, compassion and sacred activism for our sake and the sake of our companions. We can act from the understanding that we are all partners on this unique island— a very unusual ball of dirt hanging out in space in a galaxy far, far away… from everywhere.
Our planet truly is on a Star Trek and we are the passengers. There is no next stop where we can get off. So, if we want to save us and create a healthy, sustainable and life-supporting and human-nurturing ecosystem, we must “go to warp speed, Number One" insert your name here,] and "make it so.”
Earth Crew- will you engage?
Will you? Will you engage with us? This fourth edition of Words and Violence is an Open Edition that takes on not just the bigger issues of bullying—but the biggest picture: Bullying the Planet.
We need your involvement. Bullying is epidemic not just in our society, but on our planet. It comes from greed based on fear and scarcity. Not the most attractive attribute of human nature, the greed born of that fear has caused damage that we are being warned, is close to beyond repair. But before we collapse in resignation, we must understand that yes, we live in urgent times with emergent issues, and we “get” on some level that the old ways don’t work any longer while the new ways are not yet established.
So who shall we look to for solutions? Our leaders? The politicians? Corporations? Businesses? Governments? Who saved us when we were children? Mom and Dad? Aunt Sally? Grandpa? They can’t save us now. We are grownups and we've made a mess. A big mess. Who will arrive to save us now? Superman? Are we waiting for The X Men?
Stop waiting; we are them.
Didn’t Mom always say clean up after yourself? There is no time left to stall. We can't move to a new home. There is no new home. We are here. We are not children anymore. The superheroes are us. Time to grow up, clean our mess, share our toys and make friends.
That other half of the heart—the one that holds generosity and courage knows the value of unity, solidarity, community, shared responsibility, cooperation, collaboration and stewardship. The heart feels the truth of engaging compassion for self, others and the Earth. Compassionate action cures the illness.
“We are the ones we have been waiting for.”
This Fourth Edition of Words and Violence is an open edition which means that we will build it together. We build it to educate ourselves, others and to create change.
In a new world, a new time, a pivotal evolutionary moment of transition is upon us that can prove transformative. Since we share this work, we invite you to send us materials: case studies, articles you find, essays you write, photos, videos, films, music, poetry, rap, hip hop, photo and film essays and resources that we all may share to turn things around. We invite your ideas and submissions. We especially invite our youth to use the arts and pop culture to create message.
What if you acknowleded this earthship as yours and you acknowledged you're place as one of the crew? What if you made it your personal responsibility to build this new stewardship with its new reality? What if you came along and recruited your companions? We could build this new reality together. Want to take us to warp drive, faithful Earth crew?
Steady... and “Engage!”
© 2014 B. Kaufmann, Founder, Editor: Words and Violence
Barbara Kaufmann discovered a long time ago, the power of words and "story” to change the world. "Story" can be told through words, images, art, music, film... by harnessing the human heart and creative brilliance. Founder of “Words and Violence” and writer for Voices Education Project and The Charter for Compassion, Huffington Post blogger, poet, artist , scriptwriter and filmmaker, she tells story “to simply change the world.” Her ministry and life’s work is to “establish a more humane narrative on the planet.”