Saturday, December 31, 2016

reading the dead

Out of the Jaws of Death
(from the "No Dead Trees" series)

reading the dead

but, why read the living?
they barely feel our heat
so caught up in day to day
so far away, encased in other meat;
oh, but the dead!
close, poised and waiting, longing,
needing to be read
our eyes and hearts and minds their only lifeline, borrowed truth
their words mere marks their works reduced
to just what catches our attention, snags us from distraction;
the dead become obsessed anticipation
starved clanging for participation with what they've left behind.
and so I read the dead,
for who else will commune with me so perfectly; say, see,
see what I meant?

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Lazy Lions (a ramble out loud to clear my thinking)

This is not my first Lazy Lion post and it won't be my last.

I get that big wins require big effort. So do big loses. I realize that working more, getting more done, will potentially provide a great deal more success, and that not doing more can seem like failure in the crazy ant-world we've built. Everyone wants to get more sugar. I just don't want to be an ant.

I played that game for a long time, as long as my mind was able to keep my spirit small enough to manage, and my body was willing to be my beaten-down slave. Unfortunately, or fortunately, my spirit and body have found their voices, and they want equal time. My mind agrees with them in principle but worries because I know what it takes to succeed. I have carefully watched and, where possible, supported the growth and careers of leaders from early career to presidents. I have read the books, learned the academics, discerned the patterns, and what I know is this: I don't want to do all that.

It's hard, knowing what it would take to succeed in the common definitions, knowing myself well trained and smart enough to achieve it, yet for the balance of my life, choosing else. It goes against how I raised myself to think of myself. It's been a total rewrite to get this far.

(captive: caives2013)
So, I'd like to make the Lazy Lion argument again from here. Because the time is coming when we need to shift our determined grip on work ethic to a determined reaching for social ethic. There will not be enough jobs for most people, and most people will not be qualified for most of the jobs there are. We see it, we know it, we can deny it but it's coming like a tidal wave. So let's understand why that's actually a good thing.

The lion doesn't hunt all the time. The lion sleeps most of the time, enjoying the sun, being one with the Universe. If the lion hunted all the time, it would HAVE to hunt all the time, to consume enough calories to allow it to hunt all the time. And likely, it would starve. Because the lion is very, very big. It requires many, many resources to be active. There are only so many resources around. If the lion hunted all the time, there would be far fewer resources, then far fewer lions.

You know what else is big? Humans. And we're not just active - we take up more resources than our 16 hours of daily movement in calories. This planet is finite, its resources finite - for the most part, nothing goes in and nothing goes out. The number of humans is growing exponentially- that is, until we tip destabilizing forces and many of us die off and we take awhile to reinfest repopulate.

We are killing the planet so that we can use up its resources faster and faster to allow more and more activity, keep more and more people alive in increasingly unstable circumstances, and all for a work ethic that says people are only useful if they are used, under an assumption that only a few can win; while, all the time, technology and science have been developing towards a different goal - a goal we all want - to let us be lazy lions.

Every human longs for a life where the drudge work is done (robots) and they can spend their time on the things they love, like being entertained, cuddling with family, walking in the woods, communing with nature, seeing places, playing sports and games, thinking, imagining, trying things, gaining skills and pursuing deep interests. When I believed that wasn't a possible future I didn't see it as a worthy goal. Mostly because of the nagging voice that says: but what did they do to DESERVE all that? Like having your own time to enjoy life isn't the very thing we are all striving for in our own ways.

We could all have it, together. In pockets, at first, but it's possible. More than that, it's a different alternative to the one I see coming on, of widespread fear, insecurity, panic, desperation, violence, cracking-down, murderous intent and culling. That's the future if we decide that only a few, maybe 10% of humans, get the good life, and the rest don't deserve it. It seems unnecessary. Soon we won't need or want so many humans involved in the transformation of resources into forms of value. Already, actually. Soon we will need more humans involved in the work of care, because producing workers in the new economy requires a ratio of more adults to children in education, and because we want to foster home and institutional environments that support peaceful co-existence.

People who aren't needed to work can spend more time caring for each other, and that will be good for society. But not if they spend the whole time afraid, stressed out, worried about money, feeling insecure, losing confidence, getting desperate and ruining relationships. Let the people transfer graciously from work to living their lives, and they will find productive, innovative things to do, all on their own. And at least they won't be rioting, looting or clogging up the "justice" system. Let us be lazy lions, oh powers that be, oh 85 men who own most of the world's resources through complicated and arbitrary agreements made by old men a long time ago.

There's no reason for all this angst. Let the humans be lazy lions and let's get back to what matters in our lives. It will be good for the planet, good for the families, good for the souls. It may sound far fetched, but that's partly that we've been programmed another way, and partly short-term vision. Every great leader I've observed knows that having an inspiring vision gives you a light for steering the ship. We could pick this vision, and we could decide to govern towards it, over 50 years, over 200, over a thousand. We could evaluate policy decisions against it. And being the resourceful creatures we are, we would get there, eventually. I thought that was what we were doing, what the religions were saying, what I kept hearing on tv and in school as a kid. When did we change course to winner takes all?

Everything is the way it is because most people believe that's the only way it can be. What can turn their heads?

(probably something fun and delightful)