Thursday, July 19, 2018

Jiminy Crickets

Hello, I'm your Conscience (CAI, 2014)
That I am sitting safe, here, in my house, is an accident of geography and time.

We know the war is on. It's not just rumblings and skirmishes that we hear from a distance, it's getting closer, more personal, more specific, more restrictive, more brutal, more unapologetic, demanding and controlling.

The people who have been allowed to accumulate unreasonable power are abusing the rest of humanity. That relationship has escalated to the point where we don't know how to escape. Our daily existence is so tied up in the agendas of evil men that we can't pull out without incurring painful consequences of many types, while participation simply tightens the noose around our necks.

We see that fighting back only justifies the next actions until we are completely controlled. That's what the prison industrial complex is for, disproportionately filled with vulnerable populations. Eventually, rather than gating themselves in, the rich will gate us in. People too poor for "nice"housing will live in the modern day poor houses, neighbourhoods of "housing," likely in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. It will feel like it does now, except that we won't be allowed to leave. Anyone poor, anyone disabled, anyone criminal or troublesome in any way will live inside the gates of the prison cities. It could be 2/3 of the population, if the prison industrial complex simply begins to annex entire neighbourhoods. They will be good at building walls by then.

The future in our lifetime looks treacherous, in our children's lifetime, brutal, and in their children's lifetime? Stark. No interaction at all between the reality of the rich and everyone else's reality, no opportunity for anyone who could do anything to feel anything about it. The way it used to be, before the internet. Only, now, with complete control, Big Brother made manifest, assault rifles controlled from afar.

I cannot understand any reason why a human would rather live as king on a ruined planet than as very highly ranked on a peaceful planet. I mean, these are clearly capable men, with an understanding of how to play this game to win. Why must they direct their actions so basely? Where are their Jiminy Crickets?

We ignored the symptoms of a disease for so long that it's taken hold, and treatment needs to be more aggressive, more invasive, more life-altering, because we didn't catch it in time and now, it's everywhere. If we don't want the stark, bleak future, humans will need to figure out how to wrestle power into usefulness, abundance and well-being. We can't coddle the abuse. But what does that mean?

To me, the only real solution is a Dickensian Change of Heart. A moment of revelation. A Whos down in Whoville ten sizes growth in the hearts of the men in charge of it all. A shift from Power Over into Power To.

It's time for the men in charge to negotiate with the rest of humanity for how they are going to use the power they've amassed to shape the course of human civilization. What kind of world would we want, if we were in charge? Will Earth follow the steps of The Federation or The Empire?

I wonder if American billionaires can think about how the definition of their country - United States, a number of states, united - has affected their definitions of winning. United States is not a  single thing, it's many things working together because they see it as being in their best interest. Compare that to a description like "commonwealth." The idea of wealth, being held in commons, with the most wealthy being responsible shareholders in the commons - not owners deciding whether or not to bring their shares, but shareholders deciding for the common good.

I'm not saying that countries that call themselves "commonwealths" behave this way. I'm just saying, if you are in the top 1% of owners in the world, I would appreciate if you could begin to open your mind to the possibility that you don't actually own what you think you own; that in fact, you are a caretaker of what is, in reality, common property of all the conscious lives here on this planet. You have worked to gain responsibility for more of the common property than almost anyone else on Earth, so you have a great deal of power and say when it comes to how things work on this planet. And so, you also have that responsibility, one you asked for by pursuing a greater share of the common holdings here.

I know it's difficult. World views become air tight and yours let you win, so you think you must be right. But you are missing the critical next step, where you use your power for the life of this planet, where you choose kindness and love. Maybe you don't feel that, but your disability or failure in the full experience of humanity doesn't negate your responsibility for having claimed so much of the planet's resources as under your own control. If you didn't want to have to care about the life, you shouldn't have pursued the power. That's been true since men first started making crowns. You don't have to like it, or even agree, to know it's true. Gravity holds you down, regardless of whether you call it fake science.

Things don't need to be mean and mercenary. We can work out how to divvy up Earth without destroying her. We can work out how to ensure the people don't get in your way without violence and militant control. You're afraid and you want to protect yourselves and your families in the coming revolution, but that revolution is avoidable. The humans have figured out so many great directions to try, experiments and technology that would let us, for the first time, seriously pursue the goal of well-being for every Earth citizen. We can prototype and establish great directions in less than one generation, and be building experience with effective policy in fewer than 100 years. It will be your legacy, the way you are remembered if you fail to preserve your consciousness before your body dies.

Can we at least open the negotiations? The war has got to stop.

And for the artists, policy lovers, advocates, social justice seekers, and people who want to live in peace, I think that our best efforts would be directed in choosing one of the people with the most power on Earth, and trying to get to know them, through media at least, so that we can create art, explanation, data, music, poetry, theatre, story, and heartfelt implorances to reach their walled-in souls and help them escape the dangerous, nasty game they are trapped in before it kills us all. They have the power to steer the ship. We have the power to reach their hearts, if anyone can. Become their Jiminy Crickets. (here's a list to start with)

Friday, July 13, 2018

Freaking Out!

Where Dragons Hide (CAI 2018)

I don't meant to be startling.

I'm just constantly surprised that more people aren't freaking out. Like, absolutely freaking out. Or have moved beyond freaking out, into thinking about what's next, so we can talk about that like rational, freaking out, people, together.

I am certainly not that much smarter than anyone else, or at least, there are lots of people way smarter than me, walking around, not freaking out. They have access to the same information I do (or, do they?). They have minds that work and training on how to use those minds to solve various kinds of problems, essentially using the same 5 steps. So why am I freaking out, and they are telling me to stop being so startling?

I have sincerely tried to find out what they know that I don't, but the frustration of those conversations is finding out is that they choose not to believe what I know regardless of data and experiential proofs, and they don't actually know anything I don't know besides their "gut feel". It's incredibly disappointing because I was hoping they could convince me, without slogans or platitudes, using data rather than denial, that I really didn't need to worry, after all.

But it's just the opposite. Because if all these smart people are walking around, not freaking out, then they are NOT putting their great brains to use on solutions to our current reality. They are not working together, committing, communicating, and acting with other people in community to envision and create the world we want for the majority of humans who just want to enjoy this lovely planet in peace and not destroy it. They continue aiding and abetting the system that is working against us, simply by not freaking out.

And it leaves me lonely, feeling isolated, always questioning if I'm right, always seeking more information that might prove me wrong and then finding only the opposite. I feel like I have to carry all the freak-out for everyone, and also, I have to pretend I'm not freaking out so I don't freak you out and make you think that I am "unhinged" or "over the top" or "too much" or "freaking out." Calm down! you might say, thus dismissing every truth and proof I've laid bare without addressing them at all.

If you're not freaking out, maybe you can't afford it. Maybe your ego is protecting you by feeding you a view of reality that doesn't take into account giant swaths of information, in order to ensure you can feel safe and secure. Fair enough. We all seek security.

Or, maybe you're right, and we shouldn't freak out. If I shouldn't be freaking out, please tell me why, and then engage me with love and kindness on my concerns with your reasons, because I'm pretty sure I've thought about them before. If not, I will thank you with the deepest gratitude for bringing me something new to think about that might relieve my freaking out. I would like to go back to believing that people are essentially good, truth and integrity will prevail, government will provide well-being to citizens, and most people are working, every day, towards peace on earth through respect, equality and community. It's not that those things aren't true, it's just that, in the balance, they seem to be on the downward trend, eroded and worn by cynicism and video games, while mercenary mean-spiritedness seems to be on the rise at the highest levels of Power and in the streets we walk every day.

I would love to not be the girl trying to get everyone to start freaking out enough that they actually, actively, in a committed way, turn their brains to helping to solve it. I would love to just smile and enjoy life, trusting that those who seek public office have my best interests at heart, and that the people in my community intend to live in peace together. But somehow I think that we need to get to, and through, the freaking out first. So everyone who IS freaking out along with me, I think we have to freak out the people who aren't. I hate that. I'm personally afraid of the personal costs of doing that.

So I share what I see and I say what I observe and I hope that the people who are smarter than me, more connected than me, more resourceful and with more energy than me, will pick up the torch and raise the Freak-Out flag and get us moving towards the world we want to build. We are each one connection point on the circuit board, we send the energy on. Maybe. And the chance, for me, is enough to justify the action. Because inaction feels impossible when you're freaking out.

*oh, and for people not freaking out, please read these two pieces and then help me feel better about the worst parts, or counter with really important work being done elsewhere. Thanks.