The trouble with saving the world.

Well after a busy (and dry) few months I’ve finally fixed up the garden for winter veggies and taken the time to return to my blog. In this post the two are connected… ;-)

My son likes those little tins of flavoured tuna, okay, I confess I like them too. I only buy them when they’re marked down, partially because they’re way over priced and partially because it’s such a consumerist hay maker. Not that I don’t sympathise with people who work such long hours they have no time to make their own salsa… but like Australian wool spun in China and then shipped back to Aus, like little plastic disposable toys for kids’ takeaway “meals”, shipping thousands of tiny tins of tuna and onion around the place is decidedly unfriendly. Those little tins, like the one inch high dollies you step on in the middle of the night on the way to the loo, are symbols of everything that’s wrong with our current thinking.

We can eat well out of the veggie garden when it’s producing summer salads or winter soups. It’s local, no pollution involved in trucking stuff anywhere, no pesticides or toxins and no by-catch or antibiotics or animal cruelty (apart from throwing stones at the cats). Eating what you grow yourself is “friendly” in many ways.

But tinned fish is not primarily unfriendly to the environment. That’s one of two points I’d like to make here. This anti-greenhouse “thing” is not about saving the planet. The earth has geological ages to recover from the predations of humans. What we’re talking about is saving our own hides from poisoning and starvation. Yes it’s a crying shame that we’re taking so many species with us in our greed and stupidity, but let’s be honest. Evolution will step in again when we’re gone. Life of some sort will continue quite happily without us.

We need some deep and fundamental changes to the way global business and trade are conducted. The real problem with the climate change debate is not the computer modelling or voting for the right politician. It’s that the media are controlling it. While ever vested interests are trying to maintain their own advertising budgets at the same time as whipping up anger and hysteria, while backing their own horse for political races… you get the picture. Topics which are fundamental to the necessary change in thinking are being deliberately obscured in favour of blatant hypocrisy and continued advertising. Buying new light globes will save the world… kind of thing.

Back to the tin cans, car culture is a perfect example of this point. The internal combustion engine is essentially 17th century technology. Take a bit of fuel, take a cylinder… The result is one of the most inefficient and polluting modes of transport ever devised. So what do we do? Give one to everyone. Allow me to explain. Most of what has happened in the last couple of hundred years with private transport is advertising. A culture has grown up around the psychology embedded in images of freedom, independence, power and wealth, not to mention the pussy magnet, that fill pages and pages of newspapers and magazines. We are taught to think in terms of having access to these vehicles and requiring square miles of tarmac upon which to drive them. Traffic jams, air pollution and rusted out old car bodies are part of the landscape.

Yet everyone is pretty well aware of the amount of pollution produced not only in the emissions of cars but in their production and destruction. You can drive a well maintained old car for 25 years and not create the same amount of pollution that is generated rolling one new car off the production line. Internal combustion is so inefficient that in a car only about 1% of the energy produced is actually reaching the wheels and pushing you forward. For some reason we’re still buying thousands of the things every year. Why? Advertising. Status. Insecurity. Who makes money from these things? The media and car manufacturers. This is why “greenfleet” is so much bullshit. It’s disguising the problem, not solving it.

In order to reverse some of the destruction that is occurring around us, the human race needs to make some really smart moves like ditching cars in favour of bicycles or public transport and changing the way we think of movement and plan cities. There are plenty of other options for transport but they’re yet to be developed properly. Motorcycles and the Carver are two, though they’re still internal combustion engines. How about two or three wheeled bikes with electric motors that can be charged from your home solar panels? (How about home solar panels while we’re at it!)

French Empire furniture

French Empire furniture


But it’s all about consumerism. Consumerism and growth. Growth is another problematic concept. The idea of economic growth is essentially 18th century colonialism. Back in the 17th and 18th centuries the world was a big place and rich white boys from all over Europe could take off in ships around the globe, meeting new people, enslaving them, raping and pillaging and making a fortune from the profits. Just like the Romans, Hittites and everyone else but with puritan christendom, tall ships and guns.

These days the world is not a big place. There are somewhere around 6 billion people on the planet and we’re building houses on the arable land that could otherwise support us. We’re using technology and ideas that are hundreds of years old and in the process wrecking the place for ourselves.

The changes that need to occur in the way we think, the way we do business and the way we live our lives are broad and profound. It will be enormously productive for those who have the ingenuity and bravery to take the necessary steps. The problem is that there are too many snouts in the trough. The ethical and psychological shift that needs to happen in the next few years is immense, but those in control of the discussion are turning it into a useless debate on the thin surface of social norms. Rather than addressing the real underlying issues, this is merely perpetuating the thinking of old fashioned growth and consumerism. And it’s for the benefit of board members at the expense of the rest of us.

Using the example of car culture, here’s why. Buying and selling of cars, manufacture of car related by products and passing of car related laws are all deeply embedded in Western culture. We elect governments based on promises of new roads or road laws. We buy papers on the basis of looking for a new car or a fantastic car crash that killed a dozen teenagers. We think in deeply entrenched stereotypes about people who oppose construction of roads. We think in different but equally entrenched ways about people who drive nice cars and update them regularly. These things occur on a day to day basis without us even being consciously aware of them. Our identities, politics and attitudes are wound up in the image that manufacturers and advertisers have constructed about cars.

Further, changing to hybrid, hydrogen or other energy forms doesn’t improve the situation. There’s more pollution generated by construction of hybrid cars than the current oil guzzlers. There’s still way too much asphalt on the earth and far too much consumerism on the periphery. Making another car isn’t going to help. What we need is an alternative to a car… An alternative to the kind of thinking that drives us to want a nicer car, pass a better law, put new seat covers in or vote for someone to build a bypass.

So you see what I mean. To change all that is a seriously *big* effort and yet if we are to avoid self-destruction this is what needs changing. How can the media, who are the vehicle of all this destructive behaviour, possibly conduct or contribute to a discussion about fixing it? That would be biting the hand that feeds them. It would be shooting themselves in the feet. How can the politicians, who are hand in hand with the media voices who elected them, legislate to ban car advertising, fund serious research into useful alternatives or promote the sociological shift that could help?

You know what? If you really want to save the world, stop buying papers and magazines and stop watching private media tellie. Like the culture jammers say… “Don’t buy it”. Drive a well maintained old car. Buy locally made. You know all this, yes? The catch is, what are you thinking? Does consumerism have a grip on how you see yourself and how you present yourself to others? How deeply affected are you by society’s standards and stereotypes?

Well, it’s a little trite but that’s part of the point I’m trying to make. We’re on the wrong track trying to solve this hassle if we’re getting our information from the tv news or unable to criticise advertising influences. Filtering your social context and adding some helpful voices in your inner dialogue is a good move. So is interaction with smart people. University faculties are full of them. The Internet likewise is a medium for discussion and ideas.

The point I’m making is that we need open minds about where we’re going. It’s like any dysfunction. It might take years to resolve, but the moment you say to yourself, “you know what? I do want to change this.” Then things can begin to happen.

Most of us no longer think of ourselves as the pinnacle of evolution or the ‘purpose’ of god’s creation. Many of us realise that humans are an animal species. We’re simply one more part of life on earth. We’re beginning to get the idea that we need to participate respectfully and intelligently in the life of the planet. The cosmos is not a pyramid hierarchy with rich white aristocrats at the top, which was the kind of thinking that gave us colonialism by the way. Life is a web. An interactive matrix. We understand that we’re connected and that this is the only planet we have. *That* is the solution. Make it a mantra. Make it an affirmation. Write it in lipstick on the bathroom mirror if you like. I’m an animal and I live on the earth with all the other animals. It’s about living, breathing and enjoying your life. It’s about your life in connection with the lives of others, human or otherwise, not what colour your steering wheel cover is.

Map of the British Empire

Map of the British Empire

Friday rain on the garden

We haven’t had any rain out here for weeks. Maybe months. The whole place was looking so very, very dry. Then last night great gusting winds blew up and brought us a bit of a downpour. It had been so warm, Summer weather already, so there felt like that electric sensation of wild power in the wind.

The veggie patch looks like a disaster area at the moment. After last year went *so* well I had dreams of planting up the same salad veggies and putting in capsicum and eggplants and other mediterranean things… The available ground was enlarged by about 12 square metres, which was pretty back breaking, and now it’s all buried under self-sown parsley and coriander. It’s been so dry and carting water is *heavy* work! We had salad with dinner the last couple of nights and it seemed very odd to have to go to a shop and buy lettuce. Unnatural! The kids were reminiscing about last Summer’s big bowls of salad… Well, when you have teenagers impressed by green stuff, you’re doing something right.

Out the front of the house the flower garden is surviving. Things are slowly growing and flowering… most of the herbs are doing pretty well. The sage flowered, which was stunning.

I probably shouldn’t digress on the tangent of housing development in the area, it will only make me angry. But this is what we get when we build, build, build with no thought whatsoever for the natural situation of the land we’re building on. It’s a dry place. We need water. Why are we packing in more and more people in a place where there’s so much problem with resources? This is terminal stupidity. At the very least all the new homes ought to have grey water systems and tanks… but while our utilities are privately owned the profit agenda gets in the way of sensible management. Like John Brumby wanting Melbourne Water to build a pipeline to take water from the Murray-Darling, a river that is virtually dead in the (lack of) water. At the same time he’s still allowing logging in old growth forest and catchment areas, a practise which is well known to reduce water catchment. And since 90% of the Earth’s oxygen is produced by the oceans, the next step of course is to begin messing up that whole eco-system for desalination. *sigh* The guy must be nuts, or so hamstrung by corporate interests that his two faces can’t bear to look at one another.

Anyways, enough of the politics. People will simply have to learn the hard way. What’s sad is that the land is harmed so badly in the process. Moreso since we’ve been aware of land management issues like these for more than forty years. Changing light bulbs is one thing, but when are we going to make some seriously constructive changes? And what’s with that baby bonus?! There’s six billion people on the planet, idiots!

Ahem. Yes. Where was I?

Back to my original tangent, what’s been happening around here lately. Well, yeah, the garden finally got some rain and I’m reconsidering now whether to make the effort and put in some more seedlings. Tell you what, it’s given me an awful lot more sympathy for subsistence farmers. Imagine having to grow everything you eat? Whew.

Other than a bit of garden maintenance, most of my time has been spent in discussion with my Shaman friend and exploring more runes and Heathen texts. Recently I’ve had a soul-retrieval and Reiki attunement… so I’m feeling a little beaten up in an odd way. Probably settling in to more balanced energy flow. This week in the tai chi class I was all over the place and couldn’t remember anything, which has never happened before. Still, it’s all building on the experience of connection I felt in plugging myself into this “new” ancient worldview.

Last Monday I went to see my psychologist, and was somewhat circumspect about describing all these new experiences, but she was very positive about it. The biggest hurdle I’ve faced in the last couple of years is the whole issue of meaning. Humans can’t live without meaning. And it needs to be personal. After a long battle with depression and everything else, things have clicked on that basic level and now everything else can shape itself constructively around that centre. Heh, and I am rather clinging to this in hope! ;-)

What were her words? A person needs to centre their lives on themselves and their own perception of meaning, not merely be subject to outside controls and influences… We’re talking about resolving the great psycho-spiritual crisis here. The “spiritual emergency” it’s also been termed. Heh, one other person who’s worked his way through it said “I don’t recommend it!” LOL Certainly it’s a tough thing to go through. A lot of people don’t survive.

It’s no wonder then that there’s a few symptoms of stress still floating around. At night I still can’t sleep, though any time I sit down in the day to meditate I drop off like a stone. And there’s a funny looking rash all over my hands. The usual apres stress stuff, like getting a cold after your exams…

On a more positve note, the runes work is simply stunning. I hadn’t been going to pick them up, since I already have magic, divination, symbolism etc. Then Odin said to me “You’d be good at it.” Anyways, simply reading about the things started something off. They do have a reputation for having a life of their own. I’m happy to agree with that now. Hmm. Let me try to decide how much detail to write here LOL. Let’s say I’ve had a few experiences with trance and rune magic and it’s pretty bloody impressive! The things take root in you somehow and it becomes something organic. Not to mention that they kind of intuit themselves when you’re meditating or um, what’s the word? I keep thinking casting like spell casting, but with runes people say casting when they mean divination. I think it’s runegaldr. Using the energy and symbolism of the runes to effect magic. With drumming :D I’ve never felt power like it. Wow!

Heh. Well, it has been a pretty busy week. I’m looking foward to the weekend to put my feet up a little and drift in the currents. We’ll see how long that lasts. : )

Edit: While reading a Reiki manual I came across the following that is something of a clarification. Often people talk about killing off the ego in an effort for self-development. A point was made some years back during Tarot studies, of all things, that annihalating the ego might be counter-productive, since, according to Jung, it is the seed of the self. If you kill off your self, who are you? Such destruction works well in a system like mainstream christendom, where people are supposed to submit to an overwhelming other… in general it fails to happen and people end up with all sorts of hang ups and emotional damage, but back to the subject. The author of the Reiki manual made the point that when Buddhists speak of “ego” they mean the “conditioning” you’ve been exposed to that is often not helpful and gets in the way of you living your own, more evolved life.

Now *this* seems like a much more intelligent way to look at spiritual growth. We examine our emotional attachments, our memories and the various ways in which we’ve been conditioned by parents, society, perhaps trauma… We learn where these things create or maintain “buttons” in us that are easily pushed, and we recalibrate in order to move forward. Sounds so simple!

Anyways, I was going to have the weekend off. Have a good one.

And so it goes.

Well, the subject of adoption and birth came up again for me recently. On several occasions I’ve tried to contact either of my birth parents, each time without luck. This time I’m requesting some info from the hospital where I was born. Hopefully along with my time of birth, which I need for a horoscope, they’ll be able to tell me more about my birth mother’s aboriginality. My maternal Grandmother was living at an aboriginal community at that time, and I have some mention of that on my mother’s birth certificate, but it would be nice to have more info.

That’s one of the big problems dealing with adoption, you feel like you’re kinda floating in nowhere. There’s no roots or sense of connection to the people around you.

Having my own children helped that a little, moreso since they’re both now living with me. However I had been sucked in to a Pentecostal cult when I was in my late teens and my marriage and childbirth experience were horribly damaged by the cult teachings that went on. I have a lot of sympathy for any married woman who hates the idea of sex with her husband because of my own hideous experiences. And they actively taught emotional abuse of women and children under the guise of so called “godly marriages”. Dogs.

I guess it’s all kind of come to a head after the anniversary of my first daughter’s birth recently. The doctor put me back on mood stabilisers as he reckoned my lows were becoming dangerously low and he feared for my safety. I didn’t disagree and have been taking the bloody things. At least they help me sleep with much less nightmares or intrusive memories. It’s nice to be able to get to sleep at night.

For a while now I’ve been feeling a lot of the cultural diminishment of women. Because I’m over the hill now as part of an older, middle aged demographic, I’ve been used up in terms of sex or child bearing despite the fact that I have probably ten years to go in that regard. When you’re not a sex toy teenager or a chained to the kitchen sink mother, you’re either a hooker or may as well be dead to society. I notice a lot of women my age now trying out different roles for themselves. There are many who opt for the desperate housewife look, glamming themselves up and having a go. There’s also lots who buy corpulent four wheel drives that look like the results of liposuction and pretend to be men in order to have some sense of purpose and humanity. Because everyone knows that in Australia’s cock culture you have to be a butch man in order to have any real worth to society. It’s not even about work in that issue as women who work are paid less and promoted less. It’s all about the dick. And men who are emotionally sensitive or artistic or thoughtful are often sidelined by those militaristic standards as well. No one wins except the board members of disgusting corporations and the ever present media and advertisers. Bastards.

So here am I with two children to raise feeling like society could well do without me now. I’m over the hill and was never a man in any case, so why do I bother hanging on? There’s a few of us who feel this way and encourage each other with the saying “Stay here just to spite the bastards.” With pills in hand and distractions aplenty, I will. But what a way to live.

Despite what Mars proponents and concocted and contradictory evolutionary psychology might say, humans are really only animals, not the be all and end all of evolution. Certainly not the ultimate peak of life on planet earth. Manifest destiny as a theory went out on the Nineteenth century and only has a toe hold now amongst Pentecostals and Brethren who still live in the dark ages. Humans created this society as it is and we are at liberty to re create it anyway we like. We don’t even have to believe that the earth needs to be destroyed before Christ will return and sweep us all away like angels into everlasting heaven… And who’d want to spend eternity with a god who expects you to treat other people horribly and entrench world starvation and poverty in order to show yourself approved? Approved of what, being an arsehole?

Me I’ll hang on here quietly in my little spot by the creek and wait to see if the next generation is going to wake up to the bullshit and make some necessary and constructive changes.

Blessed be.

Happy May Day!

Well, it’s that time of year again. While students in Korea and employees in Russia might be celebrating with a vodka or a riot, things will probably be quieter in the land down under. We may still be waiting for a revolution. You know, realising that people are human beings and not units of labour. Remembering that we’re part of the life of the planet and not merely consumers. Connecting with some sort of idea that humans created what we think of as the economy or culture and that if we made this one, we can just as easily make it into something else. Something more practical, more inclusive and less damaging.

In Australia women are particularly still waiting for a revolution. In recent days we’ve been vilified, stabbed, shot and raped… Not to mention the legislation of financial abuse that hasn’t been altered or even addressed by the current Government.

In spite of all this, Happy May Day. Because we can change it if we want to. It’s a waning moon at the moment, a good time for banishing and letting go. A good time for rituals that release all the stuff in the past that’s unhelpful and poisonous. Time to clear the decks in order to move forward.

Not that it would be beneficial to repress the past and forget it’s lessons. Simply that forever focussing on the evils in the world, all the horrible things that men do to each other and to women, can be so dreadfully depressing and seemingly hopeless. We continue on, often in spite of the carnage going on around us. We persevere hoping that in the midst of the abuse, we can create something for ourselves and experience life, love and laughter with friends.

And in spite of all the bullshit in the media and corporate construct, we can still spend some time in the bush reconnecting with the sacred natural.

Blessed be.

Planet in danger.

On SBS last night was a docco about the effects of oestrogen mimicking compounds in industrial chemicals. Apparently men are becoming less fertile and even *gasp* Feminised! Oh the horror! Oh the woe! Oh the fucking poetic justice for those who have poisoned the world with their over consumption and denigration of women. (Oh the suffering for undeserving individuals as yet unborn) Now they’re all turning into women. What a horrific misfortune for a man to suffer. The mere thought must be hell on earth. Who could have imagined a worse torture!!

Of course there’s plenty of other side effects. In our Grandmothers’ day the rate of breast cancer was 1 in 20, now it’s 1 in 8. There’s all sorts of allergies, auto-immune diseases and any number of hideous childhood cancers. Chemical cocktails that trigger such horrific diseases can be found in cosmetics and skin care products as well as paints and domestic cleaning agents. Markers and props of femininity are serving as carriers for substances that will slowly poison women forced to accept the sex-caste stereotype. Insulting and destructive. That’s the Patriarchy for you.

The foundations for research into these less rare by the day conditions are sometimes sponsored by multinational corporate conglomerates and even petrochemical companies. Apparently without intended irony. However the focus of the docco was of course on the lack of fertility in males. The program was entitled ‘men in danger’. Enough to give any hysterical men’s rights activist (or Fundamentalist) a hard on that will last a week.

No one seriously expects that humans can continue to poison the planet with the wastes of consumerism and get away with it, do they? Isn’t that too stereotypically 18th century industrialism with its hand on its inch worm manhood, moaning “growth, growth” as the planet turns into one giant toxic waste dump… But what about the men! Oh god, what about the men! First they can’t kill their own children, now the by-products of the Patriarchy come home to roost. Species are becoming extinct on a daily basis due to destruction of the environment and no-one but lefties and Greens give a hoot, but if male humans are no longer dyed in the wool virile bloody rapists, what will become of us?

Surprise, surprise.

Humans aren’t the be all and end all of evolution. Male humans are definitely not the end product and purpose of the existence of the kosmos. As smart and important as the doctrine of manifest destiny told us men are supposed to be, they are in reality so stupid they’re poisoning us all out of existence. Unfortunately killing off many other species as well. Spare the suggestion that women cause any of this by compulsively buying and wearing makeup, lotions, slinky little polyester dresses or plastic sandals because of some built in desire to conform to a male defined image of acceptability. If it takes that many props to be feminine, it isn’t natural. If it takes constant subliminal and actual threats of rape, abuse, financial and emotional torment to imprison women in the submissive roles constructed within phallocracy, then it is not a natural state of affairs.

Lunatic christians who believe that the world is destined for destruction on account of some frustrated old monk in a cave a thousand or so years ago said all humans were bad, especially if they were women, because he couldn’t get laid, quite happily ride this one way trip to hell since their religion says it’s the whole purpose of the earth. If they have to live in severe emotional pain and suffering then damnit everything else on the planet does too. Especially the women. The possibility of getting psychological help and sorting out this mess doesn’t enter into the equation. That would be ungodly.

The lingering suspicion is that life will find a way. In thousands of years’ time, the descendants of some of the very few monkeys or apes that are left alive when humans finally do manage to destroy themselves utterly will dig up the bones and wonder, as we wonder about the dinosaurs, what the fuck happened?

The end of Summer in the garden.

Summer’s tomatoes.
What a gorgeous night. The rain came down heavily, lit by flashes of lightning. The smell in the air was exquisite.

Down in this area of Australia we’ve been in drought for quite some time, so most of the veggies are growing on grey water from the washing and shower. It doesn’t seem to do them any harm. There’s only two days a week we’re legally allowed to water the garden. Seems a bit draconic, considering that new houses are being built as quickly as possible without any requirement for grey water or rain water tanks.

But you don’t want to go questioning the validity of the water restrictions. That would be too pointed.

Suffice it to say that this little patch is providing quite well. And the reduction in meat and dairy, as well as bought green grocerys means our household water usage is reduced much more than if we’d refrained from watering our own veggies.

Being a mediterranean kind of climate, the stuff that grows here well is pretty much mediterranean. This means that now Summer’s over there’s plenty of home grown dried tomatoes to bake in with fetta cheese and spinach and stuff.

There is, however, a complaint. My expanding waistline! Never mind. I’m on my own anyway. May as well enjoy it!

Pesticide links in cancer cases.

Remember that ABC site where all those women were getting breast cancer? It’s being investigated as people were suspicious that it might have been linked to radio waves or other electromagnetic radiation.

Turns out it looks like being linked to contamination by Dieldrin. Naturally this is being disputed, because we can’t go worrying about every little chemical we pump into the environment, can we?

Though its links to cancer in humans are disputed by some, there’s plenty of evidence that it’s highly toxic to many species.

Which is probably why it used to be used in so many insect repellents… not to mention dust for the veggie patch.