Thursday, May 31, 2012

What should I do now?

Standing Wolf whoseesus

Yet we can learn from Wolf
There is still time
To get life from awareness
Joy from singing
Have done with roads
Walk only on trails
Be only in communion
Seldom talking

Admired proud Teacher
Totem of nomadic humans
Wolf had lived
A blameless family life
For 19 million years before us
Playing with the children
Surviving bitter Winter  ice ages
Summer heat then
Unrelenting persecution genocides
From the agricultural science clans
Who have brought all life
On the Planet
To the point of extinction
In merely 200 years or so
Of petroleum fueled destruction
We do not extend our notions of democracy
To other life
Where we build roads
We destroy habitat
And we build roads
Everywhere land sea and air
In compulsive addiction
To traveling
Without conversation
With the land or its inhabitants
We chatter only with each other
In compulsive addiction
To talking instead of observing
Instead of witnessing
Instead of communing

When Wolf travels
She merges with the Land
Flows with it
As Salmon in River
We whether travelling
Or sitting
Close out habitat
Live in a dead cocoon
Sheltered from Weather
Where we look
We see only
What our tools
Have constructed
Transitory images laid
On mountains of waste
Pouring from the jaws
Of our waste-making machines
Talking walking riding
We ignore our surroundings

Yet we can learn from Wolf
There is still time
To get life from awareness
Joy from singing
Have done with roads
Walk only on trails
Be only in communion
Seldom talking

Donato May 29  12

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

What would I give up for the promise of peace?

What would I give up for the promise of peace?

Peace, the end to war on the other life on the planet, as well as among humans…

The Red Road of NA Native Spirituality has many answers to the existential problems of survival in our time. So has the the wisdom of Gandhi, non-violence- the turning of the other cheek, permitting the enemy to see your suffering and so be shamed into peaceful co-existence.

But we each have our own idea of how to achieve peace. Some have proposed a prescription, gained a following. A group led by a wise teacher will not easily accept the teachings of another, even if it’s about co-existence, about peace. The leader is reluctant to become the led, the followers feel insecure without their own leader at the head. In the West we believe our own gurus of science and psychology are preeminent. Especially if they speak our language. Language is a potent barrier to accepting another’s wisdom as one’s own.

These differing groups professing peaceful intentions are nonetheless powerful in their fearful attacks on any who desert them. I know a young man, a First Nations aboriginal Canadian, imprisoned for many years, who first joined the Native Brotherhood in his prison, drummed and attended Sharing Circles, and Sweat Lodge ceremonies with them. Later, he heard about the Muslim Brotherhood there from a man he liked. Decided to join them in their teaching circles and daily prayer rituals. His First Nations friends were angry with him, threatened him for deserting them. Nevertheless he persisted, and achieved a measure of peace and calm in his daily life that he had not experienced before.

Later, he decided to return to the native Brotherhood and their spiritual practice. They welcomed him. But now the Muslim friends deserted him, became angry, threatened him. Being threatened by any group in Canada’s prisons is a dangerous situation... On top of that, his behaviour, switching to a Muslim organization, even for a short time, made him an object of of suspicion to the Prison Administration. His parole hearings often turned on questions of why he had done that, why would he ally himself with a known violent organization? His protests that the way of the Muslims was a peaceful way, that he had sought and found a peaceful route to go, were met with polite disbelief...

Could it be that we might achieve peace by the wholesale adoption of the other's creed, and thus, flooding them with love? Flooding them with the display of our willing sacrifice of our ideals, diluting their prescriptions for daily life with the addition of our own, even if somewhat modified?

Regardless, what I have learned from my friend’s experience in Canadian Prisons, is that to hold fast to one’s own choices, and to make them for one’s own reasons, not others, is the only way for me. Respecting each other’s choices, is the only sure Path to inner peace, which is the only real peace there is.

Donato Cianci May 9 2012

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mechanics of Human Behaviour

The Mechanics of Human Behaviour

Note there is another part not described here, the part we call spirit. Spirit is an unquenchable flame from the “Unseen Shaper” that empowers every act of creation in our Universe. Spirit is malleable, formless, pure energy,  a rush of joy,  a heart-stopping clutch of destructive violence. The difference in the human frame is the difference between fire and wood. What follows is my description of the wood. Spirit, the Unseen Shaper behind the candle flame,  I will attempt in another essay.

What does it mean to be hard-wired, to perhaps harbour a suicide gene?
What have the Bees and the Flies got to say to us?  (read on)

Weasel s Habits

Weasel in henhouse kills
And kills without limit
Far more than he needs
Not thinking of his children
He is controlled by his habits
Only other nature will control him
We too are creatures of habit
We strive always to find the Promised Land
When we get there
We kill and and consume
Without limit
Not thinking of our children
Nor of
What other nature will control us

Nothing is more important
To us as adult humans

Than learning to control our habits
Making a habit
Of daily rituals daily prayers over food
And our future

A habit of learning
And controlling
Our habits

Feb. 13 2012,

Science and our tough new world

It should by now be clear what our science tells us, that our science has not allowed us to escape nature’s controls over even the most dominant species of the global ecosystem.

Until recently, all our science has done for us is to permit us to do more, greatly more, than ever we did when we had to rely on our personal strength and tribal culture for survival. The things we do haven’t changed, we just do more of them, with greatly more people and per capita energy consumption, involved. Then we could travel, now we travel further, faster. Then we could get food, and clothes and heat to survive winter. Now, more people can do the same, with much less effort. And so on.

However, our recently developed telecommunications and our elucidation of the mechanics of the brain, allied to the scientific method of applying controlled experiments and evidence based research, to social behaviour, have opened the possibility of fashioning a new way of living. Not too soon, for our science of more is better has drastically altered the world we live in. We have altered forever our Planet and it’s climate and resources, and the life habitats that will support. Only our new sciences can save us, and there is very little evidence that 7 billion people can develop the motivation and the knowledge to change their habits before it is too late, before the changes are so great our DNA cannot survive them.

It’s possible a new world religion could bring the necessary changes soon enough too, but I’m certain we cannot rely on that, or that life would be worthwhile if we had to live it according to religiously prescribed rules. And who would be the Rulers?

No, I don’t want to write the rules, but I would like to find them. And that’s what I’m aiming to do with this thinking and writing, find the Grail, the cup of self-knowledge from which we may drink, and so be certain then to live wisely and well...

Left/Right. Conservative/Liberal. Hard-wired habits

Since ancient Greeks and maybe before, the pattern of human thinking ( in the Western World, derived from them) has been bipolar, this or that, either/or, wrong/right, good/bad, conservative/liberal, etc. Neurological science has identified the basic structure in the brain, left brain, right brain, that seems to channel this pattern into our daily life choices. Now we read they have identified brain structures that produce humans hard-wired to fall into one of the two camps,

the conservative, being rigid, controlling, organized, reliant on rules, oriented to the past, avoiding the new and unexplored,  a place for everything and everything in its place;

 or the liberal, open, free flowing, disorganized, avoiding rules, oriented to the future, embracing the new, exploring.

Each has its useful place, each has advantages and disadvantages. Used inappropriately, either can lead to poor outcomes, failures. Used appropriately, suited to the situation, each would produce successful outcomes.

The point to note though, is that these behaviours are hard-wired into the brain. Conservatives don’t choose to be that way, they just are, likely from birth, or close to it. And similarly, Liberals don’t choose their attitudes, their habitual way of perceiving and choosing in the world, they just are that way, and always have been since early in their lives, if not born that way. Each group is hard-wired in their neurological structure to follow either the conservative, or the liberal, choice and perception patterns.

People see the world, and react to it, from their inbuilt half of the general bi-polar pattern. Each of us has a built-in tendency to be either left or right, either liberal or conservative,( in Meyers-Briggs, Jungian, terms, P-erceptive or J-udgemental) and some will be more extreme than others in their habits and perceptions. 

The evolution of our habit patterns,

Genetic scientists tell us our DNA has evolved from that of the simplest organs 3 billion or more years ago, to to the manifold complexity we possess, or which posses us, today. all the result of small changes over time,  by adding one alteration at time, one new trait of behaviour or capability at a time, over thousands of millennia, billions of generations, until now.

So, a simple way to understand the conservatives and liberals,is to examine the differing behaviour of the bees and the flies. Our decision making capacity, or, lack of flexibility, may well be built on some of the same DNA strings they first invented many thousands of years ago.

A simple experiment shows the difference between them. Catch a bee in a large mouth bottle. Place the bottom of the bottle against a glass window so the bee inside can see the outdoors, but can’t get to it. Then, take the top off the open end of the bottom, so the bee could, in theory, just fly out that way into the room. But it doesn’t! It just buzzes and buzzes against the glass wall, striving to go where he can see to go. He won’t try anything new. He is programmed to fly according to directions between the hive and the flowers, and he’ll do that and nothing but that, until he dies. Typical extreme conservative behaviour.

Now try the same experiment with a fly. The fly just drifts aimlessly around, exploring inside the bottle, until he discovers the open end and just “flys” out! Typical extreme liberal behaviour...

Both species of insect are successful, adapted to their habitat. But it’s difficult to imagine how they could ever work successfully together. The fly is a loner, a garbage collector, a dumpster diver, master of his own fate.  The bee is a hard working community member following religiously the rules of his tribe and his Queen.

I won’t carry this analogy any further, neither of these creatures have developed the genes for altruism and compassion that we have, though they both have ways to ensure the birth and survival of children.

People can and do care for other life, besides their own. People can change their habits, by thinking their way out of those that do not serve them well. People can form attachments to”higher powers” that may or may not help them to make better decisions than they would on their own.

Have our genetically hard-wired addictions become the “suicide gene” ?

And people have major addictions, habitual behaviours, formed perhaps before birth, more likely soon after by the conditions they are raised in, and so hard-wired into their neurology. A particular set of these addictions seem endemic in all humans, and seem to be pointing in only one direction, to the extinction of human DNA, like what has happened to maybe 95% of all species. Our addictions to consumption have led us to create conditions in our habitat which we are not likely to survive. The way bacteria in a petri dish will eat and procreate, until all the food is gone, and then they will all die out.

Where and when did it start,  the use of our genetic powers of reason, the communication through language of what we have learned to do, so as to invent tools for agriculture and warfare, of roads and wheels to travel them, of one person able to grow food for ten, and later, for fifty, the conversion of oil to energy, such that every person in North America accesses the same energy as if 1500 people worked for him/her?  Why is it that we have not learned as a species, that we must cry “Hold! Enough! ?

Tracing the roots doesn’t matter now. What matters is that this kind of profligate expenditure of energy on making people, ever more people, and enabling their prodigious consumption of earth resources, is coming to an end. Right now, for every ton of things made that are kept for a useful or decorative purpose, 24 tons of waste are also made. Every lb. of what’s called wealth, represents 24 lbs. of waste. The rich and powerful are distinguished chiefly by the fact they can waste far more of earth resources than other people. We ought not to call them the “Wealthy”, we ought to name them the “Wasters”.

What of the long history of mighty Kings, Warriors, explorers, poets, singers, artists, writers, scientists, mathematicians, musicians, physicians, priests, have they not influenced human life for the better? All their output, no matter how glorious in the short term, to me seems futile in the face of the ongoing ever-increasing destruction to the habitat and lives of other life species, and finally, the strangulation and end of the human in his/her own excrement.

The Prescription

We must study our destructive addictive habits. We must get to know them as well as we know our own face. We must resolve to rule them, make our virtue out of being extremely frugal in our consumption of everything. We must make all our decisions thinking of what they will mean to the wolves, the rabbits, the grasses, the trees, and our children. Forget dominion, and become instead stewards of all living and non-living on the planet. Recognize as my Native friends on the Red Road of North American Native Spirituality do, that mankind is fourth , the most dependent, in the hierarchy, that goes, first, Planet Earth, then the green grasses and trees, then the animals, and finally and least among all else, mankind.

Donato Cianci  May 6  2012