Metanoia - the Wisdom beyond Wildness

The War against Greed

1. Finding the new roots of "Progress"

It is time to leave the dark satanic mills behind us.   It is time to say goodbye to wage slavery and crazy money.    It is time to rethink our cities and reclaim our Earth.    The rude predatory period of human existence is coming to an end - as it must.    
We are the spearhead of life.    We are the cosmic warriors who fight the endless and universal struggle against disorder and entropy.     Beauty and dynamic magic are our watchwords.     Waste and discord are our enemies.
It is time to reach for a new story - a story beyond the wilderness.    Our old stories are crude and ultimately destructive, laced as they are with greed and needless urgency.
So where are our pointers for a life enhancing future?    Perhaps our gardens are a metaphor for our inner cosmic magic.   Like a beautiful piece of music or fine work of art, we know that healthy gardens are living symbols of our life enhancing instincts.    And "healthy" is the important word here - we know all too well that a poisoned mono-culture stinks of hell itself.
Of course we scream and cry out against the rape of Earth.    Trapped, as we are, in a web of human institutions which are profoundly dysfunctional and dangerous to life.    The primeval lure of wilderness is naturally our first base for healing and relief.   Our urban millions who live in a bubble of artificial reality need to rediscover wildness and the magic of nature before they can find a new wisdom beyond its harsh realities.   But we must pause in praise of wildness in case we forget that we ourselves are "wild".    We are clever, imaginative, determined, and brave.    We ride on the crest of life's cosmic wave.     We have come far in a very short time.    Like a surfer who sees rocks ahead we can change course.    
Our present struggle is less with nature and more with ourselves - brainwashed and conditioned as we are by the hollow myths of what we call modern civilisation.    How can we find wisdom in this invisible cultural prison?     Is there no way we can escape through the vortex of our doomed and dangerous institutions?
Our real struggle is not against the forces of nature - our struggle is against the cultural barriers we have created for ourselves.     And we have to come to terms with the startling fact that we ourselves are one of the major forces of nature!
No doubt our scientists and greatest minds are searching for sources of new energy or pollution reducing fertilisers or discovering a hundred and one environmentally friendly crutches for our ailing civilisation.    Billions of dollars, pounds, euros etc. are being diverted to such searches.     Our tragedy is that such efforts do nothing to help us escape our cultural prison - if anything they simply reinforce its locks and bars.    
We are wild and we are behaving with the rapacious greed and wildness that has fuelled our escape from the caves to the neon lit sophistication of our modern cities.    Now we face the challenge of going beyond wildness.      It is we who must take responsibility for trying to make sure the Earth continues to function as a home for a rich and varied collection of life forms (including our civilisation) or whether it becomes a life threatening desert.     Just as a teenager leaving school suddenly finds a need to take full responsibility for the future, so we, as wild humans, now face the same challenge on this planet Earth.    We can only succeed in this if we go "beyond wildness" and use our brains in a new way.     Unlike the bees or the ants we have consciousness - we know we are alive, we know that what we do affects the future.     It is this consciousness that must now take us beyond wildness.
The first step is to begin to see the bars and locks of our cultural prison?
If we are to escape this prison we must try to understand its geography and building blocks.     Money, democracy, the free market, banks, crime, advertising, education, hospitals …….these might be a good starting point.    For just as a garden is made up of different plants so is the fabric of our culture made up of different institutions.     These "institutions" are just systems of habits, rules and behaviours which we humans have invented.     If our cultural garden is to be beautiful and life enhancing then like any effective gardener, we must learn to understand these institutions for they are in effect the cultural trees, flowers and vegetables which control our lives.
We have anthropologists, economists, sociologist and psychologists but we do not (yet) have dedicated cultural engineers.     It is true that we have "soft"  cultural engineers who are our artists, writers and poets.   The stories and inspiration they provide can powerfully influence our view of the world.    We have also seen cultural engineering on a grand scale through the preaching and martyrdom of great religious leaders and modern suicide bombers.     
The "soft" cultural engineering which art can achieve is unlikely to be sufficient to effect the cultural changes now required.    There is a desperate need now for skilled "hard" cultural engineering.
We need, for example, to urgently change our money and banking systems.  We need to change our political system and the way we choose and legitimise our leaders.  Artists and writers can alert and inflame the need for such change but they may not have the technical tools to implement it.

Perhaps we are impotent because we no longer realise we are a major force of nature.    The all enveloping propaganda of consumerism, the dogmas of religion and a blind faith in science and technology have stolen our wildness.    Certainly the rediscovery of our wildness is a pre-condition for us to go beyond wildness?     And this rediscovery has to be a spiritual journey whose roots lie beyond common logic and the tenets of cartesian thinking.     Physicists and cosmologists have been screaming the new quantum and relativistic magic of the universe at us for almost 100 years now - is anyone listening?      Can the huge spiral arm of a distant galaxy tell us anything?    Can the mysteries of the Hadron collider tell us anything?     Those shimmering icons of beauty have somehow produced wild life and ultimately us……..      Now we hold the future in our hands - and the challenge is great and urgent.

We are Wild

We are wild like the rocks with sweat, cunts and cocks
We are wild like the sea as we curse, shit and pee
We are wild like the birds even quiet software nerds
We are wild like the flowers with deep hidden powers
We are wild like the bees tho the world's on its knees
We are wild like the rain tho' our Earth is in pain

We can act and be wise, use brains, hearts and eyes
We can dare to stand tall, break away from it all
We can act to make change, that thought's not so strange
We can dare to rebel and save Earth from hell
We can act to save life, cut our chains like a knife
We can dare beyond wild like a magical child


USE THE FORCE!

Nothing in the world of science can explain it.    Nothing in the world of science can understand it.    Nothing in the cosmos seems to be able to stop it.     This is the Force of Life.    Get closer to the life force and every day will hold a deeper meaning.

Life creates order and beauty from chaos.    It started doing this from the very beginning of time.    It continues to do it today.     Whether and how humans will be part of its future is the great question of the moment.

So far as we know humans are the most complex form of life yet produced by the cosmos.    Every atom in our bodies was created millions of years ago in the nuclear furnace of a dying star.    How billions of them got together and learned to work as a team to make a human is a miracle.   We are, or we could be, the spearhead of life’s incredible journey.

But there is a paradox here.   We humans have brains that give us consciousness – we know we are alive and we know good from bad.     We certainly know enough to destroy ourselves.    The question now is whether we are clever enough to save ourselves and carry the magical process of life on to its next (unknown and unknowable) destination.    Will we be able to discover the wisdom beyond wildness?     Will we learn to use the force or will it use us?

Most of the humans who are educated and brought up in cities have lost sight of the real magic of life.     Their food comes in lorries from somewhere far away.     Their air and water are created and purified somewhere far away.    Their shit and waste is taken far away and dumped they know not where.     Their main contact with “life” is through newspapers and the television.    They are, in effect, only partially “alive”, many are in the sad state of "being lived".     As wage slaves they tumble out of bed each day simply to enable their masters - the "merchants of greed" to amass more wealth and power.

Sadly most of the humans now living on Earth live in its cities and control (in so far as anyone can) its institutions and its politics.     They have lost their grasp of true reality as well as their innate understanding of the force of life.    Life on Earth has already suffered mightily because of this.

Metanoia
Metanoians are those who have discovered the wisdom beyond wildness.   They know that consciousness and intelligence bring responsibilities that cannot be avoided.    They believe that we can, indeed we must, try to influence the future even though we cannot control it.   Metanoians find happiness and satisfaction through enhanced human relationships and positive interaction with the living world without the need for excessive consumption and crude harvesting of other life forms.     They believe that humans should use their intelligence and consciousness to enhance life rather than exploit it.     They believe that humans can and should take responsibility for trying to safeguard their own future while recognising that the Earth herself is the ultimate life form whose health and vitality are a necessary conditions for our survival.

This life enhancing philosophy is underpinned by a number of important understandings:
- our present predatory civilisation is trapped in a life destroying dynamic by the cultural institutions we ourselves have created.    We made them, we can change them.
- "Life" is the greatest force for beauty and order opposing increasing entropy throughout the cosmos
-  the human brain is (as far as we know) the most complex and beautiful life structure yet produced by the unknowable magic of the cosmos.
- humans have a unique role in the struggle between beauty and chaos which dominates the unfolding Universe
- because humans are conscious and possess free will they can and should transcend "wildness" and face up to their unavoidable responsibility to foster and enhance the phenomenon we call "life"

The Tiger's Tail
So speaks the disembodied intellect.      Sadly history tells us that the necessary cultural change is not going to happen before nature makes it happen - and that will be harsh and very uncomfortable.
   
Can you see the bars of our invisible cultural cage?    Even if you can see them - you will never crawl past them on your own.    Like addicts we continue a lifestyle that we know must soon end.     It's time to wake up and seize the tiger's tail before those claws and teeth devour us.     Talk alone will not save us (however deep, clever or profound) - it is what we DO tomorrow that will make a difference.

Definitions
civilised -  a person who believes in and lives within the set of institutions (particularly debt based money, fractional reserve banking, democratic government, free market trading, global profit driven corporations, endless supplies of natural resources and a magically self-sustaining ecological life support system) which dominate our current predatory relationship with the Earth and the natural world
uncivilised -  a person who understands that the tenets and institutions of current civilisation are at best dysfunctional and at worst terminal
wild - a person who understands and lives within a belief that humans are simply one of many "wild" life forms that have evolved to live as part of the life supporting dynamic web of life we call the Earth
wildness - behaviour dominated by the natural tendencies and instincts which evolution has fostered over millions of years
wisdom - the ability to use a conscious brain to influence the future (largely through cultural engineering, science and technology) in ways beneficial to life in the long term
Metanoia - the change of mindset which enables humans to escape the bars of their cultural prisons and create new cultural forms which are life enhancing rather than life destroying

2.   Getting from here to there - Playing the Game

We won't do it by preaching.    We won't do it by passing laws.     We won't do it with a new religion.    We won't do it by violence or suicide bombing.   We won't do it by lobbying parliament or voting in the greens.    We won't do it by creating squalid campsites in city squares.    We won't do it by following a new guru.
We will do it by teaching and showing the way.      We will do it bit by bit.     We will do it by moving the cultural goal posts.     We will do it by tricks and things that are fun.    We will do it by withdrawing our support from life threatening institutions.    We will do it by changing the ways we spend our money.    We will do it by creating new life enhancing institutions.    We will do it using new social networking possibilities.    We will do it by harnessing the natural energies of people in small groups and communities.    

The greatest forces for social and political change have always depended on new insights and the state of technology.    Martyrs have always been a powerful force for cultural engineering but the greatest "discovery" of modern times was the power of peaceful mass action and, in particular, the boycott.     The one armed irishman Michael Davitt was the first to see this truth and put it into action with his Land League and the withdrawal of labour from Colonel Boycott.    He was followed by Ghandi and others.      Today we have new possibilities, powerful possibilities, because of the power of social networking on the internet.

We CAN change the way we live and the way we think of ourselves on Planet Earth.     And we can do this in ways that are joyful and life enhancing.    Better still, these ways do NOT cost money - on the contrary they will save us money.

Consumerism - An Addiction
Humans that continue with behaviours they know are harmful are called 'addicts".     Experience has shown that "addicts" cannot pick themselves up by their own bootlaces - they cannot cure themselves by themselves.    This is, in effect, the definition of an addict.      
Our society, our civilisation, is driven by addiction to consumerism.      Consumerism is the wanting of more and more "stuff" that we do not really need.
Alcoholics Anonymous has been the most successful piece of cultural engineering ever devised to manage addiction.     The key to its success is the willingness of the individual (finally) to understand that it is only by surrendering some of his/her power to others that escape from the trap of addiction is possible.     You surrender some "power" to your group and they, in turn, give back a new strength which enables you to fight addiction.    You are only prepared to do this when every other avenue has been tried.        

The Dark Mountain movement  and its Uncivilised Manifesto are precisely the realisation that our civilisation has reached this point of desperation.   None of the old remedies are working, nor are they going to work,  and the future looks BLACK.

The magical spearhead of the process we call "life"
Each one of us is this "spearhead".    Some of us (a few) may understand this simply by thinking and reading but for most the process of understanding can only be achieved by practical actions.     If we can persuade people to take actions for reasons that fit their current state of mind then the fact that they take such actions may, in turn, change their understanding and value systems in ways they never expected (ways that will be life enhancing).    This offers the greatest possibilities for beneficial change.    Such change is not prescriptive but varies with the tendencies and talents of each individual or group.   Beneficial here being defined as life enhancing - however we see that with our eyes open.

Metanoia - the Game
So this is the logic behind the "game" of Metanoia.     (Metanoia means "change of mind" - compare with "paranoia".)     






Will Sutherland


A SimpleMan