6) Being Dispossessed|
I am dispossessed, I was born dispossessed, and that possession I can never have. I was not born with my feet in the earth – in Gaia. When indigenous people talk about their relation with Gaia that is something I can never have. It is only now at 66 that I am beginning to feel this is something I have lacked, that it is a possession - being possessed by Gaia - I never had, dispossessed.
I am dispossessed by my culture’s history. In the second millennia my culture, white and British, moved further and further away from Gaia. Whilst there was still British farming, in recent centuries it has been driven by profit so what has happened to their relationship with Gaia? Factory farming - watch Earthlings, GMO’s, and what else? In their consciousness they might know how they have been alienated from Gaia, I don’t.
And what about the British colonialists, how alienated have they become? How do the Americans, Australians and New Zealanders feel when they have taken the land from the indigenous peoples? Do they have respect for that land? Or is Gaia there just seen in terms of profit because it was never their land? All over the world there are the vestiges of this appropriation in the export infrastructure or boundaries on African maps delineating resources such as gold or ivory. Indigenous peoples have been left divided by colonial tactics to enable resource exploitation in the neocolonial era. All of this British heritage is just alienation from Gaia.
And in the dwindling metropole British people have distanced themselves from the land with perhaps the most densely populated country, England, having in the early 20th century appropriated wealth from so much of the world’s resources. And that wealth was used to distance people from Gaia. And how is that distance shown? By exploitation of people, land, resources, etc.
For myself this dispossession meant that I grew up in a concrete suburb with a small patch of green as a garden. I cycled over concrete to school where I learnt little of my true heritage, and absolutely nothing of my connection in Gaia. For some reason this dispossession in me struck discord with who I am. In the past I have associated this discord with a family dynamic that my brother described as dysfunctional, a steamroller middle-class education, and an immaturity that came about because my path felt itself necessary never to connect with my childhood.
This unnatural dispossessed upbringing had occasional links with Gaia. As a teenager I walked everywhere at night. For whatever reason – I just don’t recall, I just walked for hours; I really have no idea why. I fortunately connected with a couple of teachers who took me out walking onto the Pennines and in the Peak district, something I used to do up until I finally left the UK. And my holidays were getting away somewhere and walking. I remember picking up ways of walking from Castaneda although connections gained from him must be questioned. Perhaps all this meant I was seeking connection, seeking Gaia’s possession.
I was born in a Liverpool suburb by the sea, and returned there often as a child especially for family holidays. Now in my retirement the sea means a great deal – because it is hot my walking is greatly reduced. I have retired rural but I am not rural with gardening hands although there have been times of interest.
I am writing about this because it came to me this morning that being dispossessed was an important lack in me, but far more importantly the dispossession that is a part of my heritage is a scourge on the world. We are in a 1%-satrapy (1% mostly white people) whose complete disregard for Gaia Chomsky cannot find a word for. Rather than civilising ourselves meaning that we develop a greater understanding of our interdependence, we just exploit, exploit and exploit. Maybe if we were not dispossessed, maybe if we had grown up with more of a connection with Gaia?? It reminds me of Russell Means’ talk of Europeans – “For America To Live Europe Must Die” [see appendix B]. “The European materialist tradition of despiritualizing the universe is very similar to the mental process which goes into dehumanizing another person …. In terms of the despiritualization of the universe, the mental process works so that it become virtuous to destroy the planet. Terms like progress and development are used as cover words here, the way victory and freedom are used to justify butchery in the dehumanization process. …. Ultimately, the whole universe is open — in the European view — to this sort of insanity.
“Most important here, perhaps, is the fact that Europeans feel no sense of loss in this. After all, their philosophers have despiritualized reality, so there is no satisfaction (for them) to be gained in simply observing the wonder of a mountain or a lake or a people in being. No, satisfaction is measured in terms of gaining material. So the mountain becomes gravel, and the lake becomes coolant for a factory, and the people are rounded up for processing through the indoctrination mills Europeans like to call schools.”
“Europeans feel no sense of loss in this.” I know it is all wrong. My compassion has brought me into conflict all my life. My compassion has recently brought me more in line with the Indigenous, see Treatise Ch25. My compassion brings me anger, but I don’t feel the sense of loss. I don’t understand why, that is why my dispossession is so important. Being dispossessed there is no sense of loss.
My path drives me, compassion drives me, I find it more and more difficult to be with the MAWPs (Male Arrogant White & Privileged) – I feel so distant from them. My compassion brings me sadness - it makes me write, but I don’t feel a sense of loss. And that is a sense of loss – a dispossession.
On Facebook I have been (re)posting from Indigenous peoples. Many not only post American Indian wisdom but also wisdom from other sources – a number of them Buddhist. Of the posts which are not indigenous I have no problem understanding, it is knowledge I can feel. But when it comes to the indigenous stuff there are times when I understand but cannot feel. I now put this down to being dispossessed. I am now beginning to try to recognise what my dispossession is.
I have sat by the sea and felt Unity, especially in the rainy season I watch the waves rise and fall, and feel the parallels with ego – especially the white manes and MAWPs. At times in meditation I feel Unity, there is no separation. But to me it now feels that it is not complete Gaia, I do not feel complete Unity with the planet. I want to explore this.
I am a writer, prolific, but as I never tried it have no idea whether it is commercial. Being commercial requires something that makes it commercial. For many writers being commercial requires investment in that system, investment in the selling, the PR etc – I can’t even be bothered to publish on the freesites with all the formatting etc – Createspace, Smashwords (I have not given up on them yet). When I was young I maybe had the energy for the writing business, but being honest I had nothing to write about. My childhood was a stasis, a limbo, until I was old enough to have the upheaval. It was a lazy way to reach the path, being immature and asleep until I left uni is not much to write about whether I had talent or not. When I write about my experience now my writing is descriptive but is it talented? Do I write with a quality of creative description such as Doris Lessing? Some may say yes, I feel not. What can I write about. I can investigate my experience, I can examine my path, and I can put it in words. This is a creative ability that I am satisfied with, it is not necessarily commercially creative, and that commerciality is not something I wish to develop although I would love to have my writing read.
Alice Walker is someone I have always admired although for years I have forgotten to have her in my life – creatively. She is a poet, and I don’t feel she is dispossessed. When I look at her and her life I see her connected to Gaia physically, something I never have been, but in truth I don’t know because I don’t know that she has ever said it and I don’t know this myself so I can’t recognise it in her.
I have been incredibly lucky in my life. My upheaval occurred when I was only 23 – how lucky was that. After a short period of drunkenness (just over a year after uni) – not even short serious suffering, my path broke through so I had barely started my life and I was following my path – Treatise Ch21. I say it is lucky, I didn’t earn it. If there was ever going to be something that would convert me to believing in reincarnation it is this, why should the path have broken through unless I earned it in a previous life? Even then I wasted that good luck by spending 13 years in booze. But now I have retired I am following my path more fervently as a writer.
This is all about spirit, path and spirit are the same, Gaia’s spirit possesses me. I was at the sea yesterday watching. There was a Unity – above the land, above the sea. Although spiritual I did not feel grounded in the land, I felt complete yet I also felt I was missing something – a spiritual grounding in the land. I have been dispossessed of this because of my culture. This is missing, it is a weakness but not a failing. When I felt complete I felt complete in who I am meant to be – I don’t mean this in an arrogant way as I have much to learn. But I am mature, am on the path and learning. That is quite complete and I am lucky to be there – I have had so much luck.
It would be good to have some confirmation about what connection to Gaia means, maybe such will come.
But my culture, my background, lacks this grounding, but more importantly it lacks this guidance. We have been dispossessed of this grounding by our heritage so when it comes to direction we cannot be sure of what we are doing.
Look at the chaos in the movement. We have failed completely, and yet we cannot admit it. For my life and longer people have been saying the system has failed, and now when people are recognising this fact they are turning to right-wing populism. These arrogant MAWPs just accept any kind of bullshit so long as it is individualistic and racist. I understand why race is the issue they turn to. Because of the oppressive 1%-satrapy there will always be criminal activity that can be pointed to. Poor white people can also become criminals but they ignore that. Rich white people are criminals, they ignore that. These rich white people are insane and evil – Chomsky, they ignore that. Somehow they recognise the 1%-satrapy but then inexplicably they cannot see that the satrapy are deflecting and creating a scapegoat of race. WHY? I just can’t see their ignorant avoidance.
Yet I can because of course these people are bound up in their own ego and have never attempted to connect to spirit. But the movement, the people who are fighting the 1%, the people who have turned that 1% fight against themselves by their divisive PC-authoritarianism and similar have also never attempted to connect to spirit. If they were born grounded in Gaia, maybe they would be trying to connect in this way. But instead they consider themselves superior to people grounded in Gaia such as the indigenous, peasant farmers etc. Because they are educated, an education that turns themselves into wage-slaves, and because the educators are dispossessed that education has no connection with Gaia.
Yet not a complete disconnect, there is liberal concern about the environment – even Maggie was a bit green. But that concern was not driven by love. In my blogpost about Naomi Klein talking with Russell Brand, I called her an Indigenous Activist because she “recognises that the love of the land that indigenous peoples bring to the struggle is much more positive than the “anti-movement” integral to the western perception of the struggle. To protect the land is an act of love that is integral to the lifestyles of the indigenous. The struggle, the path is also an act of love, but unfortunately most left-wing struggles are based on injustice, greed and intellectual anger using ideals connected to Marxism etc – especially the more intolerant of the liberals. Of course it is hard to be loving when there is so much legitimate anger about.” To describe Naomi I would say that she is an activist who has recognised her dispossession and is seeking guidance from those who are grounded in Gaia – the Indigenous American Indians. And Canadian?
So this brings me to what strategy being dispossessed brings. We need to seek guidance from those who are still possessed by Gaia – the Indigenous. For the Indigenous they sadly spend their lives fighting for the survival of their culture, but how much different is fighting for their culture and fighting for Gaia? I don’t know the answer to that. But Indigenous wisdom needs to be our guide, that is what recognising dispossession means.
In the last chapter on strategising I spoke of a “Return to the Indigenous", and it is this I want to develop here; how can Indigenous Wisdom be our guide? In Appendix B I have included Russell Means’ talk “For America to live Europe must die”. I intend to start with this as my guide.
Let me be absolutely clear, I am not a red man. This manual on pathtivism is aimed at “white people” or “Europeans” or the dispossessed - my culture. The terminology is clear from Russell’s talk but I want to elaborate on it in my own way. Politically we are smack in the middle of a terrible division in politics. We are stuck in identity politics because the 1% have found this works well as a division. For all of us who began working on anti-racism from the 60s onwards this shows again abject failure. Look at it. Race is a huge issue. I dissociate myself from PC-authoritarianism but it was right to begin with language. Back then I was brought up completely accepting racist language; that had to change. But language is superficial, and there needed to be education. But that education disappeared replaced by supercilious PC-police, if the war-monger Blair brought them in what do you expect?
This identity politics in the most important ways has nothing to do with race or colour. The white that Russell is talking about is a lack of spirit, people who are not following the path and for the most have no idea what the path is. That is what they have been dispossessed of - the path. This is my cultural heritage, I have been despiritualised by my culture – dispossessed. In my own case I have found my spiritual path but I still feel that I am not properly grounded in Gaia. It is important to make that distinction because I can learn from the Indigenous who are grounded but I have the right to say that white people have been despiritualised – dispossessed.
Historically it was white people who left their land. Initially it was the Spanish who harvested the gold that enabled British colonialism after the British took it from Spain. That colonialism then setup the hegemony of today because these usurpers went in and stole the land that belonged to the American Indian. Non-indigenous Americans will always be dispossessed no matter how spiritual they become. And that dispossession they have imposed on so many peoples who live within the borders of the USA – blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, etc. Although some people living in America have connected to their spiritual path they cannot be grounded, and need guidance from the Indigenous American Indians. Australia is full of the same ludicrous racism that is amongst White Americans. These racists can have no balance because they can never be grounded. And it all started with the Spanish gold and British colonialism. No matter how many constitutions or bills of rights are thrown out, the people are the same – they are the exploiters originating from England, exploiters who have lost touch, lost their grounding, become dispossessed.
Integral to this dispossession is the economic system that now dominates the world whether you call the system capitalism, a plutocracy or a 1%-satrapy – or as Russell called it the European Materialist Tradition. This economic system has determined that instead of recognising Gaia as the source of life of which we are a part, it has decided that profits matter more than people – more than Gaia. Unfortunately whilst Marxism is fairer to people and therefore more compassionate, as Russell points out it is fundamentally a problem because it does not value Gaia. For a period in my life I worked in the trade union movement and these activists were concerned with redistributing wealth but never determined where ultimately that wealth came from and the destruction that was causing. The only other people in Western society who are seeking genuine change are the spiritually-aware, and they were pigeon-holed and ignored by the movement. Quite simply the movement is despiritualised – dispossessed. Whilst I have spoken of ego and discernment and indicated that we need a return to the indigenous, I have not as yet described pathtivism for what it is, a return to spirit. Finding the path is a spiritual process, and if we are going to make a change then we need to follow a spiritual path, a return to indigenous wisdom.
We have to accept that our movement has failed. Any strategy that talks of promoting Marxism with a new narrative is just whistling in the wind. The populist right has already manipulated the propaganda so that any mention of Marxism is ridiculed, and whilst Marxism within a Gaian context – within a spiritual context – would resolve the problem, Marxism is so tainted the use of such a term would be a burden. Unfortunately there are too many left-wing people invested in Marxist rhetoric whether for their jobs in academia or welfare – or as writers, that any solution that is other than Marxism would be rejected by them. Marxists need to recognise their own compassion that brought them into the movement, to recognise the importance of that compassion, and reject the economic intellectualism and materialism that Marxism is a part of. Activism whether as pathtivism, spiritual activism or conscious activism is the solution that will rectify previous weaknesses, and that requires activists to begin to try to follow the path.
Russell Means can guide us as to when things started to go wrong, and I am going to refer to it using his term the “European Intellectual Tradition”. And for me the keyword here is intellectual. I have discussed the word intellect before when discussing sankhara of the 5 khandhas. Intellect has a role in life, an essential analytical role, but that has to be an analysis of that which first comes from spirit – insight. Intellectual has to be spiritual first. Russell describes this intellectualism as Newton, Descartes, Locke and Smith, “Each of these intellectual revolutions served to abstract the European mentality even further, to remove the wonderful complexity and spirituality from the universe and replace it with a logical sequence: one, two, three. Answer!”
I would like to take his theme but choose a different starting point – Francis Bacon. Bacon setup a schism that effectively despiritualised European thought. Prior to Bacon there was knowledge that was reason and revelation combined, after Bacon reason and revelation was separated. Whilst Bacon did this for appropriate classification what followed was a devaluing of revelation, of spirit as knowledge. We were left with reason as understanding, as science, as academy, Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” is an excellent book to illustrate how academia is just reason, the spirit has gone. This European Intellectual Tradition is when spirit began to disappear, and within that Tradition was the invention of money, the industrial revolution, and of course colonialism. What is important when considering history is to understand when spirit was eschewed from human development. Typically I previously have considered development from serfdom through to wage-slavery, and whilst this consideration is partially true, what is most important to understand when considering historical analysis is when spirit left our civilisation. That is the point at which we ended connection with Gaia, and that connection is the point that we have to return to; we have to regain our connection with Gaia.
This is not some idle intellectual speculation, this needs to become an active reality. Regaining that connection with Gaia has to be a real activity. I propose doing this through pathtivism, but this does not produce all the answers. I am dispossessed, I have been dispossessed by my culture. How much of that complete connection with Gaia needs to return? Do we all wander the plains living in nature? This is a serious question I don’t know the answer to. Because I am dispossessed I can call for a return to the path, I can know that pathtivism is possible, that pathtivism will do a great deal to bring about legitimate change, to bring us back from this European Intellectual and Materialist Tradition. But what is the life that it calls us back to? My culture has estranged me from understanding the answer to this.
It is necessary to understand the importance of intellect in our dispossession. I have discussed ego, the apartheid ego, a sankhara shell in chapter two. These all function as a barrier to spirit. When reason was split from revelation and elevated to the only socially-reputed knowledge, the process enabled the intellect to be a barrier to spirit. It is conceivable that prior to this schism there was a connection to spirit – I cannot answer that, but once the schism occurred and reason alone became enshrined as academia societal links with spirit were broken.
For Buddhists links with spirit can happen as insight. I started meditation with anapanasati, but it is now more a process of insight. When I sit there is thinking, this is the sankhara barrier. As I get into it I calm the thinking, I become detached from thought, I remove detachments from my mind, thus freeing the mind to have insights if it chooses. It is a conscious process in me that recognises thought, intellect and reason create a barrier to insight. And for me insight is an important aspect of meditation.
This barrier to insight is a natural barrier for all people brought on by human conditioning, it is an aspect of our humanity, but it is made far worse by the European Intellectual Tradition. It is also of course made worse by other aspects of the 1%-satrapy. When the ego gets in the way through power or greed then our connection to Gaia is broken. When we prevent the mind from functioning normally by using drugs, pharmaceutical and recreational – as opposed to spiritual, then our connection to Gaia is broken. When you consider all of these, the European Intellectual Tradition, European Materialist Tradition, drugs, money, power, war and wage-slavery, is there any wonder there is dispossession?
What can be seen is that the European Intellectual and Materialist Traditions are now the way business is conducted globally. When we describe the way these traditions are working we can use the usual narratives such as the Zandtao narrative, there is no inconsistency:-
But we can use the Indigenous Wisdom to guide us in our solutions. In his talk (Appendix B) Russell notes that Marxism is integral to the European Traditions, in other words it does not provide a solution. Class warfare is concerned with which class appropriates the accumulations, but it is not concerned with ending accumulation – with decumulating. Decumulating recognises Indigenous Rights and through their guidance we can regain our connection with Gaia.
What we can also recognise as a strategy is a need to end the European Intellectual Tradition. This means reconnecting with Gaia in a spiritual sense, breaking through the sankhara shells of intellect and ego and reconnecting with Nature – Gaia.
Pathtivism, as an example, brings activism under the direction of Gaia with the guidance of Indigenous Wisdom. On the material level the problem is a tradition that accepts accumulation. Therefore the strategy is to decumulate. There are Frontline Communities (Appendix C for Activity) including Indigenous Communities who are fighting the resource accumulation, supporting them helps bring an end to accumulation. But decumulation is a positive approach in which we enable peoples to return to their communities and build them up again. Especially with the Indigenous Communities this will mean a reconnection with Gaia. Accumulation is particularly noticeable with the 1%, with whom there is now a strategy of benefaction so that we are deflected from blaming them for the situation. But this benefaction is simply purchasing, effectively bringing more people into the consumer system as the basis of the 1%-satrapy. We must turn that benefaction into supporting the Indigenous, supporting Frontline Communities, stopping accumulation, and eventually promoting decumulation. Benefaction that buys transnational goods that builds up dependence on the 1%-economy only benefits the 1%-system. Frontline Communities especially Indigenous Communities with their connections in Gaia need to be the focus of benefaction. Promoting ideologies within the tradition that has developed our dispossession is not constructive. Involvement in political organisations whose ways of interaction are part of this 1%-system – the European tradition – are not going to bring about change because they are not focussed on Gaia. They are not trying to rebuild the connection with Mother Earth. Supporting Indigenous Communities, blocking the expanding resource accumulation by supporting Frontline Communities, stopping accumulation and advancing decumulation by redirecting benefaction to where it is really needed, these are steps for genuine change.
Knowing that as people of the 1%-satrapy we are dispossessed establishes a priority. It is not sufficient to follow the path, be an activist, and not have Gaia as the focus. I have in the past been guilty of that. Buddhism is a nature religion with according to Buddhadasa idappaccayata as God. Even knowing this I slipped and did not maintain Gaia as the focus of activism. In Appendix C I discuss some of the appropriate activism, sadly because of my own limited activism this list is not complete.
But if we only focus on the material our success can only be limited. Recognising that the European Intellectual Tradition created the mindsets that enabled the ongoing colonial expansion and exploitation is a significant part of Russell’s talk (Appendix B). This intellectualism fundamentally despiritualised Europeans, and it was this despiritualising – the separation of knowledge into reason and revelation – that also functioned as the start of the problems. Despiritualising enabled the accumulation by deluding Europeans that others were inferior – therefore not equally human and killable. And it enabled the accumulation of resources by separating us from the spirit that is Gaia. If we only struggle on the material front our advances will be limited – bogged down in the materialism that is fundamental to the 1%-satrapy. We also need to work on a spiritual reconnection, by detaching and going onwards we can begin to unite in Gaia – pathtivism.
Because of my own detestation of the criminality of the colonial/neocolonial systems I have been far too ready to unquestioningly accept Russell’s blame of Europeans – blame them for their materialism and intellectualism. But I need to be more detached, and take a broader perspective of human history as a whole in understanding my own dispossession. Whilst Bacon's dichotomy of reason and revelation clearly eschews spirit, is this a definitive moment or is it the nail in the coffin of our culture which as it has developed has distanced itself from connection with Gaia?
There are patterns of behaviour as human beings, characteristics of cultures, that need to be considered when looking at factors leading up to the possible destruction of Gaia. Is it intrinsic in humans to be migratory? Is colonial exploitation simply a continuation of human beings’ migration? If migration and exploitation are intrinsically human then destruction is ineviotable.
From the Smithsonian here is a species description of migration identifying the origins of humanity in Africa with the culmination of the migration being the First Nations in South America maybe 40,000 years ago; the science seems, as far as my ignorance can know, sound so I don’t know that there are any disputes except from bible literalists. What interests me for this is whether Indigenous peoples dispute it, and I don’t think they do.
So historically human beings are migratory but that goes against observation across the world. People will put up with a huge amount of discomfort to stay where they were born so for me it just shows how heinous NATO have been in their destruction that has caused the current immigration crisis in Europe. And equally how much foreign (US) interference there has been for Latin American peoples to seek slave wages in the US (see Harvest of Empire).
I don’t think this needs to be seen as inconsistency. Migration over millennia need not negate the fact that people are attached to the land they are born on. Factors such as over-population, ego-struggles (leadership), resource struggles (war) could have forced migration over such a lengthy timescale. In global culture now we travel far more, but I see that more as a consequence of cultural dispossession because when I have travelled I see people choosing to remain on their own land. Especially women, is it wrong to say that? Is that a gender-biassed patriarchal observation? I can’t know but would welcome advice.
The migration I see nowadays I associate with the cultural tradition I belong to, and this is why I lament the dispossession. But that migration is not just white (European), I see it as part of global non-indigenous culture that goes against the inherent desire of those peoples to stay on the land they were born. For me although the boundaries of nationalist states might well be political, jingoism associated with “Britain” is artificially engendered, the fact is that human nature identifies with the land they are born on – even amongst the dispossessed. South-East Asia is dominated by Chinese expansion even though that expansion was not military except in the case of Tibet. My history is not academic (I have not studied it) and is weak, but were there not the Mongol expansions of Genghis and Kublai Khan? Cultures of the Indian sub-continent tend to have been static. Some Arab cultures have been nomadic, and slave trade was integral to their economy.
My contention is that although migration and exploitation have been behaviours consistent with many human cultures, people themselves are not migratory. This contention brings with it some hope that because most people are land-based there is the possibility that we can establish a sustainable relationship with Gaia even in situtaions of exploitation by migrating cultures.
I would like to find a pattern that I am now not sure exists. Like Russell I perhaps want to blame Europeans when it is more a human failing than just white failing. When I say it is more human than white it is important to note that it is not all humans who have migrated and exploited but sadly most cultures. Let us examine social structures within the migratory patterns. Africa was and is tribal (grass roots), the peoples are loyal to their tribes and a measure of the tribe is the wealth and power of their leaders. Recognition of this was a significant factor in neocolonial control after the British (Europeans) left. When you look at the migrations within Asia (including Arabia) and Europe you can see social structures that were historically leadership-oriented, and again the measure of power of such leaders was wealth. Whilst the peoples were tied to the land their leaders had become ego-driven by wealth. This is a dominant characteristic of most communities and cultures, and it is the exception that is important to recognise. This leadership accumulating wealth is the basis of the 1%-satrapy that is the global financial system of today.
The idealist in me wanted to see a difference in the Americas, I wanted to identify the later cultures of the Americas as being more advanced because of an evolved relationship with Gaia. Sadly I cannot find that either because there were cultures such as the Incas and Aztecs that exhibited the same wealth-accumulating leadership as any of the other cultures - with their global potentates.
So I am left with recognising cultural exceptions, and these exceptions are generally classified as Indigenous. For some reason, particular indigenous cultures have come to recognise the importance of the relationship with Gaia. Perhaps this reason was isolation as there appears to be characteristics common between Polynesian, Native American, as well as some more isolated Latin American cultures that were not ravaged by the diseased Europeans. As an aside we Europeans should recognise that our very bodies were a weapon against these Indigenous peoples, I take a message from Gaia in this. From all historic accounts peoples of the Americas (and Polynesia) were initially welcoming, and European historic accounts treat this as a weakness – that is sick in itself. But our immune systems were so diseased that contact with some of these peoples caused death. We were so diseased contact caused death; we should reflect on that – our totality was diseased.
So that brings me to a recognition that some peoples have the wisdom of Unity with Gaia but most cultures don’t. Those peoples are generally classified as Indigenous although my knowledge is not sufficient to go beyond such a loose academic classification. For me there was no cultural pattern that means we could turn to all Indigenous cultures. But maybe the wisdom is in those who have survived; beyond such a statement I cannot go because of my ignorance of indigenous cultures. But there is still a strategy, it is the Wisdom itself that needs recognition. When we consider green, green for jobs is a popular current political slogan yet this is still redistribution of wealth. The word sustainable is not a popular political slogan although it is far wiser, but there is no sustainability whilst there is still accumulation. Decumulation by transferring the wealth and power of the 1% back to those with Indigenous wisdom is the only certain way of sustainability. End the migration that is now forcing people off their land and into the cities, end the migration that is forcing people to become dispossessed.
I want to investigate further the nature of this dispossession. It is predicated on the accumulation of the 1% that, although it has changed drastically over time, can be seen in the wealth of monarchs and emperors. I see slavery as an indicator of dispossession, and slavery has always been a historic factor in our global culture. Slavery began in a tribal context, changed to serfdom with agriculture, and is now wage-slavery. It is accepted in our cultures that people can be exploited. When you consider the Zandtao narrative:-
then the interests of the humanity (human spirituality) of the 99% is not part of the model. It was already integral to this 1%-satrapy that humanity is not something to be recognised. And if the humanity of our own peoples is not recognised, dismissing the humanity of other cultures is easy propaganda especially in war. Killing of other serfs/soldiers was part and parcel of my ancestry, I assume the exploitation needed no moral justification but of course I don’t know. The moral justification of the objectifying of the other as inferior only came later when being morally superior was a justification for colonialism, for example, especially the colonialism that used missionaries as the spearhead. This lack of spirituality has always been missing in global culture (European), but was perhaps further eschewed by Bacon’s dichotomy of reason and revelation that led to science having no spiritual content. Slavery has always dispossessed us of our spirit, earning a wage facilitates consumerism, and does not enable the spirit of free will and independence – human spirituality. We cannot choose not to have money.
The introduction of money together with the banking and finance system is presented as facilitating transactional trade. Whilst money does enable that it has done far more. In colonial times the requirement of taxes forced the African to work for the colonial regime, without taxes the African way of life could have continued with minimal involvement with the colonial empire, through taxation the empire indentured workers – wage-slaves. Money exacerbated the problems of cultures which already had materialism integrally embedded in them. Some indigenous communities living in isolation from money did not have this historical materialism and some developed a relationship with Gaia; as a result they are not wracked with the greed that is so prevalent in moneyed cultures. There is no one event in our culture that can be described as the onset of dispossession, it seems that it has been an ongoing process of disconnection from Gaia since humans formed social structures. Because we are dispossessed, because our cultures are materialistic, the leadership for change is not going to come from within; our leaders value wealth, and our people are materialistic. When our culture seeks solutions to our problems, we arrive at Marxism which allows for redistribution of wealth, but does not place that in the context of Gaia nor spirituality. Being green for jobs is a step in the right direction but does not have within it the sustainability of Unity with Gaia that is integral to Indigenous Wisdom.
The change that is needed is not simply an economic change but spiritual – following the path. The economy of capitalism is just destructive, more resources for more profits, and historically our cultures have chosen resources that are finite. Gaia provides sustainable resources in terms of wind and solar power. Gaia regenerates other resources such as plants and animals but we have never attempted to determine whether those resources are sufficient, the dominant ethos has always been driven by the need for wealth of the 1%, and the materialism they engender within their cultures. Leaders such as Al Gore have to be considered positively but he does have wealth based in mining and politics – as well as wealth from a media network and board positions in Apple and elsewhere. I have no wish to belittle his contribution but such leadership is not based on a relationship with Gaia. Like all of us in our culture he is compromised.
Mentality characterised by sufficiency or sustainability does exist within our cultures to a certain extent but those people do not have power – maybe they have some social power. My knowledge of people within the Green movement is limited, but certainly part of their mentality would be characterised by sufficiency and sustainability. But their concerns for the planet and green movement are often emotional, and there is a distinction between these people and those with the wisdom that comes with the compassion of those following the path. Again I have no wish to belittle their contribution but for such people to be lifelong warriors in the struggle for Gaia, their commitment needs to be sustainable, and I would argue that sustainability would come from the path – it would be difficult for emotion to provide a lifelong commitment (this was always described as burnout by my comrades).
Warriors like Winona Laduke have that lifelong commitment based on following her path – her relationship with the Earth. This is why I am arguing for Indigenous-led. For those people in our cultures recognising the need for making the struggle for Gaia as central to all struggle, there would be no conflict with such leadership as ego would not be an issue and the greater wisdom concerning Gaia would be recognised. And of course Winona has not been dispossessed by her culture, possession by Gaia, her relationship with Gaia, has always been integral to her culture. Her culture is not characterised by the materialism and intellectualism that has disconnected people in our cultures and left us dispossessed.
Peoples of our cultures have been dispossessed but some recognise the need to follow the path. We can pursue that beneficially teaching us the need for a relationship with Gaia. At that point we would welcome Indigenous leadership.
Winona, I can never grow my own corn; at 67 I know this. It is not my life to grow my own corn. But it is my life to say that my culture, including me, is dispossessed, and if we are not to destroy Gaia as we know it and stay alive we need indigenous help. Of course Gaia can survive without us.