Creating Conscious Communities - Our Modest Efforts are Really the Only Hope
Each day there are opportunities for resistance, liberation, freedom, creativity, engagement, and meaning.
Creating Conscious Communities - Our Modest Efforts are Really the Only Hope
By Jesse D. Palmer / news.infoshop.org

It is easy to miss these opportunities and get distracted and bogged down by day-to-day hassles -- stuck in traffic, staring at the internet, emotionally numb, confused, and feeling disconnected from anything important. There are no easy answers about how to live our lives but we all make choices about where we put our time, our energy, and our passion. While you can never guarantee the outcome, if you aren't even putting time and energy on a daily basis into some kind of alternative to the mainstream economic / cultural / political / technological system, your tomorrow is going to end up similar to your today. By contrast, as tough, frustrating and scary as it can be, putting some of your life every day into the counter-culture and alternatives to the system makes a difference -- at least in the way you experience your own life.

You can look at the discouraging state of the world with its wars, oil spills, sweatshops, global warming, and Velveeta culture, and feel lost and powerless. Very powerful corporate and government structures have devised many ways to maintain the status quo. But something has to give. We live on a finite planet -- if our lives are reduced to ever-increasing mass industrial consumption while population continues its increase, our species will push ecological systems beyond their limits and we'll suffer collapse. It may be we've already gone too far and this process is already beginning.

The powers that be are betting on a technological fix to the problem of a finite planet that won't threaten the existing power structure with its unequal distribution of power and centralized decision-making -- a way to keep living as we're living. Even if this was possible, a technological breakthrough would not address the dehumanizing way the system subordinates human needs for freedom, meaning and engagement to the needs of the system.

What we need is a cultural and political breakthrough -- a total shift in values and social structures in which human satisfaction, expression and connection with the moment, other people and the earth become more important than acquiring and consuming things and services.

Whereas a government / corporate technological fix requires funding for research in universities and corporate labs, a values breakthrough requires reviving community and creating more vibrant dialog, independent organizing outside of the system's imperatives, and an explosion of creative and visionary experimentation. Even people with a critique of the current system and a yearning for change don't yet know what a new world will look like or how we can create one. Our values and understanding is limited by the world we inhabit. Our ability to cooperate and communicate with others -- our self-knowledge and capacity for universal love --are always inadequate to the task at hand and in the process of evolving, growing and developing.

In figuring out what to do day-to-day, it can be helpful to keep in mind our most visionary goals and values and then work backwards to figure out how we can live them. People should be able to live decent lives without hurting other people and without hurting the earth. We must have freedom, meaning, excitement, opportunities to fulfill our individual potential, chances to be close to other people, and space to enjoy beauty, the natural world, and pleasure. This means we have to be safe from violence, have self-determination and have sufficient material resources to meet our needs.

Recently I've been thinking a lot about the need to keep my greater goals in mind and reverse engineer them to figure out how to negotiate a complex series of bummers at the Long Haul infoshop collective in Berkeley. Actual involvement in any human project is not like a visionary Slingshot article. Instead, it is messy, compromised, potentially discouraging and complex. Things can be ambiguous and sometimes you can't solve a problem, you can only pick the least bad option. When you get frustrated like that, you need to step back. Instead of getting stuck in each specific problem -- which could easily trap you in an endless and depressing cycle of reaction and negativity -- maybe you can figure out a way to change the level of discourse. Maybe a positive new initiative can do more good than struggling to fix an impossible knot.

At the end of the day, I would rather be engaged in a meaningful, exciting, deeply human, creative, and yet marginal, dysfunctional and struggling counter-culture than clinging to the status quo that chases absurd goals and is crumbling.

4.5 ·
5
What's Next
Trending Today
Who Are You? Watching This Breathtaking Video Could Be the Moment You Change Your Life
2 min · 27,915 views today · "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can...
How to Criticize with Kindness: Philosopher Daniel Dennett on the Four Steps to Arguing Intelligently
Maria Popova · 14,727 views today · “Just how charitable are you supposed to be when criticizing the views of an opponent?”
Welcome to Marinaleda: The Spanish Anti-Capitalist Town With Equal Wage Full Employment and $19 Housing
Jade Small · 14,588 views today · With virtually no police, crime or unemployment, meet the Spanish town described as a democratic, socialist utopia. Unemployment is non-existent in Marinaleda, an Andalusian...
When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren't Called 'Hitler'
Liam O'Ceallaigh · 14,444 views today · Take a look at this picture. Do you know who it is? Most people haven’t heard of him. But you should have. When you see his face or hear his name you should get as sick in...
10 Shocking Facts About Society That We Absurdly Accept As Normal
Joe Martino · 11,322 views today · When you take a moment and look around at the world, things can appear pretty messed up. Take 5 or 10 minutes and watch the 6 o’clock news. Chances are, the entire time, all...
Forest Man
16 min · 9,627 views today · Since the 1970's Majuli islander Jadav Payeng has been planting trees in order to save his island. To date he has single handedly planted a forest larger than Central Park NYC...
What It Really Means to Hold Space for Someone
Heather Plett · 6,816 views today · How to be there for the people who need you most
Alan Watts: What If Money Was No Object?
3 min · 5,001 views today · How do you like to spend your life? What do you desire? What if money didn't matter? What if money was no object? What would you like to do if money were no object? Spoken...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 4,930 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Caitlin Moran's Posthumous Advice for Her Daughter
Caitlin Moran · 4,649 views today · My daughter is about to turn 13 and I’ve been smoking a lot recently, and so – in the wee small hours, when my lungs feel like there’s a small mouse inside them, scratching to...
How a Trump Presidency Would Unleash a Torrent of Racist Violence-And Devastate the Left
Arun Gupta · 4,558 views today · The Left should take the Trump threat very seriously.
The International Criminal Court May Start Prosecuting People Who Commit Crimes Against the Environment
Tara Smith · 3,726 views today · The International Criminal Court is not known for prosecuting people responsible for huge oil slicks, chopping down protected rainforests or contaminating pristine land. But...
American Cartel: How America's Two Major Parties Helped Destroy Democracy
Frank Castro · 3,512 views today · Cartel: An association of manufacturers or suppliers with the purpose of maintaining prices at a high level and restricting competition.
Ten Ways We Misunderstand Children
Jan Hunt · 3,324 views today · 1. We expect children to be able to do things before they are ready. We ask an infant to keep quiet. We ask a 2-year-old to sit still. We ask a 3-year-old to clean his room...
Maya Angelou's 3-Word Secret to Living Your Best Life
3 min · 2,757 views today · Dr. Maya Angelou says that in order to be the best human being you can be, you must follow one simple directive: "Just do right." Watch as Dr. Angelou reveals how you can never...
Humanity's Greatest Challenges Aren't Technical, They're Human
8 min · 2,380 views today · Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is incomplete as we commonly know it. Later in his life, Maslow wrote about a stage beyond self-actualization. Nichol Brandford explains how to...
A Woman Who Makes This Statement Today Needs Revolutionary Courage
Sabine Lichtenfels · 2,365 views today · I want to live in a community with men and women, with children, animals and plants so that I am not continually forced to hide my actual being from the others. Perception and...
Do You Have Time to Love?
Thich Nhat Hanh · 2,261 views today · The greatest gift you can offer loved ones is your true presence.
Rap News Special Edition: Hillary Clinton Vs Donald Trump
7 min · 2,037 views today · Hello world. RAP NEWS is back for a special episode on the 2016 USA Election mayhem, feat. Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump + a touch of Jill Stein & Gary Johnson. This one's...
“You Can Have Your Weak Nominee If You Wish” – the Sanders Endorsement Backfires on Hillary Clinton, Empowers Sanders in One Masterstroke
Saib Bilaval · 2,035 views today · Ultimately, what the Sanders endorsement has proved is what the candidate was arguing from the beginning – that it was not Sanders and his campaign that was holding Hillary...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Creating Conscious Communities - Our Modest Efforts are Really the Only Hope