Friday, November 17, 2017

Angeles Arrien: The Bridge Between Father Sky and Mother Earth

Many native cultures believe that the heart is the bridge between Father Sky and Mother Earth. For these traditions, the 'four-chambered heart,' the source for sustaining emotional and spiritual health, is described as being full, open, clear, and strong. These traditions feel that it is important to check the condition of the four-chambered heart daily, asking: 'Am I full-hearted, open-hearted, clear-hearted, and strong-hearted?'

― Angeles Arrien

Noam Chomsky and Brandy Lee: An Excerpt From The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump and the Two Great Dangers the Human Species Face

 This post is for our children, Brian, Kevin, Matt, and Alli, and our grandchildren, Oliver and Eleanor and Carsten... with such fierce love...

This is the epilogue from The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, a profoundly important book. There are those among us who are the wise ones, the truth-tellers and teachers, the intellectuals and professionals, the storytellers and activists, the artists and poets, the younger ones and the elders who know, and the healers and the visionaries who are all courageously in this world with their eyes and hearts, their minds and souls open. They have long been illuminating what is vital to see and understand, to heal and transform in ourselves and this beautiful world we share. The urgency of our times and the enormity of the risks which face us all is clearly communicated again and again in the voices in this book. These are the voices who join with thousands of other professionals who feel it is their duty to warn, their duty to shine light on the darkness that threatens us all. This time of multiple crises illuminates both the danger and the opportunity at hand. May we know, hear, and act individually and collectively on their message. Let us heal and awaken together. ― Molly

Reaching Across Professions
Noam Chomsky, PH.D., With Brandy Lee, M.D.

The expertise that gives weight to professional opinion can also be its limitation. The benefits of knowing one area well can also blind one to the need for other perspectives. For this reason, professionals should not only speak out but speak  to one another, across disciplines. I thus reached out to linguist and philosopher-historian Dr. Noam Chomsky, because of the following: He has arrived at similar conclusions about the seriousness of the risks outlined in this book, through different methods, which can be a powerful confirmation. He has criticized Democrats as well as Republicans. As socially engaged as he has been, his contributions as a cognitive scientist have been prominent and continuous over several decades, and he remains first and foremost a scholar and a teacher. Therefore, while we do not count him among the twenty-seven mental health experts who have contributed to the opinions of this volume, we respect him as another professional with whom we can begin a conversation. IN response, he offered to edit excerpts of some of his past interviews in service of this epilogue.  
― Brandy Lee


It is pretty clear what is responsible for the rise of the support for Trump, and there is general agreement about it. If you take a simple look at economic statistics, much of the support for Trump is coming from mostly while, working-class people who have been cast by the wayside during the neoliberal period. They have lived through a generation of stagnation or decline ― real make wages are about where they were in the 1960's. There has also been a decline in a functioning democracy, overwhelming evidence that their own elected officials barely reflect their interests and concerns. Contempt for institutions, especially Congress, has just skyrocketed. Meanwhile, there has of course been wealth created. It has gone into very few hands: mostly into a fraction of the top one percent, so there is enormous opulence.

There are two huge dangers that the human species face. We are in a situation where we need to decide whether the species survives in any decent form. One is the rising danger of nuclear war, which is quite serious, and the other is environmental catastrophe. Trump wants to virtually eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency, Richard Nixon's legacy, to cut back regulations, and race toward the precipice as quickly as possible. On militarism, he wants to raise the military budget, already over half of discretionary spending, leading right now to confrontations which could be extremely hazardous.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists regularly brings together a group of scientists, political analysts, other serious people, to try to give some kind of estimate of what the situation of the world is. The question is: How close are we to termination of the species? And they have a clock, the Doomsday Clock. When it hits midnight, we are finished. End of the human species and much else. And the question every year is: How far is the minute hand from midnight?

At the beginning, in 1947, the beginning of the nuclear age, it was placed at seven minutes to midnight. It has been moving up and back every since. The closest it has come to midnight was 1953. In 1953, the United States and Russia both exploded hydrogen bombs, which are an extremely serious threat to survival. Intercontinental ballistic missiles were all being developed. This, in fact, was the first serious threat to the security of the United States. Then, it came to two minutes to midnight. And it has been moving up and back since.

In 2014, the analysts took into account for the first  time something that had been ignored: the fact that the nuclear age ― the beginning of the nuclear age
― coincided with the beginning of a new geological epoch, the so-called Anthropocene. There has been some debate about the epoch in which human activity is drastically affecting the general environment; there has been debate about its inception. But the World Geological Organization is settling on the conclusion that it is about the same time as the beginning of the nuclear age. So, we are in these two eras in which the possibility of human survival is very much at stake, and, with us, everything else, too, of course, all living ― most living things, which are already under very severe threat. Well, a couple of years ago, the Bulletin began to take that into account and moved the minute hand up to three minutes to midnight, where it remained last year.

About a week into Trump's term, the clock was moved again, to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight. That is the closest it has been since 1953. And that means extermination of the species is very much an open question. I do not want to say it is solely the impact of the Republican Party ― obviously, that is false ― but they certainly are in the lead in openly advocating and working for destruction of the human species. I agree that it is a very outrageous statement, but extreme dynamics are behind it, and we are all responsible.

Sooner or later the white working-class constituency will recognize, and in fact, much of the rural population will come to recognize, that the promises are build on sand. There is nothing there.

And then what happens become significant. In order to maintain his popularity, the Trump administration will have to try to find some means of rallying the support and changing the discourse from the policies that they are carrying out, which are basically a wrecking ball, to something else. Maybe scapegoating, saying, "Well, I'm sorry, I can't bring your jobs back because these bad people are preventing it." And the typical scapegoating goes to vulnerable people: immigrants, "terrorists," Muslims, and elitists, whoever it may be. And that can turn out to be very ugly.

I think that we should not put aside the possibility that there would be some kind of staged or alleged terrorist act, which can change the country instantly.

In the United States, power is overwhelmingly and increasingly in the hands of a very narrow sector of corporate wealth, private wealth, and power and they have counterparts elsewhere, who agree with them and interact with them partly. There is another dimension of "who rules the world." The public can have, sometimes does have, enormous power. We can go back to David Hume's first major modern work on political philosophy: On the First Principles of Government. He pointed out that force is on the side of the governed. Those who are governed have the force if they are willing to and eager to recognize the possibility to exercise it. Sometimes they do.
 ― Noam Chomsky


Perhaps the movements we have been witnessing, starting with the Women's March on the day after the inauguration, represent the force within humankind that resists annihilation and gropes toward health and survival. Like Dr. Chomsky, who has worked tirelessly to inform and engage the public, we as mental health professionals and healers should welcome and assist any action in this direction, regardless of political attribution.
― Brandy Lee

From The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump:
27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President


Kumi Naidoo: The Biggest and Most Vital Struggle

Blessed are the courageous truth-tellers! Blessed are those who illuminate the madness of the suicidal path we are on and who say NO MORE! Blessed are those who shake us awake and say NOW IS THE TIME TO ACT INDIVIDUALLY AND TOGETHER TO SAVE OURSELVES AND OUR CHILDREN AND ALL THE CHILDREN OF ALL THE SPECIES ALIVE TODAY AND ON INTO COUNTLESS GENERATIONS IN THE FUTURE. NOW IS THE TIME! ― Molly

The struggle to avert catastrophic climate change is bigger than all the other struggles, whether it is slavery, democracy struggles, the woman's right to vote, and so on I would argue that if what is at stake is securing life as we know it, then there can be no bigger struggle that we face.
Investing one cent more in oil, coal and gas is investing in the death of society, and the in the death of our children.
Struggles only move forward when decent men and women step forward and say, 'enough is enough and no more.'
Currently, we allow our political and business leaders to get away with murder. Now is the time to change that. We need direct liability for those who are destroying our future and this planet. We need fast, profound and systemic change. History only moves forward when courageous people get up and act. That's why I support this citizens' initiative to recognise ecocide as the crime it is.
My final advice for young people is to not wait for leadership from adult politicians. Step forward today, because our current leaders are denying the dire reality we are facing. Leadership can come from anywhere.

 ― Kumi Naidoo


Thích Nhất Hạnh: What We Most Need To Do To Save Our World

What do we most need to do to save our world? 
What we most need to do is to hear within us 
the sounds of the Earth crying.

Thích Nhất Hạnh

Over 15,000 Scientists Just Issued a 'Second Notice' to Humanity. Can We Listen Now?

This is a vital message for us all.
May we listen. May we wake up. Now.
― Molly

"Humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperiled biosphere," over 15,000 scientists warned in a letter published Monday.
Reassessing warning issued 25 years ago, the "second notice" 
to humanity warns of "widespread misery and catastrophic 
biodiversity loss" unless business-as-usual is upended
Over 15,000 scientists hailing from more than 180 countries just issued a dire warning to humanity:
"Time is running out" to stop business as usual, as threats from rising greenhouse gases to biodiversity loss are pushing the biosphere to the brink.
The new warning was published Monday in the international journal BioScience, and marks an update to the "World Scientists' Warning to Humanity" issued by nearly 1,700 leading scientists 25 years ago.
The 1992 plea, which said Earth was on track to be "irretrievably mutilated" baring "fundamental change," however, was largely unheeded.
"Some people might be tempted to dismiss this evidence and think we are just being alarmist," said William Ripple, distinguished professor in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, and lead author of the new warning. "Scientists are in the business of analyzing data and looking at the long-term consequences. Those who signed this second warning aren't just raising a false alarm. They are acknowledging the obvious signs that we are heading down an unsustainable path."
The new statement—a "Second Notice" to humanity—does acknowledge that there have been some positive steps forward, such as the drop in ozone depleters and advancements in reducing hunger since the 1992 warning. But, by and large, humanity has done a horrible job of making progress. In fact, key environmental threats that demanded urgent attention a quarter of a century ago are even worse now.
Among the "especially troubling" trends, they write, are rising greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, agricultural production, and the sixth mass extinction event underway.
Taking a numerical look at how some of the threats have grown since 1992, the scientists note that there's been a 26.1 percent loss in fresh water available per capita; a 75.3 percent increase in the number of "dead zones";  a 62.1 percent increase in CO2 emissions per year; and 35.5 percent rise in the human population.
"By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperiled biosphere," they write.
Among the steps that could be taken to prevent catastrophe are promoting plant-based diets; reducing wealth inequality, stopping conversions of forests and grasslands; government interventions to rein in biodiversity loss via poaching and illicit trade; and "massively adopting renewable energy sources" while phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.
Taking such actions, they conclude, are necessary to avert "widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss."
"Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out. "
The goal of the paper, said Ripple, is to "ignite a wide-spread public debate about the global environment and climate."