A Lesson in Mass Insanity

I wonder if I will be able to finish this deck before the shit really hits the fan. Had a foretaste of this and I don’t like it. I wish humanity would just embrace change and rescue itself from the awful predicament looming on the horizon.

Things that need to change on the local level:

1. Supermarkets are evil. They rip off the consumer and the farmer and centralize the food distribution to a dangerous and wasteful degree. There needs to be more farmers markets with local produce, and more use of the most fertile land currently infested with idiotic and greedy urban sprawl. The flood plains are for growing things, not for living on. When the crisis struck people panicked and stripped the supermarkets bare of essentials. In one yuppy supermarket a fist fight broke out over bread and milk, while alternative goods like soy and rice and pasta were still in plenty on the shelves. This says to me that the insanity is more about what people believe they need, rather than what they actually need.

2. Over clearing of the land. This silts up the rivers and and makes flooding so much worse. It also creates a perfect environment, a fast and clear run for the kind of inland tsunami that proved so deadly. Not only killing people and masses of live stock and wild animals, but stripping the top soil off the food bowls of the state. You could see the topsoil in the floodwater. Here is a picture of the river water so you can see it. This topsoil is now causing terrible damage to sea life and the reef. The colour scheme of this card was inspired by this, the rich brown red volcanic soil that feeds us all, and the terrible turmoil of the flood waters.

There seems to be a kind of mass mania which desperately wants everything to return to ‘normal’ as quickly as possible. They want to be able to hide back in their delusions that the way they are living is sustainable and busyness allows them to avoid thinking. People go insane when their train tracks are removed. If they can’t manage to distract themselves with their daily routine (as was impossible when the city shut down) then they lose it. The really frightening thing is how thin a veneer this illusion of normality is, and that it’s built on a house of sand.

This country is the canary in the mine. It will be among the first to suffer from the increase in extreme weather events, because it is already so extreme and marginal. And of course the people hit hardest by this disaster are the poorest and most vulnerable. Like any Western country there is a vast gulf between the haves and the have nots. The rich will just chuck a bunch of money and misguided ‘help’ at the situation. Nothing will really change, just get much more desperate.

We are all far too addicted to our normality  to consider change.

6 responses

  1. The topsoil loss could prove the most devastating. It’s such a thin layer as it is, to lose it is massively destructive to the food chain. Parts of the world are encouraging ‘no-till’ farming methods to minimize loss of topsoil. Everytime you see a field being plowed and clouds of dust billowing behind that’s the precious topsoil blowing away.

    The food industry has done a good job convincing us we need to eat their packaged goo instead of real food. Portland, Oregon, where I live is big on local produce and farmers markets. Many of the restaurants here are supplied by local growers which is heartening. But I know we are a small island focused on sustainability, and even in our funky little town there are too many who won’t change their wasteful ways. Koyanisqaatsi, world out of balance.

    I feel like meditating on this card could almost pull things back, just a little. Maybe if we all keep at it…

    January 18, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    • Yes the soils here are already very marginal, and erosion a huge problem. Hard hoofed animals cause a lot of damage too. Really we should all be eating kangaroos instead if we want to preserve the ecosystem.

      Ah you are a Portlander! No wonder. I have another friend from Portland and she is one of the most eccentric and free spirited people I know. It must be a very good place. We have a fair number of hippies here but they tend to sensibly hide out in the bush. Most city people are totally divided from the source of their food. It seems a shame because a lot of what is now suburbia was once extremely productive market gardens. This city is built on some of the best growing land in the state.

      Oh well I am doing LOVE next…maybe that will generate some happy vibes!

      January 18, 2011 at 7:36 pm

  2. ooohhh, I can hardly wait to see that one! 😀

    January 19, 2011 at 2:13 am

  3. sumina

    Please allow me to offer a different perspective on Change: Healing Collective Insanity 101.

    1. We all need to take responsibility for what we can do to effect real change and do it. The replay button on the dialogue about what requires change and who should be doing it seems to be stuck. History has shown us time and again that real change always begins at the grass roots level. When the groundswell of support for particular change becomes the norm, real change happens – QED: the anti-apartheid movement; the Obama movement; free-range eggs mainstream; organic food generally more available; phasing out of plastic shopping bags; pro-bono legal assistance for the prosecution of animal cruelty cases, etc. Purporting to attribute blame for lack of change on particular leaders, decision-makers or groups is counterproductive and only serves to obscure the truth that we are all the decision-makers (or at least can be if we so choose).

    2. We all choose how we react to external events. We choose what to focus on: the negativity displayed by a fist fight over bread and milk or the acts of humanity displayed by people risking their own lives to save others and people dedicating a large part of their lives to caring for/rehabilitating injured wildlife. We choose how to spend our precious resource, ‘time’: complaining about what needs to be done and who hasn’t done it or looking at what we can do, what positive proactive action we can take, and doing it. Whatever we have chosen in the past does not, however, have to define the choices we make today.

    3. We have all made mistakes and most of us will probably make more in the future. A natural disaster doesn’t make us a throw away society: what we do on an everyday basis does. It is the little things which surreptitiously and incrementally create huge problems simply because these little things are done so regularly and their impact so easily dismissed. The routine discarding of pets, take-away containers, drink bottles, cigarette butts, etc. Acknowledging our own failings (insanity), not others, is the only way we can begin the process of true change: the ripple effect can not be overstated.

    4. Dysfunction/insanity is the normal collective state of humanity. Manifestations of this dysfunction/insanity sadly constitute a large part of our history. The remaining part of our history, however, and indeed our greatest achievements, have resulted from a shift in human consciousness – the recognition of our madness and awakening from the collective unconsciousness. The stark dichotomy between the realities of dire poverty and despair on the one hand and excess and waste on the other is a sad indictment on the state of the current collective unconsciousness. The survival of humanity requires us all to evolve into one unified consciousness. For this to happen, character assassinations and attribution of blame have no place; compassion and support do. We all see the world from our own archetypal perspective and can justify almost anything in the name of our archetype/s. While I prefer to avoid divisive labelling, for this exercise I have used the “haves”/ “have nots” categorisation already referred to. A “have not” (like almost everyone) does not wish to have their possessions (including the fruit of their labour or their loved ones’) stolen, yet may justify shoplifting a possession they cannot afford (perhaps clothing) on the ground that ‘society owes them for the situation they are in’. A “have” may judge and condemn the shoplifter summarily and then make a donation to a charity for “have nots” on the ground that this makes them feel they have made a ‘positive contribution to society’s problems’ (like almost everyone wishes to do). Both can be justified according to one’s particular archetype/s. But both are insane. Everything we think, do and say affects the required shift in consciousness. Ergo, does it really matter if a deck is ever finished?

    In practical terms, for me:
    1 includes using my time, knowledge and skills to help build the groundswell of support for movements to end animal cruelty (wild and domestic), to end poverty, to source produce from farmers markets where possible and supplement this with home grown vegetables.
    2 includes focusing on people who make a positive contribution to humanity and also taking proactive steps to help in ways that my knowledge and skills allow, including continually developing/expanding my knowledge and skills base
    3 includes resolving many years ago to adopt or otherwise help any animal I encounter in need, whether wildlife or a pet that has been thrown away, only to purchase pre-loved/vintage furniture, not to eat take-aways
    4 includes being conscious of everything I think, do (including eat) and say as well as working with, rather than against, the universe.

    Thank you for creating this forum.

    January 23, 2011 at 5:59 am

    • Ah I wish I could be as hopeful and positive as you are. I tend to think this mantra of change at an individual level is often used by the powers that be to shift the blame and guilt onto the populace. While I am all for people living consciously and pro actively, it seems to me that in doing so they are very much swimming against the tide, and in the fullest expression of it, they must remove themselves from society completely. This is because the core level is corrupted. Corporations profit from mass insanity, and they use every device available to them to maintain it. Governments are simply the employees of the corporations, and exist only to maintain the status quo so that the corporations can go on milking us.

      Truly to exercise choice in any matter is a privilege of the few. Only the rich can afford organic food, only those with land are able to grow anything. Everyone else is pretty much a pawn in the big game.

      My studies of history has led me to believe that change, if it is possible at all for individuals to effect, is done only over generations. So a work of art or literature may take 50 or a 100 years to seed change, and even then it probably won’t be the change it’s author intended. I am cynical it’s true! I believe real change occurs mostly through chance and necessity. As for the other stuff, the puny efforts of man kind…
      plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

      January 23, 2011 at 8:18 am

      • sumina

        While you might be cynical at times (as most of us are), I know you are inherently positive: your beautiful and inspirational art work could come from nothing less than the most positive and fertile mindset.

        And, yes, I do agree that some corporations certainly do profit from our collective insanity; generalisations just fail to recognise the many corporations leading the way in the opposite direction. Distinguishing between the ‘rich’ and ‘others’ also doesn’t acknowledge the ‘others’ (including those previously poor) who have become rich (in monetary terms) through their individual efforts and hard work. Of course, some who have made this transformation (whether for good or bad) have been given a helping hand by others including, but not necessarily limited to, the rich.

        For me, the suggestion that the mantra of change at an individual level requires people to “remove themselves from society completely” is the very antithesis of living consciously (as I understand it). Living consciously represents the paradigm for being inclusive, not exclusive. Change at a personal level is ultimately change at a community/global level: being conscious and altruistic facilitates change through the ripple effect. This is why being part of society is integral to living consciously. Ignoring the (almost) ubiquitous collective unconsciousness by distancing ourselves from it only serves to further support divisive distinctions and perpetuate the insanity.

        The more people (whatever their economic circumstances) who choose to grow and purchase organic food, the cheaper it inevitably becomes for everyone. From my experience, one also does not have to have landed property to be able to grow anything – landed pots will do just fine! I know definitions can be crucial in fully appreciating another’s arguments, and I also believe that we both agree that simply because a person owns land does not per se make them rich.

        The origin of the proverb you close with captures the point of becoming collectively conscious: Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr was observing that turbulent changes do not affect reality on a deeper level other than to cement the status quo. Although written 162 years ago (this month), the proverb recognises that for change to be real, there must be a groundswell of support for it; change cannot be forced upon us. Thus, real change is, by definition, not turbulent but gradual.

        For me, chance (or luck) is when preparation meets opportunity.

        January 25, 2011 at 5:20 am

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