When the bikers and hippies that I knew along my path said, “What goes around comes around.”, it was often a reason to either throw up their hands, resigning themselves to fate or to validate their own wishes to seek revenge. Although a few realized that they were vocalizing the ancient concept of karma, even fewer understood the essential element of revolution in every aspect of our lives. One of my favorite maxims from my own scientific education is the saying that “ontology repeats phylogeny”. The development of the individual organism mirrors the development of the species. As we look at the development of human embryos, over the first month or so, we can see the origin of all of our genetic relatives, the diatoms, snails, reptiles, birds, other primates, all the way up, until we look pretty much as we do at birth. The vestigial tail remains and I have heard, in some, persists until after birth. When we begin to differentiate ourselves from the other phyla, we are still in the womb, so the ability of our species to become one with the world which we inhabit is made difficult by all of our worldly experience. Even though we seem to be brethren of all the planet’s creatures, everything we “learn” seems designed to point out the essential separation between our world and the “Animal planet”. This primal urge, to simply be, as all other creatures seem to do, having been with us since our conception has just been crowded out by extraneous and revolutionary experiences.
We experience our first revolutionary change as we flee the womb. Again, several years later, when our mothers let slip the apron strings. For many, this occurs when we go to school. With the growing popularity of homeschooling, especially for religious reasons, for better or worse, this revolution is pushed further out into near adulthood. We do need to know that our mothers will not always be there to save us from ourselves, but waiting until college to find that out has it’s own dangers. We have many opportunities to experience revolutionary change, what our modern culture lacks is the many rites of passage that confer status within our social groupings that allow stability and continuity through those revolutionary experiences.
Another realm of revolutionary change takes place at adolescence. Girls become women and boys, well, some make the change to men, while the majority remain guys. Because of their privileged place in our society, the revolution can perturb young men, allowing them to “grow up” believing in lies, as often as it allows them to sort out truth from fiction. Who we are is not as much an adaptation to the world as it is to fitting ourselves into an imaginary structure that has nothing to do with survival, the continuation of our species or our quality of life, but everything to do with continued exploitation of the individual and one’s commercial relevance. This is especially true within our capitalistic society.
We often forget that the days we are used to experiencing are the result of a continuous revolution that cannot be stopped, that of the very Earth we inhabit, yet we look upon other revolutions as if they necessarily spawn great dislocation and hardship. While they often do, they don’t have to. Discord and disharmony are most often the result of hanging on to outdated values, inefficient systems, and wealth, prestige or power. Humans are often the least likely organisms to survive revolutionary change, even when we are the causal factor in the disruption. Perhaps we too narrowly define the parameters that we think we can survive under. The vast majority of our world’s population are used to living without far more than most members of “modern society” can imagine living with less of. where you are on the spectrum depends on how easy you have had it along your particular path. What might qualify as a revolutionary change for the average American might seem to be barely noticeable from the perspective of someone from Oceania or Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” was one of the the watch-phrases of my youth. It has taken a lifetime to understand just how true that sentiment was. Unlike the concepts of Peace and Love, Tune in, Turn on, Drop out and other common ideas of the age, often said, but nearly universally misunderstood, there are no easily overlooked meanings or hidden meanings behind the words. Oddly enough, we are still seeing the results of the old world order, and continuing to have to fight for the right to make our own way in the world. The humans who have the most to lose if we allow the next revolution to come, have every interest in keeping the status quo. It is for each of us to decide the fate of the earth and the survivability of our planet that will be inhabited, hopefully, by our offspring. Remember that most of the twenty-year-olds who preached Peace and Love in the sixties are retired now. They were supposed to change the world, but it seem they have left us to fight the same fights all over again. Yuppie materialism acted on them the same way it had on their parents after WWII. The revolution that is still needed is that the logic of the children needs to make it through to adulthood. Rather than beating them over the heads and into shape with soul crushing acceptance of the world “as it is”, we need to unleash the possibility of change and encourage young people to create a world that is easier to inhabit, free from fear, pollution and war.
Now, one of the things you learn early when being brought up as a liberal in America is that one must never advocate sedition. Seriously, it is the one tool that the government has for coming down hard on agents of change. You can spend hours explaining what it is, but you must never advocate it. So, I won’t. However, the violence perpetrated upon the vast majority of our planet’s population by the continuation of an outdated world view, in my eyes, is at least as dangerous and evil as outright overthrow of a government that has been neutered by industrialists, made to be the lap dog of industry and which extracts the heaviest toll on those least equipped to fend them off so that they can heap insane rewards on the most greedy, evil and self-serving amongst us. I am quick to add that the changes that are needed are supposed to be available to us inside the current system, but as we have seen in the most recent national elections, money has gotten it’s way and the impoverished are having a hard time seeing the enemy because the delusional propaganda machine has run amok. Even the supreme court has shirked their responsibility to the public, allowing money from around the globe to flow to candidates that will help realize a new world order that rapes the planet, dehumanizes workers and foists terror upon whole populations.
As a child, I fully expected to be martyred for my beliefs in humankind. Somewhere deep in my being I realized that bullies would continue to hide behind violence, lies and stupidity, even after they were found out and exposed as agents of stupidity, violence and injustice. We cannot seem to find a way out of the circular logic that often supports dangerous policy dimensions that allow bullies to rule.
One of the most dastardly industries continuously supported by government intervention, direct tax subsidy and ineffectual “regulation” is that of nuclear energy production. Making electricity, one of the most transient and short lived energies on the planet, by the manufacture of elements that will be hazardous for many tens of thousands of years makes absolutely no sense. Poisoning twenty percent of the World’s fresh water supply (The Great Lakes) is not only short-sighted but wrong. Contaminating the air to the point of killing people who breathe it is insane on the face of it. Sterilizing soil, killing countless organisms, through the use of chemical agents is worse than raping one’s own mother. Threatening the entire world’s population with potential annihilation through the use of nuclear weapons, or through rampant ethnocentric warfare is unforgivable. How we let these processes continue in light of current scientific understanding, basic moral values and ethical considerations is beyond me.
Let us not be the last generation of our kind. Let us not go down in the history of the planet as the people who kept their foot on the gas as we approached the end of oil. Let us not sacrifice our children as grease for the wheels of commerce only to regret the direction we are headed. Let us not burden the next several thousand generations with the waste from our nuclear generating stations. Stand up for our rights, to breathe crystal clear, pure air, drink without worry from untainted streams and reap harvests down through the ages that rest on the efforts of the ancestors to provide us with a chance at self-determination and let us do what is necessary to cultivate the satisfaction of seeing our offspring delight in a better world than we inherited from our parents and grandparents.
If at all possible, come to Wisconsin this Saturday, April 23rd 2011. Walk with us to demand a nuclear-free future. We will be starting at Noon, just north of the Kewaunee nuclear power station, then heading South to Point Beach which houses two more reactors. We will be having a pot-luck picnic on the shore of Lake Michigan around three or four pm. It is as important as it was in the sixties, perhaps even more so. The fate of the Great Lakes and the millions of people who live or vacation around them depend on keeping them from becoming radioactively “hot”. The recent catastrophe in Japan only points out the need to stop heading down a path to crisis. Tens of millions have already perished because of this industry. Tens of millions more will surely perish because of the recent breach of the reactor core in Japan. Come to express your outrage, demand sanity from our elected officials and share what promises to be a beautiful Spring day in Wisconsin.