A Most Dangerous Assumption

 “… it was amazing how many people thought money could buy them exception from the laws of nature.”  S. M. Stirling, Dies the Fire, 2004, p. 5.

This is the grave mistake we make as a western culture, particularly as an American culture. We assume, because we have so much money and have been privileged for so long, we can get away with being predators of our own home.

Nature has a way of dealing with parasites who overstep their bounds.  Since the beginning of time she has countered threats to her balance. All-powerful, she is poised to reduce the threat from our brilliant but rapacious species. We, in our arrogant adolescence, have placed our species in grave danger of becoming a failed experiment.

The Elder’s Prayer

The Elder’s Prayer

All is Change

I Don’t Mind Whatever Happens

This Too Shall Pass

 

All is Connected

What Seems Separate is but Distinction

All is God – Consciousness, Energy, Love

 

I am Whole and Complete

I am All

All is Well

Re-Thinking Your Mission Statement

“Stop it!   You are not here to speak of whether to give to the begging children. You are here to end hunger on the planet. Shift your thinking!”

In that small room in Chennai with other activists from all over the world, and from those words by The Hunger Project president of India, Lalita Banavali, my view of life altered forever. Think globally.

I brought this thinking as I was initiated into the Elders group of The Mankind Project of southern Oregon. And I brought this thinking to the planning session the following Sunday as Michael moderated the creation of our new Mission and Vision Statement.

I believe in the “Think Globally  Act Locally” bumper sticker. And that the Mission Statement of every group of concerned citizens should contain a “Think Globally” statement at its core.

If such a statement is not at the core of a group, I believe that no matter the good it accomplishes, that will have little  impact other than to have the members feel better about themselves. This is good of course, but not impactful.

Such a result might have been sufficient in a different world, one where our population was small and our ecosystems thrived. Useful in a world when we had a series of problems to be solved. Then small groups might have had an impact. Now a local group with merely local thinking can only have a local impact

We no longer have that good and simple world. Now we have a world that is out of control, one that has been described as having run off the cliff in the same way Wile E. Coyote runs off the cartoon cliff and pumps his legs in mid-air for a bit before looking down. And then crashes.

We no longer have a world with problems-to-be-solved, as every activist group assumes, wants and hopes … and often deludes itself that such is true. It is not true. Our worldwide issues are so large and so intertwined that they are like a house of cards. Remove one base card and it all falls. So too our world. Instead of a problem-solution world, we live in a predicament. And predicaments, by their very nature, cannot be solved. They just are.

Two of the simplest ways we can speak this predicament:  If every person in the world were to continue to live their present lifestyle, unchanged, it would take 1.5 earths to sustain those lifestyles. We have one earth. This one is even more informative:   If everyone in the world lived a lifestyle like you and me, average Americans, it would take five earths to sustain itself. We have one earth.

Humanity cannot live this way much longer. We have crossed the point of no return.

We delude ourselves daily and interminably with these two bottom-line beliefs, both wrong. “Business-as-usual”.“Progress at All Costs.”  With these driving us, mostly unconsciously, we are killing the planet. We are tearing up our very nest with our hubris. We assume that we can devastate our beautiful blue and green planet without repercussions. Worse, these are not just something we believe, these are our contexts for life. These are where we ‘come from’… in our day-to-day lives.

We simply assume next Monday will be like last Monday. One week it will not be so. Next Monday will be a horror of unimaginable events.

We humans are facing a future of unimaginable death, famine and suffering. We are facing a future whereby our lives-as-we- have-known-them will be altered forever, most of us dying long before we hoped and dreamed. There are terms for this scenario, this most-probably unavoidable scenario  ̶  “The Long Emergency”, “The Crunch”  and “The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI)”

Put another way, we are in a crisis, long aborning and soon to climax. Perhaps in ten years:  perhaps this year. It matters not what the trigger is – EMP, terrorist attack, economic breakdown, global warming … there are so many possible. The result will be economic disintegration and a resultant loss of electrical power for decades. With that loss of electrical power comes the loss of transportation, communication, and with those will come loss of food supply and water supply. This crisis is likely to have the outcome of the loss of perhaps 95% of our population, perhaps all of us who are not family farmers or  not indigenous tribal members. With neither drinking water nor food coming transported the cities and suburbs means their inhabitants will most likely die in place. Water and food refugees will flood the countryside in desparate survival-search. And find nothing but early death.

Yet, in the face of this horror, never before experienced by humans, there is a bright spot… if we can stand far enough above.

Humanity… as a species will survive. We humans are almost infinitely adaptable and can survive in the coldest and the hottest temperature and can eat almost anything. And this statistic is also good news, at least from that dispassionate view:  if only one in a million of us survive, that still leaves 750 individuals. If many are young girls, young women, that means a few hundred Eves to re-establish human beings as a species. This may be sufficient.

Let us step even further and look at a cosmic law that also is in play:  “Transformation is Preceded by Crisis.”  I believe in this law as inexorable. Barbara Marx Hubbard has extensively written how this law applies at all levels, from atoms to molecules, to simple organisms and, ultimately to all levels of life,  perhaps to the entire cosmos. Certainly it applies to the human species and to all our endeavors. Another way to say it is, “Things have to get worse before they can get better.”

In our instance, we live inside a worldview of You OR Me, an immature worldview   based on the twin assumptions that there are shortages and that we are not connected.  We have evolved (some would say devolved) from the natural world of You AND Me so far that we are at the end of this era of You OR Me. The pendulum of change is at its extreme  ̶  discord, strife, war, exploitation of other humans and of the planet itself. Coupled with denial, we are smashing against the wall of self-destruction.

What will be on the other side of this abyss?   What will be transformed?  It is my fondest hope (ah, may it not be mere hopium) that humanity will be wiser. With that worldwide holocaust in our immediate history, perhaps we will have learned. Perhaps we will create a world that works for everyone with no one left out… that  mature world of You AND Me that we now refer to as  Heaven or Nirvana or Utopia.

So, if all that be true… or at least is a possible story with significant usefulness, then what must be the Mission, what must be the Vision of an organization on this side of the abyss that takes this all into account?

It seems to me, and possibly to others, that any mission statement must, firstly, take such a crisis-future and a transformed-distant-future into account. Secondly, it musttake actions now, right now, whose results might be available to those generations “on the other side”  who, looking back, can find the seeds to  plant in their midst, seeds which provide the basic precepts of a You AND Me worldview, seeds of a great life for all, seeds for a sustainable life on our planet.

What, then, are the roles of such benevolent organizations?  (I like to call them Seymour Conspiracies… organizations who are co-conspirators to do the world good, named after Seymour Glass, a character in a short story written in 1948 by J.D. Salinger, “A Perfect Day for Bananafish” who is shell-shocked and firmly believes that the world is conspiring to do him good.)

I believe this is, at its core, an issue in the realm of beingness. It is not so much a question of doing, though doingness flows from the first.  Thisglobal issue raises both a personal and an organizational set of questions  ̶   “How do I be in the face of chaos?”  “How do WE be with each other and those outside the organization?”   It is, at its heart, a question of service, for a Seymour Conspiracy is in service to the greater good. And that greater good, no matter the horrendous circumstances, is for the world on the other side of the abyss, perhaps that transformed world of You AND me.

So what group of us is most valuable to serve?   Who of us is most necessary for humanity’s future? Who must survive?

I wonder if that group we must endeavor to serve, that group that needs the greatest protection, that group which offers the most promise for transformation … is the young girls. For these will be the originators of our new world, our most precious and necessary members. They will be our Eves.

And perhaps our present groups must also consider offering great protection to those who protect and teach the young girls. These would appear to be the strong young men, our warriors of protection. And also offer great protection to that group of wise older women, once revered as Crones, who both teach the young and who carry profound spiritual and survival teachings from this side of the abyss to that distant place.

So let us consider creating Mission Statements and Vision Statements that are larger than our day-to-day world, that are larger than our You OR Me worldview. Let us have Mission and Vision Statements that are worthy of our greatest honor, of our greatest aspirations for ourselves and for our species itself.

And let us co-create vision statements that are worthy of God, the God that is without and the God that is within.

Relationship as a Laboratory

 

 

“When two people get together, they bring all their incompletions from previous relationships. They also bring all that is incomplete within themselves.

The new relationship is a laboratory. Knowing this will make no difference unless you work with what you brought that does not work. This is what it takes to grow as a couple.”

 

Elder Alex Ferranti

Human Extinction is Not Possible

HUMAN EXTINCTION IS NOT POSSIBLE

A Thought Experiment

Harvey W Austin, MD

Consider that human extinction is impossible ― as long as any biologic life exists on earth.

Humans are so adaptable that, as long as biologic life remains ―  in any form whatsoever―  humans will survive as a species. Adaptability is perhaps our most prominent trait. Humans can live from the coldest to the hottest climes, from the driest to the wettest. We can live underground, in the trees, in caves, in the mountains and on the plains. We can eat anything from algae to elephants.

It will not take many of us to survive, merely a few hundred breeding pairs. That’s all it took last time, scientists tell us. If Life itself survives so then will human beings. Perhaps a more appropriate name for us than Homo sapiens sapiens might be Homo adaptans.

Let’s play a simple numbers game.

 Question:  How many people would have to survive a global holocaust to match the size of the group ― the source of us all ― that survived the last ice age.*

While no one knows the actual size, science’s best guess is “a few hundred.”  To make the math easy, let’s say it might take 350 breeding pairs. Perhaps fewer if all lived in the neighborhood. (Way more than enough: technically it requires but one.) If scattered, a total earth population of 350 couples could repopulate the earth from a few hundred  locations around the globe.

Our 2016 world population is 7,400,000,000 (7.4 billion).

If we lost 90% in a holocaust, 740 million would remain, roughly the population of the world in 1750, 250 years ago.

If we were to lose 99%, we would still have 74,000,000.

If 99.9% = 7,400,000

99.99% = 740,000

99.999% = 74, 000

99.9999% = 7400

99.99999% = 740 human beings survive ― 370 couples.

CONCLUSIONIf only one in ten million of us survived, humans would still have 370 breeding pairs ― 370 “Eves” ― more than enough mothers for our species to survive, evolve and thrive.

Next time, assuming the Phoenix of humanity will again rise from the flames, perhaps we shall evolve into our Elderhood without lingering so long  in our dangerous adolescent stage.

 

* In human geneticsMitochondrial Eve is the matrilineal most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of all currently living humans. This is the most recent woman from whom all living humans today descend, in an unbroken line, on their mother’s side … back until all lines converge on one woman, who is estimated to have lived approximately 100,000–200,000 years ago.             Wikipedia.

Ten Tipping Points to Elderhood


Evolve into Elderhood:
How to Know You Are on the Path

(Ten Tipping Points)

Harvey W. Austin, MD

 

 ‘Tis a far far better thing to do

Than remain adult your most life through

Become an Elder along with me

The Best of life is yet to be.

 

The importance of Elderhood as an influential period of life is widely overlooked. Let’s swing wide and look at Elderhood a little differently:

  1. The Broad View

 

Our masculine-focused worldwide worldview has maxed out. The pendulum has swung as far as possible and our worldview has hit its masculine maximum. Now the swing is back toward the feminine. Another way of speaking is that an evolutionary shift is occurring from the masculine You OR Me worldview to our inherent feminine You AND Me worldview.

 

  1. We Are All Female: At the Beginning and at the End

 

There also seems to be a pendular quality in the life-long development (ontogeny) of a human being. Carole Kammen, co-founder of The Pathways Institute Mystery School, suggested thirty years ago that the individual’s natural biologic state is female. The early fetus is female and the male genitalia do not develop until later in fetal life. For the male, a rugged maleness continues throughout the childhood and adulthood stages.

 

In the Elder stage, however, there is a subtle but definite reversion to the default female state, both physically and psychically. The rugged form of the male adult tends to feminize, becoming softer with a protruding belly and saggy breasts. Psychically, as the Elder male slows down, he becomes more compassionate, wiser, and more interested in taking care of others. Typically, he is easier to be around.

 

This view says that we begin as females. For half of us the pendulum swings to male.  As we approach the last third of our lives, the pendulum swings back. If we allow it.

 

Adulthood Everlasting

The critical transition from adult to Elder occurred naturally in indigenous tribes. In our culture this transition has been aborted. Our present cult of “Adulthood Triumphant to the End!” has stunted the growth of our natural and unique Third Stage of life. To become an Elder now, in the milieu of a cross-cultural loss of both tribe and family, occurs only as a deliberate creative process for both men and women.

As a result of the patriarchy and of rampant ageism, the natural wisdom and compassion of Elders has been lost to our modern culture. We have retained neither an appreciation for the wisdom of Elders, nor a gratefulness for their compassion. This loss has contributed to the threatening global issues we now face.

Elderhood is critical to our species. It defines us as a species and it shapes our pathway into the future. The loss of family as our Elder-training-ground has left a gap in our individual development and in the evolution of our species. We may have devolved.

There is a dearth of training settings for those who choose to become an Elder. We do not have a method for identifying those of us who have, against odds, managed to evolve into Elderhood. Nor have we had a way of assessing our own paths.

 

Ten Tipping Points

Are you just getting older? Or are you evolving into Elderhood?  You can use these ten Tipping Points into Elderhood to determine where you are upon the path.

  1. A shift from Doing and Having to Being.
  2. A shift from Getting to Giving.
  3. A shift to from Fragmentation to Integrity.
  4. A shift from I to We.
  5. A shift from Judgment to Compassion.
  6. A shift from Self-centeredness to Other-centeredness.
  7. A shift from Contracting to Expanding.
  8. A shift from Debate to Inquiry.
  9. A shift from Needing acknowledgement to Giving acknowledgement.
  10. A shift from Changing to Allowing.

 

Consider also the following transformations that occur with Elderhood.

 

  1. An enlargement of time-frame focus from the immediacy of minutes, hours or days to a matter of years, decades or epochs.
  2. A shift from the day-to-day focus to legacy-thinking.
  3. A shift from working on ourselves as individuals to focusing on a larger self.
  4. A shift from the content to the context: a shift from subset to supraset.
  5. A shift from atheism and/or religiosity to spirituality.
  6. A shift from speaking to listening.
  7. A shift from fixing and helping to serving.
  8. A shift in default state from the automatic NO to a willingness to say YES.
  9. A shift from the fear of death to acceptance.
  10. A shift from safety to daring.
  11. A shift from the particular to the general.
  12. A shift from disapproval to approval.
  13. A shift into true humor and irony.
  14. A shift from pessimism to optimism.
  15. A shift from seriousness to a lightness of being.

 

 

Elderhood is an idea whose time has returned. Come be an Elder along with me ― the best is yet to be. Remember that Elder is not an age of life. It is a stage of life.

Live it.

Love it.

 

 

Harvey W. Austin, MD

Author,

Elders Rock!

 Don’t Just Get Older:

 Become an Elder

HarveyWAustin@Yahoo.com

www.EldersRock.com

 Comments invited.

Creative Commons.

Utilize at will,

 preferably with attribution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Our Elders Rock! Group has found this essay to be the core curriculum for our meetings.  It covers all the bases and we need no other agenda for our ever-expanding and enthusiastic discussions”

 

Dr. Arleen Bump, Senior Pastor

Center for Spiritual Living, Fort Lauderdale

Former President

International Centers for Spiritual Living

 

First BlogSpot Interview Was Terrific!

I was just interviewed by a delightful licensed psychotherapist, James Miller, on BlogTalk Radio.

The show’s title is, Celebrating Your Life as You Age:  Become an Elder.  It is my first interview since Amazon listed Elders Rock! in hard copy.  The both of us had great fun and I sound like an exuberant youth on a mission ― full of fire.

Please click on my Speaker Page http://speaker.eldersrock.com.   It’s 25 minutes long and quite dynamic. (You can skip the first two minutes of commercial.