Category Archives: Era Change

Paradigm of Presumed Safety

We live in a paradigm of presumed safety. We believe that modern, highly developed (economically) societies are, or at least aught to be, inherently safe places to live. Towards the realization of this belief, we have air bags, airport security checks, and foam pads on ski lift uprights.

When I first saw those foam pads appear years ago, I had to laugh. I thought, are we really trying to make it safe to ski into a metal column? What if you ski off the trail and hit a tree, will we put foam pads on them all? Years later, as this false paradigm is making its way into my favorite family camp, I’ve started to cry. We are becoming more and more impoverished by the belief that life should be safe.

Like life, downhill skiing is inherently dangerous. This is actually part of the attraction: the thrill of speeding down hill on two little boards comes from knowing that if you lose control, you could run into a tree and die. I’d like our camp, and eventually our society, to recognize the value of calculated risks in life, like many downhill skiers do in their sport. Life is inherently dangerous, which is actually good! Some degree of danger is part of what makes life such a rich experience.

I’m not against air bags, or other safety enhancing devices and rules, for which the costs are appropriately balanced with the benefits. I always wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle and my life jacket when I kayak. These increase my safety at a very reasonable cost: the devices don’t significantly reduce the enjoyment of the activities, nor do they cost much money to purchase. So I don’t disagree with mandatory helmet or seat belt laws. The benefits are high in relationship to the costs.

My camp now has a rule, quite common in daycare settings, to proactively eliminate opportunities for sexual abuse. No adult councilor is allowed to ever be alone with a child. I’m quite aware of the terrible consequences of sexual abuse, but I also highly value caring, generous relationships between people of all ages. This is an important aspect of high quality childcare! These relationships are based on trust and yes, that trust entails risk. Some examples of the costs of this rule have already presented themselves.

Yesterday I was working in Alphas with Neily and 4 children, ages 4 & 5. Three of the children wanted to do some gymnastics with Kim and the other did not. So I conferred with Neily and we agreed she would take the gymnastics kids and I’d stay with the other. The camper and I brainstormed a bit and decided to take a walk around our beautiful camp facility. As we came out of the building, she reached up to hold my hand as we walked. I could tell that this felt like “special time” to her and I was grateful for the opportunity. We wandered briefly and came upon an empty hammock.

We were not tired, but the hammock still looked pretty inviting. I told her I had not even used a hammock yet that week. I laid cross-ways in the hammock and she joined me a foot away, as we started to rock it side-to-side. This was a change of plan, if we did not get up to resume our walk, but spontaneity and flexibility are one of the benefits of one-on-one time, especially when one is an adult who’s job it is to cater to the other’s needs. So I went with the flow. At the time I did not realize that the rule applied to outdoor, public spaces as well as secluded ones. I’ve had this kind of interaction with kids at camp every year since I started coming in 2000 and it felt natural and safe to me. Until Veronica spotted us.

She came over and asked if we were okay and reminded me of the rule. She told me, right in front of the camper, that I was not supposed to be alone with her. I responded in my defense and we started to discuss the situation, rule and how I was supposed to behave when I realized that the conversation was best deferred to a time when it could be discussed without campers present. I asked Veronica if we could please continue the discussion at another time. Now I know. The rule does not just apply to enclosed spaces like bathrooms. It applies to anywhere on campus. To correctly respond to the situation, I should have invited another adult, or perhaps an older camper, to join us on our walk. This rule has a very high price!

Extraverts relate well with people in groups. On the other hand, the introverts among us require one-on-one time to really get to know another person. Many toddlers start out their childcare experience fearful of leaving their mom & dad and safety of their homes, introverts and extraverts alike. Can we serve the introverts well within the confines of this rule? As we implement and honor this rule, do we feel love or fear?

The next day, after Veronica reminded us in our staff meeting about the no one-on-one and the no photographs by staff rules, Connor tried to soften the mood by restating that the week had been going very well with no parent complaints. I really appreciate his effort, but these rules are so counter to our camp culture that his affirmation did little to appease my displeasure! I suspect others may have felt the same. While these rules may not be unusual in many day care settings, they just feel uncomfortable here.

Let’s imagine that the camper I was walking and resting with in the hammock is an introvert. I don’t know her well enough from a few days to know, but the hand holding when we were one-on-one, which had not happened in a group setting, is evidence in that direction. If I’d known the full extent of the rule, this young person would have missed out on an important opportunity to connect with me on a one-on-one basis, to grow in trust and love. An opportunity to feel special, because I was willing to spend that time with her when the opportunity arose, would have been lost. Instead, she would have heard me make a request to another person to join our walk. If that person refused for any reason, I would have had to request another, and another. Soon she would know for sure that I just did not want to take that walk just with her. I might have been motivated to actually tell her the rule. To me, admitting the rule to an Alpha would feel like a betrayal of our camp culture.

Since the beginning, camp has been a counter cultural haven for people that want to live richer, healthier lives. We hope that the experience of the loving, cooperative environment we create will carry into the rest of the year, creating ripple effects to strengthen our wider communities.

So I don’t buy that we have to go along with these high priced rules just because they are becoming common place in our fear-based, mainstream culture of presumed safety. We can do better. Lets not throw the baby out with the bath water!

Crash Course and Sacred Economics

I originally posted this on wordpress.com before I decided to serve this blog on my own site.

I’ve read and highly recommend the book “Sacred Economics” by Charles Eisenstein. It is available free from his website. Now I’ve taken the Crash Course (CC) (also free) by Chris Martenson. This post will reflect on the intersection and differences between these two important “era change” resources.

In Crash Course chapter (CCC) 12 “Debt”, Martenson states that debt that generates additional prosperity is “okay” or good debt, as compared to debt that pays for consumables like bombs. This is an important difference from Eisenstein, who states that there is no such thing as a socially conscious interest gaining investment. The problem with any expansion of money, is that it all engenders taking “something” that we have been doing or getting for “free” via our community interactions, and creating products / services that cost money to take their place. The easy example is music for entertainment. Before the pressure of exponential money growth helped to inspire the invention of the phonograph, people had to entertain themselves and their communities with live music. Just about everyone sang and many played musical instruments of some kind in the process. Now that we can easily obtain and listen to recordings of the best musicians in the world, only a small percentage of our modern culture considers themselves a “singer.” The cost of these recordings has become very low in terms of the money we have to spend. In terms of the loss to the health of our communities, it is very high!

Given this view, Martenson’s Key Concept #6: “Debt is a claim on future human labor” becomes “Debt is a claim on future human labor and destruction of our communities.” The phrase “our communities” in this concept includes our natural environment.

“An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics” Greek philosopher Plutarch. A quote from the CCC 13 “A National Failure to Save” worth remembering, even though I know next to nothing about the author!

In CCC 14 “Assets & Demographics”, an asset is defined in terms of money. Items convertible into cash. Eisenstein discusses other, more important kinds of assets which we have lost as we have grown our money economies. It is these non-monetary assets that we must strengthen for civilization to survive the coming decades. For me, watching the CC is reinforcing this belief!

In CCC 15 “Bubbles” Martenson states that people have not changed and implies that they will not going forward. Eisenstein’s optimism rests on the view that we are changing our fundamental view of who we are from separate individuals (that caused and burst past economic bubbles) to parts of a unified whole. “Human nature” itself is a moving target, thank God!

At the end of CCC 15, Martenson states that conventional investments of stocks, low grade bonds and real estate are all likely to go down in value in the coming years.

CCC 16 “Fuzzy Numbers” is most illuminating. The economic indicators published by the US government have become stilted enough to be seen as propaganda! “The measure of inflation (used by the Federal Government) no longer measures the cost of living, but the cost of survival!” Hedonics is one of three mechanisms used to calculate inflation. It decreases the cost of a product used in the inflation calculation, whenever the features have been enhanced as compared to the previous model. Evidently the time saving features will save us money as well somehow. I guess that is true, if you use the time saved to take another part time job, which many people have done.! Hedonics are used to adjust prices on 46% of the consumer price index (CPI)! These calculations are based on the old value system, which we must change in the transition to the new era. Another example fact: 35% of the government reported gross domestic product (GDP) figures do not represent actual money exchanges.

At this point, if I was to recommend you watch just one of the CC chapters, it would be 16. I had heard bits and pieces of this information before but it is important to understand the magnitude of the propaganda coming out of Washington and when each major mechanism of deception was adopted shows that this is a bi-partisan tendency!

In CCC 17b “Energy Budgeting”, he introduces key concept #14: Social complexity is built upon surplus energy. The examples he uses of this complexity are highly specialized jobs and a myriad of products. When taken with Eisenstein’s emphasis of modern “progress” destroying our social and communal capital, the reduction or elimination of surplus energy could actually start a trend to celebrate! Chris assumes the technological complexity of the modern era is desirable, whereas Charles does not. Martenson has no charts or discussion about the social costs associated with the “Ascent of Humanity.” (another of Eisenstein’s books)

All true “progress” reflects a raise in the collective consciousness of humanity. To the extent that comfortable modern lifestyles provide opportunities for spiritual practices, the social complexity of our society has had “true” value. I don’t know how to estimate or measure that extent.

A recurring theme in Eisenstein’s books has humanity making the identity shift from separate to unified beings. He believes that we will renounce the old identifications of separation as the economic and social structures that they engender fail. I don’t know how he comes to this belief. Will more of us make the shift to identification as all because of said failures? Or is he just reporting a trend he sees happening in spite of the physical and culture shift challenges that we are starting to feel as the multiple measures of exponential change run up against their respective limits?

For my part, I think the economic, environmental and energy crises we face could, at least for some people, make it more challenging to raise their consciousness and start to identify with unity. This could add a negative growth factor to the naturally reinforcing system of collective consciousness. On the other hand, the physical hardships caused by these crises will provide huge opportunities for compassionate, selfless people to inspire the less fortunate with their service! They will show by their actions the power of their faith. Will demonstrate the grace and joy that faith provides in their lives. This could in turn allow the crises of our transition to propel us into the new era all the more rapidly! Maybe this is at least part of Eisenstein’s vision.

In summary, the crash course is a valuable resource for analyzing and understanding the magnitude of our crises, in mainstream terms and paradigms. Martenson’s world and self views as represented in the course are consistent with those that got us into this situation in the first place: “We are a collection of separate humans who rightly view and use the rest of the world as natural resources for our consumption.” In other words, from the perspective that Eisenstein calls the “program of control” that started with the age of agriculture. This course is a good place for mainstream people to get a serious dose of our out-of-control economic and natural resource realities. It is not a good resource for inspiring a change in your definition of self /world view. The actions he suggests largely stem from this old world view that created the problems in the first place. The idea of strengthening your communities and the possibility of the end of credit based money are mentioned as footnotes.

I think both the Crash Course and Sacred Economics are important sources of information and ideas for our time. But even when taken together the story is incomplete.

I believe that the world is the physical manifestation of our collective consciousness (spiritual energy levels) and karma. Thus everything in creation, which is a continuous process that is happening in every moment, results from our collective spiritual progress. This spiritual progress is the systemically reinforcing, exponential growth trend that is not addressed in either Martenson or Eisenstein’s work. Thus I feel some important questions are:

  • How do people make the paradigm shift of self from separateness to unity? Can they simply come to believe this on faith, or must they also feel it as a result of their own practices and experiences? If both are needed at some level, how helpful to era change is a largely un-felt, faith based belief in unity?
  • How will the physically traumatic events that are likely in the near future impact the collective consciousness of humanity?
  • What factors will deter some people from to starting or continuing spiritual practices, when the physical challenges posed by era change manifest?
  • What factors will enable some people to start or enhance their spiritual practices in response to these challenges?
  • How can we each prepare ourselves to see physically traumatic events as opportunities to accelerate our own and others level of consciousness?
  • How can we inspire more people to pursue (or enhance their) spiritual practices?

Of the two resources cited here, Eisenstein’s work provides more ideas and information to find possible answers to these questions. I hope to find more helpful resources and explore some of these questions in future posts.

Please ask questions and comment on this material. If you have not already, check out the course and the book!

In faith,
David Gaia Kano

Starting a new chapter in my life

I originally posted this on wordpress.com before I decided to serve this blog on my own site.
I am moved to devote myself to serving “others.” The quotes are needed because we are a part of a unified whole.
I see our world in crisis, caused by fundamental problems with our spiritual assumptions, cultural norms and economic systems. But I also see an accelerated shift in consciousness that holds the promise of ushering in a new era of peace.
We live in a world of abundant resources, when we compare them to our actual needs to live happy, loving lives. The structures and assumptions of civilization are no longer sustainable. We must transform our paradigms to reduce the pain and suffering that will be caused by the engines of exponential growth that are reaching their limits.
Technological progress is accelerating. Some portend a world unimaginably different within the coming 2 decades, if civilization survives. Will we use the fantastically powerful technologies we are researching and creating today to make the world a more peaceful, happy place? I doubt it. True happiness is found within. Will we use these technologies wisely, to conserve and sustain our natural environment? Maybe, but only if we change. Today, our technology (over) use more often destroys.
I’ve given most of my professional life to developing software that saves people time. It was meaningful work for me when I started. But times have changed and thank God, so have I!
My calling is clear: find the ways that I can help us through this unprecedented era shift. Follow my heart, which is guiding me to give of myself and trust that God will provide everything I need.
Initially, I will be spending my time exploring opportunities to continue my spiritual practices (I meditate twice a day) while giving of myself doing things I love. These include caring for young children, teaching (reiki, sailing, windsurfing, skiing, unicycling, cooperative sports), writing poetry and songs. I’ve also started to write a book to be titled “Faith Foundations.”