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Wisdom...
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"The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade
than in all the previous centuries of its existence."
Nikola Tesla

 

Preconceptions come down like blinkers to our own disadvantage
Wisdom is the knowledge that allows people to live truly and happily
.

In 1937, Leon MacLaren founded the Henry George School of Economics with the active support of his father, British Member of Parliament Andrew MacLaren. Both men were inspired by the work of the nineteenth century economist Henry George, who held that everyone owns what they create, but that everything found in nature, most importantly land, belongs equally to all humanity.
The school was renamed the School of Economic Science in 1942.

Awakened people ask questions
Becoming informed via independent interdisciplinary research.

More and more people are taking time to inform themselves via independent study, such as reading history and paying closer attention to understanding how the world works.

Communication technology has enabled humanity at large by providing instant access to interdisciplinary knowledge, e.g. on economics, politics, psychology, world history, basic anatomy, basic science, the condition of the natural world (water, air, soil, ecosystems), thus we are encouraged to take up our civic duty.

A Modern parable: An anthropologist proposed a game to the kids in an African tribe. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told the kids that who ever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run they all took each others hands and ran together, then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: ''UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?''
The word 'UBUNTU' in the Xhosa culture means:
"I am because we are."
Leunig
Coleman Barks, Emeritus Professor of Poetry at University of Georgia, is my favourite interpreter of RUMI. His slow southern US accent is deeply soothing to my ear. Here he is speaking at TEDX in 2013, where he tells the story of his connection with RUMI and his "soul-growth practice" — accompanied by the legendary cellist David Darling, who sings so beautifully at the close of this talk.

You want a physicist to speak at your funeral.
You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you'd hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you'll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they'll be comforted to know your energy's still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you're just less orderly. Amen.
Aaron Freeman

Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein
Sacred Economics, the book, traces the history of money from ancient gift economies to modern capitalism, revealing how the money system has contributed to alienation, competition, and scarcity, destroyed community, and necessitated endless growth. Today, these trends have reached their extreme - but in the wake of their collapse, we may find great opportunity to transition to a more connected, ecological, and sustainable way of being. Visit his website for more of his elegant work.

 

Partial video transcript: from 3:46
Economic growth means that you have to find something that was once nature and make it into a good or was once a gift relationship and make it into a service. You have to find something that people once got for free or did for themselves or for each other, and then take it away and sell it back to them somehow. By turning things into commodities we get cut off from nature in the same way we get cut off from community. We look at nature and say that it is just a bunch of stuff and that leaves us very lonely. And leaves us with many basic human needs that go un-met, and if you have money you might try to fill this hunger through purchasing -through buying things. Or through accumulating money itself. And of course now we're nearing the end of growth. The planet can't sustain much more growth, and that is why the crisis that we have today won't go away.

Transcript continued...
The Gift
We didn't earn any of the things that really keep us alive, or that make life good. We didn't earn air. We didn't earn being born. We didn't earn our conception. We didn't earn being able to breath. We didn't earn having a planet that can provide food. We didn't earn the sun. So I think on some level we have this in-born gratitude, because we know that we didn't earn any of this.

We know that life is a gift.
If you know that we've received a gift then the natural response is gratitude and the desire to give in turn. In a gift economy it is not true, in the way it is in our money economy, that everybody is in competition with everybody else. In a gift society, if you have more than you need, you give it to somebody who needs it. That's how you get status. And that is where security comes from. Because if you've built up all that gratitude, people are going to take care of you too.

If there are no gifts, then there are no communities. And we can see, as community has become more monetized, that society has disappeared. People long for it, but you can't just have community as an add-on to a monetized life. You have to actually need each other.

People desire to enact their gifts. And if they were free from money they would do it. Money is so often a barrier—you know people think: oh! I'd love to do this. But can I afford to do it? Is it practical? Money stops them. What beautiful thing would I do?
What am I called to do?
Would it be to set up big gardens for homeless people to take care of, and reconnect them to nature?
Would it be to clean up a toxic waste site? What would you do?
What beautiful thing would you do? And why isn't it practical to do these things? Why isn't there money in those things?
7:30
The Shift...

Five practical steps toward a fulfilling creative life:

1) Spend more time in nature:
Observe how very small children play with each other—like kittens, softly falling against each other, running, laughing, yelling, —fully experiencing their bond with the physical world. When nurtured by attentive loving parents, children master a capacity for harmonious interplay, —singing, dancing, and the qualities of joyous sharing.

I place much emphasis on reclaiming our Heritage of Joy through 'understanding' nature because I believe that through focusing on the processes involved in 'creation' we come to understand that the essence of creation is an expression of orgasmic joy. And, this is going on all the time in nature, so when children interact with 'wild' nature they viscerally participate in this process, and they never forget it.

Engaging in activities that feel good on an intrinsic level really are good for our health—like the feeling of the afternoon sun warming bare skin. For example, barefoot walking is emerging as an essential element to good health. We now know that walking barefoot in nature, on the ground, sand, or water, transfers the Earth's electrons into the body. This is known as Earthing, aka grounding, grounded consciousness, or holistic consciousness.

Housebroken
In his article, Housebroken, published in The Guardian 20th November 2012, George Monbiot asserts that there's a second environmental crisis, just as potent as the first.

Excerpt:
The remarkable collapse of children's engagement with nature - which is even faster than the collapse of the natural world - is recorded in Richard Louv's book Last Child in the Woods, and in a report published recently by the National Trust.
...
Without a feel for the texture and function of the natural world, without an intensity of engagement almost impossible in the absence of early experience, people will not devote their lives to its protection. >>> more

2) Consume more nutritious foods:image
High energy comes from absorbing nutrients that come in the purest food sources, such as whole unprocessed home-grown, organic or Bio-Dynamic food. The first symptom of acidosis is inflammation. The second is depression. The third is immune system breakdown. By maintaining body pH slightly above 7.4, cancer cells become dormant and at pH 8.5 cancer cells will die while healthy cells will live. Learn more about maintaining alkaline pH here.

3) Clear away clutter:
Make room for a sense of personal spaciousness and set aside 'quality' time for contemplation: music, painting, reading, writing, creative thinking, visioning, organising your 'stuff' —you name it.

4) Deepen commitment to collaborative spiritual community practice:
A lifetime of dedication to spiritual freedom is rewarded with enlightenment that embraces a perception of the immortality of the human spirit, which leads to compassion for others, because we now know, irrefutably, that we are all connected. And we know we can't really 'know' others, let alone 'change' others, but we can invite others to join us in celebrating the infinite interconnectedness of all life systems —and the precious gifts of our short lives!

5) Study economic history:
Frank deJong once said that it takes the focus of a Ph.D. to understand Classical Political Economic Theorem. What he really means is that serious focus is required to see through the confusion in mainstream economics that clouds-over the central cause of poverty and the rat-race that has been created by the practice of land speculation that has led to distortions in 'Free Market' economic models.

"If you do not change direction you may end up where you are going." Lao Tzu


"Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do." Bertrand Russell  

Mindfulness
In many ways, the methods and goals of scientific and contemplative inquiry are profoundly complementary, with each of them having enormous potential for enriching the other. "The practice of mindfulness supports analysis resulting in the arising of wisdom."
Source: 18th Mind and Life Dialogues conference.

Compassionate people value mindfulness above materialism. They refuse to sell out—instead, they contribute to a vast array of alternative life-style modalities: the consciousness movement, the alternative health movement, the environment movement, each contributing to ground-breaking scientific research. Their embrace of consciousness-raising tools has contributed significantly to cutting-edge principles of Best Practice.

Meditation (disambiguation) aka mindful detached awareness
Mindfulness meditation is a tool, and how we use that tool matters. Many use it to avoid having to feel the emotional pain associated with dealing with dysfunctional society or financial struggles. E.g. “I want to be more in touch with my true nature.” “It helps me de-stress.” "It helps me overcome negative feelings." “It makes me happy.” Frustration is a justified emotional response to unwanted insights, thoughts and emotions that can arise from not being happy with financial/ social/ political predicaments we find ourselves in. Those feelings are there to alert us to pay attention— to seek out solutions to interpersonal conflict, communication issues, having to balance family with work, while, at the same time, trying to figure out how to contribute meaningful to supporting healthy society.

Focusing on the 'light at the end of the tunnel' can have a placebo effect!
Given the enormous mainstream power and momentum of the current economic system, it is easier to ignore the possibilities that could flow from a simple change in our taxation system than it would be to become an advocate for collecting economic rent. It is easy to believe that significant change isn't politically possible—that the vast majority of people must live without justice and equity. But, when we discover that there is an alternative economic approach that would bring justice and equity to all, we feel like celebrating!

Economic justice = happiness, health, love, and wealth for everyone.
What if Classical Political Economic theorists have been right all along? That would have to be the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel! Once we understand the theory behind The Law of Rent (begin here, with The Commons), we can easily understand how all of our societal ills are a direct result of economic injustice— from the 3rd world to the 1st world.

"If we could ultimately get rid of fear in our population, then basically we would put all of our reserves, all of our energy and all of our body systems into the mode of growth and maintenance, and therefore, not only would we be healthy as individuals, but then, as a community, all healthy individuals in a community would raise the level of life in that particular community so that there is the great possibility of a future of growth and peace and harmony once the concept of fear is removed from our belief system." Bruce Lipton

Economic Wisdom:
A Quick Overview of the Benefits of Collecting Economic Rent
Collection of Economic Rent will enable governments to remove all taxes on productivity: income, pay roll, business, sales taxes.
Land owners would receive a single tax invoice every year, whether it be for the value of the land on which their (untaxed) houses stand, or, for any other privatized land use associated with the resources of the Commons - e.g. forestry, minerals, electromagnetic spectrum, licenses, etc. As Bryan Kavanagh's research shows, all public services and public infrastructure can be funded via collection of Economic Rent, including a citizen dividend. Imagine the consequent benefits in personal security and personal freedom of choice in the quality of everyones' lives, —including no need for tax office oversight of enterprise activities.

Imagine the benefits of replacing collection og taxes with collection of economic rent:

  • Ample public funding for infrastructure and public services.
  • An end to poverty and the 'welfare state' due to equal distribution of a Citizen Dividend to each citizen/shareholder.
  • No tax on productivity, including income, sales, pay-roll, —no business taxes.
  • No need to worry about 'investing' for retirement because a Citizen Dividend, which would be much higher than all current pensions, would be distributed over each citizen’s entire life.
  • Affordable housing: access to land by taking over the payment of the Land / Site Value Tax (as we do with local council rates) on the value of the land (no mortgage on the land value required), and either building your own home or taking a mortgage only on the value of the house you wish to purchase.
  • Because basic needs are taken care of by the Citizen Dividend, people can choose to 'produce' what ever they wish with their time: e.g. from poetry to inventor to 'renaissance man' with freedom to develop talents via a variety of careers.
  • A generally healthier lifestyle: without the current socio-economic 'causes' of anxiety, inflammatory symptoms, drug addiction, depression, suicide, domestic violence, anti-social behaviour, crime, black markets, etc.
  • An end to all territorial conquests and resource wars as ‘users & beneficiaries pay’ the Economic Rent for access to lands and resources.

    Too good to be true? Much more is achievable if we choose to substitute collection of taxes with collection of economic rent.

Bryan Kavanagh's sublime vision for the future
As one of the world’s leading analysts on the inter-relationship between land and the economy, Bryan Kavanagh had this to say in an exclusive interview, which I conducted and filmed on 18 April 2008:

Excerpt:
"When it comes to economics, the reintegration of the theory of land valuation is essential. It’s the new frontier—just as we sent Voyager out to explore space.

We're at a turning point where the economy is not working for us. There is a big discovery to be made, and this lies in an epochal change—the rediscovery of Resource Rent: Shifting—transferring taxes to Resource Rent is going to open the way for a whole new development for humanity.

The implications for humanity are greater freedom, more time for relaxation, for family, more time for the arts, and far less government control of our lives. These ideas might sound mystical, but they are the sorts of solutions that could be delivered to us, once we pass through this new frontier.

Its not just land rents we want to capture, we want to capture licenses for electromagnetic spectrum, aircraft slots, all forms of forestry and mineral licenses, all resources. These would supplement our charges on land values, and add to the enormous Resource Rent pot, that is now 285 billion—more than our current [Australia 2008] level of tax revenue.

We've witnessed the progressive loss of a sense of community, and land rents represent community. If we collected Resource Rent, we'd get rid of poverty.

We have a widening gap between wealthy and poor because the wealthy are capturing Resource Rent.

We've got to rediscover the land tax system.

This would open up enormous benefits. It would fund infrastructure, education, health, all of these areas that are crying out for funds, and this fund is sitting there, being grossly capitalized by individuals and causing us to ratchet up taxes to fund them. But if we decrease taxes, and capture more of the Resource Rent, we would be doing as nature intends us to do—using growing Resource Rent funds for public purposes."

Click here to follow Bryan Kavanagh's highly informative Blog

Work in progress:

Bliss ~ Making the Invisible Visible
Bridging the wisdom of our past with the science, healing, and peace of our future
A film by Mairéid Sullivan and Ben Kettlewell

The film is about the empowerment we can feel when 'accessing' ancient sacred images.

This project has a simple and powerful metaphor for the enduring search for peace and harmony for humanity. Finding treasures of ancient art and sculpture, “hidden in plain sight”, provides a wonderful opportunity to appreciate the power and importance of public museums and art galleries while revealing precious archival mysteries.

The idea for the film is based on a repeating inspirational experience of finding exquisite sculptures and paintings within the basement of museums and galleries around the world, including three very important experiences, in Dublin, Los Angeles and Canberra.

Practitioners and teachers in various cultures traditionally used statuary and painted images to convey the essence of peace and harmony through meditation and prayer, reflecting their interpretations of “the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend.” Beethoven

Many magnificent examples of these images are now stored and displayed in galleries and museums around the world. Our interest in 'modelling' reflective experience as a teaching tool, as seen in the 'body language' of ancient sculpture, statuary, and art, form the heart of this ancient imagery and what it means to us today is what will be explored in this production.

The 'epiphany' on this theme - "Bliss: making the invisible visible, or, peace in the unconscious” - occurred when I returned to Ireland from Australia, via South East Asia, during my early twenties. I had studied meditation in Thailand for a year, while teaching English to members of the Royal family and living in one of their Royal compounds, where I was exposed to the magnificent ancient art of the region.

When I arrived back in Ireland, I had the opportunity of finding an ancient petrified peat sculpture in the National Museum in Dublin and I was astonished to see that the meditation expression was exactly the same as its Asian counterparts, which I had previously experienced. I discovered then that from ancient times, people taught meditation techniques, within their communities and beyond, as a means of creating, experiencing and promoting peace and harmony.

Again in Los Angeles, some time later when visiting the Norton Simon Museum, in Pasadena, to see their extensive Impressionists art collection, I was drawn to the basement of the museum and discovered a huge collection of Asian art and sculpture, pre-dating the Christian era. I was again struck by the power of the statues to "speak" to me of peace and harmony - to provide immersion in the 'vibration' of the teaching of peace and harmony just as they had been originally designed to represent.

We have since become adept at exploring and 'reading' the exquisite variety of manifestation of feeling and thought expressed in the 'body language' of ancient sculpture and painting traditions. We continue to seek out these statues and paintings in each museum we have visited, including museums in the U.S.A., Europe, Asia, and Australia. Curiously, we’ve noticed that many of these ancient collections are displayed in the basement of museums.

This led me to revisit some of the images that played such an important part in my own upbringing in Ireland. When life became 'hard' in Ireland, long ago, it is a miracle that affection, laughter, music and dance survived at all. Not only has this expression of joy survived, it is thriving! It is a testament to irrepressible enthusiasm that joy expresses itself involuntarily in bursts of music, song and dance, and through the visual arts. The wellspring of wisdom still flows from our ageless heritage.

To illustrate, I wish to share a personal memory: In Ireland, at the bottom of a hill below our old family farm, there is a sacred place known as Lady's Well, which is almost hidden from view, just past the local graveyard near Kealkil Village, east of Bantry, Co Cork.

Long years have gone into shaping the kneeling stones and steps that surround this very old and beautiful grotto, which likely was a sacred site even in pre Christian times, dedicated to ‘archetypal’ Mother. I remember all of my brothers and sisters playing together on the grassy hillside beside the grotto. I loved picking bluebells and daisies while my mother stopped to pray, first at the grave of her parents and then at Lady’s Well, on the way home from Church in Kealkil every Sunday.

Large and small statues of Mary have been placed there by several generations of families from the surrounding area. Intricate arrangements of perpetual lights from oil lamps, candles, flowers, medals, tiny-framed holy pictures, and rosary beads, surround many of the statues. Most of the statues are housed in arched blue or white boxes, set into the hillside on three levels over a pool of holy spring water. There is an iron kneeling rail at the front of the pool, and the sparkling creek flows right next to it. A large tree trunk, growing across the grotto, holds rosary beads, medals and miniature statues of Mary, Jesus and the saints.

The 15th of August is the feast of the Assumption, when Mary was believed to have been assumed, body and soul into heaven. Every year, the grotto is repainted, decorated with flowers and illuminated by candlelight for the large crowds of locals who gather to keep a three-day vigil of prayer. Many come at night, for "more, undistracted prayer", says my mother. There is a great sense of quiet in this place. The joy of prayerful thought comes easily. The general public beyond the area does not know this well-hidden, blessed place, but it is always open to anyone who wants to visit.

On my most recent visit there, as I lifted my eyes from this beautiful grotto to look out over the lush green fields before me, I felt the calmness that comes from a sense of 'super-conscious' familiarity. Nothing else mattered. I felt very happy to be there at Lady's Well, where my mother demonstrated the art of stillness and grace.

The proposed production - "Bliss: making the invisible visible, or peace in the unconscious” - is also a metaphor for today. We continue to live a creative life and the lessons of peace, harmony and health can be revealed again, from 'ancient memory’, just out of reach of conscious mind, compelling and precious.

Inspired individuals in ancient communities created sculptures and images for people to emulate and to protect. Today, digital film and recording technologies, combined with story telling, can use those same precious images with new analysis to interpret and reach a wider audience within communities to again connect our unconscious and inner selves to universal teaching of peace and harmony.


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