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Excerpt from Dreams

Conscious Evolution Petition (p. 248)

From chapter "Reciprocity"

Soon after this I received a note asking that I sign on to the following “Call to Conscious Evolution” in the form of a petition: “Climate change, economic disparity, educational inequities, geopolitical tensions—these mounting concerns are symptoms of a world that is out of balance. Together we can shift consciousness by co-creating a new way of being together.

“The Call to Conscious Evolution was born following a gathering of global visionaries. It’s a movement that fully supports that the future is not what happens to us, but rather what WE create.

“Together, we can co-create a new narrative of conscious evolution by building a global community and creating a culture of peace; restoring ecological balance to nourish all life, and mitigate the effects of climate change; engaging in social and political transformation by calling for a more conscious democracy; promoting health and healing by acknowledging the profound mind-body-spirit connection; supporting research and education that optimize human capacities; encouraging integrity in business and conscious media.

“In this great time of uncertainty, join us in elevating consciousness to create a better world. One governed by meaning and purpose. Accept nothing less.

“Every voice counts—your voice counts [in this meaningless Internet petition].

“THE PLEDGE: I join with Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Jean Houston, and other evolutionary leaders to pledge to make my conscious evolution an important part of my life, and in so doing help make the world a better place.”

Thisis their f**king solution to global warming? To sign a petition (petitioning whom? No one: a petition sent into the Internet’s ether, and they’re not even burning sacred Internet incense) pledging to make “conscious evolution” an important part of their lives? Would it be possible to be more narcissistic? Would it be possible to come up with a less meaningful solution?

My next wave of response was, as you can probably guess, one of anger.

This is all so wrong.

I need to be clear. I’m in favor of good intentions. But it’s offensive to me that people try to meditate carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, or pretend that working on their precious little “conscious evolution” will help stop global warming, when we aren’t doing the work that is needed in the physical world.This is analogous to standing on railroad tracks trying to meditate a train to a stop, focusing our intention on the train instead of focusing our intention on stepping off the tracks, or better yet, pulling up the tracks and blowing up the bridges.

To stop a train, you dismantle the infrastructure that allows the train to run. To curtail global warming, you dismantle the infrastructure that causes global warming.

We all know what we must do to curtail global warming. We must dismantle every oil refinery, every pipeline, every oil and natural gas well. We must dismantle the infrastructure that is killing the planet. Global warming is caused by the burning of oil and gas. Those who profit from the burning of oil and gas will not voluntarily stop profiting from the burning of oil and gas, even at the expense of life on the planet. This entire economic and social system is based on the burning of oil and gas. Those who benefit from this economic and social system will not voluntarily stop burning oil and gas, even at the expense of life on the planet. We need to deprive them of their means to kill life on this planet. Meditating won’t do that.

Meditating or conscious evolution wouldn’t have stopped Hitler. It wouldn’t have stopped Stalin. It wouldn’t have stopped Ted Bundy. It wouldn’t have stopped apartheid, US chattel slavery, the horrors of the Khmer Rouge, of Manifest Destiny. It won’t stop the horrors of industrial capitalism. Of industrial civilization. It won’t stop global warming.

I got a note recently from a very smart Anishinaabe/Nehayow woman saying she loved how I bash hope—which I define as a longing for a future condition over which we have no agency—but also saying that I was forgetting the rightful role of prayer. However, she didn’t take the ridiculous New Age direction of saying we need to pray our way out of difficulties. She said, “Of course we hope for things when we have no control over them. And, indeed that is why we ought to not hope for the survival of the planet because we do have control. Stop hoping, start acting. But, what we don’t have control over is the response of the planet: the other two-leggeds, the four-leggeds, the swimmers, and the flyers, the grandfathers, the soil, the trees. . . . You get the idea. Pretty much the rest of creation. And this is where I believe we must remain hopeful. This hope is the hope you see in prayer. So that, after I blow up the dam (to use your example), I will pray that the rest of creation accepts my offering. And I have hope that with enough of these actions, creation will eventually accept these offerings. If I do not have hope that creation will listen, than I have almost no motivation to continue. I might as well help accelerate our downward spiral (which may be a technique given some of our prophecies . . . but that’s another story for another time).”

In other words, once the destructiveness of this culture is brought to a stop, it will be up to trees and oceans and soils and grasses to do their part by helping to heal the grievous harm this culture has caused. That is where prayer helps. But if we don’t first do our part, then our so-called prayers—our “intention,” our “conscious evolution”—are in all truth blasphemy. We have to do the real work, and then we may do the real praying.

If we try to meditate or pray carbon dioxide out of the air without doing the real work of stopping this culture, we are yet again doing the same damn thing this culture has done from the beginning, which is to destroy land-bases and then hope someone else will clean up after us.

It’s okay to make messes and expect someone else to clean them up if you are two years old. But by the time you’re six or seven or eight, you should have been taught to clean up your own messes, and not to try to meditate or pray them away.