My friend John Alexie Crane, longtime Unitarian/Universalist minister left a legacy of material when he died last year.
Here is one of his sermons that continues to resonate.
I’ve used popular jargon for the title, because, as you’ll notice below, this is not political science, or any science at all. This is a riposte against the endless hours of brutal entertainment that suggests only might makes right. To save the world might be a heroic endeavour but I don’t believe it requires a Napoleonic campaign. It does, however, require the engagement of an alert mind and open heart.
The instructions are simple. Learn from the bees, use your caring mind to gaze at the world, reclaim your power, reclaim your nature, hold onto curiosity, celebrate your creativity, give up blaming, live from a place of love, acknowledge your political self, and honour your spirit.
1. Learn from the bees.
Marilyn Hamilton, CEO of Integral City, told a children’s story not long ago, that is easy to remember. Three key strategies enable bee hives to survive, which can teach us how to sustain the human hive – take care of you, take care of others, take care of this place. Our ancestors learned how to do this but sophisticated social systems have alienated us from our own capacity to manage the hive. However, world crises shows we must re-engage in the process now.
2. Use your caring mind to gaze at the world.
Look closely at the operating system, or the ‘apparatus’ as Simone Weil put it. Read ideas and opinions wherever you can find them. Ask yourself who benefits? Expand your gaze beyond your own immediate interests. Prepare to be disturbed but not defeated.
2. Reclaim power.
Power and all its parts: politics, wealth, language, science, economics, institutional religion, are not evil. They are tools of a civil society. What is evil is the way these institutions have been corrupted to centralize power, to make it a zero sum commodity. Infinite power is natural, loving and intelligent.
3. Reclaim our nature.
We are resourceful workers and stakeholders in our society. We are not a resource or a job description. We are not left, right, conservative or liberal – we are organic, politically mobile beings. Labels are assigned to influence and control masses. We have courage, fear, anger, love and wisdom but they are not commodities, they are strengths that emerge and hide. The deadliest weapon of oppression is that which turns humanity and all of nature into a thing, a resource.
4. Hold onto Curiosity.
This is what keeps us exploring, examining, interrogating the conditions we live under or in. As long as curiosity is alive we shall never be content with serving an oppressive and corrupt social order.
5. Celebrate your Creativity. Music, theatre, farmers’ markets, poetry, gardens, maps, new political parties, conversations – are the means of expressing and sharing our humanity. Art is the what, where, how and who of our species as it yearns and evolves.
6. Give up blaming.
Blaming is not problem solving and the problem is not what other people do. To solve problems we need to re-engage our power to care creatively, with curiosity and love.
8. Live from a place of Love
Love breaks apart the structures of false hierarchies. It demands attention to suffering, violence and calls for healing. It insists on life as the source of knowledge. Love is what drives great minds to take courageous stands outside of their particular disciplines for the greater good. Love is the openness to pain that makes injustice, corruption, cynicism and oppression unbearable.
9. Life is political.
You are an integral, intelligent, reflective part of a larger organism. Whether we survive as a species depends on protecting our earthly home from a system that enables a few egos to hold this planet ransom for the sake of temporary profit. There is no escape from politics. Its apparatus has been built on a grandiose delusion that refuses to see the natural world as sacred, and ourselves dependent upon its health. To be apolitical is to be a doctor standing at the bed of a dying patient, refusing to be involved because the disease is dirty. To dismiss the world stage and your part in it is to lobotomize the future.
10. Honour the spirit
The spirit is our energy. It imparts our intentions before we see them. It allows us to dream and care for the world beyond our own life. Imagination and love is the immortal legacy we leave for our great-grandchildren.
These are just my thoughts. What are yours? What would you list as the top ten tips on saving the world?