Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hidden In Plain Sight

As I stood atop the Salkantay Pass at 15,256 ft in the Peruvian Andes (instead of posting a blog post last week) the biting cold rain driven by gale-force winds gave me a new appreciation for my senses. Every nerve in my body was firing in unison. My eyes strained to see the towering glaciers on the mountain to my right. Each pain sensor in my knees reminded me that I had pushed my physical limits. Each surface of exposed skin was reminded of the value of clothing. My breathing was momentarily punctuated by reminders that oxygen was in shorter supply. I was, in the moment, fully aware and fulfilled.

At the same time, I was filled with a myriad of questions heightened by the place. Confronting the giant cut stones at Sachsaywaman, the elaborate agricultural terraces at Pisac, and the great temple to abundance at Ollantaytambu in the Sacred Valley provides a context to ponder humanity in a broader context. Why is it, for example, that we impose early twentieth century narratives – courtesy of the National Geographic’s support for modern science’s conquistador, Hiram Bingham – on how the Inca lived, worked and built their grand civilization? Why do we assume that, from our modern self-proclaimed superiority, the Inca and Tiwanaku before them, were bound by the same “natural laws” which have enslaved and limited our Occidental minds for the past few centuries? When astrophysicists and astronomers now conclude that most of the energy and matter in the universe is unquantifiable with our current understanding, why do we impose a nostalgic “stone age” derogation on those who accomplished a permanence to which we cannot even aspire?

I think an answer may lie in our deepest, greed-based motives. Walk with me, for a moment, through a scenario which I believe may explain why we cannot confront a world in which we are less advanced than those who came before.

I just read the Shareholders Agreement executed between a country with vast mineral and energy wealth and companies registered in the British Virgin Islands, The Netherlands, and Canada. In eerie similarity to agreements I have seen for oil palm, gold, copper, tin, and natural gas in the Pacific, Africa and South America, this World Bank-endorsed theft of a nation’s assets is an affront to every human value. By taking advantage of the ignorance of a country and its people to corporate finance jargon as illusive as “dark matter”, opportunistic raiders not only have stolen but also enslaved a country and its people. And mind you, the countries providing tax havens for these pirates (the U.K., Canada and the Netherlands) are complicit in these crimes. In the Agreement, the country agreed to a debt financing of its equity in its own assets (yes, that’s how sick our system is) with money provided by the very pirates perpetrating the theft. And, to add insult to injury, the country cannot participate in the wealth extracted from it until it has repaid the debt with its dividends declared from profits fully manipulated by – you guessed it – the pirates! You should be asking, at this point, how was this possible? Who was advising the country? Who was looking out for the interest of the people?

The answer. The same interests who want to exploit ignorance asymmetries built on patently false historical narratives. Yale University’s and the National Geographic’s centennial theft of Peruvian knowledge, artifact and culture are no different than the World Bank-sponsored theft of national assets today. And the arbiters of “advancement” are not those with elevated consciousness, deeper understanding, or a greater sense of humanity. No, they are merely the ones with the purse with which they can gain concessions from the empowered few at the expense of the masses.

Hiram Bingham did not discover Machu Picchu. Robert Friedland did not discover gold and copper in Mongolia. Mark Caruso did not discover gold in Papua New Guinea. No, these mercenary pirates, armed with the Letters of Marque with which the “developed powers” (aka the World Bank’s IFC) sanctioned plunder, merely defined a narrative that assuaged the consciences of their remote benefactors.

It is time for each one of us – yes, there’s something each of you can do – to initiate a new paradigm for understanding the world and its wealth of commodity, culture & custom, knowledge, money, technology, and well-being. And it starts out simply – in the same way that massive public awareness addressed South Africa’s apartheid and Ethiopia’s famine. We need to awaken a consciousness long numbed by social systems which ask for faith in the empowered despite every evidence to the contrary. When the stories you’re being told don’t seem to resonate with truth, take the time to engage in finding out the source of your unease.

- In the wake of this week’s Wiki-leaks release of evidence of insensitive arrogance perpetrated by public servants in the U.S. and its allies, reach out to the offended countries’ embassies with a personal letter stating your regard for respectful dialogue;

- If you reside in the U.K., the Netherlands, Canada, the U.S., Switzerland, Luxembourg or other countries which shield and sanction the expropriation of sovereign assets through their corporate and tax concessions to pirates, raise your voice and state that this tyranny is no longer acceptable;

- If you hear anyone, anywhere use the term “discovery”, begin programming your mind and your responses to recalibrate this term to evoke it’s authentic meaning – namely, that the user of the term just removed his or her own blindness to that which was already there – and rather than celebrating “discovery”, have empathy for opaque ignorance newly unveiled to the narrator; and,

- As I’ve encouraged you to do for over two years, continue to read, share and discuss those sources which provide perspective that deepens awareness and a connection to humanity at-large.

The sting of poverty and injustice is a scourge on our current expression of humanity and its institutions. It is made worse by our apathy to that which is done in our names. And its toxin is fully released when each of us chooses to do nothing when confronted by our perception that we can do nothing. So, after reading this post, share your comments on what you can do. Share the letter you sent to the Pakistani Ambassador. Describe the conversation you had with an elected official regarding a more respectful engagement with China. Engage this community with the conversation you had with your associates on these issues. In short, do!

What you’ll find along the way is the simplicity of trusting your consciousness. You’ll find that idle acquiescence is less desirable than seemingly imperceptible steps towards awakening. The path towards a more fruitful humanity is not hard to find – you already know it by every time you’ve seen injustice and chosen to do nothing. Like the towering Salkantay glacier, it’s merely shrouded in the mists of incumbent, institutional ignorance – hidden in plain sight!

1 comment:

  1. David,
    Here is a part of the conversation on 4. 10. 1958 in the "Mother's Agenda". I feel that it fits well into the stream of your posts.

    Mother’s Agenda
    October 4, 1958

    ...(Towards the end of the conversation, about money:)

    Money belongs to the one who spends it; that is an absolute law. You may pile up money, but it doesn’t belong to you until you spend it. Then you have the merit, the glory, the joy, the pleasure of spending it!
    Money is meant to circulate. What should remain constant is the progressive movement of an increase in the earth’s production – an ever-expanding progressive movement to increase the earth’s production and improve existence on earth. It is the material improvement of terrestrial life and the growth of the earth’s production that must go on expanding, enlarging, and not this silly paper or this inert metal that is amassed and lifeless.
    Money is not meant to generate money; money should generate an increase in production, an improvement in the conditions of life and a progress in human consciousness. This is its true use. What I call an improvement in consciousness, a progress in consciousness, is everything that education in all its forms can provide – not as it’s generally understood, but as we understand it here: education in art, education in ... from the education of the body, from the most material progress, to the spiritual education and progress through yoga; the whole spectrum, everything that leads humanity towards its future realization. Money should serve to augment that and to augment the material base for the earth’s progress, the best use of what the earth can give – its intelligent utilization, not the utilization that wastes and loses energies. The use that allows energies to be replenished.
    In the universe there is an inexhaustible source of energy that asks only to be replenished; if you know how to go about it, it is replenished. Instead of draining life and the energies of our earth and making of it something parched and inert, we must know the practical exercise for replenishing the energy constantly. And these are not just words; I know how it’s to be done, and science is in the process of thoroughly finding out – it has found out most admirably. But instead of using it to satisfy human passions, instead of using what science has found so that men may destroy each other more effectively than they are presently doing, it must be used to enrich the earth: to enrich the earth, to make the earth richer and richer, more active, generous, productive and to make all life grow towards its maximum efficiency. This is the true use of money. And if it’s not used like that, it’s a vice – a ‘short circuit’ and a vice.
    But how many people know how to use it in this way? Very few, which is why they have to be taught. What I call ‘teach’ is to show, to give the example. We want to be the example of true living in the world. It’s a challenge I am placing before the whole financial world: I am telling them that they are in the process of withering and ruining the earth with their idiotic system; and with even less than they are now spending for useless things – merely for inflating something that has no inherent life, that should be only an instrument at the service of life, that has no reality in itself, that is only a means and not an end (they make an end of something that is only a means) – well then, instead of making of it an end, they should make it the means. With what they have at their disposal they could ... oh, transform the earth so quickly! Transform it, put it into contact, truly into contact, with the supramental forces that would make life bountiful and, indeed, constantly renewed – instead of becoming withered, stagnant, shrivelled up: a future moon. A dead moon.
    We are told that in a few millions or billions of years, the earth will become some kind of moon. The movement should be the opposite: the earth should become more and more a resplendent sun, but a sun of life. Not a sun that burns, but a sun that illumines – a radiant glory.


Thank you for your comment. I look forward to considering this in the expanding dialogue. Dave