Open Letter To The New Decade

2010, you’re already here, and even though I’m sure you have plans of your own, I hope you don’t mind some encouragement. Up till now, you’ve basically done whatever you wanted. Through good times and bad you’ve reacted the best you new how. There have been lots of bad times. We had a recession, natural disasters, wars, and global warming. On top of that we’ve had many other continuing and growing problems, like poverty, homelessness, corrupt governments, and mass famine.

If we’ve learned anything from everything that’s happened, it’s that no matter how things change, we’re all going to keep going. The fact that your here is proof of that. I think you should find this encouraging and learn to pay attention to the flow. Our problems won’t be solved by wishing everything was back to normal. Sometimes I feel like your sticking your hand out of this global caravan looking for something stationary to hold on to. At the very best that’ll just get your hand ripped off.

This new year, new decade, is your chance. It’s a chance for all of us. Our problems are confronting us, but what we don’t know is that we’re fully equipped to handle them. The world isn’t going to end. We have time to change as much as we can. We have to make this decade in which we change our selves, because that is what it means to move forward into a future of our choosing.

2010 you can’t just blindly react to the present anymore. It’s time we start constructing the future as it should be. Stop pretending you can’t see the death, the starvation, the hatred and separation. It’s not bad that these things exist, because if we acknowledge their existence we can decide what to do about them.

This year we have to crush everything that separates us, because those are the things that blind us. Those that are suffering on other continents have to feel like friends, would we ignore the cries of a next door neighbor. When did we start thinking that people who are far away are less human. We have to look at the homeless around us and see ourselves, our own potential to get in bad situations. When did we start thinking people who are poorer, and people who make bad decisions are worthless. Would we continue to tell our friends “I told you so” while they set up sleeping bags on the street next to shopping carts. The world is full of people just like us, we’re all just in different places, but this year we have to end the idea that being in different places means we are different.

Love is what connects people. Not just the sort of love between family members. We are also connected to every other person who exists and has ever existed, they are the ones who defined and created our lives. This decade we need to use our ability to connect, to lift up those who need lifting so that we can all project our love together into a better future.

Sincerely

The Present

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“No” is the Light

The word “no” is a declaration of the speaker’s intent to be creative. No is what we say when we decide to decide for ourselves. It is a word used to reject the realities of situations as presented or explained to us. No, means “it’s not this way”. When a mother in a store tells a child he can’t have candy, he analyzes the situation and may see that “no” that’s not true, he can have the candy, and he will attempt to creatively construct that reality.

When we think no, we are insisting on new possibilities. We are allowing ourselves to shine a light on the knowledge available to us. This grants us creativity, and the ability to see, and recognize alternatives. We use no in a variety of ways. Our diets are “no” structures. Vegetarians for instance eat no meat.  They say “no” to meat, creating a search for alternatives foods and sources for nourishment. Searching leads to a discovery of knowledge for the benefit of the seeker and the benefit of others.

Until we learn to use the power of “no” in our lives we will not be able to control our creativity. In drawing, creativity without control is called scribbling, it has much the same value in life. In our society we say no to many things as a group. We say no to murder, if you want someone’s husband, you’ll have to create other ways of getting them, which isn’t hard.

When a person learns that they can say no to anything they want they can change their world. It takes more than just saying it, or thinking it, to really use the power of no; it has to be present in as many areas of your life as possible. If one learned to truly deny poverty as a concrete part of life we live, they’d create a way of living that did not accept poverty as something they had to live with.

They would realize that deciding to live with something as a perpetual fact is the same thing as causing it. The woman from before had said no to murder so completely that she had to find a way to accomplish her goal that did not include it. Likewise if we individually say no to poverty completely, we can live lives that do not include it. For the woman it was easier, because she lived in a society where it had been long since decided that murder was a no. The ways to achieve her goal through other channels were already well thought out, numerous, and therefore also obvious.

We do not live in a society that has said no to poverty and a large number of other humanitarian and global tragedies. Which brings up the issue of saying no, when all or most of those around us, before us, and even us ourselves have always said yes. The answer is knowledge. If you refuse to live in a world where something exists, and refuse to take any actions that would perpetuate that sort of world, you will have to find alternatives. If you want to end foreign child labor, it’s not simply enough to tell your friends it’s terrible, or vow never to open a sweat shop. Even though those are two ways of saying no, you could still be saying yes in so many ways.

The power of no isn’t just about boycotting either or having to stay away from things you like. It’s about saying no to the situations necessary to get them. It’s about finding new ways to get the things you want. It’s about deciding to live a life that does not produce things you do not believe in. “No” is the light of creativity. It’s about living as a part of a community instead of a product of it. Your ability to deny, to be different, is an essential and unavoidable part of being human. It is because so many people are unaware that they are artists, that we are painting such an ugly, painful, separated existence on this earth.

It probably seems hard to say no to so many of the terrible things in this world, when so many of the things we do contribute to them; but we can. The task seems overwhelming mostly because of how much knowledge we’d have to have to know when to say no and look for a better alternative. A few ways are being a good consumer, good citizen, and being aware. It’s important to know which companies you are buying from, and what they do to the world. Maybe there is a better way of getting the things you need. Voters should focus on the task of deciding which candidates or initiatives will shape the world better. If you look for information you will find it, but it’s also important to be critical and to look for accurate information from multiple sources. Being aware means being ready to find the right path.

If you turn on the no light in your mind, you will find whole worlds of alternatives.

Waiting for One Savior to Save Us All

During the time the country of Israel came to be, there were many who opposed it. Most interesting of those groups were the Jewish people who thought it was wrong to construct a homeland for the Jewish people. They said since God promised to do it they should wait for God to do it, or clearly show them what to do.

This is the attitude that crushes human progression. Civilization forgets in countless ways and everyday that it can can be it’s own force of change. This is not a religious principal, we do not need to think of “God” to understand that there is potential, for harmony, unity, and power in this world. We need think only of ourselves, our ability to move out from the dark and progress into the light.

We can end separation. If we think of the homeless, the alone, and those needing what we could learn to give, we can find a way to change life in our society and on our planet. It is hard to think of how we alone and aside from all other generations could help alter the lives of millions of people, and the infinite more to come after us, but turning the corner takes place at a single point.

Every path must be lit, and our light is information. By informing ourselves we actively devolop and stay on the right path. If we take the time we are given, look into the lives of one another and into the isles of stored up knowledge in our past, we’ll find how irrevocably we are all together. Then the decision will not be whether or not to move forward together, but how.

Through arts, conservation, and informed consumption we can move the world. Through expression, moderation, and buying from responsible and innovative companies, we can move forward.