|Natural disasters caused by climate change by KVDP|
….[The United Nations International Panel on Climate Change, representing thousands of scientists from 195 countries] have 95 to 100% certainty that climate change is manmade and that we really do need to be reducing the amount of fossil fuels that are being extracted and burned to get us back to that 350 parts per million. We're currently over 400 parts per million."
Ben West, from a podcast published with The Media Co-op titled, "Vancouver is debating a resolution to divest from fossil fuels"
Recently, I was asked to produce an essay without knowing the prompt, until the moment unveiled the golden word: Globalization. The off-the-cuff piece, shown here within the body of this text, is the result; derived from a deeply studied and well-experienced life as a global citizen, a youth whose formative years traversed four continents. Read ahead:
Living conditions in Third World countries are deplorable. In fact, the term Third World derives from the Cold War, signifying all of those countries outside of the pale of American and Soviet landholdings. Such countries have continued to face irremediable challenges with integration into the global economy. Culturally, such countries continue to embark on a multicultural path, as a legacy of post-colonial liberations. Yet, economic woes remain the side effect of these nations. Common people feel the impact the greatest. "War is the enemy of the poor," said Tavis Smiley and Cornel West during their recent "Poverty Tour" through the United States.
Neo-liberal economics, spearheaded by American economic globalization, creates insurmountable debt for Third World countries. The Third World is now also termed the Global South, due to the fact that most of these countries are located in the resource-rich southern hemisphere. Neo-liberal economics is a unique phenomenon of globalization, which has essentially led the entire globe down the same path of economic debt and cultural greed as that currently faced by the American people. Yet, unlike in America, banks in the Global South will not be bailed out, and their people will not be "defended" by the most powerful military on Earth.In recent weeks, as the snakeskin of nature shed under the turning, cyclical gaze of the heavens, I have ruminated steadfastly, and piercingly into the nether reaches of my mind with one essential question. How is one to live directly? How is one to embrace the very source of life from which their every day nourishments and hungers, joys and sorrows, deaths and rebirths emerge? It is a question asked throughout the aeons, and in the Euro-American tradition of thought, also by the transcendentalists.
Often times one will question whether they are to live as an urban dweller, bound to the manufactured waste stream that devastates as it deviates all from the nature of truth and union with creation. Simply, one might ask, "How can I live off the land?" Such self-interrogations are, at heart, nothing more than abstraction. In truth, one cannot exist without living off the land. It is our relationship to our life that matters, and by our life, I mean our water, our food, our air, our soil, our family, our Earth.
Pre-historically, human life was a bout of physical confrontation. Where, when life is lived directly, one sees straight into the eye of death, and beholds our own reflection staring back with the quiet and steaming grimace of fate. So, the trials and travesties of inter-human conflict seeded our mind as with the necessities of the harvest. Yet, today, instead of the spear, instead of the omen or plague, we have a curious social phenomenon called Globalization. Our confrontations are buffered by stone and metal walls. Our physical conflicts are transformed into backhanded and conniving corrupted relationships, not only among each other, but with all that we see, feel, taste, hear and smell. The most deviant and malign property of Globalization is that it moves to act upon a sixth sense of unreason and ignorance: consumerism.
The objectified Earth, the manufactured life, canned and packaged and shipped and digitized, provokes our habits of overindulgence, not only in the physical, but also in the emotional, spiritual and mental aspects of existence. Our life is one of imbalance when our relationship to the sources of life we depend on are marred by the anxious flux of neo-liberalized, Westernized, and finally, globalized economic growth. In the end, I wonder how we might return, or go forth, into a paradigm of holism, where things are not treated as objectified individual separations of the world (a reflection of our own egos), but as representative of one and all in the cyclical round of being, of nature, growth and fulfillment.
_____________This path I have tread before. Tonight, the water is more still and tranquil, more at peace with its shores than ever; almost unified with the distant, clear sky, unmoving. Its depths seem parallel with the infinite universe behind the stars, behind my eyes, and I gaze into its elegant, silent motion. And into the moonlit waters, the icy river glows as an unconscious brew, a kindling power unfolding within the heart and source of the land. The river god sways gently in a dance of ecstasy, the slow rhythmic flow is its yearning to be one, again with the sun-fleshed mountain or of the ocean's undulating tide.
|In the Spirit of Hermitage at Fu-ch'un River, painting by Wang Hsüeh-hao|
|A Kalighat Painting, Kolkata, India, 1875 titled, "Brahmin Kneeling Before Two Tigers."|
|Tsezarskaya zabava (lit. "Caesar's joy", Russian: Цезарская забава) by Vasiliy Polenov|
My sister. My brother. My mother. My wife. My maternal grandmother. My step-father. My step-mother. My great-grandfather. My paternal grandmother. And my late grandfather.
All of them, lived for and with music. Music brought us forth. Music brought us together. Music gave us wings to traverse the open skies, our imaginations, the open roads and lesser-beaten paths. Through music, we know where came from, where we are going, and how we might get there. In the new single by my sister Jesse, "Everything in Between" she brings it all home.
Listen to Jesse's first album, or even one track on it called, Voyageur, featuring myself and my wife. Listen. The lives of countless generations speak through her tones and chords, her voice, her words. Listen, and you just might hear that one that you know like your own.
The track These Words is inspired by the wisdom offered as mementos, and as initiations into the power and meaning of family, tradition and the value of life. Be Kind, speaks the first of five wisdom truths, as the Five Noble Truths of Buddhism, our father unearthed five from his own suffered spirit, heartened by the stories and ways of our grandfather, who gave him music, and who passed down not only a tradition of sound, but a tradition of respect for our fellow human beings, for the strength and truth of work and its potential to give one meaning, to give one affirmation that their work is good, that even if it largely remains unsaid, the work is good when it is done in earnest in the trial to confront one's own innermost and enduring sufferings.
In that way, Kindness transcended politeness, the mediocre drab of everyday humdrum gave way to an appreciation that bordered on spirituality. "My religion is kindness," said the Dalai Lama, and when practiced right, resonates and reverberates, and, ultimately, transcends human suffering as surely and directly as the high of a harmonious tune strummed to the effect of an age-old rhythm, not forgotten and passed down through the embrace of one's own blood.