Author Topic: Robert Wolff: WHAT THERE IS IS ALL THERE IS  (Read 3203 times)

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Offline TheOldBuzzard

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« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2011, 05:37:16 AM »
More from Robert Wolff:   December 14, 2011

It is a privilege to have lived through some very different times-in war and
peace-and lived

in several different lands. Adapting to and knowing many kinds of people was
a challenge and a

great education. I know some very different realities, spoke different
languages, known people

with very different kinds of education and ideas. All that gives me a
peculiar view on life with

a focus on us, humans.

At the end of my life I admit that I am disappointed, to put it very, very
mildly, that we, in

this country, haven't done much to reduce emissions and changed to greener
energy. In fact

this country is becoming the opposite of an example; we are the block. Four
and a half percent

of all humankind still spewing one fourth of all emissions-and last year we
polluted more than

ever. What changed is the system, now in the pocket of Big Money; most
politicians bought..

I closely follow what is happening on and to the planet. I try to sense the
mood of the people

in those parts of the world where I understand the language and have an idea
of their culture.

Amazingly different from what I see, hear, read about this country. The
economy may be global

but the other 95.5% of humans think very differently than most Americans.
This country is

hard to know. I have not lived in many States and cities of this huge
country but what polls tell

me is that what we believe or prefer seems so varied that I think we must be
today's Tower of


After wide wanderings I now live alone in a wilderness of my encouraging,
close to trees,

plants, animals; all wild. Talking with cats lying on my outside chairs.
greeting the white

Christmas flowers fluffy snow white just above eye level. Yes, our
poinsettia is a tree covered

with little white flowers, not the red of your Christmas flower( (the red in
the picture is ixora).

I have come to feel that my true self does not fit the American ideal. I am
a thinker, intelligent but

not intellectual. I have never liked money, when I have it I give it away. I
don't like cities, cannot

manage enormous stores with miles of aisles stuffed with stuff. I read, and
reread, many books

(paperback). Avoiding clever writing about politics or corruption, as I
avoid a million songs,

movies, and books about "love." Oh, I believe in love, but to me it means
something else than

falling in love. Love is not something you fall INto, but something that
goes OUT. I am

immensely lucky to have known unconditional love in my childhood. Not at all
the same as

romantic love. Unconditional love is not a modern concept, and yet it would
probably be our

salvation. We need to be saved? Yes, saved of who we have become. How did we
get so cruel,

so murderous, hateful, hunting people of our own species, our own nation,
fearing them to be

potentially dangerous. I've heard people say we have lost our morality. I
think we lost our

sense of reality as a part of the All. We had to be trained to kill,
brainwashed to become

heartless, maybe even enjoy torture and murder. Humans made inhuman.

In my efforts to try and understand what we have become, there is always the
memory of the

humans as we once were who I got to know. The difference between us and
them, who are as

we all were, is so clear. From content little people richly alive in the
now, no expectations - to

a mass of frantic, stressed, people rushing where they are led without
knowing, or wanting to

know, where inevitably it will all end.

How and why did we change our thinking about what is real? How is it
possible that we can

ignore the consequences of what we have been and are doing to the biosphere,
the planet? We

changed. Why?

I care for the planetary ecology where all life happens and I care for
humans. The two cares

obviously closely related. I see what humans have become in what we are
doing to the planet.

Willful destruction of our only home. We imagine the Industrial Revolution
to be progress.

Looking back it could well be considered a thoughtless manufacturing \ of
ever more machine

power to make things and dig up energy sources, all the while destroying the
biosphere, the

planetary ecology.

We may have big brains but not the sense to consider consequences. We are
meddling in

global systems way beyond our understanding. While the consequences have
been obvious for

at least thirty years half or more of all Americans still "do not believe"
that we have anything to

do with climate change. This year it has become sort of, maybe,
occasionally, allowable to

acknowledge that perhaps the weather is changing but a majority insists we
have nothing to do

with it. Just a normal swing, it will swing back again, you'll see. We who
used to be proud of

science now deny it. We have slid way down.

In our not too far past we made a big step when thinking ourselves apart
from all other life;

thinking ourselves so special that we can run, even own, this planet.

It may take a bigger step from thinking we own the planet to accepting that
we are no better,

not even worse than a million fellow species, and know again that the planet
is what we must

rely on for survival. Control nature? We should control ourselves first. And
somehow our

dangerously enlarged egos deny that we can do anything wrong.

It is not hard to imagine that the deniers will wake up only when reality
kills them - as it is

already thousands of people each year..

In non-western parts of the world people have always been intimately aware
of an environment

they relied on for sheer survival. How can we deny that Mother Earth is our

almost literally: we are all the same atoms as all life on earth.

I have learned in my own life that accepting What Is makes for a much easier
adjustment to

the inevitable. Ignoring today's reality will make adapting to tomorrow's
further changed world

more difficult.

These are some of my thoughts toward the end of a year that will go down in
history as the

year when all over the world the groundswell broke out. The media, and Big
Money that owns

them, sees only politics, scandals, wars and other disasters. They largely
ignore the groundswell

that is about real issues, about who we are, forced to live by inhuman,
unnatural rules. It's an

awakening to what a horrendous mess we have made with our mindless greed for
money that is

power. Despite all the noise politics is not the most important issue,
survival is.

I feel sufficiently an outsider to make generalizations. Maybe the time is
near when we,

collectively, will wake up to the critical crisis we are in. The shock will
literally kill people, and

there may well be a great mayhem that kills others. But some, many, will
wake up, shake their

head, and get to work undoing what we did wrong. We will stop moving
mountains to get more

coal, dig for oil, cracking for unnatural gas. We will stop driving two ton
monster cars with one

person going three blocks. Equally important, at that moment we will look at
our supposed

enemies: ordinary people, our own species. Reaching out our hands, putting
away our guns.

After all, the "others" are our siblings, sisters and brothers.

In my book Rain of Ashes we wake up a bit late. Not too late, but close. It
would be better to

wake up now.

We don't need wars - no war has ever made a peace. We don't need all the
driving and

flying around we do. We don't need most of the plastic we throw away. We can
do with an

awful lot less of everything. TV must tell the truth, and that goes for
advertising as well as politics.

We can do without our paranoia and suspicion of anybody who looks or sounds

Peace cannot come from a few men who make decisions for all mankind; peace
comes from cleaning

up the mess we've made and start clean.

You say: but we are busy trying to survive an economic disaster, don't add
another problem!

What if the meltdown of the economy is just the first chapter of the
meltdown of the ecology.

Neither can wait, but the 1% (actually 0.01%) sees to it that neither will
be even talked about,

let alone tackled.

Maybe the 99% will be the tsunami wave that brings a whole new system to
replace the one

that got us in the economy, ecology messes.

Next year?

robert wolff, 14 december 2011

PS, worth reading



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Offline TheOldBuzzard

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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2011, 05:32:10 AM »

I like to write my name without capital letters:  robert wolff

Yes, I have a special connection with tigers. I grew up at a time and in a place where there were tigers in the wild. I was eight years old the first time I saw a tiger in the wild. This is how it is engraved in my memory: I saw the tiger,  the tiger saw me; and the tiger smiled. I walked back to our vacation house in a daze of glory. Tiger is for me what totem animals are for Native Americans.

I write about Nature and ʻall my relationsʻ, as native Americans said. All the beings and aspects of my environment that I relate to: the feathered people, the four-footeds, two-legged; trees, plants; weeds; storms, sunshine, wind, rain. And I write about people I have learned from, people I admire and animals and plants I have learned from. The fascinating beauty of the chaos that is Nature, its infinite interactions -- everything related to everything else.

And sometimes I write to remind us to be moderate: WHAT THERE IS IS ALL THERE IS.

You want facts? Born here, lived there, worked here and there, married, children (grandchildren, great grandchildren), degrees, appointments, disappointments. Yes, all of that. I think of myself as a human who belongs to Nature more than to Manís world. Iíve had an exciting life, traveled, lived and worked in many countries. Speak a few languages -- which is essential, I think, for understanding more than one point of view. As I age I feel more and more obsessed by simple. Doing without rather than getting more. One of my favorite authors, Ursula K. LeGuin, writes "Owning is owing; having is hoarding." Very true, very wise.

The human world is not simple. The world we made is a tangled disaster of rules and bureaucracies that make us be what we were not born to be. We may think we can but we cannot own this planet. We are as much part of the planetary ecology as a virus or a tree. What we call civilization is a top down system designed to acquire always more. Obviously impossible. We invented power we can no longer control. And with that power we abuse and destroy this planet, our only home. Poisoning its precious soil, the water, the air all beings need to live. Destroying we are eradicating thousands of species; gone forever; an impoverishment we cannot restore. Mother Earth needs to be honored and nurtured --  today it seems we cannot stop controlling everything natural; obviously impossible.

We humans have become living beings forced into a manmade culture that rarely allows us to be who we were born to be.
But we can break out of that. Look around, it is happening. We can change the way we think about ourselves and how we relate to what is. Change, as growth, is from the ground up. Leaders do not change the world. It is we who must change our thinking. What it is to be human.

People tell me they need hope, but hoping that somehow we can live as we have learned to live now is not hope, it is foolishness. Our now is unsustainable. My hope is that we can learn -- in time -- to live with less, much less. And therefore happier.

For the first  hundred thousand years we knew to adapt to the Earth as we found it. My expectation (not hope) is that we will learn again to adapt to a new Earth, and never again try to change the Earth to satisfy our wants. We will grow WE cultures,  leaving our many "Iʻs" behind.

Robert Wolff

The Big Island called Hawai'i, October 2011
Author's Website: http://wildwolff.com
    you can reach me at:  <  rw at wildwolff dot com  >  I try to answer all messages

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