Friday, April 29, 2005

Guardians Of The Earth

My ancestors came from the Highlands of Scotland. Driven from the land they loved, these people either had to sail to America (and kill the Native Americans), or remain in lowland areas of Scotland. I was born in a coastal town on the West coast of Scotland with an ability to see the ancient world. The world I was born into never seemed real to me, more like a bad nightmare out of which I was waiting to waken up.

People once lived close to the land and close to the earth, and it was good for them because the land gave them power. All across the world a new force drove the native people from the land and into towns and cities. Disconnected from the land people began to lose sight of the value of life. Society now lives out its life through drug prescriptions, alcoholism and television (among other addictions).

Today the human being seems only to exist for "more" and "greater", all of it based on materialism and the desire to have as much as one can get in this life. Petrolium seems to have been a curse that has destroyed most of the planet within the last 100 years or less. People can travel further and easier, farm greater areas of land, fish larger areas of the ocean, fish greater amounts and faster ... Without petrolium this unrestrained growth could not have taken place.

Children have become a commodity. What are you going to have and how successful will it be? Genetically engineered geniuses are on their way, together with the genetically modified grains and seeds. It never seems to end!

Now the Albatrosses are dying out, and the fishing vessels are depleting the fish, dolphins and whales in the great oceans. Petrolium driven fishing tankers allow many more fish to be killed, destroying dolphins, whales, porpoises and birds along the way. This is no longer a way of life, it is an industry. People are no longer thankful, or stop to be grateful for what they have. People have no sense to thank the earth for any of the resources they receive. These riches are taken for granted and more is not enough.

Personally I am thankful to nature, even as this stinking death of petrolium fires the engines of our destruction. Humans take every resource and use it to fire their greed, their insensitivity, their dissatisfaction and their loneliness. Killing is a thoughless act and the more we kill the better. What is a 60 year old Albatross to the men pulling in the catch? What good will the money be when the food runs out?

I see this same insanity on the Internet. The worldwide web used to be a place for exploration and discussion, searching for answers and communicating something of value. In the beginning it was unsophisticated, plaster and paint, do it yourself and hope it works kind of experimentation. I could type a search into Google Search Engine and come up with a number of sites discussing anything from UFO's to Gardening.

Now the search engines are full of long strings of hooks, fishing for money. High powered firms float along, trailing their hooks behind them, looking to catch more Dollars, Euro's or Yen. You are bombarded with Ads, commercial sites, special offers, magnetic attractions and more. If I had money I would create a special "non commercial" Server, where people could surf and learn in Utopian seas with dolphins and whales untouched, and the Albatrosses flying without pain.

Around the world the Native People took what they needed, said thank you to the earth, and left the rest with a blessing. The hunters were not renound for the largest number of kills. The hunters learned to maintain a balance, and to honour their guardianship of the earth. The creatures who fed the communities were to be respected, as was the earth itself. The sun gives light and warmth, and the earth gives abundance of life.

I watch the same insanity driven by the ego and loss of soul spreading across the world wide web. Who has the most billion hits on their web pages? How do you optimise for more? Who is the biggest and the best, the richest? It is no different than the fishing practices killing the dolphins in pair trawling, or the mile long lines dragging the Albatross under to its death. It is the same mentality, the same disease, the same psyche.

We are a world community sitting around one fire. We share the same resources and we live one life. The quality of the light spreading from the fire is the psyche, the thoughts men have and how they act on those thoughts. It is a question of whether the collective mind of man is quiet, attentive and observing, learning ... or is the mind restless, divided, talking to itself and inwardly disturbed? If the mind is noisy it cannot learn. If the collective mind is constantly in pursuit of something it cannot respond to life in a balanced way.

I attended the Krishnamurti talks at Brockwood Park for many years until his death. Jiddu Krishnamurti was a charasmatic man. He could easily have attracted millions of people; but he did not want it. He insisted that the talks not be advertised. He was not a guru and he did not want followers. I watched how he moved between the worlds, and how he worked throughout his life from another level.

In all the noise and demands to get more, to be number one, to find as much as you can, as fast as you can ... something essential gets lost. One of my favorite websites: The Wingmakers, does not have this mega ranking ideology behind them. They don't want it either. As this obsession for more is mainly going in the wrong direction. We humans need quality and sharing. We need intimacy and friendship. Love and respect. We need to find a bond of basic human values and cherish that gift.

The Scottish word "tryst" meant: A meeting place. That is a place where people can allow themselves to come together without any sense of harm. Once you pass through that doorway there has to be something beyond trust. That something is love. Only when there is love will the tryst be honoured. If there is no love within the heart then all kinds of betrayal, conflict and petty division will surface. This is the state we live in today - wars without end.

We have forgotten to be grateful for the small things, and to know grace and humility for that which we receive in this earth journey. The human race does not need volume, it needs character, intelligent cooperation and deeper values. Small communities will be able to create this sense of oneness and cooperation, from which all mankind will benefit. We do not need larger institutions, we need smaller ones. We do not need central control, we need to be answerable ourselves, to be able to respond to problems and to create our own solutions.

If you catch one fish and that fish feeds you then what more do you need? If you have 10 visitors who share enlightenment ... and those ten each have ten to share ... and the numbers remain small but the effect is shared for the benefit of all mankind... What more do we need?

When we observe nature. Do millions of birds gather or flock in one area? Of course not! If they did they would starve as there is not enough food in a small space to feed them all. Do millions of fish gather in one small part of the sea? Why then do humans do it? The larger the number and the smaller the space, the less there is for you!

Who Will Save The Albatross?

Massacred by commercial fishing, our most magical and magnificent birds now face extinction. As Ellen McArthur launches a campaign to save them, Michael McCarthy explains what makes the glorious albatross the king of the skies.

Ed Caesar - 28 April 2005 - It stirs the imagination more than any other bird. Eagles may be majestic, falcons may be dashing and kingfishers may be exquisite, but nothing quite sparks our sense of wonder like the albatross.

Even for those of us who have never seen one, and that's most of us, the great long-winged ocean wanderer floats through our subconscious as an icon of wildness and freedom. There is more: an air of deep mystery about it, as it emerges from nowhere, in the remotest corner of the sea, effortlessly follows your ship for hour upon hour, and disappears once again like a phantom. Where's it gone, when there isn't anywhere to go to?

Sailors used to think albatrosses were the souls of drowned men. Samuel Taylor Coleridge chiselled that superstitious awe into literary stone two hundred years ago in The Rime of The Ancient Mariner, the poem which fixed forever the mysterious, semi-magical nature of the bird in the British mind. Shoot an albatross like the mariner did, you read, and there will be terrible consequences.

No doubt about it, albatrosses are wondrous, albatrosses are utterly charismatic, albatrosses are very special creatures indeed. And they are being slaughtered. In a massacre of immense proportions, the birds are being killed in tens of thousands all across the Southern Ocean where most of them make their home. In less than 20 years, 19 of the 21 albatross species have gone from healthy populations to facing extinction.

The cause is a fishing method which has been used for centuries by native peoples, such as the Inuit of Greenland, without wrecking the environment, but which is suddenly being employed on a vast industrial scale, with catastrophic results.

Long-lining involves trailing out a line behind the fishing boat, set with many baited hooks. The lines can be eighty miles long, and on some lines the hooks can number ten thousand; and thousands of boats are doing it. It is now believed that across the oceans of the world, no less than a billion long-line hooks are baited every year. One billion tempting traps for seabirds, which swoop down to the pieces of squid or other bait still showing on or near the surface, are caught by the hook in the beak or throat, dragged under, and drowned.

There are simple and inexpensive measures that can be taken, with remarkably successful results. They include streamers attached to the long-line to scare the birds away, weighting the lines to make them sink faster, and setting the baits at night when the birds will not see them. The conservationists think such a task force is necessary because although an international treaty to protect the albatross was signed last year (ACAP - the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels), and some countries such as Britain have already ratified it, many other fishing nations have not. And action is needed now.

"If we fail to save the albatross, it means that we will have failed to manage the oceans, and these are our greatest global commons," Euan Dunn said.

"They are now becoming an increasing source of food security around the world - people are more and more turning to the oceans to find the protein they need. Unless we can manage them and steward them in a sustainable way, our own worth as a species is greatly diminished."

The albatross: a lesson from literature?

Coleridge, as everyone knows, was one of the great Romantic poets; but what they may not know is that he was also an environmental visionary. In his best known work, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, published in its present form in 1817, we are told the story of an albatross, which follows a ship sent off course in bad weather, only to be shot by the ancient mariner of the title with a crossbow.

It becomes clear that the mariner's random act has brought a terrible evil upon the ship. The vessel is stuck in the doldrums, and the men start to thirst. When a ship is seen, sailing towards them even though there is not a breath of wind, it turns out to be a ghost ship. Death silently takes every sailor on the ancient mariner's ship, except the mariner himself. He alone will live on, to expiate his sin against Mother Nature.

Now consider the plight of the albatross in 2005.
More than 100,000 of these massive birds are killed every year by long-line fishing in the Southern Ocean, and environmentalists fear that some of the 21 types of albatross will become extinct soon if this practice continues unabated. The long-lines, up to 80 miles of hooks, are designed to catch swordfish and tuna, but the albatross, swooping to catch fish near the ocean surface, has become their unintended victim.

Consider, too, the simultaneous discovery that Swedish fishermen in the Baltic are suffering from low sperm counts and sperm motility, due to anxiety, depression, and the large numbers of fatty fish they eat. It would be foolish to directly attribute a decline in fishermen's ability to reproduce with the concurrent decline in albatross numbers, but there are some unnerving parallels between the plight of Coleridge's doomed ship and the plight of today's Swedish sailors.

Just as the ancient mariner's ship languishes, it is, pointedly, a lack of motility which is affecting our Baltic seafarers. The mariner's encounter with the female figure of 'Life in Death', too, carries heavily sexual Gothic overtones. His wish, in particular, that 'I too could die' carries the Shakespearian resonances of 'death' as 'orgasm' with it. And the less said about the Freudian resonances of the mariner killing the virginal white bird with his crossbow the better.

Spurious? Possibly. But, environmental visionary or not, Coleridge understood the balance that must be struck with the world around us. And the Ancient Mariner warns us - meddle with nature, and pretty soon it will meddle with you. The Independent

Sunday, April 03, 2005

A Great Storm

Inqua?: What if a giant storm suddenly appeared in the area and most of them got cut off?

Observer: They have the best technology watching for sudden weather changes.

Inqua?: But it may appear out of Hyperspace, right above their heads and give no warning.

Observer: And then what?

Inqua?: A bigger force drops on their heads and does to them what they are doing to the baby seals.

Observer: And what would this achieve?

Inqua?: They would learn.

Observer: By dying?

Inqua?: Aren't the seals dying?

Observer: Are they not supposed to learn in the here and now?

Inqua?: Clubbing baby seals to death? Perhaps death would teach them, a life for a life.

Observer: You mean the great dying?

Inqua?: I mean right now.

Observer: They are learning right now. The seals are teaching them.

Inqua?: What do you mean?

Observer: Have you not seen how the seals look up at the men as they get ready to strike?

Inqua?: Yes, it's complete innocence. Complete vulnerability. They radiate a powerful aura of love. I have seen that.

Observer: And the men kill them regardless, without mercy.

Inqua?: Yes! That's what I mean. They still don't stop.

Observer: So, you are saying something should stop them?

Inqua?: If I had the power I would certainly stop them.

Observer: But, you do have the power!

Inqua?: What do you mean?

Observer: What will you do about all the people who pay for the furs? Will you teach them a lesson too?

Inqua?: They are are as guilty as the killers! Yes, it all goes together.

Observer: Will you drop a great storm on their heads too?

Inqua?: I don't have to. It's coming. But I still don't understand.

Observer: Who do you think they are clubbing to death?

Inqua?: Themselves! each spike driven into the seals is the pain and hurt of an individual who is killing themselves.

Observer: So, They are at war with themselves.

Inqua?: I still don't get what you are saying?

Observer: Why are they doing it?

Inqua?: For money, for greed. They are the slaves of materialism.

Observer: And that is all they see and know.

Inqua?: Yes!

Observer: And what will they do when the skies clear?

Inqua?: Oh! Now I understand. It is not a big storm that presents the answer, it is the clearing of the situation. Yes, I understand.

Observer: Use your mind to clear the skies, and leave the other to take care of the surroundings.

Inqua?: Thank you!

- EarthStar -