DEEP DENIAL

I just returned {July 8, 5pm} from a short 15 minute walk in the local park with Piper, E’s dog.  I usually can stand heat better than cold, but the whole time I imagined life in the future after runaway Global Warming. It was unbearably HOT!

My thoughts were on a deeper denial, than the denial of catastrophic Climate Change.  Everyone’s behavior informs that “deep down” we all deny we are in critical crisis, even when we use the words and forecast what may be coming.  My intuitive/emotional-Wrld can’t accept this crisis, although my conceptual/rational-Wrld holds it in potentially frightening clarity. Yet, I am not frightened. Being frightened doesn’t call for panic, but should call for continuous exploration of alternatives if what “is being done” appears insufficient. I explore, but far from what I could be doing.

Are we humans wired so only immediate threats lead to sufficient action? It appears so. Are there process we can perform to compensate for this barrier, and design/implement sufficient action? Maybe, we won’t know unless we try.

Like John Muir – as a child falling into a well and being overcome by fumes hearing his father above instructing him to hang on – I am deep in my well of depression about our condition and  I am unable to share with anyone my vision/mission of UPLIFT so as to motivate their appreciation of its significance and be able to work with others to bring it to reality.  I have no “father” to assist me.

All  those who might help are also in deep wells – most unaware of their condition. I don’t blame anyone, it is our condition of human exceptionalism (“there are no beings superior to us”).  Every human’s iWrld has their in-group exceptional to all out-groups. We are deep wired for this; but we have competencies to compensate. However, exceptionalism blocks any serious effort to improve – one of the reasons to explain how America’s infrastructure has slipped to the bottom of developed nations – while it continues to beat its drum of American exceptionalism – and today it is exceptional, as a powerful monster.

A few hours ago {July 8} I finished reading Barbara Ehrenreich’s Living With a Wild God. I resonate with her so deeply in her life adventures and emerging insights.  On one plane we had quite different lives and experiences; at another we were both weaving within the same scaffolding. Even her insight about OTHERS resonates with my own. I have fantasized that OTHERS may have guided my life so that “nuet”, my cWrld, would have the utility it has for Humankind/Gaia in our Crisis-of-Crises.

  •     Then there was the serendipitous concurrence of her repeated mention of Dr. Gerald Edelman as director of a lab she worked in at The Rockefeller Institute. Finally confronting his blatant authoritarianism (probably justified) and the oppressive tedium of labwork, she walked away to another of her life paths. It was interesting as I knew of Edelman and had read one of his books. I read that part in Ehrenreich earlier this morning; that evening I read the obituary of Edelman in SCIENCE (10.1126/science.1257185  27June2014 pp 1457). The obit focused on Edelman’s work after The Rockefeller Institute on Neural Darwinism, which I knew about – and often think about it.  Neural Darwinism might be a model to be used in researching iWrlds and cWrlds.  This type of spontaneous coincidence, very frequent  throughout my life, led me to speculate that I was “guided”. I even concocted a “theory” about how “time-loops” (info moving back in time) can model the synchronicity phenomena.

Yesterday I had a useful insight, on how to reframe my ideas.  Compare the metamorphosis of Tadpole2Frog with Cateripllar2Butterfly as models for Humankind2Humanity.  Concepts to explicate this have been filling my mind since, with no time or patience to explicate. I might start with the query of where on the progress of an organism’s biological development, from conception to death, would we place – in analogy – humankind today?  The analogy is far from perfect – but I would venture somewhere between fetal just before birth to very early infancy.  On evolutionary scales humankind is so very new. Think on the comparison of worldviews and competencies of infants with mature adults and relate to where humankind has potential yet to develop.  Resolution of our Crisis-of-Crises demands a change commensurate with the challenge. Ross Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety (this Second Law of Cybernetics is as irrevocable as the conservation laws of physics) strongly implies that our tinkering-to-survive is as futile as designing perpetual motion machines.  Our needed change is in the deep nature of humankind, NOT what contemporary humankind decides what to do with each individual crisis/problem. A form of Societal Metamorphosis is required – which I concluded in 1975 and whose exploration has been my life mission since.  Will it be by continuous transformation of Tadpole to Frog, or by the emergence/replacement of Caterpillar to Butterfly.

I am converging on a mixed model.  The societal butterfly must begin organizing ASAP, with the “educational” focus of UPLIFT. Meanwhile our current Tadpole must transform into a Frog appropriate to not block the emergence of NU (my name for the Societal Butterfly) and to enable replacement with minimal suffering.  This may involve some level of reform of humankind’s economic system, which unfortunately dominates the econo-centric perspective of humankind today.

  •     I propose that no transformation of contemporary humanity can achieve a “condition” suitable for survival/thrival. The future is in the hands of the Caterpillar2Butterfly conceptual scheme. If we try to morph the Frog into Humanity, we will fail.
  •     However, I don’t call for competition between the two models of metamorphosis. I recommend collaborative support of both models. The design of a future Humanity prepared for multi-millennial life is not in the hands of either models: contemporary humans lack requisite competencies. The objective of UPLIFT is to create a human population with those requisite competencies.
  •         It is not that this model would produce suffering, suffering exists and portends to increase. Societal Metamorphosis should decrease existing suffering. The 1% will initially cry that they are made to suffer. What they will lose will be the continuing ability to make others suffer. Should they chose, they could have fulfilling lives as components of NU.

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So why am I depressed.  It is biological Larry that is depressed by his addiction to a lifestyle of masked dysfunction. From some perspectives, his dysfunction is not all that masked. But, he continues living day to day, moderately healthy, free from threat. Nothing demands he do differently, other than possible financial trouble ahead and limited resources to enjoy other activities. The other two persons in his household are also highly dysfunctional, but both hiding it in daily routines – hoping for miracles to lift them from their misery. Each feign enjoying life. But we are all much better off than many on this planet.  This morning as I listened to details of the child refuges from Central American I experienced guilt for the actual comfort of my addicted lifestyle.  I speculate that all humans today are masking their dysfunction.  Dysfunction is, of course, relative to the functions lacking. If one denies the need for those functions, then they are not dysfunctional – by definition.  But, we are not solely individuals, but deeply social. Our deeply inherited social competencies are over stressed by the societal constraints of “civilization”.

Who is researching “lifestyle addiction” and means of “recovery”? I propose that shifting lifestyles requires alternative social environments designed to simulate the new lifestyle. Persons would live for extended periods in this new setting learning the new lifestyle. There are many settings that partly do this (college, military, prison, marriage, refuge camp) but none are designed for full lifestyle change. This is an analog to personal metamorphosis; not a “detox” and “return” to an old lifestyle absent a few behaviors. The UPLIFT model incorporates this process.  In a future Humanity, persons may have more than one lifestyle to alternate between.

Are new  settings/lifestyles required to breakthrough our deep denial and to seaf a viable and sufficient action strategy to meet our challenges?

What am I to do?  I compose this essay in avoidance of that question – or maybe in process of coming to solutions.