We have created a hell on Earth. Most of us remain blinded to its firey prison, but it’s here. Most of you reading this are probably only in the outer circle of hell, not the very center of the agony. You may have to work 8–10 hrs a day at a job you hate to pay your mortgage, but you have a house. You may worry that you won’t have enough to leave your kid when you die, but your kid eats three meals a day, has people to love it and people to teach it. You think your life doesn’t have much point, but you get enough joy in the few hours you get to spend with your friends and family to keep you ticking. You may medicate heavily with alcohol, pot or pharmaceuticals, but all in the name of unwinding, relaxing, kicking back. Yes, this is only the outside circle of hell.
You don’t need me to tell you what the progressive inner circles of hell are. You don’t need me to tell you that as you move inward towards more hellishness, the amount of people living in each circle increases. You don’t need me to tell you about the person who can only afford to buy convenience store food, who is malnourished from eating McDonalds, Cheetos, and beef jerkey, who must work 3 jobs to pay the bills. You don’t need me to tell you about the kids left with no guidance, no love, no education who are the casualties of our system, their parents never learning what birth control is, being told that the only way they’ll survive is to have a kid so they can get welfare and food stamps, because they have no money or opportunity to go to college and get a job that pays a living wage.
Seeing what humanity has been reduced to is what started me on my path of waking up. What I watched yesterday made me want to call it a hell on Earth.
“Earthlings” is a movie by writer/producer/director Shaun Monson, narrated by Joaquin Phoenix. It discusses how the human race has come to use animals, as pets, food, clothing, entertainment and in science. According to the website, it’s been called “the vegan-maker.” Well, I concur.
I have never seen such depravity. I have never seen such hubris. I have never imagined it could be that bad. I have watched a few videos over the years about animal treatment in factories, but I always thought they were isolated instances. They are not. As common, standard practice, animals are screamed at while being prodded with electric prods: “GO YOU MOTHERFUCKERS! GO GO GO! YOU’RE GONNA DIE! I GOT YOU! I FUCKING GOT YOU!” Squealing pigs thrashing on the barn floors, bloodied and half-dead. Live male baby chicks, fed to a grinder, because they will not produce eggs. Cheep cheep cheep into the grinder. Cows throats slit, esophagus and trachea pulled out, hung up by a hoof. Still alive. Fur animals skinned, and still alive after, blinking eyes in alien musculo-skeletal faces. Milking cows made pregnant over and over, calves taken away for veal, giant abcesses on udders, dying after 4 years when a typical cow life span is many times that. Little piglets getting tails and balls ripped off by hand with no anesthesia. Wounded tail areas and faces of piggies getting cannibalized off from the other animals, packed so closely they can’t help but eat each other. Elephants in circuses, being screamed at and beaten and stabbed with a poker, all so that they’ll form a nice little line, holding each others’ tails with their trunks, so we can be amused for a few hours. Cage madness, where an animal paces back and forth in a tiny cage, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, not understanding why. Why why why why? And the cherry on top for me from the whole film? Baboons (great apes like us), shackled, tied down, heads shaved, and then heads rammed at 40, 50 60 mph into steel plates. Over. And over. And over. So we can study the effects of brain injury. For you know, foot ball players and car accidents.
If you got through that paragraph, I commend you. Most of us do not want to hear this. Do not want to see this. Do not want to believe it’s really that bad. It really is that bad. For these animals and those people who work in these conditions and have been conditioned to think this is okay, this is hell. Literally. What has made us okay with causing untold suffering to cute, furry, fuzzy animals that only by the luck of the draw they weren’t born a puppy or a kitty?
My husband and I are currently reading Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn, out loud to each other. I’ve wanted to do this with him for a while and from what I heard, Ishmael would be a perfect book for it. I had heard it was life-changing and it’s nice to experience something like that with your partner. There are so many insights in it, but we just finished chapter nine and I think that was the crux of the book. In this chapter, Ishmael reveals what the story of Adam and Eve eating from the Tree of Knowledge (the Fall) really means. If you aren’t familiar with this story, basically Adam and Eve (and Adamu means man and Eve means life, so let’s not take this as literally as one man, one woman) lived in the garden of Eden (the natural state of the world). The garden was lush with growing things and beautiful and a paradise. It provided every need for them, and they didn’t have to toil for it. Nature provides abundance, if we let it do it’s thang and don’t mess with it (ahem, permaculture anyone?). So, you have humans living in paradise, satisfied with what the Earth gave them, the gifts of nature. Then we “ate of the tree of knowledge.” This is commonly understood to mean we were tempted by the devil to get this knowledge. Once we gave in, we understood good and evil, we knew we were naked, we felt shame. So god/the gods kicked us out of the garden for not obeying him/her/it and said “go, till the soil, toil and work for your food by the sweat of your brow, be fruitful and multiply.” This is not a blessing, it was a curse. So Adam and Eve left the garden and had to start planting and tilling the Earth to grow their food, and modern, agrarian society started. They were fruitful. They multiplied. And by their multiplying, they had to till more of the Earth, and work harder. And the more they worked and succeeded in feeding their people, the larger they grew, and then more work and toil had to be done, more land had to be used to fill these needs. And the more they grew, the more Earth they had to usurp. And you see the cycle.
Let’s examine what “the knowledge of good and evil” means. Ishmael explains that this way. Nature understands and works perfectly with the idea that all things have their time to live and all things have their time to die. He calls this “the knowledge of the gods,” but I’ll call it the knowledge of natural cycles. This process is normal and when you know that everything has cycles and has time to thrive and time to end, you are at peace with the way nature works. The Takers timeline (Ishmael calls the people of modern society Takers and everyone else, like indigenous cultures, Leavers) began in earnest when they examined this process/knowledge of nature, and felt they understood it, but decided they were godlike enough to manipulate those decisions FOR the Earth, FOR their own benefit. What does this mean? It means the Takers thought they were above nature, above god, and that it was good of them to decide what should die and what should live, and that it was good to manipulate their environment to their benefit. I personally don’t fault ancient man for wanting this wisdom, the problem is what was done with it.
Ishmael points out that it is odd that the Fall is the story we tell ourselves of how our modern society started. Why is it odd? Because this story that we call ours, tells us that the things we are doing and how we are living are not natural and are curses, yet we do not look at our modern society this way. How does this make any sense? Shouldn’t we all look the idea of eating at the tree of knowledge as a good thing, if we are defending our modern society? Wouldn’t we say, “hey, isn’t it awesome that we have this knowledge? Look what we’ve done with it! It was an awesome decision to eat that fruit.” Either that, or we must acknowledge that we are still in the midst of the Fall, or hell on Earth.
The way Ishmael explains this paradox is that Leavers are actually the ones who witnessed/eventually wrote down the story of the Fall. These Leavers were the Semites, the ancient Hebrews. The Takers were the Caucasians, the Semites’ neighbors to the north, living between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (the Fertile Crescent). At this time, all over the world, there were all sorts of Leaver cultures. But the ones who decided they were above nature, above god, above all other animals, the Takers, slowly expanded and took over other lands. They gradually needed to move out of their area, to feed their growing population, and they needed to till more soil and kill more animals.
And so, here we are today. The Takers expanded and expanded and killed and manipulated and grew. They took over the human trajectory with violence and domination. They claimed ownership of every corner of the Earth, every commons, every sacred thing, and have turned it into profit. The Earth, converted to money. Animals suffering, converted to money. Nothing left for anyone. A hell on Earth.
Do you see it now?
So, how to remedy this? How do we use the knowledge we have, of how things live and die and how the planet works, to climb out of the depths of hell? The answer is simple—we work WITH the laws, instead of trying to change them or defeat them. We realize that we are one species on this planet out of millions and when one species tries to control nature, it leads to disastrous consequences. We get off a monetary system that only lives if we cannibalize the Earth (there’s not much left to cannibalize anyway). We start using alternative systems, time banking, local currencies, community use of common spaces. We give back what we can. We starve the beast. We invent and promote technologies that solve problems long-term and alleviate suffering in the short-term (without losing site of the long-term). We do our best to crowd-fund these projects or source them in other ways and offer the services for free. We do the hard work now to plan a better, easier future for our descendants. We transform from Takers into Leavers. We leave the Earth better off than we found it. We return to the garden of Eden, with updated technologies that only improve the garden, not desecrate it.
Will you help? Now that you see? Will you stop blaming others? Will you take responsibility? No one is judging you for the way you have lived. Your past and what choices you have made do not matter. You are new every moment. You cannot fault a blind man for not following the light, just as you cannot fault a person for making decisions that feed the hell if you have not shown them how the hell is created. But the information is out there now. It’s available to anyone with an internet connection. Read it, watch it, digest it and act.
I wrote this poem last summer. It seems appropriate to put in this post:
i struggle with, struggle with, double what
i knew before, every day, what i know now
and how i’m supposed to know
which is real and which is not.
that’s not it, that’s not right.
that doesn’t prove i should move
my soul to this or that way
am i caught in ascension?
am i caught in a mention,
a whisper of crazy, hazy, maybe
not quite right or here anymore.
but i am very here. have my very real,
very near, very massive new
direction, a vector.
very real relationships. very present.
they are touch, taste,
smell, hear, see, be, me. be with me.
why does it have to seem like a choice.
a voice, be one. a boss, you be
this or that but definitely not one.
question: know lots or know nothing?
can be both, can be neither. rather have
action than debates. rather have
smiles than hate. rather say
mate than hate. rather barriers down
borders gone. rather be drawn along
in a torrent of love
and a song of strength;
a river of empathy.
imagine it. imagine it. feel it!
someone else’s pain. some other being’s pain.
their pain. their ripping pain.
your heart ripped from your chest.
you are starving to death.
imagine your chances, zero.
you’re climb, everest.
how easily a human quits
without the backing, the backbone
the attention paid, the love lost
the shit that is only dished out
because it was dished out
because it was dished out
because it was dished out.
GIVE ME THE DISH.
i will break it.
i will help BREAK IT.
help me break it?
I gave the following talk at Z-Day Massachusetts, 2013. Unfortunately, the camera shut off after two minutes, so the rest of the talk is transcribed below.
Thank you all for coming out. In each person that’s here, I see a piece of the whole solution to our global problems. I see a new system slowly forming to affect real change, not through any political system, not through violence, not through division or protest, but through education, creativity and design. We are diagnosing the world’s problems and we are offering solutions. You are the reason the subject I am talking about today is valid, and you’ll see why.
The Zeitgeist Movement is an explicitly non-violent social movement with the core focus on educating the public about the true root sources of many common personal, social and ecological problems today. Human ingenuity has developed and continues to develop problem solving technologies that as yet go unapplied on a large sca;e due to barriers inherent in the current, established social system.
The movement’s purpose is to set in motion a train of thought that is logically self-realizing when the causal considerations of “sustainability” and “public health” are referenced from a scientific perspective.
Basically, our societal structure needs a technological, systems-theory-based update. The massive human tragedy, massive waste, massive destruction, massive poverty, pollution, and wars we are experiencing today have one root cause – an outdated societal structure based on an inherently unsustainable monetary system that rewards greed and competition and has debt pressure built into it’s very structure, in the form of interest. This system stifles innovation and ingenuity if it cannot be made into profit, and often solutions are overlooked because of a perceived notion of “that’s just not the way it works.” Structural violence and classism are built-in and we are fed the line that there is no better way of doing things.
The word zeitgeist means “spirit of the times.” The explosion in scientific information, technology and all the ways we have to share it are all a result of the current exponential growth in connections that the computer revolution has created. A member of the LA chapter gave a talk noting that the zeitgeist of our age is the information age. We have so much information at our fingertips because of the internet and technology. My talk is about what many, including myself, are choosing to do with this information, to rectify the global catastrophe we are heading towards and are in fact already immersed in.
After being involved with the movement for a while, I’ve realized what most interests me about the train of thought is that we are finally realizing, through scientific studies, that human nature is not inherently to be selfish and greedy, but that this is a learned behavior due to what the current social structure rewards and how it operates. I know most of my family and friends have a hard time buying this, because I’ve asked them point blank. The inherently selfish nature of humans is literally hammered into our psyches, by Judeo-Christianity, by society, by the media. And I’ve always felt uncomfortable with that basic assumption but I wasn’t sure why.
The Free World Charter, an initiative I’ll come back to, posted the following status update on Facebook: “Greed is just human nature? Human nature has just one function: to survive. This survival instinct drives all our behaviours. So when we are faced with scarcity, we automatically become greedy, because it is good for survival. Today, money is scarce and we need it to live, so we try and get as much as we can. It’s a perfectly natural response to a world where people who don’t have money die.” And so we must adjust our behavior to survive in a sick society.
What makes money scarce right now is the concept of interest, and the fact that the system is rigged to favor the ones who start out with more. I’ll quote from Charles Eisenstein’s book, Sacred Economics, “Because interest-bearing debt accompanies all new money, at any given time the amount of debt exceeds the amount of money in existence. The insufficiency of money drives us into competition with each other and consigns us to a constant, built-in state of scarcity. It’s like a game of musical chairs, with never enough room for anyone to be secure. Debt pressure is endemic to the system.” I strongly suggested watching Zeitgeist: Addendum if this concept is unfamiliar to you.
Greedy, selfish behavior is also magnified a thousand-fold because of what kind of behavior our society rewards. Humans are born with tendencies, and maybe some personality traits, but not “good” or “bad.” Whatever behaviors get reinforced as a child is making it’s way in the world are going to be the ones he keeps performing. We reward competitive, success driven behaviors. CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are unfathomably wealthy, have enormous material goods, and never seem to get punished for anything their companies do, whether it be dumping toxic waste, using slave labor, or worse. What kind of behavior can we expect when these people are at the pinnacle of our society?
But that’s all theory. How do we prove to people that evil, selfishness and greed are not “built-in” human behaviors? By looking at the mountains of psychological, neurological, and behavioral studies that are coming out now that prove this.
In one article I found from 2011 in the NY Times Op Ed section, author David Brooks mentions several of these studies. Quote: “Jonathan Haidt joins others who argue that natural selection takes place not only when individuals compete with other individuals, but also when groups compete with other groups. Both competitions are examples of the survival of the fittest, but when groups compete, it’s the cohesive, cooperative, internally altruistic groups that win and pass on their genes. The idea of “group selection” was heresy a few years ago, but there is momentum behind it now.”
That may sound counterintuitive, considering how society is functioning right now and who seems to be running the show, but consider how long Homo sapiens sapiens have been around—300,000 years. The fact that we currently live in a paradigm that enforces greed and classism doesn’t really mean much on a long, evolutionary scale. Modern history was written by “the winners” and the winners were the few that were greedy and wanted power, so now we are taught everyone is like that, when it is really only a few that usurped power with violence.
Brooks next discusses a study where Dr. Michael Tomasello “devised a series of tests that he could give to chimps and toddlers in nearly identical form. An infant of 12 months will inform others about something by pointing. Chimpanzees and other apes do not helpfully inform each other about things. Infants share food readily with strangers. Chimpanzees rarely even offer food to their own offspring. If a 14-month-old child sees an adult having difficulty — like being unable to open a door because her hands are full — the child will try to help.
Tomasello’s point is that the human mind veered away from that of the other primates. We are born ready to cooperate, and then we build cultures to magnify this trait.”
In yet another study mentioned just in this article, Emory University neuroscientists found that the act of helping another person triggers activity in the caudate nucleus and anterior cingulate cortex regions of the brain, the parts involved in pleasure and reward. That is, serving others may produce the same sort of pleasure as gratifying a personal desire.”
We want to help when we are young. And then it is beat out of us by our society. We are told it might be dangerous to help someone, and then we are shown a news story where some “psychopath” preys on a woman offering help.
We are encouraged to keep to ourselves, protect our families from outsiders, protect ourselves from the savages that live down in the projects, or that do drugs, or that commit violence. The crazy thing is, in some cultures, violent criminals are actually nurtured by their community because it is obvious to them that they need love and help. That sounds foreign and laughable to most Western ears.
To reinforce this idea of the other, the separate, the bad guys, the 24/7 news and reality media plays and replays fearful, terrible news. How many times did you watch the towers collapse in Sept 2001. How many times did you see the fleeing children at Sandyhook? What is the ratio of bad stories to good stories on the news? 10 to 1? Worse? It should be called the bad news. The corporate owned media sears these events into our brains, to keep us in fear, fear of each other. Fear of a stranger, fear of anyone outside our tiny nuclear family household. Reality tv is no better, purposely scripting stupid, shallow, drama-filled scenes that make us believe there are all these crazy people in the world and we are the only normal ones left. But then the same corporate owned media plays ads for security equipment to “keep your family safe” and clothes ads so you can dress as nice as those reality tv stars. The media creates a need so it can fill it with a product. That’s what happens in a perpetual growth society. Needs be must be manufactured so products can be sold.
Thinker and author Echkart Tolle says what you focus on expands. If you keep watching these human dramas, keep watching the 24/7 news cycle that burns awful images into our minds, that reality will expand for you. If you want to see good things in the world, you have to make the effort to look away from the mainstream media. It takes a little bit more effort, but if you want to prove to yourself there is good in the world, you must look where you weren’t looking before. We now have that possibility with the ubiquity of the internet and the independent groups, people and news sources that are available to us.
I personally see so many good things now happening in the world, and that’s what the focus of my talk is. The frequency and the awesomeness of them is picking up as well. I want to share the things I see happening, the sentiments I see being extended, the ideas for helping people that are gaining momentum. I want you to be inspired to look for them as well.
First are a few snippets of ideas and projects that are just forming, from people who identify and have taken a cue from the train of thought promoted by the zeitgeist movement.
Pieter from South Africa is working on something that he has coined a VIAAC – virtual intentional abundance access communities. In his own words, this project is is a community-based, non-profit initiative aimed at uniting communities economically and technologically and applying sustainability measures to improve living standards for the entire participating community. His group of 250 have secured land, growing tunnels, aquaponic systems, and have begun over 400 compost bins. The long term plan should see a fully functional VIAAC within 5 years.
Dominique, who lives in the projects of New York, is working on an initiative to get a group of volunteer specialists to come into the projects and teach the residents all aspects of everything, for free. A nutritionist to help them pick out better foods that still taste good. An economist to teach them how to buy in bulk. A mediator and social worker to help resolve disputes and help build self esteem. An engineer or technician to teach them how to repair an broken phone or tablet. She says, everyone looks down on these people as the bottom-feeders. They just need someone to understand, care, and teach them. It would spark public interest, in a place that people can’t ignore.
A man named Berret in Swedan makes visual media that connects movies and video games to the ideas promoted by TZM. He says “a theme I seek to create in my visual media is that of general positivity and hope. It is my intention to focus on the potentially awesome and positive possibilities of what the human species can accomplish should they change their outlook.
Now I’ll move on to some bigger, more established projects done by TZM members
The Free World Charter is a statement of principles that has the potential to optimise life on Earth for all species, eradicate poverty and greed, and advance progress.
Neither political nor religious, these ten short principles could form the foundation of a new, advanced society that uses no money, is free, fair and sustainable. They are based solely on nature, common sense and survival.
1. The highest concern of humanity is the combined common good of all living species and biosphere.
2. Life is precious in all its forms, and free to flourish in the combined common good.
3. Earth’s natural resources are the birthright of all its inhabitants, and free to share in the combined common good.
4. Every human being is an equal part of a worldwide community of humans, and a free citizen of Earth.
5. Our community is founded on the spirit of cooperation and an understanding of nature, provided through basic education.
6. Our community provides for all its members the necessities of a healthy, fulfilling and sustainable life, freely and without obligation.
7. Our community respects the limits of nature and its resources, ensuring minimal consumption and waste.
8. Our community derives its solutions and advances progress primarily through the application of logic and best available knowledge.
9. Our community acknowledges its duty of care and compassion for members who are unable to contribute.
10. Our community acknowledges its responsibility to maintain a diverse and sustainable biosphere for all future life to enjoy.
You can go and sign the charter online. It has almost 34,000 signature so far.
The documentary “The Reality of Me” tries to present, in a simplistic way, the world as discovered so far, not some idea or personal choice of how the world is believed to be. It tries to present alternative solutions to current problems, taking our future into account
The former Italian chapter coordinator, Federico Pistono, wrote a book called “Robots will steal your job, but that’s okay: How to survive the economic collapse and be happy.” It’s about technological unemployment and the possibly wonderful effect massive automaton could have on our future, if we utilize it appropriately.
Other members of this movement, half a million strong at least, are making podcasts, designing new inventions, thinking no where near the box. It inspires me so much. I have never been so impressed with a group of people.
Next I want to share some stories, organizations and technologies that aren’t from TZM members, but the thinking and methods are all emergent and follow the train of thought of logical solutions to problems that only exist because we haven’t thought outside the box.
There are lots of ideas out there for alternative ways of structuring an economy and most are based on resource economics. That is, real things that people use and need, not money and interest. The Venus Project, started by futurist and social engineer Jacque Fresco, envisions a world where every piece of information about what we have on the planet is fed into an open source computer program and the resources are allocated as needed, keeping in mind the ultimate public health and well being of all of Earth’s people and the planet. Humans would “do work” not “have jobs” and the work would pertain to fulfilling a resource need, like food production, engineering, art, and emotional well-being. We would each do our part and everything produced would be available to us, for free.
Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein discusses new money systems, based on the ideas of gift economies and that reject the idea of interest. I’m only halfway through so that’s all I can tell you about this one!
Time banking is another form of resource-economics, based on the resource of time. The equalizer is that each person’s time is worth the same amount. We have Carol Moses from the Cambridge Time Trade Circle doing an orientation at 7 if you are interested. The Cambridge Time Trade Circle is the biggest in the country, with over 800 members.
This is a billboard for the University of Engineering and Technology in Peru. Many people in Lima have limited access to clean drinking water. The air there is incredibly humid, and this billboard uses that humidity to produce drinking water from thin air.
The Documentary Escape Fire
I was pleasantly shocked to see this movie about the healthcare system on last Sunday night on CNN. It exposes our “disease-care system” where GDP goes up the sicker we are and the more services we use. It exposes how our system says next to nothing about nutrition and preventative care. It’s full of interviews with many doctors, clinicians and experts that are trying to change the way the system works.
The TED Talk A Barefoot Movement by Bunker Roy
This TED talk discusses how rural, illiterate women are learning to be solar engineers and bringing light and electricity to their villages.
A food forest is going up within 2 miles of Seattle, in Jefferson park. This food is to be completely free for the public. It will have nut and fruit trees, dwarf fruit trees, herbs, and root vegetables. Based on the concepts of permaculture, it will eventually maintain itself, as a natural ecosystem.
Food is Free
The Food is Free Project, based in Austin, TX, grows community and food, while helping gain independence from a broken agricultural system. They teach people how to connect with their neighbors and line their street with front yard community gardens which provide free harvests to anyone.
From cars to vacationing, people are peer to peer sharing resources, thinking outside the box of ownership and still getting what they need. This is green, it is cheap and it builds trust between individuals and within a society.
GOOD is a site promoting….good! Users can post good things in the categories of Living, Health, Business, Education and Technology
These are popping up everywhere. What an obvious solution to food scarcity, especially in urban areas.
The TED talk Freeing Energy from the Grid by Justin Hall-Tipping
In yet another awesome TED talk, Hall-Tipping discusses using carbon nanotubes to print paper thin solar cells that could be applied to almost any surface, freeing us from the corporate energy grid.
Panera Cares are in 5 location so far across the US, one in Government Center in Boston. Panera Cares will feed anyone. They will offer a dignified dining experience in an uplifting environment – without judgment – whether or not a person can pay. The cafes are meant to raise the level of awareness about food insecurity in this country, while also being a catalyst for change in our communities.
And now for how I have been inspired by this movement. For one, I was compelled to give this talk and I am petrified of public speaking. I write a lot in my blog and voraciously devour books on relevant topics. And, I have been particularly inspired by the idea that food is a human right and we have the technology and know how to have enough food to feed the world, free for all. The amount of food that gets wasted in developed countries is appalling. The amount of money the government gives to the hard corn industry just to produce high fructose corn syrup and feed cattle so we can gorge ourselves on beef because the market supposedly demands it literally tears at my soul. And if you are a person that doesn’t happen to have a job right now, you may be on food stamps, “raking it in” at the average sum $159/month. You either live on that, beg, steal, or starve..
I have toyed with ideas of trying to start a food forest in Boston, and that is a lofty goal that will take a lot of planning. For now, I’m learning what I can about cooking and growing my own food so I can share it with others. I plan to have a front yard garden as soon as I have a front yard. I am starting container gardens for the first time in my life this spring. When I have an abundant harvest, I will put a basket of vegetables outside with a FREE sign on it. I bought a hydroponic WindowFarm and am growing lettuce, cabbage, basil and cilantro. I’ve discovered I love cooking healthy foods, especially soups. Material things do not hold my attention like they used to. Living, growing systems do. I smile at people, at strangers. I help them if I can because I would want them to help me. I try to be a better person because I want better people around me. And this behavior has a way of spreading.
My latest brain-child combines all of the above. I’m hesitant to share it, but sharing ideas often has a way of making them happen. I want to create a pay what you can enterprise selling healthy, nutrition-packed vegetarian and vegan soups. My ultimate goal is to have a very large garden and harvest many the ingredients myself, and also hopefully utilize the generosity of others with gardens, because they always produce even more than you can give away. I would also give my recipes out to anyone who wanted them, and maybe there will be some kind of garden co-op involved as well. I want to make soup for people who want my soups, no matter if they can pay or not. I want people who are hungry to be able to eat. I really just want people to have what I have. Why shouldn’t they?
In closing, when you think about it, you and me and everyone else doing the kinds of things I mentioned are the reason my talk has any merit. The very fact that you are here flies in the face of the logic that human nature is to be selfish. You are attending an event about global sustainability in the hopes to affect the entire world. This is a completely selfless act. You have chosen to look at the bigger picture, the global family. We are all of these little pieces of hope and ideas coming together, looking for truth—a truth that applies to the whole planet, not just your family, school, church, business or country.
You are not inherently evil, greedy or selfish. Once you’ve realized this about yourself, it will seem most natural that a better world, a selfless, connected world is possible. After all, how you see the world is a reflection of how you see yourself. An economy that serves everyone isn’t a pipe dream, and we are not wide-eyed idealists. We are scientists, logicians, thinkers and creators, and we have a plan.
I was writing this whole descriptive post about this film Forks Over Knives, which is the main thing I want to share in this Part II, and I was getting really sick of the sound of my own writing. I’m going to let the trailor, a summary, and your intense curiosity about it drive your interest to watch it.
It is a documentary examining the overwhelming evidence that reveals something that might be astonishing to some: our skyrocketing rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes could be turned around with a wink. It documents the work of American physician Caldwell Esselstyn and Cornell professor of nutritional biochemistry T. Colin Campbell. Their many, many research findings and clinical studies all point to one fact: animal products (anything made with milk, meat, or eggs) eaten as more than 5% of your diet causes a sharp increase of your risk of getting cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Not only that, cancer patients, heart disease patients and diabetes patients are reversing their diseases by foregoing almost all animal products and switching to whole foods, plant based-diets. Oh, and they also have a lot more energy and are much healthier in all respects.
Cows milk, meat and eggs are killing us. (Oh, and sugar too but I already covered that in the last post.) All while the government massively subsidizes those industries and represses fun facts, like countries with the highest consumption of dairy products also happen to have the highest rates of osteoporosis. Headscratcher, right?
If you are in anyway concerned with your health, your family’s health, your children’s health or anyone because of diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, obesity, or anything related, please stream this on Netflix or rent from wherever you get movies, because it might literally save a life.
Enjoy! (At least watch the trailor, it’s like 2 minutes)
Just so it stays personal, I am currently trying to have as many veggie meals per week as I can get my husband to agree to (he’s awesome, he says “why should I care if there’s meat in there if it tastes good?”). I’ll keep you updated on the progress and maybe share some recipes.
Bagels with cream cheese (Lender’s Bagels, remember those chewy treats?); bagels with cream cheese with potato chips on top. Potato chips dipped in cream cheese. Pretzels dipped in cream cheese. Kraft mac & cheese scooped up onto potato chips, like some freaky, orange, processed starch salsa. Velveeta cheese sandwiches on preservative laden soft white bread. Oh, and if no one was looking? Straight up, a blanket of Doritos smashed in a slice of white bread, folded in half, eaten as a crunchy sandwich.
No wonder I was a chubby little kid. These were my favorite snacks when I was 10. No, we weren’t poor, yes my mother knew how to cook, yes she tried to get me to eat healthier things. But once I tasted white bread, fake cheese and potato, there was really nothing else I liked. At dinner when I had to eat more real food, I would eat the meat we had, 2-3 white rolls, and baked potato, all layered on top of each other. A few bites of salad. A few green beans. Glass ‘o Coke.
I don’t really fault my parents with having that stuff in the house. My dad liked it, and no one else seemed to have a problem sneaking Dorito sandwiches, so I’m sure it seemed draconian to them to cut it out of our diets all together. Plus, no one really knew the dangers back then of eating processed white flour (or at least the main stream didn’t), processed fake cheese, processed anything. It was cheap, easy and convenient, and America bought it up. Why shouldn’t we? Commercials for Doritos, Lays, Wise, Ruffles, WonderBread, Coke, Pepsi, and Kraft flooded the TV. These brands are your friends! They’re feeding your family for cheap! Look at all that food you can afford! And, I’m sure I begged and begged and BEGGED for these items. Advertisers do studies on how long it takes a child nagging to get the parent to buy something. I’m sure nagged and begged, and my mother has specifically told me that I wouldn’t eat anything else except those cheese sandwiches for lunch. She said she thought it was better to let me eat that than to have me starve. I believe she was doing what she thought was best. Unfortunately, what happened is I’m pretty sure I got addicted to that stuff, and I now consider myself to be a recovering white-flour, fake-cheese, empty-carb-aholic.
I was talking with my husband about this the other day, after watching Food Matters. I was wondering why I got so obsessed with these kinds of foods, while others didn’t. My best friend growing up liked salsa and salad, tomatoes and pepperocinis, and I’ve told people recently what I used to eat and they look at me with horror. Husband mentioned maybe it wasn’t the food per se, but it was the extreme high I got from eating them. As we know now, those empty white flour carbs are just like sugar, and I basically got a sugar high from eating them. It’s the same feeling you get when you eat McDonalds. The food tastes absolutely glorious while you’re eating it, you can’t get enough. It’s alarmingly crack-like and you just want more of the taste in your mouth. And then when you’re done, you’re really sad and kinda depressed you’re done eating. If you watched Supersize Me, you know Morgan Spurlock commented about that when he at his McDonalds diet for a month. He would get wicked psyched for his meals and then crash after.
I also recently got off anti-depressants I was on for 6 years. I’ve had sort of an anxiety-based, worried about the end of the world, what does it all mean, what am I doing with myself type of depression ever since about 4th grade. I used to lie in bed wondering “what’s outside the universe? Is it God? What’s outside God? What’s outside of that? Why are humans here?” I also was terribly afraid of the dark and slept on the floor of my parents room for a few months in 6th grade. I was afraid of monsters, poltergeists, witches, boogey-men, demons. Mostly paranormal stuff. My sister’s room shared a wall with mine, and frequently throughout the night I would tap on the wall, and keep tapping until my sister returned the tap, signaling she was awake. For some reason, I was extremely terrified of being the only one awake.
Anyway, all this just means I think I had/have some psychological…issues (as we all do to some extent), and that food, for whatever reason, comforted me. I looked forward to it, I craved it, it made me so happy to eat it. The endorphins it released soothed me.
Now I know that kind of stuff is toxic. Study after study is showing that when you eat white bread and sugar, you create a breeding ground for cancer—cancer feeds of that kind of food. It also leads to heart disease—basically sugar causes inflammation in your arteries, which causes cholester0l to stick to the inside of your veins.
I stopped eating processed foods a few months ago. I’ve gradually started buying as much organic as I can. I avoid GMOs whenever possible (those are a whole different story). I don’t buy white bread, I don’t buy chips, Doritos, etc. I will eat them if they are in my house. My friends know – I’ll go to parties and I’ll end up eating the Doritos and kicking myself later. It’s an addiction, and the companies that make that shit know it. They know exactly what they are doing.
I have a friend who calls that kind of food (basically convenience store food) “slave food.” He calls it that because guess who eats that stuff? Poorer people. Rich people (and I mean the real 1%) don’t eat that stuff. They eat organic, fresh, meals (most likely prepared by personal chefs), they live off spring water, they indulge in exotic fruits and all the healing, wonderful superfoods you’ve heard all about. Think you’ll ever find a pomegranate or bee pollen in a convenience store? No. Those are reserved for people with funds and the education to know how good certain foods are for you. Poorer people on the other hand are relegated to eating $1 menu McDonalds stuff, Wonderbread, chips, granola bars riddled with GMOs and high fructose corn syrup. And it’s killing them. And that sad part is all we need to fix it is a little more education, community gardens, and free food forests. I was about to say “and more regulations on what is allowed to be in our food,” but I didn’t, because education in and of itself is enough to make people choose appropriate products, and those companies that don’t provide healthy products will slowly shrivel up and die a satisfying death.
I am slowly recovering from my life so far of processed crap. I have way more energy now than I used to. I just realized that my desk job is feeling torturous because I have so much energy I just want to get up and run around the office. I’ve lost a few pounds. I don’t feel about food the way I used to. Now when I eat my food I think of it as fuel, not the highlight of my day. I like the foods I eat a lot, and I use plenty of healthy fats when I cook (lots of olive oil and safflower oil, nuts too). But I don’t want to scarf the food up on site and I don’t feel the desperation to feel that starchy taste in my mouth, or salivate inhaling fake-cheese smell. I consider that a small victory.
What troubles me is the lack of empathy.
What dire straights can make you see
The clock ticking, tense as drawn bow?
Perched high, the winners (you and me specifically)
Must make the moral choice.
Be giants, hearts large.
Our bounty fills closets and houses and pods,
Is staggering, world-around.
We covet behemoth dwellings full with wasted space.
Our fatness, a sickness
(not of genes, of mind).
Our jaws working the slicks and fakes down our throats to numbness.
The dump is tragic.
The towers of trash make me blush without a smile.
They should you, too.
What do you do when you are part of the problem?
Three to infinity, change.
Reverse the contraction of your blood pumper and make
Stone facades to sheer.
Love all people.
Like a few, too.
Make the hard, heart-choice.
Think bigger, all Earth, all Universe.
Or it ends here—swollen, lazy, careless, selfish. Desolate.
With no room at the inn for those that lack paper wallets.
But meanwhile, outside the inn,
Our lives? The Earth? The air? The water?
Gift, gift, gift, gift.
Food sprouted from fertile ground?
Did you earn a single one?
Your birth, your breath? The seed that feeds?
Bounty for all, for you, for me?
Beware the illusions.
Beware your special status as earner.
You’ve earned only money to pay,
Money to pray to things created from gifts.
That’s why it’s not working.
Not supposed to sell a gift.
Why don’t you listen to your Mother?
She speaks in logic and love.
Wailing, 40 trillion in debt!
But to who? To whom may I repay this?
The Universe, that’s who.
And it doesn’t want your money.
History is written by tragedy
And it maintains ugly secrets of intimacy
And struggles which nations ingest.
Covered in blood, we wept.
When one in a million is dark
And nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand are broke,
The upshot is guess who writes history?
The upshot is guess who will not?
A soldier will fight to the death.
And raggedly take his last breath,
For oil or land, the American Brand.
Now bodies lie still in the sand.
What are we doing? Who taught us to do this?
Ah, resources are scarce, we must get ours!
But we were told we were attacked, we must have honor and pride!
Stand by your country, lay down by it’s side!
But let me tell you a secret—
Borders mean nothing and are created by men,
Created by history
By those who would win.
And there’s nothing to win by fighting your brother,
Nothing you win by watching him suffer.
The real winner sits tight with his fat bank rolls,
While you, hollowed men, feel inside you go cold.
“United we stand, divided we fall”—
Let’s take that and apply it to world, to all.
Would you rather Earth perish in blood and destruction?
Or save it together at this critical junction?
Don’t glorify war, you fat-wallet assholes,
And say if we don’t, we’re unpatriotic.
Don’t see your limbs blown off in the field
Your haunted eyes afflicted with PTSD.
War is a racket, a divisive racket,
Used to put pride in the metals on your jacket.
But fighting for peace is an oxymoron.
Only peace brings peace and a greater tomorrow.
The history books say that this the way,
They fall open to pages of white men going gray.
Those books don’t talk of the time in between
When regular people lived regularly.
Our first motivation is to help and to hold
Not bloody our neighbor, not bomb his whole world.
Don’t let them sell you the lie of bad men
That were recorded to prove that we all live in sin.
Hi peeps! After a long, wonderful summer spending time outdoors instead of writing, I will hopefully be getting some posts in soon. In the meantime I’ve updated my links page with some new movies and sites that I have been spending time reading and watching. Lots of good stuff, and I’m going to hopefully be a little better about throwing links up there more frequently. Check them out!