The Nation-State Has Got to Go, or Everybody Permaculture!

I’ve been meditating on this idea of the nation-state for a while. A gentleman that came to our Massachusetts Zeitgeist Day event in Cambridge last March commented that unless we get rid of the idea of nation-states, we will never have peace on the planet. I completely agree, and I wanted to just write a post about it as it’s been on my mind. It’s especially pertinent now, as it seems war with Syria (and whatever slippery-slope conflicts emerge from that) might be inevitable.

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Nothing on TV?: Thursday, June 6

Lee Camp, Moment of Clarity #238
Youtube description: Opening your eyes to the influences controlling our behaviors takes many steps. This is the first one. It’s perhaps the key to everything.

Breaking Free, Episode 1

The World According to Monsanto
If you know nothing or next to nothing about Monsanto, this is the film to watch. It’s staggering.

Youtube description: There’s nothing they are leaving untouched: the mustard, the okra, the bringe oil, the rice, the cauliflower. Once they have established the norm: that seed can be owned as their property, royalties can be collected. We will depend on them for every seed we grow of every crop we grow. If they control seed, they control food, they know it — it’s strategic. It’s more powerful than bombs. It’s more powerful than guns. This is the best way to control the populations of the world. The story starts in the White House, where Monsanto often got its way by exerting disproportionate influence over policymakers via the “revolving door”. One example is Michael Taylor, who worked for Monsanto as an attorney before being appointed as deputy commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1991. While at the FDA, the authority that deals with all US food approvals, Taylor made crucial decisions that led to the approval of GE foods and crops. Then he returned to Monsanto, becoming the company’s vice president for public policy.

Thanks to these intimate links between Monsanto and government agencies, the US adopted GE foods and crops without proper testing, without consumer labeling and in spite of serious questions hanging over their safety. Not coincidentally, Monsanto supplies 90 percent of the GE seeds used by the US market. Monsanto’s long arm stretched so far that, in the early nineties, the US Food and Drugs Agency even ignored warnings of their own scientists, who were cautioning that GE crops could cause negative health effects. Other tactics the company uses to stifle concerns about their products include misleading advertising, bribery and concealing scientific evidence.

O Soupy on Holdy

My last post where I mentioned I had a big announcement was a little preemptive. I assumed, which always makes an ass out of me, but oh well. The announcement was going to be about a social endeavor I want to start based on the workings of a gift economy. I had entered a contest called Start Something That Matters, sponsored by GOODIS and TOMS Shoes, where you could win $50,000 to start your social endeavor. I got all sorts of excited and made a video about the pay-what-you-can soup business I want to start and entered. And waited. And the day the contest was supposed to start (last Friday), I got an email telling me I hadn’t made it to the voting round.


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The Gift Economy in Action

I have an exciting post for tomorrow, and this will serve as the teaser. I found this amazing story of enacting the gift economy today on Facebook, and it made me cry.

This was a graduation speech given at a Silicon Vally private high school by Nipun Mehta. An excerpt:

The First Key Is To Give 

In the movie Wall Street — which originally came out well before you guys were born — there’s a character named Gordon Gekko whose credo in life reads: Greed is good.  When I was about your age, Silicon Valley was in the seductive grip of the dot-com boom. It was a time when it was easy to believe that Greed was Good. But a small group of us had a different hypothesis:

*Maybe* greed is good, but Generosity is better.

We tested that hypothesis. When I started ServiceSpace, our first project was to build websites for nonprofits at no charge. We ended up building and gifting away thousands of sites, but that wasn’t our main goal. Our real purpose was to practice generosity.

In the early days, the media was pretty sure we had a hidden agenda. “We’re doing this just to practice giving with no strings attached,” we said. The few who actually believed us didn’t think we could sustain it. The thing is — we did. A decade later, when our work started attracting millions of viewers, entrepreneurs told us that we’d be crazy to not slap on ads or try to monetize our services.  The thing is — we didn’t.  We probably *were* a bit crazy. And when we started Karma Kitchen, people really thought “No way!”  It was a restaurant where your check always read zero, with this note: “Your meal is paid for by someone before you, and now it’s your chance to pay it forward.”  The thing is — 25 thousand meals later, the chain continues in several cities around the globe.

I encourage you to check out the links in his speech above, and to go read the whole thing. He is inspiring and it couldn’t have been better timing for what I am announcing tomorrow!

Peace and love!


The Fall, Hell on Earth and How to Remedy It

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.

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The “inherently evil” question

This post is dedicated to someone really important in my life. They will know who they are by the topic.

I think one of the greatest things holding back regular people from standing up to their government and the corporations who own them is they believe that people are inherently evil and that is why we will never be able to change anything on a mass scale. I have heard it said over and over – “People are bad! People are evil! People are corrupt!! People want power!! People are selfish!! We need elected officials to make laws for us because if they didn’t we’d all run around killing each other!!”

Damn, dude. Why the heck would anyone want to start a family? Or perpetuate their own lives at all, if they really believed that??

This black and white view of what humanity is is very damaging to the future of our species. Why don’t we instead take the view that something like moral actions (not doing things that hurt people) is a learned behavior. We do what we see as children and continue to act in those patterns until we are shown a very good reason to stop. Since birth we get showered with material crap and told it’s “ours.” And the more people like us, the more stuff we get at our birthdays. The more stuff we get, the more people like us and want to hang out with us. The idea of social acceptance is so based on money and material wealth it’s sickening.

When presented with that, why wouldn’t we want to go out and make as much money as we can, at whatever expense? Why wouldn’t we look at CEOs of huge corporations and think they are the ones to be emulated? They are winning in this system! Doesn’t it make you want to throw up in your mouth a little bit that the CEO of Phillip Morris, whose product LITERALLY kills thousands of people a year, is revered as a productive member of society, while an Occupier is jailed for sleeping in a park?

So, the fact that a few really messed up people (about 230 families) basically control the global economy and tell us these are the rules, is ACTUALLY the reason most people are acting in a non-empathetic way, not the fact that people are bad.

And herein lies what I believe about humanity. It’s basically a bell curve. There are a few people that are corrupt, most people can be easily swayed, and the ones trying to reveal the truth and institute a new cultural paradigm in this time of cultural depravity are looked at as naive, unsophisticated, stupid, or worse, crackpots. And right now, the money and the power are concentrated in the hands of the ones acting corrupt. So the masses are swayed by the lure of material wealth and all that comes with it (personal freedom and power).

So, we are not bad, we are easily swayed. Swayed towards the only thing that is looked as acceptable in our culture – make money, consume, make money, consume, think about self, make money, consume.

When talking to people about The Zeitgeist Movement I’ve had some say to me that it’s not money that’s the problem, it’s power. They are right. You can’t just get rid of money and think a Resource Based Economy will just happen naturally. It requires more than that – it requires the shift to believing in humanity rather than believing it’s doomed. It requires believing in your heart that people genuinely want to help others if given the opportunity. It requires believing that if people have their needs met, most people will not hoard more stuff, most people will not go out and steal more, most people will not try to hatch a plan to have power over others. If you’ve been loved, fed, sheltered, clothed and cared for, you would not feel the need to go out and trounce on top of others…what would be your reward? You wouldn’t get more “stuff” because “stuff” would be free. You wouldn’t have anything others didn’t have, because everything is open source. There would be absolutely no reason for someone to try to be more powerful than the next. It wouldn’t make sense in this context.

There are a plethora of new studies that say children as young as 15 months grasp the concept of equality and sharing. But instead of that making main stream news, we see stories about youth violence and gangs and depravity. We see what is cherry-picked for us to see on the main stream channels. TURN YOUR TV OFF. Turn your logical mind on.

By believing that YOU SHAPE YOURSELF, YOUR WORLD, YOUR CHILDREN AND YOUR COMMUNITY, you believe that you can change the world.

And in conclusion, I would like to offer this movie I just watched today, on Patriot’s Day of all things (I am a patriot of Earth). This is a compilation of Internet footage, with no identified narrator, no person taking credit.  It documents The Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street, Transition Movement, Permaculture, The Zeitgeist Movement, The Venus Project and Anonymous. This movie is inspiring and to me is proof in the face of everything, that people are waking up, looking at the evil that has been spread far and wide and saying “Fuck, no. This isn’t my world. I didn’t have a part in making this. I AM NOT THIS. I AM NOT EVIL. I WON’T PARTICIPATE IN THIS ANYMORE. And I’m doing something about it.” This is proof that people can be swayed to good the same way they can be swayed to evil.

In fact, we are in the midst of an evolutionary change – global empathy. It’s going to be (and already is) beautiful.