clearskies, bluewater

Insights, reflections and creative imaginings for our awakening world


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The Power and Irony of Words in the Age of Technology

Words have power. This statement is known to be true by every person who has ever read, written or studied language, including stories, poetry, song lyrics and rhetoric. Words shape our world, our societies, our institutions. Words have power to destroy worlds, and they conversely have power to heal ourselves and our world. When you think about it, what an amazing superpower is the word.

wordshavepower

While what I just wrote is true, it is also true that words are everywhere, as ubiquitous as grass, as sand, as leaves, as stars. We talk or hear others talking in a constant stream (or river or even ocean) every minute of every day of our waking lives. Out of all those uncountable words that we take in and give out, only a few have real power in our lives– the kind of power to change, heal or save us. What makes those particular words special, and all the others just so much static on our consciousness’ radio?

 

The internet and mobile devices have exponentially increased our global ability to use words (and images) for communication and persuasion. Here are some statistics for you (from hostingfacts.com):

Internet Statistics 2017

  1. There are now 3.74 billion Internet users in the world as at March 2017.
    This is compared to 3.26 billion Internet users in 2016.
  2. Asia is the continent with the most Internet users. Asia now accounts for 50.1 percent, or more than half, of all Internet users in the world. The runner up is Europe, with 17 percent of all Internet users.
  3. China has the most Internet users of all countries. At over 731 million Internet users at the time of writing this, China currently accounts for more than 25 percent of Internet users worldwide.
  4. As at January 2017, the United Arab Emirates is the country with the highest Internet penetration in the world — with an impressive 99 percent of its citizens, or about 9.2 million people, using the Internet.
  5. The internet influenced sales to the tune of $2.1 trillion in 2016.
  6. Over 5.5 billion Google searches are made every day.
  1. Over 2 million blog posts are published on the Internet every day. (this figure is a low estimate, and according to http://www.worldometers.info/blogs/, today there were over 4,500,000 blog posts uploaded to the internet!!

As you can see, usage of Google, blogs, social media and the internet generally is literally increasing daily. Over a third of the world’s population is online at any given moment, and undoubtedly this figure will increase exponentially in years and decades to come. This brings up many questions, such as, what are people reading on their devices? What kinds of images are they viewing?  How much of it has actual content beyond a momentary flash or the briefest acknowledgment? Out of the millions of words and images one might glance at (or even consume) in a day or a week, how much of it actually touches the human heart and mind? What influences one’s behavior, and why?

Clearly, these questions are being studied by researchers worldwide. The times we are living through now are seminal for the decades ahead. Through our ongoing fascination (addiction?) with virtual reality, we are forging a new world of partial realities:  partially flesh-and-blood, brick-and-mortar, 3-d reality, and partially a new kind of sensory reality that has nothing to do with three dimensions. This is simply what is occurring; there is no stopping this new world, it is here and will only gain in speed and intensity during this century.

Technology is the new power of the word in our world. Rhetoric, that art with its roots in antiquity, is alive and growing in the Age of Technology. But I think the fundamental questions of humanity remain and demand to be addressed, now more than ever:  What is Truth? How do we live good lives and care for all other living beings? How do we live with moral integrity, and give all people the dignity and respect they deserve?  Is it even possible in the present times? How shall we create the future world so that our planet, Gaia, upon whom we still depend for our very lives, stays intact and protected from further destruction?

We can argue about getting down on one knee in an act of rebellion towards the power-elite, spend all our money on trivialities via our cellphones, squabble all night long with strangers through facebook, and otherwise waste enormous amounts of energy and time on things that ultimately do not matter in the big picture of our lives and collective world. So, I ask again, which words have real power, and how do we find them? How shall we share them in this age? And how will we use them to create a future world that is based upon respect, love and light? How can we best use this incredible power of the word we have been given?

When I first began this blog back in 2012, I used it as creative therapy for my loneliness and sense of isolation, due to living in a foreign country where I felt completely out of sync with the people around me. For a time, I dedicated my creative efforts to writing every day, connecting with other’s blogs and finding a very small community of like-minded folks to connect with virtually. snoopy-writer1

Now, nearly six years later, I very much feel that my small, nearly inaudible voice through Clearskies, Bluewater blog is utterly inconsequential (although it’s been fun!) For the small handful of readers who have followed this blog and encouraged me through its lifetime, I am grateful for your support and readership. I feel that it’s time has come to give it up. With two to four million blog posts every single day, there is an inconceivably vast amount of words out there to explore.  And judging from my WordPress statistics page, the irony is that an old blogpost I wrote years ago, entitled “Tits and ass, cocks and bosoms, etc.” still gets the most hits from searches across the world.  I wrote that one-off as an experiment to see what kind of response I’d get: Ha! Just as I suspected, people are still caught up in that low vibrational place, looking for some kind of momentary titillation I guess.

Dear Readers, whoever of you decided to read this post, I would love it if you would also take a moment to hit the like button. And if you have found value in this blog over the past years, please comment and tell me what you found most interesting or valuable.  I’ll keep the blog alive for a few more weeks to give folks time to comment or like.  And I’ll write a final post before I shut it down.  So, if you’ve felt shy in the past, here is your opportunity to open up and tell me anything you’d like me to know!

 

 

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Newsletter: Is Health Care A Commodity Or Right?

The latest newsletter from Popular Resistance, always worth the time to read,in my view. This coming week Congress will vote (once again, sigh) on repealing Obama care. Interesting how this issue in particular has become such a sticky wicket for government leaders. It’s inconceivable that in the 21st century, the United States still hasn’t agreed upon a solution for all their citizens concerning this issue. But here we are, in a time of chaos and crumbling paradigm.

Source: Newsletter: Is Health Care A Commodity Or Right?


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Blood red sun, pink moon

Today was a day out of time, if such a thing is possible. In a similar way to the day of the solar eclipse, the sun appeared very unusual throughout this day, due to the thick haze that hung over the city. Smoke and ash from the many fires burning across the western United States and British Columbia was carried by the winds here to our fair city, obscuring the sun and creating a reddish golden veil across its light.

Towards sunset, the reddish tint turned nearly blood red as the sun grew closer to the western horizon. Then the crows came. They had already appeared on our street’s tall, old trees earlier in the day, cawing loudly and aggressively. One was found dead on the easement underneath one of the largest trees afterwards. When the sun turned red, however, the crows came back in full force, crying loudly and circling round and round the group of trees at the end of the block where I live. From my upstairs apartment window I watched and listened to them, striving to understand what they were telling each other and me.

Clearly, the red sun was bothering them; they knew it was unnatural and not as it should be at dusk. Perhaps they knew other things too; about the floods and fires happening across the vast landscape. They carried on for about ten or fifteen minutes, until the sun was virtually out of sight, then eventually quieted down.

After sunset, I walked the few blocks to our neighborhood park to see what I could see. Almost full tonight, I wished to catch a glimpse as it rose in the east. Walking in a large loop, I finally came to rest at the marble pavilion that marks the center of the park. Stepping inside, I quickly walked across to the marble pillars facing west, where one can still see some of the mountains that Denver is famous for. Of course, due to the haze, no mountains could be seen. The people who were gathered here and there around the pavilion were all silent, some on their cell phones, but others simply quiet, gazing out onto the park, and the eerily whitish grey sky of twilight. After a few minutes, I left and continued making my way around the loop of the park. I kept looking to the east, knowing that the moon would be there and hoping to catch a glimpse of it. Then I saw it, coming up between the dark shadows of trees. Sure enough, La Luna was there, round and completely pink, like a man’s sunburned bald head.

After communion with a very old hawthorn tree for grounding and strengthening, I slowly made my way through the park and back home. As I walked, I reflected on this past week’s extraordinary events. Flooding of biblical proportions in south Texas. Wildfires are burning due to extreme high temperatures and no rain along the west coast from Los Angeles all the way through Washington state, where the governor declared a state of emergency in all counties due to fires and threat of fires, and up into British Columbia. Fires are burning in Montana and Idaho, and southern Wyoming. As I googled this subject for an image to share here, I found out more: 2017 has been one of the worst fire seasons in years, that upwards of a hundred fires, both uncontained and contained, are currently burning, and over seven and a half million acres of forest have burned.

SatPhoto_MODIS_105pmMDT_9-4-2017

Wildfires currently burning across the US and Western Canada right now. http://wildfiretoday.com/

So much water, and so much fire. The fire needs water, and the water wouldn’t know what to do with all that fire. Except just keep raining down.

Prayer is not a refuge or shelter so much as it is an opening of arms, an acceptance of whatever storms exist in the world. You don’t really pray for your situation to change, you pray to be able to handle your situation. It’s not the world you want to change; it’s you that you want to change. –Kazim Ali

 Within a few days, most likely the haze will lessen, the sun will shine brightly again, and the people will carry on like nothing is amiss in the world. For many, to contemplate the enormity of what is occurring now in America, in Asia, and around the globe is simply too much, too overwhelming. So they simply choose to not think about it. We have forgotten how to listen to the wild, to hear the cacophony of a hundred crows overhead and be unable to hear what they are telling us. We glance at a blood red sun or a stunning pink moonrise, but most don’t give them a second glance. Many people in the cities no longer have the capacity to see nature, even when it is right in front of their eyes. This is the great tragedy of our times.

Red Sun

There is a Buddhist practice known as tonglen. The practice is described thus: “In tonglen practice, we visualize taking in the pain of others with every in-breath and sending out whatever will benefit them on the out-breath. In the process, we become liberated from age- old patterns of selfishness. We begin to feel love for both ourselves and others; we begin to take care of ourselves and others.” (https://www.lionsroar.com/how-to-practice-tonglen/)  Imagine if enough of us did this practice during times like this past week: breathing in the pain of all of those affected by floods and fires, including humans, animals, and all living beings (such as trees); and then breathing out compassion, healing, and love for them. I think it would make a huge difference to those who are suffering, if the rest of us, who are fortunate enough to not be in the middle of the unfolding tragedy, breathed in the pain, and breathed out relief.

Try tonglen, or use the power of your prayers and healing energy directed towards those who are suffering now. In this way, we can strive to heal and make sense of a world filled with chaos and unbelievably catastrophic acts of nature. We can use them as a catalyst for great, beneficial change for humanity. Just breathe with intention.

 


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For the Love of Earth by David Korten — YES! Magazine

From Yes magazine editor David Korten, musings on our relation to Gaia as he ponders our possible future. Here he implores us to put our beloved planet before ourselves, for the survival of us all. Will enough of us do it?

Perhaps the most compelling reason to change our ways is that Earth needs our help. In our responsibility to respond, might we unite in common cause?

Source: For the Love of Earth by David Korten — YES! Magazine


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Return to Predators!

An excellent post showing evidence for rewilding and preserving large carnivores throughout our planet. Please use your voice to let our governments know that you support protections for wolves in North America.

Learning from Dogs

The critical value of predators.

Not so long ago there was some discussion about how important it was for the natural way of things to include predators. I mentioned how this had been the topic of a post published some time ago in this place.

It was back in February, 2014 and I have republished it today.

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The critical value of predators in our wild lands.

February 24th, 2014

The consequences of the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park.

I have two people to offer my thanks to for today’s post: Suzann and Ginger. Both of them within hours of each other sent me an email recommending the following video. So, without further ado, here is that video. (Oh, would you believe this. The video was released on February 13th, 2014 and, at the time of me writing this post, has been viewed 1,453,345 times! Wow!)

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there is no end to seeing

Hokusai!! One of the great masters to ever live upon our dear planet. Enjoy this lovely post by The Awakened Eye.

the awakened eye

There’s hardly a better window onto everyday life in Japan in the nineteenth century than the one Katsushika Hokusai opens in astonishing detail, and his studies in nature are pure nourishment for the soul.  This post is prompted by the current Hokusai exhibition at the NGV.  According to the media releases, 176 of Hokusai’s works will be shown, many for the first time in Australia.  (See gallery information below.)  The exhibition presents a rare opportunity to immerse ourselves once again in the genius of a brilliant Japanese artist and printmaker, who, on his deathbed at eighty-nine is reported to have exclaimed, “If I had another five years, I could have become a real painter.”

Katsushika Hokusai: Moon, Persimmon and Grasshopper 1807

Not having seen the exhibition, I can’t claim the works I’m posting here are included.  (You can find wonderful preview images on the NGV website and in this gallery at the Guardian.)  I’ve gone…

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WTF is going on?!?

Clearly there is a whole lot of chaos happening in our world at the moment. For whatever reasons (you can come to your own conclusions), the shock and awe value of our current moment in history cannot be overestimated. But. Today I received an email that I simply must share with whoever might be reading this blog post (see https://popularresistance.org/blog/):

“As you know from what we have been writing and posting recently, the United States has been escalating its aggression towards North Korea. This week, President Trump has taken serious steps towards an attack on North Korea and we are very concerned that it will happen unless we intervene now. Today he had lunch with members of the United Nations Security Council where he urged stronger sanctions against North Korea. This Wednesday, he is bringing all one hundred senators, without their staff, to meet with generals at the White House. The USS Vinson, a nuclear-armed aircraft carrier, is on its way to North Korea with a strike force and two Japanese destroyers.
We urge you to take action now to tell your Senators to oppose an attack on North Korea:
Click here to sign an email petition to your senators.

  • Use the Capitol Switchboard at 202 224 3121 to call your senators today and tell them that we want peace with North Korea. Negotiate with President Kim Jong-un. Stop US military exercises on the North Korean border.
  • Join us to protest at the White House in Washington, DC on Wednesday, April 26 at 2 pm while the senators are there. Click here for more information. 3.
  • If you can’t make it to Washington, DC, please organize an action at your senate offices this week and let us know about it so we can share the details. Contact info@popularresistance.org.
  • President Trump has already demonstrated through the Tomahawk Missile attack on Syria and the bomb dropped in Afghanistan that he is more than willing to use force. His recent rhetoric towards North Korea has been very inflammatory, calling it a problem that has to be dealt with. And it is possible that the war hawks want to create instability in the Koreas prior to the May election in South Korea to replace the recently-impeached President who was a close ally of the US. The current front runner in South Korea is less supportive of the US’ missile defense system (THAAD) that we are building against the people’s will. The President of North Korea has been acting in response to US military exercises on its border that simulate nuclear attacks and assassination campaigns. President Kim Jong-un has said that he is willing to stop testing missiles if the US stops its military exercises. We urge the US and North Korea to negotiate, not escalate. Take action now. ”

Dear Readers, I am sure I am not alone in feeling the strain of the past months since the United States government changed leadership, that is proving more dangerous and disastrous than we could have imagined. The assaults on citizens’ rights, human services, the environment, science itself and ultimately Humanity worldwide, have left many of us dumbfounded and outraged. I seriously wonder if a greater lunatic has ever been unleashed upon the planet than is happening right now (although he has had some serious competition for the title, I will admit).

Another World

How far is too far? Will we collectively allow this lunatic-sociopath and his cohorts to commit nuclear war on our Earth, after we have already learned those horrific lessons 72 years ago? Are we so collectively brainwashed and amnesiafied that we cannot raise our voices loudly enough to get through to the power elite to STOP THIS MADNESS NOW?

I am trying, truly I am, to stay calm and to breathe through each day’s concerning, troubling, and increasingly worrisome news. I am doing everything in my power to add love and peace into the energy quotient of our sleepy and distracted world. But the news of the past couple of weeks, and now this imminent threat to not only the civilians of North Korea, but to the world itself, is simply too much. This lunatic must be stopped. Reason must be restored. Love and compassion must become the standards by which political action is judged. It is high time for some serious consciousness-raising, worldwide.

So please, everyone, speak up!! Call your senators and your congresspeople. Add your name to petitions, carry signs and march in the rain, talk about what is going on in the United States with your friends, your family, your neighbors, your co-workers. We can no longer afford the luxury of being uninvolved in creating peace on Earth. Yes, be loving, be kind, be joyful, meditate and hug trees. AND, speak up about the issues. Let your voice be loud and wide. If ever there was a time to take action, Now is it.