A podcast about ancient subtle energy technologies – and why they matter to us now
Here’s my latest podcast, about power points – in space and in time.
Ancient peoples had a way of penetrating the inner secrets of nature through working with power points. It was a high-level shamanistic culture, applied in medicine, resolving social issues, encouraging bioproductivity, climate control and log-distance communication.
And there’s something we can learn from that today.
Everything is okay in the end, and if it’s not okay, it’s not the end.
This is my 41st blog entry since I gained cancer, would you believe – or it gained me. It is now almost two years since the first sign of cancer revealed itself: I was gardening at Lynne’s place and cracked my back. For the first two months it seemed I had a bad back issue, but by mid-November I was diagnosed with myeloma – bone marrow cancer. My life changed. I was given a new chapter of life. Now it has been nearly two years. I’m still here, still alive. Amazingly.
Myeloma is a blood cancer and, unlike tumorous cancers, it cannot be cut out or eliminated – it can only be managed. I’ve been on a course of chemo since February (DVD – Dara, Velcade and Dex) which is now cut down to one treatment per month of Dara (injection) and Dex (pills) – a nurse comes round to visit, do blood tests, give me the drugs and occasionally to pump me up with Zolodronic acid, by drip, which helps reconstruct my hollowing bones. This is because myeloma dissolves the bones – and that’s what, in the end, might well kill me. Collapsing bones that land me up in bed, or where I get breakages and complications from them.
Well, that’s the standard prognosis, but I’m rather different, and we shall see.
All this is because of a susceptibility and exposure to electromagnetic and nuclear radiation – yes, mobile phones and wi-fi. Which I no longer use, and anyone entering my house must switch off. Even so, some people forget, and some are even dishonest. What people don’t understand is that it takes three seconds to be irradiated and two days to get rid of it. That’s what it’s like being electrosensitive.
In what way am I different? Well, I’ve discovered a lot about this in the last two years, under test and in real terms. I’ve been an acid tripper since 1966, a health-conscious wholefood vegetarian since 1971 and a meditator since 1975. This has made a big difference, and it’s deeply embedded over half a century. When diagnosed with cancer I went through a few days of anger and feelings of letdown because I had honestly believed that my lifestyle would protect me from such ailments as cancer. But then a specialist came along to say, no, my cancer wasn’t a ‘lifestyle cancer’ arising from life-habits or other causes such as stress – it was from specific toxic poisoning from radiation exposure.
Though it is also true that there are deeper reasons, and psychiatrist Gabor Mate has something interesting to say about that: people who get cancer tend to be more tuned into others’ feelings, needs and thoughts than to their own. So cancer draws our attention back to ourselves. And staying attuned to your energy-state becomes very important.
Myeloma concerns blood, the life-blood that keeps me alive, and bones, the framework that holds me up and allows me to live. It’s core stuff – not just a stressed organ going wrong – and it concerns being alive and will to live. Being someone who has helped thousands of people change their lives and who has saved many lives, this is significant to me. I’m also one of those who has felt reluctant to be alive, though this has been a motivator too – giving me a desperate need to give meaning to my life, to justify being here.
There’s more. I’ve discovered that there are two levels of immunity. One is what people standardly regard as immunity, for which immune boosters such as Vit C, zinc or selenium and a wholesome diet with fresh foods and exercise help a lot. The other is an underlying resilience that arises from decades of care for oneself, in terms of diet, lifestyle, basic happiness and psychospiritual condition. This resilience has shone through during my struggle with cancer. It shows up in my medical results: the doctors sometimes say I’m lucky, but no, it is because of choices I made when I was young and have held to ever since.
There’s even more. I knew this theoretically beforehand, but I’ve now learned it in my cells and bones. My survival now depends not mainly on medication – which did indeed save me when I was at death’s door in late 2019 – but on the state of my spirits. Earlier this year I took life in my hands and deeply decided that I shall die when I have run out of energy and the will to hold myself up and maintain my spirits – no sooner, and no later. I’m a former mountaineer – I know this stuff. The state of my spirits keeps me alive. I do get deeply tired, and on some days I drag myself around like a lead weight, as if gravitation has been switched up and Sir Isaac Newton is working overtime. My batteries run down and my life-signs are measured in mega-flops.
But the key thing is this. As things have progressed I have gone for help to my ‘inner guides’ and ‘inner doctors’, and every week I do a deep meditation where I open myself up and yield to them, let them inspect me internally and do some fixing. And they do. And it works. It really works. But it requires deep surrender, trust and, dare I say it, belief. Were it not for this, I wouldn’t be alive now.
I’ve asked myself what life would be like if I didn’t have cancer. I realised that I had reached the end of my path. I’m a purpose-driven kinda guy, and I had run out of purpose without realising it. I was carrying on with my customary life-strategies but I wasn’t really fired up. Cancer has given me a new life by giving me new challenges: core challenges. I’ve been tasked with befriending death and completing my life. This wasn’t what I thought the plan was, but it is indeed a great gift.
My old friend Bryony, a radiant lady and a devoted Buddhist, was my PA when we were organising the Hundredth Monkey Camps in the 1990s. She died of cancer at age 50 and she said, just before she went, that her life divided in two halves. One lasted 48 years, BC, before cancer, and the other lasted two years – and they were equal half-lives.
That’s what’s happened to me. Rob Hand, a well-known astrologer in Cape Cod, USA, once told me, when I was 40, that I would reach my peak in late life. Well, Rob, you were right. It made sense, because I have Saturn prominent in my birth chart. But I never anticipated cancer. It has prematurely aged me. Physically I am coming up 71, but I’ve been catapulted into my eighties, and on a ‘bad’ day in my nineties.
It reminds me of something the Tibetan lama Akong Rinpoche taught me in 1975: the real work happens when life is hard and you’re climbing uphill, and the times when you feel free, light and joyous are like holidays, to help you keep going. But then, he was a Capricorn.
In recent years some people of my generation have been thinking of themselves as elders. I’ve always balked at this. I’m a veteran, yes – a veteran of the revolution and a load of other things that would frighten many people. My life has been 120 years long, experientially. But I’ve now discovered what an elder really is.
To be an elder you need to lose your powers and abilities to a sufficient degree that you can no longer participate in life’s busy issues – you have to become incapable, dependent on others. This makes you see beyond normal ways of seeing things. A certain wisdom becomes available, yet it comes only when you can no longer act on life in the way you used to. We humans only really appreciate things when we lose them, and having Death staring at you, straight in the eyes, sure does change your perspective on life. You have to accept that you’re no longer in control. That brings forward the relative wisdom of elderhood – if, that is, you’re prepared to assume it, and if people around you actually want and need it.
I can’t do stuff any more. People want me to self-publish my book (which is still not out) but I don’t have what it takes to handle that. I am dependent on others for this. That’s just one example. And today, as I write, my valiant helper Penny, who deserves ten medals, comes round to clean up. I keep my house tidy on a day-to-day level (after all, I’m a Virgo) but I haven’t got what it takes to do deeper cleaning, recycling and sorting. I can no longer drive a car (a big thing for me), and she’s my daily-life fixer out there in the world. This week she’s going to get me a new dishwashing brush.
On Monday, Lynne left after one of our weekends, to go back home to Devon, and I depend enormously on her too: she’s my chief watcher, and she supports my heart and soul in thoroughly irreplaceable ways, and she helps me stay human. She loves me in ways I never thought anyone could. Circumstances meant that we hadn’t seen each other for two months. I’m a tough old boot and a survivor, but as soon as she walked in the door, everything was alright again for both of us. As she said last weekend, there’s something deeply magic between us – it’s almost as if we’d been fixed for each other. And remarkably, given my situation, I seem also to be supporting her heart and soul too, since she has a busy, engaged life of the kind I have now withdrawn from – and life hasn’t been at all easy for her recently. She’s had months of intensity and treading the edge.
I depend also on my truly dedicated and heroic shopper, Karen, who keeps me stocked with food each week. I depend on my landlords, the Tobins, for their hospitality, protection and goodwill. I rely on the wildlife outside my window – the swallows, tits, robins, buzzards, gulls and crows – who feed my spirits. And on you lot, who read my stuff and hear my podcasts, who give me a feeling there’s reason to stick around. And on my family, who still need me as a father and grandfather, however distant, hermity and weird I might be.
And on creativity: I’ve been limited to about 3-5 hours per day in my working capacities, but I’ve been very creative with it. That feeds me – and hopefully it feeds others too. But the biggest thing is my inner helpers. In the end, they’re keeping me alive, and this must be because they perceive a reason to do so.
Now here comes a plonker that will turn off some of you and twiggle the antennae of a few others: half of them are ETs. And, if I have it in me to write a further book, it might be about ETs. And MDIs – multidimensional intelligences. And what this means for the world. Most people think this is a peripheral, fanciful or deluded issue for cranks only, and of no relevance to them. Well, I have news for you.
If you think that climate change and resolving all of the world’s other endless problems is the most important question for the 21st century, think again. The biggest issue for humanity is meeting the neighbours. For which we are not ready.
However… resolving our world problems will make us ready. It will enable us to meet them as equals. Which is why they currently hold back. They’re waiting. To save us from our planetary plight they would currently have to stage a takeover, rendering us as subjects and victims, and this is not what is needed. They would need to suppress our strange human tendency to fight against them, defending our supposed freedom to do what we want – and a conflict would constitute a massive mission-failure for planet Earth. They would win, but they don’t want things that way. They are waiting for us to rise to our full stature as humans and take responsibility for our part in the universal story. Making progress in this is crucial not just for us but also for them.
What I am saying is not new. It was in a 1993 book I was commissioned to write for some beings called the Council of Nine, The Only Planet of Choice (now out of print and with collectors’ value). Gene Roddenbery was involved, and Startrek and the idea of the Prime Directive were based on his chats with the Nine. Thirty years after writing that book, my experience has led me to understand that the Nine were right. Planet Earth’s progress is important for the universe.
It is not really for me to choose whether to write this book, since I cannot control how long I live or whether my brains will handle writing another book (it’s hard work). I’ll do it if I can, and if the right flow starts up to allow me to write what is truly needed. But first, I must complete what I’m currently doing. On my ‘up’ days, I can see the possibility of doing such a book, though on my ‘down’ days, when I’m dragging myself around and making a cup of tea is a big deal, it seems a ridiculous proposition – and who would be interested anyway? And am I bothered?
We shall see. That’s what life is like now – it goes on a daily basis. I might live seven years, or I might fall over, break my bones and pop my clogs in a month. We shall see. That vulnerability, that rather big open question, now determines my life. Over time I’ve been describing to you how gaining cancer has been an amazingly strange gift – it has given me a new life, even if shortened in terms of ticktock time. Now let me deliver you another plonker. Some of you won’t like this or agree, but I’ve always been like this: I don’t always deliver notions people would prefer to hear.
The environmental problem and the world’s vast stock of problems are a great gift. They are the beginning of a new life for humanity. We are at last growing up. It’s happening now. The solutions lie within the problems we face, in all their details. And, despite the underlying fear, anxiety, loathing and resistance we humans are infected with nowadays, all eight billion of us, each in our ways, we’re going to make it.
The only question is how much pain and damage has to happen first – and that’s our choice. In making it we shall rise to a more full stature as a planetary race. We will become ready to meet the neighbours. Because we as souls come from them. No one started their journey here, and nobody is here by accident.
Brothers and sisters: be in peace in your hearts, and get on with whatever you know in your blood and bones to be good and true. Get on with it please. For that’s what we are here for. There was a nuclear scientist who asked the Nine whether there was one thing that would really change everything, that humanity could do. The Nine were good at one-liners. They said, simply, everything will change when everyone on Earth gets on with their life-purpose. It is already programmed inside us. If everyone does that, everything will get covered. We don’t need to find or get it: it’s with us now and we need to do it.
Coming Decades | where we stand and where we’re heading. An astrologer speaks.
Here’s my next podcast from the far beyond. Coming Decades.
This is Paldywan the astrologer-historian placing our current time in a larger context – going back to 1892 – and giving some clues about future issues and developments in coming times – up to the 2060s.
With some interesting news about the late 2020s – only a few years’ time.
Latest podcast: all about level shift and the planetarisation of consciousness
Here’s my latest podcast: Level Shift.
This is a subject close to my heart, about the shift of consciousness in humanity that is necessary if we are to survive and thrive on earth.
It has preoccupied me since I was in the student revolutions of the late 1960s when, as a young man I discovered that political revolution wasn’t going to work: the change needed to be much deeper. It’s no good replacing Tsars with Stalins.
Today we’re in a parlous time and the prospects aren’t good for planet earth. It isn’t too difficult to get depressed about it. Yet we live in times of paradox and the darkest hour is just before dawn. Yes indeed.
So this podcast is a late night rap about the planeratisation of consciousness and the psychosocial mechanisms by which I believe breakthrough will come.
Though of course, we shall see. We’re in an enormous planetary experiment to see whether it’s going to work and whether we humans are really up to it. We came here for this.
I’m on an astrological transit called Neptune opposition Saturn, and one symptom of this is aloneness. This is a life-pattern of mine, both a blessing and a bane. Much of my greatest work, in terms of studies and writing, has emerged during times of isolation and adversity – as if I’ve been given a perverse gift of extended time in which the only thing I can do is the work.
Kinda serving time – but there’s a double-entendre to that term. I’m a saturnine type, and that’s what it’s about – fulfilling the agreement, the covenant, as best I can. And Saturn says to each and every one of us, each in our own way: you can do it now and there will be consequences, or you can do it later with other consequences, but you will do it – and the easier path is to take what appears to be the harder path (though it isn’t harder in the end).
Writing a book, building a website or doing research… most other options become mysteriously unavailable when it’s time to do one of these. But not forever, and the window shuts if I don’t seize the time, even when I just have potatoes to eat.
But then, that’s one of my best contributions and people benefit from it, and if I sat around chatting, socialising or treading the money-mill I wouldn’t be doing it and it wouldn’t happen. Cos it takes hours, days, months and years, and a life’s work takes a life to do (sometimes longer).
So the current fiddly operation I’m on right now is tweaks to the ancient sites maps of Cornwall that I’ve been doing for the last six years. This time I’m looking at ancient site alignments coming from Dartmoor and Exmoor in Devon into Cornwall. Bodmin Moor acts as a kind of hub for incoming alignments, though some pass through it. It’s amazing, the accuracy with which these alignments cross quite long distances of up to 100km, hitting ancient sites within just a few metres.
One remarkable thing is this. I was reluctant to get involved with Devon (too much work), but I chose a few sites, such as Berry Head and Start Point, and found some amazing alignments. More recently I decided (after procrastinating) to add key sites in Dartmoor to the map (takes about 5-10 minutes per site) – and fascinatingly, some of those sites appeared exactly on the alignments I had already found. Amazing. How they did this without satellites, I do not know (though I have a few theories).
It’s in gradual progress – but (if you wish) check out those alignments from Berry Head, Torbay, and Start Point – one goes all the way to Bartinney Castle, just on the other side of the valley and visible when I look up from my desk. As I write in my forthcoming book, if you wanted to land a mothership in West Penwith, that’d be the place.
I have to do the uploads from a non-public ‘sandbox’ map of Cornwall to the public maps late at night, since many people will (hopefully) be in bed, and their visits to the maps won’t get disrupted as the maps blink on and off, one layer at a time as each layer is replaced, tweaked and twooked. Well, that’s how it gets late at night… it takes about three hours.
The latest upload happened last night. I was buzzing on Dexamethasone at the time – a legal and free cancer drug, just like meditation, but fundamentally different and prescribed by different sources). But Dex helps me get a few things done, in the two days I’m taking it.
So you’ll find the current stage of this research here:
There’s one more thing… no one can take away your life’s work from you. If you feel they are doing that, then you have a short-term, not a longterm problem and the value of the experience is to confirm that it’s right to get on with it somehow, and to oblige you to get right behind it.
Whatever is going on in your life, your life’s work goes with you on a somewhat separate track, fed by and feeding through to things that happen to you, or books you read, or people who deliver prompts and clues. Withholding and hanging back on our life’s work is one of the great causes of the global problems we have today. It’s also a cause of future illness.
I’m not a great withholder, but cancer put the cards on the table and told me: there’s more, and it’s time. Part of me doesn’t care so much about how my ideas and initiatives are received any more – though of course I do care a lot, but not for the same reasons as before. So I’m getting down many of the threads I’ve pursued in life, for the record, because I’ve been privileged to live through a pretty exciting and edgy time, and I’ve shared this with so many good people. It’s worth leaving tracks, whether or not future generations know or care whose shoulders they’re standing on. Because human history and the passing of the generations simply eats us for breakfast and dissolves us into nothingness.
Even those of whom history thinks well are often remembered for weird and often incorrect reasons. Once upon a time, on Iona, I had an inner dialogue with the soul of St Columba, a founder of monasteries and evangelist for the faith, looked on as a shining light of former times. Not so – he was a murderer and completely screwed up in Ulster, got out, saw the light, and did all that from guilt and a sense of penance. He disliked the way he is remembered.
Similarly with Salah-ad-Din, regarded as a great and just Kurdish ruler of Syria and Egypt. He had offered a power-sharing arrangement in Palestine that would have changed future history, and the Crusaders (Richard the Lionheart) didn’t take it. (It wasn’t helped by the fact that his son and a rich European lady, who would be required to marry to guarantee the treaty, didn’t want to.) He didn’t like that. He got the Crusaders out of Jerusalem and penned them up in Acre, but then, tired of campaigning against assholes and wanting to complete the job, he made a fatal error, causing many deaths. He died, heartbroken, not long after. What he remembers of that life is not the same as what many remember today.
Paldywan shares his thoughts about living on an organic farm
Here’s my next podcast from the Far Beyond. This time it’s about farming, happy cattle, feeding the badgers, self-fertilising fields resilience and… well, you know, I usually range around loads of things…
Don’t worry, it takes only 16 minutes. Free, no strings, no ads, no sign-up. Phew.
This is a note I posted on Facebook in response to feedback about this blog.
Thanks everyone, for your comments. While the compliments are heartening, what I find most interesting is the variety of ways my blogs go ding and clang with different readers in differing ways. That’s just fascinating.
With these blogs I don’t really have a clear intention. I’m just trying to record things that come up along the strange path of being a cancer patient with twiggling antennae and a lot of time on my hands to reflect, look at things from one step back, and to use my wordsmithing skills to try to squeeze them into written lines of verbiage.
Believe me, when I was young I struggled hard to write down my artesian aspie thoughts, and it took a long while – decades.
This is one of those things about living on Earth – stuff doesn’t come easily and we have to work at it. We have to serve time, slogging through loadsa shite to get really good at things. This is a key part of our soul-honing process and one of the big reasons why each of us chose to come here.
That’s what I’m trying to do. So I have cancer. So my challenge is to get good at cancer, to exploit its openings. Writing this blog is part of my medicine.
I don’t pre-think it. I’ll just sit on it until, one morning, I wake up with a nugget, a starting place – it kinda fizzles – and it comes out of the present. Which is how sometimes you’ll hear about my toilet challenges and other times it’s about meta-cozmickle panoramas.
Thanks for being with, and I’m really glad that the stuff that gets dredged up here brings insights, connects a few things together and reminds you of what you already know – though perhaps put differently so that it can be seen with another optic.
As someone said here, who knows if I am right? That doesn’t matter. What matters is to bounce things around because it helps our seeing, helps us see things from other angles, and it loosens us up.
Actually, I’d be quite glad and relieved to find out I’m wrong in many of the things I say and write, but I’m not sure whether I’ll be allowed that privilege. We shall see.
We have to get lost. This means that things aren’t going to happen as we expect, as they should. We’re going to get other stuff instead. We’re going to go out of our depth.
The bigger implications of the Covid outbreak are now beginning to unfold. As I mentioned a few months ago, this isn’t about Covid – it’s a deeper and bigger change. Covid was the catalyst, bringing a cascade of events to force a change in the human psyche, globally. Covid itself will be forgotten, in time – it was just the trigger.
In a sense, this qualifies as a classic case of ‘divine intervention’. Imagine you’re an archangel, trying to help the people of planet Earth with their self-created problem. Previous attempts to trigger fundamental change – say, the fall of the Berlin Wall or the horrors of Syria – have not worked sufficiently. The challenge therefore is to create a trigger situation where it hits home hard enough to upend and shake out the foregoing human mindset that creates the problem, but not so hard that it knocks people back fundamentally, rendering them incapable of change, because they’re suffering, struggling and dying too much.
Et voila. It took the form of Covid 19 – a brilliant creation, sophisticated enough to outfox the brainiest of people and the most controlling of authoritarians and bureaucrats. It creates enough damage to rock things, but not enough (yet) to fundamentally disable us.
There’s something much deeper going on than this – it’s a reality-reconfiguration. It’s so fundamental that even those of us with the loosest, widest, deepest thinking are rather lost. Yes, lost. Thoroughly disoriented.
A sure sign of this is the way that we’re all trying to map a certain vision onto the future, to restore something of the way things were before. For some people it’s all about where and when to go on holiday, and for others it’s all about who controls the world, and why, and what we ought to do about it. But the problem is that reality has shifted more than that. Even the most visionary, progressive ideas use assumptions and concepts from the past. We don’t really know what has shifted, or how exactly it happened. It’s just that we’re waking up in the morning suddenly realising that things already look very different. We’re rather lost, and getting more lost.
I’m one of the more visionary types around here. I’m well-versed in history and geopolitics, I’ve been on this path since the Sixties and have had time to think things through, I’m articulate, brainy and, guess what, to be entirely honest, I don’t have answers. Here’s the rub: anyone who proposes that they do have answers doesn’t really have them – they are projecting onto the future a framework, an understanding, that seeks to restore the past. I’d put myself amongst them: I too am doing this, in my way.
There are a lot of experts and pundits out there, advocating explanations, and recently we’ve entered a new phase in the battle of ideas and viewpoints and it’s very complicated and shifting. No one really knows what to think any more, so some of us suspend judgement or cop out, while others grasp on to sure-fire analyses of what’s happening and what happens next, megaphoning them at everyone else. As if reality is created through majoritarian agreement. No, it isn’t. Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. Especially now.
This gets problematic, because it’s not just a simple question of right and wrong. Take conspiracy theories, a classic example of reality-projection, born out of a need to control the uncontrollable and to see the world as Big Brother’s plaything – a father complex. Well, problem is, much of the analysis that constructs this mindset is ill-interpreted and ill-founded, but there is also a lot of truth in it and some conspiratorialists are pointing at something really important. Unfortunately, their insights are obscured by a lot of loud noise, sensationalism, sales, over-analysis, misjudgement and right-wing politics. So, including in the world of smoke and mirrors, we’re lost.
Guess what, the great manipulators – those much-vaunted Illuminati, Trilaterals, Bilderbergers and Reptilians – are lost too, and we don’t have just one Big Brother – we’re also witnessing a war of the titans at the top of society. Eitherwhichway, this is an example of how it’s working at present – we’re obsessed with grasping at explanations, whether scientific, ethnic, religious or conspiratorial, or anything, as long as it sounds good and makes us feel safe.
Everything, somehow, is partially true, and ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are obsolete concepts. There is no right or wrong: there are simply outcomes. This is one of the operational rules of the 21st Century.
Now this gets interesting. A few years ago I wrote a report about the world in 2050. I sought to map out the issues and the scope of the complete planetary problem. I did quite a good job, as it goes, given the size and scope of the situation. It was reasonably clear what needed to be done – the social, ecological and other mega-issues we all know so well by now. But how to fit them all together and how to get there was the big issue, and today we’re faced with an enormous dysjunction.
Problem is, there’s the goal. That’s one thing. Then there’s where we stand today. That’s another. The two neither match nor connect. Given where we stand today and what we’re doing, we won’t reach the goal. Yes, we’re making big changes, but electric cars are not enough. It’s our inner grasp of things that needs to change. We’re faced with cosmological change. But we’re still in a phase of trying to restore the past. This includes the visionaries, the progressives, the leading-edge people – it doesn’t only concern those un-wokes who are perceived by progressives as needing to get real and catch up.
To get from here to there, which we cannot do with our existing sense of reality, that reality has to get shaken out in such a way that we get totally lost and disoriented. So that our fixities and structures get shaken out, on all levels. This would be a crisis and a catastrophe in one sense – a serious global mental health and organisational challenge – but the idea here is that it’s a way in which we might avoid actual, total catastrophe – such as the still-unresolved possibility of blowing up the world with nukes, or a systems breakdown or climate event so large that the majority of humans suffer and die horribly.
We have to get lost. This means that things aren’t going to happen as we expect, as they should. We’re going to get other stuff instead. We’re going to go out of our depth. It started happening last year, when we suddenly fell over a cliff we didn’t quite know was there, and we still haven’t grasped how high the cliff is. This falling sensation applies to every single one of us.
We’re falling, tipping over an edge, not sure what we’re falling into, but we’ve already lost balance. Arguably, this tipping phase began around 2008-2012, but it cracked and went critical in 2020, and now we’re on a slippery slope.
I don’t know what happens next, but here’s a key clue. We have a vastness of issues to sort out, and it all hangs around society, social choices, social justice, social power and societal healing. If these are not progressed in the next few decades, we will not handle the climatic, ecological, biosecurity, geopolitical and other issues before us. It all hangs around collective willingness, consensus, belief, consent, acceptance and cooperation. Human community. This has been put before us during the Covid crisis and this is what stands before us now.
But it isn’t about persuasion, leadership and followership, and it isn’t about recreating and replicating the past. Then comes the question: well, what should we believe? There’s an answer to this, quite well summed up by a chunk of wisdom from our old friend Jesus: by their works shall you know them.
In other words, look at the people who are doing things. And help them. I keep quoting a Xhosa saying: listen more closely to things than to people. Don’t give so much attention to ideas, beliefs and viewpoints. Try to do today whatever is best in this situation, as it stands, using your instincts, acting creatively and moving things forward from here, in big and little ways. Because this is about spreading our wings and learning to fly. Birds don’t see the air that supports them when they fly – they feel it and sense it. They fly by trusting in the air. That’s the way to go, and there’s much more to go.
But don’t just believe me because (I hope) I sound convincing. People like me, the ones pumping ideas into the collective psyche, are part of the problem. Ideas are a problem. That’s not an anti-intellectual rant: it’s just that, the way our ideas are configured, they’ve become a problem. We do need to use our heads, but differently.
Here’s a tip: get more happy and okay about not knowing what the fuck is going on. You’re unlikely to find out.
So, if you were an archangel, seeking to effect a Great Reset even on those who believe they are doing the resetting and in control of the process, you’d spin everyone round and cause them to get thoroughly lost. So that the cards get reshuffled quicker. So that solutions can come without having to drag through a lengthy processes of change and resistance to change. So that the constraints of the past can be freed, and the assets of the past can more truly be harvested – the brilliant, amazing aspects of human history, genius and hard work that have also characterised our current civilisation. So that we actually survive, without excessive, irreparable damage done.
Here at my place, there has just been a lovely fly-past of five hooting geese. They’re off to spend the day at the pools just by Tregeseal stone circle, two miles away.
This isn’t really a question of politics or ideology any more. The word ‘crisis’ comes from ancient Greek. It means a situation prompting us to distinguish, choose and decide.
Lynne and I went adventuring, visiting a 2,000 year old iron age settlement here in West Penwith. What I love about these places is that it’s possible to get a feeling of the lives of people who once lived there, long ago – of grandparents sitting by the fire, children playing, grown-ups coming and going, busying themselves with tasks and chores.
This settlement, Goldherring, had a workplace feeling: it looked as if many of the buildings were functional workshops and stores while only some seemed to be residential.
There was a chill, rather cutting springtime wind, even in the milky sunshine, so we squatted down in the sheltered remains of a roofless iron age building, erected about a hundred generations past. Out came the tea flask and biscuits – necessary ingredients in antiquarian investigations – and we sat there chatting about life two millennia ago and life as it is now.
Goldherring was occupied in three or so phases in the late iron age, the Roman period and early medieval times. Apparently the first lot came from abroad, since items from Brittany were found in the lower archaeological layers. Later on the place seems to have been a forge, the home and workplace of a specialist craftsman. The Romans didn’t have a great impact down here, since they never invaded Cornwall – stopping at Exeter – though they influenced the place, rather like USA or China influence us now, here in Europe.
Like many people I’ve been quite shut away and mostly alone for what seems like a very long time, so when Lynne comes to stay it’s A Big Event, and when she leaves there’s rather a large gap. We aren’t unused to it: over the last five years we’ve had a hundred-ish long weekends together and we’ve developed strategies for dealing with it, but there’s still a gap, and sometimes it yawns vulnerably.
Sometimes it gets tested too. During the first lockdown in 2020 Lynne couldn’t visit for quite a while. It activated that ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder’ experience you can sometimes get when you’re a human on a planet, locked into time, geography and circumstance. This might happen again too, now. Covid has hit Lynne’s business (she’s mainly an astrologer), she’s been bumping along fending off the wolves from the door, and now her car has suddenly failed its MOT test, needing big repairs or replacement. And Covid has drained her money-pot. Uh-oh, looks like we might miss some weekends!
This is a small, personal part of an incremental, degenerative social and economic hollowing out, as the cascading impacts of Covid work their way through. We look a little too closely at the pandemic to see clearly what’s going on. In the end, the pandemic will be forgotten – it was a catalyst of a bigger process of change – and what the longterm future will reveal is that in 2020 we crossed a tipping point – though really this tilting of history started perhaps in 2008-12. Or around 1989-93. Or perhaps around 1965-70.
It concerns the scaling down of an overinflated economy running on coffee, cocaine, excess and shady dealings, the power of people to have agency and influence in that economy, the hearts and minds of crowds and publics worldwide, the willingness and consent of society to go through changes we know to be urgent and necessary, and the relationship between the world’s ecosystems and human behaviour. Big questions – quite bottomless societal, environmental and psycho-spiritual questions. We’ve gone too far, something fundamental needs to change, and there’s something very factual about that.
This isn’t really a question of politics or ideology any more. The word crisis comes from ancient Greek. It means a situation prompting us to distinguish, choose and decide. We spend a lot of our lives engaging in avoidance strategies, and of course crises are uncomfortable, threatening, often painful and cruelly indiscriminate. They present truth and facts, whether or not we like it – there’s no stopping an earthquake, hurricane or an advancing army. But a crisis is also an opportunity, an integral part of the pattern of change. There can be unpremeditated, instinct-led possibilities available, and sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes you get a tragedy, sometimes a miracle. For better or worse, crises tend to force and resolve multiple issues at the same time. Crunch, bang, that’s it.
I personally am not in an immediate crisis right now – I’m kinda chugging along – though I’m in an ongoing one as a cancer patient. Since I was diagnosed in Nov 2019 I’ve had three crunchy crises and others will follow, and one will cut me down one day. But it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that my own problems are bigger than other people’s, since they involve confronting death and quite high levels of difficulty and pain. Yet, looking at Lynne and the bill-paying concerns and daily-life complications she’s labouring through, I find myself wondering what’s genuinely harder – a long, hard grind like hers or a red-flashing-lights crisis like I sometimes get?
Two thousand years ago in Goldherring they didn’t have money worries – they didn’t have money! They bartered, gifted and negotiated, and a large part of that negotiation was with nature itself. A bad harvest or a cold winter made a big difference. An Atlantic gale could rip the thatch off your roundhut roof, at the wrong season for replacing it. They faced the tough realities of living on Earth, just like we do.
But they didn’t live in our particular kind of civilisation, with its copious discontents and MOT tests. Living in their own culture and just outside the big-booted Roman empire will have had its own issues, but perhaps those issues were a little more real than ours. Not least because, in our day, simulated realities seem to be replacing manifest reality: belief seems to be overriding what’s standing in front of us. This isn’t new in human history, but the scale of it is new. There are more souls alive today than ever before, experiencing that simulation and, unfortunately, believing that it’s reality.
Philosopher Teilhard de Chardin invented the idea of the noosphere (pronounced no-osphere), the constructed world of human belief – what we think is going on. It becomes a self-programming mega-algorithm that then defines our collective reality as we perceive it. Early in prehistory the ecosphere largely conditioned people’s beliefs and behaviours, and human history since then has been one long story of the development of an ascendant cultural consensus, the noosphere. It has replicated to a point where, in our globalised, urban-industrial-digital society, it shouts louder than the ecosphere, especially to city-dwellers, who also tend to make the decisions on everyone’s behalf.
Nowadays, if the ecospheric world impacts on the noospheric world, we dynamite and bulldoze it, setting scientists, doctors, engineers and politicians on it to chase it away. But the noosphere increasingly resembles a house of cards, resting on shaky dependencies and rising so high that its foundations have cracked, and the ecosphere is impinging on us anyway.
The pennyworts were poking up into the sun and a buzzard wheeled overhead as Lynne and I sat there, huddling together in the iron age with our tea and Nairn’s biscuits, reflecting on life. For the plain fact is, while Lynne is scraping along to pay the bills and my pension is modest, as inhabitants of the rich world we are still in the top 25% of wealthy people. For many people worldwide, Covid means not illness but hunger, and many of these people – farmers, favelistas, enterepreneurs, employees – were doing alright enough before Covid came along.
Yet within our own sphere of reality, each of us has our problems. Some are really dire (think of many Syrians or Yemenis, or of people keeling over with Covid in Brazil) while many people are confronting ‘grindstone mentality’, the uncomfortable feeling that we’re not doing enough to solve our problems and we must do more, setting aside our main priorities to do so – yet again. Then we worry about our ‘mental health’ when many of us, and society as a whole, are having a spiritual crisis. WTF are we here for, and is this the world we really want?
I’m psychologically quite self-sufficient but Lynne nevertheless makes a big difference in my life. She’s one of those who is willing to prioritise things that aren’t in her immediate self-interest, doing so with a lot of love and care – not only for me but for lots of people. And for the plants and microbes in her garden.
It rests on this kind of person to save the world: this has been demonstrated during the Covid crisis. It has been a case of ‘amateurs built the Ark and professionals built the Titanic’. Society has leaned heavily on dedicated people who have an altruistic bent and the skills of service. It has leaned especially on non-professionals acting out of goodwill, service and commitment – in the rich world social care and healthcare have been over-professionalised, while family and community support systems have been asphyxiated by ‘progress’ and the busyness of a demanding modern life. Lynne is one of those non-professionals, a quiet supertrooper. Though some professionals have done a heroic job too: I’ve seen this with the doctors and nurses I’ve met, and through the eyes of my son, who’s in the air ambulance business.
It’s also a joy, as a disabled cancer patient, to get up in the morning, light the stove and bring Lynne tea in bed. For in truth there is no such thing as helping: it’s an energy-exchange. Lynne brings so much goodness into my life yet mercifully she seems to feel that it’s reciprocated.
By healing we become healed. By giving what we can, even when we have limited possibilities, we do receive. It is possible for a whole economy to work like this – and I’ve seen such principles at work in Palestine, where officially there is high unemployment and a lot of destitution yet everyone is busy and more or less catered for, even under the duress of living under longterm military occupation. Sometimes, when we need help, the best thing to do is to help someone else. Help the world.
One awkward question we need to face in the coming time concerns social roles and their tendency to get fixed: whether we’re a net helper or a net recipient, male or female, black or white, progressive or resister, we mustn’t get too attached to any positions in the spectrum. Because help and support flow around society in the most miraculous and amazing of ways. If we permit it. For this to work, everyone, no matter how helpless or seemingly useless, has something to give and we need to give it. Withholding our humanity and creativity holds the world back.
Over the last month I’ve been chugging away at completing a five year research project. It’s something I can give to the world, in my reduced capacity. Its value will be appreciated only by a small number of people, but it contributes to society’s cultural capital and it’s a contribution I can make. I’ve just finished it. It’s an online map and database of the thousands of prehistoric sites in Cornwall, providing online resources for use in researching prehistoric sites and their meaning and purpose. It’s here: Map of the Prehistoric Sites of Cornwall.
If you’d like to sample some music I’m enjoying right now, try this – Trance Frendz.
All is as well as can be. Beeee goooood. Lots of love from me. Thanks for reading.