On Tuesday morning, I will be a guest on The Power Hour, internet radio. Unlike previous occasions when I have been invited on their program, the focus this time will be on the radiation risks to which we are exposed. Though I might have spent a lifetime or even several lifetimes preparing for this time in our planetary history, it is impossible to feel up to speed on anything, but let me start with a couple of straightforward news items.
The situation in Japan is way beyond "desperate" meaning that rational people and experts have no idea how to manage the nuclear catastrophe. I will return to this issue in a moment, but let's look at the floods in the U.S. The levees are not holding and we have a situation requiring impeccable management. Based on what we are seeing, this level of expertise has not been required in order to own and operate nuclear power plants. In parts of Europe, this fact has registered on the psyches of many, and nuclear initiatives are being fought by the public at large, especially in Germany and Italy. Here, due to an information black out, we are sleeping through the most perilous time in our history. Almost as soon as someone gets some update posted online, it vanishes. This is often because of copyright infringement but the bottom line is that in the trickle down world of power politics, there is no need to share information with plebeians.
People are reacting in countless different ways that display their own values, viewpoints, and frustration. For instance, not to pick apart a heroine of the anti-nuclear movement, but Leuren Moret, a Quaker, is losing her grip on her pacificism. I hope that if this happens to me that hundreds of subscribers will write me suggesting that I recommit to my core beliefs and seek a non-violent solution. This said, I cannot stop thinking about what is wrong and why so I am going to take a really huge detour and go into how we are organized as a civilization, hoping that many will see that the option to organize in an entirely different way exists. Depending on your view of history, the models for these alternative approaches to social issues exist not only as abstractions in our primordial memories but as viable alternatives to the impasses we are confronting now.
In my astrological courses, I discuss hierarchy as an essentially fiery approach to interrelationships. Ironically, the fire element is usually the least popular with the other elements, but it is nevertheless the scaffolding for our present economic and political structures. In a hierarchical system, there is immense power at the top and yes men underneath. The question that I have had with the rising political tensions and Wiki Leaks challenges to the classified concepts underlying our civilization is whether or not there is a point where conscience dictates saying "no" instead of "yes". This kind of insubordination is highly risky. In the best case scenario, someone might lose his job but in many situations, the risks would be much higher, not only the life of the person touching base with his own personal sovereignty but all those who might be precious to this person. In an ethical world, the number of persons of conscience would be very high. The fact that this is not presently the case suggests that our civilization is not only much more corrupt than most of us care to imagine but it places personal perks and safety above the greater good. This is clearly a recipe for failure so the question is what happens when this fact is realized?
Let me try to bring this down to earth a bit more. When the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, the initial public response was to downplay what had happened. From the pieces that are now coming into focus, it is evident that the realities were basically known within hours but the pattern of saying "yes" undermined the response as well as what was referred to by the foreign press as lack of leadership. Japanese are now blaming this on Americans, suggesting that in saying "yes" to pressure from several different agencies of the federal government, they failed to disclose the facts. It is not yet clear whether any course of action would have made a significant difference because as Arne Gundersen says, we are going where "science has not been before." You can hear comparable statements from Michio Kaku and other scientists, journalists, and politicians.
As someone who invested a great deal of my early adulthood in all things Japanese, I have had implicit faith in the processes occurring in Japan, but I have to say, there were some shaky moments. In Japan, at least at the time I was a student there, Japanese studied ethics in school and on top of this, there is a rich cultural tradition of taking responsibility for decisions and actions. There is an immense capacity to feel shame and to make effort to accept blame for the damage done by poor judgment or inappropriate action. This is happening now on a wide scale and what it means is that what was perceived as lack of leadership, especially by European critics, was actually part and parcel of a process that relies on much more consensus than is typical of a hierarchical chain of command. This is not to suggest that CEOs and prime ministers and so on and so forth are not part of a hierarchy, but they enjoy their rank in part because of the willingness of those beneath them to cooperate — suggesting that far more people are involved in decision making and, of course, this also means more ideas and opinions are assessed before action is taken.
As we now realize, the Fukushima situation was from the start only faintly similar to the Chernobyl disaster. What worked under the Soviet system probably would not have worked in Japan and the fact is that at this time, no one seems to have a better idea than to try to slide the reactors into the ocean and recover as much as possible from the sea once the ocean has cooled the materials. Obviously, this is an option with grim ramifications but the meltdown has gone through the containment walls and into the earth. It appears at this time that no one is rushing to implement such a decision. In the meantime, radioactive releases continue and they amount to the equivalent of hundreds of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs. Our world will not be the same again in our lifetime so the question really comes down to what, if anything, will be left to future generations.
Keep in mind that is one incident and the crisis building up in Nebraska is another and there are hundreds more aging reactors in precarious situations elsewhere on the Planet. The most needed technology at this critical juncture in Earth history is one that reverses the hazards that got us where we are. If we can harvest radioactive materials from the bowels of the Earth and harness them to make dangerous weapons and provide hugely risky sources of energy,we have to be able to neutralize the insanity of such shortsighted exploitationof opportunity. In short, we need to find a way to put the genies back in their bottles, and I think this is well within the realm of human capacity, but all needs to move into harmony with Nature and with every other species on the Planet. The ability to do this is ultimately what will determine our own survival or doom as a civilization.
If the hierarchical structure is fiery, it suggests that there are other models for relating based on other elements. The air element is egalitarian. It is often the energy underlying major reforms, such as ending slavery or gender-based inequality or other inequities based on infirmities or race or religion or sexual orientation. The success or failure of a social system based on equality depends on free flow of information because the ability to form meaningful opinions is based on the input. If information is blocked, the mind is littered with banalities which are often used divisively rather than coherently. The ideological foundation for the U.S. was egalitarian but it has moved increasingly in the direction of classic imperialism in which paranoid vested interests are paraded as critical to survival rather than meaningless perversions of the earth element. In a more edifying expression of practicality, solid approaches to long-term safety and security would be paramount, meaning that nothing is fast-tracked so as to pad pockets but critical impact studies are prerequisites to approval and if change occurs more slowly because of the right use of caution, so be it.
The water model depends on relationships that are capable of embracing all differences because even the smallest molecules have complex relationships between the atoms. Water recognizes varying responsibilities based on maturity and the roles and responsibilities that are part and parcel of maturity, but more importantly, water is inclusive and bonding and like it or not, the U.S. celebrates its birth on July 4th and hence is mentally positioned to function with this inclusivity, if the country would grow up and shake off paranoia and imperialism. It would still be airy because the Moon is in Aquarius. I am neither a xenophile or xenophobe but given the outrageous nature of American foreign conduct, it seems appropriate to consider where we might "belong" rather than where we seem to be stuck.
The hierarchical structure posits some sort of inalienable right to lord it over others. It is, of course, not merely authoritarian but also potentially contemptuous of what is regarded as inferior. To the extent that there is this presumption of prerogative, there is also a tendency to run roughshod over others, meaning that the risks to those lower in the pecking order are not just immense but also probably based on values espoused by the kingpins rather than the peons. If leadership were wise rather than predatory, if rulership were ethical and spiritual rather than personal and capricious, there would not be a problem, but what ought to be apparent to all is that the power at the top has forfeited all claim to superior leadership. Instead, they have shown their disdain for the Constitution, for law, for personal ethics, for their fellow man, and for Nature.
In the past, I have tried to draw attention to what happens to a country that secures its freedom from colonial rule. Usually, one of the first reforms involves redistribution of property because the colonial and imperial power often wound up with upwards of 90% of the wealth of the colony. Though the game is played differently at this time, we are still seeing an amazing concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few and this wealth is being used to wage endless wars on other countries and their people, on the environment, on the have nots, and ultimately on the diversity, uniqueness, and individuality of every species, including the human. This kind of terrorism against Creation is only possible when there is an absence of respect for the Creative Force behind existence. Thus, if there were no other reason at all for calling for the end of this hierarchy, it would be that not a single person can be reasonably expected to fulfill his or her true potential if crippled by the intrusive and ill-conceived policies of those currently in power.
What replaces hierarchy? The hierarchy is partially a figment of our imagination. We posit it in our minds when we think of looking up instead of out but the moment we reach a hand out to our brothers and sisters of any description, we shift from hierarchy to cooperation and this is the only model that is sustainable when the capacity for bizarre technologies and misuse of power is so rampant. At this time, I have implicit faith in the processes of reorganization occurring in Japan. Though there is a formal information black out — just as here — there is a tradition of responsible conduct. Obviously, there is a corrupt element in society as can also be found elsewhere, but public sentiment is rising and might eventually be heard as one voice.
Now, if we turn our attention to the U.S., we see a number of major flags that need to be identified and debunked or at least addressed. First, the hoax of global warming is just that. This means that all the rhetoric around global warming is motivated by ignorance or political intent. Geoengineering is a military operation that operates without congressional oversight, without international consent, and without responsibility for the consequences on the environment or health of any people or animals anywhere in the world. Who gave this power to these criminally insane enterprises? The Earth has had earthquakes and ice ages and floods and droughts but never have we created these crises so deliberately and irresponsibly.
Obviously, the list of abuses is long but the only excuse for the abuses is that forfeiting power weakens the deterrent effect of power. Deterrents mean nothing if unilateral use is so reckless and dangerous. Only a massive grassroots movement can shift the tides and we don't seem to have much time to deliberate whether or not this would be a fruitful course of action, but I believe that deconstruction of all concentrations of power is absolutely critical in order to move from competition to cooperation, from intimidation to respect, from exploitation to sustainability, and from war to peace.
Copyright by Ingrid Naiman 2011