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Facing the Heart of Earth's Predicament in Fiction and Film: The Work of Timothy Scott Bennett and Sally Erickson

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Book Cover: All of the Above
Book Cover: All of the Above
(Image by Timothy Scott Bennett and Amazon)
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Book Cover: All of the Above by Timothy Scott Bennett and Amazon

"The indescribable innocence and beneficence of Nature--of Sun, Wind and Rain, of Summer and Winter--such health, such cheer, they afford forever!....Shall I not have intelligence with the Earth?

Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mold myself?"

-Henry David Thoreau

In today's world we oftentimes wish to fix centuries old problems with standardized protocols that keep the same sick system going. That system claims that (a) humans are the superior creature on this planet; (b) our lifestyle, values and politics are the "top of the line of evolutionary development"; (c) technology is our savior and reflects human evolution; and (d) Nature is for human consumption and is meant to be managed by human beings, primarily in the form of corporations.

These are false premises! They are lies perpetuated for thousands of years. These lies began with the writing of Genesis, where it is said we were to have mastery over the beasts and the Earth. This is not a God- or Nature-given mastery. It is one we arrogantly took, and a mindset of which I have been guilty with the rest of "civilization". This arrogance has resulted in today's world in which thousands of species are becoming extinct on a daily basis. This planet is dying; we are dying, because of our lifestyle and arrogance.

Arrogance begets alienation. Our alienation--lack of any sense of belonging--is masked under a false sense of importance. Together, they beget the intense fear that is fostered in our culture. Alienation means we are alone and unprotected; arrogance means we must always beware of the bite-back from our "inferiors." We feel superior to Nature until She retaliates with storms, eruptions, die-offs and increasingly hotter temper; then we go to war against Her. Is not matricide one of the most damnable forms of murder? Does it not exile us from the family?

Since we are not able to fully understand the intelligence and communication of whales and dolphins, then we should not consider our intelligence as superior to theirs. Perhaps these other creatures, even roaches and ants, realize that humans are truly not the "epitome of evolutionary development." Indeed, those roaches and ants have much deeper evolutionary roots than ours and a much greater adaptability through evolution than we. (Think drug resistant bacteria.) Theirs may a more valid perspective than ours given our increase in global warming, which has manifested due to our allowance of corporate control over our lives. We are also allowing this control through police states as well as media manipulation of our bodies, minds, and spirits. And the psychologists wonder why we're an alienated lot? Alienation is the result of an externalized consciousness based on externalized control by dominate classes. We are no longer in the world but on it, above everything else, except, of course, the elite who claim to have authority over our lives.

Swirl the word "authority" around on your tongue. "Author-ity." Dare you give "authorship" over your lives to the authorities? Are you their product or the living child of Mother Earth? When do you claim YOUR STORY over HIS STORY?

How much longer can this last? Perhaps it is only as long as we remain mesmerized by the media and their perpetuation of paradigms that maintain enslavement? When do we decide to awaken to our slavery and extend our shackled wrists to Nature who holds the keys?

There are a few visionaries out there who are well aware and able to help us to awaken. Timothy Scott Bennett is one such person. He is the author of All the Above , a work of fiction that helps us to acknowledge and confront the paradigms that underlie our conscious pursuit of Empire and our unconscious pursuit of economic, ecological, and moral collapse. His wife, Sally Erickson, is another. Sally is an artist, psychotherapist, vegetable farmer, community organizer, leader at Blue Heron Education Association, and owner of a local and online business selling Vegibags. Sally embodies the natural philosophy to "Think Global; Act Local." Together they have produced the film What a Way to Go: Life at the End of Empire. This documentary unveils the harrowing facts of the present predicament of Planet Earth and suggests we build a lifeboat fast, before we self-destruct.

In All the Above, Timothy uses adventure fiction to help us explore a path to rectifying our devastation of people and planet. According to him, the stories we tell ourselves and impose on our children are limited, inadequate, and ultimately destructive. We need to question everything we believe. Our goal in questioning is to free ourselves from the cultural paradigm. We urgently need to move beyond identification of problems to solutions. To that I would add that it is WE that need to change. We can no longer surrender responsibility to the corporate and government complexes. They are not going to kill the bio-engineered goose that is laying golden eggs for them, even as it also begets monsters that are destroying the rest of us and our home planet.

Sally invites us to build communities that are grounded in caring, creativity and possibility. Therein, we can heal ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and our local ecosystems. Tim believes that we must also build lifeboats in which to sail into the larger world, where we can interrupt destruction, while healing wounds and changing minds.

To manifest this change requires imagination and courage. We need to let go of the shore of convention. How scarey!!!!! We can't continue to hold onto the delusional safety net of modern corporations and benefit programs. In doing so we surrender our freedom to them! Do fish consider the net in which they are caught "safety"? No! It is a prison--for them and, likewise, for us.

Freedom takes imagination and empowerment. It requires the self-actualization that Maslow proposed. We can't just say, "O, we don't have the money or political power or majority." No, do without money, political power, or majority; create new systems, new ways. There are people doing it. There are people who have developed alternative currencies, time banks, and alternate ways of doing business. As Lao Tzu says in the Tao Te Ching, "Be newborn, be free of yourself." Move beyond your conditioned mind....that aspect of mind that was foisted upon you in youth and throughout all of your life by those who profit from your slave labor. Go deep within yourself. How have you been conditioned?

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Burl Hall is a retired counselor who is living in a Senior Citizen Housing apartment. Burl has one book to his credit, titled "Sophia's Web: A Passionate Call to Heal our Wounded Nature." For more information, search the book on Amazon. (more...)
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