I think I could be tempted to believe in a theistic God if She were feminine--or if It could be equally feminine and masculine. The God I need and want to believe in is a loving God who cares about ecological wisdom and creating peace on earth. We were made for worship--the worship of the highest expression of love, beauty, and truth. However, in the modern world, it is a good thing that theism is a dying concept.
I dedicate this piece to the Divine Feminine. The Goddesses of the world inspire my heart. As a woman, you are a Goddess. You are Universal. You are Infinite. You are Bliss. You deserve all that you wish for. You are admired. You are loved. You are cheris
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Rebuild the Whole World from the Bottom-Up
During the Age of Imperialism, the wealthy Western nations were in a race to carve up the Americas, Africa, and Asia. They were far more industrialized and had more powerful weapons. In their thinking, they thought they were superior to other peoples of the world, whom they considered to be subhuman or barbarians. They essentially believed that "might makes right." The aristocratic elites exploited other nations as they exploited the workers in their own countries. Now we know who were the true barbarians. Now we understand much better why there is no peace on earth. As a result of slavery (imagine that) and exploitation on a massive scale, the wealthy Western countries, with their more powerful weapons, got a big advantage over the underdeveloped countries, and this type of unfairness has continued to the present day. Moreover, the world is now dealing with a climate emergency that is getting worse every day.
With the emergence of "civilization" in the world, a top-down hierarchy developed in which a small minority of aristocratic elites (today we might call them the "One Percent") began to dominate nations and the world. Having hierarchy, or levels of authority, is not always a bad thing if the levels of authority are built from the bottom-up, instead of from the top-down.
Vegan Will Tuttle, author of TheWorld Peace Diet, states that hierarchy began with the herding of animals, which he refers to as "herderism" in this article. According to this 2013 Socialist Worker article about how the national vegan population is increasing rapidly it states, "As Dr. Steve Best points out, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels 'lumped animal welfarists, vegetarians, and anti-vivisectionists into the same petite-bourgeoisie category comprised of charity organizers, temperance fanatics, and naïve reformists.' Leon Trotsky railed against those opposed to revolutionary violence, scornfully describing their ideology as "vegetarian-Quaker prattle." On the contrary, there are ethical, ecological, and health reasons for being a vegan, and there is power in love, forgiveness, and nonviolence.
Social ecologist Murray Bookchin also examined the role of hierarchy in his philosophy. GoodReads.comprovides a good summary of Murray Bookchin with a list of his books:
Murray Bookchin was an American libertarian socialist author, orator, and philosopher. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin was the founder of the social ecology movement within anarchist, libertarian socialist and ecological thought. He was the author of two dozen books on politics, philosophy, history, and urban affairs as well as ecology. In the late 1990s he became disenchanted with the strategy of political Anarchism and founded his own libertarian socialist ideology called Communalism.
Bookchin was an anti-capitalist and vocal advocate of the decentralisation of society along ecological and democratic lines. His writings on libertarian municipalism, a theory of face-to-face, assembly democracy, had an influence on the Green movement and anti-capitalist direct action groups such as Reclaim the Streets.
According to the website social-ecology.org, Social Ecology advocates a reconstructive and transformative outlook on social and environmental issues, and promotes a directly democratic, confederal politics. Social Ecology envisions a moral economy that moves beyond scarcity and hierarchy, toward a world that reharmonizes human communities with the natural world, while celebrating diversity, creativity and freedom.
According to en.wikipedia.org, Murray Bookchin (January 14, 1921 - July 30, 2006)was an Americansocial theorist, author, orator, historian, and political philosopher. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin formulated and developed the theory of social ecology and urban planning, within anarchist, libertarian socialist, and ecological thought. He was the author of two dozen books covering topics in politics, philosophy, history, urban affairs, and ecology. Among the most important were Our Synthetic Environment(1962), Post-Scarcity Anarchism(1971), The Ecology of Freedom (1982) and Urbanization Without Cities(1987). In the late-1990s he became disenchanted with the increasingly apolitical lifestylism of the contemporary anarchist movement, stopped referring to himself as an anarchist, and founded his own libertarian socialist ideology called Communalism, which seeks to reconcile Marxist and anarchist thought. 
Bookchin was a prominent anti-capitalist and advocate of society's decentralisation along ecological and democratic lines. His ideas have influenced social movements since the 1960s, including the New Left, the anti-nuclear movement, the anti-globalization movement, Occupy Wall Street, and more recently, the democratic confederalism of Rojava. He was a central figure in the American green movement and the Burlington Greens.
At AZquotes.com, my two favorite quotes of Murray Bookchin are "Capitalism can no more be persuaded to limit growth than a human being can be persuaded to stop breathing. Attempts to "green" capitalism to make it ecological, are doomed by the very nature of the system of endless growth." Also "Capitalism is a social disease. It has always been a social cancer. It is the disease of society. It is the malignancy of society."
I remember Murray Bookchin at the First National Green Gathering at Hampshire College in Amhurst, Massachusetts in 1987. It seems like there were two camps--the Left Greens and the Social Ecologists influenced by Murray Bookchin in one camp and the New Age Greens who were more into meditation and spirituality. Charlene Spretnak was probably the leading spokesperson for the New Age Greens.
It is now imperative that we each discover whether the environmental practices of our municipality or geographical region are ecologically sustainable. If they are not, we have to dedicate our lives to implementing ecologically wise practices at the local and regional levels. When every local community implements ecologically sustainable practices, we will create a sustainable future for planet earth and for our children and grandchildren. I live in the Tampa Bay Area and the biggest environmental concern is the phosphate strip mining of the Mosaic Corporation, which is now wanting to renew its permit which will pollute major waterways in surrounding counties of central Florida and will destroy habitat even more. PBS did a 7-minute report about it.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) allowed for a public meeting about this on September 30, 2019 in Mulberry, FL. About 150 people from all over the Tampa Bay Area from Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota, Charlotte, Polk, and other surrounding counties drove long distances to attend this meeting but the FDEP only had about 7 chairs in this large room. We were only allowed to express our opinions on paper and then put the paper in a box. I asked one of the FDEP representatives about why there was not a regular type of meeting and discussion, and she said some people don't feel comfortable speaking in front of a group, so we're allowing them to express their opinion in writing. That is probably the worst excuse I have ever heard in my life from another adult. She further explained that if they have a regular meeting it would just be the angry people speaking who don't really know all the facts. A week before I heard a lot about Mosaic Corporation from ecologist Andy Mele who appeared on Tampa's community radio station WMNF 88.5 FM. FDEP states that Mosaic is complying with all their requirements, so most likely the permit will be reissued. Many other communities around the world have environmental concerns that are as equally dire as the phosphate mining areas of central Florida. What do we have to do to have a government by and for the people?
Libertarian and educator John Taylor Gatto, who was voted best public school teacher in New York City and in the state of New York more than once, did research on the history of schooling in the United States. Gatto essentially expressed that it was all about social control and social engineering. Not a supporter of the public schools, Gatto supported homeschooling and the voucher plan in education. He was also against compulsory schooling. To me, it is refreshing to listen to Gatto in YouTube videos even though before he died, Gatto wrote lettters to Trump, giving Trump ideas on how he could get elected. Gatto broke all the school rules when he allowed high school students to explore all of Manhattan during school hours--each student doing a meaningful, individualized project of his or her choice. John Taylor Gatto shared that what the most elite schools in the nation have in common is an emphasis on active literacy--writing and speaking after attaining passive literacy--reading and study. In one video, Gatto said it was against the law to teach active literacy in early America. I think Gatto was successful as a teacher because he taught his students how to be successful in a capitalist society.
Though I am now retired from public school teaching, it was very early in my career that I started advocating that we should give more power to parents and neighborhood elementary school districts than we give to township and state governments. When the Green movement and party were first getting established in the United States, I remember sharing in a Florida Green Party state planning group on education that we should encourage neighborhood control of public elementary schools. One of the objections was that some neighborhood districts would start teaching creationism. But some elementary school districts would become more progressive than the current public schools, and why not let neighborhood school districts decide how they want to spend their taxes for education in the neighborhood where they live. My very first published article was entitled Neighborhood Control of Neighborhood Schools.
Neighborhood elementary school districts could use public money to maintain their currently existing school buildings, and they could also support homeschooling, house schools, and more tutoring provided by adults committed to and passionate about the neighborhood--desiring to be part of a consensus decision-making group. When we start to heal, it will be from the local to the global and from the inside-out.
Some parents--preferring vouchers and tax credits--can be allowed to use the marketplace to find schools outside of the neighborhood. But ideally and ecologically-speaking, parents should build community with other parents and residents closest to home. We don't need to travel so far away from home. We can build community right where we live. Those parents in an elementary school district that are attempting to create community, in my opinion, should be allotted more public funds than parents who show no loyalty or commitment to the neighborhood elementary school which is the most important aspect of the neighborhood community. Here is a five-paragraph summary entitled Neighborhood Control of Public Elementary Schools that I wrote a few months ago.
With more children attending neighborhood schools, we will need fewer school buses and less car driving. However, in the nation on the whole, we need to use more buses and trains, and we should drastically reduce the number of cars on our roads and highways--which are becoming more and more dangerous everyday. How do we change these conditions in a revolutionary way with long-term planning for future generations?
Are you thinking that people in today's world do not want to build community with their neighbors? If we provide educational and financial incentives, and show how it can enrich their lives, they will welcome it. This policy can be encouraged in elementary school districts all over the world. M. Scott Peck, author of The Road Less Traveled and Beyond and Community Making and Peace, has identified four stages in building community. In today's world, people don't even know their neighbors and there is no sense of community. Let us allow parents and the other residents who live in an elementary school district to make the choice whether they want to have complete autonomy in designing their own neighborhood school and creating their own educational philosophy and school curriculum, hiring teachers, and establishing salaries for teachers and tutors--or parents can choose to trust the township and state government, trusting that the authorities, the top-down government, know best.
Neighborhood block clubs build community. Another way to get connected to other neighbors where you live is to join nextdoor.com. I have lived in a condominium community managed by an outside agency for the past 1½ years. More and more I'm thinking that we the residents of the community should manage our own community. The condo management agency communicates with us by putting flyers or notices on our doors, by letters and by emails about what we need to do to keep the community looking good on the outside. Instead we could be making face-to-face decisions about our little community, using everyone's talent.
To rebuild local and state government from the bottom-up, we could encourage each voting precinct to send a representative to the township level. The township legislature can make laws and also make executive and judicial appointments at the township level as needed. The township legislators could vote among themselves to send a representative to the county legislature. The county legislature could make county laws, and also make executive and judicial appointments at the county level as needed. The county legislators in each county could vote among themselves to send a representative to the state legislature. The state legislature would make state laws, and also make executive and judicial appointments at the state level as needed. To prevent the influence of money in politics, some communities should also have the option to choose direct democracy (as opposed to representative democracy) from the municipal or county level down to the neighborhood level.
On the national level, we could ideally use proportional representation in the election of a unicameral federal legislature that includes the equal empowerment of at least the 7 largest national political parties. In other articles at my website I show how we could use proportional representation from the 7 largest national political parties to create a Constitutional Convention for a new constitution in an article entitled The Most Democratic Way to Have a Constitutional Convention.
On the international level, we can create democratic world law to implement a democratic world government, based on the equal empowerment of at least the 7 largest international political parties. The Earth Constitution is an excellent model for a democratic world government. Noam Chomsky quotes Einstein who said that unless we can create a [democratic] world government, we are doomed as reported at the beginning of this interview.
To the degree there is a disparity between the rich and the poor within nations and among nations--there will be economic, political, social, and personal problems. Instead of the wealthiest individuals earning a thousand or a hundred times more than the lowest earning income, the gap can be lowered to a ratio of 10:1 on an international level. The lowest hourly wage for meaningful work could be $15 per hour, which is about $30,000 a year. Every citizen of the world over the age of 18 could be guaranteed an annual income of $12,000 per year. Any annual income above $120,000 throughout the world could be taxed at 100 percent.
We can ultimately strive for a ratio of 3:1, as we encourage voluntary simplicity and equal sharing of the earth to promote peace and harmony for all. Ultimately we could eliminate the need for money altogether in a kind and loving world.
Reducing military spending by 90 percent would allow us to use tax revenues in a more humanistic way. After other nations reciprocate, we can reduce it even more. Other nations would reciprocate. It is the United States that is promoting and accelerating the outrageous military spending race because the United States is an Empire that is trying to control and dominate every country and region of the world. We cannot have any nation get away with controlling, dominating, and exploiting other nations for its exclusive gain and greed. If currently the whole world is spending almost 2 trillion dollars a year on weapons and war (of which the United States is spending about 1 trillion) imagine what it would be like if those resources could be reallocated to building self-determined, self-sufficient, and interrelated, intentional communities in every village, town, and city. Imagine what it would be like if we started becoming concerned about the Self-actualization of every person on the planet.
If it currently would take 4 earths for everyone in the world to have the lifestyle of the average American, and half of the world, according to the World Bank, lives on less than $5.50 a day (which is almost $2,008 a year), the highest expression of love and fairness would be to support radical egalitarianism, veganism, and voluntary simplicity on an international level. Some progressives argue that we should rid the world of billionaires. We can do better than that. We can rid the world of millionaires, as we consider the needs of the whole world and the planet. Here is a Left Green perspective that says we can improve the Green New Deal by eliminating its massive growth and neoliberalism.
Yellow journalism and deliberate public deception by Hurst and Dupont companies is the real reason marijuana--cannabis--hemp was made illegal in 1937. What do you think is the best gift of the earth to create a sustainable future for many generations? It is the fiber of Marijuana-Cannabis-Hemp. Now that hemp is legal once again--there are many advantages of a hemp-built home. If more concrete and plastic are needed, you can make it out of hemp. It's called "hemp-crete." Hemp would make the very best paper and rope. Its seeds can feed the world. We could be making cars and buses and boats and homes out of hemp. Thousands and thousands of household products can be made out of hemp--all biodegradable.
According to hempwood.com, it is more comfortable, provides cleaner indoor air, has energy efficiency, has a luxury look and feel, has less mold and mildews and less pest infestation, is more fire resistant, has low maintenance, and provides long term durability. Hemp can be grown without the use of herbicides and insecticides. We need Johnny Appleseed to plant hemp seeds this time around. Hemp "wood" is the most eco-friendly lumber product on earth. Hemp wood is made without destroying trees. Hemp is being welcomed back to humanity. Hemp, Hemp, Hooray! Many people have known for a long time that hemp can and will play a very important role in saving the environment and the world. The Hemp-Cannabis-Marijuana plant may be the most valuable and versatile plant on earth, considering its many industrial, agricultural, medical, and recreational uses. The hemp plant might be God's greatest gift to humanity, though others might say it is the psycho-spiritual plant ingredients in ayahuasca that is God's greatest gift.
Let us enable every family in every neighborhood and community of the world in need of a home to live in a hemp and solar home with all the things that we enjoy. Doing that would give us more peace and security than investing and spending outrageous amounts of money on weapons and land mines to kill people. After we ourselves learn, we can teach others how to build and maintain a home and an organic, composted garden in the backyard.
We need a Medicare-for-All system in every nation. Here is an article by Ralph Nader entitled 25 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare. We also need to bring the blessings of public banking to every community and nation.
We can build independent and interrelated, intentional communities if we learn nonviolent communication, assertiveness training, if we study psychology, depth psychology, transpersonal psychology, philosophy, history, geography, the sciences and arts, the world's major world religions, and higher states of consciousness through nondual awareness. It is very important that we strive to be open, honest, and transparent--the world needs it, and most of all we need it. Self-awareness is also important: we must constantly ask ourselves, what are my motives, what are my intentions, how do I feel right now. Face-to-face participatory, consensus democracy can be encouraged in every family, in every local community.
We must create a world in which everyone is concerned about biodegradability, ecology, biodiversity, alternatives to fossil fuels, voluntary simplicity, permaculture, and drastically reducing trash and landfills. The wealthy class must start living simply so that others in the world can simply live.
Thich Naht Hanh said, "The next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha will take the form of a community; a community practicing understanding and loving-kindness, a community practicing mindful living. This may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the Earth."
The 9 most egregious social sins that nations, mostly Western nations, have committed are 1) Imperialism 2) Racism 3) Transnational Corporate Capitalism 4) Nationalism 5) Materialism 6) Patriarchalism 7) Anti-Environmentalism 8) Speciesism (species-ism) and 9) the Discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
Not only does there need to be a political revolution that implements radical egalitarianism, we also need a spiritual revolution. True spirituality is the universal love for humanity, the Earth, and the divine ground of being. In Eastern philosophy, the divine ground at the core of our being is a nondual Source of indescribable love, joy, and bliss.
Episcopol Bishop John Shelby Spong--author of the books Why Christianity Must Change or Die and Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism--speaks eloquently on the subject of "What is God?" in this 7-minute video clip. He states that we have to get over the idea that we can ever define God. God cannot just be an extension of our prejudices. He states that if we cannot separate God from theism, which is the belief that God is separate from us and the universe he created--there is little possibility that modern people will believe in God. Theism is a dying concept.
With fundamentalist Christians I always tell about Ernie Bringas, author of Jesus Gate: A History of Concealment Unraveled.This is not a religious book; it is a book about religion. If we are going to study the bible devotionally, we should also study church history and theology based on the latest scholarship. Here is an interview of Ernie Bringas by Barbara DeLong. I have also enjoyed The Skeptics Annotated Bible which is in the King James Version.
We can also explore Liberation Theology and this article on Process Theology. Websites such as VictorZammit.com and SoulProof.com tell about individuals who have had Near Death Experiences and provide alleged proof for psychic science. Here are articles that integrate science, spirituality, and the new physics. Moreover, there is an upcoming UFO World Congress which will have theoretical physicist Michio Kaku as its keynote speaker.
Here is a video of a young woman who describes her ayahuasca experience. Some of her comments I copied in notes: She said "the plant is an intelligent knowing being that you can interact with." I have never taken ayahuasca, but I find that hard to believe. Maybe the plant put her in touch with her higher self. I have also heard more than once that participants encounter a very loving and beautiful snake ( I hope she meant in a vision), and right away that makes me--who was born and brainwashed in Christian fundamentalism--think that this could be the same snake in the Garden of Eden story. So it makes you wonder what is really going on here.
She also mentioned that she felt more the love of Mother. She said she cried so hard as a result of this love. She said the experience taught her to be more vulnerable, to slow down and take it all in. When we're vulnerable, we are more authentic. Let's do away with the masks and be real with each other. It taught me to just be me. Everything was chosen before you got here, and you chose it. It felt like I was in a dream state, but I was awake. We have to trust what we are doing, and we should not be so hard on ourselves. She said that if you are a seeker of truth--and into the mystery of life, and the mystery of yourself--she would recommend aya.
After hearing this young woman's talk, it almost seems like one weekend participating in an ayahuasca ceremony is equivalent to 30 years of meditation. If we experience the oneness and unity and love of everyone, the whole world, and Mother Earth--then maybe military generals around the world should be required to take ayahuasca alone and also together.
Here is a video entitled Healing PTSD at the Holistic Sanctuary with Ayahuasca. Would a more open and tolerant society accept individuals who are polyamorous, bisexual, and of other sexual orientations? Yes. It is an exciting time to be alive, but we each have to do everything we can to understand ourselves and then build our local community in sustainable ways with fully-participatory, consensus, grassroots democracy--to save the world and heal the earth, which has a carrying capacity.
Two of my favorite self-help books are Happy for No Reason: 7 Steps to Being Happy from the Inside Out by Marci Shimoff, the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul and Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong, religious scholar and bestselling author of A History of God. I think I could be tempted to believe in a theistic God if She were feminine--or if It could be equally feminine and masculine. The God I need and want to believe in is a loving God who cares about ecological wisdom and creating peace on earth. We were made for worship--the worship of the highest expression of love, beauty, and truth. However, in the modern world, it is good thing that theism is a dying concept.
Most of my articles are published at OpEdNews. The have also been published at the following websites: