Category Archives: psychology

Why Iceland Should Be in the News, But Is Not

By Deena Stryker

via http://sacsis.org.za/site/article/728.1?frommailing=1#here

An Italian radio program’s story about Iceland’s on-going revolution is a stunning example of how little our media tells us about the rest of the world. Americans may remember that at the start of the 2008 financial crisis, Iceland literally went bankrupt.  The reasons were mentioned only in passing, and since then, this little-known member of the European Union fell back into oblivion.

As one European country after another fails or risks failing, imperiling the Euro, with repercussions for the entire world, the last thing the powers that be want is for Iceland to become an example. Here’s why:

Five years of a pure neo-liberal regime had made Iceland, (population 320 thousand, no army), one of the richest countries in the world. In 2003 all the country’s banks were privatized, and in an effort to attract foreign investors, they offered on-line banking whose minimal costs allowed them to offer relatively high rates of return. The accounts, called IceSave, attracted many English and Dutch small investors.  But as investments grew, so did the banks’ foreign debt.  In 2003 Iceland’s debt was equal to 200 times its GNP, but in 2007, it was 900 percent.  The 2008 world financial crisis was the coup de grace. The three main Icelandic banks, Landbanki, Kapthing and Glitnir, went belly up and were nationalized, while the Kroner lost 85% of its value with respect to the Euro.  At the end of the year Iceland declared bankruptcy.

Contrary to what could be expected, the crisis resulted in Icelanders recovering their sovereign rights, through a process of direct participatory democracy that eventually led to a new Constitution.  But only after much pain.

Geir Haarde, the Prime Minister of a Social Democratic coalition government, negotiated a two million one hundred thousand dollar loan, to which the Nordic countries added another two and a half million. But the foreign financial community pressured Iceland to impose drastic measures.  The FMI and the European Union wanted to take over its debt, claiming this was the only way for the country to pay back Holland and Great Britain, who had promised to reimburse their citizens.

Protests and riots continued, eventually forcing the government to resign. Elections were brought forward to April 2009, resulting in a left-wing coalition which condemned the neoliberal economic system, but immediately gave in to its demands that Iceland pay off a total of three and a half million Euros.  This required each Icelandic citizen to pay 100 Euros a month (or about $130) for fifteen years, at 5.5% interest, to pay off a debt incurred by private parties vis a vis other private parties. It was the straw that broke the reindeer’s back.

What happened next was extraordinary. The belief that citizens had to pay for the mistakes of a financial monopoly, that an entire nation must be taxed to pay off private debts was shattered, transforming the relationship between citizens and their political institutions and eventually driving Iceland’s leaders to the side of their constituents. The Head of State, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, refused to ratify the law that would have made Iceland’s citizens responsible for its bankers’ debts, and accepted calls for a referendum.

Of course the international community only increased the pressure on Iceland. Great Britain and Holland threatened dire reprisals that would isolate the country.  As Icelanders went to vote, foreign bankers threatened to block any aid from the IMF.  The British government threatened to freeze Icelander savings and checking accounts. As Grimsson said: “We were told that if we refused the international community’s conditions, we would become the Cuba of the North.  But if we had accepted, we would have become the Haiti of the North.” (How many times have I written that when Cubans see the dire state of their neighbor, Haiti, they count themselves lucky.)

In the March 2010 referendum, 93% voted against repayment of the debt.  The IMF immediately froze its loan.  But the revolution (though not televised in the United States), would not be intimidated. With the support of a furious citizenry, the government launched civil and penal investigations into those responsible for the financial crisis.  Interpol put out an international arrest warrant for the ex-president of Kaupthing, Sigurdur Einarsson, as the other bankers implicated in the crash fled the country.

But Icelanders didn’t stop there: they decided to draft a new constitution that would free the country from the exaggerated power of international finance and virtual money.  (The one in use had been written when Iceland gained its independence from Denmark, in 1918, the only difference with the Danish constitution being that the word ‘president’ replaced the word ‘king’.)

To write the new constitution, the people of Iceland elected twenty-five citizens from among 522 adults not belonging to any political party but recommended by at least thirty citizens. This document was not the work of a handful of politicians, but was written on the internet. The constituent’s meetings are streamed on-line, and citizens can send their comments and suggestions, witnessing the document as it takes shape. The constitution that eventually emerges from this participatory democratic process will be submitted to parliament for approval after the next elections.

Some readers will remember that Iceland’s ninth century agrarian collapse was featured in Jared Diamond’s book by the same name. Today, that country is recovering from its financial collapse in ways just the opposite of those generally considered unavoidable, as confirmed yesterday by the new head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde to Fareed Zakaria. The people of Greece have been told that the privatization of their public sector is the only solution.  And those of Italy, Spain and Portugal are facing the same threat.

They should look to Iceland. Refusing to bow to foreign interests, that small country stated loud and clear that the people are sovereign.

That’s why it is not in the news anymore.

Stryker is an American writer that has lived in six different countries, is fluent in four languages and a published writer in three. She looks at the big picture from a systems and spiritual point of view.

 

General Strike!

“used by protesters all over the U.S.

(and perhaps the world?)”

High Resolution Poster

Article/Writeup

Democracy is slow and messy! Listen to the People!

Let The Spirit Live

anarchy of yoga

via http://www.ascentmagazine.com/articles.aspx?articleID=310&page=read&subpage=current&issueID=40

. . . my real interest in exploring Indian philosophy, Buddhism, yoga and Western psychology is not so much how they fit together, but how they don’t fit together. Stephen Batchelor calls this “the anarchy of the gaps.” Between the gaps of systems there is something fertile. Whenever you create a system, something gets left out. And so when two systems come together all those left-out pieces come out of the shadows because one system points out the shadow of another system. That’s why it is really good to study with different systems and different teachers, because it will always point out your shadows.

Centre of Gravity – Michael Stone’s Website

Gulf Oil Spill as the Unfolding of Prophecy

The Gulf Oil Spill as the Unfolding of Prophecy

Daniel Pinchbeck

via: http://www.realitysandwich.com/gulf_oil_spill_unfolding_prophecy

As someone who has written extensively on indigenous prophecies relating to this time, it is hard for me to escape the uneasy presentiment that the massive, ceaseless, devastating cascade of what may be more than 100,000 barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico each day – apparently still mixed with the far more toxic dispersant Corexit that British Petroleum continues to inject, despite EPA objections – is anything but the inception of a new phase in the foretold unfolding of events that may terminate most life on earth, potentially leading to the rapid extinction of the human species. Recent articles reveal that there is a gigantic bubble of methane gas underneath the Gulf of Mexico, which has helped to create the enormous pressure that makes it unlikely, if not impossible, that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill can be stopped by human means. Video taken by undersea robots show oil and gas leaking from many fissures in the earth, far beyond the range of the well hole. This suggests that the underground containment structure is cracking apart. If the current effort to build relief wells fails or is ineffective, there are no more known technological fixes available.

According to  D. K. Matai, writing on The Huffington Post, “The “flow team” of the US Geological Survey estimates that 2,900 cubic feet of natural gas, which primarily contains methane, is being released into the Gulf waters with every barrel of oil.” If the estimates of over 100,000 barrels of oil leaking per day is correct, this means that over 16 billion cubic feet of gas may have been emitted, “making it one of the most vigorous eruptions in modern history,” writes Matai, an engineer and co-founder of The Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance. The huge methane deposits beneath the Gulf were well-known as a risk factor for drilling operations, which did not apparently dissuade corporations like British Petroleum from shirking regulatory safeguards in order to drill at the edge of known technology, 5,000 feet under the ocean floor and then 30,000 feet (imagine a distant speck of airplane far above the ground for a comparision) beneath that, into the core of the earth. Methane is a major contributor to global warming, turning into carbon dioxide once released.

What Matai along with other engineers, scientists, and journalists have laid out is a possible scenario where the methane, pushing up with enormous pressure, could lead to a gas explosion: “A methane bubble this large – if able to escape from under the ocean floor through fissures, cracks and fault areas – is likely to cause a gas explosion. With the emerging evidence of fissures, the tacit fear now is this: the methane bubble may rupture the seabed and may then erupt with an explosion within the Gulf of Mexico waters. The bubble is likely to explode upwards propelled by more than 50,000 psi [pounds per square inch] of pressure, bursting through the cracks and fissures of the sea floor, fracturing and rupturing miles of ocean bottom with a single extreme explosion.”

The methane gas explosion would be immediately followed by a series of enormous tsunamis engulfing Florida and the southern coast of the US. At the same time, during the day when this explosion takes place, “several billion barrels of oil and gas” will be released, as freezing water rushes into the enormous cavity, turning immediately into steam. There are many earthquake fault lines running from the Gulf through Mexico and much of the South West of America that might be triggered by a sudden collapse of the ocean floor due to such an event. “Could this be how nature eventually seals the hole created by the Gulf of Mexico oil gusher?” Matai asks. Of course, this is only one scenario, and it is unknown if this will occur, or what the timetable might be.

If such a devastating scenario does not take place, there is still the continuing spill, and the high likelihood that our current known and available technologies will be unable to address it. In this case, we may soon see the Gulf of Mexico area and the Southern coastline rendered uninhabitable. As the Christian Science Monitor has reported in its article, “Raining Oil in Louisiana? Video suggests Gulf oil spill causing crude rain,” there is some evidence that oil is beginning to rain down on inland areas of Louisiana. “Crude oil doesn’t evaporate, but some are speculating that oil mixed with Corexit 9500, the dispersant that BP is using on the ever-growing slick, could take to the air.” As Kerry Kennedy, from the Robert F Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, stated in an interview on CNN,  the average life expectancy of cleanup workers on the Exxon Valdez oil spill was 51 years old. “Almost all those people who did work on the Exxon Valdez are now dead,” she stated. “And BP still here, once again, is big oil not giving the information to the doctors and health care officials.” According to Kennedy, cleanup workers in the Gulf “had been told by BP that the didn’t need respirators. Apparently, they’re concerned about poor media images of people wearing respirators and rubber gloves and starting, quote, ‘hysteria.’”

As widely reported, hurricane season is now upon us. Hurricanes could potentially carry the extremely toxic crude oil mingled with the even more poisonous Corexit hundreds of miles inland, creating either a slow-motion mass murder of the local populations or forcing the government to execute a total evacuation from the area. As the oil travels up the coastline over the next years, coastal cities facing the Atlantic and Pacific may also become uninhabitable “Haz Mat” sites. Caribbean islands such as Cuba and Jamaica will be devastated, as will be the coastline of Mexico.

As I explored in previous works, I am convinced that we are reaching the hinge point of a shift in human consciousness and the earth that will either lead to a rapid transformation of our way of life, our “civilization” and its basic paradigm, or the termination of our species in a series of intensifying cataclysms. One clear reason for this is that our technological powers continue to advance rapidly, while those who are currently in control of these galvanic forces reveal a dangerously reduced consciousness, a lack of forethought based on their self-centered greed, combined with a complete absence of ethical and moral development. As Rolling Stone recently exposed in a great piece of investigative journalism, the bungled handling of the oil spill was preceded by the gutting of the regulatory system that monitored such operations, revealing once again the government’s capitulation to corporate interests. It seems increasingly obvious that, if we wish to survive as a species, the current ruling corporate, political, and financial elite – working seamlessly together to bring about our collective suicide – must be deposed, replaced by a new orchestration of civil society, an openly democratic and truly transparent system, where nothing is hidden, where profit is not the only motivation, and all have a voice.

As the Deepwater Horizon cataclysm spreads gigantic dead zones in the Gulf, exterminating vast ecosystems of marine life, threatening millions of human beings with illness, dislocation, and death, potentially blossoming into an extinction-level event, British Petroleum CEO Tony Hayward continues to display the profound lack of remorse and the blithe disinterest we recall from the tenure of the last Bush to occupy the White House. Recently, he attended a yacht race off the as-of-yet-unsullied English coast, while his public statements include the infamous “I’d like my life back” and the equally extraordinary, “The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean.” Despite extensive scientific documentation of the extreme toxicity of crude oil, Hayward has suggested that “growing health problems among clean-up workers may be related to food poisoning, rather than their exposure to crude oil and dispersants.” Our corporate and financial culture instills a mindset of sociopathic disregard, and the system permits certain psychological profiles to thrive within it: those capable of disassociating their actions from any moral consequences. What should be an extreme liability in a complex and interconnected world shared by a multitude of living beings has become an asset for our corporate, financial, and political masters – the current ruling elite who congregate at events like the annual Bilderberg gathering, who see massive loss of life as “collateral damage” along the way to their next golf game or yachting match. By now, it seems fairly obvious that Barack Obama is one of this breed, indistinct from the rest.

“These deformed individuals lack the capacity for empathy,” writes Chris Hedges in his essay, ‘BP and the Little Eichmanns.’ “They are at once banal and dangerous. They possess the peculiar ability to organize vast, destructive bureaucracies and yet remain blind to the ramifications. … The corporations, and those who run them, consume, pollute, oppress and kill. The little Eichmanns who manage them reside in a parallel universe of staggering wealth, luxury and splendid isolation that rivals that of the closed court of Versailles. The elite, sheltered and enriched, continue to prosper even as the rest of us and the natural world start to die… And our business schools and elite universities churn out tens of thousands of these deaf, dumb and blind systems managers who are endowed with sophisticated skills of management and the incapacity for common sense, compassion or remorse.” Like the bail out of Wall Street, the BP oil spill disaster makes evident – if more evidence was needed – that, in the United States, the corporations and the government have merged into a single power, a destructive force founded on the mindset of Empire, seeking domination of nature through technology, and control of consciousness through incessant indoctrination via the corporate-controlled media. There is zero possibility that our atrophied electoral system will interrupt or impede this juggernaut.

I try to maintain faith that the human spirit will awaken in time to liberate itself from the prison that has been built around it. While my doubts grow, I continue to work for that result – to hope and to pray for it. What seems more likely is that the great churning multitude of humanity will choose to remain distracted, disconnected, pursuing narcissistic aims, vain and virtual pleasures, as the natural world, the generative earth, crumbles around them. On what the Russian mystic G I Gurdjieff called our “ill-fated planet,” most people apparently prefer to die rather than awaken to the situation, think for themselves, and join together in a collective movement to restore the earth and build a sustainable and equitible global society. Many of us can see the awakening happening, but it seems to be coming far too slowly, in hesitant fits and starts, while the destructive force also grows in strength, pumping up the volume on mind control technologies, predatory drones able to assassinate from a distance, data-mining intelligence operations, and all the rest of the sterile evils that our technocrat sociopaths can envision and unleash.

These are aspects of my current view of the world: the faltering of my faith, that horrible presentiment that the forces of disillusion and destruction have already triumphed, that creepy familiar feeling (as if I already experienced this, long ago, on some other lost world, many forgotten splinters of incarnated lifetimes ago) of failure and futility. On another level, I feel an equally uncanny presentiment that all of this is still going perfectly according to plan, that the script of our collective world movie/space oddysey has to unscroll or unfurl in just this stomach-clenching way, toward its still mysterious denouement. Observing my own life, I see that it often takes a drastic crisis to spur me into action – perhaps that is the only way change ever takes place, on the individual or species level.

The environmental and economic meltdown could clear away all the obstacles and obstructions that keep us from attaining clarity, from putting into practice what we know intuitively to be true. Is it possible that the Jungian archetypal Self – the increasingly humanized god-image that seeks to incarnate in our human world – must bring about the complete breakdown of what is known and familiar, to open the space for what can only be revealed, in the fullness – and emptiness – of time? Perhaps we can only reach the depth dimensions of our higher being through an unfolding mega-crash that exposes all levels of delusion and self-deception, that forces those of us who desire illumination to break all the bonds, the “mind-forg’d manacles,” that keep us from attaining liberation. Or perhaps I am only making a hopeful story out of the toxic rubble and radioactive fragments that will soon be all that remains of our ruined world, if the corporate sociopaths and Little Eichmanns have their way.

I consider the geyser in the Gulf to be analagous to the rupturing of the amniotic sac that occurs at the end of  pregnancy. This event presages the birth of the new being, who must be forced by a terrifying and life-threatening crisis to use the organs he or she has developed over the previous months – developed without knowing what purpose they serve or how they function. Like the fetus at the end of the pregnancy, the human race has devoured the stored resources within our mother’s secure womb, the fossil fuels buried deep underground, and now we must learn to survive on new forms of energy, taking the initiative on our own.

Over the course of history, humanity has developed delicate and sensitive organs of consciousness and perception, without truly knowing their eventual meaning or purpose. Unlike other species, we have a tremendous excess of communicative capacity, leading us to make art, write novels, dance, compose symphonies, imagine elaborate inner worlds. How do we know that these seemingly marginal aspects – aspects that seem to have little to do with our survival as a species – are not, in fact, essential to our unfolding evolutionary trajectory? Aboriginals in Australia believe the sacred task of humanity is to “sing the world into being,” communicating with the ancestors in the Dreamtime. Perhaps, through an awakening of our imaginative and psychic faculties, we can restore this primordial communion, and reopen doorways that modern society slammed shut long ago.

Our creative capacities are one legacy of our species’ recent history, a new extension or organ of  consciousness that has developed along with our increasing technical and technological capabilities. Another aspect of our evolution can be found in the world’s esoteric knowledge systems. These systems give us tools for evolving consciousness, for perceiving and interacting with other dimensions of reality. We learn from the traditions of mystery schools that humans are capable of performing marvelous and magical feats that overturn the apparent physical “laws” proposed by science. Up until now, such manifestations have appeared rarely, usually linked to a particular person – books like In Search of the Miraculous or The Autobiography of a Yogi describe many psychic feats of certain masters. In our modern desacralized world, there are also many well-reported accounts of “miracles” – inexplicable psychic phenomena – such as mothers suddenly able to lift 3,000 pound vehicles off of their children after an accident, and so on – acounts of powers that exist in one moment, but afterwards seem to fade into nonexistence.

In the same way that electricity was once inaccessible to us until engineers learned to channel it in the early 19th Century, is it conceivable that these psychic or psycho-physical capacities could become steadily available to people through a disciplined training, once the mechanisms behind them are better understood? I believe that we are currently in transition from the physical to the psychic phase of our evolution as a species. In order to manifest this, we would need to develop a shared realization that such a shift is possible. This requires an open dialogue on the legitimacy of psychic phenomena and synchronicity, building a foundation for general acceptance of the powers and potencies contained within the psyche. I am compelled by Rupert Sheldrake’s theories around “morphic resonance” and the “morphogenetic field” that forms when sudden inspirations and breakthroughs become habits and patterns, creating what scientists mistakenly call “laws.” Those who have broken through to a new level of understanding need to create the template, strengthen the morphogenetic field, before the larger population can comprehend what is happening, and make a transition.

It is now agonizingly obvious that humans do not change their ways until they are far outside of their comfort zone. It is only at the point of death that transmutation becomes possible. Perhaps the rampant desecration of the physical world is going to force the more conscious subset of humanity to purify their intentions, clearing cobwebs from the shadowy corners of the psyche, to access extrasensory capacities on a regular basis. Many of us have experiences of this energy, this potential, but the manifestations tend to occur at uncontrollable junctures and in mysterious ways. In my own life, I have found that psychically charged events occur at certain highly charged junctures, which seem to reveal the working of a synchronic order, as if some form of superconsciousness, when magnetized by the energy of intention, can ripple through the underpinnings of our 3-D reality, causing changes that seem beyond the parameters of what we generally accept as possible. Can we learn to access these capacities on a regular basis, like the dependable current we get from electricity? If we can come into alignment with this superconscious shaping force, we may be able to begin to heal the wounds of Gaia, to stop tormenting the generative earth that shelters us and gives us life. I think it is quite possible that even the course of seemingly unstoppable biospheric and geophysical events, like climate change or the oil spill, could be altered through collective psychic effort, much as indigenous groups like the Hopi used initiatory ritual and trance dances to bring rain down from the sky.

I pray this is the universe’s wager for us: that we will go beyond our current ruts and limitations, that we will manifest a future of imaginative joy by stepping into our potential, becoming the wizards, warriors, and initiates that the world needs so desperately now. As Nietzsche pointed out accurately, “man”, in his current form, can only be a transitional creature. Either we are rapidly approaching the terminus point for our species or we can collectively choose to transmute, creating an evolutionary implosion, from the physical to the psychic realm. As the oil gushes forth and the earth’s resources disappear, it may be that we can learn to thrive on subtler and far more powerful forms of energy. Working together, we can guide the world toward its next phase of being – a plateau of intensified consciousness and synchronic coherence, in which conscious evolution becomes both sacred game and participatory art form.

Yoga and Conflict