Practical guide for Planet Friendly, 21st Century beings


The Multiple Stages of Faith

CrossModBlog

I was pondering this issue the other day and discovered that if you drill down a ways, into the origins of this powerful emotion [if it is an emotion] there is a lot more going on than one would expect? Especially regarding the cultivation of faith in human beings as a process of maturation and faith as an instinct in the animal kingdom.

Faith in the animal kingdom: animals, not just human animals, also appear to practice faith on a daily basis to assist them in their day to day survival and interaction with their fellow animal species. In the case of wildebeest or antelope or any herding animals, they have faith that when a predator advances on them there will be a member of their herd to sound a warning thus allowing the rest of the herd to seek an escape route. Otherwise they would each have to be on guard every moment of every day and rely only on themselves to determine the level of danger and appropriate escape route? They follow their herd in whatever direction it takes them and have faith that they will escape and live to graze again. Schools of fish and dolphins practice the same kind of faith. Where do we go, what do we do and where is the food?

As human beings, most of us are born into a single family unit, completely helpless and in need of 24/7 care and protection, to be provided to us by our immediate family members (or guardians). They must satisfy our considerable, immediate needs in order for us to survive the day so, through the daily experiences of hunger and satiety, fear and consoling, cold and warmth, we first learn to have faith in the people taking care of us. We learn through these ‘experiences’ that the deeds of our guardians are mostly positive and in our best interests, thus our ‘Faith’ in them as providers is justified. This would be the first stage in our life long experience with faith and trust. [In the case of child abuse though, I expect the opposite would be true where we would learn that people can’t be trusted and therefore we would develop a ‘lack of faith’ in them and a faith only in ourselves].

The next phase begins when our family members ‘teach’ us to extend our established faith beyond the deeds and actions and learned experiences of our immediate family unit. This would then be our first ‘leap of faith’ that we would encounter as impressionable youngsters? They could teach us to have faith that the car won’t crash on the way to school because Mom is a careful driver or because traffic is usually light at that time so it shouldn’t be a problem or maybe that the rain won’t melt us if we get caught outside in it and that everything will be ok if we happen to fall down and skin our knees. We are taught to have faith that everything will usually turn out alright during and after these mundane, everyday life occurrences. After a while then, we accept these everyday experiences as just a part of life and add these truths to our list of truths, and as part of our faith. We also incorporate, into our expanding and existing faith, the belief that what our family members tell us regarding everyday events and problems, are ‘truths’ and need not be questioned. Once again, our faith has been built upon facts and experiences.

Then there is the ‘family tradition’ type of faith also, where generations, or possibly this particular generation, believes in a specific religious institution and the children of the family are therefore expected to believe in the same religion and have faith that their family members are correct, and by proxy, the specific religion and religious claims are also correct (e.g. truth). We are taught then, to have faith in the tenets and writings of this family religion and to consider the purveyor of these ‘truths’ (pastor, priest, rabbi, bible, torah etc.) to be as trustworthy as our own family and to regard what we are told by these writings and purveyors to be unquestionable truths as well. We have now reached the second leap of faith stage; that being the belief that what we have not experienced for ourselves is true because we are told that they are true and our own personal experiences are not necessary as proof or validation. Our latest lesson in faith is now to learn to have faith in the unknown by second hand knowledge, passed down by unknown and unseen authors of a religion they can’t verify or question. Their faith is now required to be unwavering and unquestioning.

This is the point in our lives where we separate the faith-ful from the faith-less. This is when we begin to choose whether to believe or to disbelieve. This is the point in every human beings’ life when we must decide whether to believe whatever we are told by our trusted sources or to question everything until we gain the necessary knowledge to make our own decisions. This is also the juncture where we are judged by the faith we have cultivated or have not cultivated. Faithful or Faithless? We must choose and choose wisely. This is where the politics of religion enters the picture.

‘Faithlessness’ as a definition of the absence faith is really only used in a religious context since no one really knows or cares about our extent of faith in any other context. No one is ostracized (except possibly on a local level) for their lack of faith in government or purity of food or future direction of the stock market? We are really only judged by our respective religious institutions and their practitioners on our ‘extent of faith’ and our perceived ‘loyalty to the faith’ or conversely, on our apparent lack of faith and hence, disloyalty to ‘the faith’. ‘Lack of faith’ seems to be a relatively local stigma regarding the lack of faith in a particular religion or ideological area. The exception would be during a time of war when our faith is called patriotism and we are judged on our extent of patriotism by our fellow citizens and expected to give our all to the war effort without question. Aside from a war effort, we are judged by our local religious institution for having a lack of faith in their religion and a stigma is placed upon us on a local level as ‘disbelievers’ or infidels but as we venture further from the source of this stigma, the effect tends to wear thin and we are not judged as harshly by others of a different religion as long as we don’t interact with them or their particular brand of religion. In anonymity, our faith is our own and we can begin to cultivate our own faith and our own beliefs or choose top believe in nothing if we wish?

If we say out loud in most circles that ‘we don’t believe in god’ or the prevailing religion, we are looked upon as some sort of godless beast. At this stage, to be ‘without a god’ is unheard of and sinister. “Are you an Atheist?” “Do you believe in the Devil?” In a lot of societies, the local religious institution has dirty words that they teach to their flocks in order to vilify the non-believers; Atheist, Devil Worshipper and Godless are but a few. Not to ‘believe’ and have faith in the prevailing religious sect is to be an outsider and untrustworthy. The “If you’re not with us you’re against us” attitude is prevalent. Both camps have chosen sides and we’re in one or the other. Faith in the Universe is unacceptable as an alternative to either side.

Also from the stage of religious faith, if we have gone with the program and believe what we are told, we are then taught to extend our faith well beyond even our own local religious institution and to have faith in our government and elected politicians; to have faith that the laws they legislate are just and in our best interests and long term welfare. At this stage, faith becomes a tool, not for us but for the purveyors of religion and politics. Our faith is counted upon to maintain the status of the religion, to re-elect a government and politicians and to believe what we are told so as to maintain the status quo of the present hierarchy. The more we question, the more of a liability and nuisance we tend become to them which is probably the reason for the practices of ostracization and scarlet letters seen through the centuries, possibly starting with the inception of the first human settlement?

So, we’ve learned to have faith, initially based on life experiences, then we were taught to extend our faith into areas outside of our own experiences. During these latter stages we each chose a path to take and are now living by the decisions we made and the faith we’ve accumulated or haven’t accumulated. One thing is for sure, the longer we stick around, the longer will be the list of people that are counting on our faith in them to maintain their status quo. Should we just ‘believe’ what we are told or should we just keep questioning until we find ‘truth’? Should we have ‘faith’ or do we even require ‘faith’? Is faith all-encompassing or is there still room for free-will somewhere? These are all questions we could ask ourselves ad infinitum or until we cease to exist on this planet and one more thing is also for sure; when our planet ceases to exist our religions and our faith will cease to exist as well. Is there an easy answer to all of this or does the truth lie in the unanswered questions? Someday we will all know, or not.

Advertisements


tweet-Blogging Post # 2

EVERYTHING HAS A BACK STORY. As I was driving down the road the other day on my way to work, looking at the scenery on either side of the car, I realized that everything I saw planted or built along the way had been touched by human hands at some point and that everyone who either planted or built or maintained the objects I was looking at had a backstory as did the objects themselves. There was a backstory for the entire timeline of the neighborhood, the light posts, the houses, the roads, the grass, the trees, and so on and so forth. After about five minutes of this I also came to the realization that if I didn’t stop thinking about it I might go nuts? Who can tolerate that much information anyway?



Now that Blogging is dead – let me introduce ‘tweet-Blogging’

I thought I would start tweet-Blogging to keep up with the times. Short bursts of self-professed witicisms and observations will hold back the carpal tunnel monster and provide a forum for tweet-Blogging responses as well?

Let’s give it a try, shall we.

#1. Taking a wrong turn in life is a bitch. But, taking multiple wrong turns is even worse because, at some point the wrong turns taken can seem impossible to retrace and correct? And sometimes they are.



The Human Philosophy of Earth and Non-Human Life

Wildlife in the wild 

Seems there is a paradox concerning the human quest to be good citizens of the planet and our treatment of the non-human citizens of our planet?

Human beings, over the ages, have adopted religion and philosophy in an attempt to be ‘good’ people and more recently have also adopted an environmental protection attitude, striving to be the protectors of our one and only planet before we can tear it’s eco-systems to shreds, thus undermining our tenuous hold on human existence. Some claim to be liberal, some claim to be holy. Some simply claim to be concerned citizens and environmentally focused but there is a contradiction here that can’t be easily dismissed. What about the rest of the citizens of our one and only planet? The beings we refer to as ‘Animals’. They have been largely left out of the Big (human) Picture as human beings see it and are largely thought of as third class citizens (we reserve the ‘second class’ moniker to refer to our human under classes). In effect, and in reality, the ‘Animals’ have become commodities, much like corn, wheat, soybeans and all the other commodities we buy, sell and trade on the open market.

I say this is a contradiction because when we claim to be good citizens of the planet or any of the above descriptions, we are leaving out the fact that we share the planet with other citizens who are largely defenseless to our many assaults upon them and whom we view and treat as just so much currency or potential currency. How can we claim to be good citizens of our planet if we continue to view our animal citizens (beings) as lesser or beneath humanity?

This thought came to me the other day when I drove by a ‘puppy store’ and I thought to myself ‘a puppy STORE?’ Since when did puppies become a commodity, to be bought and sold on the open market; just walk right in an buy a puppy? This is, of course, accepted practice and I shouldn’t have been shocked by it, if it weren’t for the sudden realization. I’ve driven by the same place for 20 years now. Then it hit me, human beings treat every animal ‘being’ like a commodity, from the largest Elephant and Blue Whale to the tiniest shrew or kiwi. Everything on our planet can be bought or sold, except for human beings. The line seems to be drawn there.

There are stores to buy any animal being on our planet as it turns out? Our Zoos purchase wild beasts from exotic places everyday. The beasts are simply living somewhere one day and procured the next by a human being wanting it to be caged somewhere else besides the wild place it really belongs. We corral the wild beasts into smaller and smaller areas of ‘our’ countries then lament that the animals are encroaching on our fields or properties with their ‘wild’ ways. They are shot, trapped, electrocuted, beaten, starved, poisoned. They are eaten or fed to other animals at our whim and priced by the pound for connoisseurs and ‘wildlife’ institutions. We are now at the point of having to protect them from us. What is the driving force behind this ‘idea’ that human beings (human animals) are superior to all other animals and their existence is subject to our discretion dependent upon their relative worth from our perspective? From whence did this ‘idea’ evolve? Where did this arrogance originate and how is it being propagated still?



FREE Water ! FREE Water !
July 26, 2006, 6:46 pm
Filed under: Articles of Interest, Energy, gardening, Green, hippie, hippy, New age, recycle

Courtesy of NOAA Photo Library

  Ok folks, today we’re going to talk about FREE water for your home, farm or cabin.

The first point I’d like to make is that IT’S FREE !!!!

The second point I’d like to make is that IT’S EVERYWHERE !!!

Not only is it FREE but it’s also FREE of contaminants that continually seep into the underground water aquifers.

If you currently have a well, the water is probably stinky and mineral laden ( iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell )) and may require filtering to remove these elements.

If you have a municipal water hookup then you’re paying for the local water treatment facility to find water for you, clean it, filter it, add chlorine to it and pump it to your house. In other words, a bill every month for someone else’s water ( a bit simplistic but you get the point? ).

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about by now but just in case you don’t, it’s called RAIN WATER.

Note: There are airborne pollutants that can affect the quality of rain water so you should check out the air quality standards and proper drinking water filtering and purification methods in your area before drinking the local rainwater.

You can collect it and use it to supplement your current garden watering needs including water features and bird baths using rain barrels (pickle barrels) or you can go all out and install cisterns (big giant plastic storage tanks) and filter it for grey water usage (washing dishes, showering) and drinking water (if properly purified), more about this later.

Add solar power and wind power to this setup and you’re ‘off the grid’ ! I can’t say enough about utilizing natural resources that remain untouched by human hands before we use them.

Rain water is as free as sunshine and windy days. It just needs to be collected and treated and that is where technology comes into play. There are many ways to collect rain water and the best one is the one that fits your lifestyle the best.

 ‘Rain garden’ technology; walk around your property during a rain storm (not a thunderstorm please) and look for low spots on the lawn or grounds where water naturally collects into puddles. You can use these low spots to plant bushes or trees that would basically water themselves if you have enough rain. The water would pool in the low spot then filter down through the soil/compost/sand mixture, used to fill in the depression, in sufficient quantities to maintain a healthy root system. Using this principle you could probably also build a sort of looping ‘French drain’ system around planting areas to collect water and moisten the ground right at the level of the root systems.

Rain BarrelRain barrel’ technology utilizes pickle barrels with a filter on top and a pump (sometimes a sump pump motor or submersible pond pump is used) to extract the water to the garden areas. You can also use manual (gravity) methods to extract the water via a hose connected at the bottom of a rain barrel on a raised platform or even a simple bucket method to scoop the water out. This is a great way to get started and to figure out what works best for you. You could also replace the electric motor with a solar pump if you wish?

‘Rooftop Rainwater Collection Systems’ capture rain fall from your roof, channel it through a series of downspouts into a giant cistern. The water collected is then processed through a series of filters according to it’s usage in the household. No sustainable home building architecture utilizes this system better than the Earthship Biotecture. Earthships and Earth Homes also utilize solar, wind, insulation design and lot placement to create self sustaining house designs that sever the ties between free human beings and the corporate power conglomerates.

There are lots of great books on Rainwater Harvesting out there so, just pick your preferred method of rainwater collection and distribution system and see how much FREE water you can collect and utilize. You’ll be saving yourself some money, helping the planet and feeling much better about your role as a planetary being. Not a bad payoff for utilizing a FREE resource?

FREE WATER! FREE WATER! PART II

More information on rain water collection :

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources: This agency’s excellent Web site has much guidance, many links, an instruction manual (with suggested planting plans) that can be printed out and ideas for involving kids. See www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/water/wm/nps/rg/.

Rain Gardens of West Michigan: A Grand Rapids-based coalition of environmental groups has advice and instructions at www.raingardens.org.

Friends of Bassett Creek: The Web site of this Minneapolis river conservation group has a good short primer and plant list: www.infinetivity.com/(tilde)stack/rain/index.htm

Maplewood, Minn.: This city’s Web site offers ample information, including suggestions for different types of sites and plantings: www.maplewoodmn.govoffice.com/index.asp

Rain Barrel Gadgets. An Excellent source of Rain Barrels, Kits and planet friendly products.  http://www.naturalrainwater.com/order_rainbarrel.htm

Earthship Biotecture http://www.earthship.org/

The Natural Home Building Source http://www.thenaturalhome.com/index.html

Davis Caves Earth Sheltered Homes http://www.daviscaves.com/index.shtml

Green Home Building http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/conservewater.htm

Sustainable Village http://www.thesustainablevillage.com/servlet/display/products/toc/ 

Rain Barrel Guide http://rainbarrelguide.com/rainwater_collection_links.html 

Rain Barrel Tutorial http://www.geocities.com/rainsystem/howto.html

The Path to Freedom http://www.pathtofreedom.com/newsletter/thepath_13.htm

Drinking Rain Water http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/wea00/wea00044.htm 



Hobby Farming for Urban Beings
July 24, 2006, 9:22 pm
Filed under: Articles of Interest, farming, gardening, hippie, Hippies, hobby farming, New age

Hobby Farm

   Well, it seems that the harried pace of city life is finally becoming untenable for more than just a few 21st century beings? After a few generations spent building up the cities and turning the once quiet suburbs into the ‘new cities on the outskirts of the cities’, the children of the original city/suburban dwellers are now starting to feel the pinch of overpopulation and lack of peaceful existence in their current living conditions.

They are longing, once again, for the simplicity of life in days gone by where small farms, small towns and quiet living were the norm. Neighbors lived ‘down the road’ instead of across the sidewalk. People also lived simpler and consumed less.

Hippies, Boomers and other 21st Century beings are beginning to realize that they don’t actually need a cable connection or a new cell phone or a high speed internet connection to truly enjoy life, especially since these things come with the price tag of a frenzied big city lifestyle, a lack of privacy and limited open spaces.

Hustle and bustle is out, personal space and tranquility are in.

Hobby farms are becoming popular as a way to live outside the realm of the urban kingdoms while also offering the prospect of generating an income from the land as our forefathers once did. They are much smaller acreage lots compared to the working or industrial farms but still allow for country living complete with an old farmhouse and barn. They even qualify for a special tax status if they earn less than a pre-determined amount of income per year.

Hobby Farms offer tranquility, privacy and a way to reconnect with the land and nature. It’s a dream come true for bird lovers, artists, horticulturists, philosophers, dreamers and the occasional hermit as well.

All manner of beast and greenery can be raised or grown on a hobby farm just like a regular farm and the success or failure of any such venture would depend on the usual market demands for any product or commodity. Just a few examples of income generating ideas would be livestock, pets, herbs for restaurants, vegetables and fruit for the farmers market or restaurant, worms for bait shops, pond raised catfish, mushrooms and a myriad of other products I can’t think of at the moment.

Some great advice on planet friendly gardening can be found at Earth Friendly Gardening and some great insight to daily life on a farm can be found via podcast at Geek Farm Life.

Another perk of hobby farming is being able to get off the grid and become as self sufficient as possible after years of enduring utility companies and never ending rate hikes. There are natural resources available to all of us for free if we are willing to invest some money and effort to collect them. Rain water is one free resource available to any hobby farmer as well as Sunlight and Wind.

When the time is right, this could be a viable and necessary alternative for the overstressed and under-inspired city dwelling being who longs for open spaces, quiet evenings and a way to feel human again instead of just an advertising click through statistic.

Take a drive beyond the far reaches of our urban universe sometime and if you like what see you may just be the next hobby farmer?

Also see: FREE Water! FREE Water! PART II 

Here are a few links to whet your appetite on the subject :

Hobby Farms Magazine

Hobby Farming: Books

The New Agrarian



About the Singularity … I WAS THERE

Did it happen? How many times did it happen?

The Pope didn’t want Stephen Hawkings to investigate it.

Cosmology is based on it’s occurrence.

Arguably, the theoretical ‘Big Bang’ Singularity is the single most important event in the history of our Universe!

Wel, I’m here to tell ya that it did happen and I was there to document it.

[Don’t look at me funny or call me ‘strange’ because in one form or another we were all there].

Here it is in case you missed it ;

Click to play. Let the little hand with the pointing index finger be your guide for this never before witnessed event in the history of our Universe.

(For best results click on the very center of the singularity)

Singularity by DEFryer Copyright - Free for Non-Commercial Use if Artist (DEFryer) is credited