We Can Change!
This is a concise summary of everything that comes later. Read it now, for free! Be open and honest! Let go of preconceptions, just for now! If you do not want to engage with it any more after that, don’t! If you do want to engage with it after that, go for it! It’s free to all, hoping it will help us all. Fair?
Need for Big and Conscious Change
It is time for us to awaken and evolve to higher levels of sensitivity, awareness, understanding, compassion, sustainability, consciousness, cooperation and organization. Humanity’s population and impacts are now too great to allow continued ignorance, irresponsibility, apathy, and unenlightened and fragmented self-interests to so negatively impact Earth’s life support systems and species, and human social organizations and quality of life. Its growing problems require urgent attention and change now.
The overwhelming majority of informed scientists in the world agree human activities are contributing to climate changes all over the planet, changes harming weather, ecosystems and species everywhere. We’ve developed and use poisonous nuclear technologies, capable of destroying all life on the Earth. Our activities pollute air, land and water everywhere. Human populations are already unsustainable, continue to grow with little restraint, and are creating real risks for catastrophic collapses. Quality of life for human and other species everywhere is suffering. Mass extinctions are happening all around us.
Everywhere on Earth, people acknowledge big personal, social and environmental problems that are negatively affecting our lives, wicked problems like: inadequate water supplies, energy problems, war, health and healthcare problems, immigration and integration issues, transportation problems, racism, corruption, education problems, addictions, military and gun violence, exploitation, unhappiness, crime, hunger, unfair income and wealth distributions, abuses of power, needs for meaningful work, poverty, broken communities and families, broken governments, and lack of spiritual experiences and growth. Many systems are not sustainable. Many of our big wicked problems are getting worse, not better.
To change that, we must change: our thoughts, beings, actions, behaviors, and what we go along with. It doesn’t work to try to just incrementally tweak wicked problems in isolation, or to just sit here, angry, afraid or resentful, thinking somebody else sure ought to do something about it. Change is coming, ready or not. Let’s wake up, get smart, get up and do something about it ourselves! Fortunately, there are all kinds of ways we can each do that, right now, without waiting for anyone else. Let’s do that!
We also need a new paradigm for addressing these problems and living well and responsibly, though. We need ways of coming together, harmonizing and working together, rather than all our squabbling. Otherwise, we risk calamitous corrections and collapses, with lots of horrendous associated suffering. We need a global paradigm shift that is comprehensive and holistic, creating deep, interacting, systemic, sticky and synergistic worldview, value, behavioral, environmental and social changes. It needs to make common sense to us personally, no matter who we are, so we are positively motivated to engage with it and make personal efforts to change. We need to get on the same team, at least at some level.
This is the greatest challenge of our era, do or die for many. Things are already changing, for the worse if we sit in a stupor and wait for or resist it, for the better if we wake up, get up and make it wonderful. Let us rise to this challenge by raising our spirits, embracing change, and creating what we want in it! We can create beautiful, rewarding, harmonious, healthy and wonderful futures if we do!
We Can Change Our Wicked Problems!
This section takes a spin through 25 social issues in the U.S., which is exemplary of many of Earth’s human societies today, and is actively exporting its ways elsewhere. It finds a lot of brokenness.
This section is difficult. It gathers and stitches together lots of hard facts about our social systems. Cognitive dissonance and denial kick in, because we don’t want to believe it. It’s hard to acknowledge. You likely won’t agree with it all. That’s OK. Try to be open and think honestly about it. For more, follow more than 2,000 endnotes to articles from which facts are taken, or do your own research!
Watch your own reactions as you move through these issues. Are you uncomfortable? Do you resist? Do you want to blame others? What emotions rise? Where do they originate? Is some value affected? That teaches a lot about our underlying programming, which we’ll dig into in the second section.
Climate Change: Humans evolved as parts of an extraordinary system of life on Earth, healthy and balanced, with astonishing diversity of environments and life we can learn deeply from. The vast majority of our scientists agree our actions are contributing to global climate change, and our best minds predict we have a decade to change radically, or it will be too late. We already see changes in environments around us, wherever we live. Future changes are predicted to include: drought and water shortages, catastrophic loss of forests, raging wildfires, increased storm damage, flooding of most coastal cities, expanding deserts, massive loss of life and incredible hardships, for humans and most life. This issue alone is an essential call to action, to everyone. We change now, or we suffer harms later.
Pollution and Other Environmental Harms: In addition to harms from climate change, we are also badly poisoning and harming our environments, our bodies and minds, and most other forms of life on Earth with all kinds of dangerous pollution we produce, everywhere. This issue alone makes a compelling case for the need for radical, widespread and fast human change. It’s not sustainable. We’re making life sick.
Science and Technology: We’ve given control of most science and technology to business, which rushes and controls them for exploitable private intellectual property, creating and studying science and technology benefits and harms after they’re released into the world. That’s causing great harm. Government oversight and efforts to protect against those harms are being increasingly dismantled.
Energy: We’re addicted to using enormous amounts of cheap energy, even if it only seems cheap, because we’re ignoring the many great harms we do with it. We give away our power to get energy. There’s no plan for what to do with huge amounts of nuclear waste, the worst poison invented, which lasts thousands of years. We suppress clean energy sources that work today, in favor of existing power. We’ll run out of fossil fuels and have to change in 50 years or so, anyway. Why not just change now?
Telecommunications and Deregulation: We’re allowing natural monopolies to become deregulated, which will inevitably result in abuse of monopoly powers which create great harms, and makes no sense.
Transportation: It would be hard to conceive of a less efficient and more harmful transportation system than ours. We’ve built the equivalent of 301 roads to the moon. 60 are in need of but don’t get repair, and we add another lane every year. These roads carve up and harm natural environments and species, and take half of lands in our cities, where they ruin water and life systems. We’re increasingly miserable wasting our time and resources in traffic on them, in expensive vehicles, which are doing massive harm. We dismantle alternatives. That does not make sense. We can do better than that! Let’s change!
Physical Infrastructure: We’ve deferred $10 trillion and decades of critical infrastructure maintenance, needed to make our society and lives work efficiently, creating current and risking great future harms.
Agriculture and Food: We’re doing great harms to environments, people and other life with the ways we do agriculture and food. Those create and exacerbate various health crises. It doesn’t make sense.
Gun Violence: The U.S. has an average of a mass shooting per day now. Since John Lennon was shot, more U.S. people have died from being shot by guns within the U.S. than have died in all U.S. wars. School shootings are epidemic, about one a week now. This urgently needs to change, ASAP, right?
Health and Healthcare: The U.S. healthcare system is the most expensive in the world; its costs are rising faster than most; and its performance is worst compared with other developed Western nations. The number 3 cause of death in the U.S. is something caught in its healthcare system. Many die from lack of healthcare, and many go bankrupt over healthcare costs. Healthcare problems abound.
Drug, Alcohol and Tobacco Problems: We spend huge amounts of money on a failed War on Drugs, created and still serving to disenfranchise voters. Legal and illegal drug abuse and deaths are epidemic, as we self-medicate for largely ignored, epidemic mental health crises coming from Wicked Problems. Related deaths of despair, suicide and overdoses are currently reducing U.S. life expectancies.
Prisons and Incarceration: The U.S. is the largest police and prison state in the world, with about 1 in 35 adults in its prison system somehow. The U.S. imprisons its population at a rate 5.4 times the average, and a higher percentage of its black population than South Africa did at the very height of apartheid. We spend more to keep someone in a U.S. prison than it costs to send them to Harvard. Change!
Legal: Our legal system allows laws to be written by special interests. We have libraries full of laws, rules and codes ignorance is no defense against when accused of breaking them, but there is no effort to inform people of them. Most people cannot afford expensive legal representation; only the rich can, so the system is inherently unfair. We live in a culture of fear from predatory legal attacks. Broken.
Income and Wealth Inequity: A small percentage of people at the top get most U.S. income, already have most of the wealth, and are rapidly getting more and more, while a growing majority of people are stressed and struggling just to live decent, simple lives, harming health and well-being. Three-fourths of us are living paycheck to paycheck in stress. That’s not sustainable. How do all Monopoly games end?
Community, Family and Poverty: U.S. communities, relationships and families are increasingly failing, largely because of financial stress, with three-fourths of people struggling to be OK financially, and poverty levels much higher than officially acknowledged. This doesn’t make sense and needs to change.
Housing: Nobody paid legal minimum wage can afford a 2-bedroom apartment in any city in the U.S. Huge numbers and percentages are homeless, in the world’s wealthiest nation. It doesn’t make sense.
Taxes and Debt: The U.S. has an extraordinarily burdensome, expensive and complex tax system, largely benefitting its rich. It borrows to spend more than its revenues most years, and citizens borrow to spend more than we earn. Collective debt in the U.S. is $1 million per household. Not sustainable.
Economy, Banking and Finance: Economics is an invented science trying to create what it seeks via mass psychology, getting us to believe and behave as desired, more like a religion does than science. We’re fanatically focused on economics, business and money. Money isn’t real. It has no intrinsic value. It only has value if we believe in it. Our government gave away its right to create and control it, and that power now resides in a corrupt private banking system literally creating all money as debt to itself and holding and manipulating the power to control the economy and all money at will. Increasing business concentrations have already decimated small farms, businesses and communities. It’s not sustainable.
Education: The U.S. spends as much per pupil as most countries on education, but it performs poorly. Only a third of primary and middle school students are proficient, a fourth drop out of high school, and less than half its high school graduates are college or career ready. Many adults are underperforming.
Immigration: Although everyone in the U.S. is ultimately an immigrant, the U.S. currently scapegoats immigrants and asylum seekers for its own wicked problems, after helping create conditions in other countries that cause people to flee. It illegally abuses asylum seekers’ children in concentration camps.
Empire and Its Agents: The U.S. operates the world’s largest empire, by most measures, and, unlike most countries, it is still trying to expand it, after contributing to killing 200 million people so far. It has, by far, the world’s largest and most expensive military, spending more on its military than the next 10 largest militaries in the world, combined, 77% of annual discretionary Federal Government spending. It’s surveillance and spy systems are the biggest and most abusive in the world. It’s the world’s biggest arms dealer, and it’s the country in the world the most people in the world are afraid of. Change!
Human Rights and Freedoms: The U.S. has gone from the world’s greatest champion of human rights to one of the world’s biggest abusers of human rights, and the rest of the world can’t do anything about it.
Marketing, Advertising, Selling and PR: U.S. people are inundated by 5,000 ads a day, harming us.
News, Information, Entertainment and Distraction: U.S. people are burying our heads in media sands. Screen time averages 11 hours a day, more than most people sleep. We’re rewiring our brains, so we can’t pay attention and focus. 90% of news media is controlled by six companies, corrupting a critical “4th branch of government” which informs the public, and we don’t trust it. Propaganda is everywhere.
Government Corruption: Our governments and both of our political parties are fundamentally corrupt, including: our elections, two-political-party duopoly, campaign finance laws, gerrymandering, and voter suppression and manipulation efforts. Government is deeply corrupted by money in politics, with donors and lobbyists demanding and getting preferential treatment from officials they buy into power. Lobbyists and think tanks corrupt government. The U.S. Congress and Presidency have been deeply corrupted, with our critical balance of power between government branches almost destroyed. Government corruption is the #1 issue for the U.S. people, and government does nothing about it.
Corruption of the People: It’s not possible for things to reach this level of brokenness without corresponding brokenness in U.S. society’s human beings. We’re not really doing anything about it.
Owch, that hurts. We’re supposed to be the good guys, but our systems are broken and causing harm. It is painful to recognize that, but it defies common sense to ignore it. We are all a part of all of that. We’re complicit, at least by going along with it, but there are ways we can change and make it better.
We seem to want somebody else, some hero, to rise up and do something about it, but we each have to find the hero inside each of us and do what we can about these things, in our own lives and networks. We can change! There are many things each of us can do. Share information, take action, set examples, and live life as you wish it was, now, using common sense! Don’t wait for anyone, or anything!
We Can Change Our Deep Programming!
If there’s something fundamentally wrong in most of our social systems, that suggests something’s wrong at a deeper level, something that affects all of them, something down in the core spirit, soul, beliefs, worldview, values, psychology, behaviors, emotions, conditioning and/or culture of U.S. people.
To make U.S. social systems wholesome, healthy and functional, we must make those underlying things wholesome, healthy and functional. This section roots around in these deeper dimensions, also trying to use common sense, as a human. What we think and believe is our programming. Those are our scripts. That stuff runs around and around in our heads, and informs what we are, and do and how we behave. What are they? We can change them. We need to change them. They affect everything.
Lots of good stuff comes up in that exercise. Too much, really. To be able to grasp and work with things to create positive change in our everyday lives, we need something simple and memorable to work with.
This section includes an effort to consolidate and fuse revealed values in 10 Principles for Earth Citizens, simple, core things we all may be able to agree on as human beings, no matter where we are on Earth, based on common sense, and use for big change to make things better, for us and everybody. Maybe they’re not exactly right, let’s work that out, but let’s come up with some shared values we agree on! We can change our programming! Let’s use those with integrity, and create positive proactive changes!
We Can Change Our Future!
The final section is make-believe. Maybe these 10 Principles aren’t exactly right, but imagine we did have something like them, 10 Principles that encapsulated our common sense values, that we could start agreeing about and trying to live by, and coming together around, with integrity. Let’s pretend! What might someone two generations from now, in 2060, have to say about how things have changed? It’s meant to be fun, or thought provoking, stimulating or motivating. It’s a vision of a positive future.
Most of us probably agree something’s wrong in our lives, environments, societies and social systems. Global climate change is a real and dangerous existential danger. Our society is sick, not fair and threatening to collapse. There are bad feelings in the air. We’re in trouble, and we’re doing great harm. We tend to sit around, mope or get angry about it, blame somebody for it, be afraid or resentful. “Somebody out there oughta do something about this!” That’s not working, is it?
We each have to do deep personal soul searching, become more informed, awake, aware and sensitive, raise our consciousnesses, shift and change ourselves deep inside, and then create the lives and worlds we want for ourselves and our loved ones from higher states. We need a profound revolution of spirit, deep personal and collective change, to each take responsibility for changing ourselves for the better. When we do that, we change the world for the better. That’s the revolution. That’s our salvation.
Here’s to hoping we will do that!
A lot of this material could use more work, but these problems and the need for change is urgent. Rather than wait until this is good enough to sell as a book, it is being released as a work in progress, available for free to all via website or free download for offline reading or printing. Hopefully, a community will form around this, and we will collaborate to make this information and ideas for change better. Hopefully, communities of us will also stimulate and encourage real changes in real lives that make things better for all! Thanks!