All we want, whether we are honeybees, salmon, trash-collecting ants, ponderosa pines, coyotes, human beings, or stars, is to love and be loved, to be accepted, cherished, and celebrated simply for being who we are. Is that so very difficult?
Those in power have made it so we have to pay simply to exist on the planet. We have to pay for a place to sleep, and we have to pay for food. If we don't, people with guns come and force us to pay. That's violent.
The process of schooling does not give birth to human beings - as education should but never will so long as it springs from the collective consciousness of our culture - but instead it teaches us to value abstract rewards at the expense of our autonomy, curiosity, interior lives, and time.
If we celebrate life with all its contradictions, embrace, experience, and ultimately live with it, a chance exists for a spiritual life filled not only with pain and untidiness, but also with joy, community, and creativity.
But what, precisely, is hope? At a talk I gave last spring, someone asked me to define it. I turned the question back on the audience, and here’s the definition we all came up with: hope is a longing for a future condition over which you have no agency; it means you are essentially powerless.
All the mega corporations on the planet make their obscene profits off the labor and suffering of others, with complete disregard for the effects on the workers, environment, and future generations. We have a straightforward proposal: if they want public money, we want public control. It's that simple.
Many Indians have told me that the most basic difference between Western and indigenous ways of being is that Westerners view the world as dead, and not as filled with speaking, thinking, feeling subjects as worthy and valuable as themselves.
If we hope to stem the mass destruction that inevitably attends our economic system (and to alter the sense of entitlement - the sense of contempt, the hatred - on which it is based), fundamental historical, social, economic, and technological forces need to be pondered, understood, and redirected. Behavior won't change much without a fundamental change in consciousness. The question becomes: How do we change consciousness?