Time to Wake Up, Time to Grow Up

by Gary Stamper

What a funny and self-important species we are. On this planet but a fraction of its history, we humans learned to survive for hundreds of thousands of years by adapting to the natural rhythms and cycles of the planet we live upon.

For the vast majority of our time here, we’ve only been able to see and perceive our immediate surroundings, a few square miles, best viewed from a high hill or mountaintop, and our ability to understand our environment was very limited.

It’s only been in the last 50 years or so that we’ve been able to see our planet as it really is: A small blue sphere suspended in the blackness of empty space. And in spite of being trapped here with no place to go, we continue to take what we want, with no thought of tomorrow, much less how it will impact us in 20, 50, or 100 years.

Indigenous peoples all over the planet understood the responsibility of each generation to ensure, not only their survival, but, the survival of the Seventh Generation, the generation beyond their direct contact, say more than 120 years into the future. The Seventh generation Principle is based on an ancient Iroquois philosophy that the decisions we make today should result in a sustainable world seven generations into the future. 

Interestingly, the indigenous North American Iroquois are also “credited as being a contributing influence on the American Constitution, due to Benjamin Franklin’s great respect for the Iroquois system of government, which in itself is interesting from the perspective that the United States formed their Constitution not on the principles of European governments, but rather on that of a people considered savages”. (source)

Like most of recorded human history, the U.S.’s history was all about conquering and “taming” nature in order to survive. We weren’t unique in that way by any means. Our ancestors in Europe and in the Middle East wiped out the lions and cave bears that used to be there. However, in “pre-history,” approximately 6,000 to 10,000 years ago, man founded no cities, planned no farms, made no large scale weapons of war and had far more leisure time than we do today. Hunter Gatherers took no more wood than his nightly fire required, and made no claim on “ownership” of the earth.

When Native Americans came into contact with Europeans for the first time, they thought these white men had a mental disorder, and called them “Wendigo.” The Algonquian Peoples thought the Wendigo was a demonic creature or spirit that could possess humans or be a monster that had physically transformed from a person, and was particularly associated with cannibalism.

It turns out that as far as most Native Americans were – and are – concerned, they were right. We have cannibalized the land, its peoples, and as time for us may be running out we are coming after the rest. Wedigo seems to explain our seemingly schizophrenic minds. We both destroy nature, and we have the ability to see the future results, and we just keep on doing it anyway.

AlterNet just published an article called “12 Signs America is Insane,” with the sub heading, “Chelsea Manning is in jail. Dick Cheney is not. Need we say more?

Are we insane? Are we – supposedly the most intelligent species on the planet – a bunch of sociopaths whacked out of our gourdfs, or are we just spoiled little kids who need to grow up? Could we be both?

Indigenous Peoples understood and understand even today that – despite what we called their “primitive” and “savage” ways – we are not separate from the land and the planet we live on. We are inseparable from it and forever tied to the fate of it. The harm we do to each other and to the planet, we do to ourselves.

I’m having a hard time writing and posting about what the Democrats and Republicans are doing to each other and to us, what new revelations the latest Snowden disclosures reveal about the NSA, and even how important it is that we somehow stop the proliferation of GMO foods. All of these important matters – and they are important – pale in comparison to what Climate Change and Fukushima can do to us if we don’t focus on them with an all-out effort to turn both around.

But we’re not and time is running out. No one knows when either the climate or Fukushima might reach a tipping point of no return. No one even really knows whether we’ve already reached the tipping point of no return on either, but it’s possible.

I used to have a quote posted on the front page of this website that said, “We must address the extinction level problems we face on the planet today with everything we have. Everything else is just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”

It is time to wake up in the metaphysical realm, and for us to grow up in the manifest realm. It is time for the human race to grow up and get a freaking grip.

If you still think we’re sane, I’ll close this with a few quotes we’d do well to pay attention to:

“It may seem impossible to imagine that a technological advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing.” – Elizabeth Kolbert, The Climate of Man

“We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religions destroy morals and our banks destroy the economy” – Chris Hedges

“You can have all the infinite growth you want on the inside.” – Carolyn Baker

“Reality is always controlled by the people who are most insane.” – Scott Adams, Dilbert

Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives… I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends… and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.” – John Lennon

We’re fucked…and life’s really, really good!” – Derrick Jensen


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One Response to “Time to Wake Up, Time to Grow Up”

  1. Dean Spillane Walker Says:

    I am very thankful to have found your voice Gary, and the voices of these you quote in this article.
    I have had these feelings for about 50 of my 55 years.
    I appreciate the fierceness, love and honor you (and those you quote) speak with.
    Yep…wendigo… That’s what we have a bad case of all right.

    Blessings to you in your good work.
    Thank you.