A Public Statement From The Cascadia Coalition Against
Hate and Hate Filled Ideologies
CASCADIA, PACIFIC NORTHWEST – Tuesday, June 27, 2017 – Members of the Cascadian Movement have formed The Cascadia Coalition Against Hate and issue this statement:
The Coalition does not promote, permit, or condone any behaviors or actions of a sexist, racist, derogatory, or discriminatory nature.
We do not tolerate hate-filled ideology, supremacy, oppression or hatred in any form for any reason. Moreover, we outright condemn all hate groups, their actions and ideas, as they run contrary to the core Cascadian bioregional beliefs and tenets. These groups threaten to undermine the sacred relationship between biodiversity and nature, which is the crux of life. We believe these tenets; respect, justice, equality, which aid in preserving and nurturing our home, the cultures of individual communities, and their interactions.
We make this statement against hate and hate-filled ideologies because of a recurring political climate where select individuals and groups seek to co-opt the Cascadia name and its icons for malicious action and intent. We strongly disavow such hate groups and demand them to cease and desist their attempts at co-option and perversion of the name and symbols of Cascadia.
The name “Cascadia,” goes back over 100 years. The first written use for the full geologic region of Cascadia, was by Bates McKee, in his geological textbook “Cascadia: The Geologic Evolution of the Pacific Northwest”, originally published 1972.
Though the name “Cascadia” is used in the geosciences, bioregionalism, and now in popular culture, we also acknowledge that this bioregion has many other names, including the Chinook jargon name of Chinook Illahee, meaning, “the land of the Chinook language speakers.” With that, we also acknowledge this region has a rich history of diverse cultures extending back to time immemorial.
The concept of “Cascadia” has its origins in geoscientific language. The history of the consciousness surrounding the name Cascadia has always been one against oppression and hateful ideologies. As a movement embedded in bioregionalism, and creating a meta-culture surrounding popular icons, like the Cascadian tricolor flag, it has always been a struggle against oppression.
The founder of the Cascadian Institute, Professor David Mcclosky was the first to fully map the Cascadia bioregion, and apply the name Cascadia to the bioregion.
The idea of bioregions evolved from Allen Van Newkirk, Peter Berg, Judy Goldhaft, Raymond Dasmann, et al. Bioregions are defined through physical and environmental features, including hydrology boundaries (watershed), and soil and terrain characteristics. Berg and Dasmann state, “a bioregion can be determined initially by use of climatology, physiography, animal and plant geography, natural history and other descriptive natural sciences.”
Peter Berg’s three goals of bioregionalism:
1. Restores and maintain local natural systems;
2. Practice sustainable ways to satisfy basic human needs such as food, water, shelter, and materials;
3. Support the work of reinhabitation.
The Cascadian flag, designed by Alexander Baretich in 1995, is a flag representing the Cascadian bioregion. The colors of the Cascadian flag represent the clear blue skies and rolling waters, the white clouds and pristine snow capped peaks, as well as the green forests and lush grasslands of this bioregion. At the center of the flag is a lone standing conifer tree. The flag is a landscape image of the bioregion and for many living, working, playing and growing up in Cascadia, the flag conjures a deep sense of belonging and home. Alexander Baretich frequently expresses that the flag is never to be used by hate groups, in conjunction with hate speech or any actions contrary to the principles of bioregionalism. The flag, and the Cascadia “movement” is NOT affiliated with any hate group and the ideas of bioregionalism are contrary to hate.
In Regards to Political Secession and Working Within Corrupt Imperial Politics
By Alexander Baretich
I am actually against the current idea of political secession and the formation of yet another political party within the American-Canadian corrupt political systems. I believe a slave who feels that they need to ask for freedom from their master is never free. A political party would be stereotyped in the corporate media and at first might get a surge in support, but would hit a plateau in interest as it’s stereotyped into two seemingly conflicting images: “radical hippies in communes” and “gun totting racists and xenophobes.” I believe eventually professional or life-long Cascadian politicians would be the biggest obstacle to independence as they would privately see staying in the corrupt political system as a means for their own financial gain. I fear that such a political party would give false hope for reform of the corrupt system.
That all aside there are some things if changed or aspired to would get me to shift my stand on supporting a platform of political secession. I would support political secession if certain things were addressed and actually acted upon. If these (currently 10) specific things are not acted upon then I believe the movement of Cascadian independence is doomed to repeat what the US and other nation-states have become.
1.) That such a secession movement be focused on bioregional awakening
2.) That the movement be a decolonization movement, questioning and deconstructing the thinking of domination of Nature, the Earth and ourselves that we have inherited from “settler culture.” In essence it becomes a resistance movement that includes paradigm shift within us as well
3.) Solidarity with indigenous people in their struggles and acknowledgement of the sovereignty of the indigenous nations within the bioregion
4). Inclusion and active dialog with minorities and marginalized communities as part of the human landscape of the bioregion
5.) Confronting and resisting the current socioeconomic systems of the oppression
6.) Focus on building (birthing) a decentralized Alternative Infrastructure of Resistance and Resilience (A.I.R.R.)
7.) That the movement be focused on decentralization and community autonomy within a bioregional network
8.) Securing and creating culture of stewardship of the social commons (such as education, health and infrastructure) and natural commons (such as water, air, forests, ecological communities, minerals, soil and the Earth)
9.) Denouncing of Nationalism and Cascadia as a single nation, but acknowledging that many indigenous nations exist within that bioregion.
10.) If a secessionist political party was formed that it not focus on electing individuals to positions of power, but focused on issues such as decolonization and demonstrating the corruption of the dominant system.
We are starting the Cascadian Flag Making Cooperative with the goal of producing locally made Cascadian flags. Alexander Baretich who is one of the founding members of this cooperative is also the designer of the Cascadian flag. The goal of the campaign is to raise funds needed for equipment and materials for the production of high quality flags. There are at least four components to the goal of the Cascadian Flag Making Cooperative: (1) to provide flags that are locally made, (2) comply with the original intent by the designer of the flag as a bioregional symbol, (3) receive the artist’s (designer’s) authenticity of quality and (4) provide an income for its cooperative members.
$5: Your name on our website
Your name will be publicly listed on our website as a supporter of small business and local economy, and you will have our utmost gratitude.
$10: A sticker!
You will receive a sticker of your choice, your name on our website, and our utmost gratitude.
Reproduction of items other than a digital version on computer or internet is forbidden unless with consent by designer.
$20: Sticker AND button!
You will receive one sticker and one pinback button of your choice, your name on our website, and our utmost gratitude.
$40: A lot of stickers and buttons!
You will receive your choice of five stickers and one of each button, your name on our website, and our utmost gratitude.
$60: A Cascadian Flag tie-dye t-shirt
You receive a Cascadian Flag tie-dye t-shirt, your choice of five stickers and one of each button, your name on our website, and our utmost gratitude.
Or this option of the styled conifer on the tie-dye shirt
$80: Cascadia as Fuck!
You will receive a ‘Cascadia as Fuck’ t-shirt (while supplies last), your choice of five stickers and one of each button, your name on our website, and our utmost gratitude.
$100: Cascadian Flag t-shirt
You will receive a t-shirt with the Cascadian Flag on it, which has the original high quality tree that Alexander Baretich designed, and your choice of five stickers and one of each button, your name on our website, and our utmost gratitude.
$120: Small Cascadian Flag
You will receive one small (11.5″ X 18″) Cascadian Flag on a stick, your choice of five stickers and one of each button, your name on our website, and our utmost gratitude.
$250: Option #1 – Two t-shirts
You will receive two t-shirts of your choice, your choice of five stickers and one of each button, your name on our website, and our utmost gratitude.
$250: Option #2 – One t-shirt, one small flag
You will receive one t-shirt of your choice, one small (11.5″ X 18″) Cascadian Flag on a stick, your choice of five stickers and one of each button, your name on our website, and our utmost gratitude.
$250: Option #3 – Two small flags
You will receive two small (11.5″ X 18″) Cascadian Flags on a stick, your choice of five stickers and one of each button, your name on our website, and our utmost gratitude.
You will receive one small (11.5″ X 18″) Cascadian Flag on a stick, one Cascadian Flag t-shirt, one ‘Cascadia as Fuck’ t-shirt, one tie-dye Cascadian Flag t-shirt, your choice of five stickers and one of each button, your name on our website, and our utmost gratitude.
$500: Local Business Contribution
This is for small, locally owned businesses only. You get advertisement as a small, locally-owned business on our website (CascadianFlag.com) and 3 decals to put on or inside your business. $500 or more contribution.
The Story of the Cascadian Flag
I, Alexander Baretich, designed the Cascadian flag in 1995. It was in the spring of 1995 which means this fund raising campaign for the Cascadian Flag Making Cooperative takes place during 20 year anniversary/birthday of the flag. In the academic year of 1994-1995, I was doing graduate work in Eastern Europe studying nationalism and ethnic minorities. Though I totally love the people, cultures and landscape of Eastern Europe, I was deeply homesick for the forests of Cascadia, specifically the Willamette Valley forests I grew up around. The flag came to me as I sat on a “mountain” (a hill for Cascadian standard) overlooking a Medieval fortress and modern Eastern European city. I sat on a forested slope with my soon to be first wife after we were looking for wild boar. We found a lot of wild boar poop, but did not spot any of the animals. As we sat I told her how I wanted to show her my homeland and how I missed my forests. I started describing the landscape outside the bedroom of my family house in Portland. The deep green forest with the clouds or snow capped mountains in the distant horizon and since it was spring how there would be often a patch of deep blue sky above. In front of us was a pine tree and I explained that at my family house that would be a Douglas fir outside my old bedroom. Though since its conception I have designed variations of the flag with pine trees and cedars as well as oak. With the blue of the sky, white of the horizon and green of the landscape as well as the conifer tree in front of us the imagery of the Cascadian flag came into my mind. The image stuck in my mind. Our home, the bioregion of Cascadia, is of continuous cascading waters that flow from the cloud heavy skies and snowcapped mountains back to the Pacific. For Cascadia is a land of falling water from the Pacific to the western slopes of the Rockies where water take form as vapor and then rain and snow to run through creek and river back to the Pacific. Again all these colors and icon of the Cascadian flag become rich symbols of a dynamic bioregion. The blue is the lofty clear sky as well as the blue waters of the Pacific, Salish Sea and countless lakes. The symbol of white in the flag is for the transformation of H2O (water) as snow, clouds, mist and ocean foam which are the catalyst of water changing from one state of matter to another. From liquid into vapor (mist and clouds) and from vapor into solid (ice and snow) and melting back to liquid or vapor. The green is the forests and fields which too carry life giving water through our biodiverse land. The lone standing Douglas fir symbolizes endurance, defiance and resilience against fire, flood, catastrophic change and even against anthropocentric Man. All these symbols of color and icon come together to symbolize what being Cascadian is all about. So the flag represents the landscape, interconnected complex communities of the bioregion and the various forces from hydrological to tectonic that is reflective of the place we call Cascadia. Over the last decade the Cascadian flag has been nicknamed the “Doug” or “Doug flag” and has taken on a life of its own such as in sports and beverages, but always the original iconography of the flag reemerges to remind the bearer and observer that it’s a symbol of the bioregion.
The Cascadian Flag Making Cooperative and why is it important?
As a group, the Cascadian Flag Making Cooperative, has come together to produce locally made flags and other items in support of
bioregionalism and celebration of the beauty of the bioregion called
Cascadia. All of the members have economically struggled and seek socioeconomic empowerment not just for themselves as individuals, but for the community as a whole. Of the four members of the cooperative there is Justin who works to empower workers in regards to socioeconomic justice; Robert who works in various campaigns with organized labor and social justice; DeAnna who is a self-employed tailor; and Alexander who teaches free classes on Cascadia and designs bioregional related art. Over the years, the production of the Cascadian flag has been outsourced outside of the bioregion and even to overseas markets which has undermined the
original intent of the symbolism of the flag as an icon of localization and love of the land. In 2011, Alexander Baretich temporarily “okayed” the production of the flag overseas with three stipulations: 1) that any overseas production be from a company that has relatively good standing in regards to human rights, labor rights and ecological awareness; 2.) that it be temporarily; and 3.) that out of bioregion production only happens as a local workers cooperative was started up to minimize the damage to the environment and to bring worker empowerment and socioeconomic justice to those producing the flag. Since that original “okaying” with a few individuals, other private companies and individuals who were not part of this understanding have ordered flags from overseas manufacturers to make profit while being oblivious to the original intent that the manufacturing and use of the Cascadian flag not be contrary to the ideas of bioregionalism. The Cascadian Flag
Making Cooperative seeks to produce flags and other iconic items within the original intent of the designer and to advocate for bioregional consciousness. The cooperative also seeks to produce the flag with the quality that satisfies the designer and give it that authenticity that it meets his desire as best as possible under the current conditions.
Why is this project so important?
Integrity is a crucial part of this cooperative and in protecting both the flag and its reputation. We are focused on both bioregional Integrity and creative Integrity of the artists’ intentions. Alexander Baretich has put it in creative commons so that the average person from the child drawing in a classroom to the weekend hiker can reproduce and fly the flag without the fear of some copyright restriction. While at the same time within that creative commons is the statement that the flag is not to be used for hate or exploitation nor against the ideas of bioregionalism. That the flag is a symbol of the bioregion and of bioregional principles. We, the members of the Cascadian Flag Making Cooperative, are producing the flag to keep the integrity and authenticity of the artist. We are also continuously striving towards those bioregional principles. We seek to avoid the potential of mass marketing of this Cascadian icon as a product sold by “Big Box” stores or as an item of just banal consumption.
How you can help
Your contribution to the Cascadian Flag Making Cooperative would have a major impact on both the cooperative and, we hope, a shift from outsourced flags to locally made flags. Hence one of our greater goals is a support of localization of the economy and a return to a bioregional conscious economy. This crowdfunding campaign gives us the chance to buy materials in bulk and equipment needed for such a project. Contributions would provide us a chance to compete with cheap outsourced knockoff copies of the flag. It gives us the chance to provide for the Cascadian population a high quality flag that is the designer’s standard of excellence. Reaching the donation goal would help with materials and equipment and yet surpassing that goal would provide the Cascadian Flag Making Cooperative the chance to go far beyond just the standard Cascadian flag. Alexander Baretich has various designs of the flag with pine, oak and other native trees as well as the Douglas fir on the Rainbow flag, a salmon on the blue, white and green tricolors and even a cannabis leaf on the tricolors. Also Mr. Baretich has designed a maritime or nautical Cascadian flag which he hopes to mass produce for ships and vessels. Contributions exceeding the Indiegogo campaign goal of $3,000 would also go into producing more variety of sizes of flags and more variety of materials such as silk and hemp. Of course the more contributions we receive then we can bring down the cost of the flag to the buyers as well as provide more variety. We also wish to provide flags to various merchants as a whole sale item.
About the perks or “thank you gifts” for your contributions
We have a lot of unique stickers and buttons that haven’t been published yet, for perks. These are all designed by Alexander Baretich. We also have a few t-shirts with different designs on them which incorporate the flag into the design in different ways, including the very popular ‘Cascadia as Fuck’ t-shirt designed by Antonio Zamora. This design integrates the Cascadian Flag in a heart, with the phrase “Cascadia as Fuck” (See Gallery). If we don’t reach our goal, the funds we raise will first go to the things that we need the most to produce the flags, such as paying for the screens, the customized screen printing table, and the fabric and ink. Our cooperative is not just about making the flag locally. It is also about empowering the members of the cooperative, and the community in general. Your contribution will make a major difference by allowing us to make different kinds of flags, with different kinds of material, and be more competitive with the flags that are not locally made. The cooperative is a model for the kind of economy we want to see in Cascadia, and the world. We believe all workers should be empowered in their workplace. This campaign will be one small step for our workers cooperative, one giant leap for our bioregion.
A journey of lessons
Over the last few years as Alexander Baretich has tried to bring together people for this project and cooperative it has come across a lot of hurdles. In the last year Alexander has brought together a team that is reliable and a group of advisors who are experienced in textiles and printing. The Cascadian Flag Making Cooperative now has a well-seasoned group who have the skills and knowledge to overcome unseen challenges that lay ahead and have that network of experts they can turn to for advice and skills in case other hurdles appear. Our biggest obstacle after raising enough money, is getting our equipment made so that we can screen print the tree on the flags. We do have someone ready to build it for us though.
Please support our efforts to make Cascadian flags that are local and has the quality and authenticity of the artist. We look forward to celebrating our beautiful bioregion with the tricolor Doug flag. Please be sure to spread the word of this Indiegogo and to share it in the various online and offline communities. Your support will make this campaign successful and reaffirm the integrity of the flag.
Copied from Youtube:
Host Michael Wood traces the rise of both Asian and Western civilization in one global perspective in these thought-provoking videos. From the crumbling ruins in the Iraqi desert to those of Greece and Rome, viewers contemplate thriving cities and complex societies that have vanished, a reminder that other nations prospered for thousands of years. Now all that remains is their legacy. 1. Iraq: Cradle of Civilization After thousands of years as a hunter/gatherer, man built the first cities 5,000 years ago on the banks of the Euphrates River. Civilization as we know it began with the glorious cultures of Ur, Nineveh, and Babylon.
Most of our cultures across the world have believed in Mother Earth as a Mother and it’s only in this period of the rising of industrialism and capitalism and colonialism that the idea as the Earth as a Mother was destroyed in order to turn the Earth into a reservoir of resources to be exploited.
Right now we can see Mother Earth is rising and say you are an immature spoiled kid and you are going to far and every time a disaster in my view i Mother Earth shaking us up to say get your ass together.
75 % of the food comes from small farms, those who use 25 % of the land and 25 % food comes from those who use 75 % of the land. If those who only providing 25 % food using 75 % of the land controlled 100 % of the land, they will bring the food supply to 33 %, which means all of the planet is destroyed.
It is the monoculture of the mind which prevents to see the diversity. It is only organic, biodivers and small which will feed the world.
The new science of false objectivity, the new science of false rationality of a tree or nature defining as death, that science was a very patriarchal science and it required women tob e killed as witches. The witchhunts, the colonization and the destruction of Nature are the three colonizations, it is a colonization of the mind.
During the ‘Voedsel Anders Conferentie’ in Wageningen in the Netherlands, after planting of a so-called food forest, Migarda Raphaëla, Robin Bukenya and Roland van Reenen had this intriguing conversation with the Indian scientist and activist Vandana Shiva. It was an honor to share the richness of diversity both natural as human. If only we could decolonize our minds, diversity will feeds us in so many ways!
Alan Watts: Conversation with Myself Transcript
It’s astonishing.. All this is only twenty or thirty minutes from the heart of San Francisco. Not a human habitation in sight anywhere. I’ve been living out here for some months; to write, and to absorb an atmosphere that is different from the city. To try and find out what is the essential difference between the world of nature and the world of man. Because there’s an obvious difference, like the difference of artistic styles. No one for example would confuse a painting by Leonardo with a painting by Picasso, or music by Bach with music by Shostakovich .. In the same way, there seems to be a complete difference of style between the things that human beings do and the things that nature does, even though human beings are themselves part of nature.
On the one hand, nature is wiggling. Everything wiggles. The outlines of the hills. The shapes of the trees. The way the wind brushes the grass. The clouds. Tracts of streams. It all wiggles. And for some reason or other, we find wiggly things very difficult to keep track of.
And, you know, we say to people, keep still so that I can see you. Keep still for the camera. And we say, “let’s get things straightened out”, “let’s get it ironed out”, “let’s get it all squared away.”
And somehow we think we understand things when we have translated into terms of straight lines and squares. Maybe that’s why they call rather rigid people squares.. But it doesn’t fit nature.
You know, wherever human beings have been around and done their thing, you find rectangles. We live in boxes. Our streets, especially across states like Kansas and Nebraska, are laid out in a grid pattern. Why they even dropped a grid pattern on top of San Francisco, with all those hills, so that cars run away. Because it seems that the human being really has a very simple kind of mind, and all this wigglyness is too complicated. I don’t think it really is complicated, because, after all, it’s very simple to move, say to raise something, or to open and close your hand. It’s perfectly easy, because we don’t have to think about it. Things become complicated only when we think about them, and that’s because we are trying to translate them into a form of life very much simpler and cruder than the form of life that we are talking about. A triangle is very much simpler and cruder than a mountain, even though you may represent a mountain with a triangle.
Human beings are just as wiggly as nature. And our brains are an incredible mess of wiggles, and that’s the part of ourselves that we understand least at all. I’m afraid the problem is partly due to Mr. Euclid, who invented geometry, because he didn’t really measure the earth. Perhaps we should come to the conclusion that he really had rather a weak intellect. Because sometimes when I’m in the middle of all of this, I feel as if I were in the middle of an amazing brain. In other words, the brain is a network of interconnected neurons, and each one of those neurons is a fairly simple affair, because it either fires or it doesn’t fire… It gives you the message on or off, or yes or no. But what we call things: plants, birds, trees.. Are far more complicated than neurons, and there are billions of them. And they are all living together in a network. Just as there is an interdependence of flowers and bees, where there are no flowers there are no bees, and where there are no bees there are no flowers. They’re really one organism.
In the same way, everything in nature depends on everything else. So it’s interconnected. And so the very very many patterns of interconnections, lock it all together into a unity, which is much too complicated for us to think about … Except in very simple, crude ways.
But I am part of this. I am, as it were, one of the cells in this tremendous brain, which I can’t understand, because the part cannot comprehend the whole. And yet, at the same time, I don’t feel like so many people seem to feel, that I am a foreigner or a stranger in this world. Its aesthetic forms somehow appeal to me more than most of the atheistic forms which men produce.
I feel in it as if.. In the same way that you see a flower in the field, it’s really the whole field that is flowering, because the flower couldn’t exist in that particular place without the special surroundings of the field that it has. You only find flowers in surroundings which will support them. You only find human beings on a planet of this kind, with atmosphere of this kind, with temperature of this kind, supplied by a convenient neighboring star. And so, just as the flower is flowering the field, I feel myself as a .. personing, manning, peopling the whole universe. In other words I seem, like everything else, to be a center, a sort of vortex, at which the whole energy of the universe realizes itself, comes outside. A sort of aperture, through which the whole universe is conscious of itself. In other words, I go with it, as a center to a circumference.
You know the astrologers in theory at least may not have been so far wrong when in trying to draw a picture of a human mind or soul, they drew a very crude map of the whole universe centered on the time and place of that particular person. It’s not a bad idea, but I don’t think the astrologists know how to read their maps, because the maps are too crude. The essential point is obvious: that each one of us, not only human beings but every leaf, every weed, exists in the way it does, only because everything else around it does. In other words, there’s a relationship between the center and the circumference. Which is rather like the relationship between the poles of a magnet. Without the center, no circumference, and without the circumference, no center.
And although we say of poles, that they are the poles apart, as if extremely difference. There’s something between them .. north and south poles are united by the magnet. So, the individual and the universe are inseparable. But the curious thing is, that while that is rather easy to see in theory, very few people are aware of it in the important, strong way that one is aware of blue in blue sky or the heat in fire. It’s more of an idea than it is of a realization. And so, it strikes me more and more, that our failure to feel at home, in this astonishing brain in which we live, is the result of a basic, initial mistake in our thinking about the world, and is, in turn, the cause of what is beginning to look like the failure of our technology. Of the fact that everything that we are doing trying to improve the world, was a success in the short run, made amazing initial improvements.. But in the long run, we seem to be destroying the planet by our very efforts to control it and to improve it.
And it strikes me that that is because we are really too simple minded to understand what we are doing when we interfere with the natural world strongly and on a vast scale. We don’t really interfere with it because that would suggest that we are something different from it, something outside, but I think what we are doing is we are understanding it in terms of languages, numbers, in terms of a logic which is too simple for the job, too crude for the job.
To begin with, we understand everything in terms of words or numbers, and they’re stretched out in rows and lines. And our eyes have to scan those lines in order to understand them. But when I scan this view, I don’t do it line by line by line, I see the whole thing at once, I take it in as though it were a wide angle lens. But when I try to understand the world through literature and through mathematics, I have to scan lines. You know that’s why it takes us so long to get educated in school, because our eyes have to scan and organize miles and miles of print, and that takes us twenty years or more to get through it. But life happens, changes go on too rapidly for that. Because you see in the world everything is happening altogether, everywhere all at once.
Meanwhile, we with our myopic little minds, are working it out step by step. Of course we are greatly assisted by the rapidity of the computer. But even so, the computer is still looking at things in rows as the magnetic tape goes through and scanned by the computer.. It’s still going along in a single track. And I suppose then, that there are difficulties, that we have lamentably one track minds in an infinitely many track universe. And we may have to come to the alarming conclusion that the universe is smarter than we are.
I’ve just come back from Los Angeles. I was down there to meet with a group of rather important people. People in the movie industry, scientists, and so on, who were considering calling a congress of the best minds in the world to meet in Los Angeles in the near future, to be a kind of planetary alarm conference. They wanted scientists and statesmen, religious leaders, to do something to impress upon the world through all the media that we are in very serious danger of destroying the biosphere, that is to say the whole envelope of living creatures which covers this planet, through pollution, overpopulation, nuclear fallout, poisoning of our food, and very lack of food. And we met to discuss the problem of organizing this conference, and here were all these brilliant people, and it came over us that we really didn’t know what we ought to say!
You can scream and create a state of panic, but that wouldn’t do any good. When it came down to it, we really don’t know what to say because we really don’t know what we ought to do. Some things we might do, for example, to increase the food supply with high yield crops may be an ecological mistake. And so the consensus of almost everybody at the meeting was that in some way or other the human race has to learn how to leave the world alone and let what is called the natural homeostasis, that is the self balancing process of nature, take care of the mess. Now how are we going to do that?
This is Japanese ceremonial tea. It’s good on a cold day.
See, our problem is we don’t really know how to stop. We’ve got something started and we say that it’s going in the wrong direction. I think the difficulty is, to borrow an old Chinese saying, that when the wrong man uses the right means, the right means work in the wrong way .. In other words, there’s something wrong with the way that we think, and while that is there, everything we do will be a mess. Now what is it that’s wrong?
Now is far as I can see, the basic mistake is that we’ve invented this wonderful system of language and calculation and that it is at once too simple to deal with the complexity of the world, and also we are liable to confuse that system of symbols with the world itself, just as say we confuse money with wealth. A lot of people are in business to make money itself, when they make the money they don’t know what to do with it. And so in the same way, we confuse happiness with status, and we confuse ourselves as living organisms, which are one with this whole universe, with something we call our personality. Now what is our personality? Our personality is what we call our image. Our image of ourselves, and also our thought of ourselves, our idea of ourselves. This is the person. In order words, what people meet and understand, and what I understand as Alan Watts is a big act, which is not really me. Because in the image of Alan Watts, there are not all my unconscious processes, both psychological and physical, The construction of my brain is not contained in the concept Alan Watts. And the concept Alan Watts does not contain the inseparable relationship with all the rest of the universe. And therefore that concept is a fraud!
When it’s mistaken for the real me, there’s a confusion because if someone says Alan Watts, do something about it! The concept Alan Watts can’t do anything! In other words, because it’s only a concept, you can’t make it lift a weight. Just as three is a concept, you can’t make plain three do anything. Just as you can’t wrap up all parcels with the equator – it’s a useful imaginary line but it can’t do anything. Personality or ego to really do something. WE think it really exists, and I’ll tell you why we think it exists. What happens if I were to say to you, now look hard at the television screen, really look at it! What do you do instead of watching it in the ordinary way. What do you do? Notice that you tighten muscles all around here, that you frown a little, you clench your teeth perhaps. What has that got to do with seeing anything clearly? Absolutely nothing to do with it. Same thing when you listen, Catch everything that’s said, and you start tightening up around your ears. That has nothing to do with hearing clearly.
From the moment when we were little children, teachers in class screamed at us, Pay Attention! Either to see or hear more clearly, to concentrate, or to will something, which is supposed to be difficult to do. And that constitutes a habitual tension over the whole body, which is .. That feeling of unnecessary tension is at it were the material on which we fashion this concept of I. We hang it on to that feeling. That concept is not us, the feeling of tension completely phony. It has nothing to do with success, or seeing, or hearing, or acting. So we get the marriage of an illusion with a falsehood, and that which we call ourselves. No wonder we feel cut off from everything, alienated, frightened of death. What has to happen is that we have to come back to a saying, view of our own life, which is the way we really are: an organism functioning in terms of the whole environment, with the whole environment, instead of this whole separate personality. You can’t change human nature over night. You’re asking us to give up the ego, and that’s the most difficult of all things to do. Actually, it isn’t, because the ego doesn’t exist. But of course if you try to give up your ego with your ego, then it will take you to the end of time. Because this is the point: you can’t transform yourself. You can’t make yourself sane, you can’t make yourself loving, you can’t make yourself unselfish. And yet it’s absolutely necessary that we be that way. It’s absolutely necessary if we are going to hand over the direction of nature to nature, which is what it comes to. It’s absolutely necessary that we let go of ourselves, and it can’t be done. Not by anything that we call doing it, acting it, willing, or even just accepting things. You can’t do it. Why? Because you don’t really exist as that separate ego or personality. It’s just an idea, based on a phony feeling.
So when it comes down to it, it’s shocking news for us, for the human race, for our pride. You’re only making a mess by trying to put things straight. You’re trying to straighten out a wiggly world, and no wonder you’re in trouble. So you can’t do anything, so you can’t transform yourself. And what can you do? What happens then, if you actually realize you’ve come to a dead end? And the human race has come to a dead end, in my opinion. What then? Commit suicide? Or is there something else? What happens when you just wait, there’s nothing you can do. You watch. And all you see is what goes on that is happening of itself. You’re breathing, the wind is blowing, the trees are waving, your blood is circulating, your nerves are tingling. It’s all going on by itself.
That’s you, that’s the real you! The you that goes on itself. It’s not the symbol, it’s not the person. It’s you that’s happening, as when you breathe. Yes, you can get the feeling by shoving your breath, but your breath goes on, day in, day out without you even thinking about it. The same way your brain is functioning, without you forcing it. So when you come to a dead end, and we are individually, socially now, in 1971, at a dead end. This is the moment in which it is said man’s extremity God’s opportunity. We have to stop, we find a world that is happening rather than being done, being shoved. And that happening, as distinct from doing, is our fundamental self. And our fundamental self is not something just inside the skin, it’s everything around us with which we connect. When you look out of your eyes at nature happening out there, you’re looking at you. I’m not going to say what we should do from then on, but simply that before we think of doing anything in this critical situation, we realize the completely illusory nature of the beings that we think we are, and get back again to the beings that we really are, which includes all this. Outside world, no longer left outside.