Open letter to President Obama:
Two things. A thank you, and a suggestion for our shared global future, confronting increasingly rapid climatic, with concomitant cultural and economic, transitions.
First, thank you for the pleasure of watching and listening to your comparative political and economic sanity for the past eight years. Enthusiastically voting for you twice, although you are not my “perfect” candidate, was such a relief and pleasure. And, your performance in what appears to be a largely thankless and hopeless position, has been graceful and sometimes even respectful of honest differences in priority. When comparing our financial investment in your presidential campaigns, and the cost to your personal integrity, to any positive health and well-being return, I see where this may have made sense for the rest of us, but I find it miraculous that you so generously accept your losses, along with your wins.
Second, my suggestion moves toward optimizing political and economic potential for addressing what we have labeled “climate warming,” but is actually the multisystemic problem of over-heated climate change. You seem to see the difference, and recognize the awesome scale of this challenge, especially during the already-shrinking projected normal life spans of our children, and grandchildren. So the requisite motivation to recognize and accept climate change as our most profoundly significant “well-being” global rights issue, as well as a national issue, you already have in your pocket.
No doubt you have noticed by now that even the President of the United States and the General Secretary of the United Nations, perhaps those two positions even more so than for all of us regular folks, daily confront a huge gap between what you are motivated to do and what you are powerful enough to accomplish. With political empowerment comes greater global and cultural and socioeconomic responsibilities, and aspirations. If you are any good as a person at all, I think you step into this larger-scale of consciousness, and you and your family do appear to be very good people indeed.
Perhaps helpful, with regard to our political “stuckness”, I am also noticing a considerable growth and refinement of two paradigms that appear to be co-arising toward nonduality, which, if you are familiar with Buddhist and/or Taoist philosophy, is the kind of evolution that has a way of becoming revolutionary, in a positive way. These two paradigms are Permaculture Design (and Development) and New (Feminist) Economics.
Each of these paradigms analyzes Business As Usual to point toward our urgent need for cultural and economic local-scaled cooperative-nurturing systems (including healthier ecosystems) to replace our current messiness. Business As Usual includes Win-Lose Game Theory, Left-brain dominant deduction, competition, economic and evolutionary cultural dynamics of entropic-trending dysfunction and over-specialization.
Since retiring from grant and program development for Connecticut human service agencies, I have been reading economics as presented by Riane Eisler (The Real Wealth of Nations), John Michael Greer (The Wealth of Nature), and Charles Eisenstein (Sacred Economics). Each is brilliant and together they shape an economic dipolar pattern contrasting Received View financial growth as economic wealth with a newer, more cooperative-centric economics of health, positive nutrition:
- healthy production balancing consumption, and
- polycultural health as root-value measure of wealth regeneration within eco-logically cooperative systems that today emerge from our current exponentially-growing global consensus that well-being has already begun trending toward decomposition.
Permaculturists, from Laotse through Buckminster Fuller and on to today’s booming industry of healing Earth and residents thereof, take as much interest in the ecological balance of regeneration and decomposition as economists invest in expanding v. contracting economic health of production/consumption systems.
Eisenstein (2011) calls the New Economics “sacred” economics, but, boiled down into natural system language, his sacred might be translated with Buckminster Fuller’s synergy; a positive-trending cooperatively-evolving dynamic integrity of health trend systems design and development. Further, Eisenstein seems to interpret “divine,” as contrasted to profane, as integrity v. deductive-reductive-redactive competing identities and independently eisegetical understanding. It is a profane Business As Usual culture assuming oppositional either-or Win-Lose evolutionary strategies and logistics, when it is more ectosymbiotically integrative to heuristically hold both-and Win-Win appositional challenges and comparisons and tipping-points, leading toward nondual co-arising strategies and more comprehensive polycultural consciousness.
What are Win-Win cooperative political, economic, and ecological outcomes that are achievable given the current climate in Washington, the U.S., and Earth?
I think we already do agree on, and are united within, one primary concern: How can I (and we)
- invest in optimizing my health and well-being,
- assure the right of full healthy development of my dependents, and all I love,
- continue learning and mentoring wise and natural-systemic discernment, rather than merely learning to produce and consume more efficiently,
- prudently invest my life exclusively within long-term just-right maturation, by avoiding short-term high risk gains in a sense of wealth that has become divorced from health of life’s intrinsically regenerative value.
We could each and all choose to invest our balancing budgets in cooperative economic industry, vocations, residences, communities, local ecosystems and polyculturally inclusive transformations of monoculturally silo-entropic decomposition, or Win-Lose Business As Usual. This choice of cooperative polycultural development over competitively self-isolating monocultures reflects the permaculturist’s approach to each site for redesign, but also our approach to each day, each life, each word and communication choice, each food and recreation choice. It seems possible to recognize that Martin Luther King’s Beloved Community is equivalent to the permaculturist’s Climax Community and the cooperative economist’s 7-Generation planning for optimal life-sustaining cooperative health-investment networks; where health is interpreted as broadly as Thich Nhat Hanh’s positive nutrition for all the senses, most definitely including aesthetic health, proportion, rhythm, patterns of form, function, and frequency.
If all life, and future human quality of life in all its diversity of colors and cultures, matters, this new economic permacultural paradigm could be the basis of
- deep learning theories in public education,
- taught to every politician entering elected office,
- every military strategy leader and teacher,
- every policy analyst and designer,
- every government employee and volunteer and intern training program, including the Peace Corp and AmeriCorp/VISTA.
Turning public education and public financial investment away from supporting further monoculturally-trending competition, and toward healthy polyculturally-trending cooperative systems and networks, could work for both sides of the nation’s partisan aisle.
This would be an impressive way to both exit as President, and enter as what Laotse would call a sagacious ruler; a permaculturally proficient polyculturist of cooperative economics, natural evolutionary relationships, and ecological well-being. That is what I would wish for you and your family, as I wish for mine.
If you are looking for a permaculturist with systems design and development expertise, I strongly recommend Joanna Macy, in California, sometimes, teaching in the Berkeley area.
Thank you for your response to our still-emerging climate change issue.
Gerald Dillenbeck, MPA, M. Div., PDC