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The year started out so hopeful

The year started out so hopeful

        The year started out so hopeful.  ADBUSTERS published an article by my old Political Economy professor, Robert Heilbroner, Final Reflections on the Human Prospect and PARABOLA published A Reverence for the Divine, by Peter Kingsley.  Both articles flipped conventional thinking on its head and both articles offered HOPE for the future.  Hope has sure come into abuse and misuse over the past year, but for a brief few weeks, I felt like it was reemerging as a real prospect.

     Heilbroner, your typical elbow-patch-pipe-smoking-liberal-tweedy professor, wrote Final Reflections in 1975, as I, with his encouragement, was dropping out of graduate school and heading to California.  He updated it in 1990 and ADBUSTERS, the most anti-capitalistic publication in the mainstream market, published his thoughts twenty years later in 2010, wow.  He talks about the end of capitalism and the dangerous mentality of industrial civilization itself. He sees us moving into a postindustrial era where characteristics of many pre-industrial societies, such as the exploration of inner states of consciousness and a more communal social organization, rather than material accomplishments and individual achievement, become the norm.

     Peter Kingsley essay is from his new book, REALITIES.  He asserts that 6th Century BC Greek philosopher Parmenides, the father of Logic, developed his thesis from a previously unknown Shamanistic practice called Incubation, not from some head tripping dry abstract thinking.  Incubation meant going deep inside, shutting down the body, going into the darkness of a cave, for anywhere from a week to a month, and finding the still point of deep mediation, visiting the underworld or the otherworld.

      Heilbroner, author of the most famous Political Economy book of the 20th Century, THE WORLDLY PHILOSOPHERS, and Kingsley, well-respected theologian and philosopher, have both turned western philosophy on their head.  As one of my long-term projects has been writing a “Spiritual Political Economy”, both these publications gave me much food for thought, fit into my own philosophy and gave me what I needed.

         That was then, a time of hope. This is now, a time of unprecedented disasters, one after another.  I’ll continue catching up to the present with my next post, which will start with the events at the end of January.