Visioning a Just Society

August 6, 2015

At a resent Quaker meeting I attended, someone mentioned that a set of principles for a just society, called “Foundations of a True Social Order” was adopted by the Quakers in Britain in 1918.  The speaker hoped that Quakers would come up with a new set of principles next year when the political parties are issuing their platforms.  Today I meditated on this and came up with a set of problems that any principles of a just society must address.  These include:

    1. Lack of integrity in those responsible for governing
    2. Differences in race, religion, social stats, sexual preferences and all other areas that divide mankind – and the exploitation of these differences for selfish ends
    3. Climate change and its far-reaching effects
    4. Diminishing supplies of fossil fuel
    5. Our response to those who would use violence to gain political, social or economic ends
    6. An economic system which concentrates wealth and power in the hands of a few people
    7. How to produce that change of consciousness that will make a just society a reality

Right now I am working with other Quakers to come up with programs in which people of all faiths and no faith can come together to envision a just society and work on the principles that such a society would have.  Watch this blog for further information.

Last Saturday, we took another step in our development of the Pavilion of Imagination at Easton Mountain. My friend Dave hooked up a solar panel, controller, battery and convertor. When he clicked a switch, we had light.

This has led me to think about my own vision concerning the Pavilion of Imagination: as a place where men might take workshops, such as “Drawing What You Love” (described in my post of February 18) – as a place where they might draw and paint from their imagination – as a place where they might create video that would be part of my Vimeo channel, “Erotic Imagination“…. This is some of the creative activity I’ve envisioned for the Pavilion of Imagination.

But I realized, as I thought about the event of that day, that this project has been part of another vision I’ve had – that of Easton Mountain reducing its carbon foot-print nearly to zero. Carbon foot-print is “the total sets of greenhouse gas emissions caused by an organization, event, product or person” (Wikipedia). In practice, it is used to indicate the theoretical amount of carbon from fossil fuel that each person and institution consumes. We in the United States have a very high carbon foot print. Other countries have taken steps to reduce theirs. A jungle native has a carbon footprint close to zero.

My own involvement in efforts to create a world where everyone has a reduced carbon footprint has waxed and waned. I’ve attended workshops, marched in the People’s Climate March, posted on this blog, written for a Quaker publication, and registered for the coming Parliament of the World’s Religions, which I hope will make a strong statement on the necessity of combating climate change.

In the seventeenth century, Quakers were thought of as strange people – and we might find those Quakers strange today. They addressed people with “thee” and “thou,” words reserved for close friends and servants; they wore simple clothes; they refused to take oaths, pay tithes to the established church, or to haggle over prices – and with these simple actions they were a major force in bringing about freedom of religion, equality before the law, and integrity in business. Many Quakers today look to civil disobedience as a way to change the direction of society. Within my own lifetime they were part of sit-ins in segregated southern restaurants.

The problems of today may need new practices that will lead the world to a reduced carbon footprint. What will these practices be? They may be something as simple as the practice of keeping a hat on was in 1650. But I find myself wondering if we will find these practices before humanity suffers from a drastic climate change that could lead to the extinction of the human race.

Solar energy for the Pavilion of Imagination is one tiny step – but it’s part of my vision for a restored planet. Here are groups I’ve joined on Facebook that relate to my vision of a restored planet.

Please share your vision on Facebook, on your own blog, or as a comment to this blog.

A Global Heart Circle?

January 10, 2015

Radical Faeries have something called a “heart circle.” They use it as a way of connecting and as a way of focusing on problems. They sit in a circle and a talisman is passed around. Only the person with the talisman speaks. In many faerie groups, the talisman is passed until it goes once around wiht no one speaking.

Quakers have a similar way of focusing on problems. They call this way a “meeting for discernment.” The organizers format one or more questions for consideration. Participants sit in silence. One by one, they speak their thoughts about the questions asked. This differs from Quaker worship in that it is not necessary to be convinced that your words come from “that of God within you.”

I have had an idea that current social media may, at times, be a global heart circle – a global meeting for discernment. Am I being too idealistic? Maybe, but I think of this as a way of looking at all the comments of all the women and men who are deeply concerned about the issues of our times. I thought of setting up a group on Facebook for a world wide heart circle on climate change, but there are already so many pages on Facebook and on many other sites that accept comments.

Tomorrow, I’ll be leading a meeting of Quakers from my area. We will focus on three questions:

  1. What am I called to do in order to protect and restore the earth?
  2. What is our Meeting called to do?
  3. How can our Meeting reach out to other faith communities to protect and restore the earth?

I’m making it possible for those attending to videotape statements, and will be putting these statements into the global heart circle that is the internet.

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