You’re back home again #MH17

 

Copyright ANP/Pierre Crom NRC Handelsblad 19 July 2014
Rescue workers working a field in East Ukraine looking for bodies of passengers of flight MH17. Copyright ANP/Pierre Crom NRC Handelsblad 19 July 2014

Heya,

This text kinda emerged from somewhere when I was pondering the events around the downing of flight MH17 and the flying out of the bodies of the people that had been killed in the event. I wrote it because it wanted to be written. First in Dutch, then in German and now in English. If one thing should stand out, I hope it’s the desire, the necessity for all wars, and the immense suffering they cause, to end. Where ever on earth they take place and for whatever cause: they mainly cause unimaginable human suffering. It’s time we learn to see we share this home together. And that our joint efforts should be aimed at making this truly a home. For all of us. Please read the text and let me know what you think.

 

You’re back home again

 

You’re back home again

And that makes me happy.

Yes, indeed, happy.

A foreign emotion amidst incessant

Powerlessness. Anger. Disbelief. Grief.

Above all grief.

Despair.

Void.

 

You’re back home again.

I wanted to ask you how it was.

But it’s all so different now.

Share with me how you remember your last moment in this life.

I want to comfort you, take you in my arms, caress you, hold you against my heart and whisper that all is fine.

But I can’t do that.

 

You’re back home again.

And at last we are permeated again by the senselessness of war.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a shot from a machinegun.

A machete.

A bomb.

The broken glass in the hand of a drunken idiot.

Or a missile.

It doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t bring any good.

 

You’re back home again.

Back home again after an unexpectedly long journey.

Finally back home after you had to wait so long.

Caught in a game played by scared pawns of power.

Left under the mercilessly scorching sun in a field far from here.

Robbed of the last dignity that was yours.

 

You’re back home again.

See all of those, who have come to greet you.

See all of those, who stand around you.

Perplexed.

United

For a moment.

 

You’re back home again.

And I see the infinite void in our heart.

 

#MH17

 

Geert Hofman

 

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I wonder….

Good day!

So there’s another few states violently trying to beat down protests. And yet another few are so afraid of its own citizens and neighbors that they have started to collect as many expressions by them as possible in huge databases. In order to be able to throw a suspicion at each of us at the whim of some bureaucrat/s at whatever point in time

So I wonder where this fear comes from and why it is so persistent. Why do people like Erdogan (but it’s not just him) believe they can get away with oppressing the people in their countries? Why do they think they can stop a process which is inevitable and irrevocable since it finds its origin in a different source. What would it take for them to leave throw their petty political and personal agenda out of the window and make room for that which want to become manifest?

Why can’t those so-called leaders not see what wants to emerge? Is it that they identify so much with the role they have? Do they take themselves too seriously? And mind you: I’m pretty sure it is rather obscure for many of the protesters as well. But still they have the courage to respond to this new universal signal: no longer is it one for all. (And speaking of courage: what to think about this individual Edward Snowden?) We’re in this together. Leadership is a distributed function, and leadership roles will be inhabited by those who can  make the contribution which is required for as long at it is required.

The American people are on a diet of fear. And once more: they’re not the only ones. It may be the consequence of us living our lives under the illusion of separation in a hostile environment, as Charles Eisenstein illustrates so beautifully: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEZkQv25uEs And inevitably that has gotten a solid political foundation as well. Why is it that no one seems to ask why the American people should be afraid? And of what exactly? And what it would take to get rid of the fear? And again: the USA is not the only country where this is going on. It’s omnipresent.

People like Alan Seale and Otto Scharmer talk about remembering the future that wants to emerge, which to me makes a lot of sense as figuring out where to next is no longer really possible. In his July 1994 speech in America, Vaclav Havel said:

“There are good reasons for suggesting that the modern age has ended. Many things indicate that we are going through a transitional period, when it seems that something is on the way out and something else is painfully being born. It is as if something were crumbling, decaying and exhausting itself, while something else, still indistinct, were arising from the rubble.”

The modern world as we have come to know and understand it, has ended. I know. Many of you know. When will enough people know and act responsibly in allowing the future that wants to emerge to actually do so.

Peace,

Geert Hofman

www.geerthofman.com

A New Economy?

Salve!

For some time I’ve been wondering how long our current economic system can continue as it is based on scarce money (or better: interest bearing debt), the repayment of which necessitates perpetual growth and leads us to believe we’re separate from each other and that we have to compete for this scarce money.  There are several authors who are pointing this out as well, like Mark Boyle and Charles Eisenstein (www.charleseisenstein.net)  for instance. Since the beginning of this century, money has been even further disconnected from the real world as it ever had been. It’s numbers on a computer at a bank and some tangibles like slips of paper and metal coins with symbols on it that do magic to the otherwise relative worthless paper and metal. And the funny thing is: we all agree to it. We all play along with the money game and are all howling at the Euro crisis with every government in Europe fearing for a worsening of it and for their country slipping into a recession. That triggers panic in the political decision-making centers. If the number of paid transactions decreases and possibly (their average price level too) it is feared that eventually the economy will collapse. Well, yeah, if we continue to believe money is the only thing that matters in a human life, it may so happen and we’ll all end up hungry, cold, miserable and grumpy. To put it mildly.

A recession is a decrease in the number of paid transactions form one period to the previous. OK, technically speaking, this has to happen two quarters in a row. I am aware that wealth is not evenly distributed around the planet and that there still is poverty around the globe. But what use is it for those in the “developed” world to get more stuff? More stuff doesn’t make us happier or having more fulfilled lives. More stuff primarily seems to be driving forces in our society who need the power that comes with accumulating money. Big corporations, all kinds of institutions, the state itself….

I do not have clear view on what exact path will be followed by the change that is increasingly taking place but it seems to me we have to get used to having and acquiring less stuff. I’m not saying we should become poor and wait out our time because that won’t help anybody. But what WILL we be doing all day? Some say we’ll spend more time growing and producing our food, which will be of a higher quality than the mass-produced, chemically intoxicated waste we drop dow our digestive tracts right now. And that would be one condition for a higher state of awareness. This is one thing I can see happening: the world as one global, inclusive community, with on average a (much)  higher level of consciousness. Hence I choose to believe that eventually, in the new cosmic era (Aquarius/Leo) the world will be flat. Or as Charles Eisenstein puts is in chapter 11 of his book Sacred Economics (www.sacred-economics.com)

“In this chapter I will refer to “government” in the context of currency issue, but keep in mind that like all of our institutions, government is going to change dramatically in coming years. Ultimately, I envision decentralized, self-organizing, emergent, peer-to-peer, ecologically integrated expressions of political will. Parallel to this, I envision an ecology of money as well, an economic system with many complementary modes of circulation and exchange. Among them will be new extensions of the gift, freeing work from compulsion and guaranteeing the necessities of life to all.”

What fascinates me how we are going to get there and what changes we have to incur in our thinking about everything but about economics in particular. How can we make sure we make his shift, by not staying stuck in the current political and economical debate that is ruled by fear. And how can we make this shift in a safe and peaceful way?

What do you have to say about this?

Love and Blessings,

Geert

www.geerthofman.com

Why Poverty?

Howdy,

Earlier this week I landed on the Arte TV-channel here in Germany that had dedicated that day’s programmes to the theme ‘Why Poverty?’ Having studied economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam, I guess I could answer this question using economic theories and would probably come up with some kind of an accepted answer. But watching young Chinese adults reluctantly engaging in a struggle for survival, either by trying to get accepted by some top university (thereby ruining their family’s monetary reserves to cover for the cost) or by trying to find whatever job that is available amidst countless competitors, made me sick. And those are considered the lucky ones.

Continue reading “Why Poverty?”

I’m just wondering

Hey!

I’m just wondering these days as I read about politicians and civil servants, doing their best to erode the system they are depending on, if they are actually aware about what they’re doing. Or is it that they just play a predetermined role as puppets on a string or as pawns in an ancient Greek drama? I find it rather funny (well, is that really the word here) to see how supposedly grown-ups around the world are fighting to be the leader (ahem) of the pack and regardless whether they succeed in becoming so, the least they will do is to secure their own private interests. Sometimes by securing the economic future of an entire family dynasty, sometimes far more petty by claiming a few euros too many for their expenses. But also, like right now in Holland, by putting together a coalition agreement after the elections without having properly thought it through. And then, in an act of utmost disrespect for parliament (and all of society for that matter) kind of toss it over the fence in order for it to be discussed in parliament. (where the majority belongs to those parties having put the agreement together, so guess what the outcome of the discussions will be) To me it makes the case that we’re basically done with the old-fashioned way our institutions are run. (Umair Haque wrote an interesting post about it as well: http://bit.ly/PIZdeh) How long do they think we’re going to put up with that nonsense? How long are we still going to?

It seems to fit a larger picture as we’re moving into a new era. A new era that will eventually be characterised by global consciousness, people living their life, to which they’re called, in individual freedom, with a sense of belonging (and contributing) to a local or regional community. So it is clear that in this society there is no need for the malfunctioning institutions of our day. There’s this dialogue in my novel ‘The Glass Dome’ (http://www.geerthofman.com/glass-dome) between the elderly Italian gentleman Romano and Peter Woudenberg, the main character following an accident Peter had been involved in. They talk about the upcoming changes.

“Do you have any idea what is awaiting us?” Peter wanted to know.

“As I said before, current structures and practises will fall apart and new ones of a different nature will emerge. I believe that the secrecy, which has governed us for a long time will subside in order for transparency and openness to prevail.”

“What would happen if the way forward would not be taken? For instance because the current establishment manages to stay in power.”

Romano smiled and continued in his characteristic calm way.

“It just won’t be possible.”

“That’s what you hope,” Peter countered.

“It’s what I hope and also what I choose to believe to be true,” he sighed, seemingly getting somewhat agitated.

“A critical mass is growing around the world, bringing this energy to the tipping point. I’m not saying we’re there yet but for me it’s clear that a growing number of people are questioning the way they live their lives.”

“Isn’t that a bit of a luxury?”

“At face value it may seem a luxury. But what I see is that they want to have a meaningful and fulfilling life based on their calling or personal destiny. Your unique identity and personal destiny form a totally different driver for human evolution than a supposed need for endlessly fulfilling material desires do. Amongst others because it leads to us viewing our individual existence as non-conflicting with that of all others.”

“So what you’re trying to say is that when more people start living, how shall I put it, their authentical life, human life on the planet will start changing because of that,” Peter rephrased.

“That’s a way of putting it,” Romano reflected. “But of course, first parties on all sides will take up their positions and fight each other about this until the bitter end. Therewith only helping the process of de-institutionalising or disintegrating the current system to speed up.”

So yeah, I choose to believe that our society as we know it has begun to change in a radical way. Its very roots will change.  Interesting to see how the institutions get help from the inside in being dismantled and interesting to see what comes in their place as some coordination of us living together seems desirable.  And also: what institutions will be affected by it….. Any thoughts?

Love & Blessings,

Geert

www.geerthofman.com

It’s (not necessarily) all about the money

Hello Again!

As you know by now, I find this discussion regarding money quite fascinating. As I’ve mentioned in my previous post, due to its nature you can’t ever get enough money. Unless you take a conscious decision that enough is enough, you’ll always want more money. And yeah, well, what can you do with more and more and more money? Buy stuff? Buy more expensive stuff? Buy political power? Why? To get tax breaks that result in you having even more money? So, now that our current way of interest bearing debt based and (money) growth driven economics is coming to an end a question becomes relevant:  what kind of prosperity would we get if we’d stop monetizing each and everything on the planet? What would it mean if we’d collectively step out of the money game and enter the human game?

In this video featuring Umair Haque addressing a conference  http://bit.ly/OmCcA7, he introduces the idea of eudaimonic prosperity. Well, using ancient Greek words always sounds impressive so I looked it up. In Wikipedia I found this:

Eudaimonia or eudaemonia (Ancient Greek: εὐδαιμονία [eu̯dai̯monía]), sometimes Anglicized as eudemonia (play /juːdɨˈmniə/), is a Greek word commonly translated as happiness or welfare; however, “human flourishing” has been proposed as a more accurate translation.[1] Etymologically, it consists of the words “eu” (“good”) and “daimōn” (“spirit”). It is a central concept in Aristotelian ethics and political philosophy, along with the terms “aretē“, most often translated as “virtue” or “excellence”, and “phronesis“, often translated as “practical or moral wisdom.”[2] In Aristotle’s works, eudaimonia was (based on older Greek tradition) used as the term for the highest human good, and so it is the aim of practical philosophy, including ethics and political philosophy, to consider (and also experience) what it really is, and how it can be achieved.

So it is about good spirit….. Several Greek philosophers have different interpretations of it, though. Roughly they vary from just having a good time (Epicurus) or being active in a life aimed at achieving excellence (arete) in virtue as Aristotle and Socrates suggest. I guess by now we’ve ticked the box of living a life of (superficial and empty-headed) pleasure which does not prove to be enough for sustainable happiness or fulfillment as the senses require constantly new stimuli in order to remain satisfied (sedated) or have at least the illusion that they are so.

Then this video by Charles Eisenstein came to mind. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEZkQv25uEs From 09:26 onward he talks about Adulthood. We’re moving out of this childhood phase, where we played around with our talents without connecting those to our true purpose, and entering the phase of Adulthood where the gifts and talents we’ve developed will now be aimed at our purpose. The first step then being healing, a massive amount of it, to heal what we’ve made sick. And that requires that we act, apart from having a changed set of attitudes, a radically changed view of ourselves, of the universe and hence how we relate to that. We need to act collectively, based on our radically changed view of the universe, naturally allowing each of us the freedom that is indissociably ours. Sitting around and thinking about the healing is not enough. And: the acting is not a tick-the-box exercise either. It is a change process by itself through which we will learn to see the beauty of life again, and to honour our habitat at large, including everything that lives in it.

Being active and not just sitting around is also something I find on the cover of my pocket Bhagavad Gita:

“Freedom lies not in renunciation or retreat, but in disciplined action performed with self-knowledge and detachment”

As I’ve also mentioned in my novel The Glass Dome (www.geerthofman.com-glass-dome) one of the conditions that seemingly need to be met is the dissolving of current rigid structures in all fields of our society. And that I expect that not to go peaceful most of the time. Hence interesting times ahead but I’m getting more confident that we’ll be able to make the jump thanks to our collective wisdom, once that gets properly mobilised.  With contribution from people like Umair Haque and Charles Eisenstein, but also John Renesch (https://www.facebook.com/TheGreatGrowingUp) and many more, not all hope is lost!

Any thoughts? I’d like us to explore our road ahead.

Love and Blessings,

Geert

http://www.geerthofman.com

It’s all about the money

Hi!

As you probably know by now. I’m quite fascinated (and terrified from time to time as well) by the transformation of mankind and our consciousness which I choose to believe we are facing. Recently I came across the works of Charles Eisenstein (http://charleseisenstein.net) and more in particular his latest book Sacred Economics (http://charleseisenstein.net/books/sacred-economics/) Although I have some idea of how the “new world” would eventually look like, I am looking for clues as to how exactly we’ll get there. It’s clear to me that many of our current practices and institutions will no longer have an added value as they are grounded in an era that is coming to an end. I also found that I like talking about the transformation with both like and not-like minded but that it stays on a somewhat abstract academic level, suggesting that it’ll happen but we won’t notice it that much. Well, by now I’ve started to feel that we’ll notice it very clearly. All of us, as it is inevitable that our current practices, which include a certain way of thinking about ourselves, the world we live in, how we relate to that, our economy etc, will come to an end. Charles Eisenstein’s book Sacred Economics depicts a scenario of how it, or part of it, will come to this end.

The main point he makes is that our economy is driven by money and it is based on interest carrying debt, which necessitates perpetual growth. This has led our society to become (almost completely) monetized, which in its turn forms a natural limit to the possibilities for further economic growth. The system in his view: Banks create money in the form of interest bearing debt. In order to pay back the money a bank lends you (plus interest), you have to make more money. And banks will lend money to those who give them more in return. That’s called a solid business proposition. They won’t give money to people who don’t give it back to them because they would use it to clean up a piece of wasteland for instance. There’s no money in that.

From an individual viewpoint, making more money than you borrowed from the bank, may boil down to working a few extra hours to get some more work done, to find some more clients and/or to change something about what you’re offering (innovation). Nothing wrong with that, it’s how our parents got started and probably their parents as well. But from an aggregated standpoint it means that, as more money needs to be paid back than was borrowed (because of the interest), economic growth continuously needs to be realised. The easy way would be to just increase the price of the offering. But that’s called inflation and will not bring economic growth. So growth is realised by finding new markets for existing products and services and by inventing new products and services. Eventually, this has led to almost everything in our society being monetized. And everybody competing with everybody for scarce money. Our governments like that as they want everybody to engage in paid work as it increases the GDP and their budgets via a.o. sales, profit and labour taxes. But if everybody should be engaged in paid work (either as an employee or self-employed): what are they going to produce? What services and products are left that we need to become available at a price? What more of the commons can be taken away and resold to us? The rotation of the earth? Sunshine? Rain? The air that we breathe?

To me it’s clear that the current crises won’t go away and that they contribute to the money-based system coming to an end. I’m not saying that money will cease to exist altogether but that it can’t go on just like this. According to Eisenstein, a possible alternative for our current economic thinking is the concept of the Gift Economy. I’m not saying it provides the rough-and-ready answer to each and every problem around the world but I think the concept as such is worthwhile to think it over.  Here’s a short video where Charles talks about Sacred Economics and the Gift Economy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEZkQv25uEs

Of course, even trying to move away from our current practices and systems is anything but a smooth ride as I touched upon in my novel as well. (www.geerthofman.com/glass-dome) There are so many parties having so many vested interests in maintaining the status quo.  In another video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JKOcb3UygA) of a conversation between international economist, James Quilligan and Charles Eisenstein, Quilligan makes a very interesting point: everything in our current economic system revolves around money. Hence, suggesting it’s time for something else would involve such a radical systemic transformation that makes clear to me that it is extremely unlikely to happen in a gradual process. The old rules are becoming obsolete but new rules are not in place yet. As a practical experiment I asked the employee in the local baker’s shop today under what conditions I could get my bread without paying money. ‘For free?’ she asked. ‘No, not for free,’ I answered. I might offer something else in return, perhaps even just my gratitude. That was, understandably, too much for her and she ended the conversation laughingly by saying her boss would fire her if she start giving bread away for free. A clear point that de-monetizing our society requires a total systemic approach as there are soooo many strings attached. Or some kind of violent upheaval.

So, to sum it up (there’s more to come), what I find fascinating about Charles Eistenstein’s work is that he shows one of the main causes for our current endemic crises and a way towards our new world.

What are your thoughts about this? Let us know, OK?

All Love and Blessings,

Geert

www.geerthofman.com