Remember the metaphor from the movie, Pinoccio I used to describe how our current economic system operates, specifically the description where Pinoccio sets aside his discriminating capability to follow his desires and passions into Pleasure Island?
A clue to the emancipation from donkey economics (here I made a big assumption, that there are people who desire emancipation) rests in Pinoccio’s decision to put aside his discriminating faculty in order to indulge his passions. An even more telling clue can be derived from a quote in Thoreau’s Journal, Oct. 22, 1853…”Consider how the broker collects his winter wood…Postponing instant life, he makes haste to Boston in the cars, and there deals in stock, not quite relishing his employment and so earns the money with which he buys his fuel. And when by chance I meet him about this indirect and complicated business, I am not struck with the beauty of his employment. It does not harmonize with the sunset”…
We move through every day geared to the high RPMs required by the system and practices of our economy. We are swept into this speedy rhythm spending most of our daily energy and attention keeping our heads above the economic waterline. Our minds are thus overflowing with stress, anxiety, depression, and fear, like rushing currents of water flowing over a waterfall. As our hearts beat to the frenetic percussion of our economy we rush by the rosebush. Its deep colored, scented flowers, have little attraction to our preoccupied minds. The poet, Wordsworth admonishes us in his poem, The World Is Too much With Us:
The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours;…
Stop! and smell the roses: inhale their fragrance, take into your view their deep, pure color. They are offered to you as a gift, with no strings attached. When your attention is completely occupied on the roses, your mind will have slowed to the present moment. The slowing of your mind is the first step in emancipation. A mind that is fast is disconnected and unfocused, and synonymous with negative thinking. A mind that is slow is integrated and focused, and synonymous with positive thinking. If you think that is a false statement, test it out for your self. Of course, in order to test, you must be able to slow down your mind, a formidable task.
A clue for the next step towards emancipation can be extracted from the last sentence of the Thoreau quote, …”It does not harmonize with the sunset.”… The broker’s choice of labor is out of step with Nature. Nature is never synthetic, nor does it operate in an exclusive, singular manner, but moves in an inclusive, all encompassing manner. The buying and selling of stock is an enterprise on par with gambling. Its intent is singular, to gain a profit from a capital investment in a business. The investor speculates on a business’s profitability, long or short term, and intends to share in those profits. The investor is far removed from the daily operations of the business and has little personal or legal responsibilities, aside from voting privileges. Nature on the other hand, is always directly involved with every aspect of Her operations, and Her primal motive is movement towards perfection. The broker participates in his out of step business process and receives a fee and buys his firewood. Not only is his choice of labor an act of disharmony, but also his manner of purchasing firewood serves to compound his disharmony with Nature. If he were in tune with Nature, he would have forged and cut his own firewood.
The emancipation of our economic mental slavery starts with our awareness and discrimination of its causal and deleterious effects: generalized anger and tension, frustration, lack of joy, poor health, negative thinking, and generalized disconnection with our higher self or soul.
We next need to slow our minds down by focusing on the present moment. After those two steps, we need to pay attention to Nature, begin to understand Her ways as they relate to our own natures, and finally to attune ourselves to Nature’s rhythm, so that we can, …”harmonize with the sunset.”… We must change our perceptions so that instead of …”seeing little in Nature that is ours,”… we begin to see that everything in Nature is directly related to us.
These perceptions are not beyond the capacity of our human faculties, and in fact spring out from within the vary essence of who and what we are. We are in truth, a complete living analogy of our Cosmos, and at the same time magnificent participants in our Cosmos. The same forces and qualities that uphold the Cosmos uphold us; we in it, it in us. Nakomo, an American Indian, puts it beautifully, in his poem, “The Circle Is My Path:”
…”We are all on the rim of the world and at its center
at the same time.
We are attached to the ripples that emanate from the center.
We ride the waves-the wind turns us, we flow as the prairie flows
and we are bound to the sacred land.”…
There is a chamber of our hearts were we can begin to know our true Cosmic heritage, one that lies beyond mere material acquisitions and accumulations, and the knowledge of which leads not to self-importance, but to great impersonality, balance, and universality.