Tag Archives: greed

Chuck’s Place: Truth or Consequences

Carlos Castaneda in conversation with don Juan, excerpted from A Separate Reality:

From where I was seated I could see the group of boys through the glass window… After three days of watching them go like vultures after the most meager of leftovers I became despondent, and I left that city feeling that there was no hope for those children whose world was already molded by their day-after-day struggle for crumbs.

“Do you feel sorry for them?” don Juan exclaimed in a questioning tone.

“I certainly do,” I said.


“Because I’m concerned with the well-being of my fellow men. Those are children and their world is ugly and cheap.”

“Wait! Wait! How can you say that their world is ugly and cheap?” don Juan said, mocking my statement. “You think that you’re better off, don’t you?”

I said I did; and he asked me why; and I told him that in comparison to those children’s world mine was infinitely more varied and rich in experiences and in opportunities for personal satisfaction and development…

“Do you think that your very rich world would ever help you to become a man of knowledge?” don Juan asked with slight sarcasm… “Can your freedom and opportunities help you to become a man of knowledge?”

“No!” I said emphatically.

“Then how could you feel sorry for those children?” he said seriously. “Any of them could become a man of knowledge. All the men of knowledge I know were kids like those you saw eating leftovers and licking the tables.” –from pp. 20-22.

We in America still live in the richest economy in the world. Do our freedom, opportunity and richness make us people of knowledge—people able to see and align with the true nature of reality? Do our educational institutions enlighten us or merely groom us to uphold an old world order? This old world order is so out of balance that nature is leading the revolution now to bring it down.

The Truth

Nature has delivered a profound blow to the country of Japan. Perhaps we can ignore dead sea turtles in the oil-polluted Gulf of Mexico as new drilling leases are approved for oil companies, but can we really ignore radioactive waste filling the ocean? Who really feels reassured at the suggestion that by the time this waste finds its way to the human dinner table the radioactivity will be negligible and fit for human consumption? How can we ever really feel comfortable eating fish again? Are not the oceans all interconnected?

Don Juan challenges the worldview that privilege and wealth create advantage. In fact, he would argue that privilege and wealth lead to complacency and clinging to delusional beliefs. Don Juan would likely suggest that what appears as compassion for Japan is, in fact, displaced self-pity emanating from a deeply threatened old world order.

Our world of solid objects may be maya—sheer illusion—but even illusion requires some integrity to hold it together. The Newtonian dimension of our world—that of dense solid energy—is so out of balance that nature is unleashing its own corrective measures to root out the culprit: GREED!

The invasion of greed into the quantum level of reality through nuclear energy has now completely exploded. In a world of interdependence and interconnectedness, no amount of prosperity can insulate us from nuclear fallout. We are all in it together; we all live in Japan now.

Traumatized Japan is not a victim. Japan has been jolted awake. Japan is challenged to take the lead and overthrow greed, and align itself with needed change: a new world order in balance with nature. Can we all take that lead, see reality and become a people of knowledge?

Can we align our actions, policies and intent with what the seers of ancient Mexico call direct knowledge, or the Taoists call the Way: right action based on truth? This is our challenge: Truth or Consequences?

Citizen of the new world,

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#697 Chuck’s Place: Independent Action

In the last year of his life, Carl Jung took on the project of expressing his core ideas and discoveries at a level comprehensible by the general public in his final book Man and his symbols. Ten days before his fatal illness, he completed his chapter to this work, which includes chapters written by his closest associates. In what were perhaps some of Jung’s final written words, he states:

As any change must begin somewhere, it is the single individual who will experience it and carry it through. The change must indeed begin with an individual; it might be anyone of us. Nobody can afford to look around and to wait for somebody else to do what he is loath to do himself. But since nobody seems to know what to do, it might be worthwhile for each of us to ask himself whether by any chance his or her unconscious may know something that will help us. Certainly the conscious mind seems unable to do anything useful in this respect. Man today is painfully aware of the fact that neither his great religions nor his various philosophies seem to provide him with those powerful animating ideas that would give him the security he needs in face of the present condition of the world.” (p. 101)

Last week in my blog, Why BP?, I suggested that the core conflict expressed by the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico is the battle between two primary instincts: hunger and self-preservation. Reason, the hallmark of consciousness, is colluding with and actually possessed by the unchecked, insatiable greed of the out-of-control hunger instinct in all of mankind. Esther Harding states, reflecting upon the hunger instinct, in her book Psychic Energy:

Modern man has sought to compass the whole of life with his conscious intellect, only to find that the power of the irrational life force has not been overcome, but has retreated to the unconscious and from that hidden stronghold exerts a powerful and often baneful influence on his life. The power of his primitive greed bursts forth in wars of aggression and manifests itself in asocial business practices, while the exclusive concern with outer satisfactions leaves his soul hungry and starving. For man cannot live satisfactorily, cannot be whole, unless he is living in harmony with the unconscious roots of his being. Yet, how can he be at one with himself while the barbaric impulses of unredeemed instinct continue to hold sway in the unconscious? It is just because the ideals we hold up before us do not represent the truth about mankind that the hopes of peace and progress they embody so constantly elude us. Yet we fear to admit this obvious fact and to relax our efforts at self-improvement, lest we fall again into chaos and barbarism.” (p. 84)

Bringing Jung’s challenge to the “single individual” to change and solve the problem of greed, requires that each and every one of us identify our own relation to greed within our psyches and in daily functioning. If we understand hunger broadly, as the instinct to consume, especially in great quantity, we might automatically associate it with the addictions: food, drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, shopping, etc. I suggest that we extend this energetically and ask ourselves, how do we spend the bulk of our energy? From this vantage point, we might ironically look at an obsessional disorder, such as anorexia, as an out of control hunger instinct, considering how much life energy is consumed by not eating.

We might view a fixation on reading as an insatiable hunger to consume words, facts, or fantasies to the exclusion of all other needs in life. Similarly, the insatiable attachment to constantly checking facebook, email, text messages, etc, is an addiction to consuming electronic connection, a barbaric dominance of the hunger instinct. We might view preoccupation with our physical appearance as a greedy monopoly on our daily energy for life. We could view dominating habits of complaining, being cynical, or judging, as acts of avarice feasting upon our energetic storehouse.

The possibilities for greed in our daily functioning are endless, and it requires conscious reflection on our part to take an honest energy inventory and face the truth of how we allow greed to dominate and control our lives. If we can reel in our attention from the greedy mirrors around us and tackle the shadow of our own greed, we can energetically change the world. This is the essence of Jung’s final guidance to us in how to change the world, which he acknowledged was in a very dangerous place. From the same chapter in Man and his symbols, he writes:

Our intellect has created a new world that dominates nature, and has populated it with monstrous machines. The latter are so indubitably useful that we cannot see even a possibility of getting rid of them or our subservience to them. Man is bound to follow the adventurous promptings of his scientific and inventive mind and to admire himself for his splendid achievements. At the same time, his genius shows the uncanny tendency to invent things that become more and more dangerous, because they represent better and better means for wholesale suicide.” (p. 101)

As I stated last week, Mother Nature has taken the lead to restore balance now, and there is inevitable and obvious destruction in this healing process. If we can cap the greed in our own lives, we put ourselves in alignment with nature’s cure, and change the world!

If you wish to correspond, please feel free to post a comment below.

Until we meet again,

#695 Chuck’s Place: WHY BP?

Mother Earth, that mighty sentient being, has resorted to that ancient healing practice of leeching, or blood letting, to cure her wounds. Her BP, her blood pressure, has risen and blown a gasket, as her blood spews forth, poisoning the seas. With all our advanced technological know-how, we cannot cauterize or clot this flow. Bleeding, as all women experience, is nature’s way of cleansing.

The Earth poisons now our food supply. Why? And why won’t she stop? Why is she destroying herself? Frankly, I see no other way for Mother Earth to save herself, other than to create unprecedented destruction.

Mankind has been unable to evolve beyond greed, the true culprit of the wounding of the Earth. Mankind’s most prized possession, his reason, is but a puppet in the hands of his greed. Even in the midst of this unprecedented environmental disaster a judge has lifted the ban on offshore drilling. Our Mother realizes that the destruction must be vast and must impact us at a level we cannot ignore, at a level that forces us to change, to cap our greed, in order to survive.

Mother is providing us with a cure now, a flow, to move us forward. Mother is correcting the imbalance in mankind. This is no longer a problem solvable by reason; reason is no match for greed. Mother is forcing our instinct of self-preservation to confront our out-of-control hunger instinct, which has been allowed to consume and destroy, in the form of hoarding, accumulating, and exploiting the Earth. As this quote from a Wintu woman, in T. C. McLuhan’s Touch the Earth suggests, modern man has lost his connection to balance as reflected in his practices toward the Earth:

When we Indians dig roots, we make little holes. When we build houses, we make little holes. When we burn grass for grasshoppers, we don’t ruin things. We shake down acorns and pinenuts. We don’t chop down the trees. We only use dead wood. But the White people plow up the ground, pull down the trees, kill everything. The tree says, ‘Don’t. I am sore. Don’t hurt me.’ But they chop it down and cut it up… They blast rocks and scatter them on the ground… How can the spirit of the earth like the White man? Everywhere the White man has touched it, it is sore.”

This is now a battle of instincts, instigated by the Great Mother Earth. Man, with his reason, is being put in his proper place, as Mother instinct takes over, with her menstrual flow, to clean things up and reassert natural balance. It’s not in our hands anymore. Mother Earth has taken over her own body. All we can do now is acquiesce to the facts of the destruction and what we need to do to survive. If we choose to continue to manipulate and spin reality, allowing reason to continue to feed our greed, Mother Earth will continue to spew toxins, her own chemotherapy, to bring us to truth. It’s an illusion for us to really believe that we are in control now.

That’s why BP. Mother has sent us a sign, using an acronym we can recognize: BP. Her blood pressure will no longer tolerate our greed. It’s pointless to blame BP; Mother has chosen BP for her own cleansing purposes, offering our consciousness the acronym BP to contemplate. Despite the destruction, Mother does have a sense of humor!

If you wish to correspond, please feel free to post a comment below.

Until we meet again,