Category Archives: Community

About community

Becoming a caring source to others

 Find your internal source, it will ripple change into the world.

I like to be close to water when I need to think.  This water source and its bridge in Colchester was an inspiration for the Liberated Way logo.

I sit close to running water when I need to think. This water source and its bridge in Colchester was an inspiration for the Liberated Way logo.

I share Celtic reverence for sources of water, springs that erupt out of the ground, or sources of the great British rivers.   My ancient ancestors considered water sources as sacred: the ancient neolithic structures such as Stonehenge cluster around the source of the River Avon; the cave paintings of Chauvet focus upon a vulva-like cave opening from which a spring emerges with a stampede of painted animals on the walls, born out of the source into the world; Colchester’s Balkerne Gate springs once had a temple to the three Roman mothers; near Colchester at St Osyth is a memory of an ancient female spirit of a spring transformed into a Christian saint.

Sources of water to my ancient ancestors was the source of all things, all the animals the hunter gatherers hunted came from this source, and returned to it.  Prosperity (health, happiness, abundance) came forth from that symbolised as the sources of water.  Water sources became the focus of legend, stories and reverence of nature spirits.  All things came from, then returned to this source. The Tao Te Ching (40) says:

“The movement of the Tao
By contraries proceeds;
And weakness marks the course
Of Tao’s mighty deeds.

All things under heaven sprang from It as existing (and named);
that existence sprang from It as non-existent (and not named).”

Until a few hundred years ago a major water source for Colchester ran between the Roman walls and the hill of St Johns Green known as the Lose Brook. Aptly for its name, this water source is lost. I plan to locate the centre of my business near to a water source like the Lose Brook. I will find such a water source, uncover it and bring it back into use. Just as I focus on caring for living things or business customers, so the source of the strength of the business is a social contract between society, nature and the business tied together and centered into an authentic tangible narrative of a spring. Out of this centre ripples all the business processes into the internet and the world. The ever-present spring at the heart of the business will remind me of my social contract with nature and society based on values such as sustainability and localism, and woe anyone who forgets it.

Each individual must find their own internal source, for it is the source of their strength. Personal and human prosperity or ruin revolves around the source, forgetful people will suffer only ruin, those that remember will have harmony. The Tao of the Tao Te Ting, or the Logos of Heraclitus is this source, symbolised by the spring, well or fountain. You must first find your internal source, merge with it, become governed by it, stay centered on it, then the ripples of positive change you make into the world will come out of it.

The rise of localism

Globalism and central control is coming to an end.

Bees are localised, sustainable and self reliant, something humanity will learn the hard way.

Bees are localised, sustainable and self-reliant, something humanity will learn the hard way.

The first of a series of debates on Scottish independence from the UK took place yesterday, the vote for independence takes place next month.  The campaign for Scottish independence is part of a larger paradigm shift away from globalism to localism around the world.  Cornwall, Wales, Mercia, Yorkshire and Wessex are all campaigning for independence in the UK.  Even in my town of Colchester we want to take back control of highways from external authorities.

The European elections this year resulted in a surge in anti-EU nationalistic parties doing well.  UKIP which wants the UK to leave the EU was the clear winner in the UK in the European elections.  The UN is increasingly seen as ineffective in the face of international crisis, often used by a few powerful nations, and ignored by practically everyone.  Israel recently expressed the contempt nations now have for the UN by bombing UN schools in Gaza.

The USSR has broken up into small nations, as has Yugoslavia.  Sudan split into two and Georgia into three nations.  There is talk of California in the USA breaking into six states, and a growing but still small movements for other states breaking away from the Union altogether.  The fighting in East Ukraine is as much about local Russians wanting to determine their own future as the international games of chess between the superpowers.

Flanders is seeking to break from Belgium; Catalonia and the Basque Country want to break from Spain; the city of Venice wants to break from Italy; Quebec is looking to break from Canada; Kurdistan and many other Peoples are seeking to form their own nation states out of the chaos of Iraq, Syria and Libya.

New forms of local currency such as the Totnes pound and electronic currencies such as Bitcoin challenge the bankers. Until recently my local council Essex Council was talking about creating its own bank for local people.  Corporates such as Starbucks are considering creating their own currencies, in effect becoming their own banks.  Multiple non-banking payment systems such as PayPal are now part of internet commerce.  In the face of sanctions Russia has created their own version of VISA for citizens to pay their bills.

The internet has helped to break up the power of information monopolies where the citizen blogger is as effective as a journalist in the New York Times.  The internet places greater power in the hands of the individual on the local level.

Water, energy, food and debt are the four great forces now driving the world politically, economically and socially.  The many chasing a diminishing amount of resources drives people to fight or conserve their resources.  Huge growing public and private debt is destroying nation states, driving the momentum to think local rather than global.  The Greek economic crisis drove local people back to the land, to become self-sufficient, and create systems of trade outside of the global financial system.

I support localism, and I designed my business with localism in mind.  The growing international crisis will force people to become local, sustainable and self-reliant.  As the money runs out nations, communities and individuals will quickly learn that it is down to themselves to live or die.

The fool who gambled his son

Treasure is not always gold.

Inattention and carelessness risks the loss of the essential.

Inattention and carelessness risks the loss of the essential.

I sit in the middle of Colchester, people watching.  A father and son stop, the father abandons the son on the sidewalk to enter a shop to gamble money on a horse race.  The son is about 3-years-old and calls for his father, he tries to push against the shop door, but it is too heavy.

In my imagination multiple dangers lurk, the boy could be abducted, the pushchair could roll into the road into the path of a car, or the child walks into the road with the same result.  I dislike intervention, so I watch and wait.  The father eventually leaves the shop, the father-and-son go on their way.  The unwise father is oblivious to the precious treasure he risked the loss of by leaving his son on the sidewalk alone as he pursued the fools delusion of treasure won on horse races.

Into the darkness

Impermanence, death, winter and nature.

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly" Photo dedicated in memory of NIKOtheOrb, RIP.

“What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.”
Photo dedicated in memory of NIKOtheOrb, RIP.

The first day of November heralded for the Celts the start of the new year, for my ancient ancestors considered that the world began from the darkness.  This is now the twelfth day of winter, everything is dark and cold, the land of Britain is falling asleep.  The trees cast off their leaves, the hedgehog that visited my garden has vanished into hibernation.

I am reminded at this time of the tale of Lludd and Llevelys, a Celtic story of a king that I argue was ruler of Colchester because he was brother to Cassivellaunus who was said to have historically seized Colchester prompting Julius Caesar to invade Britain, and in legend to have seized the throne of Britain from his brother.  In this story at the start of winter an invisible thief charms everyone to sleep then steals the food and drink of the people, prompting Lludd to call in help from his wise brother Llevelys.  The story highlights the Celtic worldview that death and winter is merely a transformation, nothing dies, everything becomes invisible and asleep, before re-emerging awake and visible.  The invisible thief is that aspect of nature that is death and winter, the land is now asleep, and the abundant food I used to forage until a few weeks ago has vanished.  

This invisible thief has hurt me in recent weeks by making invisible… stealing… those things and people I cared about.  I was devastated when the “Castle Tree” was wiped out by storm St Jude on 28th October.  Now I learn that a blogger, a kindred spirit called Nikotheorb died on 21st October, the day they made three blog posts, and who I last exchanged comments with on 16th October on Liberated Way.  Niko’s blog posts and their comments on my blog was a source of influence and encouragement to my blogging.  I do not know how Niko died, but I grieve at this news, like parts of me are vanishing into nothingness.

Objectively I recognise in nature there is impermanence, everything is change and transformation.  Things and people appear and go out of existence every moment in nature.  I write this, Helix the cat has jumped upon the table to investigate an interesting smell, unusual for this cat… everything in motion… the cat is cleaning itself and now settling down to sleep on its interesting new “blanket”… I remember Helix as a little kitten… in years to come it will grow old and pass on…

Like my ancestors I recognise that death is not an ending, but a transformation from one state to another.  What is invisible and asleep will emerge again into visibility and wakefulness.  The warm days will return, the darkness and cold will flee, the land will awaken into abundant visibility at some point.  For everything and everyone death is a change in state, visible to invisible to visible again.

The last post of Niko was about her delight of a thunderstorm. My post on 22nd October after Niko’s passing is my own joy of nature. The cat Helix watches me as I post these last words, a reminder of the moment, to enjoy life whilst we can, each beautiful moment.  Helix goes to sleep.   The final post by Niko was a quote by Einstein:

“Out of clutter, find simplicity.  From discord, find harmony.  In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

Tears as I finish… a little cat sleeps next to my laptop in innocent bliss.

Nature of death

Death is a part of nature.

Death is an aspect of nature.

Death is an aspect of nature.

Hordes of the undead and devilish swamped the streets of Colchester last night, watched over by parents and a highly visible police presence to prevent some of the excesses of Halloween trick or treating.  For Britain Halloween remains the domain of children, dressing up, partying and visiting the appropriately decorated houses for candy and cake.

Halloween marked the start of winter, as I write this blog on the 1st November, it is the first day of winter in the UK.  The Celts called Halloween by the name of Samhain, which was their new year, a time to rest after the harvest, and to remember deceased ancestors.  It was Christianity which largely painted the false idea Halloween was devil worship.

As the children had their fun, dressing up and obtaining candy I considered how different their outlook is to the children of their Colchester Celtic ancestors.  Imagine a gathering of the modern family, a seat is left empty for grandma, the mother places grandmas skull at the empty seat and food and drink for her, then everyone eats and drinks to celebrate their new year… would a modern child be terrified of such a scene, of facing a reminder of death? A Celtic ancestor child would not.

In Colchester Celtic communities were animistic, living a worldview where past, present and future were continuous; the ancestors were a part of the community, and children continued the same traditions and beliefs as the ancestors.  Central to any community a Celtic shrine, where the bones of important ancestors were kept.

There were places in Colchester a deceased person would be exposed to the elements, away from the community, consumed by crows, to rot.  After a period of time, parts of the body would be recovered such as skull, and distributed amongst family and friends, often transferred to the family or community shrine.  The community cremated the rest of the body, and a feast held in its honour.

Death is a part of nature, and it is interesting to reflect on this aspect of nature on occasion as Halloween often does for me.

Our connection to land

The idea of Ubuntu extends to I am my land, my community, my ancestors, my descendents, and the plants, animals and geography of my land.

The idea of Ubuntu can extend to “I am my land, my community, my ancestors, my descendents, and the plants, animals and geography of my land.”

Ubuntu is my connection to my community, I am because we are, but also to the land in which my community lives, to my ancestors in that community, to my descendents in my community, every plant, tree and rock in my community.  I am like a tree anchored in my community, my roots buried deep into the ground, hungry for the life-giving food and water of my community.  Deposit me in Detroit in USA, or Hull in the North of England it is like ripping a tree out of the ground and dumping it in the sea, I am unrooted, I die.

After Chernobyl the authorities evicted tens of thousands of people and deposited them into distant cities, a people ripped away from their native land, suffering extreme social and psychological problems that some preferred to risk the dangers of radiation by returning illegally to their former homes.

The UK-based Guardian newspaper today reports on the animist Guarani-Kaiowá indigenous tribe in Brazil, 34 times more likely to kill themselves compared to other Brazilians.  Ranchers and biofuel farmers deprive the Guarani-Kaiowá of their native lands, to quote:

“The Guarani people think their relationship with the universe is broken when they are separated from their land. They feel they are a broken people.” Many in the community cosmologically interpret their situation as a symptom of the destruction of the world.

I follow the stories of many animistic hunter gatherer people, the story is tragically universal and repeated across the world:

“Many other indigenous communities in the world, including the Tiwi Islanders in Australia, Khanty herders in Siberia and Inuits in Greenland, have unusually high suicide rates. Anthropologists say this is closely linked to the loss of land, which is often followed by social disintegration and economic dependence on charity and state handouts. The result is often alcoholism inside the community and racism outside, which leaves the young – in one man’s words – “stuck somewhere between a past they don’t understand and a future that won’t accept them”.”

In Europe two indigenous people still survive, the enigmatic Basque people, who passionately and sometimes violently defend their culture, and the Sami in the extreme north of Europe.  Both cultures, in my small way, I will support.

Ubuntu and animals

We can extend Ubuntu to other species.

How can we be happy if we make other species unhappy?

How can we be happy if we make other species unhappy?

Danny Williams commented on my recent blog post about Ubuntu that this philosophy is extendable to other species.  Ubuntu – “I am because we are” – means I am happy if you are happy.  Danny Williams encountered a spider web whilst picking berries, he avoided the spider web rather than destroy the spider’s work.  How can Danny be happy if he made a spider unhappy by destroying its web?

Whilst camping I competed with other animals as I foraged for fruit and berries in the wild.  Nature freely gives, and I have equal liberties as other animals to the natural food abundance.  I also take advantage of discounts at food retail stores, where today I purchased strawberries at a tenth of their price.  Whilst eating my strawberries a fly landed on a strawberry and began feeding, so I gave the fly the strawberry, Ubuntu, just as we share the forage so I share my strawberries with other living things.

A friend related to me today about a shed belonging to a neighbor which attracted hedgehogs that liked to live and hibernate there.  Sadly the neighbor removed the shed depriving the hedgehogs of their home, and so they vanished from the local gardens.  Through Ubuntu the neighbor could have worked in harmony with the hedgehogs so that they retained their home and the community retained the joy of visits from hedgehogs.  Can we extend Ubuntu to other species too?