Category Archives: Community

About community

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?

Nature and tradition

Traditions capture belief and behavior of ancestors.

This board game used to be a traditionally played by my Celtic and Colchester ancestors  which in the Celtic tongue is called "wood wisdom."  After burial in a possible Druid grave, I am attempting to restore this traditional game in the modern age.

This board game was traditionally played by my Celtic and Colchester ancestors, the Celts called “wood wisdom.” After being forgotten for 2000-years, and found in a possible Druid grave, I am introducing this game to the modern world.

The 2000-year-old Roman walls of my town of Colchester are presently covered in scaffolding as they undergo major repairs.  Throughout the last 2000 years Colchester residents periodically repair and maintain our walls, such as King Edward the Elder in 921 CE, Roman wall repairs is a town tradition.

I respect traditions, they contain the wisdom of ancestors that may go back tens of thousands of years.  Traditions are national, community or family, but they encode the beliefs and behaviors of ancestors passing from generation to generation.  Chauvet contains some of the best cave paintings in the world, cave painting is a tradition at Chauvet, and the main purpose of Chauvet as a place of rite of passage for youths was over a period of ten thousand or more years, only interrupted by occasional climate change cold peaks.

Our ancestors were more closely connected to raw nature, birth, life and death than we are.  One of the common themes of the traditions of ancestors was to promote fertility to the land, a way of spiritually inviting prosperity, which includes health, happiness and abundance.  Morris dancers occasionally perform in Colchester, a national tradition recorded to at least 1448 CE which are a folk tradition often performed on certain days of the year around the communities of Britain to promote the blessing of prosperity to the community.

Traditions like Morris dancing remind us what we have forgotten about, that nature is the cause of our prosperity, we indulge in the traditions to share the respect for nature and the land as our ancestors did.  There is a direct relationship between our forgetting our traditions and our separation from nature.

thegreenline

I am now away at least one week.  I wish all my readers a prosperous week.

What is sustainability?

I define sustainability.

If you kill this crow you undermine an energy renewal process in the ecosystem.

If you kill this crow you undermine an energy renewal process in the ecosystem.

I think people over-complicate the definition on sustainability, which confuses and drives people away from adopting sustainable practices in their life, business and community.  I shall use the example of the human body to present three rules that define sustainability.

The human body is a machine that requires energy to work.  The human body is an energy system, and sustainability focuses upon providing the body with enough energy to work such as being able to breath and pump blood around the body.

Sustainability follows three basic rules:

1. Availability: there is sufficient available energy to achieve a purpose, design or function.

There is a basic level of energy the body requires each day for life, if this energy is unavailable the result is sickness and death.  The human body needs energy at all times to power the heart muscles to pump blood around the body.  Inadequate available energy means the body will go into crisis energy management: burning off muscle; collapsing the metabolic rate; redirecting all available resources to core life support processes.

2. Flow: energy must have unobstructed flow throughout the system.

If you block the flow of oxygen or blood from any part of the human body, that part will sicken and die.  The body is in constant motion, for instance the heart is pumping blood every minute of life, disruption of this motion will have dire consequences for health.

3. Renewal: the energy system needs constant renewal of energy.

The human body uses up energy as it works, losing this energy as heat.  The human body needs a constant source of food, and be able to process this food into a viable source of energy for work. Lock a human in a room with no food, over time they will sicken and die.

Summary

Sustainability is easy to understand, follow the three basic rules and you are being sustainable. The three rules are applicable to any energy system from the human body, to ecosystem, to community, to business.  Sustainability leads to prosperity which is health, happiness and abundance.  The reverse of sustainability is a wasteland of sickness, despair and poverty.

Nature consists of a network of energy systems, which require energy to function.  Sustainability might include offensive energy strategies which obtain energy, or defensive strategies that include energy conservation, efficiency and energy recycling.

The current human worldview, its paradigm, includes: consuming more energy than what is available in an energy system; blocking the flow of energy through obsession with control; undermining or paralysing energy renewal systems; and suicidally, even wiping out the pools of available energy, for instance poisoning water aquifers through fracking.  Predictability, as in the human body example, there is only one outcome from unsustainable treatment of energy systems, sickness then death.

The adaptability of nature

Nature is able to adapt and opportunistically take advantage of what it finds.

A wild tree opportunistically colonised the roof of Colchester Castle.

A wild tree opportunistically colonised the roof of Colchester Castle.

When I pick up litter in certain places of Hilly Fields in Colchester I check and remove snails which have used the litter as a home.  I recognise that although humanity increasingly encroaches upon plant and animal, nature adapts to live, grow and reproduce.  The ducks, pigeons and squirrels of Colchester Castle Park use humans as a food source.  Colchester Castle for hundreds of years has been a home for bees and pigeons, a wild tree grows on the Castle roof.  My neighbour has bats in their roof, and a fox enters their cat flap to raid the cat food. Plastic munching bacteria love the islands of plastic humanity dumped in the oceans.  The Daily Mail newspaper ran an article about abandoned buildings in Finland now home to otters, squirrels, foxes, voles, badgers and other wildlife.

Even if human civilisation collapses there exists a group of humans from North Sentinel Island who DNA suggests are 60,000 years old and are likely to continue to exist in their insular ecosystem as they have done for tens of thousands of years.  The Sentinelese are now a protected people who are hostile to outsiders they will kill on sight, quite rightly as any contact with modern humans will subject them to diseases they have no immunity to, as well as to exploitation.  The Sentinelese are a hunter gatherer people in harmony with nature.  It is hunter gatherers who are likely to adapt faster to global collapse than modern humans since they already have the tools and skills to cope with working with nature, rather than against nature.

Thousand thanks

Liberated Way blog has over one thousand follows.

Thank you to all my readers for following Liberated Way blog.

Thank you to all my readers for following Liberated Way blog.

I would like to thank all my readers for their follows, comments and likes of Liberated Way which passed a mile mark of one thousand follows.  About 90% of the follows are from the beautiful community of WordPress.

My personal experiences in nature has steadily evolved my worldview which I enjoy sharing with my readers. In my opinion if a reader takes away something practical from a post I write then I am happy.  I wish you all prosperity, that is to say good health, happiness and abundance.

Philosophy of Ubuntu

Ubuntu: “I am because we are.”

This image of children often appears in internet postings associated with ubuntu, but captures the essence of what ubuntu is. (source: uncredited/unknown.)

This image of children often appears in internet postings associated with ubuntu, but captures what ubuntu is. (source: uncredited/unknown.)

Ubuntu described beautifully in several blogs by the following story:

A researcher placed a basket of fruit by a tree, then challenged a bunch of children to race to the tree, the winner would win the basket of fruit.  The children responded by holding hands then running to the tree together where they sat down and shared out the fruit.  The researcher asked the children why they had done this as the winner could have taken the fruit for themselves as the winner of the race, the children responded, “UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the others are sad?”

Ubuntu means in the Xhosa tribal culture “I am because we are.”  The Xhosa are a tribal culture in the south-east of South Africa who include famous members such as Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.  Ubuntu places otherness above the individual, thus they say:

“I am happy, because you are happy. “

Contrast this statement with the outlook of cultures such as the UK and the USA:

“X is happy even if Y is unhappy.”

or

“X is happy after exploiting Y, leaving Y unhappy.”

Ubuntu is a philosophy worth knowing about as it is an ideal of community.  I support the belief that community is the basic building block of civilisation, if the global system collapses, as longs as the community is strong, the members of the community stand a higher chance of surviving any crisis.  Ubuntu is the foundation stone of a strong community.  There is also an argument that ubuntu transcends all human boundaries, though I am unsure if this is merely wishful thinking on the part of those outside of the Xhosa culture.

Although the ubuntu philosophy is beautiful I am a realist, since I live in a Western-modern paradigm that places value on individuality that exploits fellow human beings and nature for its own gain.  If I was to practice ubuntu, every parasite in my community would exploit, abuse and misuse me.

I aspire to ubuntu, but I have strict boundaries, and a gateway policy as to who I work with, which prevents parasites exploiting me.  One boundary is the trade contract, each side brings something of benefit to the table, and everyone leaves the table a winner.

In an ideal ubuntu culture everyone trusts each other.  The modern culture of the UK and USA encourages exploitation for personal gain, mistrust, spying on each other and every type of parasitic behavior imaginable, which requires a certain misanthropic reality check to survive being destroyed by it.  For humanity to survive they must adopt ubuntu otherwise humanity must go extinct.