What you see in the above photo is typical of what Judith and I saw near the Syrian border in 2010. A devastating drought dropped water levels as scientists noted a massive shift in the area’s climate. At the time we were there political experts observed rising tensions as farmers abandoned their fields and migrated to urban centers. Judith and I, along with a Wisdom Graduate School team, thought we were going to base ourselves in a sleepy village called Sanliurfa. What we found was a city suddenly crowded with displaced farmers, a city larger than Austin, Texas. Driving. Even walking in the streets was a challenge. Tensions abounded.
We were there to study a pivotal archeological site, Gobekli Tepe, which was surrounded by parched fields, wheat fields dying in October heat above 100 degrees. This was the place on Earth where humans first learned about the marvels of wheat. Yet, now it was a desert. We talked to young men who could not get married because the dowry was high and the jobs non-existent and their farms gone. We talked to young women trapped in drought and repressive customs. One young woman had taught herself six languages by listening to audio tapes. She longed to go to school, but the patriarchy would not even allow her to go to elementary school, much less to law school to which she aspired. Was this extreme condition in Nature going to shape all of our cultures? We asked ourselves, knowing it would. But surely it wouldn’t spill over to the USA. But, of course, it has. And now we wonder, how can we be safe?
Three observations: in 2003 during the George W. Bush administration, the Pentagon urged Congress to elevate climate change “beyond a scientific debate to a U.S. national security concern.” In my view, the Pentagon was right. I observed the tensions on the Syrian border growing out of the drought. We have to address, know, and become full participants in Earth’s rebalancing of Herself if we are to find safety. This knowing and being part of Earth is more basic than gun laws or immigration policies, in my view, though it will include creativity that emerges from our learning the mother tongue of nature, a nature in massive balancing. This knowing will allow us to find solutions to myriad of our problems, though it will be a challenge.
Second, we have to give our young people(and ourselves) an initiatory pathway to become morally mature participants as Earth citizens. Young people, uneducated and educated alike, know intuitively that the dream of Western Civilization to own a house, an auto, tech devices, and a good job is not sufficient. As such the materialism of the industrial nations does not satisfy our spirits. We must know that reality, given our prodigious addictive appetites.
Finally,(for today) Earth-based spirituality and living offers us a glimpse for being safer both in terms of the mighty forces of Nature and the multiplying threat of terrorism. So far, our glimpses of the mighty forces of the Great Mother drive us to humility. A good ground to stand on,kneel on, or, best in my practice, lie on.
More to come. Your thoughts?