Sitting in the right pew but wrong church
What if I told you that everything we have been programmed to believe about our human nature and the mission of the human journey have all been wrong? What if I told you that at this point in our evolution as a human species, we have enough knowledge and wisdom to learn from the mistakes of our misguided past worldviews and to make the world great again? What if I told you that a realignment of our values in right relationship of each to one another and all of us to the planet will solve all of our problems in one swoop, inclusive of the misgivings in all of our religions, politics and above all our economics? What if I told you that our intuitions in all of our fields of endeavor have essentially been correct, but that our misguided view of our human nature and the human journey have been way off course and off the mark? What if we have been singing from the wrong hymn sheet and paying homage to the wrong church? If you find these proclamations hard to believe, then I hope at the end of this article, your faith in our true human nature and the wonder and awesomeness of the authentic human journey will be reawakened!
Truth be told, the fundamental flaw in all of our misgivings have been our worshiping of the fruits of our own creations rather than the worshiping of the wise evolutionary design of creation that has bestowed on us bountiful fruits. Instead of tilling and tending the diversity of this creative garden and valuing Her wisdom and letting Her guide our apprenticeship to responsibly steward the embedded nested households of our bodies, families, communities and planet, we have created dysfunctional rules of engagement. Our present day rituals and narratives have served to undermine that stewardship and have replaced it with rules that have uprooted us from that sense of belonging and interconnectedness with each other and from the ultimate source of our life-sustenance – Mother Earth.
Instead of valuing and nurturing the relationships with each other and the planet and using the fruits of our hearts and feet to guide us, we ended unwittingly valuing and misguidedly nurturing the life-debasing fruits of our minds and hands. As a result, we ended up sanctifying, glorifying and legalizing our Scriptures, Constitutions and Treaties in our respective religions, politics and economics! Consequently, instead of dealing with and solving the life-problems of the here and now, we ended up focusing on competing narratives of the afterlife, legitimizing power relations of the insecure few above everyone else, and ultimately, creating a system of rules governing exchange of goods and services that focused on competition for scarce life-resources – rather than helping to create a system of rules of engagement based on mutual respect, caring and benefit that focused on how we can cooperate to regenerate those life resources and make them sufficient for one and all and the following generations.
This is not a new insight but has been known since the days of Aristotle and Plato when they distinguished between economics and chrematistics, where the former dealt with the stewardship of the household, and the later with the managed accumulation of wealth. What passes as economics today is for all intents and practical purposes the institutionalization and legitimization of chrematistics based on the pricing mechanism where all transactions are based on the exchange value of money. As the wealth of nations and the global economy is based on the continued growth of the price value of all of our transactions,
economic chrematistic growth is the mantra of almost all of our economists “chrematisticians.” As growth of chrematistic wealth is in terms of money value and is structurally decoupled from the regenerative life-wisdom of our planet and our communities, it is no wonder that our scriptures, policies and economic theories are anti-scientific and irrational and based on faulty worldviews that have undermined the life-giving and life-supporting systems of our planet and society. Instead of trying to create fully life-coherent and integral scientific theories to guide our institutions of religion, politics and economics and make them whole, we have wasted our energies and talents in perfecting the art of perception and persuasion, where we against our best life interests, put on a pedestal and worshiped the craftiest practitioners of life-distraction, deception and destruction.
What if I told you that we have been sitting in the right pew but wrong church, where economic growth is the right pew, and the church of money value accumulation is the wrong church! What if we were paying homage to life capital growth and the stewardship of life capital within our bodies, among all life beings and the planet instead? Is not this what true economic growth represents – true stewardship and management that can be understood based on the life-wisdom of our ecosystems of which our communities and economies are embedded? What if the organizing patterns and principles of self-organizing life-systems are used to guide and steer our sacred scriptures, policies and treaties, and reclaim the wisdom of right relationships in the ebbs and flows of life that indigenous peoples past and present respected and celebrated? What if now we can reclaim our birth-right of having all of our universal human life necessities provided for in harmony with our life-responsibility of stewarding, protecting and regenerating all of our life resources so that they will be sufficient and no longer scarce for generations to come?
What if this becomes a cooperative effort through and through and we as a human species invest all of our time and energies on this single common goal? What would happen to poverty, economic inequality, physical, mental and social diseases, and above all, wars, that now than ever before have the nuclear potential to destroy, in the trigger of a finger and the blink of an eye, all the life-capital on the planet that have been evolutionary designed over billion of years? Would there be anyone left to say, “Gone too soon?”
What I have learnt over the past few months given this awesome and breathtaking systems view of life, where life is embodied and embedded through and through, is that even our own individual bodies have within it systems of wisdom and guidance that grounds us, protects us, allows us to bond and engage socially and ecologically, and creatively imagine solutions to all of our life’s problems. What our institutional religions, politics and economics have done over the millennium have created fake worldviews that have undermined the actualization of our life-given capacities and capabilities, in service and worship to the “invisible hands” of gods and the market. In the process we have forsaken the “invisible hearts and feet” of people, other life-beings and the planet. We need now to forgive ourselves and each other as we knew not what we were doing and knew not of the collateral consequences of undermining the for-ever-giving life-potential of our planet.
Now we know better and are reawakened and can be born-again and see our world with fresh new-eyes. Given that we are hardwired to care and share life-resources cooperatively, and not destroy and accumulate money-wealth competitively, we can begin to upgrade the operating systems of our minds, hearts, souls and spirits. We can help make our world great again by helping to rejuvenate and revitalize the life-ground of our planet, the life-nests of our maturation be it our homes, neighbourhoods, schools and churches, the life-productive grounds of our workplaces and communities, and the life-protective and sustaining grounds of our scriptures, constitutions and treaties. Since we have learnt from complex dynamic systems theories and the systems view of life that the creative arc of evolutionary regenerative design bends towards emergent diversity at every level of life creativity, the infinite potential of our thoughts, felt side of being and actions have no limit in repairing and regenerating all of our present life-capital bases and in solving all of our life-problems.
It is in this sense we can now have infinite true-economic life-capital growth on a finite regenerative planet which, if we are deserving of our life-efforts, may one day allow us as a species to spread our wings and navigate the outer reaches of our cosmos. This can only happen if we stop singing from the old hymn sheet of chrematistic growth in the wrong church of money value sequencing, and start singing together from the new hymn sheet of true-economic life-capital regenerative growth in the right church of life-value sequencing.
And to celebrate our release from the captivity of the invisible prisons of our life-dysfunctional minds and hearts, and seeing the potential to transform and make our world whole and great again, I can think of no one better than Professor John McMurtry to lead us from our life-exile into the promised land no longer based on life-taking scarcity but now embracing Mother Earth’s life-giving abundance. His paper, THE META VALUE SYSTEM OF ALL VALUES, is the ultimate anchor, compass and steer to guide us to actualizing the full-life-potential of this life-giving planet and by extension the life-affirming universe.
Imagine if each one of us, 7 billion few, are able to compute and inspire in parallel and work together in sharing and caring for each other as we use the full potential of the life-ground of our creative imaginations to solve life’s problems? By tilling and tending to the gardens of human and ecological possibilities fully-life integrally and coherently, who and what do we have to fear? And if we are not the chosen people to stand up for the sanctity and dignity of all life, then who? And if not now when we are on the brink of nuclear Armageddon, then when?
The “invisible machinations of minds and hands” of gods and markets have produced the ultimate weapon of life destructiveness, the nuclear bomb! What we need now more than ever before is the “invisible network of hearts and feet” of life and love to help us open our minds and guide our hands as “we beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks and we do not learn war anymore.” And in so doing, help to co-create the greatest dispensation of a life-regenerative economy ever imagined!
In the right pew of the wrong church, we told each other “Take care,” and we took care away from each other and the planet. Now that we are in the right pew of the right church, it is time we proclaim, “Give care,” as we give care to ourselves, each other and our planet – Mother Earth:
Our Mother, who art on Earth, Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done
As we acknowledge your for-ever-giving presence.
Give us this day our universal life necessities.
As we forgive each other when we trespass against Your life-giving systems and we undermine our society’s life supporting systems.
Lead us not into the temptation of being complicit in fostering human life deprivation and ecological degradation,
And deliver us from all forms of violence – be it direct, structural and cultural.
For Thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory,
For ever and ever,