When diversity, equality and inclusion become DIE

The latest acronym you must know in government and big business is DEI: diversity, equality and inclusion. Those three commandments have now supplanted the ten we used to learn about. Unfortunately the acronym is often DIE in practice. How can that be when diversity, inclusion and equality are so obviously good things?

White bread is not wholesome even though it’s brand is “Holsum.” Wheat is a naturally nutritious grain that has provided sustenance for entire civilizations. With a little yeast and a little heat, wheat goes from tough and long storage life to a light fluffy delicious treat. Somewhere along the line, brown bread became the bread of the commoner and everyone wanted white bread. Until they realized the empty calories of white bread and other overly refined foods were death warmed over.

Similarly, diversity as it exists in Nature is a valuable attribute which contributes mightily to the resilience of systems. Decreasing diversity often leads to the destruction of systems. Taking wolves out of ecosystems leads to overpopulation of deer and antelopes, overgrazing, and destruction of land and soil.

When systems face disturbance, diversity can crucial in rebuilding a system. Grasses may be rare in a mature forest, but after a forest fire, their quick growth from the soil seed bank preserved the soil for slow growing trees species which eventually restablish dominance, only to lose it at the next fire.

This mutually beneficial interaction of diverse species can be permanently destroyed when some species are introduced. Conservation groups introduced multi-flora rose for wildlife, but lack of competitors has made it the dominant species in many systems, crowding out the food species needed by wildlife. Kudzu was introduced for soil conservation and grazing but was no invasive it has smothered all vegetation, including trees and even houses and cars.

Diversity can destroy. Kudzu smothers everything in its path.

Rabbits were introduced in Australia to increase the diversity of wildlife. Instead, with no natural predators, prolific birthrate and tendency to eat plants down to the roots, they have destroyed brittle ecosystems in Australia and stimulated desertification.

Diversity must be complementary. Resilient ecosystems have gradually accumulated a wide array of organisms which are complementary to each other. The waste of one species is food for another. Each plays a role in maintaining the ability of the system to survive and thrive.

Natural ecosystems have adaptive cycles of rapid growth, maturity, release and reorganization which ensure that all component species are limited in their ability to dominate the ecosystem. Too many of one species will result in disease and predation on that species. Diversity, equality and inclusion exist in natural ecosystems but they are not goals of natural systems.

Artificially inflating the power of one population in the system will result in degradation of the system.

Even worse is the inclusion of populations which are dedicated to the destruction, not resilience of the system.

Many groups in the US appear dedicated to the destruction of the US, not helping it to improve and become more resilient. Increasing their numbers is like purposely releasing more rabbits in Australia or planting more kudzu in the Southern US.

Then DEI becomes DIE.

What the far left elite should learn

” . . .the most lethal terrorist threat to the homeland today is from White supremacist terrorism.” Dear Leader, April 28, 2021

” . . . to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.” Dear Leader, June 23, 2021

One basic take-away from the surrender of the American far left elite to the Taliban: a dithering, misguided elite can be defeated by a rag tag group of religious zealots. If you are sure of your beliefs, make sure your children are educated to realize the truth of those beliefs, and order your local society based on those beliefs, you can defeat even the greatest empire.

Constantine’s cross

Those who are scared of “white supremacists” are chasing a ghost. That time is long past. Racial equality (as defined in the New Testament) has spread throughout the land. If you do find a “white supremacist,” he’ll be a pretty dumb, isolated fool who can’t organize his dirty dishes.

The titular leader of the American far left elite was also wrong when he said: ” . . .to take on the government, you need F-15s and maybe some nuclear weapons.” The Taliban showed that the far left elite will roll over and give you all the weaponry they have. The far left elite are so inept, even barely literate villagers can outwit them.

Early Christians conquered the Roman empire with similar tactics, though it took a bit longer. While Caligula and other Roman emperors persecuted early Christians, even using them as candles to light up garden parties, the early Christians were resilient. They helped each other and showed their children and their neighbors the truth of their beliefs while living in a society which considered them pests and ignorant, low class boors. The last major Roman persecution of Christians was under Diocletian. Emperor Diocletian began having health problems and retired in 305 to an estate in what is now the city of Split in Croatia. After Diocletian, Galerius started a policy of religious tolerance. When he died in 311, the way was open for Flavius Valerius Constantinus, known as Constantine. Constantine’s mother was a Christian and taught her son the truth, though Constantine only became a convicted Christian when he fought to become the new ruler of Rome.

His fought with other Roman generals ending in a battle nine miles North of Rome in 312. In the afternoon before the battle, Constantine saw a “flaming cross in the sky” with the words “in this sign conquer.”  The next morning, a voice told him to have his soldiers mark their shields with the symbol of Christ, the letter X with a line drawn through it.

They won the battle and Constantine became Christian. In 324, the ancient city of Byzantium was renamed “New Rome” and declared the capitol of the Roman Empire by Constantine.

Christians then, as today, argued about the fine points of their faith. Some liked the Arian approach which downplayed the Trinity. To resolve this controversy, Constantine presided over the famous Council of Nicaea in 325. Athanasius wrote up the resolution of the conference and this was the basis of the Nicene Creed, which we recited last Sunday in my church.

In 330 New Rome was renamed Constantinople and became the largest and wealthiest city in Europe with a university established in the 400s. This Orthodox version of Christianity spun off the Russian and Ukrainian and Georgian Orthodox churches. Constantinople gradually began to stifle new ideas and fell into decline, some say beginning with the Iconoclasm schism in the 700s. The Orthodox like their icons to this day. Others Christians say only God should be worshipped, not physical graven images. Eventually the icon-hating Muslims took over Constantinople and renamed it Istanbul.

Meanwhile, Arian Germanic tribes sacked old Rome in 24 August 410 AD and several times thereafter. In 493, the Arian Theodoric the Great became king of the region and soon united with the Orthodox Emperor in Constantinople to drive out other barbarians. Theodoric let all religions flourish, saying: “We can not command religion, for no man can be compelled to believe anything against his will.” His country didn’t last long after his death and gradually became a bunch of warring city states. These were not fully reunited as the Kingdom of Italy until 1871.

This long digression into Christian and Muslim history is meant to show that ragtag low caste groups can win out over effete, citified elites. If they are sure of their beliefs, make sure their children are educated to realize the truth of those beliefs, and order their local society based on those beliefs. Even the greatest empires have fallen to a few people dedicated to the truth.

Vladimir Putin fixes America

Vladimir Putin, czar of Russia, is going to get a big surprise tomorrow morning. He’s going to wake up in the body of a 6-2 gardener from Arkansas. He’ll spend the rest of his life spreading mulch, double-digging beds, propagating thornless blackberries, mowing grass, cutting up fallen trees and writing short essays on resilience.

Meanwhile I’ll in be a 5-7 balding ruthless dictator. I’ll miss being 6-2, but I’ll enjoy wielding the ceremonial mace of the Russian kings. I’ll especially enjoy toying with Joe Biden and Anthony Blinken for the next three years. And the vast internet troll farms targeting the US–those will be fun to control.

Vlad and I were both born in 1952 so we experienced the same world, basically. Like me, his favorite band in high school was the Beatles. After that we found slightly different paths as he became a KGB agent and I am only rarely mistaken for a CIA agent. I think he’ll adjust to my life pretty easily. He’ll have to relearn judo and sambo since I know neither. He’ll probably also use my contacts to try to build a new empire here in the US, but I doubt he’ll have much luck

Meanwhile I’ll be the person named the most powerful man for four consecutive years by Forbes. I’ll be one of the few men in the world with an ‘Above the Law’ status. I’ll also be surrounded by a group of equally ruthless oligarchs who would like nothing better than to supplant me.

So I won’t be able to really change Russia that much since the new Vlad will be much less malevolent and vindictive than the old Vlad. In fact, my first move will be to resurrect my old friend Dmitry Medvedev and officially anoint him as my successor. I’ll start deferring decisions of state to him and I’ll gradually spend more and more time using my internet troll farms to make Americans a little more Russian.

I’ll become a much more active member of the Russian Orthodox Church. I might even take up residence at one of their more liberal monasteries with the cover story of adopting a life of contemplation and meditation. That would be the perfect cover for my internet manipulations.

I’ll turn over Syria and Ukraine to Dmitry. He’ll take care of them. I’ll donate my $133,000 salary to the Russian Orthodox Church in the US. Since my net worth is still over $70 billion, I’ll have plenty of resources for my new work.

I’ll continue the old Vlad’s style of being impeccably dressed, except I will gradually switch to more and more often wearing a monk’s robes and sandals. I’ll donate to randomly selected poor Russians my string of villas and palaces across the country and abroad. That should be some fun. Won’t the tabloids have a field day chronicling the new life of the peasant who is given my Mediterranean villa? I’ll also give away one of my private jets, but probably keep the other one so I don’t have to wear a mask when I travel.

Not sure what I’ll do with my watch collection.

sOnce I get Medvedev accustomed to his new role and the oligarch satisfied that nothing will really change in Russia, I’ll really dig into the troll farms.

The troll farms have been really effective at making bots powered by artificial intelligence do things like get liberal Americans all worked up about the threat of white supremacists. They haven’t been so effective in countering the push against critical race theory. My new task for the farms will be undermining both Democrats and Republicans in favor of a new American party.

I’ll have to introduce this change gradually so that all my Russian hackers are bought in before I abandon the old goals of the troll farms.


By the way, the movie rights to this evolving story line are still available.

Copyright © 2021 by Jim Worstell


Democrats can’t be hypocrites

It pains me to write anything negative about Democrats. I came of age in the 60s and the media was already sure that Republicans were the party of big business and anti-environment. I campaigned for McCarthy and McGovern and skipped school on the Moratorium against the Vietnam war.

Fidel Castro and Biden’s friend George McGovern presage Biden’s ice cream photo ops.

I was elected the youngest ever Democratic committeeman of the Audrain County (Missouri) Democratic Party and went to the county convention to be elected a McGovern delegate in 1972. After the miserable failure of that campaign, I took a long hiatus from politics.

Nowadays I know lots of Democrats, but they are soooo different from those I knew in my youth. Today’s Democrats have a strange relationship with moral principles. They condemn behavior of Republicans but overlook it in Democrats. They have strong opinions about “welfare to work” and “don’t ask don’t tell” until they change and support welfare without work and acceptance of radical LGBTQ+ ideas about gender transition in 4 year-olds.

Democrats still have a lot more concern for the environment than most Republicans and I work with them on those issues, so I probably am cutting off my nose to spite my face here. To mitigate that a bit, I’ll note that many Republicans also have no core beliefs except that their party should be in power.

But my point here is not really to denigrate Democrats, but just to point out that Democrats can’t be hypocrites on subjects for which they have no core beliefs. A hypocrite is someone who acts in a way that goes against what he claims to believe. Democrats today have no solid beliefs, but change them according to whatever will gain power. They don’t believe in anything except power. They actively suppress criticism of Joe and Hunter Biden for actions that would be vociferously and scornful condemned in the Donald Trumps. What they believe in is power for their party.

If your main belief is in power for your party, then criticizing Donald Trump, Jr., for agreeing to a meeting with a Russian is wholly consistent with overlooking Hunter Biden selling his father’s influence to the Chinese, the Ukrainians, the Mexicans, the Russians and who knows who else.

Now if they ever criticize Biden for something, such as the surrender in Afghanistan, then they would be hypocrites. And other Democrats would decry them. Because that would be inconsistent with the basic belief of Democrats: the power of the party must be increased.

Of course it is possible that some Democrats are waking from their slavish devotion to party as they see the ruin the Party is bringing to Afghanistan. Or maybe the chaos on the Southern border, inflation or critical race theory will wake them up.

A similar transition began in the 1960s as working class folk reacted to riots in the cities and the Vietnam war and began realizing the Democrats were not a party of consistent with their principles. The result was the triumph of Nixon and Reagan and Bush I and control of the House and Senate for decades.

However, there are a few true believers hidden among the Democrats. Many of my college friends from the 70s became college professors and decry anything American. They have never outgrown their love of Fidel and Soviet Russia and socialism. Yet of all the beliefs espoused by the Democrats of the 70s, the only one which lasts is anti-Americanism. All the others have morphed beyond recognition. They will continue to change because the party has no core beliefs except that it should be in power.

As long as they are consistent in pursuit of power at any cost, the Democrats can not be accused of hypocrisy.

Cave men with machine guns: a guide to stop obsessing over Afghanistan

The best way to get someone to think about bananas is to tell them to quit thinking about bananas.

In late 2021, on planet Earth, it would sure be nice to not think about Afghanistan. Better yet to not have a reason to think about Afghanistan.

The best way to quit thinking about something is to explore it until you find a more basic essence of it. So to quit thinking about bananas you starting thinking about the squishiness of eating a raw banana, remembering the texture, the mouth-feel, the way it slides down your throat. Soon you are thinking about all sorts of things that have little to do with any fruit, much less those which grow on plants of the Musa genus.

Try to do that with the ongoing troubles in Afghanistan. Maybe you’ll realize that the Taliban and ISIS K and Al Queda are just cave men with machine guns and other crude weapons.

Cave men all belong to tribes who are convinced that they should survive and all outsiders are eligible for death. The land we call Afghanistan is no more a country than North America was a country in the 1600s. It is a collection of fiefdoms run by vicious warlords. Or in modern terminology: militias beyond political accountability (never mind the rule of law). Law has no meaning to them. The strongest make their own laws.

We mistakenly call them Moslem terrorists when no modern Muslim considers them even religious. They use a few religious words to cover their lack of obedience to any law except the law of power.

Places where vicious warlords still act like cavemen, but with machine guns, are places we don’t want to think about.

Until recently, we didn’t have to think about Afghanistan because NATO planes were bombing any significant movement of any of the militias–to support Afghan Special Forces on the ground. The American-led coalition had a monopoly on air power and the Taliban had no answer for air power. (The US supplying plane killing howitzers to Bin Laden and his buddies is what defeated Russia in Afghanistan in the 1980s.)

The problem with such bombing is that civilian casualties are inevitable, the tribes have a common enemy, and they are likely to set aside differences to temporarily unite against the outside foe.

Meanwhile the NATO coalition built a structure which resembles a functioning modern society, but is actually just a support system for the outsiders. So when the outsiders and their resources leave, the whole society begins to collapse. This has already begun in Afghanistan. The collapse won’t happen overnight because of all the resources the US left. Videos abound of rooms filled with cash and storehouses filled with thousands of weapons. These can be sold to enable a “government” to continue to feed the support system for awhile. But as those resources dwindle, so will the government.

Afghanistan will return to its natural state of tribes warring against other tribes–none of which see the other tribes as worthy of treatment as humans (at least not from a New Testament perspective).

What’s happening in Afghanistan has happened in dozens of places we call countries all over the world. Rich countries define a place as a country and then move in ostensibly to help tribes work together and create a nice Western society. But the tribal social system remains and the society superficially similar to a Western country is just a support system for the outsiders. As long as that the outside resources flow in, the support system for the outsiders is maintained. When the outside resources decline, so does the superficial government.

In a few days, the last NATO soldiers will be out of the land area we call Afghanistan. They’ll stay out until some outsider like Bin Laden comes in and starts exporting terrorists again. Then someone will probably go back. That is, if we have solved our own problems such that we have the resources and will to go back.

Until then we can go back to not thinking about Afghanistan.

Genuflecting to which tribe?

Introducing yourself on Zoom used to be easy. Name, organization, something silly to break the ice. Lately it’s getting difficult. Now you have to put in your pronouns. I like best my pronouns in Polish. He, him becomes on, on. On and on seems like a good introduction to me.

More recently, its got more complicated. Land acknowledgement is the latest trend. This week I was on a Zoom call where we were supposed to list what indigenous tribe was the real owner of the land where we live. That is who owned the land before the Europeans took it and then do some penance for the theft.

That’s a tough one for those living in Missouri and Northern Arkansas. Technically the Osage ruled the roost back in the 1700s. Before them, in the 1500s, the great mound-building Mississippian culture dominated the entire area. Some of their towns (such as Cahokia) had 20,000 people stretching over several kilometers. Called the Caddo by early explorers, they were a peace-loving people with a sophisticated language, religion, and culture. The blood-thirsty, nomadic Osage rarely settled long anywhere and had little farming ability.

The Osage, like their brother Lakota and Sioux, rose to prominence by mastering the wild horses which escaped from the early Spanish explorers and settlers. They used horses to sweep in and raid the Mound-builder cities. Taking whatever loot and women they wanted and fleeing back to their hideouts. Eventually they weakened the Mound-builder cities until the Caddo eventually left and retreated South. The decimated Caddo established small farming villages as far from the Osage as they could.

But the Caddo were not as peaceful as the people they took the land from. They obtained the land from the Hopewell culture–which were also mound-builders but with an artistic bent. The Serpent Mound in Southern Ohio epitomizes them. The Hopewellians were known for their vast trade networks from which they imported obsidian, copper, shells, mica, and alligator bones from different parts of the present-day United States. Many of these objects were recovered from the Hopewell sites. They were also master craftsmen who specialized in making stone pipes, ceramics, obsidian spear points, and jewelry. These objects were later deposited under the mounds as grave goods. The Hopewell seem like the best ancestral owners to honor. But they also took the land from the Clovis people. So who do we acknowledge as the rightful owner and the evil thieves of this land?

Anyone in North America has the same dilemma. Most North American tribes did not view other tribes as truly human. They tortured and butchered their enemies and took their land if they could.

So maybe we shouldn’t be so species-ist and think about the dozens of species of huge, indigenous animals which inhabited our region before the Clovis people arrived from Asia–the mastodon, mammoth, horse, tapir, ground sloth, giant bison, giant beaver, giant tortoise, American lion, short-faced bear, and saber-toothed tiger. Over-hunting caused the mass extinction of these animals as the Ice Age ended. More than thirty species of large animals became extinct. By about 10,500 years ago, these megafauna no longer roamed North America.

So maybe the saber-tooted tiger is the rightful owner of this land. But that doesn’t fit the approved narrative in today’s dis-United States of America.

Systemic racism in a pine forest

Pine forests seem like fragrant, soft places where anyone could relax and be comfortable. Looks and smells are deceiving. All pines are dedicated only to other pines. When pine needles fall to the ground, they prevent other plants and trees from growing underneath. Pine needles release various acids and organic compounds that leach into the ground as the needles begin to decompose. These chemicals don’t hurt the pine tree, its roots or its fungal symbionts. They do deter nearly all non-pines from settling anywhere close.

You might say pines establish a pine privilege. A hickory nut which rolls into a pine forest doesn’t have much of a chance. The pine fragrance we like so much is the reason. This fragrance is caused by a class of chemicals called terpenes found in the needles. These particular pine terpenes retard germination and new growth. Retardation of germination can be a good thing for a gardener. It helps to keep weed seeds from germinating. For the hickory trying to survive in an alien environment, the terpenes are death. Plant as many hickory nuts or oak acorns as you wish in a bed of fresh pine needles. None of them will germinate.

Pine like pines. They are like all species in nature, they have methods for perpetuating their own kind and discouraging anyone who is not a pine.

Unless you are an azalea, a rhododendron or a blueberry. These acid loving plants thrive under pines. Except when the pine forest gets tall enough and thick enough to shade them out. Then it’s all pines all the time. Diversity is as minimal as in a Southern country club at tee time. Or a Colored Methodist Episcopal church on Sunday morning. Or an inner city ghetto any time.

In plants this effect is called allelopathy. Luckily for most other species, pine allelopathy is short lived. The acids and terpenes dissolve readily in water and dissipate into the air. By the time pine needles are brown and dry, most of the terpenes have evaporated. Once that wonderful pine fragrance has gone out of the needles, so have the terpenes, the source of that fragrance.

So you can use pine straw as a mulch without fear. It may hinder germination a little, but that will be good for the gardener who doesn’t like to pull weeds.

Every species in nature tries to perpetuate itself. The pines have perfected one method. Sunflowers, black walnuts, wormwoods, sagebrushes, and trees of heaven have their own chemical methods. The creosote bush is so good at controlling other plant species in the desert that it is called “gobernadora” (Spanish for “governess”) due to its ability to secure more water by inhibiting the growth of nearby plants.

In the 1970’s, an animal rights activist coined the term speciesism. This term expands the idea of racism to whole species. Man is accused of speciesism because he wants to preserve his own species. We are learning that all species try to help their own kind. No species survives for long if it doesn’t.
Most interesting is how some species seem to thrive even when the dominant species is doing its best to wipe them out. They do so by providing something the dominant species needs. Mycorrhizal fungi flourish on the roots of pine trees. They provide nutrients to the pines which are locked up in the soil until the fungi release them. They are examples of complementary diversity and discussed in more detail in our book.

Like all species in nature, pine trees get their comeuppance if they grow too big for their britches. When pine trees dominate a landscape too thoroughly, they provide the perfect environment for species like white pine blister rust, southern pine beetles, and mountain pine beetles. These species love to destroy homogenous stands of pine. A vast increase in diversity then follows.
Pine and other allelopathic species keep trying to create a world fit only for their species. Nature always puts them in their place.

The world view of pines reflects systemic racism. The pines have created a world where only pines and a few other species can prosper. They do well until they get too homogenous. Then they are destroyed and other species can prosper.

Man in his hubris should learn some lessons. Though all species will try to perpetuate their own kind, the most resilient will embrace diversity–as long as it is complementary.

Born again into psychological resilience

What does ecological resilience research tells us about being born again?

As with all living beings, we follow the adaptive cycle.  We are born, grow quickly into a new being never seen before on earth, mature slowly while accumulating resources and progeny, and then die. Our children follow the same cycle, as do their children after them.

Ecological resilience theory labels these four stages as organization (alpha), rapid growth (r), maturity (K) and release (omega). Not only does every organism go through these stages, but all living systems do.  Forests, farms, communities, nations. 

The release phase is not just about death, though. A farmer plants seed, watches it grow quickly, mature and become brown dead plants.  But then he harvests the seed from the dead plant and begins the process again. Release only means death for the plant, not for the seed.

In us and all living systems, adaptive cycles are nested within adaptive cycles. We face disruptions in life and reorganize our life to cope with the disruption. I never went to daycare, lived in the country and had little contact with outsiders until I was sent off to school at 6 years old.  I didn’t like it and cried a lot, but I adjusted to the disruption, figured out how to adapt and became a different person. We all have several such disruptions in our lives.

But we also go through several motivational stages in our life.  We come into the world selfish, crying to get what we need.  We are focused on hunger and security and the family around us.  Once those physiological, safety and social needs are met, we can explore other needs. Toddlers, when they are fed, clothed and feel secure always venture out to explore their world.  They are satisfying the need for novelty, intellectual stimulation.

Then they start interacting with others their age and they seek to satisfy more social needs but also needs for respect and recognition. There’s always a boss of the playground or play group and you want to be that boss or be respected by her.

We deal with meeting those physiological, safety, social and esteem needs all through life.

Some of us are lucky enough to meet those needs and realize there is another level of need to be met. Some call it self-actualization, others call it serving others or realizing their creative potential, or being born again.

“Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

Each of these motivational phases follows the adaptive cycle. We realize we have a need, we work to fill it, we become satisfied and mature in that satisfaction.  Then we realize there are higher needs to be pursued. We release our previous focus and reorganize our lives around the new need or idea or principle.

Some of us never seem to get the basic needs met and we get stuck in the physiological or safety or social or esteem needs. We can’t ever seem to get enough. We don’t realize that our depression or boredom isn’t due to lack of enough food or sex or friends or respect.  It’s due to the fact we can’t move beyond those basic needs.

Those of us able to focus on ideas and needs beyond the basics find that we can be born again many times into new perspectives on the world. And each of these new perspectives or ideas follows the adaptive cycle.

Every time you are born again you must realize this too shall pass and you will someday go beyond this perspective and reorganize your life once again, gaining  more and more resilience to disturbance as you grow.

This too shall pass: resilience and peace

It’s tough to be at peace when all is in crisis around us. One of the great blessings of studying ecological resilience is the peace and calm it gives you. When everyone about you is wailing about the dire state of the economy, government, the environment, climate change and whatever other catastrophe they are fixated on, you know it will pass. You know that all living systems go through an adaptive cycle which includes a disruption phase. A phase where the existing order is destroyed and replaced by a successor.

It happens to governments, nations, businesses, communities, forests, farms. The iconic example in resilience studies is the forest fire. Nowadays, forest managers realize fire is a natural part of the cycle of forest life. They use controlled burns to eliminate build-up of dead wood on the forest floor. Foresters now know that when they don’t do this, huge amounts of tinder build up and huge, deadly extreme fire storms result. California foresters have neglected to remove this tinder in recent years and deadly fires are the result.

The resilient person knows that any large fire in nature is an opportunity to rebuild, a necessary scouring of the old order to make way for a new, more resilient order.

Though ecological resilience is a relatively new field of study, the concept is old. King Solomon was trying to humble his wisest servant, so he requested a magic ring — one that, if a sad man wore it, he would become happy and if a happy man wore it, he would become sad.” The wise man failed. Then Solomon went to a jeweler and designed a ring with the inscription saying, “This, too, shall pass.” 

Deep within every crisis is an opportunity for something beautiful.

When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky. Buddha.

You are the sky. Everything else–it’s just the weather.

The only order in the universe is just a cycle of calm and chaos.

A man of calm is like a shady tree. People who need shelter come to it.

There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm. Willa Cather in The Song of a Lark.

Storms visit the quietest and the most peaceful places to calm themselves down and to have their nervousness cured. Mehmet Murat ildan

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? And why do you worry about clothes? Consider how the lilies of the field grow: They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these. Matthew 6:28

Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.

Proverbs 29:25 states, “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” 

“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).

Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly.

The poets and prophets say to our heart what resilience writers say to our heads.

It’s natural to get too attached to the forest, to our communities.

All are imperfect all need to be improved.

Don’t dwell on what is being destroyed, look for opportunities for change toward more resilient systems.

Unity and oneness: unending search

“The health of soil, plants, animals, people and the environment is one and indivisible.” “We need a unified nation.” We search for that sense of oneness. And we sometimes find it.

But if we are honest we know it doesn’t last. Ecological resilience research tells us “oneness” is necessarily fleeting.

The oneness of soil, plants, animals, people and environment exists only until a new species or technology or culture comes in which can establish a new oneness. 

An acidic soil is a healthy soil for pines, azaleas, and blueberries, but would kill other plants.  Is it a healthy soil?  The pines think so as they drop acidic needles and make the soil even more acidic. You might call it “White Pine Privilege.” 

The Inuit survived and thrived as Greenland became cooler in the 1100s; early Viking settlers died out. The environment and animals and people were healthy when they were fish, seals and Inuit, not when they were Norse and cattle and medieval catholicism.

After horses were released by early Spanish explorers and found an environment they liked in North America, the Lakota developed a horse based culture which thrived.  This new culture wasn’t so healthy for the sedentary agricultural societies the Lakota raided and destroyed.  In 1776, the Lakota took the Black Hills from the Cheyenne who had taken it from the Kiowa. This enabled the Lakota to declare the Black Hills sacred and today call for the faces on Mt. Rushmore to be obliterated. The combination of the horse and the Great Plains was healthy for the Lakota, not so much for the Cheyenne and the Kiowa and, today, the WASP.

The megafauna present in North America (mastodon, mammoth, horse, tapir, ground sloth, giant bison, giant beaver, giant tortoise, American lion, short-faced bear, and saber-toothed tiger) were healthy and one with their environment and soils and plants until what are now called indigenous people came from Asia.  Then the megafauna provided lots of good meals for the “indigenous” until they were wiped out.

Chaparral requires fire to release the chaparral seeds from their pods. Regular fires are part of the oneness of soils, plants, animals and environment in chaparral country, like Southern California. Some wouldn’t see the healthy oneness in the fires in California today.

During the Second World War in the USA, there was an overwhelming sense of oneness as the country battled two totalitarian, aggressive enemies. Today, America is disunited and breaking into anarchy.

Paradoxically, searching and finding oneness requires us to abandon any attachment to particular animals, cultures, plants or environments. The only lasting “oneness” is more basic than any of these transient epiphenomena. They will pass away while the resilient remain.

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