In This War of the Worlds, the Surface World Is Cracking.
There have always been two worlds, one above and one below the surface.
On the surface, we go to work, have relationships, children, lifestyles, hobbies, holidays. Under the surface, we have energy — emotions, secret desires, private agendas, thoughts, beliefs, fears.
What’s under the surface has more power, but we pretend otherwise because silent, invisible power scares us. Instead, we keep ourselves occupied and diverted by whatever is happening on the surface.
The world above the surface is loud and visible. It is organized by governments, corporations, religions.
Laws keep us in check. We have to obey the law and pay our taxes, otherwise bad things will happen.
Corporations keep us busy. We have to work hard in order to buy the products and services they supply.
Religions keep us obedient. They provide answers to the big questions…
Who am I? God’s child.
Why is life so hard for me? Because God has a plan.
What is the plan? It’s a mystery.
What happens when I die? You go to heaven or hell, so you’d better work hard and obey the law.
Recently a lot of people are questioning their allegiance to this unholy trinity of power.
Governments have been proven to be inept and corrupt. They are run by buffoons who seek glory, and funded by billionaires with special needs.
Corporations hide their lack of morals behind PR campaigns. Their mission statements contain eco-friendly words that have no substance. Their actual mission is to make as much money as possible, so they can keep their enormous bonuses intact and their shareholders happy.
Religions have become irrelevant because their answers just aren’t good enough any more. Ecological problems are rooted in irresponsible growth of human population, and religions are all about irresponsible growth of human population. God will provide for his children doesn’t seem to be working out.
We used to pretend that the two worlds were equal in size, but it’s more like an iceberg model. The underworld of thoughts and feelings is vast, and the surface world is cracking.
People are angry, and they’re scared.
Anger has always fueled rebellion, so it’s surprising that after the scandal of the 2008 financial crash, and the illegal invasion of Iraq, more people didn’t take to the streets.
The reason, of course, is fear.
We prop up our failing systems, not because we believe in them, but because we’re scared of what might replace them. We’re image-making creatures, so we’re frightened of a future that we can’t visualize.
In the past, when the status quo has been overthrown, (e.g. the French, Russian and Chinese revolutions) the images that followed weren’t pretty. They included a pitchfork-wielding mob, ugly grey buildings, half-blind academics who’d thrown away their spectacles for fear of looking intelligent.
Rage is dynamic energy that facilitates change and gets things done. But rage with an agenda is always ugly, because it requires vengeance. It says, “I’ve suffered, so now you must suffer.”
Systems that follow brutal or unfair systems are just as brutal and unfair, not because of what gets rearranged on the surface, but because of the energy beneath the surface… it’s the same energy.
Recently, two stories came out about Boris and Trump. Boris had misappropriated public money to fund a pole-dancing friend’s work project. Trump asked presidents of other nations to dig the dirt on his Democrat rival.
Nobody cared, because nobody was surprised.
We know there are two worlds. We know that the way people talk and behave on the surface isn’t the whole picture, it’s a charade. The difference is, now we know that we know, we can’t pretend any more.
Power is a game played out by a few people on the surface. We’re asked to pick a side — Conservative/Republican or Labour/Democrat — even though these don’t represent who we are.
We need a different kind of change — a change in the energy world.
Our old dualistic thinking portrayed rich people as entitled toffs and poor people as salt of the earth who would run things much better come the revolution. These are caricatures. We are not differentiated by things on the surface, but by the energy beneath the surface.
I have a wealthy friend who gives a lot of her time and money to community projects. She’s worked hard all her life and paid a lot of taxes. She has a lovely house, whose windows have just been smashed for the second time this year. “I’ve suffered, so now you must suffer. I can’t have this, so I’ll spoil it for you.”
Rage and vengeance… a tale as old as time.
We need a new story.
This is why Extinction Rebellion is interesting. Instead of rage and vengeance, they seek to come together with creativity and love as their driving force. Instead of I want it all, and I want it now, they fight on behalf of everyone, for the future of the planet that we all share.
People are arguing about their strategy, the feasibility of their aims, and the accuracy of the science, but the more interesting argument is whether they can harness the power of the underworld in a different way than it’s been done before.
Change driven not by what we can get, but by what we can give… and what we can give up (because let’s face it, this rebellion will require us to give up things, whether that’s a constant supply of new fashionable clothes, Instagram-worthy plates of steak and out-of-season vegetables, or cheap fuel for gas-guzzling cars).
Change driven not by rage and vengeance, but by creativity and love.
It’s a game-changing strategy.
As we look to the future, it might be the only thing that has legs.