By Cailtlin Johnstone
The old ways have failed us, and yet we keep trying to preserve them.
We sit on the brink of extinction, as great a failure as a species can possibly attain, yet still we look to the past for advice.
The ancestors built a system which rewards sociopathy, and now we are ruled by sociopaths.
The ancestors made exploitation profitable, and now we are all being exploited.
The ancestors made ecocide profitable, and now we are watching our ecosystem collapse.
The ancestors made war profitable, and now we are on the precipice of nuclear annihilation.
The old ideas have led us to this point, yet still we take advice from the writings of dead men.
Life is ever-changing. Life is alive. Life isn’t where the dead ancestors left it.
Trying to navigate through life using the ideas of dead men is like trying to navigate the earth using a map of Pangaea.
Your entire understanding of the world is based on the long-dead thoughts of long-dead men. Your language. Your history. Your culture. Your government.
The knowledge of dead men can be useful for learning concepts. But the ability to navigate life with wisdom and skill is not a concept.
The way out of this mess isn’t in the direction that we have been walking.
The direction out of this mess will be new and unprecedented, wildly divergent from the old patterns. This will mean a great leap into the unfamiliar.
Leaps into the unfamiliar are always frightening. But leap you must if you want to be of use to the world.
If you want to help save your world, you must let it go completely. Everything you’ve ever known, right down to your most foundational beliefs about reality.
You must relinquish your attachment to everything you’ve ever known, because all you’ve ever known are the dead ideas which brought us here.
Take the leap into the unfamiliar. Let it all go.
Trying to help the world guided by your mental understanding of it is like pulling against a tangled knot; you only make it tighter. You must instead turn around and begin untangling.
Stop pulling at the knot. Stop trying to help. Your helping is only making it worse. Untie your knots first.
Caught up in old conceptual frameworks, you will always be acting based on the same deluded perceptions which got us here. Free from your world of dead concepts, you can see clearly enough to help.
Let your world die. Let your world of dead ideas die so that the real world can get a word in edgewise.
Let death die so that life may live.
All of your attachments to this world are attachments to concepts. Your conceptual understanding of the world is not the world.
Relinquish all your attachments. Overcome your fear of the unknown. If there is any hope for us, it lies in the unprecedented.
Until you have given your world full permission to die, you’re in no position to help it.
Let your whole world die. What remains will guide you.
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