Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes


Archive for March 20th, 2011


Building a brave new world 1

Posted on March 20, 2011 by jimparedes


What we are witnessing in Japan is unprecedented in the history of man-kind. Images of the earthquakes and of entire towns being engulfed and obliterated by the tsunami are now an indelible nightmare in our collective memory. They are simply beyond comprehension. Even when one sees the images with one’s own eyes, it remains unfathomable that such large portions of humanity and civilization can be wiped out in just a few seconds.

The counts of the dead and the missing are far from reconciled since the rescue teams can barely get to the devastated areas due to road blockages caused by tons of debris. Seeing the before and after pictures of Sendai — from a bustling part of Miyagi prefecture to a place that is completely deserted, flattened by the tsunami save for achaten-suisse.com one building — is beyond tragic.

Then, throw in the biggest monkey wrench of all — the damaged nuclear power plants that are now too dangerous to control since every step the scientists have taken to prevent a reactor meltdown seems to be failing miserably. The nuclear malfunction is now a major disaster. Almost every hour, as the world rejoices and breathes a little easier every time a survivor is rescued, there is more bad news about the nuclear threat. News agencies have had to keep updating their feeds right after they make them as new information comes in.

As I write this, even as experts give reassuring opinions that are supposed to make us feel better, it is more and more apparent that no one completely knows what the real score is with regard to the threat of radiation to people in Japan, and eventually, the rest of the world. The scale and complexity of the problem is unprecedented.

Reactions everywhere have been strong and varied. Many are calling for prayers for and support to the people of Japan. Many more have expressed astonishment and admiration that there has been no looting so far in the devastated area. The Japanese people are showing the world what they are made of, and it is impressive and humbling to see them handle this impossible situation with great dignity and grace.

Meanwhile, in Libya, there is mayhem as an aging and increasingly barbaric dictator mercilessly unleashes his firepower against his rebelling people. The sight of regular Libyans — teachers, computer programmers, students, engineers, etc. holding firearms for the first time in their lives, driving their family cars like armored vehicles and risking their lives to win their democracy and freedom is admirable. But it is also heartbreaking since much of the world seems to have become deaf to their pleas for help.

The world is a mess. It seems to be in a major turning point, and no one knows which way it is going.

Many people around the globe are at this moment speculating about planet Earth itself, and life as we know it. What is really happening and what is the world coming to?

Many are sensing that there is something bigger going on than what we are seeing. There have been great tectonic shifts — social, environmental and geological ones that make one feel that the world is reconfiguring itself. There are events occurring all over that seem to support the idea that something new is being born and the earth is undergoing a very hard labor.

Someone on Twitter called it “the shift,” and proposed that it has been going on and accelerating rapidly.

Mankind seems to be coming together around definite conver-gence points. One big obvious wave is democratization. It took close to two centuries for many of the world’s Western countries to embrace the tenets of the Enlightenment. But in this age of the Internet and social networking, it has not taken long for the rest of the not-yet-democratic populations of the world to clamor for freedom, justice and democracy.

It started in EDSA 25 years back, and since then, there have been major political, social, economic shifts in many other countries where people have altered their historical trajectories, permanently rejecting autocratic regimes and going towards more democracy and people empowerment. After the Philippines, it happened in Berlin, the Soviet Union and the rest of Eastern Europe, then South Africa — the dominoes have not stopped falling since. Today, a virtual democratic tsunami has begun to engulf the Middle East.

These changes are sure signs of a consciousness that is asserting itself. The Internet has connected us in a way mankind has never been. We are now in touch with one another as human beings, everywhere, like never before. The Internet is the great leveler. Through the power of cyberspace, almost anyone can become a power center and opinion maker, and communicate with the rest of the world in almost any field. Ideas and worldviews now spread at a rate faster than mankind has ever experienced. More than at any time in history, global consensus on any issue can be formed quickly.

Joseph Campbell, the mythologist, believes that we awakened to a new consciousness in the 1960s when man first landed on the moon and we all saw our home planet — Earth — from a distance for the first time.

The cataclysmic natural disasters in Haiti, Chile, Australia, the Philippines, New Zealand, and now Japan seem to have intensified feelings of kinship and oneness among sentient beings. We are One physically, and more and more, as a consciousness. Zen writer Allan Watts wrote a long time ago: “You and I are all as much continuous with the physical universe as a wave is continuous with the ocean.” Right now, the world is Japan and we are all Japanese. We are also Libyans and Haitians. The world has become borderless. And when distinctions blur, humanity awakens to itself much easier.

I do not know where all this is leading. But I know that as this new consciousness asserts itself more and more in a world where the economic, social, religious, and scientific paradigms are becoming increasingly inadequate, new creative energies will emerge.

With the current nuclear nightmare and the increasing prospects of even more severe geological, environmental and social upheavals coming our way, we may be seeing the end of our world order as we know it. We are being kicked out of the Eden we know and we have to reconfigure a new world from the ashes and debris of this old one.

Hopefully, this time, we will be more awake and conscious as we build a brave new world.

* * *

1.) Join my Songwriting Workshop on March 26 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. This is a fun, challenging workshop where the student is taught the elements of good songwriting from melodic, structure, lyrics, arrangements, etc. Hits from all genres and styles of music are analyzed. The “hook” is discussed and applied at length. Most importantly, the student is challenged to actually write songs during the one-day workshop. Students must know how to play an instrument.

2.) Photo Workshop in Dumaguete on April 8. Please call Chinky at 0916-4305626.

3.) Photo Workshop in Dipolog on April 9.

4.) Photo Workshop in manila on April 16.

5.) Creative For Life Workshop in Cebu on April 30. Details to follow.

6.) Please call Olie at 0916-8554303 for all workshop inquiries. Check http://jimparedes-workshops.com for details.


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