Friday, September 3, 2010

The Way of Heaven

by Dub Riley
Peak Oil, Corporations, Sustainability
Things evolve, including Smiling Heart. This little collection of essays was started a month in to the Spring of this year. We're now on the verge of leaving summer. The colors of emerging growth were on my mind as I designed the template which would house our thoughts. What colors my imagination at this moment? The bright red color of fire in the belly. The color of blood. The symbol of life and vitality.
You've heard me, especially lately, discuss the trepidation of our times. There was another announcement today of yet another oil well explosion in the Gulf. The news is short at the moment and the initial indications are that this mishap won't nearly compare to the disaster earlier in the summer that still has 30,000 people involved in the clean up effort and the extent to the damage, environmentally, may not be understood for years. Still, we should see, if we simply open our eyes and use the faintest parcel of our logic, that the days of cheap oil have long since past. 
The theory of peak oil is that we have reached or are nearing the time that we've peaked at the rate of extraction and what will follow is terminal decline. What this means is that we're running out of oil. This shouldn't surprise us. We know that oil is not renewable. If you were to look at the graph which would show the "age of oil" you'd see that in the time line from the beginning of the universe until whenever the time of man expires (never we hope?) basically would be a tall skinny hill. It would go up and back down over a speck of an instant in the big scope of mankind.
The age of oil actually defines the time this merry group of pranksters has grown up in and will die in. We were born in the boom of growth fueled by cheap energy and we'll die in the decline of the availability of the bubbling crude.
Corporations exist because of a strange loophole in the law. Legally, corporations are considered an individual. They mimic the appearance of an individual in many ways. They are born, they thrive, they reproduce and they poop all over everything. The problem is you can't put a corporation in jail. You can fine them but usually the fine is just a little slap on the wrist for all the destruction that corporations leave behind them in their pathological pursuit of profit.
The great thing about the time which will come after ours, the time our children and grandchildren will define, is that the people of the world will learn how to make sense of things.  Life will settle back more in the harmony and rhythm of the planet. This will happen naturally because cheap energy will no longer be available and they'll have to figure out how to do things without rapidly depleting the environment. Our craziness and "growth" have really just been an outcome of our dependence on oil. As the next generations figure out how to survive without the goop, they'll also have an entrenched understanding of what it means to step lightly on our mother, Earth Goddess, the sacred planet which supports us.


Nancy wrote about hope. Really we've written much about hope here on Smiling Heart. Hope is a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life.

Do I have hope? Oh brothers and sisters, YES. Without it I'd be dead. Because I'm practically useless at warning people about the trouble we're in. I seem to be some crazed and bewildered cheerleader, shouting to everyone, with the throng of the crowd fully caught up in the rush of the moment, with not a second to consider my suggestion, that we abandon this syncopated insanity. Hope takes me to bed at night and hope puts my shoes on in the morning. Hope humbles me by stories such as from our dear sister Jo, who planned to be a secretary so that her sister Joyce could go to college and was surprised by the call from the dean who agreed to Joyce's plan that the twins both attend. Hope fuels my dreams of a time that people will take care of people and corporations will be buried in the rejuvenated soil of true prosperity.


Nancy also mentioned faith. Sometimes, some of us, who have a less traditional outlook with regard to religion, cringe at the outset of a conversation about faith. Mostly because faith is often associated with religion, period, and not taken in the general context of its broader meaning.

Faith is the confident belief or trust in the truth or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing (according to the handy Wikipedia search). I have faith in mankind. I have faith in the great Grandfather SPIRIT. I have faith that hope will prevail.

I want to close with Tom Cleary's translation of the end of the 76th verse of the Tao te Ching. Someone may see the connection to Jesus sermon on the mount and also the moral of Sodom and Gomorrah, which is a story with many parallels of our time.

The Way of heaven is like drawing a bow:
the high is lowered, the low is raised;
excess is reduced, need is fulfilled.
The Way of heaven reduces excess and fills need,
but the way of humans is not so:
they strip the needy to serve those who have too much.

Here's to a time that mankind will learn to emulate the Way of heaven.


  1. Once again Mr. Riley~~BEAUTIFUL!!

  2. More like a prayer than a blog post...Amen.

  3. Thank you Vicki and Jo. Didn't mean to proselytize but glad you enjoyed. Hopefully, a new contribution will move this essay down and provide someone else a point of view.

  4. May it be so!

    Love everything here. You're right that I'm long overdue to post here. Let me get on that right away.


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