True Democracy Preserves Sacred Space

Freedom in America means the right to do exactly what we want to do -- that is, if what we do causes no harm to the person or property of another. It is now obvious that our planet is a shared spac

Jul 26, 2001 at 2:06 pm

Freedom in America means the right to do exactly what we want to do — that is, if what we do causes no harm to the person or property of another.

It is now obvious that our planet is a shared space. Harmful acts thrust on one person, or any group, affect us all. The hermit up in the mountains, for example, will still be forced to breathe polluted air and drink toxic water.

Damage to the shared space of humans is ongoing and vicious, perpetuated by unresponsive governments and irresponsible businesses across the globe and here in our country.

Shared space can also be called sacred space; it involves the inter-connected aspect of humans, plants, animals, minerals, water, air, gravity, planetary movements and so on. Inattention to sacred space points to failings and abuses of government and corporate endeavor.

The regulatory goal of government should primarily involve the protection of sacred space. The vast 'acceptable' amount of environmental toxicity caused by consumerism is in reality completely unacceptable. Instead of an appropriate focus on protective action, government mistakenly abuses its power by regulating the quite ethical behavior of individuals — putting what they want to put into their bodies, for example — while promoting similar control of individuals by the corporate world.

Small family farms, for instance, are economically eclipsed by agribusiness 'economies of scale' most often supported and promoted by government. What we get immediately is a lack of individual choice and a synthetic adulteration of natural life. Three corporations tied to governmentally subsidized agribusiness control 80 to 90 percent of food. Much of that food is promoting disease rather than health.

Synthetic and toxin-laden food is a side effect of an en masse, insensitive abuse of farmland, promoting more reliance on chemicals, thus establishing a vicious cycle, then contributing to our level of chronic disease and reliance on medicines, which are in turn controlled by large, profit-oriented corporations.

Corporate and regulatory inattention to sacred space is killing the planet. Over 300,000 species of life per year are becoming extinct in the rain forests, primarily as a result of short-term profit motives and greed. Indigenous cultures are dying. Slowing this down and stopping it right now would still not recoup the loss of medicinal plants, knowledge of animal life and awareness of the human form already demolished. That loss is potentially a loss of our physical existence.

Long term profit and growth motives would promote the creation of variety through conservation, preservation and species development. Of course, this would take an awareness and acknowledgement of sacred space as primary by both governments and all businesses, not to mention shareholders in all businesses. Whereas 25 percent of adult Americans hold such concerns, we still have not reached a threshold of national and global spiritual sense that will assuredly reverse our self-destruction

Interconnectedness needs to be reflected in economic theory and practice. An environmental health tax on worldwide business — a tax that increases in proportion to polluting, wasting and globally warming — is demanded by our situation. We are decades behind in incorporating such variables into classical economic formulas. Until we do, we are negligent and any market growth or expansion is a false success.

As in spirituality, we now know firsthand from science that we are part of one whole. Any action has a wide-ranging effect, even beyond time and space. Likewise, irresponsible economic actions have ongoing effects in partnership with this whole. Expecting God to fix our mistakes when we are so willfully misguided and when we are an intimate part of how God works is spiritually foolish. We will pay a great cost for supporting repetition after repetition of negligent planetary behavior. That cost is the result of our train jumping the tracks.

Measurements keeping us on track are readily available. First, are governments and businesses protecting our shared space? Or is the entire system disrupting that space?

Second, are individuals free to grow and create? As long as we are not hurting each other, maximal variety in human behavior and thought should be allowed, thus allowing maximum human creativity. Are individual choices as to lifestyle, education, community formation, health, revelation, thought and debate maximized? Or are these choices becoming progressively institutionalized?

These individual choices of late, indeed have become more and more regulated, a sure sign that our space is being used for the greedy and ignorant pursuits of powerful minorities. In our country, fears of majority tyranny led to a dysfunctional governmental structure in which true tyranny is imposed via a special-interest-who-can-get-all-of-the-money game.

Restructuring that game or correcting anything at all will require a national and global awareness of the immediate interconnectedness of economic behavior with the destruction of planetary culture and life, with the dwindling ability of individuals to remain free and with the diminishing long-term probabilities of our survival. This awareness requires the realization that our seemingly separate endeavors are part of the same whole, that everything done affects everything else and that our responsibility to this whole occurs moment to moment.

In other words, we are responsible to the grace that allows our existence, and must attend to this shared space, always sacred.