D’où venons-nous ? – July 2011

D’où venons-nous ? Que sommes-nous ? Où allons-nous ?

Two events early in the 21st Century have changed the way we view the world.

(1) The 9-11 attack showed that there is no safe place in the world, and government can’t protect us. After the attack, Osama bin Laden continued his activities for over 10 years. The US spent billions of dollars to stop him, and inadvertently created more terrorists along the way.

(2) The great earthquake/tsunami showed that there is no safe place from natural disasters, and technology can’t protect us. Even Japan, which has the best anti-earthquake and anti-tsunami infrastructure in the world, was devastated. Many people in Japan are now opposed to nuclear energy.

Three environmental effects are also becoming clearer:

(1) Human activities are increasing climate change.
(2) Old sources of energy are getting expensive or shutting down, and new sources of energy are not as convenient or cheap as we are accustomed to.
(3) Fresh water is increasingly in short supply.

These events are having a profound effect on the way that people think about themselves and the world. For a long time, we assumed that our lives would continue to get better and better. And we defined “better and better” as “having more material goods and services.

We are now at a turning point. Do we try to keep going the same way, or do we choose a different path? What does modern civilization mean to us? How will we design our lives for the next 10 years? What action now will be best, not only for us but for “the children of the children of our children”?

The August workshop will use body wisdom to approach these issues, exploring Gauguin’s questions of D’où venons nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous? (literally, Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?)

Things to think about in preparation:
• How do we sustain keiko (our practice) in a post-peak energy world (living light) ?
• How do we respond to an aging society (death without fear) ?
• How do we nurture the next generation (new perspectives on a good life) ?

p.s. Thank you, Lee S. & Tomi N-R. for being my editors!