The standoff at Standing Rock in the American heartland may go down in history as the place where humanity finally faced and embraced a crucial crossroads via the deepening conflict between two world-views:
• The world-view of those who either remain in or wish to return to our aboriginal symbiosis with the natural world
• Those who live and believe in and adhere to the matrix scrim that covers nature and continues to destroy her
I wish the situation were not so polarized, but it is. That’s life in the third dimension. Seldom do we see the conflict enacted so powerfully.
A more subtle understanding of this same polarity comes about when individuals and groups from these two cultures stand — or try to stand — on common ground. Here’s a perceptively written piece documenting the uncomfortable bi-cultural experience of several non-Indian residents of Jackson Wyoming when they visited Standing Rock. As the Indians pointed out to them: Remember, this is not Burning Man.
Having visited Pine Ridge myself back in the early ’80s, I can attest to the mutual discomfort that arises when especially white people of privilege arrive and assume they can “help.”
Meanwhile, one white person of privilege, Paul Glover, who has creatively walked his talk for decades, puts the developing drama at Standing Rock in the much larger perspective that we privileged ones will finally need to cop to, if we wish to actually change the direction of human settlement on this planet. As he says, we need to not just move the DAPL pipeline to a new location, but to transform our entire way of life. I just discovered him. Wow! Do check out his website, www.paulglover.org.
Many are outraged that our government, an elected mafia, permits construction of a pipeline through sacred water. Yet the uncontrolled rape of nature becomes natural when millions of us in drafty houses need coal and gas to keep warm and cool; when we need oil to plow fields to plant food to feed cows; when we need gasoline for cars to take us shopping; when we need jet fuel to bomb nations to control fuels.
When government fails, solutions start where we live. Years ago, to protect nature, I decided not to make children, decided not to drive cars, decided not to eat animals, decided not to fight wars, decided not to watch TV or go shopping. I am rich instead in loving nature, making art, making friends, making revolution.
The revolution we need is the complete rebuilding of civilization toward balance with nature. It’s a vast orderly process that feeds and warms us without fossil fuels; delights us without shopping; heals us without pills; moves us without cars; protects us without wars; enriches us without dollars; fully employs us without destruction.