Changing History

Changing History

Why choose the book

What's inside the book. Chapters covered

Leather Man nodded. “Well think about it. We are standing on stolen lands. Living in houses on stolen lands. Drinking water and growing crops from stolen lands… and we have hardly acknowledged the results of our deeds. We have condemned the natives to tiny isolated reservations with little natural resources for sustenance. We have forced our culture upon them and made them abandon their traditional ways.”

Lana ventured, “But our culture has so many problems and threats that it makes me wonder what is our supposed superiority. Look how we’re changing these lands into industrial wastelands, denuded forests and contaminated waters.”

“Exactly. The natives did exist favorably with the natural world. There was a balance of Earth and humans that our modern society cannot seem to comprehend,” Leather Man said sadly.

For the first time in as long as I could remember I felt unencumbered and free and joyful to be alive. In the immenseness of the universe I could find my way. Though insignificant in being and futile at building permanence, I was alive and awake at that moment in time. Everything passes but the moment can linger. Within that moment I felt whole. And that moment seemed so very important. I do plan for the future but I live always in the moment. Life can come crashing down at any time and the moment will pass. So I yearn to find something beyond my moment and I wonder, what do I do that will last? Perhaps the things I build or the effects of my words and actions? But when I think big… when the heavens sparkle above me… I realize that it all will pass. Yet I struggle to live. I love to live. I love to awaken in the morning and watch the sunrise and listen to the birds. Yes, when fear and pain do not overwhelm I could not ask for anything more. I treasure my breath and I even treasure my vulnerability. I do not place great value in the goods and circumstances of life, as they come and change and go. But I can feel good in any moment, place or time.
Finally Bruce spoke. “I hear you Jenny. And I believe that we do hold everything within. I believe that everything that we ever do, everything that happens to us, becomes part of us and never leaves. So in a way I cannot be sad. Maggie and I are fortunate for all the good things that have happened here. Every single memory resides with us and makes us what we are.” I nodded, “Yes, the things that we do and the choices that we make are always with us.” “As well as choices that are made for us,” added Lana. “Yes,” I said again, “we bear responsibility for the choices that are made for us as well.” “The choices made for us? What do you mean by that?” asked Bruce. ”When someone does something from which we benefit, those benefits become part of us and we share responsibility for that action. And being responsible, if the action is bad and we accept it, then we are guilty… guilty by association.” The last three words came slowly. They were new to me and as I spoke, I puzzled over them.
“What Lobsang is saying,” began Ngawang, “is that everything we do, every motion, every action, every event of which we are part never dies. Our effects reach out from us and in that way we are all connected. The past flows into the present. And the present, our point of action, flows into the future.” “Yes,” said Lobsang excitedly, “and the power of our lives is our ability to effect change in our present actions. In that way what we do lives forever.”
There was a long silence. It was quite dark in the room. Deep breathing could be heard from the benches along the walls. Lobsang began in a low voice. “Tibet is the highest country in the world. We have pondered life from this vantage point through our long history. Seeking to understand our consciousness, we evolved an art of life and a science of mind that has never been replicated on the planet. Our knowledge was passed on in an unbroken chain from teacher to disciple… until the Chinese army invaded in 1950. “Our monasteries, being centers of organization and cultural learning, were targets of the invasion. Unfortunately, the Chinese Maoist ideologues regarded our technologically isolated, religion-based culture as the epitome of all that was wrong with human society. They came to steal our minds and bodies, our water and our minerals. “They viewed Communism as an evolutionary-revolutionary step in the advancement of humankind and saw their actions as manifest destiny. They sought to materialize their ideas and assume more power by overtaking our society. “Though we fought fiercely, our unsophisticated mountain people were no match for the highly equipped, skilled and trained Chinese army. In the battles and ensuing occupation millions of Tibetans have been killed and hundreds of thousands imprisoned or exiled. Our leaders have either fled the country, been executed or are under restraint. Even today it is illegal to follow our traditional lives and religious practices, under threat of death.”
Ngawang continued. “Our ancient libraries and living shrines were smashed and burned. Nearly two thousand years of unbroken history were scattered to the wind. The occupiers were so trapped in their own ideology and dogma that they could not recognize our culture and resources, and had no idea what they were destroying. They did not realize the depth or power of the knowledge that we Tibetans had accumulated. “The Chinese attempted to re-educate us to believe that our government and religious organizations—including nuns and monks—were stealing our wealth and enslaving us. The Chinese insisted that the path to the future was to abandon our culture and history, and support the universal cause of the common worker. “Our teachings and customs began to disappear from many people’s daily lives. Now our scholars can only continue to follow our traditions, and build and maintain our knowledge, in secret and in exile.” She sighed deeply and was quiet. There was a pause before Lobsang began again, “Our will and spirit are strong. We have persevered for nearly sixty years under occupation. Our determination has surprised even the Chinese. But they are firmly entrenched in our country and any effort to take back our freedom and rebuild our organizations is met with crushing force. “Though we still have some working monasteries, we remain very poor. Through the ages our government supported our studies but now the Chinese authorities persecute us. If we speak out or disregard their rules we are quickly arrested, jailed and often tortured. If we attempt to leave the country and join our exiled community we are imprisoned or killed.” He turned toward Lana and Raz and nodded his head as if to confirm his sad plight.
Lars continued, “And I’ll take this even further by maintaining that these trees around us are conscious.” This was too much for me. “What?” I asked, “that’s too far out. Trees are fixed. They grow in place. They don’t make decisions. They have no awareness. Trees are simply fiber matter.” “Ok. I know this is a big jump but I think that trees know a lot more than we imagine. Do you think that these trees,” and Lars waved his arm around him, “know that we are here right now?” He smiled slyly. Bruce shook his head. “Whew. That’s a big one.” Don ventured, “Since our chains are around this one,” and he pointed to the large cedar tree on our right, “I would imagine it knows something is up. Trees respond to cuts in their bark, so it must feel our chains.” Lars nodded. “We must be careful not to confuse our notions of the words know and feel with what the tree experiences. For the tree, these words refer to awareness and response, not our symbolic word concepts.” “Right. The tree responds to tears in its outer skin. Not in anything like words. Obviously, more dramatically to stronger stimuli, but nonetheless in some way the cedar tree feels our chains,” said Don thoughtfully. “Maybe it knows we are trying to rescue it,” joked Maggie. Lars continued, “Trees take a longer time to respond to stimuli than people. To understand them you have to imagine their situation. “If you stand between a small tree and the sun, the tree will slowly stretch out and grow around or up and over you. This may take several days or weeks, or possibly months or years. The tree senses you and responds accordingly to continue its life and growth. But if you were to stand in front of the tree for a short time it would hardly notice or respond to your existence… similar to you not noticing a very small insect quickly fly by.” “And the tree certainly knows when the sun is shining, since it’s getting a charged energy drink delivered throughout from the photosynthesizing leaves,” added Don. “Ok. Here’s another big one. Do you think this cedar tree senses community?” asked Lars. “Hmm… do trees know that they are part of a forest?” Bruce mused. Bo was quick to answer, “Now that you have me thinking like this, I would have to say ‘certainly’. Trees are connected underground by fine roots that may merge from tree to tree. There are also mycorrhizal fungi growing in and around the roots, creating a living web underground.” “And you can imagine that when a tree is cut down, its roots go into shock. The natural exchange of fluids within the tree is ruptured. Internal pressure drops and the stump bleeds excess fluids. When this happens, the trees around it sense the change within the connected root systems and the information is passed on. When many trees are cut down, something like shock waves must travel through the root system. So the forest feels the bleeding of the trees,” Lars said with great sadness.
“I guess fundamentally we are world citizens,” began Cibi. “Our actions influence other actions and we connect to all people and events through time by our common history.” “And that history shows us that we propagate hate and war when we forget our commonality, and support exclusive group interests and their accumulated power,” sighed Lorraine. “So how can we possibly get beyond this warring and change that history?” asked Ray. “Groups can unite and change affiliations when they adopt a common purpose or goal,” offered Karyn. Ray thought for a moment. “Like if an even bigger enemy comes around?” Karyn nodded. “Exactly. When neighboring groups are threatened by something imminently large, then smaller conflicts are put aside to face the larger more immediate threat, and new, broader group alignments arise.” Lorraine began, “Perhaps if we come to view ourselves as world citizens,” and she opened and spread her arms to include everyone in the room, “the cycles of hate and violence might end. Maybe by developing a more global perspective outside the bounds of national borders we can come to think of ourselves as a global race.” “I agree,” said Cibi. “National borders no longer isolate people from the effects of world events. Our problems and their solutions are global. Our needs and wants extend beyond political and regional boundaries, linking us tightly to people and events all over the globe.” “Problems like maintaining clean water and air or protecting our global climate,” offered Lana. “Or disease… or over-population,” suggested Ellie. Lorraine nodded in agreement. “Yes, population growth definitely requires a global solution. Without controls we could overrun our resources and without globally coordinated efforts we could destroy our genetic diversity.” “We are intimately connected to all people and all life on Earth by our shared water and atmosphere,” said Raz. “We literally exchange molecules between our bodies with all past and present.” He thought for a moment then added, “and future.” Cibi bristled and shook his head back and forth. “Yes, when the water which has existed clean and pure for billions of years is degraded the entire planet is affected.” “We are water and we are united by water,” Raz pronounced. “If we humans were to recognize that intimate bond, perhaps we could start to address our global problems from a common perspective… and these false boundaries that appear to separate us would dissolve,” Lana said wistfully. “Wouldn’t that be nice,” sighed Karyn, “but the world functions primarily by economics. And the economic marketplace rewards those sellers first to market with the cheapest goods. Unfortunately, not a system conducive for planning and implementing world-based decisions.” Raz nodded. “No, absolutely not. The economic system largely ignores activities that are associated with getting products to market… like working conditions and worker compensation, and environmental impacts from procuring materials, manufacturing and transportation.” Lorraine was confused. “I thought that free enterprise could bring us together… you know, people selling and marketing goods or services as they desire.” “Basic commerce is a great way of unifying people. But our world is run by mega-capitalism where huge conglomerations choke out free enterprise. For many people it’s simply too difficult and costly to be competitive in this market,” lamented Karyn. “It really is sad,” said Ellie. “You would think that we were smart enough to protect our race and fulfill everyone’s basic needs for clean food, air and water.” “Maybe by opening up world communication to all people we can come together as a human race. Maybe if we are able to freely communicate, discuss issues and plan and implement activities for our mutual benefit with anyone and everyone in the world, we can all live well and be active world citizens,” Cibi said thoughtfully.
That afternoon we were told about the angry crowds and sermons and were discussing what had caused us to become the object of such hatred in the community. Lana and I were distressed. We had come here for rest and refuge. When we got involved with the protest we thought we were doing good by helping protect the forest. Lana was defiant. “I love nature. Some of my best experiences have been in the wild. So am I somehow evil for my love of the natural world?” “Of course not!” boomed Bruce. “There is no evil here. Our Earth is beautiful and fills me with wonder. In the natural world I feel as if I am part of a greater being. “So I dance with the devil because I am grounded in the world. I dance with the devil for the love of the dance and the love of the devil. I do not want to kill or hurt anyone or anything. I want to be and celebrate being. I’m here briefly and too soon gone, and I want to dance along the way. I love this world and swear to do what I can to protect its awesome beauty!”
“I am a peaceful person and do not provoke confrontations. In fact, when faced with a confrontational situation I will do what I can to avoid violence. But when someone comes into my home to harm or kill me, my family or friends, I will do whatever I can to stop them… including killing. This ongoing violence is being brought to our homes and into our families. I ask you, can we afford to stand around and allow all that we have, all that we are… to be ripped away?” Shouts of “No. No. No!” could be heard from the crowd. Someone yelled, “Kill the bastards!” “Please. Please. We must not allow our anger to overcome us. We must use our anger as a means of inspiring and uniting us. Let us not dwell on hate. Let us use our indignation to propel us forward. Let your anger be a positive and righteous force. “Now you may ask, Where is our government? Is it not the government’s place to protect us and our interests? “And I answer that it should be so! But the only part of government that we see is an army that tries to squash our dissatisfaction and discontent. Our government has been bought. Our economic well-being has been sold to the highest bidders: mining, energy and retail giants. Sadly, we can expect no help from the government. Too much money is at stake. To them we are either consumptive cogs or dead weight in their economic and political aspirations. “Our most important resource—that which each and every one of us depends upon every day of our lives—our clean WATER, is being polluted and stolen!” A roar went up from the crowd at the mention of water. “Yes, water. Clean water is so basic to us that we have taken it for granted. But now we see how dependent we are upon our water and the drastic changes that come about when our clean water is taken away. “Water is the most important resource on our planet. Without water there would be no life. Our bodies are composed of more than 50% water. The same water has been circulating around the earth for billions of years. We cannot live without our water. Crimes against water are crimes against humanity. Our humanity is being stolen!” Again, roars of approval arose from the crowd. “Today I beseech you to rise up and join the fight. We must stop this madness NOW!” he roared. He held a glass of water above his head for all to see. “I hold this water to unite us. Water is forever. We are water. Water is sacred and must be protected! Those who deface and degrade our water are the worst kind of criminals. It is our place to unite and stand up to the usurpers… in the name of water we will act as one! “Today we come together in purpose and need. Today we will go forth and reclaim our basic rights and necessities. Today let us rise up against these forces and return our purpose and dignity! Water is our right and heritage. It belongs to us all. Let us strike down any who would violate this basic human trust!”
“The problem is that government has been taken over by the economic system. So-called free enterprise occupies such a central place in our society that our mantra has been to leave the system unrestrained. As the economic entities get bigger, smaller ones find it harder and harder to compete. This creates an environment; we could call it ultra-capitalism, with fewer but larger economic forces, each with more capital and more power. That large power base is then used to influence government policies and practices.” “Sure, that’s only natural… you know, to survive and grow. It’s always been that way.” “Perhaps. But the basic principle of our economic system is that first to market with the cheapest goods wins. There is no room for evaluating long-term effects. Consumers do not see the wake of activities involved in getting the product onto the shelf. “Corporations are run on short-term bottom-line logic. Investors demand short-term profit. If a policy or practice does not produce those profits, it’s rarely ever considered. And the personal income of corporate officers is usually linked to those profit margins. “So, the mega-corporations seek government policies and regulations that favor their short-term gains. And with their increased influence over jobs, markets, goods and services they usually get their way with government policy makers.” “So you think our government is controlled by the power of the markets?” “Exactly,” said Goff, “our politics and policies are often designed toward those ends. We go to war to strengthen and support the powers of the marketplace. Your work is being usurped and you are being made a pawn in a hidden fight for power.” “The whole process makes me feel detached and isolated and unsure of the value of what I do,” I lamented. “The purpose of government should be to help create a better society. But too often this is directly opposed to the corporate free-market approach. Ideally, government should help create a playing field that emphasizes long-term values as opposed to corporate short-term profit motives.” I scowled. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that and I don’t know what alternatives we have.” “Well we must work to build alternatives if they don’t exist. To just follow along for our own comfort and ease is not acceptable. We need to do what we think and feel is right.” “I agree. If people lived what they thought was right this world would be an entirely different place.” “Too many are bought and sold… for short-term gain, they give away their freedom.”
Now we must organize. We must weave our plans within the fabric that binds us. There will be no simple link. All paths lead to one another. Yet none is the single key. None is a highway. All wander. Though two paths touch or cross, neither will know where the other leads. So it will be for us. We are the weavers. We must go and prepare the threads. We must weave our plans into the lives of others. We are the masters. We will bring the children home. Those around us do not always understand our means but they will surely know our ends. And that is a delight. We must weave our plans into their holy visions. Then we will be strong. Then we will be invincible. Then we will defeat the devil that is upon us. So we are sworn by the power of God to purify the nation through burning fire. Fire that burns to the core. Fire that releases us from this domination and returns our future to us.
Lobsang offered, “It is our past together with our current actions that create the future into which we move.” “Hmm,” muttered Ellie considering, “we come from the violent world of predator and prey, and more recently developed our thinking skills.” “Along with a propensity to group under protection and power,” added Karyn. “Creating the power-full versus the power-less,” sighed Cibi. “And,” began Karyn, speaking slowly and groping for words, “our growing awareness, our deep-rooted primal instincts and fears, and the reign of the powerful allow us and cause us to create increasingly complex ways of dominating and destroying others… and ultimately ourselves.” Lorraine’s face brightened. “And we can see what we are doing! Our being aware of those relationships in the world… is the universe becoming conscious.” “Yes, when we acknowledge our common heritage and purpose we are becoming aware. We are becoming conscious. We are the world seeing itself,” Lana exclaimed triumphantly. “We are the eyes of the world,” repeated Ellie. Hearing this, Ngawang laughed heartily. “As part of the consciousness of the world, we are the spark and possibility of new and better things. But being as One with our world… when we identify part of creation as evil we are demonizing our own tail.” Lobsang laughed, “Very nice Ngawang… like a dragon chasing its tail!” and he laughed even harder. “We must be very careful because when we define evil we are also defining God as that which is not evil. When we try to define something beyond the capabilities of our words… when we try to separate that which exists in context from its context, we develop and support false images. And when we attempt to encapsulate the workings of an omniscient, omnipresent Creator/Creation/Being into our feeble word concepts, we create an idol.” Ngawang continued, “It is our natural tendency to form relations with things we understand. So rather than focus on that which the words attempt to describe, we come to worship false gods in the words themselves. And in this way we create devils.”
“Our history is riddled with wars and violence. This is part of our nature. Though some people are peaceful and do not provoke confrontation, others are angry and jealous, and seek control and power. Unfortunately, it takes only a few resorting to violence to cause many to pick up arms. “And what is it that we always fight about, Cibi?” “Many things, Haru. Many things.” “Yes, for many specific reasons but basically it is always the same, Cibi. We war for control… control of territory, resources, bodies and minds. And we war in groups. Always one group against another. The stronger the association with a specific group, the stronger the inclination to go to war when that group’s interests are at stake. “Survival for humans has always consisted of group survival. Whether it was clans of hunter-gatherers, or tribes, or villages or countries, we have lived and died in groups. When one group’s interests run contrary to another’s and the stakes are raised, conflicts arise. We identify with our group and tend to be unsympathetic towards, dislike or even hate perceived adversaries. The stronger the lines are drawn between groups, the more tendency for violence. “And the differences between the natural world violence of predator and prey and the malignant violence between people are in the group dynamics, Cibi. The wolf kills the goat with no malice intended toward all goats. In a way, the wolf loves goats (since she depends upon them for food) and would like to see them flourish. But in our group struggles, the entire other group becomes enemy and adversary. So we engage in wars filled with hate.” “It is a sad history that you paint, Haru. Groups have been our strength and apparently our weakness as well.” “We all love and identify with groups. We are at our best in groups and at our worst as well.” “And religion, Haru? Religion crosses all boundaries.” “Yes, Cibi. It crosses boundaries but it also draws them.” “Ahh… and leads to the most wars.” “Sadly so, Cibi. Some more than others.” “Some more than others?” “Yes. Remember that it is perceived adversaries of our group with whom we contend. If your religious belief is in ONE and ONLY ONE GOD, then everything that follows and respects the ways of that God must be thought of as good.” “Sure.” “And all that goes against the ways of that God must then be thought of as bad.” “Yes.” “Now, if that God does not include all that there is… all that exists… then things exist in the world that will necessarily be other than good. Events, people, ideas, places may be thought of as bad simply by association with that which is not cognizant of nor compliant with the ways and principals of the perceived God.” “So when the One God arises so does the One Devil!” I exclaimed. “Yes, Cibi! If your One God does not include all that exists, then enemies are born and groups conflict.” “But if your One God is inclusive, then…” I paused, not sure what to say. Haru finished my thought. “Then events come and go and change occurs. Sometimes there is death and destruction, and other times flowering and growth. But there is no other group becoming the enemy.” “Perhaps religious groups bind us most strongly,” I suggested. “Yes, perhaps so, and when you combine strong groups like State and Religion, the allegiance can become fervent and the enemies a thousand times more vicious.”
“You think that the voting process is free and fair?” asked a young man. “Sure. We vote and the person with the most votes wins. Simple,” she answered. “But aren’t people’s decisions influenced by TV, radio, newspapers, advertisements and endorsements?” he asked. “Sure.” “And isn’t all that media partial to the economic and political powers that support or control them?” “I guess so. But it sounds like you’re preaching futility.” She was getting frustrated. “Exactly. Futile. The whole voting process. The whole political process. And the politicians!” yelled the young man. Someone in the crowd shouted out, “Well what do you expect a person to do? Voting is the key to freedom and democracy.” Kaelin could not restrain himself. “Voting is a panacea. It gives us the impression or perception that we can get what we want when we are really just getting screwed over.” “What voting really accomplishes,” growled Stephen “is to keep us believing that we participate in an open democratic process and that our resulting government is free and fair.” He continued, “Voting was a radical freedom from direct rule by the elite and powerful. But it has unfortunately become largely ineffectual in our economically and politically controlled world.” Bruce clarified, “Voting works best in small groups where people meet face to face to discuss and decide common issues. However, it fails for large groups with open markets where money equates to power.” Estaur, a young woman trying to participate while keeping her three small children occupied, added, “We vote, and maybe we can change the politicians and perhaps also the façade of the power structure. But the rich and powerful are forever behind the scenes, pulling the strings. The politicians decide how the rewards will be divvied. Then they devise plans to tell us just the right information to get support, and give us just the right perks to keep us complacent. Same old story, over and over.” “Thanks, Estaur,” said Stephen, “and those looking for power consult psychologists, social scientists and market analysts. They are dressed by wardrobe consultants, taught to stand and speak by actors, fed ideas by political strategists and financial powerhouses, and given words to say by speechwriters. They adjust the image and message, poll for sample statistics—to find out what people think—and repeat. Over and over. All the while disseminating confusion, lies and misinformation about opponents. So when you vote, exactly what are you voting for?” “So you’re saying that voting is futile?” asked a bewildered young man. “Look, voting is OK,” answered Stephen. “If the election is close and the differences in the end results are great, go vote. Just don’t expect too much and always be careful of politicians.” “Not all the politicians are bought and sold,” the young man insisted. Maggie answered, “There are dedicated politicians who work against imposed power for the interests of the people who elected them. But power attracts, so politicians naturally move toward it.” Stephen elaborated. “Politicians are seeking to insert their ideas and opinions into the activities of society. They think their ideas are superior or better suited, or they want to feel and exercise the power associated with such a position. And to survive in the cutthroat world of asserting power and influence, they must play the games of power and influence.

About Author

How Kuff

Love the outdoors. Expert mountain biker and recreational enthusiast. Organic gardening and animal husbandry farm management. Have worked for decades for environmental quality and water protection. Local mountain biking and hiking outdoor guide. Mountain bike trail builder, bike club leader and member of IMBA Upper Buffalo Mountain Bike Patrol. Father of two highly successful children who were primarily homeschooled on this farm. Have worked teaching College mathematics and statistics, running a successful high tech business in the parking management industry, grant writing, fundraising and community organizing. Writer and author of philosophical novel about the state of humanity through the ages and into the 21st century

Why choose the book

Blog Post

What does it mean to Change History?

History can only be understood through the situation in which we live. Sure history consists of facts, but those facts […]

Any Questions?

Contact Us

Scroll to Top