How I Got Here: An Ecopreneur’s Story #4

I burn with a vision for a radically different society, a radically improved one.

I’m so grateful to have these tools of the internet and the personal computer, and this WordPress platform. It’s like magic. I just can’t conceive of what the environmental impact is of these tools. It is probably and conveniently impossible to calculate the environmental impact of one laptop, one window onto the net, one blog site. How many animals killed. How much water polluted. It’s a shame that people like Bill Gates have a vision for a personal computer for every human being on Earth, instead of a community internet cafe (and multifunctional space) for every town, which would be far more sustainable.

Whilst still based in my woodland home at Silent Haven, Devon, my entrepreneurial thinking deepened. I don’t know if the wildness of my surroundings contributed to the wildness of my dreams, but I think it did. I developed big dreams, all very egotistical of course, and yet also reflective of my frustration with how the world is, and how much better it could be for everyone -other species included. I have massive dreams for my business, but only because I believe I could help facilitate ‘business to end all business’, in a very literal sense. I do not believe that human beings are governed by market forces, except that we have made it so across most of the globe. It is only by utilising markets as they are, that we can radically change them and to an extent, dissolve them, revealing and renewing those human co-creative forces that have nothing to do with markets and everything to do with evolutionary multi-species-enlightened self-interest.

Nevertheless, we shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that it is only not-for-profit and non-business areas of society that have a monopoly on human wisdom, ingenuity, excellence in communication and co-operation, and even ‘love’. Both Adam Smith and Karl Marx reduced human beings to economic actors. An unfortunate result of classical / dogmatic Marxist thinking (notwithstanding Marx’s great contribution to history) has been a neglect amongst leftists of the great creative potential in human beings to create all kinds of diverse economies based on local, including environmental, needs, as opposed to centralised power structures. Both classical Marxism and Smithsonian economics presuppose a centralised state. The centralised state has allowed the rise of massive corporations, and all their implied unethical ways of being, essentially their environmental impact. In modern times we need ecopreneurs -ethical and ecological entrepreneurs, to break down the intertwined power of state and corporation, to create local and diverse economies. For the Marxists, I would like to suggest to you that this is the best and most grounded path towards socialism. With the right technologies employed and shared, local diverse economies could indeed give rise to ‘scientific socialism’, (although not necessarily in every locality) as Abdullah Ocalan calls it, as opposed to the ‘real socialism’ that we have suffered through history.

-As I deepened my interest in business, I started to read some good business books -books for the independent entrepreneur. I realised that the modern business world, if isolated in environmental context, is full of genius. Genius of logic, strategic thinking, communication skills, envisioning techniques, creative organisational structure and so on. But much more than this: the world of business, especially the world of creative independent entrepreneurs, contains some passionate, loving people, who genuinely want to share their passion and knowledge and love for the world. Yes, they make a living from their creative mission, but hopefully these people would also be facilitated in their joy and innovation in scientific socialist and localised diverse economic contexts, with a greater respect for ecology all round.

One book I read was ‘The Lean Start-up’ by Eric Ries. The key lesson I learnt from this book is the importance of envisioning (visualising and emotionally connecting with) what you want to achieve with any business, and the importance of pivoting, i.e. changing direction with the precise business model and / or product(s) it takes to realise the vision. Before reading this book, I was in danger of confusing product or current business model, with overall vision for change, and thus thinking that my vision had failed whenever a product idea failed (which was all of them, all the time).

Another entrepreneur’s book I read early on was ‘The 100$ Start-up’ by Chris Guillebeau.  More than anything this taught me that almost anyone can be an entrepreneur, and that almost anyone can be a consultant on something they are knowledgeable on or passionate about. The book also taught the concept of ‘just in time’ learning, meaning, it is possible to be engaged on a path of learning whereby you share your knowledge with customers as soon as you learn it, rather than thinking you have to get a degree in something before sharing and capitalising on your knowledge.

I also read the well-known ‘Influence: The Power of Persuasion’ by Robert Cialdini, but to be honest I found this book on marketing technique unsettling and a little dishonest.

Let me reassert, I understand that the modern globalised system of capitalism that we live with is an obsolete and destructive system which must be transformed and dismantled by varying degrees, and without delay. I understand that books like ‘The Lean Start-up’ and ‘The $100 Start-up’ are products of a few privileged minds that are invested in the current prevailing paradigm, and that rely on centuries of oppression of human beings and the planet, and are intertwined with continued oppression, however ‘ethical’ they are in places. But I cannot claim to be any less intertwined with oppression. Unless I throw my laptop away, throw away my connection to the internet, and live very frugally in a monastery-like setting, whether I like it or not I am a symptom and cause of the prevailing paradigm. My personal way of taking responsibility for that is to be a subversive entrepreneur, to draw capital to me from the middle classes and redistribute it for social and ecological justice.

-At one point I contacted a place that gives free business advice in Okehampton. I passed by them an idea for an ecologically-themed online directory. I was asked, ‘how are you going to compete with Google?’ and my answer was that people don’t always know what they are looking for with search engines -my directory would curate information and guide sustainable behaviour. I didn’t pursue this idea at the time, partly because I was put off by the official nature of the feedback I received, which was in terms of SWOT (the supposed strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats model of business planning). Classic SWOT doesn’t really work for me, although I think I use the concept implicitly in a more lateral way in everything I do now.

During this period of taking on a more entrepreneurial mindset, allowing space for my vision to grow, I managed to live quite frugally, partaking in scraps of part-time work here and there, and living rent-free in an ‘unlawful’ self-built dwelling in the woods. I would encourage anyone to do this, if on a careful and ecologically sound basis. The laws of the state are of course, no measure for what is sustainable behaviour for the continuance of our species.

I still feel like ‘I’m not businessy enough’. I have been conned by the business world into thinking that because I dress scruffily and ideally wish to live in a borderless and relocalised world, I can never be an entrepreneur, much less a CEO. The business elites of the status quo quite rightly feel threatened by my vision.

I say to you that we need to throw off the shackles of the stereotypes of the business person and the entrepreneur once and for all. Yes, this has been happening for a while now, but not in the radical way that I envision.

Now more than ever we need an army of super-ethical ecopreneurs, breaking down the environmental impact and excessive power of the large corporations and the state, liberating capital to flow more freely to where it is needed, and supporting the creation of buzzing localised economic hives, with a radically re-worked concept of ‘profit’, equated with enriching one community without disadvantaging another.

‘All My Tomorrows’ -Evolving Epic

This is the beginnings of an epic poem. A history of my life which I hope sheds some light on the issues that I care about, in a way that may also inspire others. So far it is focused around gender, sexuality and mental health, but over time I intend it to develop to be a reflection of everything that I see as vital within me; everything that is expressed through the Epic Tomorrows blog and business.

 

All My Tomorrows

 

Next time I come I will kill the Man inside

I was birthed in a WASPital, Scots-beseiged

He gave grey opium to my fragile mother

In-out skirts of Europe’s heroin city

Clinical trial, Empire pushing it on China

-The Scots mountains glowered

But the light of my Spirit daybroke

Pulsing for the justice to be

 

Far from the north is the English southwest

We moved for the sake of Father Career

Forgotten wee lassies and laddies just gone

Two girls and a boy, my coven my clan

Paled for Him, rugged, the eagle’s decline

Lesser buzzards, scanned the factory lowlands

Neither they, nor I could make sense of this botch

-Patchwork, the bank-rolling countryside irks

 

Quilted confused…market-town fused

From aged three I was praised without boundary

But vaguely blamed for failures in the fable home

-That was my mother, I was provided for

Instilled with liberty’s statue, that was mother

And my poor dear father, I was traumatised

In the porch, three years after Scotland

-You left, the never-returner –trauma echoes daily

 

I played with girls carnally young and free

Explorer of sensuality, piano keys and paper

A little older I touched boys, that was me too

The big shock of big school, soul’s blocked unfurling

Uncompromising sports field, trust degraded

Of the life of the Father, sickening classroom

Sometimes I found wilderness, self-touched in mud

Reluctant into Manhood’s violent ways

 

Now aged sixteen, mind heavy, metal rebel

Pierced and couldn’t kiss the numbed young women

They meant too much to me and most of them

Seemed bewildered, maybe traumatised by Him

I never knew genderqueer, this was ‘ninety-five

And Queer favours the city -didn’t live there

Yet my genderwild Spirit fought its way undefined

Amidst brambles, meadows and cannabis smoke

 

At eighteen on a trampoline, my desperate lock on

To a woman, ‘men have girlfriends’ Father said

Went to university ‘because that’s what men do’

Father said. I learnt how Greece and Rome

Got away with murder, (Catullus and his cunts)

Smoked too much skunk, bombed on speed

Ate the junk food of the Man, ate it all

In Midlands towns, dead canal’s hope

 

This renegade son did fancy women some

Too shy for Father’s laid out courtship role

So I grabbed hold of another I was indifferent to

‘This is what men do’ spake Father, ‘now chain your heart’

The metal got angrier, I broke down came home

Mother-coddled again, diag-supposed a ‘social phobic’

Father said ‘you are inept at my game

-There’s no other’ (Phobic of that is no illness)

 

I was grain-fed diag-dozed-bull-nosed ‘depressed,

Moderately, with psychotic features’ i.e. Father’s sins

Obfuscated in this painful presentation

Capabilities pressed-down and frustrated

Then pressed-down and frustrated by medications more

Which sought to check my lofty projections

Of what humanity could achieve in me

And the others I knew who took their own lives

 

I learnt the Buddha-Dhamma and it was life

To realise deep in space, I’m neither he nor she

I took up boxing, to kill the Man inside me

Learnt tantra alone, came in fountains of rainbow

Joy of Holy Spirit coursing through in

Moments healing every Fatherly ill

‘No-one could touch me’ but I wanted touch

Genderwild Spirit, caress of leaf, thorny taunt

 

Lonely slipped, tripped into pornographic hell

By umbilical cord of deathly cable broke

Free years earlier but the images returned:

Women doing headstands in pools of primordial

Maggots crawling in their eyes, a huge dais

Supported on their feet, atop of which, a throne

Occupied by Father which is to say haunted

By fetid sob of guilty rage, repeated zombified

 

-I met a woman as selfish as I –as sweet

The destruction of She, of Earth, mental health

On her land we built against, railed against, unlawful

Silent haven with a magick core of confluence

Karmic threads infinite, there where redemption

Of everything was possible, yet the tragedy was

Our love was not equal to our difference

Or the madness of the district’s laws

 

Labelled again, ‘borderline personality disorder’

This fine personality disarrayed on society’s fringes

-This society disordered, by a Romanian shrink

Border-ashamed of her agrarian country past

She assured me it was ‘modernising’ (Father spake)

Like her profession’s pills would ‘modernise’ me

The pills that traumatised I now refused to take

And her suggestion that my unfinished projects

 

Were a sign of illness and not the poetry

Of an expansive mind spiralling out to completion

Through ever grander, superseding ventures

Like the mass adventure of humanity itself

-Then named ‘bi-polar’, this sort of oriented

My map –no time to teach the new doc

Long hungover as I was from illicits and psychiatrics

But thank you doc yes, a certain soaring, a crash

 

‘Schizoaffective disorder’ was then slapped on by

A young psych-twist who received the careless

Wilful spin I gave my condition that day

In orders that I profit from the welfare state hateful

Yet I had no need, for the whispers were real

The sensitive Cosmos is all my affect

And clear to me, flickering through this no-mind

Too quick for doc to notice, but voices keep stock

 

-The first time delectable, the only sweet time

I ever fell for a man, walked onto a farm

He was shovelling earth, we both knew at once

Our conversation, bisexual could stay just in talking

Relief of revealing release of cross-dressing

-Yet crossing what? Patriarchy’s nasty ‘transvestism’

Father’s ice way, not admitting our freedom

Spirit spitting fire through genderdom constructs

 

Spirit castigating the love that is reined

His possessive lust, monogamy, now I realise

Since school days of awakening sexuality

When I’d pen epic erotica of all the girls

That my sex is liberated but greater than that

My love, my soul is unfettered is the quick

And deep growth is the sun’s love, the shoot

(Even when through us Earth wars with Herself)

 

-To Rojava! Where the women determine themselves

Defend and study the science of themselves

In a gaping whole blasted through the nation state

That drew my Spirit through the cybersphere

English comrades have gone, recalling Spain

To where the town decides what’s best for the town

Attacked by cold Turkey, Father Erdogan

Accruing weapons from the bitch at Britain’s helm

 

Thirteen painted ominous and absent by such men

Thirteen moons birthed roots thirteen of oceans well:

First moon wilderness, second, wilderless human builds

Third, the body’s hoelth, fourth, Godly dirty ecstasy

Fifth, materials to live, sixth, a family to give love

Seventh, community, eighth, a society to give worth

Ninth, worth spoken and heard, tenth, understood, eleventh

Created afresh, twelfth, in Spirit, thirteenth all dramatically told

 

Now finally the genderqueen’s Voodoo chile

Erupts from my guts, an alien to some

Plans plenty hatched but yet to conquer

Yet to soar like the Scottish golden raptor

Now I don’t want, particularly, women or men

Most would put me out back in a box again

The same old has failed, chaste in my rebellion

If you’re not a rebel with me, chase me hard

 

But if you are genderwild I may rainbow come to you

Killing the Man inside that has kept us sweetly sick

Be we he, she, both, neither, inbetween

And orgasm as yourself and say no to all drugs

-Now frightened I crouch in my rural base

Dartmoor rocks, gushing Spirit mine, inexhausts

I was never a Man –never will be –was never

Mentally Ill –all I’m is this Rising Up!

 

 

 

 

Book Review: ‘Finding Earth, Finding Soul’ by Tim Macartney

I enjoyed finishing this book the other day, which I had started a few months back then discontinued. I was inspired to synchronise my reading of the second half with an escalation in my efforts to launch my blog and further, a fledgeling business inspired by the blog (coming very soon). To add to the synchronicity, I saw my good friend Jenny, who lent me the book; I don’t see her often these days. She told me of her time at Embercombe -the house and gardens in Devon, not far from me, that were bestowed on ‘Mac’ (the book author) as a thank you to him and his company ‘Pathways’ for helping businesses work with more integrity and connection to Nature.

The essence of the synchronicity is that I am striving to launch a business in a way that is deeply respectful of, even repairing of, the environment, as well as inspiring social justice for disadvantaged groups in society. I am striving to use all the entrepreneurial savvy available to me, but in an ethical way. Similarly, Tim ‘Mac’ Macartney, with Pathways, attempted to bridge the gaps between the corporate world, and eco-spiritual integrity; authentic and ethical leadership. I personally am scathing of corporatism and wonder whether Mac was wasting his time with these big actors complicit in the global destruction of the environment. For me, the end of corporatism is necessary if we are to move on, constructively and healthily as a species. I do think there are exceptions: ‘Transition Corporations’ that would have obsolescence designed into them; special rafts to carry us from here to there, using the power of capitalism to transform or even end capitalism.

Nevertheless in ‘Finding Earth…’ with his very poetic and Nature-inspired language, and his revelation that he started his ‘invisible path of authentic leadership’ as an anti-corporate gardener in a business development centre, Mac has shown me that, underdog though I may be, I am capable of mixing in a variety of different circles, including corporate if necessary, to help make the changes that I see need to be made. My poetry and deep connection to Nature can be a help -actually must be at the core of my directed action- even in the most capitalist of contexts. But I need to find some courage!

I was also impressed in the book by the willingness of Mac and his Pathways business team to take risks on a human rather than purely financial basis. There is the incredible story of Dorota, a Polish woman in her 20’s with no business experience. Based on her heartfelt longings for purpose and her belief in Pathways, Mac took a massive risk in supporting her wish to develop ‘Pathways Poland’, which then happened (after a bit of a shaky start).

I also take as a timely warning Mac’s early idealism. He had ‘plenty of dreams, plans and ambitions’, he writes, but it came to a point where he realised he needed to act. Ideals can drive us and guide us, but if they are not grounded in what can be done in the here-and-now, then they can be counterproductive -an escape. I know this only too well, but I’m working on it.

There are a few other moments in the book which really stood out for me. Some are autobiographical incidents -including one very dramatic life-focusing event- and others are more points of wisdom and philosophy, along with the standard call to heroic action that is the feature of any environmentally aware book written in the past decade or so.

I was also pleased to read about Mac’s awareness of feminist issues, although he could have gone deeper.

Essentially, Mac seems to agree with the basic tenets of The Evidence section of Epic Tomorrows; he says that we are in ‘crisis’ as a species due to our degrading of our planet home, and quotes politicians who agree. He includes climate change and biodiversity loss in his assessment. But this was back in 2007. Things have gotten worse since then.

 

Heroine Quest

Welcome to the Epic Futures of Earth. Heroines and heroes of all genders and none, all races and none, all sexualities and none, now is your time. Join our quest in any way you are able. Join the Epic Tribe.

The heroine quest; the mission statement; the vision:

beginning here and now;

1) To create true Permaculture, including rewilding, in Southwest England by co-developing with its inhabitants, a model of regional resource sovereignty, regional governance and a resilient post-capitalist regional economy. To network with similar movements around the world.

2) In support of and supported by the above, to dismantle the biomedical model of mental illness, at least on a regional level, in favour of a sociocultural model as standard.

3) In support of and supported by the above, to pioneer and develop an Ecopreneurial Descent economics, responding to the coming energy Descent, future global conflicts and the emergent relocalisation of global culture. eDe is ‘using capitalism to go beyond capitalism’.

4) In support of and supported by the above, to pioneer Hammerhead Activism; a super-organised form of activism which seeks to bring together disparate activist groups, including Arts activists, to pressure worst corporate offenders, (WCOs), tackling mercilessly one WCO at a time, and advancing tenfold the end of corporatism on this Earth.

5) In support of and supported by the above, to address the unconscious and conscious narratives and stories which guide modern global capitalist culture, and to facilitate the normalising of new more helpful narratives, non-patriarchal, non-oppressive and post-capitalist.

Review of SF novel ‘Grass’ by Sherri Tepper

Science fiction can help us imagine a sustainable future for humanity on Earth.

Here is my first SF book review: ‘Grass’ by Sherri Tepper (1989);

The full review is on my friend Andrea’s site The Scifi Novel

PLOT:

From an alternative and future version of Earth named Terra, the humanitarian aid worker and scientific researcher, Marjorie Yrarier, and her family, depart to the mysterious planet of Grass. Their mission on Grass: to find the rumoured cure for a plague that is in danger of decimating the entire interplanetary civilization of humanity. Marjorie must battle an over-bearing husband, recalcitrant daughter, hostile locals, the savage but super-intelligent local wildlife and an oppressive religious empire in order to achieve the mission. This is a romantic but serious sci-fi adventure, with plenty of mystery too. Its depth and breadth are impressive, but would I recommend it to others? Read on…

 

The Children at the Heart of Everything -dedicated to Afrin’s children -may they be spared

This is the third part of a three-part series. The first two parts were published on my Facebook page: The Boy at the Beginning of Time and The Girl in the Middle of Time

@singingbones @wordandsilence

The Children at the Heart of Everything

The boy Sunshine and the girl Pain had travelled across Europe and down into the African continent, to meet with the dream-teller of the river Zaire.

The dream-teller’s hut was guarded by two gorillas, and fruit bats hung from the roof inside. Sunshine was too bright to be scared, and Pain was too strong.

When the children were sat in the hut with the dream-teller, the dream-teller asked,  ‘Why have you come to this place; this place where all human stories began, and where all will end?’

‘I had a dream about Remembering’ said Pain.

‘And you want to know what it means’ replied the dream-teller…’So tell me of this dream’.

‘Well,’ began Pain, ‘I dreamt that people all over the world were starting to Remember; to Remember that women and wild animals and plants are all equal to men; and also that men are equal to plants and wild animals and women. I dreamt that my friend Sunshine, who you see before you now, went up into the sky and replaced the Sun. He shone down with a pure love -not like the old Sun, but he was lonely there.’

After listening to Pain’s dream, the dream-teller was quiet for some time. She chewed on some leaves which she had in a bowl next to her, and spat on the ground. Every now and again she threw some berries, from another bowl, up into the air, where the fruit bats would catch them in their jaws. Finally, she spoke:

‘Your dream is of the Great Remembering and it is not only a dream. It is something that is beginning to happen right now. You, Pain, and you, Sunshine, are the prophets of the Remembering. But you must understand that no time and no place is ever perfect. The Great Remembering is truly not of a past perfect time, it is of all within us that is good, from all times. The Great Remembering is when all the stories ever told will be interwoven into one grand story…a story so great and so special that all will be happy to be characters in the story, because all beings will live healthily ever after in equality.’

‘I love you, dream-teller, and I love you, Pain, but what shall we do now?’ asked Sunshine.

‘Now you must remember what it is to be a girl, Sunshine, and although you are a girl, Pain, you must remember what it is to be a boy. For really, the soul of girls is in boys too, and the soul of boys is in girls too.’

‘Pain, I Remember you are cool and refreshing, stiller than a rock, dark and able to run in the dark’ said Sunshine.

‘Sunshine, I Remember you are warm and loving, harder than a rock, light and able to fly to great heights’ said Pain.

Then the dream-teller stood up with tears in her eyes.

She said, ‘Now you must go in the world to where the Remembering is strongest, and inspire the children there. Because where the Remembering is strongest, is also where the Forgetting, the old ways of pain and violence, are very strong too. The Forgetting must not be victorious in its war against the Remembering!’

‘But where is this place of war to which we must travel?’ asked Sunshine.

‘Its name is Afrin, in the land of Rojava -land of Remembrance. In the region that some call The East of Middle. There you will be protected from the guns and bombs of the Forgetting, by my spell of peacefire. You will walk amongst the children in the villages. You will make even stronger the story of Remembering that is happening there.’

Pain kept quiet, for she saw even further than the dream-teller. She saw that the quest of herself and Sunshine would not end in Afrin. It would not end until the Remembering had spread across the region of the East of Middle; until all boys and all girls had Remembered, and could not become Forgetful, hate-filled adults. This is the where the real story begins…

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#StopAfrinGenocide