Right from the beginning..I have struggled intuitively to get behind this latest movement for saving the planet.
I’ve had some strong personal views which could be construed as rebelling against the rebels.. (bear in mind I’ve been doing eco-magic and campaigning, participating in eco-causes, protests, fundraisers – for many many years..). I’ve finally started to have dialogues with a few close friends on this matter, trying to understand – no this new movement for an existing cause – but my self, and why I intuitively feel detached or not involved in it.
I’ve studied the websites, the symbol, seen enough graffiti on walls of London, stuck postcard posters on bus stops.. read about it on articles, read friends’ facebook posts and personal accounts.. politely said no to their invites to go join these protest events and more.. (bit also magically welcomed and supported some of the XR participants at my ritual, and offered subtle advise on using magic.. for further their efforts for success).
Matters such as the very name `Extinction Rebellion’ and their symbol, and their urban vandal/gang-like activities bother me.
Maybe I am tired of it all after 20+ years of it, maybe my own personal life circumstances have changed my focus. Maybe my age itself and lacking physical stamina deters me?
I’ve put off doing this write-up for a while.. knowing that once I do, my views become open to all to read, interpret, engage, align with or argue against! It will alienate people..my views.. people who thought I am one of them will see me in a different light.. be a bit shocked, annoyed, disappointed, disgusted, angry even. But strangers and friends who feel the same way as me but have been cautious or afraid to voice it will be relieved an get behind me..(that will make me a figurehead for a Rebel against Rebellion.. But it does not mean that I am opposing the desperate need for action to save the world.. That cause remains).
So let me get to some of my transpersonal and magical concerns about this XR movement.
1. Name “Extinction Rebellion”
Catchy and emotive.. and easy for the masses to get behind with. But what is it actually saying..? Unless someone explains it… what does it mean if you just heard the phrase `Extinction Rebellion’ ? What is the call for action? Are you a rebel calling for Extinction? Oh yes.. that meaning is there too.. Its ambiguous.. and can muddle up the subconscious mind.. like the example of someone shouting `DON’T Look’ (nearly anyone who hears it will turn and look…human nature). Blessings such as `May you never hunger’ subconsciously enforce the action words …and in this case, `You’ and `hunger’ . Never is a word that gets lost in the language of the emotive subconscious mind. A better blessing – one I campaign for – is `May you have good food’.
So now look at the phrase `Extinction Rebellion’ again.
What is it telling your deeper mind when you are not thinking about it consciously?! `Go get extinct’?
In my view, a better phrase could have been `Rebel against Extinction’ (yes okay that’s clunky.. but it is not ambiguous). Or better still..find a name that does not use the negative word `Extinction’ !! Take a leaf ..nay a whole tree from `Green Peace’.. no words in there that have any negative connotations..but they take action.. campaign..protest…(sometimes, not-peaceful protect!).
2. The Symbol.
At a first glance, when it first started to appear on social media etc, I ignored it…thinking it was some weird pop-band sign. It vaguely reminded me of the Rune Daeg (morning/ new dawn) sideways. I did not equate it to a hour glass…(and I am normally obsessed with time.. time travel…etc. It should have occured to me..but it did not).
An hour glass has an important feature missing from their symbol..the actual sands of time..!
Perhaps a little cross-line to indicate it would have made that clear. Or even 2 lines.. the bottom of the glass showing it full..and top of it showing it almost empty.. That would show that time is running out.
I bring 2 other previous use / misuse of magical symbols here to aid your pondering.
- a) the CND peace symbol..(Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) shows what I can only see as an upside down Algiz (protection) rune. Whatever it may symbolise..it has a downfacing protection rune. Everytime it is used..in every flag and poster.. its’ enforcing thee idea of `no/ weak protection’ 😦
- b) The swastika symbol- used by Hindus and Pagans…and appropriated by Hitler to be a magical power symbol for Nazi cause. None of us pagans and Hindus like it…but look at the evidence of how a magical symbol used can power a cause. That was used for evil.. But we in the here and now can use good magical symbols for important earth saving causes.
The hour glass of sand running out is not exactly a good magical symbol.. if it is going to keep reinforcing the idea of that. Just like the upside down Algiz/ protection symbol used for world peace’ everywhere that still has not produced world peace, the time running out hour glass symbol is only going to enforce that ..and not actually giving the world more living time! (note: I myself have used the Hour glass over Earth’ symbol in Gaian Times magazine I edit.. but started using hands holding Earth’ as a more positive eco-symbol.)
3. The graffiti approach
As I started to see central london walls with the Extinction Rebellion symbol being graffitied, in amongst other ragged and seedy sex posters, it just all felt very dirty.. and only thing it was triggering in my educated mind was associations of gang signs and vandalism! Gangs and Vandals are the ones who just go about defacing public places with such graffiti. A proper `saving the planet from extinction’ movement should not be doing the same!
For the uneducated.. I don’t mean those without schooling- but those with no knowledge of who the Extinction Rebellion’ is, these symbols on london walls are just going to look like dirty or scary gang symbols.. The people will just walk on… quickly..away from such territorial gang spots’ lest they were intruding some inter-gang location wars.. !
And as for the masses of repeat postcard sized posters ..with big symbol and some tiny writing’ being stuck to bus stops .. again..all I could think about was `pop band promotions in Camden’ (Camden is a north london town where alternative lifestyle/ people…like goths, heavy metal guys and girls, tourists abound).
I mean, what sensible person standing on a bus stop is going to risk leaning over and read such a poster? I would not..in case others think am reading about some gang or pop group.. and get judged’. Okay I personally don’t care about that.. but others might nit want to be associated with unauthorised posters stuck on bus stops!
It’s about perceptions.. and judgements by our fellow man and fellow women.
Thus far, I’ve only written about the `problems’ I have perceived personally.. or rather how the XR movement’s publicity has intruded into my life..which I had kept a distance from.
Of course I am educated in the whole matter.. but so far its been me playing Devil’s advocate. Why? Because that will be the line the Government & majority of Politicians, and authorities and Media will be doing.
Now let me look at my worries..!
4. possible Burn outs & Fad days
The Extinction Rebellion movement didn’t just rise over night! There has been a slow deep development. The organisers’ are not just dirty hippies’ ( a phrase a news paper referred to). The organisers are clever, educated and well-organised people, who have been plotting and planning it all for months… maye years. And they have brought this to a global level of awareness, with methodical build up over many months.
I am pleased for that – that its all emotive and peaceful..and has got everyone – many exhausted and despairing eco-carers, campaigners, protestors – all excited! Am happy that the fire of rebellion is spreading from the old activists (the converted) to envelope and gather others who have been uninvolved so far..(the non-converted).
But my worry is one of burn out.. and peaking too soon.. before the work is done.
Its easy to be a short term activist – jump on a cause or an eco-bandwagon, and run wild with others, and feel you are doing some good. Or some may even do it as a `rite of passage’ – harking back to the 60’s and 70’s.. This is their Hippie days… to be lived an then peel off and work on work, career and al that – where these XR days will be just a massive social media photo album to show off to their kids..?!
Yes the build up has been slow and steady…but look at all the peace marches & protests that has already been?
March for Climate Change! ran for few years…still does…I think…But it’s stopped hitting my own awareness window. Either I am a fraud who has left that bandwagon after few years, or maybe it’s just burnt out and I don’t hear much about it.. If so.. why? Maybe because life is busier than ever.. and so many more causes are fighting for social media publicity spot in our awareness… that it all just blends into one hazy mass that we can’t relate to anymore.
What about the Occupy London movement? I was there at St.Paul’s Cathedral.. in those days.. So were many of my friends. I went regularly..and many camped out.. But few years since then… what has it achieved, other than as being a historical foot note or a small paragraph like this on a blog post? Sad but a reality I must blast open.
We..well I don’t want the Extinction Rebellion movement to become yet another foot note..of something that was just a flash in the pan! Even a year long activity is still a flash in the Historical pan of hundred years…!
The XR movement has to do better.. Okay yes it has punched a massive awareness hole in the hard wall of stagnating system… woken people up..made them passionate..and involved.. and maybe even confused. But it has to have a long term plan.. to change the world – unless of course, creating a shock wave was the objective. In which case, XR has just about done it. Well done.
But as a long term eco-carer, a magical practitioner, an earth Goddess (Gaia) worshipper and honorer of the planet, as an ongoing eco-magician who is working it in my own other ways, I want more.. much more. I want to save the planet – for my own selfish reasons.. so that it can still be here for my nephews, and for my kids.
Will XR movement do that?
links to some of my blogs on past Eco-events
Gaian Times Eco-spiritual Magazine
Taiji Dolphins Massacre – save the Dolphins 2014
One thought on “Extinction Rebellion: Possible pitfalls & personal concerns..”
Well put Mani, I couldn’t agree more! And I thought maybe it’s just me getting jaded after spending most of my life working for Gaia in my own way and without publicity. We need a change in consciousness and I still feel leading by example in the best way given to us is the best and most sustainable way forward.