A movie1“RFK,” a 2002 tv bio-pic https://youtu.be/VbHemHty-ck about Robert F. Kennedy after his brother’s sad demise, brought home some of the myriad possible, valid concepts for achieving happiness. That universal — not just American — “Pursuit of Happiness” was also the (personal) goal of each of the Findhorn Founders, Eileen and Peter Caddy and Dorothy Maclean,2 https://youtu.be/vOetKgNPs4Y as you can read in their (auto)biographies/ works. Having now passed through two less than easy years, the Foundation+ Ecovillage’s renewal process is begun, emphasising a strong commitment to deeper material and spiritual development.
RFK’s speech at the end of the movie brings into stark relief the choices that (the Ecovillage’s and other less “visible” team& self-) leaders and opinion makers are facing today. A seemingly major choice is the one between the conceptual/ systemic, relatively simple problems to be resolved versus principled/ Culture ones which are relatively more difficult even to grab hold of. However I contend that the prime choice is rather the one between creating the best conditions for all (Findhornian sympathisers) to feel truly inspired and practically challenged to solve today’s Culture& Systemic issues in their own individual lives — or not. This means creating a visionary, vital, vibrant and viable Culture — a culture of individuals challenging, developing and channeling their own beliefs, thoughts and words into radical, wholehearted actions for the good of all; being supported by co-activists; where the good of all is the cause of our own good. Unfortunately that challenge will require us to sacrifice some of our comfort zones. And comfort zones, like material possessions, have been accrued with such effort that “Sacrifice” itself becomes the major rub!3topical (4profit also) issues highlight the toughest barrier to real& sustainable change… our own evaluation of our personal minimum level of physiological and emotional needs, wants and desires.
As a courageous RFK dared to point out to agitated university students in 1968, “Even if we act to erase material poverty, there is another greater task, it is to confront the poverty of satisfaction — purpose and dignity — that afflicts us all.
Too much and for too long, we seemed to have surrendered personal excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our Gross National Product, now, is over $800 billion dollars a year, but that Gross National Product — if we judge the United States of America by that — that Gross National Product counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwood and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and counts nuclear warheads and armored cars for the police to fight the riots in our cities. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.4Please transpose into your own experience RFK’s qualification examples above&below: doing my own (un&)conscious attachment analysis was very challenging… I had to look hard at my definition of Truth!
Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.
If this is true here at home, so it is true elsewhere in world.”
Towards the end of his speech, he quoted George Bernard Shaw: “Some people see things as they are and say, ‘why?’ I dream things that never were and say, ‘why not?’” This challenge would become a centerpiece of Kennedy’s presidential campaign, and he would repeat them on several occasions.
So how don’t I simply accept my local ‘Culture’ status quo? Early on RFK prodded the students, his hosts and the Education system: “If our colleges and universities do not breed men5in the 60s it was politically correct to prioritise the masculine. Please simply transpose for yourself the masculine for “people” or “humanity” or “she/he”. who riot, who rebel, who attack life with all the youthful vision and vigor, then there is something wrong with our colleges. The more riots that come out of our college campuses, the better the world for tomorrow.”6He continued: “And despite all the accusations against me, those words were not written by me, they were written by that notorious seditionist, William Allen White” (who was an early and influential alumnus of KU.)
I recall that during the 2015/6 Foundation Reflection Weeks a clear lack today of the radical feeling exhibited by 1960& 70’s Community people was cited by “more experienced”/older co-workers… Of course you and I have our own unique strengths and skills: not one talent is useless — on the contrary. But every City of Light/ mystery-school/ intentional-community-laboratory will attract, evaluate and retain the sort of aspirational people about which it nightly dreams, for which it secretly prays and actively attunes to.7https://corporate-rebels.com/no-assholes-in-the-workplace-please/. What goes round comes around ever faster in these ever “lean/agile” days. Therefore, let’s keep reminding ourselves that the Findhorn Culture is ever rooted in the sum of individual Findhornian hearts+minds. Perhaps an ideal Ecovillage Culture might be précis’d thus: “With wholeness of Self, CARE in action for others.”
About ten days before the Kansas talk RFK had again visited Oscar (Cesar) Chavez, a successful advocate of better farm labourer conditions and fairer wages for migrant latinos. Chavez’ philosophy was read out: “It is how we use our lives that determines what kind of men we are… I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of manliness, is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally nonviolent struggle for justice. To be a man is to suffer for others. God help us be men.”
Are RFK’s, Shaw’s, Chavez’ and the Still Small Voice Within’s radical(?!) sentiments applicable today — in the life of truly thoughtful, ethical, conscious people who live to create whole, more harmonious and aware8see https://wealthygorilla.com/4-reasons-why-character-is-important-for-success/ intentional homes, neighbourhoods and communities? Most of the successful-society concepts we have all studied at school9https://phys.org/news/2020-10-history-societies-collapse-leaders-undermine.html (and experience(d) ourselves) haven’t exactly proven satisfying… How about me+you being less accepting of the proposed trade-offs from on high, and steadfastly continue building our City of LIGHT, bringing Heaven to Earth in this& every moment, whatever we happen to be doing, wherever we happen to be, step by individual step, together! You’ve got something GREAT ‘inside’ you — use it!!!