time capsule: may 26, 2009

a lot of things happened in the world today.

the california supreme court upheld prop 8, meaning gay marriage is still banned in california. the 18,000 marriages that happened in the window of enlightened thinking when gay marriage was legal will be upheld. as i’ve said before, i believe in civil unions for all, and marriage – gay or straight – as something that should be decided, however slowly, by churches. but this isn’t about that finer point, and we all know it. it’s about how much folks hate/fear what they don’t understand.

the supreme court overturned a ruling that stops police from questioning a defendant without a lawyer present.

tensions are spiking between north and south korea.

there were swine flu deaths in new york and a massive cyclone hit india and bangladesh.

a couple of weeks ago i got to sit with grace lee boggs again, which is always elucidating. sitting with anyone who is 94 is humbling. everything that feels so pressing and urgent and important at this moment gets shifted into a meta-perspective. more than any other 90+ year old i have ever met, grace pushes my mind, and after i have left her presence, questions that she voiced return. this last time she asked a question that she and her late husband/philosophical-partner Jimmy have been asking for years: what time is it on the clock of the universe?

on a day like today, when the bulk of major decisions and conversations seem so regressive, our species seems so infantile – do we fight or exclude? is there a way to make our failing justice system more unfair for those without resources?

the hope for our species is not at the statewide or federal levels of decision making, though we must keep strategically advancing our causes in those spaces. its at the local level, its in small victories.

a week ago yesterday a woman was attacked in the driveway behind my house, and my neighbors and i responded. yesterday, the woman who was attacked stopped by the bbq happening on our patio. i missed her, i was up this mountain i go to when i want to get away from technology. but she came, and she’s healing. as much as my neighbors and i have loved each other, this event brought us closer, and opened up more relationships between us and the larger community. on a small scale we participated in humanity stepping up to the gift of reason. reason can be used to resolve conflict, to help others, to strengthen community. this is happening in organized and unorganized ways all over the world – people are crafting the world they want instead of waiting for failed systems to miraculously work.

at this moment people are writing and living the solutions. here’s what i’m reading today, and what i recommend everyone else read:

Margaret Wheatley’s Leadership in the New Sciences and Turning to One Another

William Gibson‘s All Tomorrow’s Parties. Start with Neuromancer, then Idoru, Burning Chrome, Pattern Recognition. He writes about the future in ways that make you want to go there, in ways that expose cultural shifts and why they happen.

and, Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent. Honestly, I just finished this book, and it made me excited about the ways of women. How we heal, care, birth, hold the space for miracles. While reading this I crystallized some thinking about processes for change: if the greatest miracle we know of – making life – can happen as a complete process in roughly 9 months, then why are we so slow at everything else? And in this world of today, where I can hardly find a space for a non-reactionary conversation because there is so much crap to react to, that knowledge of time gives me hope.

Because, to respond a little to grace’s question, the moment in the universe is one in which we (possibly the only sentient beings like ourselves, hopefully not) are becoming aware, through the sciences or through our own experiences of the changes in our environment, that our time here as a species is not infinite. And so we are turning away from the irresponsible and childish behaviors that we have called our nature, and our curiosity for how to live and be with each other is bursting up through the seams of old society.

It won’t be long before the idea of banning gay marriage will be seen as shameful and ignorant by the mainstream. Shortly after that it will be taken for granted, and who knows how it will show up in the history books.

We will learn from our collective experience, though those lessons may not show up in the mainstream of our culture in ways that we feel represent us. But here in the margins – margins of identity, of class, of philosophical leanings, of futurists – there’s clarity, there’s pride, there’s indignation, and there’s experiential learning of how to be with each other, how to make decisions for the collective good.

oh, and my gay evolutionary theory

i have a theory i’ve been thinking about and wanna share with y’all. it’s, for lack of a better term, a gay evolutionary theory.

so there have been gay people since forever, and societies have dealt with it in different ways. two-spirits, the ways of academics/politicians/leaders, a luxury for the wealthy, a radical lifestyle, something to fear/burn/punish.

the major religions of the world primarily developed at a time when it felt like there was a need to procreate – populate this massive uninhabited world! agrarian lifestyles needed large families to survive and succeed. colonization and empire followed (my babies deserve to rule this planet more than your babies). still with me (on this oversimplified history)?

fast forward a gabillion generations. now our world is overpopulated in a manner of speaking. we may not have too many people for the space of the planet, but the way we live is overtaxing parts of the planet and throwing the world – physically, spiritually and economically – into imbalance.

so now there’s this surge of normalizing same sex relationships – domestic partnerships and gay marriage are part of the mainstream political conversation, and legislation is making it official that gay love can be formally recognized.

part of this is just civil rights – the right of all people to exist as they are and be treated with justice.

but my theory is that part of this shift is an evolutionary call from the planet. in terms of population, same sex relationships don’t result in accidental children; the choice to parent has to be planned, intentional. now, at a moment when population is a controversial and confusing problem, a solution is emerging. the experiment where heterosexual couples are only allowed to have one child has failed, with mass murders and abandonment of female children, and hyper-focus on only children who bear the full pressure of a family to succeed and maintain the familial line. nyet. and we don’t want a world where plagues and massive natural disasters tragically decrease the population. nyet!

so imagine a world in which the 20-40% of people who are born with a preference for people of the same sex are fully legitimized as people with equal rights – to love, to live, to work, to raise children. one result would be that the family planning process would be much more intentional, economically sound – and the children brought into those circumstances are more likely to have two loving, present parents. population growth is balanced, and the quality of life increases.

this isn’t a massive argument for gay marriage, or for marriage at all. i have stated before that i am an advocate of secular domestic partnerships for all, with marriage as a process of religion and faith that domestic partners can choose to also participate in. what the state in my dream world would recognize is that people are choosing to be in a familial relationship with each other in terms of property, children and taxes. what the church would recognize is that people are choosing to be together in the eyes of their god.

what this IS an argument for is our existence. since the beginning of creation, living matter has evolved and specified and grown for the sake of survival. this generation we’re in is on the precipice of either great collapse and failure, or great joy and living beyond survival. if our choices for who we love were not based on the aspect of procreation, but rather on the aspect of true attraction, of life goals, of commitment? imagine the world that could come into existence! in fact, this is the world that is already coming into existence – not on radical edges of society, but in every small town, in every city, in every country around the world.

if we free ourselves from external and internalized homophobia, and look for the miracle, the purpose of our existence, then this theory presents the possibility of a greater call than identity…than even love. perhaps our love is now able to become a normalized aspect of humanity because it is what is most needed by the planet and the species.

so. it’s a theory, and only time will tell. but consider it. consider as you come out of closets, as you realize not all lives are driven by a biological clock that demands that we procreate, as the laws change to recognize love that has been repressed and silenced for too long.

maybe it is a greater calling – maybe it is evolution.