Approaching Thanksgiving

A cool, dark, dampish day with rain on the way. The last couple of storms stripped the leaves from the trees but did not break the drought.
 
We used the relative warmth of the day to put up some of our outdoor holiday decorations which we will now enjoy, as we can see them well through our windows.
 
Nori the cat is settling in, although she remains skittish, a condition worsened by our failed attempt to take her to the vet for a wellness check. Still, she is a joy.
 
I’ve been thinking about Thanksgiving, the elections, and the challenge of ideology in a world where differences are inherent  and collaboration is a necessity.
 
We live in a world where people find themselves living in close proximity while having remarkably diverse belief systems. Sadly often, this results in violence rather than curiosity. I am reminded, for instance, that some of the Pilgrim’s early Thanksgiving celebrations were in honor of successful acts of genocide, some using germ warfare, against Native people. In contrast to popular belief, most Native people were not joining those celebrations. Growing up, this made Thanksgiving a complex holiday at our house.
 
Those early acts of genocide arose from clashing world views, understandings of ownership, and moral structures., mixed with a good deal of fear and greed. Maybe not all that much has changed.
 
For many Native people the world is animate and responsive, filled with sentient beings. One does not own land; rather one arises from, and is embedded, in the land. In this world view, we are responsible for maintaining the balance of relationship, and mandated to keep the world viable for all generations of all beings. Viewed from this frame, the last 500 years  may be understood as a war waged by colonial interests on the world’s indigenous cultures (including African) and the Earth as a living system. 
 
In the dominant colonial culture, soul is attributed to highly select groups and it is permissible to displace, enslave and extirpate others in the name of economic progress. The colonial search for capital requires a world in which most beings and systems are denied sentience, where all interactions are transactional rather than relational, and where it is OK for others to die in the name pf economic necessity.
 
For quite a long time science seemed compatible with the colonial enterprise, but over the past few decades it has increasingly challenged the fundamental assumptions of the colonial worldview. Indeed, science now postulates that the dominant culture’s long held views on race, gender, and the living world are incorrect, throwing its ideology and political structures into question. No wonder so many have chose an anti-science stance!
 
The current crisis is 500 years in the making. It is also an invitation to create change that offers the possibility of mutual survival on a shared, vibrant Earth.
 

15 thoughts on “Approaching Thanksgiving

  1. I hope you find meaning in your Thanksgiving day this year. If not meaning, than I wish you an excellent meal. 🙂 The three of us will be eating together instead of having anyone come into our bubble. But we will have a scaled down traditional meal. I’m looking forward to a quiet meal (as all of our meals are) because I don’t seem to have the energy to entertain. I am chronically worn out but find joy if I don’t try to do more than just be in the moment.

    • Hi Pat,
      We are planning a very small Thanksgiving followed by a family Zoom. We are all pretty much aware of the complexity of the day and still find pleasure in the food and company. As to energy, I have little, as goes for focus. The exhaustion just gets more profound…..
      I hope your Thanksgiving is lovely!

      • May my thinking kind thoughts of you push your energy level up a bit. I wonder how long it will take for us to heal – probably like profound grief. All of a sudden, some day in the future we will wake up and think – Gee, I feel normal again. Maybe we will be normal, or maybe we will just get used to being abnormal. LOL We are planning on making our Thanksgiving very lovely with a smaller meal with each one of us picking a favorite side.

  2. Hi. Good essay. I’d be amazed if societies/nations ever achieved truly high degrees of togetherness and understanding. They don’t seem to be part of the human genome. Plus, the enormous human population doesn’t make things easier: There are five billion more people on the planet than there were when I was a kid.

    • Yes, the huge growth in populations puts enormous stress on the planet. I think that togetherness and understanding are more common than we tend to believe. Unfortunately, it does not take very many angry folks to make life hard for all.

  3. There is a lot of anti-science rhetoric going on over here at the moment, in regards to the newly developed Covid-19 vaccines. Some people prefer to listen to social media posts than to scientists.

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