Are we insane?

Although it seems Albert Einstein didn’t say it, I like the phrase “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” This seems particularly apt when speaking about our lack of progress in addressing environmental devastation.

Below I’m sharing (again) a number of writings about stories and using them to create change. They help set the context for something I plan to write about soon.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

Is it even possible for us to conceive, let alone work for a fossil free world? Are we so oil addicted? Have we been brainwashed? Are we really OK with burning up our children’s future? Or can we find the “different” thinking needed for such a solution?

I’ve often shared the quote from Richard Wagamese, “All that we are is story” because I also believe we change the world by sharing our stories. That is one of the reasons why I write so much on this blog. (1,353 posts as of today).


When we can do that and we take the time to share those stories with each other, we get bigger inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship — we change the world one story at a time.

Richard Wagamese

Most of us lack the stories that help imagine a future where we thrive in the midst of unstoppable ecological catastrophe. We have been propelled to this point by the myths of progress, limitless growth, our separateness from nature and god-like dominion over it.

If we are to find a new kind of good life amid the catastrophes these myths have spawned, then we need to radically rethink the stories we tell ourselves. We need to dig deep into old stories and reveal their wisdom, as well as lovingly nurture the emergence of new stories into being. This will not be easy. The myths of this age are deeply rooted in our culture.

My young children need me to be an adult. They are the reason I feel despair so profoundly. Yet they are also the reason I cannot wallow in it, acquiesce to it, or turn away from the horror. This is the reason I have sought to imagine another way, and to find and focus on that which I might do to usher that vision into existence, and to behave as if what I do really matters for their future. They are the reason I have directed my imagination to the multitude of paths only visible once I looked beyond the myths that have clouded much of my thinking. It is up to me show them a way beyond grief to a way of life truly worth living for, even if it isn’t the path I had expected to be showing them.

All that is needed is to cross the threshold with ready hands and a sense, even a vague one, of what might be yours to do.

Pontoon Archipelago or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Collapse. By James Allen, originally published by Medium June 18, 2019

What I have found in my time praying in the indigenous earth based ways, is that it’s not about putting your hands together and talking to god…. It’s about quieting and connecting with the baseline of creation, of nature. Tuning into the frequency and vibration of the natural world, the nature spirits. The beings and entities that have been in existence, for all of existence, the examples and realities of sustainability and harmony.

It’s about becoming receptive to these things. Being open and flowing with them. The spirit guides us, but we have to make ourselves receptive to feel, sense, and respond to this guidance.

Joshua Taflinger

Everywhere people ask, “what can we do?”
The question, what can we do, is the second question.
The first question is “what can we be?”
Because what you can do is a consequence of who you are.
Once you know what you can be, you know what you can do.

Arkan Lushwala

In a world experiencing unprecedented climatic, ecological, and societal change, many in the Religious Society of Friends are coming to know our own need for newness. We thirst to find and share a clearer sense of the relevance of our beloved tradition to the challenges we face. We yearn to come more fully alive together, to speak and serve today in the Life and Power that generations of our spiritual ancestors knew. Across North America and beyond, Friends are recognizing a shared calling to rediscover and reclaim traditional understandings of who we are and how we are as Friends that will help us continue to travel this Way of Love.

Prophets, Midwives, and Thieves: Reclaiming the Ministry of the Whole, Noah Baker Merrill
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