Death, Destruction and the Systemic Viewpoint

“I would have written a shorter letter, but I only had [80 minutes]” – Blaise Pascal

My Facebook feed today is overrun with messages of loss, grief, and hope for the recovery and renewal of Harbin Springs in the wake of the Lake County fire that rapidly and unexpectedly destroyed its physical manifestation.

I have only been to Harbin once in January 2015, and feel fortunate I was to get a brief taste of its magical energy before its current incarnation passed yesterday from this world.

Due to my limited personal experience with Harbin I don’t have much to say in terms of what it meant to me, but as I awoke from my evening power nap, I realized I have some thoughts I would like to share on Loss, Relationship (with people or places), Recovery and Restorative Responsibility.

In processing loss some of the most important questions we can ask are:

What was good, true, and beautiful about this experience?
What can learn from this experience which is now over?
What do we want to take with us? What do we want to let go of?
How can we best honor this experience, letting it indelibly permeate our being?

Then some of the most important questions are about responsibility, first in the past up to the present.

In the ending of this experience what was due chance? What was mine? What was theirs? What was projection? What was innate structural misalignment? Was there anything I could have done differently to have reached a different outcome? Would any of those other outcomes have been better for me or for them?

Then feeling into the future, potent questions to ask yourself are:

Given what I’ve now processed about the past and present, what do I want for the future?
And given what I’ve now processed about the past and present how will my plans, actions and energy be different now going forward, so that I learn from my mistakes, trials and challenges rather than repeat them?
Am I ready to let some part of me die so that I may become a person capable of holding this bigger future?
Am I ready to give up being a victim, give up being powerless, give up being right, give up being small and do my very best to take the vision of my best future self into my own hands, and commit to stepping into that version of myself, right now and always…developing the meta-cognitive awareness to recognize when I’m out alignment and coming back to my higher self, continuously, faster and faster…. just like the breath in concentration meditative practice?

There are some right answers to these questions and some wrong ones. Some things are objectively true, and something are objectively not. But most of the potent territory lies in the realm of the subjective, and in the union of multiple subjective experiences into a dynamic intersubjective.

There are no wrong answers in the subjective realm. Nobody can invalidate your subjective truth. There are no facts here either. Only your story. Only your interpretation of what happened. And interpretations can change. Through personal reflection. Through wise reflection from friends. Through truly hearing another person and seeing what happened through their eyes and their perspective. And there is no time limit to updating our interpretation of our lives. They can happen anytime and in an instant.

Over the years, I have found myself leading many friends through various forms of Relationship transitions, and while these questions are more related to human to human relationships, they are still quite relevant to our relationships to spiritual refuges like Harbin Hot Springs.

So what is my essential interpretation of what happened in my community’s tragic *break up* with Harbin Hot Springs?

Much of what needs to be said is already being said by the community, beautifully, poetically, and with ripped open hearts. So with my global systematic strategic orientation, this is what I feel most called to add the conversation:

I believe the destruction of Harbin Hot Springs is a tragedy that did not need to happen. It was always probabilistically possible for Harbin to physically die in a fire. But its chances of occurring have been drastically and significantly increased by Global Warming and the increase of Greenhouse Gases in the atmosphere.

Professor George Lakoff said Global Warming systemically caused Hurricane Sandy. And by extension it is relatively easy to claim that Global Warming systematically caused the destruction of Harbin Hot Springs.

Global Warming dramatically increases the probability and frequency of Extreme Weather events like massive fires, massive droughts and massive hurricanes.

So when you feel the pain of Harbin Hot Springs, feel into the pain of what was lost. But then feel fully into what it represents.

Perhaps the biggest lesson in Harbin’s death is right there in its name.


A HARBINger of what’s to come if humanity does not step in take responsibility for how our global energy system since the Dawn of the Industrial Revolution has externalized harm to the environment, and now threatens so much of what we hold dear and love about this beautiful world.

Let the pain of the loss of Harbin wash over you and then feel into the potential loss of hundreds of places like Harbin all over the world, with hundreds of millions of people losing their homes, and their livelihoods.

The pain and suffering you feel in the loss of Harbin will be amplified 100 fold if we do not transition to a fully Renewable Global Energy System and safely Geoengineer the planet back down to Pre-Industrialized levels of Greenhouse Gases.

Then let that pain be your fuel, your motivation to prevent this suffering from occurring in the future.

Commit to building a sustainable world where tragedies like this do not become a regular occurrence.

I wish I had an organization or a metastrategic plan of action to direct people to who could use the pain of this tragedy to contribute to successful systemic remediation of Global Warming.

Unfortunately I have not seen any person, plan or organization adequate to the the complexity and immensity of the task.

An adequate plan requires a deep understanding of theory and praxis of at least:
– Integral systematic thinking
– The developmental nature of consciousness and and the differing motivational drives at each level,
– Political and economic power
– The cutting edge of Atmospheric Science
– Geoengineering
– Exponential technological progress and what new technology tools we will have available in the next 50 years
-An executive team worthy of Bill Torbert’s Ironist Leadership stage, capable of directing a massive human movement without self-destructing in ego or simple ineffectiveness.

The solution probably requires at least:
– A global cap and trade system
– A global political governing body capable of reigning India and China
– The removal of oil subsidies
– Properly priced externalities
– Use of cutting edge biotechnology and nanotechnology to drop greenhouse gases down 350 parts per million

“A crisis is a terrible thing to waste”.
– Paul Romer

Unfortunately, my soul says Global Warming is not my War to be a leading General in for at least 5-10 years, as I am entrenched in a different war, for now. But I am here to provide guidance to friends whose war it is.

So in the coming days as you are processing the loss of Harbin, feel into the wise words of my friend Marc Gafni:

“We live in a world of outrageous pain. The only response to outrageous pain is outrageous love.”

And not just any love. A love that is so big it is capable of actually preventing immense potential future suffering of this beautiful world and all of its beautiful inhabitants.

A love so deep, and so strong it calls you into a version of yourself you never knew was possible. A love that calls you into a version of yourself so big, you become the type of person who is capable of turning the massive tides of Global Warming and preventing the pain and suffering of the loss of millions of Harbin Hot Springs.

Best wishes to you on your healing journey.

May the darkness reveal the true power of our collective love and light.

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