To Hell With Chicken Little!

Via on Jul 2, 2010

A while back my ten-year-old kid came home from school and said, “Mom, is the world really going to end in 2012?”

This moment was one I hadn’t even known I had a secret dread of.

I was raised as part of the Back-to-the-Land movement. If you weren’t there, you probably don’t know that a big chunk of the foundation of the Back-to-the-Land movement was apocalyptic. The hippies who went to the hills were not just running from The Man, and not just “to the garden”, many were running into a safe zone – a place where they’d be safe “when the shit comes down”.

I grew up in a world where there was always an immanent threat that the sky was going to fall on our heads at any minute. I grew up in fear of the mushroom cloud, the Big One (the California Quake), the flu, whatever date was the next forecasted end-point. My dad used to joke (half-seriously) about the day we’d have oceanfront property (assuming we survived the quake).

In addition to the threat of natural and man made disaster, there was a strong us/them mentality in the Back-to-the-Land movement. Fear and disdain for The Man was one of the binding agents that drew like-minded souls together. And we were Us, and everyone else was Them.

But even more than the divide between those who had “turned on, tuned in, and dropped out” and the worker bees of the mainstream, there was a pronounced fear, a cultural paranoia, that They (whoever They were) were out to get Us.

This larger They was not the worker bee, but some nefarious entity that controlled the environment that the worker bees lived in.

This terminology is mostly my own, but I don’t know how else to explain the beliefs that formed a bedrock for me – a bedrock of fear and overwhelm. A bedrock that I, to this day, rebel against.

By the time the Y2K scare rolled around I had one kid, and another one on the way. My kids’ dad and I were living on the land where I grew up. Everyone we knew was hoarding water, grains, seeds, fuel, candles, and more. The more radical amongst them were also stockpiling ammo for the hunting rifles and shotguns they owned.

It was a turning point for me. I made my decision to take a stand against the enculturation of fear. We didn’t finish the bomb shelter my parents had started in the ‘70s. We didn’t buy 50 pound bags of rice. We didn’t even get extra candles.

I decided, then and there, that I would not raise my children in a culture of fear.

So, ten years later, here was my kid, looking me in the eye and asking for reassurance. And I told her what I believe to be true; “No, honey. The world is not going to end in 2012.”

Anger surged in me, even though I know I can’t control my kids’ environments fully, even though I know that the culture of fear will grow, fungus-like, into the cracks where fear already lives. The innate, biological fear of death that wraps itself around us, fills the darkened cracks and crevasses, and warps our vision of future possibility.

I asked my daughter who it was that said that the world would end, but the question was irrelevant; just like in the ‘70s, just like in 1500s when the plague was spreading like wildfire, just like in 1000 AD, the end is nigh!

The funny thing is, most Back-to-the-Landers are not even Christian. Yet, the at-once fear-driven and hope-inspired belief that, indeed, the shit WILL come down, strongly mirrors the Christian preoccupation with the apocalypse.

Some wait and pray for the downfall of the Machine, imagining a day when the collapse of The World As We Know It will lead us through a magical doorway, and back into “the garden’; a beautiful place where people live (once again, some would claim) in harmony with the land, sit around campfires, and build egalitarian communities together.

Famine, global warming, war without end. Yes, these are sorry and sad truths. But signs that the end is at hand? I choose to think that they are not.

Moreover, I choose not to raise my children believing that they are.

Peak oil will happen. Maybe sooner, maybe later. But will we rise to the occasion and adapt to renewable energy sources? The answer is yet to be seen, but it’s not out of the question that there will be a positive outcome.

War rages as it has since time immemorial. Will that ever change? What if there was a chance that there are positive effects of the globalization of culture? What if 13-year-old pen-pals who live in America, Israel, and Palestine learn to build a world beyond boundaries?

Some may call me pollyanna, or worse. Some may think I’m living with my head in the sand. Some may think I’m a starry-eyed idealist. I assure you I am not. I’m well aware of the global predicament.

And, that secret dread I mentioned at the opening of this article? The secret dread is that maybe the shit IS coming down. Maybe we won’t make the collective changes that need to be made in time. Maybe, even though it wasn’t Y2K, or any of the other “This is it!” scares that have happened in my life and beyond, maybe this IS it!

When this dread arises, I ask myself a few questions. These are those questions:

Do I want to raise my children to love life, or to fear death? Do I want to raise them to trust their fellow man, or to weave nihilistic, egoist tales of conspiracy? Do I want raise my children to believe that the nameless, faceless “Them” is like a Hydra with innumerable heads and poisonous breath, or do I want my children to think beyond an “us” and a “them” into a place of “we”?

I choose to raise my children grounded strongly in a sense of justice and the possibility of effecting change. I inculcate my children with the idea that this is now, and now is what we make it. I don’t frighten them with the spectre of a post-apocalyptic tomorrow, nor do I promise them the return of the garden, the advent of heaven on earth.

I choose to raise my children with their feet on the ground, and their hands reaching for the stars that glow in a future of their own making.

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About Lasara Allen

Lasara is wife to her true love, and mother to two amazing young women. She’s also a best-selling author, an educator, and an activist. Lasara’s first book, the bestselling Sexy Witch (nonfiction, Llewellyn Worldwide), was published in 2005 under the name LaSara FireFox. As of 3/6/2012, after a coaching sabbatical, Lasara has openings for three three-week, individual, personally tailored coaching and mentoring programs. She also has slots in a cohort-model group coaching program available for a limited amount of time. Lasara is available for one-session commitments as well. Make whatever commitment feels best for you. Lasara offers individual coaching on topics such as; * Mental and Physical Health and Wellness - accepting your diagnosis (or that of a loved one) - learning to live with awareness of strengths and vulnerabilities - Learning to live gracefully within your spectrum of the possible * Mindful Relationships - self as primary partner - loving partnerships, friendships and connections - marriages - parenting - family * Spiritual Contemplation and Alignment - Entering into and committing to your spiritual inquiry - Learning to listen to listen for and hear the divine in your life - Inquiring into the role that faith may play in informing your path - The role of meditation, contemplation, and prayer in your practice For more information and endorsements, visit: http://lasaraallen.com/about-lasara/coaching-services/

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6 Responses to “To Hell With Chicken Little!”

  1. ARCreated says:

    AMEN sing it sister!! I'm all for working towards change and making the world better…but ANY us vs them only creates more trouble and here is my state of mind…so what??? I mean if the world DO
    ES end what is to be done? I love live laugh the same way no matter what doomsday is coming…I strive to make a difference to PREVENT total decay or better yet to CREATE something wonderful…but I too believe we must live to LOVE life not to FEAR death…
    It's like this for me – the pessimest may be proven right in the end, but the opitimist had more fun getting there.

  2. via http://www.facebook.com/elephantjournal

    Karki M
    We'll get through the problem of peak oil provided we still have a shipping industry capable of creating nuclear sailboats, we figure out a way to eat those algae blooms in the Gulf of Mexico, and we don't panic about our stupid suburban model and just move into the abandoned strip malls which happen to be in the prime locations. We can and will adapt, but it will be not much messier than most of American history. (Meaning, of course, it will still suck to be poor.)

    Remy C
    Yeah, and look what happened to Mad Max. He morphed into a racist misogynist bigot on the wagon. I think I already have that book lying around somewhere… Why did you tag me on this?

    elephantjournal.com
    I thought you might have some interesting comment or reply for Lasara, Remy: something along lines of "it's possible to have deep passionate concerns without falling into senseless fear."

    Kathleen W
    Paranoia

    Remy C
    Poor nations are running out of fuel, because the West is buying all there is. We're entering Mad Max's universe… fear is all around us, in everything we do, drugs we buy, cosmetics we apply, suvs or prius to shield our kids from the big bad world. The fear isn't senseless so much as a subconscious kneejerk reaction to our deep seated urge for … See Moresurvival. We know something's dramatically wrong, and yet we're helpless because our institutions are entrenched, nothing is changing on TV. Planet Green is a failure because it's the enemy giving us ecotaintment in guise of what we need, a save the planet network, filled with angst and go getters.

  3. Thank you for this! As a new mother, the fear inducing can be overwhelmingly oppressive. This article is a sigh of relief.

  4. Running out of Oil would be GOOD for America. Think people! No cheap oil and it would cost too much to ship goods from China. Production would return to America and so would the middle class. Bring on $7.00 gallon gas and restore the American dream.

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