Everything, Not A Thing

I have not written in almost two months. I have been thinking. And I have been reading.

I have been thinking about trees, and people, and our environment. I am now reading: “Collapse – How Societies Choose To Fail Or Survive”, by Jared Diamond. In his book the author provides a number of examples of present and past civilizations, some successful, others which have disappeared. Easter Island in the Pacific is one; long considered a mystery but now with clear signs of how this civilization failed. Wanting to understand why, the author asks:

“”What did the Easter Islander who cut down the last palm tree say while he was doing it?” Like modern loggers, did he shout “Jobs, not trees!”? Or: “Technology will solve our problems, never fear, we’ll find a substitute for wood”? Or: We don’t have proof that there aren’t palms somewhere else on Easter, we need more research, your proposed ban on logging is premature and driven by fear-mongering”?“

And so I ask myself: How is it possible, in this age of unlimited access to information and knowledge literally at our fingertips, we are unable to act in a conscientious manner to provide food, shelter and meaningful occupation to humanity?

Tragedies in the aftermath of the recent Earthquake in Haiti, The Hurricane in New Orleans and the Tsunami in Asia five years ago show us that not even the greatest economical and military power on earth can make any significant dent in the suffering (nuclear powered aircraft carriers and thousands of helicopters notwithstanding). What have we learned? Is there anything new?

So here is my treatise:

The answers to our survival lie not in the past, and knowledge is in the past, based on information gathered in the past. Information, however useful, and the resulting knowledge, does not necessarily lead to intelligence. So there is something else.

What is it?

I am not saying that our accumulated knowledge and all the wonderful things made available by technology are not useful, they are, in a daily, very practical manner. I am saying that these “things” are not useful to solving the crisis faced by humanity; that is: providing food, shelter, and meaningful occupation.

What is it indeed? Since we have Everything, it’s Not A Thing. And we can’t find it “out there”, although we can die trying (seemingly the chosen strategy). “We need more research”; let’s put more money into a study to determine why the trees and oceans don’t suck up more CO2 from the atmosphere and balance the climate. Oh? there aren’t any more fish in the oceans and we’ve cut down more than half the trees? And we’ve taken out fossil fuels that took 450 billion years to make and used them up in 200 years?

We have the information, we could even argue that we have knowledge (albeit questionably), we are definitely not using our intelligence.


What is the obstacle, what is in the way of acting as intelligent beings, being our true selves? This is the question.

There is something greater. All our civilizations have looked outwardly; to the heavens, to the sun, the moon, to the stars. Some have even looked at nature; wind, fire, water. Fewer have looked within; into the mind, thoughts, feelings. Most of the latter have left their societies, becoming monks, entering a convent. So we have this information, this knowledge, and it tells us no secrets. How do we live? How do we act? How do we interact?

There must be a way in relationship, in meaningful living, in harmony and balance with nature which gives life, without answering with so much death.

Whereas the answer to Everything is Not A Thing (nothing), Nothing (not a thing) can also be the answer to Everything. I am not merely trying to play with words here; the answer lies not in “things”, there IS something else – what is it?

We are here, on earth, and we need food, and shelter, and meaningful occupation. And we are together, so this is not a solo thing. We are a community, and the answer lies in the community, not in the self. It’s not about “me”, it’s about “us”.

Where do these ramblings lead? I don’t know. This is a work in progress. A few glimmers on the horizon do appear however.

Thoughts are powerful, and lead us to say things, we verbalize them, and then “things” begin to happen; all of a sudden we find ourselves living our reality. Could it be that simple? I think so (no pun intended). Beware your thoughts; are they describing the reality you want to live?

There is something greater – could it be you? Could you be the most wonderful and wondrous being in the universe? What if you are, what if we are, what could we accomplish together? I think we are, and I can’t think of what would be possible (pun intended).

What do we need to do?

Do less, consume less (even eat less, most of us, me included, are using more resources than we need), have less “stuff” (things) to worry about. Create space for yourself, empty the jar (it doesn’t have to be full); create the conditions so that wonderful things can happen, effortlessly, and they will.

Create the Space, and take the Time, to Know Yourself.

Come by Open World Café, bring a friend, let’s talk. Maybe we can figure this out, together.


About christersoderberg

Living and growing up in nine countries has left strong impressions on the background of Christer Söderberg, helping to create an awareness of the impermanence in life and the uncertain value of knowledge; illustrating the paradox between knowing and what we may do well to “unlearn”. Christer has worked with companies in six countries on four continents, most recently in Brazil where between 1998 and 2002 he started a subsidiary for a Swedish Multinational. Studies in business and a lifetime of social entrepreneurship have further cemented his belief that the only thing we can change is ourselves. This lifelong endeavor expresses itself in creating the conditions for change through places, physical and virtual spaces where the individual can feel safe in him/herself; at least enough to stop, reflect and listen to the world we live in. We exist in our relationship to each other, our environment, and ourselves. Through observation and silence, preferably in close communion with nature, a “zero perspective” can help stimulate the questions surrounding our purpose and a meaningful contribution while on earth. Increased awareness of individual potential plants seeds for long-term success; Open World initiatives help awaken the hidden potential in individuals, creating new perspectives on cooperation and personal development. Increased focus and balance help provide a strong base for individual and business growth, with a deeply ingrained sense of responsibility, respect and awe for the power in nature.
This entry was posted in Awareness, Open World Café & Gallery, Replanting a Rainforest, Stop, Reflect & Listen . . .. Bookmark the permalink.

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