So whether you choose to perceive the dissolution of the American Dream as the hero’s journey or as the collapse of industrial civilization—or both, the American Dream was fated to fail each time the collective refused to be instructed by something greater than itself.
Every now and then an event happens in our world that captures my imagination, touching something really deep within me. The Native American protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) at Standing Rock, North Dakota is just such an event. This has the feeling of a truly seminal, historic event in which we are all invited to participate. The peaceful protests by what are known as the “water protectors” against a multi-billion dollar corporation putting an oil pipeline through what the Native Americans consider sacred land, endangering the source of their water—i.e., of life itself—is a deeply symbolic event with real life consequences. In a very real sense, the protest is itself a sacred ceremony being performed on the world stage, being done on behalf of all of humanity – which is to say, all of us.
It’s difficult to see how any of this destruction will stop until we realize, in the heart as well as in the head, that we are the sea. The earliest forms of life on Earth sparked in saline deeps. Declining plankton still feed plants and animals even while replenishing the atmosphere. The sea gives us minerals and medicines, moist clouds and mild climates. We can breathe because of it.
I suspect that in the throes of societies in chaos, involvement with men’s and women’s groups will be dramatically minimized by pre-occupation with survival, but regardless of how tumultuous the upheaval may be, the profound soul-making work that has occurred in these groups will not be extinguished. In fact, men and women may discover that groups focusing on the issues of their own gender are more relevant than ever because gender issues will become intensely germane as panic, rage, and scapegoating ensue