The Chumbera Metaphor

Updated: May 31


by Paul



This morning my eye caught a cactus leaf in the garden, see photo above. It concerns the Chumbera which has suffered from an illness, the Cochinilla, throughout Spain in recent years and which has led to her almost extinction. Last year I got some healthy specimens and decided to grow them further in our food forest garden, because they give a delicious, sweet fruit in the summer. It is very simple, you let the leaves dry for a few days and then put them on the ground. From the "eyes" where the spines are, new roots will grow and new leaves will pop up. And today, after six months, the first fresh green leaves emerged, impressively on top of the old faded ones. I immediately thought of the situation in the world now that the corona virus is in power.


It is distressing for the people who are sick, for those who die and their relatives it's terrible, but maybe, who knows, we get out better than we went in. It is an opportunity to create a new kind of society, in which we will again see the value of things, something that we seem to have lost.


The combination of globalization and neo-liberalism has led to a financialization of our society. Money has become our new religion and seems to be the only thing that still has value. The quality of products, customer satisfaction and service seem to have given way to the interests of the shareholders of the companies. The result is a rushed and stressed population that is on the hunt for material rewards because that is what makes us really happy, advertising would have us believe. Large companies are pushing the small ones aside and also on a human level there is an increasing difference between a select group of super rich and the rest of us. Money creating out of thin air by privately owned (!) banks has led to a debt-based society that is clearly at a dead end. To mitigate the expected financial crisis that will come after the corona crisis, plans are being made to print trillions of dollars/euros. I wonder why I pay tax at all if it is so easy for a government to get the money they need. A child understands that this will eventually lead to disaster.


About 200 years ago, we were thrown out of the circle as a result of the industrial revolution. Until then there was no waste, or at least no waste that did not go back into the circle. The pollution of the earth has taken on such proportions that it is slowly becoming unliveable for us humans. Our air is poisonous, the oceans are full of plastic and the farmland is almost dead. Yet another crisis is approaching: the climate crisis.


And so we are in trouble and have to deal with the crises that are rushing towards us. When this morning I saw that cactus leaf growing from an almost withered and shrivelled old one, I thought how beautiful it would be if we were able to do this with our society as well.

This is a unique opportunity to change things, to turn around and find a better way to go forward. For a more balanced existence between people. For a fairer distribution of wealth. For a life in harmony with nature instead of at its expense.


It will not come from those who now have power, they are about to make the same mistakes as before, no, it will have to come from the bottom up. Do not forget that all major changes in history have been initiated by smaller ones.


Today I also read an article about the dubious power of the American investment company Black Rock that manages huge assets and has infiltrated all corners of society, from banks to media and from universities to governments, and sometimes I lose heart.



But I know that this is wrong and that I am right. And that it is possible to build a regenerative life for all of us. As long as we believe in it, in that the world belongs to all and each one of us, in that we can make this change happen, in that we are all chosen, the mind is powerful.

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