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View From the Roof: Are You A Revolutionary? Is Moving to Ecuador A Revolutionary Act?

Have you ever considered that moving to Ecuador may be a revolutionary act?  It can be if you choose to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.   In the last View from the Roof, I talked about a pivotal book in my life entitled, “The Ugly American“.

Being an ugly American is a choice.  That is why we posted the self-test to help our readers wake-up to the possibility that they may be one of them.  Most ugly Americans are not even aware that their actions may be offensive.  Once aware, it is relatively simple to choose differently.   By virtue of this different choice, you are joining in a millennial revolution having profound implications for the world in which we live. 

Cotacachi Indigenous womanI’ve decided to carry on with the theme of “Important Books in my Life” by talking about a revolutionary book that most of you have probably never heard of.  Yet the information presented in this book has entered into the popular lexicon and is familiar to virtually everyone.  An awareness of the concepts can help prepare us for the revolution occurring throughout the world.

Have you ever used the word, “paradigm,” or “paradigm-shift”?   Chances are that you have.  In fact, these words can be viewed as defining words of the last few decades.

The first time I heard the word paradigm, it was used by an anthropology professor in a graduate course in 1980 at the University of Minnesota.  He predicted that future historians would see the book that coined the phrase “paradigm shift” as one of five most important books of the 20th Century.

The title is “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” published in 1962.  Author Thomas Kuhn was a physicist by training but his book is more about the history and philosophy of science.

This book is hugely relevant to what is happening in the world today and particularly relevant to a website about moving to Ecuador.     In fact, the phrase, “Moving to Ecuador” is evolving into a metaphor for the revolution occurring in our world at this very moment. 

I propose that by understanding Kuhn’s thesis, we expats can better understand and cope with why many of us have chosen to “Move to Ecuador,” or for that matter, any other country outside of our home country.  We can begin to see what the stakes are and gain greater understanding into the end-game.

Kuhn demonstrated how scientific revolutions have a structure that evolves through six stages.  Even though his study related to the history and evolution of science, his work was quickly picked up and applied by the social sciences to understand societal change.  In this article, we’ll explore how these six stages relate to the subject, “Moving to Ecuador” and more importantly, to you the reader.

The six stages Kuhn described are:

1) Normal Science—useful science as it is applied to working with current scientific laws, to facilitate comfortable living in the existing world

2) Puzzle Solving—using current scientific laws to expand our knowledge of the world around us by solving problems that come up in day-to-day living

3) Paradigm—when the existing scientific structure becomes so well developed and understood that problems are easily solved.   In this stage, most science practitioners believe that the existing scientific theory is virtually “locked in place,” with little more to be discovered.

The only task is to apply existing knowledge.  In the 1890s, scientists believe that the Newtonian “paradigm” explained virtually everything there was to know about the physical world.  The world’s most famous experimental failure, U.S.  scientists Michelson and Morley exploded this nice little worldview, and ultimately led Einstein to his revolutionary theory of relativity.

4) Anomaly—when suddenly, a problem or puzzle appears that cannot be readily resolved using the existing knowledge base. The old rules simply do not seem to work when addressing the new problem.

Interestingly enough, these anomalies are frequently introduced by young people; in the scientific realm, by young scholars who are not yet fully indoctrinated into the existing paradigm, who see problems and ask questions that “professionals” locked within the existing paradigm simply cannot answer.  If they attempt an answer, the solution is usually so complex as to border on the absurd.  This situation leads to:

5) Crisis—the majority of scholars within a scientific community have a highly vested interest in maintaining the structure of the existing paradigm.  After all, where will they be, with their degrees, their research, their funding and their positions, if the existing paradigm becomes obsolete?

Answer–they risk becoming obsolete.  The old guard loses its power.   This is a frightening prospect, one that the old guard will resist with every tool at its disposal.  Galileo died in prison at the hands of the church for postulating that the sun was the center of the universe;

Tesla’s work was destroyed and his life ruined for suggesting the concept of “free” energy; Jesus was crucified on the cross for daring to suggest that “we are all sons of God, children of the Most High;” and 9/11 researchers are ridiculed as conspiracy theorists and sometimes killed for documenting that the official 9/11 commission version of events could not possibly have happened as claimed. 

But the truth is inexorable.  Ralph Waldo Emerson, another of my favorite authors, said in his essay, “On Fate,”:   “Truth is in the air.  The most impressionable brain will announce it first; all will embrace it a few moments later.”   Yes, they may embrace it, but typically, not without a fight.  This brings us to the sixth stage of the process:

6) Revolution—Revolution occurs when the “truth” finally penetrates into a sufficient number of minds so that a force is generated powerful enough to cause the existing paradigm to shift.  The purveyors of the old paradigm lose their grip on power as more and more people see that the old vision is no longer sustainable.   Take today’s world-wide march on Monsanto as a case in point.

Here we arrive at the question, “Why did you move to Ecuador?  I know very clearly why I moved to Ecuador in November of 2006.  I moved because I understood that the existing social paradigm in my home country, the good ol’ U.S. of A., was no longer viable.   I wanted a different solution.

My awakening process occurred over a long period time, beginning with Viet Nam war protests in the 70s, and as a young journalist, participating in the my nation’s  traumatic confrontation with Nixon and Watergate.

Like many of my peers, when the war ended I retreated into the comfortable lifestyles of the 80s and 90s.  The economy was good, jobs were plentiful, families needed to be raised, and livings made.  I fell back asleep, even though, in the depths of my soul, I knew something was dreadfully wrong.  Too many anomalies in my psyche and in my world prevented me from resting in comfort. 

How could I justify, for example, being a manager in a Japanese-owned North Carolina factory where the 70 people I managed worked 60 to70 hours per week?  Frequently both husbands and wives worked in the factory, one on the day shift, one on the night shift, for wages slightly above minimum, even while I worked 90 hours.  All of our families suffered.  This situation was barely tolerable and by 1996 I left my job and became a monk (that’s a story for another time).

Then, 9/11.  The twin towers came crashing down.  Most people awoke on 9/12 recognizing that their world would never be the same.  At that point, we as a society left Kuhn’s stage of Anomaly and entered the stage of Crisis.

I pause my narrative for a moment to point out that paradigm shift cycles occur on many different levels.  Cycles manifest within cycles, waves within waves, small paradigms within larger paradigms. 

Imagine the shift of consciousness that occurred when the cavemen discovered that they could harness the power of fire; or when Leibnitz and Newton simultaneously, while working independently, wrote down their discovery of calculus; or when Einstein wrote the equation E=Mc2, which ultimately led to the creation of the atomic bomb; or the economic transition that occurred when Nixon took us off the gold standard.

Within these cycles, a major paradigm shift occurred for me personally in 1988 when I attended a “Life Training” workshop. I discovered  that a deeply hidden psychological trauma caused by the death of my father when I was 8 years old.  His death negatively affected my life.

The resolution of that trauma changed my life dramatically in virtually every way.  The shift was revolutionary.

I propose that the crisis the U.S. entered on 9/11 is part of a huge mega-paradigm cycle, a point at which many small cycles and large cycles converge at a single point of transition.  One major world paradigm we are leaving can be called the paradigm of “Patriotism and Nationalism.”  The new paradigm in the process of birthing can be called “The Ultimate Realization of the Nature of Human Freedom.”   This shift may represent the concresence of cycles going back thousands of years.

What evidence exists that this massive change is happening now?  Many of you reading this essay grew up in a United States described and understood as the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.”  Many from other countries grew up believing that America was the land of milk and honey.  It attracted immigrants from all over the world seeking a better life.

We were a democratic-capitalist society, the greatest experiment in human freedom the world had ever seen.  Our dream, and the dream of millions around the world, was that somehow the rest of the world could experience the freedom and dignity that we experienced on a daily basis.

After 9/11, one by one, many of our cherished ideas came crashing down.  The anomalies began appearing in spades.  Questions began to be asked:  How could 19 Saudis with box cutters bring down three buildings that represented the epitome of capitalist society, when never before in the history of the world had sky scrapers collapsed in free-fall fashion, one which was not even hit by an airplane?

The fact is, for anyone who cares to study the abundance of evidence available on the internet, they could not have done so.  The official story, the 9/11 Commission report, is a myth at best, at worst a lie of monumental proportions–a lie that lays waste to our understanding of democracy and freedom.   In one fell swoop, the so called Patriot Act  and the Iraqi war that followed set the stage for a march into totalitarianism that continues to this day. In fact, just in the last week, we have learned of a Department of Justice  attack on the first amendment’s guarantee of press freedom unprecedented in American history. 

Yet many people are still completely locked within the confines of the old paradigm.  Minds cannot conceive of the possibility that elements of our government and an unknown shadow government may have set the stage for the events that transpired on 9/11 and since.  I have no doubt that a few readers will react angrily at the words here written. 

Later, immersed in the midst of the Iraqi war, torture photos from Abu Ghraib prison tortured our minds.  I remember the shock my nervous system received when I realized that torture methods used in WWII by the Nazis and in the Korean War by the communists were being studied and perpetrated by my own government.  These very same torture methods were reasons for which the Nuremberg courts convicted and hung Nazis and Japanese practitioners as war criminals.

Further shock occurred when I realized after the hope promised by the election of our first black president, that not one high ranking official was held accountable for this incredible breach of human dignity done in my name as a citizen of the United States.

Then came the economic collapse and the near collapse of the world financial system.  Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their homes, billions in retirement savings disappeared, jobs were sacrificed and people became homeless and hungry; yet not one person in banks called, “too big to fail” have been prosecuted.

I can continue with dozens of examples, drones killing American citizens— as was officially announced yesterday—one kill on purpose, three kills by accident;  presidential kill lists;  militarized police forces;  indefinite detention without trial;  Monsanto being declared above the law;  a Supreme Court decision giving corporations the right to make unlimited donations to politicians; in effect, allowing them to buy elections;  Amish farmers being raided by Swat teams for selling raw milk, and on and on.

All of us have been dramatically impacted by these system shocks, whether we are aware of it or not.  Many people whom we helped move to Ecuador arrived on Ecuadorian shores to escape the trauma–the crisis–that was literally torturing their nervous systems every time they watched the evening news or read a story on the internet.

Now, I believe we have entered the 6th step of Kuhn’s model:  Revolution.  The obvious starting points were the Arab Spring revolutions which the PTB (powers that be) quickly co-opted and the Occupy Wall Street movement which was messily put down by the U.S. police state.

There is no doubt that the old order, the paradigm dominated by politicians, corporations, and the one percent,  in order to maintain their grip on the reins of power, is having to expose their dirty laundry more and more every day.

And as they do so, millions of people are beginning to wake up and say, ENOUGH!   The emerging new paradigm is bringing with it new tools that make it ever more difficult for the controllers to maintain their power.  The internet, along with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and cell phones withvideo cameras are ever ready to record and circulate in a moment’s notice events that previously went unnoticed.

This has given rise to the so-called Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Streetand the world-wide March on Monsanto scheduled to take place today, May 25th protesting Monsanto’s efforts to monopolize total control of the world’s seed/food supply through genetic modification.   Even human genes are being patented.

All over the world, common people are standing up to the PTB.  Hundreds of thousands of people are regularly taking to the streets in Spain, Greece and Ital,y protesting austerity measures even as bankers raid taxpayer accounts and pad their bonuses.  Tiny Iceland has jailed politicians, renounced payment of loans made by the corrupt politicians, and jailed bankers, taking back control of their economic destiny.  Revolution is in the air. Cotacachi Indigenous Children

Yet, this revolution goes well beyond citizen resistance as has occurred in times past. Go to the internet and Google, “spiritual evolution.”  You will find 10,900,000 links.  A world-wide transformative movement, the likes of which we have never seen, is happening now.

A key element of this transformation is that more and more people are experiencing cultures other than their own (Moving to Ecuador) and instead of making instant judgments about them, they are engaging with them, learning about them, and discovering that while foreign customs and traditions are very different, deep down, we are all similar; we are all searching for the same things, a peaceful and prosperous life, a safe home, healthy food, to love and be loved.  

This massive interchange with other cultures is leading to a huge shift in perception.  We are becoming vastly more aware of our interconnectedness–at the same time recognizing that only loving cooperation will allow us to address and resolve issues that have the potential to destroy us, as well as life on this planet.

This Spiritual Evolution/Revolution has everything to do with letting go of our judgments and the stress that accompanies them.  By learning to consciously choose to replace every judgment with a call for love, we not only transform ourselves, we transform the world in which we live.   This is a movement towards Unity Consciousness, identification that our interconnectedness is greater than our disconnectedness.

The metaphor, “Moving to Ecuador” brings us this realization–we do not need to “rebel” against the old guard with hate and anger and violence, for their power is only maintained as long as they can hold us in fear.  Nor do we need to “rebel” against the cultures of our adopted homes.

This new revolution is the revolution of love—the recognition that we are spiritual beings having a human experience rather than human beings searching for a spiritual experience.  Love is a primal force no hint of darkness can withstand.

In the weeks and months to come, Pro-Ecuador will explore themes of this paradigm-shifting revolution/evolution in greater depth.   We encourage your comments and your contributions. 

If you have something to say that may advance our understanding of the nature of the revolution we are living, please share your work with us.  In the re-structuring of website now underway, it will be much easier to share your thoughts and feelings on our website.

Thank you for reading.

And that’s today’s, View from the Roof. 

For anyone who thinks I may be going a  bit hard on Monsanto, please read this article.   Monsanto gets my vote as the most evil corporation in the history of the world.




  1. Such an astute essay! Another voice for demise by Monsanto.

  2. Amen Gary, Amen…I have been preaching and participating in the “Revolution” for many years in hopes, actions and prayers that in my time, now is the time! Onward, brother, Onward!

  3. first article of yours I’ve read, and I enjoyed it. I started looking to move out of the US after the supreme court stopped the recount of the florida vote and awarded the presidency to bush. took me 12 years, but I finally was able to move out of the US. I now reside in Cuenca and I consider myself to be a political refugee, escaping the totalitarian, militaristic, war mongering country the US has become. I feel sorry for my family members who are too poor to put the money together that they need to escape the US, and they all want to escape the madness.

  4. Thanks, Gary. You have expressed many of my own perceptions about what is happening in the USA. I lived in Thailand for 3 years and also Europe when I was younger. I am now 82 and planning to visit Ecuador. Immersed in this materialistic culture often occludes our spiritual nature. So maybe see you soon.

  5. Wow; where does one start with a comment for this great summary of what’s become of our country? My first trip to Ecuador, believe it or not, was because of the art that the beautiful people of this country produce. Once here, I was instantly captivated by all that I experienced. The quality of my life here is so great, and it reminds me of how life was once upon a time when I lived in an Andy and Barney kind of Mayberry USA.

    Thanks for a great Sunday morning reading experience!

  6. Diana Winer says:

    Thank you, Gary, for your honest and compelling article. As a former Minnesotan, who has lived in two other countries, I have thought long and hard about moving to Ecuador from Austin, TX, where I am now living. However, I am an elderly, poor and single woman, who can’t make the leap. Instead I will return to rural WI next year, where I was an organic farmer for 20 years, and help with the revolution that is happening there.

    Diana Winer

    • Hambone Littletail says:

      So you’ve abandoned the Ecuador plan completely, amiga? Can’t say I blame you…

  7. I’ve been reading this blog since you’ve been writing it. This is the best piece of the writing of yours I’ve read. It’s perfect……..sad, true, beautiful, kind and hopeful. Gary, this needs to be part of a book that you write. Congrats!

  8. Margaret Nemet says:

    Hi Gary,

    A well thought out and well written essay. Thank you. But now-days I am more preoccupied by what is happening to Planet Earth. I watched the N G documentary Chasing Ice, The evidence there dramatically proves that we are indeed heating up. I have read opinions either way, but was not fully convinced of the Global Warming threat. That became a fact, not a supposition to me. A consensus document on the crisis of the Planet we are facing was recently endorsed by by many scientists: People who deny the urgency to do something about it need a fundamental paradigm shift. I do get very upset at the limitless consumption of the “developed world,”.especially at energy consuming ways of entertainment, like recreational vehicles, giant SUV’s and giant amplifiers to broadcast over loud music that I care not to listen to, Can we make these people change their paradigm? Not until they are forced to, By economic measures and intolerance by likes of you and me. We should end benign tolerance towards these over consumers, as well as over the overly rich. We are in a crisis, not just of the economy and political systems, but also of the Planet we leave to our descendants.

    • Yes, Margaret, global warming is one of the hottest issues of the day, (pun intended), and an area we will be covering in Pro-Ecuador. As the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, a driving force in this revolution will be the results of our action or inaction.

      It has been interesting to watch the dramatic turn of events with the main stream media since it was discovered that Holder and company were wire tapping the AP, and charging a Fox News reporter with co-conspiracy to commit espionage for doing the job guaranteed by the First Amendment. What, did they think the Patriot Act applied to just other people? But finally they are engaged, and outraged, as they should be.

      It reminds me of the quote of Martin Niemoller, a highly vocal pastor who resisted the Nazis.

      First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out–
      Because I was not a Socialist.

      Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out–
      Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

      Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out–
      Because I was not a Jew.

      Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

      When the rising sea waters start inundating Miami, Manhattan and LA, we may get some action on global warming. But will it be in time????

  9. Gary, this is a very powerful and thought-provoking piece of writing. I’m sure it will stir up things for many readers. And, I’m wondering about something you didn’t address. In changing the world by supporting spiritual revolution isn’t there also a place for some of us North Americans to stay put and to catalyze change from where we are?

    • Hi Sol,

      Thanks for your comments. As I pointed out in the article, moving to Ecuador is a metaphor for moving into a new dimension of awareness. We can do that where ever we are. When people move to a new culture, the awakening can more easily occur.

      I remember the first time I experienced a new culture courtesy of the U.S. Army. I was sent to Germany in 1969. I was stunned for days, walking around with my mouth hanging open. Seeing beautiful women with hairy legs and hairy armpits was almost beyond my ken. But I got over it. ha.

      The revolution happening everywhere. We can choose to open our eyes and participate, or we can close our eyes and be swept away.

      • Gary, thanks for the clarification. I had missed your point about moving to Ecuador being a metaphor for awakening into deeper awareness.

        A friend and his partner retired to Ecuador a year ago from Santa Fe, NM and they are enjoying their new life. I’m considering retiring to Ecuador as well but I have a couple of important questions I’d like to ask first. I had filled out your web form a while back to see if I could have a conversation with you and/or Linda. I haven’t heard back. If you would entertain a question I’d greatly appreciate it. I know the two of you are in the US for now. If time is of concern I would be happy to keep the conversation short.



  10. Great article Gary……..and I am with you on Monsanto.