Blog entry by Alan Chapman
Please note that these thoughts are written from my perspective.
Everyone has his/her own perspective.
How we see ourselves determines how we see life and all else.
My perspective is shaped especially through my quite deep experiences, study and engagement in:
- suicide - bereavement and grief, suicide attempting and survival, counselling, therapy, innovating,
- and the 'Anthropocene' - the proposed 'sixth extinction' of most life on Earth,
In turn shaped by:
- my exploration of myself - mind body soul - especially inside my head - who and what I am,
- language and other more reliable meaningful ways of understanding anything/everything,
- enabled by my letting go of most attachments, notably to fear of my own death and the deaths of anyone close to me,
- and letting go of my own ego and notions of 'self' - as far as is possible given that my writing and publishing of this article is unavoidably an act/extension of my ego :)
My own sense of 'being' and meaning is in:
- the tiniest things (a breath, a grain of sand or smaller),
- the biggest things - universe(s) and beyond, time, space,
- and that I am the smallest immeasurable speck in all of this, whether I wake tomorrow or not.
I'm lucky to have such a love of life, whatever life and being actually are.
So, some thoughts on transformation (how we might help to make a better more sustainable peaceful world):
bold, creative, humble, self-aware
- We must be much bolder, more creative, more humble and self-aware.
- We tend to achieve big things when we are bold enough to aim to, or at least consider the possibility. Generally we do not achieve big things if we aim to achieve smaller things.
- Creativity is vital, because that's how change happens.
- Humility helps us prioritize others, and quality and outcomes, rather than ourselves and our own interests.
- Self-awareness is how we see things objectively. If we are self-aware, then we understand our views, and we are less prone to narrow-mindedness.
- Bias is very challenging, and much more complicated than most people imagine.
- We see life/all how we are, not how life/all is, and so each of us is biased to a degree.
- Bias is hidden in everything, especially politics, media, and in all organizations.
- Bias can be hidden in education and health too. These are the big levers of transformation.
- For example how do we teach children in the UK that the English/British invented concentration camps, and that English/British wealth and power, advantage and privilege are built on imperialism, slavery, and the colonialization and exploitation and abuse of vast regions of the world, and the suffering of millions. The English/British are not alone in these abuses, but perhaps have yet to be very open about it.
Money and freedom
- Money is not the most important thing in life. Although many people make such a reality.
- Meaning and inspiration are more important than money.
- Money is not the main energy in life, and anyway it's notional and controlled by the wealthy elite. 'Fiat' = 'Let it be done'. The world's money system is called Fiat, and it replaced the 'gold standard' in the 1970s.
- I am not saying we should ignore inequality, which ravages and kills millions. I am saying that if we want to transform then we must focus on freedoms, human rights, and enabling people to create meaningful productive work for themselves and their communities, based on the real value of things, not the many false values dictated by our monetary systems.
- Why should caring for a dying parent or child not be valued monetarily, but the movement of some numbers on a screen be worth millions? Surely this obscene nonsense needs fixing.
- Money, unless it is reformed radically, is basically notional and controlled by the wealthiest.
Work and business, industry and productivity
- Social Enterprise, and other terminology for 'ground upwards' mainly local community worker-owned industry/work seems a good idea for transformation, locally/nationally/globally.
- Cooperatives, micro-businesses, sole-traders and partnerships can be social enterprises too. So can any sort of company if it is established on principles of social enterprise.
- Here's Wikipedia's definition of social enterprise: "A social enterprise is an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in financial, social and environmental well-being - this may include maximizing social impact alongside profits for co-owners. Social enterprises can be structured as a for-profit or non-profit, and may take the form (depending on in which country the entity exists and the legal forms available) of a co-operative, mutual organization, a disregarded entity, a social business, a benefit corporation, a community interest company, a company limited by guarantee or a charity organization. They can also take more conventional structures."
Love, fearlessness, cooperation
- Great thinkers and changemakers such as Lenin, Marx, Frankl, Darwin, Maslow, Dabrowski, etc., are greatly misunderstood. They explain/predict well and offer answers in ways that are not generally appreciated. This includes the power of love/fearlessness via lived experience, especially disintegration and rebirth.
- Other paths to fearless love are available. For example, enlightenment and similar concepts.
- Love and fearlessness enable trust and cooperation. This requires letting go of one's ego, and self, to a big or full extent.
- Love and fearlessness also entail acceptance, gratitude, vulnerability, and helping and giving to others.
- There seems strong evidence that these ways of living and being are ingredients of peace, contentment, and thriving in uncertainty.
- Life actually is uncertain.
- We tend to think, and are conditioned to believe and behave, that life is predictable and controllable, but it's not.
- The past obviously cannot be controlled (unless we are so powerful that we can re-write history) and at an individual level the past doesn't matter because it's gone and we can't change it.
- We can control our responses to the past, our successes and mistakes, or good fortune and our traumas. This is what matters - that we can control our responses to what happens to us.
- We cannot predict of rely on the future in any way, especially how our own life is affected. We might think that we can, but we cannot, especially days, weeks, years into the future.
- So can instead - and it's actually wonderful - live in the present moment, ideally enjoying every moment, because we don't get it again.
- In many ways the difficult and traumatic things in our life offer us much better growth than the easy pleasant things.
- No tree ever grows strong strapped all its life to a support and protected from storms. The strongest trees become strong by growing in the most difficult situations, for example clinging to a rocky cliff battered by the elements.
- Most of the modern globalized corporations are in the 'certainty' business. Most big corporations design and market products and services that help to convince people that happiness is found in material possessions and extravagant experiences, which includes addictions of salt, fat, sugar, tobacco, alcohol, gambling, travel, acquisition, consumption, waste ('throw-away culture'), and pharmaceuticals that replace our natural ways of staying healthy.
- This is supported by governments and corporations who persuade us that we can live for ever - so that death and dying are taboos. We vote for these governments incidentally.
- We are sold a false notion of life a without pain or suffering, so that many people are reliant on pharmaceutical medication and other self-medications (alcohol, tobacco, sugar, etc) very early into adulthood, and then completely dependent on pharmaceuticals (for blood-pressure, sleep, diabetes, etc) at middle-age.
- And so when people become ill, by living so unnaturally, or unluckily, it's easier to be medicated to avoid a painful old-age and death, rather than revert to more natural healthier lifestyle, which tends to offer a better quality of life and and a more natural death.
- As ever this is mostly a matter of personal choice, although education and support are huge factors.
- And I accept that some people are very unlucky with health and certainly need all the medical interventions that are available.
- My point concerns the millions of people nationally, and billions globally, who have poor health avoidably.
- Somehow, almost certainly, we must replace the Internet, because it's more hindrance than help. Nothing lasts for ever.
- Just as there must be a new currency or 'money', so there must be a new way for people to share ideas and cooperate.
- The Internet has existed for over 30 years; and of this time, 20 years in mainstream life. This is much longer that technologies naturally survive in the modern age, unless big forces with vested interests sustain them, as we've seen with the oil/petrol fuelled motor car, and some other industries, technologies and practices that were a long time being replaced by something better.
- The big problem with the Internet is that it is controlled, censored, managed, surveyed, and monetized by a very small number of people and huge powerful corporations. The Internet is also now a huge threat to personal privacy and human rights, to health, facts, truth, etc.
- It's likely also that any attempts to transform the world using the Internet would simply not be permitted by the forces that control the world, and the Internet.
- Suicide (Dabrowski) and Zero Suicide (Coffey) especially offer answers to wider questions of humanity's future.
- Part of my perspective is suicide. I consider suicide the key to understanding death, and in turn death is the key to understanding life, as best as we can.
- Dabrowski's work (the Theory of Positive Disintegration) to me best describes the growth and acceptance that comes from (suicidal) disintegration and rebirth.
- I think this is very significant because it offers reason and meaning for personal disintegration. Disintegration of various sorts can come to any of us, in varying degrees.
- Given reason and meaning, disintegration can then be seen as traumatic growth. It still hurts like hell, and can do for many years, but we can then get through it much easier because we know there is a point to the pain.
- Ed Coffey's concept of Zero Suicide to me is well-proven in a healthcare system. I believe its broad boldly aimed 'quality management' approach can be applied to wider society, so that we aim for societies and cities and nations, and ultimately a world, in which nobody is so desperate and unsupported that he/she would take their own life.
- Note that suicide is not to be confused with euthanasia, for which there is a good argument in many cases, when a person's quality of life is worse than death. Of course this is a controversial subject, and separate to my points about suicide.
- We must also be careful about the language of 'Zero Suicide' so that it is not used in a way that can suggest a denial of human rights, nor a punitive sense of 'zero tolerance'. The term is an expression of the quality of life that we want for everyone.
Racism and other discrimination - language, bias and power
- Racism is a misnomer. Misnomer = an inaccurate misleading term.
- Here we must be very careful about language because of understandably huge sensitivities and distortions of meaning in what racism means to different people.
- I am not saying that racism does not exist.
- Racism definitely horrifically exists and racism is fundamental in inequality and the ravaging, and destructions of billions of lives and millions of communities.
- My point is that there are good and maladjusted people and groups (including very evil-doing people/groups) in all 'categorizations' of humanity: race, creed, colour, religion, ethnicity, gender, age, etc.
- This language of categorization 'weaponises' language for power, so that race and racism (and related terminology) become terms/language by which powerful people (i.e. that have access to audiences) can suggest stereotypes and incite divisions among people.
- There are good people of all races and creeds and religions and ethnicities, and there are less-than-good people of all races and creeds and religions and ethnicities.
- Much of this use of language for power is hidden, and subliminal too.
- It's a dangerous controlling type of bias, mostly hidden, partly systemic and partly intentional.
- Education and mainstream media help to sustain these biases and conditioning, and so does society, because we've mostly all been influenced by it in different ways.
- Again, this is example of why we must look inside ourselves to understand our view of the world.
Language and power - more background
- The suggestion that language is controlled and used by power might seem strange...
- The origins of the control of language in the 'western world', for and by the powerful elite, are in the 'Classics' (the study of Greek/Latin and to ancient Greece and the Roman Empires) and perhaps before this.
- And actually the use of the Classics in education and language, and of the institutions that grew from and thrive from this, still enable the wealthy and powerful to sustain and increase their power and wealth.
- We see hear this in the accents of politicians and the 'professional' classes. There are regional accent aspects too, and this is still heard in mainstream radio and TV, especially news channels, which tend to feature presenters with 'posh' London or SE England voices.
- Humble people mostly are in awe of this sort of bluster and 'kidology'. It's why judges wear wigs, and monarchs wear crowns, and politicians wear suits, and why policemen and security guards wear uniforms. Uniforms are language of authority, and our conditioned senses of visual 'language' accept this.
- The story of the Emperor's new clothes is a good lesson.
Education and enabling independent thinking and questioning of authority and media
- And so, honest education and inspiration are vital, so that people are much more confident in questioning authority and motives - of 'leaders' and 'teachers' and 'authority figures' and 'media commentators' everywhere.
- There are many good leaders, but there are many hypocrites. "Follow the money," as the saying goes.
- For example why trust any organization whose leadership is rewarded far beyond the dreams of those the organization claims to support?
- And what typically does a lord or millionaire know about living on the streets, or being addicted to heroin, or being raped, or chased by debt-collectors?
- Consider in the UK that a 'lord' is a title, and still an immensely powerful political position, that originated a thousand years ago, when the Norman kings of England grabbed land that belonged to peasant farmers and communities, and gave the land to the loyal followers of the king. The knights protected the lords. Nowadays the lords sit in the upper house of Parliament, and the Queen (or King) and government appoint new lords and knights, arguably to support the system of government. Think about it. Why is UK politics so confrontational, when what the nation and world needs is cooperation. The UK is not alone, but many nations have proportional representation, and circular chambers, which are much less prone to old-fashioned politics.
- Of course the corporate world is full of knights and lords and millionaires, and billionaires, who increase their vast fortunes from selling all sorts of products and services that kill people and destroy our planet. Follow the money. Think about it.
- Globally c.40% of deaths are preventable/premature. That's about 25million of about 60million total deaths worldwide.
- These are slow suicides/homicides of fat, salt, sugar, pollution, tobacco, alcohol, gambling, pharma, work stress/illness, ignorance, dependency, lifestyle, suicides and conflicts, road traffic, etc.
- Don't take my word for it, look at the causes of death globally, and in your own country.
- Denialism is systemic mostly.
- Everyone's doing his/her best. People can only see life/all as they see themselves and through their own experiences of life.
- And it's simply how humanity seems to organize itself.
- Denialism and ultimately fear of death (IMHO) fuel and drive the Anthropocene.
- This notion of systemic human denialism, whatever its many drivers, is reinforced/explained in studies/thinking about the Anthropocene [proposed 6th extinction] - that we seem unable to escape the cycles of unsustainable economics.
- John Bunzl's Simpol.org offers great hope for the vital ground-upwards joining and then cooperation, involving everyone. We will make a better world by cooperation. It's essentially the opposite of divide and rule.
- As many great thinkers and humanitarians consistently suggest, progress is in education. and in improving education so that it develops people, rather than tests knowledge.
And a couple of concluding ideas...
- We might best focus more on educating/empowering children - via creativity and nature. Children can then re-frame life and need for change for parents and grandparents. Re-framing seems to be a big key to enabling change. Accentuate the positive, as ever. Female power is crucial too, to re-balance male psychopathy/bias, and to show, inspire, enable cooperation.
(suicide/anthropocene - feelgoodfarm.co.uk)