A Path from fear and acrimony to understanding and dialogue

Condemnation and criticism are not on the Path to understanding, for we know that unconscious judgemental reactions do not liberate, they do not clarify, they oppress. Such projections in the realm of personal beliefs do not help, they only hinder discussion, social discourse, co-operation and any eventual collaboration.

This thing is when we react to the thoughts, words or actions of others, they are through in their words and or actions controlling us, jointly you create a conflict, but at the end of the day nothing is resolved as no outcome will come of this conflict, except the hardening of attitudes on both sides. People will not change their beliefs until they want to change or have a learning experience that places them on a new path, that will begin the process, organically, so to speak – this can only be achieved through quiet and reasoned discourse … criticism does nothing to create respectful discourse.

What illustrates this well is a quote from Carl Jung ..

Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.”

This applies to all parties … perhaps it is necessary before we judge others to pause and reflect on the case of why people feel the way they do? rather than get lost in our emotions.

What gets lost here are the stakes, that citizens of a country are involved in a conflict with other citizens of the same country … the seeds of division and destruction are so easily sown.

I have spoken about this before in my previous post called Social Media – exacerbates conflict and divisiveness here http://bit.ly/2Ny49Ni – Please pay particular attention to the following stages of story verification …. this is important I feel .. if you have any questions of concerns about the veracity of information you are receiving via the internet from news and more particularly Social Media …. ask yourself the following questions ..

1. Who is writing the stories? – is the source credible .. though that is not always a guarantee of veracity to know if it is true, fake or misinformation, designed to misinform and create or increase divisiveness.

It is hard these days to know what news services are credible … those sources from my youth such as UK Broadcasters, the BBC for instance are now suspect … all one can do is to seek confirmation from a number of sources.

2. Who benefits from these stories? – does a political party or aspect of society benefit from say misinformation contained in the story .. please evaluate the story impartially, not through the primary filter of your personal political beliefs and convictions.

3. Who / What is missing from these stories? The other side, more information, a different perspective on the situation.

4. Verify anything that can be verified in the story, don’t share it or believe it merely because it agrees with your general beliefs or with your confirmation bias.

However in these days of Facebook, which is in my view the most divisive and therefore destructive social platform available – where we are asked to like, share, comment or move on .. so we respond in our busyness without truly considering the post, we share because it conforms with our beliefs, our confirmation bias and so an uninformed post gains traction … in hindsight possibly we might wonder what is true and what is fake – if we don’t then we are part of the problem.

However, the problems that the less-privileged workers talk about are real, are concerning, and are seemingly without resolution. These people sense their living standard declining, instead of seeking understanding and resolution through critical analysis, debate, and social change, they look (unconsciously) for something more immediate someone to blame, a fantasy is created: it is somehow someone else’s fault, so let’s blame, a minority or a religion or the other side of the political divide. It’s easy and simple and just plain wrong.

At the same time, it affirms in their minds the true lack of worth of the opposition, they are demeaned, dehumanised and demonised all based on an uninformed or incorrect post.

On the other side of the ideological belief divide, there are those who seek greater social and economic equality and equity and the protection of what has already been gained. Again we have a unconscious reaction instead of critically analysing an issue (s). We would understand it far better if a dialogue was entered into with those on the other side (both sides are guilty of this). They both fall into their own emotional trap because they don’t understand the whole implication of the arguement, and so they will unconsciously demonize their opposition, as in Australia where there is a very noticeable split between the sides of the ideological debate.

They will portray each other in disparaging, demeaning even de-humanising terms, as evil or even snowflakes – this demeans and nullifies the seriousness of the problem in question … this makes them each jointly responsible for every possible scenario, the woes and failings of Government because of “them” … all participants are part of the problem and when of course the majority of what they fear may be uninformed emotional rhetoric

What motivates all these words …. for me I think it is fear. Why – because of ego! – where the people concerned go to the nth degree to demean, criticise, blame to condemn, these and more are all home territory of the ego – all so they can feel right and of course others are shown as being wrong.

“Democracy can buckle if we give in to fear’ – President Obama – he suggests
‘If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try to talk with one in real life’

Martha C Nussbaum also said it so well,

“When people are afraid of one another and of an unknown future, fear easily gives rise to scapegoating, to fantasies of payback, and to poisonous envy of the fortunate (whether those victorious in the election or those dominant socially and economically).

We need to think hard about fear and where fear is leading us. After taking a deep breath we all need to understand ourselves as well as we can, using that moment of detachment to figure out where fear and related emotions come from and where they are leading us.”



The below is from Alan Watts in the Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

“The startling truth is that our best efforts for civil rights, international peace, population control, conservation of natural resources, sustainable energy, and assistance to the starving of the earth—urgent as they are—will destroy rather than help if made in the [current] spirit. For, as things stand, we have nothing to give. If our own riches and our own way of life are not enjoyed here, they will not be enjoyed anywhere else. Certainly, they will supply the immediate jolt of energy and hope that methedrine (methamphetamine), and similar drugs, give in extreme fatigue.

But peace can be made only by those who are peaceful, and love can be shown only by those who love. No work of love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.

In any foreseeable future, there are going to be thousands and thousands of people who detest and abominate Negroes, communists, Russians, Chinese, Jews, Catholics, (add Muslims) beatniks, homosexuals, and “dope-fiends and …. .” These hatreds are not going to be healed, but only inflamed, by insulting those who feel them, and the abusive labels with which we plaster them—squares, fascists, rightists, know-nothings—may well become the proud badges and symbols around which they will rally and consolidate themselves. Nor will it do to confront the opposition in public with polite and nonviolent sit-ins and demonstrations, while boosting our collective ego by insulting them in private. If we want justice for minorities and cooled wars with our natural enemies, whether human or non-human, we must first come to terms with the minority and the enemy in ourselves and in our own hearts, for the rascal is there as much as anywhere in the “external” world—-especially when you realize that the world outside your skin is as much yourself as the world inside. For want of this awareness, no one can be more belligerent than a pacifist on the rampage, or more militantly nationalistic than an anti-imperialist.

The idea of white privilege is absolutely reprehensible. The idea that you can target an ethnic group with a collective crime, regardless of the specific innocence or guilt of the constituent elements of that group – there is absolutely nothing that’s more racist than that.”

― Alan Wilson Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

At some point in the future when Politicians, the media and others with a vested interest in divisiveness have nothing to gain, they will no longer fan the flames of division, then and only then we are on the path to consensus and hopefully peace and a creative constructive future.


India – Poverty First Impressions.

This is an impression from a Western perspective and so may not give a fair or accurate observation of Poverty here in India, so much here confronts me. I am sure my impression of the physical world here will change as I become familiar, also as my Kundalini rises over time.

Poverty and homelessness is everywhere, in the West it is a cost of Capitalism, of being unemployed and also underemployed, where at any time, one may be one pay check away from it, it comes primarily from Corporate greed, exacerbated by the “Free Trade” agreements which are not at all about free trade but where Governments provide a means for Corporations to move jobs off shore, to other sovereign jurisdictions, that have very low wages and low protection for employees, in the areas of wages, benefits and heath. This desertion of their home country leaves many tens of thousands or millions of people who had jobs, now without any means to live. Here the situation is very complex including the immensity of the population, the lack of education, politics and something that is found in all political systems, corruption.

In India, there is no safety net or any kind, social programs that one experiences, even at the low rate that is in Australia just don’t exist … the quantity in need here is vast, on a cursory examination, there seems no National Government support for the homeless, the poor, the destitute – via food kitchens, shelters, beds or the like. I don’t know as yet the extent of private provision of the same from overseas organisations, I am sure I will given time …

You cannot walk down the street here without seeing the poor, rapier thin bodies begging, one does what one can, it is the mothers and children that my heart goes out to … the mothers ( malnourished ) who are going without so their children will have food … one gives, but then what? Does it only delay an inevitability … but nevertheless we give, but what comes next for them? We cannot know this, all we can do is help in this moment and then move on. The quantity is vast, there are sadly many who may not be in poverty, they are in a business to again make money off the tourists – one can only guess and hope that the deserving get something, so for me I give to the very old, and mothers with children.

To give you an idea, I was walking along the road, when I first arrived and not far from where I am staying, right in front of me in the gutter, was a body of a young man, thin beyond comprehension … he was just lying there, not moving, I could not see him breathing, was he alive or dead, to this day I don’t know.

India – First Impressions

Wow … everything I thought represented normal …

Everything that I thought was normal, was turned on its head, and the the values of some of the people I have meet are … well let me say they are not mine …. the opportunity to get little victories over you (for as little as 5 rupees, about 10 cents) … they even smile when they do, once, when it happens, it tends to leave a bad impression … when it happens more than once, it leaves a bad taste … and a yearning to find someone who has some honour – my feedback from others here, is if you find someone who does what they say they will, then you have found a gem, stay with them.

I am sure the shops and companies I have visited do not train people in customer service ( World brand names ) … they do not value the customer at all … they deal only in cash and when you ask for a receipt … it never comes. A perfect example was when I was hunting for a Phone provider … I ended up using an Inidan brand, Airtel .. which although they have their problems at least I have a relationship with them that allows me to get things done.

I am on a sabbatical … which may turn out to be a permanent one. I had thought would be able to leave the “civilised” worlds ego centric. money focus behind, but here it is even worse … status is everything …. the car you drive, the degree you have, your sex, and how you dress determines engagement and productivity …. and hence all these things determine if you will be successful in your enquiry or not. To become credible in the eye of commerce here, I have had to drag out my academic titles .. which have made a dramatic difference.

For instance, as I am staying here in India for so long, I thought it might be a good idea to open a bank account, in fact I had investigated this before I arrived … it is allowed for tourists who stay for the maximum of 6 months … I went to four banks here, all of the provided staff members say no, I even asked them to check up with their head office, they reported back … No … Yesterday I found someone in a company that must have actually asked someone in the organisation, who knew what they are doing and hence I am setting up an account here.

We must remember that I am new here, as well I came from a foreign culture, Perhaps I have had bad experiences, and of course I am viewing this from my former normal of business engagements in Australia … which has no relevance here in India.

To me in these engagements, the single biggest thing that is needed is empathy, for staff to have explicit training in customer service and to have some interest and understanding of the customer / clients needs – however the culture of organisations that do not care about the customer, comes down from the Ownership and upper management … perhaps they should remember a quote from Henry Ford …. the customer pays the bills, the company only handles the money.