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.

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Part of a Conscious Journey ..

Many years ago, there were two sources that I used to move myself out of my mind and bring me back to the present moment.

Firstly mindful meditation and for me the most important outcome of this was … to see the world through the present moment, for there is no other moment …. don’t fight me on this just please look at it this way. We look through the present moment at the memory (the past) and we see it from our personal perspective. It is the same for the future, we project on the future what we desire through the present moment … in doing so the future becomes an expectation, an attachment, and as such it will very likely bring suffering when it does not eventuate.

 

 

So, I live life in baby steps, by simply living in the present, accepting what comes (for unless we do we cannot respond to it) and flowing with it.

Before meditation and mindfulness – I was acting in a group discussion to help some people come to terms with their changed circumstances … so my sincere thanks goes out to Don Miguel RUIZ, the author of the Four Agreements as below.

I was given these Agreements below to pass around .. they made a positive difference to the discussion flow, fostered some personal realisations and even a epiphany for one I was told later, so I think that they are worth sharing here ..


Agreement 1

Be impeccable with your word – speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

Agreement 2 – #This

Don’t take anything personally – Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

 


Agreement 3

Don’t make assumptions – Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

Agreement 4

Always do your best – Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self judgement, self abuse and regret.

Consider bringing these thoughts into your life … make them part of you, and they will make a difference in your relationships, both with yourself and how you relate to your external relationships

The State of Humanity in 2018

I very rarely do this, that is to project my beliefs on any duality topic.

It is not that I don’t care about my country or other people, I do, but I can do almost nothing about changing the world, I can only change myself – in other words to be the change I would like to see in the world …. I help when I can do things in a community or for a charity and other things that I support … but in my view social change and our evolution of our joint consciousness towards all of us working together will truly progress only when it comes from within. When we truly accept and love ourselves and subjugate the ego … only then will this love becomes as a light and a guide for all of us.

Others may think they can, and global public opinion has had its successes, when we work together – but we rarely do … for the division of humanity is why those in power are in power, as those use their power to manipulate the majority through fear / blame etc. (this strategy for control was detailed in a book called Propaganda by Edward Bernays in 1928 (Wikipedia article here), also an animated book review here on YouTube. His comment about the subject of the book is as follows.

The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and
opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.
Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an
invisible government which is the true ruling power of our
country.”—Edward Bernays

To form a viable opinion, we do need information that has credibility … currently Fake news is destroying the credibility of all news services. From the biased sources on both sides of media from the ultra-right to the ultra-left they make up news that is designed to push buttons, in other words is designed to create a emotive response … stories are made up for their reaction, there is little of no part of them which is true. Or vital news concerning a topic is just excluded. These sort of mis-information is designed for the incrediblly divisive medium, call social media, whether that be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or …. these mediums have been polluted to the extent that it gives the participant (us) little in the way of independant news or alternatively they invest in obviously partisan news … polluting their news feed with the same. Those that invest in the stream further adds to the divisiveness of society … I did a post on this here.

I do not believe any country is evil. Yes, there are evil people who when they have the ego beliefs, the tools and circumstances can control and manipulate “normal” people to an evil end … mind you every experience, even evil ones bring a lesson of their own.

The thing that is to me is important is that Humanity never learns from history ot the principles derived from it (Hegel) , in a nut shell

George Santayana said … “Those who do not learn from history are condemed to repeat it”
and from George Bernard Shaw
“We learn from history that men never learn anything from history

Why is this, perhaps in those current circumstances, the protagonists who don’t learn from the past think or more likely do not think, that for them it will be different.

Though one can manipulate the herd that is humanity via these strategies, (fear / blame / Self-interest / Religion, xenophobia, the tribal mentality ++ etc., examples of such areas where fear and blame are used, are particularly useful, such as refugees, (currently from the middle east, but almost distant country would suffice) coloured people, Hispanics, religious and other minorities etc., and of course , manipulation and of course on larger scale, lies repeated often, in the case of the alleged weapons of Mass destruction in Iraq, put forward the case for war.

The past gives us lessons here from experts in manipulation

“Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it” – Adolph Hitler

and

“Think of the press as a great keyboard on which the government can play.” – Joseph Goebbels

It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State – Joseph Goebbels

Strangely no one has ever been held accountable for the hundred of thousands of deaths that came from the Iraq War and currently the active wars around the world in the Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan and Palestine … where innocents are dying.

Remember as Jung said, it is easier for us to judge than think. For me that is the real issue, we don’t think enough about the decisions and the spin that comes from Government …. OK Patriotism, love of country is one thing, jingoism that it is my country right or wrong is flawed and irresponsible, Nationalism is the most dangerous, it can start wars, it is excluding all outside of a nation – it is defined as exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups. For instance World War 2 was caused by nationalism and greed. Nazism’s almost epic nationalism appealed to downtrodden Germans still suffering the humiliation of being defeated in World War I. It has similarities to the recent world after the austerity measures imposed by Governments, in the main caused by the greed of Wall Street and others.

It’s a given that Politicians are not enlightened beings, most have the emotional maturity of 11 year old bullies in a school play ground that rarely if ever mature, especially on things that threaten their beliefs, their fears, their desires or their income.


Economy

The Consumer society is in the death throws, as is Capitalism as we know it … the death knell of greed for its own sake. But what’s next, what will replace it, hopefully I would like there to be a form of co-operative ownership where the workers have an input into the decision making process, together with a relevant education system … that prepares with the necessary skills needed to live in an collaborative society that will hopefully be created. I am thinking about this now and will write and post on it on one of my other blogs.

I personally bank with a mutual bank, this type of bank doesn’t have shareholders, they have customers, and this means they are able to use profits to support organisations, events and programs that
the customers care about, in the home districts.

Things we can’t control

The idea of war, where intelligent people purposefully go out and kill their own kind is a horror filled and unconscionable act. We are the only creature in nature that with intent kills their own kind in the millions, however what is worse are those at home who encourage and incite others via Politics and the media to kill ….. these are the people that perhaps should end up in The Hague for crimes against humanity …

How is it freedom or defensive for a Coalition of nations, or an individual country to attack another, to invade another … it is not about freedom, it is about projecting power, about control and self-interest initially, once the wars wears on there is rarely the political will to continue when troops are overseas. The injustices that occur and the deaths of innocents show the lack of humanity. We are all accountable for these instances, for we disrupt, separate and kill innocents, whose relatives, naturally want someone to pay, then we wonder why terrorism is an issue. Noam Chomsky has a very relevant quote here

“The wanton killing of innocents is terrorism, not a war against terrorism.


In this case it could be argued that if we don’t want terrorists acts in our country, we shouldn’t initiate and participate in terrorist acts in someone else’s country.

Society

We have been made dependent and subject to the products, whims and dictates of Corporations, we are not powerless as a society, but because we are not united nothing happens … perhaps it is necessary to see outside of ourselves to realise the issue.

Unlike our ancestors, few in the west today have chosen a future in growing food, fewer still outside the farming industry know how to grow food, how could we look after ourselves and their families, to create a home, without the help of the ever intrusive and growing Big brother and the products supplied by Corporations and banks. What will happen if at a moment in time Corporations no longer supply our food etc? How many of us will survive?

External to where I live, I understand North Korea is a threat, a clear and present threat as their leadership, a cult of personality and autocracy at least, but if there is common sense (maybe) it will not happen – if not are we up for another example of the devastation and mass death that nuclear weapons can bring …. I tend to follow the credo, that I do not do to others, that which I don’t want done to me but mainly we can create peace only by living peacefully.

Democracy is an ideology, a construct, which we cannot export at the point of a gun, but continue to try to, or at least say we do. But many wars on the surface at least seem more about a certain country’s dogma or Corporate self-interest, rather than anything else. War is continuous somewhere, after all it is a Corporate profit centre. One of the most dangerous combinations of beliefs for control and subjugation of dissent is when religion and politics are combined … in my view the greater distance between these two the more personal freedom we have.

Change in any structure …. Personal, community, Corporations and countries doesn’t work when it is imposed on us … true lasting positive change and indeed the destruction of a country also comes from within over time.

On a personal level changing one person’s direction in life is so difficult because the first point that is needed is …. we have to want to change … the status quo is not bringing meaning to our lives, we try new things and sometimes we are fortunate that these resonate and we follow where that path leads, a journey that never ends.

For me, if I change myself to what I believe to be a continuing evolving soul then I can if others wish it help by illuminating the process … although I would never approach someone with that thought in mind …. Doing that requires a few things … it is why I don’t call myself a teacher because to regurgitate dogma or personal beliefs is counter intuitive because every person’s path is unique, it is wrong to project my beliefs onto the world – they work for me … but I am however happy to talk, happy to offer a perspective, to help others look within, but I cannot tell them what to see for one size doesn’t fit all ….

There are many paths to enlightenment, in my experience spiritual evolution and dramatic personal growth doesn’t often happen in a highly structured environment, it doesn’t happen when you want to achieve it (for a desire or ego) …. For the spirit, the insights and revelations of soul evolution are quite different from the cognitive mind and the primal mind where many are infected by the ego and desires.

Letting go of attachments … I am not talking about family here, I am talking about your expectations about how things are, and what will happen, holding onto things just brings frustration and suffering. Strangely letting go, detaching oneself from outcomes, from people. this doesn’t mean that we don’t participate in life, it means that we can and do participate more fully, for there is nothing holding us back from giving our full self.

In a macro sense there is little we can do to change difficult situations on a State, National or international level. Yet we project our beliefs onto others, … again as one person, we can only change ourselves and project our own self and the love we feel outwards to others …

If one holds onto an idea, follow an self proclaimed ideology or have the feeling that things should be a certain way …. It means we cannot see the way things actually are … this can bring frustration … suffering and eventually anger … and in the case of some organisations, cults and governments – violence.

I am not immune to outside influences, I experience many things, however the only way I can deal with what the ego and its projections and beliefs others bring, is to be present in the moment … allow time to reflect on the event … and understand it before (if) I respond (response not reaction).

When I speak of letting go of the past … I am not talking about your history with you family and friends or personal events because that is a giving love it is creative … for most of the past is an illusion for we remember it from our own perspective – and that’s OK, but to me now, the past is only for learning from, letting go of mistakes or depression, shame or guilt – this brings self-growth, self-respect, strength and ultimately authenticity. Forgive yourself for anything in the past, and forgive others that may have hurt you, for then the past no longer has a hold on you.

Aside from memories of beautiful moments in your past, to me learning from the past is its only purpose – remember you are no longer the you that you were then … it is all right to have made mistakes (for then we learn), you don’t have to be perfect … for no one is. I say this so we do not limit ourselves by our past as you create the future in the present … the present is the only time we have, it is only time we can act, it is the only moment we can act, because it is the only time that is real.

Do not allow the past to limit you …. Follow your bliss step by step, dont give up, remembering that our life can change in a heart beat.

The future and your expectations, your wishes and dreams are yet to come …. there is nothing wrong with having these to inspire and guide you as you slowly work towards them … what causes suffering is when you create an illusion by building your life around a certain things or event and that event doesn’t happen … this attachment to an outcome brings, as I said before frustration and suffering.

Fear created by the mind is too often an issue – because it is concern or uncertainty about a future event, it is a non-present thought … a fear generated by your desires, your attachments, something that affects you or those you love … this fear is an illusion as well in fact fear is the most powerful way of changing behaviour – as Gandhi said ….

The enemy is fear, we think it is hate, but it is fear

Over thinking is an issue for many, we keep focusing on a thought, we are digging a hole increasing our anxiety normally over something we can do nothing about, we must let it go and tell ourselves to stop, for remember where our focus goes, our energy flows also. The Vast majority of fears that come to us are illusions, they never come to pass.

In fear I am not talking about an imminent physical event, like physical danger. That is real … I am talking of the fears we generate in our minds which are illusory.

I understand and accept that there is inequality, injustice, abuse in all its forms and murder of so many people in the world, this too is a construct by those that want it this way, that do not understand that we are all divinity, for what we do to others, we do to ourselves – I lament this and the short sighted, self-seeking people who project their desires and ego beliefs or ideology to shape events and circumstances primarily for their own benefit.

But I can do nothing about them … again I can only control myself … the alternative is that violence creates violence … and once that begins humanity loses control …. The fog of war takes over and atrocities happen. The only way for social change is slowly, peacefully from within … peace comes from living peacefully, as Gandhi said, be the change you want to see in the world, and you will attract others, to create peace.

The nature of most of humankind is that we are selfish animals who believe we are separate from each other …. At the same time many of the less educated, lack an awareness of others and hence care only for their path and those they perceive are like them (when no one actually is), they care not for the plight of others …. I do not blame them, as a significant majority are being used by Governments … to me words mean very little, even enlightened words …. Actions are the only thing that is real and lasting, they define us …. From my perspective for instance some Politicians promise and rarely deliver, however that is the nature of human flaws and the human ego.

In many areas of the world, Australia included there are organisations set up to help the poor (often overseas), such strategies are laudable and achieve good things, when done for the right reasons – sometimes it is done for self-interest, to push a certain dogma – to change beliefs. However in many charities, the cost of running the charity is high and hence it means little money reaches those in need when this happens we must ask ourselves, who benefits? What is the purpose of the organisation.

For Charitable works overseas is one thing, but little is done about the poor in my own country … our citizens, 13% of Australians are described as poor and some are destitute, homeless – many of them children, our most important asset for our future, I ponder sometimes and wonder what are we teaching them?

My experience is that people who have nothing generally have few if any expectations in this all-encompassing consumer society … I have seen it … all they want is food and someplace to sleep, from my experience these souls are usually the most sharing and caring of people and will share their meagre food with others … they have nothing in the way of things or money, all they can do is give of themselves.

To me the most pressing issue in the world is that lack of education – and other forms of education is travel (and reading), for instance racism could be largely conquered if people would travel out of their own country and see others are like them … fascism would be reduced if we read and thought … I know a big ask when our focus is being controlled by others, in the vast gambit of entertainment and social media.

Any ideology will eventually lead to abuse, suffering and atrocity …. Religions and state ideologies, Tyrants, Totalitarian States, ethnic cleansing and Religions, Capitalism, Communism, tyrants, dictators and other hierarchies) are human constructs and they have killed possibly over a hundred million of us since World War 2 …. I will not follow someone unthinkingly into the abyss that is created by some dogma … the present or the future, the only true path is “Love” – I will do what I can for others, normally person to person to help.

Human kind when they look to the light, they generally move towards the guidance they receive, however if we turn our back on the light, in the shadow and darkness that this brings is where the worst of ourselves reside …. Our ego desires may attach itself to an Ideology, a fear … we might strive for their fulfilment whatever the cost, disregarding all else, including our family … until I woke up from this, I was lost in duality of business, the job I held. In business life we chase expectations.

To me there is an inverse relationship with faith and fear … the more faith we have the less fearful we are … those who have faith in Governments or Corporations have made a poor choice, for most value no one but themselves, one also needs to be careful here lest we create and illusion or delusion, such as some true believers, that project their beliefs onto and affect the life of others, such are cults, religions and many political or ideological organisations (Apple or Google +++ for instance) – the problem comes when a person identity is their job, their beliefs — hence changing their beliefs become a major process because it means changing their identity

Although some cults may become religions which thrive on dogma and seek growth, power, separation and control for themselves …. To ensure that the participants know they are right and all others wrong … it becomes a tribal, a them and us mentality …. Where religions come into conflict over their perspective on God saying they are right, they know .. silly really for no one truly does. I am thinking back here to the Fable of the Wise men and the elephant … see my post here.

One last thing … a philosopher, Lao Tzu once said “Stop thinking and end your problems” – the mind can be our greatest asset, but until we can control and eventually subjugate the ego, more often it seems it is our greatest enemy, not only for ourselves but for our impact on others.

This is highly unusual to me, to explain my beliefs, they are as they are, well for today, they will change and within a year will have changed some by little steps, new insights etc.

If you have read this far, it is up to me to apologise … sorry for the lecture … perhaps you have similar thoughts are your thoughts may be quite divergent.

Any perspective within a frame of reference that we create is bound to be biased, incomplete or distorted … however this is merely my perspective … take what resonates with you and disregard the rest.