It won’t matter much if we have women’s rights to their own bodies or bans on abortions, gay rights or no gay rights, equal pay for women, if we finally rid our country of racial discrimination, looser or tighter immigration laws, prayer in schools or no prayer in schools, a lot of today’s social issues just won’t matter much if the legalized piracy, and that’s what it is, piracy, of inordinate amounts of the capital in the world by the ruling elite continues along the pattern it has been the past few decades. A pattern which has recently been escalating dramatically.
The economic/sociologic trend we’re seeing in America is that life expectancy is decreasing. Our communities are seeing ever increasing numbers of people experiencing homelessness, hunger, unaddressed physical and mental illnesses. Infrastructure is deteriorating. People seem to be worshipping greed, which is truly a psychological/spiritual pandemic destroying lives and communities. The idolization of the ways and means of those who are capturing the wealth of the world is on par with idolizing a deadly plague.
We don’t need people to be scheming and hoarding hundreds of millions and billions, even a trillion dollars’ worth of the capital which we, our parents and grandparents, and ancestors back centuries, have worked to develop and produce in the world. We need better governance than what we’ve been receiving which not only allows such inequity but encourages and subsidizes it. We need the resources of the Earth to be cared for and distributed in a way that all people have their basic needs met: housing, food, education, medical care.
And, yes, we need all people to be contributing to the care of our world and communities. We don’t need a welfare state. That’s not good for the psychological and spiritual well-being of people. With the rise of technology taking over so many labor jobs, we need shorter work weeks, job sharing: but all with a living wage. We need to be paying for services which do not produce a financial profit but are necessary to maintain healthy, viable communities. That is true profit: healthy people within healthy communities. A world which nurturers the wellbeing of and the development and progress of humanity. Progress in the arts, sciences, and greater understanding of our shared spiritual reality.
We need people to take reproductive responsibility within the reality of our world and finite resources. We don’t need men and women making babies which they cannot and have no genuinely viable plan of adequately caring for. Would-be parents should have a plan which demonstrates consideration of and responsibility for one’s family and the communities we all live within. We need social programs which provide a temporary “life-boat” for people hit with unexpected hardships. But living on welfare is not a socially, nor even a personally, responsible plan for supporting a family. However, in order to have a job, jobs need to exist, and when a parent can have more money coming in from welfare than the jobs which may available to them, something is wrong with the economic system.
We need to see the stock market abolished. We need to see giant corporate farms broken up and an increase in smaller, ecologically responsible, farms. We don’t need a corporate or national mentality of “saving” money, or of not funding needs in one area only to spend exorbitantly in others: we need a mentality of the wise use of money. The same way our bodies do not “save” blood and nutrients it carries, but keep it in circulation throughout the entirety of the body for the health of the whole.
And, to be healthy and to have healthy communities: we need truth as truly as we need healthful air, water and food.
In many important, essential ways, people, by and large, aren’t all that complicated. Maslow knew this aspect of our reality and took the time to try to organize our needs by importance in relationship to our survival and well-being. Of course we don’t always find ourselves involved with filling each need in exactly the order Maslow arranged them, however, if our needs aren’t met at one level, the more desperate the need we feel, the more we’re stuck on that level.
We need to keep this reality in mind when we are working to understand and/or figure out how to respond to the demonstrations, protests and riots going on in the U.S. and elsewhere. What these events are, every one of them, are symptoms of unmet needs. They are populated by people who can no longer stand idly by while feeling their innate human needs go unmet. It might have worked for them at one time. A time when they were, for whatever reasons, able to suppress their internal urges because they felt hope that a pathway was going to open up for them to pursue fulfillment. But when that hope wanes, desperation comes in on it’s heels.
The “rugged individualists”, particularly the ones who have found themselves in comfortable positions, might say: well it’s their fault, they didn’t work hard enough to take care of themselves, they’re lazy. Maybe, to some extent, for some of the people, there is some degree of truth in that. But there is something obvious that really flies in the face of that logic: those “lazy” people are out marching in the streets. They are feeling a need and somebody, or something, provided them with a direction. When one is desperate, doing something, anything, even if it’s wrong can be preferable to doing nothing. If a direction offers some degree of even blind, hope, it is going to have an attraction. That’s how desperation works.
The fact people are out marching, protesting, even rioting, shows that, given a direction, they are willing to take action to do something, anything, to try to gain fulfillment for their unmet needs. It is clear that what most people need in such a situation is direction. What is being demonstrated in these events is raw, potential energy looking for a way to become kinetic, to provide what is needed to fulfill the unmet needs.
In a civilized society it should just be a given that we are working together to meet the needs of all. Whether we privately own things, communally own things or work with a model that embraces the best method for the immediate needs at hand, as long as we have the mind that it is a combined effort for the good of all, we will be fine.
Have you ever been poor? After two-thirds of the month has gone by have you ever found yourself wondering how you’re going to eat for the remaining third? When you are in that position, and you walk into a grocery store, you want EVERYTHING. It can seem that you couldn’t possibly buy enough to satisfy your hunger. However, if you’re not poor, if you’re well fed and you enter a grocery store, it’s not that hard to be totally satisfied picking up whatever it was you came for. People are like that, in more ways than simply regarding food. When we are feeling an acute shortage of something, a deep-down need for something, we can easily find ourselves thinking we want it all.
No matter how absurd or grandiose the participants’ expressed demands in the heat of desperation may be, when the people involved see and feel their needs are being genuinely fulfilled, they will, however tentatively at first, begin responding favorably to whatever is providing, and shows it can continue to provide, that fulfillment. To merely offer such a movement resistance is to stand squarely in the way of much needed hope and change.
A footnote: This is not to advocate for a program of ongoing free stuff for all dissatisfied people. In Maslow’s hierarchy, self esteem is a basic human need. Working at a fair rate in exchange for what one receives is a part of healthy self esteem. Sometimes a person’s being able to accept “free” stuff is needed in order to pull that person up when they are down, but it’s not a viable long term solution.
I am realizing that many of us, me included, have a tendency to readily notice and respond to the things in the world that are blatantly wrong, or problematic, and that this may consequently mean we simultaneously are not giving enough attention to the things that are right.
I first became aware of this tendency decades ago when I worked a couple summers as a lifeguard. When I found myself in the lifeguard chair, looking at a large, crowded pool with lots of noise and activity, I had a moment of doubt. I wondered how in the world am I going to see someone in trouble in this chaos? I asked an older lifeguard that question and he replied that I just needed to keep my eyes on the pool and if someone got into trouble, I’d see it. Sounds too simple, right? It isn’t. As it turns out our attention is drawn to the things that aren’t right. Whether it is inconsistencies, differences in movement, sometimes the obvious shout for “help”, or some other more esoteric phenomenon, it is a reliably real thing. I would always find my attention drawn to someone in trouble. Sometimes a few seconds before they were actually experiencing the distress. Of course it is also true that my mindset, my internal desire, was to see such occurrences. That may be a part of the function at work. I began calling this tendency to have our attention drawn to what is wrong “the lifeguard principle”.
While paying attention and looking for trouble was an explicit part of that job, I think it is something we all do to a greater or lesser extent. It definitely is a survival trait in times of threat. Maybe it’s a carry over from the days when we were walking through forests or jungles and we had to be aware of our surroundings to avoid being eaten. It definitely is a behavior that is necessary in times of warfare, one person, gang, tribe, nation, attacking another. I believe it is universal among humankind. For those interested in looking into such things, there is some correlate in the functioning of our “exciting” and “calming” neurotransmitters. Our bodies have evolved in a way that we deplete our “calming” neurotransmitters well before we are in danger of running out of “exciters”. I suppose that would help keep us from just lying down and being eaten when being chased by a tiger. But now, in the year 2020, for many if not most of us, the dynamics we face in our day to day lives are not quite the same as they have been through much our existence.
It’s not that there still aren’t some acute dangers in the world; in some places much more than others. However, the dangers most of us face in developed nations are more of a chronic nature. We don’t get pounced on and quickly killed and eaten by a tiger, we get killed more gradually by being slowly consumed by worries, fears, anxieties, and insecurities. Just as the nature of the threats has changed over time, our reactions to the threats we’re facing needs to change also. A sudden, pervasive startle, fight or flight reaction to all the, sometimes subtle, threats an average person may face during their day would certainly result in a person becoming overly stressed, burned out, and significantly more at risk for a plethora of diseases. Further, not only would such a reaction pattern do that, having such acute reactions to daily stressors has and is doing that to people today, every day.
Sometimes we need to intervene in what direction our “autopilot” chooses and become more reasoned with our reactions to life’s events. Having an innate sensitivity to things that are “wrong” in our environment can be part of an important survival system. Our “lifeguard principle” exists for just that purpose, to help guard our lives. This brings to my mind a book by Gavin De Becker: “The Gift of Fear”. It addresses the important role fear can and does play in our lives. However, with both the “lifeguard principle” and “The Gift of Fear”, whether or not these innate aspects of our being serve us or sabotage us depends entirely on how we react to the input we receive from them.
In our complex, more populated, human culture primitive responses to what are often sophisticated situations become less and less viable. As a culture, we need to get way more invested in learning more about what it is to be human and what we inherently, and universally, require to establish and maintain healthy, vital, lives. When we learn to respond to human, social, problems in a manner seeking to solve those problems on the basis of seeing needs met and lives stabilized, we are going to find ourselves in a thriving, vibrant world such as we have only had the partial passing enjoyment of, you could say glimpses of, during a few periods of time in the past 150 years.
Within the current available knowledge from the fields of psychology, sociology, physiology, and spirituality, we have all we need to have more than a good start. It only requires our will and determination to do so.
In almost every discussion I have had regarding covid-19 and the various governmental responses to it, one of the first issues that comes up are all the inconsistencies and contradictions in what we’re being told and what we’re being told to do. But before I get into that, I want to look at one other aspect of the covid-19 picture that we in the U.S. are hearing and reading about every day: the growing number of “cases” being found every day.
One of William Shakespeare’s most well-known questions is: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” However, it is also well known that names, words, can and do make a great difference in how we perceive a thing. The noun “case”, especially when relating to illness/disease is one of these words. We have to be aware that sometimes a word means something in common usage, and also, within the specialization of one discipline or another, that word may have a particular meaning. For example, we all know what the common usages of the word “head” are. Either a body part or possibly the boss, or leader of something. However, in the Navy, the word “head” can and often does refer to the toilet/WC. Sometimes it all depends on the context the word is being used in. The word “case” has some similar usage issues.
In common usage I venture to say we usually think of a “case” as being something that holds something else, like a cellphone case. Or, when speaking about illness, a case is commonly thought of occurring when someone is actively ill with something. We’ve all probably heard about someone coming down with a case of food poisoning, or, heaven forbid, a case of cancer. The fact that someone ate some food which somehow, later, turned up as tainted, means that maybe the person might “come down with a case of food poisoning”, but not necessarily. With cancer I have heard that at any given time most (all?) of us have some cancer cells in our body, however that doesn’t mean we’re suffering with a case of cancer. A “case” of something commonly means someone is actively suffering, ill, with whatever it is. The CDC and other public health related people and agencies however, seem to have a different meaning for the word “case” within their technical jargon. In that usage a “case” can evidently mean simply a positive test result.
So when we hear about all the new cases of covid-19 turning up, what does that mean? Does that mean all the people represented by that number are actively suffering from the severe ravages of covid-19, which we’ve heard so much about? If we’re thinking in common usage terms, the word “case” tends to lead our minds down that path. However, the reality is that in terms of the daily covid “scoreboard”, it doesn’t mean that at all. It means more people have been tested and some of the test results are positive. Kind of like someone eating some food with some unwanted bacteria growing on it. Does that necessarily meant they are going to come down with a case of food poisoning? As with exposure to just about every potentially harmful substance on Earth, there a few other variables involved such as the amount of the “dose” of bacteria and the person’s pre-existing state of health. I think that the robustness of the human immune system is being largely ignored as the covid scenario progresses. Which brings us back to: will someone who tests positive for covid become ill, develop symptoms? Maybe. I’m not sure there are any reliable numbers on the relationship between testing positive and becoming symptomatic. But even if odds are that an infected person will develop some symptoms, as the World Health Organization states: “COVID-19 affects different people in different ways. Most infected people will develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization.”
At this point I find myself asking, would the daily news have the same quality of sensationalism if what is reported are “positive test results”? As it is, while typical pornography titillates feelings of lust, what is being titillated by the current media onslaught is fear. I don’t think it’s inaccurate to call it “fear porn”. So, imagine the headline: “Today an additional 1,000 people tested positive for covid.” After a few weeks, how many people are going to be on the edge of their seats waiting for the latest tally? But if they say there are 1,000 new cases of covid, especially without any qualifying explanations, our minds, our imaginations, tend to take us down the path of common usage to a forest of doom and gloom, don’t they? So, are we being misled? I think so, I think the folks putting the words together know exactly what picture those words are likely to conjure up in the minds of the general public. However, are they lying? I think it can be easily argued in a court of law that, no, the health officials are merely reporting the facts as they define them. And the media is just parroting what they’re being told.
I think the reporting which is taking place around covid by the mainstream media in the U.S. begs the question: is it okay to shout “fire” in a crowded theater?
Getting back to the matter of the inconsistencies, I probably don’t need to go much further, if you’ve been paying much attention to the claims about covid and the various orders coming from the various levels of government you could probably enlighten me about a few notable inconsistencies. However, here are a few I’ve encountered:
One major inconsistency I’ve heard more than once is that while the State Legislature in Washington State is still meeting online, the State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction is looking at, at least some, students being back in the classroom.
Another I’ve heard a couple times is: if covid is so contagious, why aren’t cities, or whoever, prescribing safe methods, or providing receptacles, for disposing of all the used facemasks and gloves? Personally I’ve seen quite a few discarded masks and gloves on the street or in parking lots.
If gathering in large numbers inside enclosed spaces is not okay, why is it okay to shop in large numbers at Walmart and other “big box” stores but not okay to shop in smaller numbers within smaller, local stores?
However, one I find most notable is: with all the expressions of danger and concern coming from the CDC, State governments and the Federal government, why aren’t our leaders showing the will and wisdom to use the same medicines and methods which are being used in the countries which have already been able to return to functioning for the most part as they were before the virus showed up?
With all that is at stake, with all the losses, of jobs, homes, and lives that have taken place and will take place around the covid scenario, there possibly has been no time in modern U.S. history in which it is more important for average citizens to be diligently seeking information about the situation facing us from all sources offering such information. Then the task we face is to sort through that information, seek what bits and pieces from the various sources hold up to scrutiny and fit together with other bits and pieces which we have confidence in the reliability of. We must also factor in motives of individuals or groups which want us to do, or not do, something or another. Are we “all in this together” or are there winners and losers? Why? When a relative few of the richest are becoming richer and millions are losing significantly, when those in seats of power are obviously garnering more power through their manipulations of the situation, there obviously are some personal interests being served. What’s happening isn’t all about health. It’s also very much about economics and power. We should be looking into every nook and cranny that presents itself, then, with thoughtful analysis, we can begin to see the “big picture” of what is actually taking place. Sometimes we may not like where our own observations and conclusions may take us. Sometimes the truth is not the reality we want to acknowledge or have to deal with.
I’ve been writing letters to our local paper and articles for my blog for some time. However, all that pales in comparison to countless conversations with many people over many years. When you converse with and/or get written feedback from intelligent people on the ideas that you’re expressing, it can lead one to have to refine one’s communications. That’s a good thing.
One thing which over the years I have had to face repeatedly in my communications, and which I often see in the communications of others, are the instances in which, by design or default, a person makes an all encompassing statement which, in it’s breadth, renders the statement inaccurate, untrue. One often sees this in cases in which someone is angry about something, or purposely trying to sway the opinion of an already biased audience. The thing about the heat of emotion is that it often abates in the presence of objective (coolheaded) thought. This can be good if the goal is to find rational resolution to problematic issues, or bad if the goal is to incite thoughtless anger.
One clue that what is being communicated is not based in reality, often is the use of the words “all”, “no”, “always” or “never”. Or statements which clearly imply the use of those words, even if the words themselves are not present. This is particularly true when the topic has to do with human traits, characteristics, and/or behaviors. For example, and I am going to jump right in with a loaded example, if I write that all men are emotionally shallow, cruel people, I, unfortunately, may be accurate about some men, but because I include the word “all”, my statement is untrue. The same is true if I omit the world “all” and simply say that men are emotionally shallow, cruel people. The implication is clear that I am referring to all men. But if I state that some men are emotionally shallow, cruel people, that is a statement which is defendable, true and accurate. This same principle is at work if I make the statement that no men are shallow, cruel people. At this point some reading this are probably going, yeah, been there, done that. Some are possibly considering this information for the first time.
The difference this adjustment in our communication, and our thinking, can make in the world is tremendous. We human beings are complex beings and, in our complexity, sweeping statements trying to characterize genders or races, referring to deficits or strengths in any particular area of our thinking and/or behavior, are seldom, if ever, accurate. This is the case no matter the gender or skin color of the people being referred to.
So the next time you’re arguing with a friend, or your spouse, or getting ready to deliver a characterization of a particular person or group of people, please give some thought as to whether or not what you’re about to say, or write, is actually, literally accurate/true. Sometimes doing this can lead us to realize that we are not correct in our initial thinking/perception. Sometimes that can be a very good, comforting thing. And it is always going to put us a step closer to resolving issues, reaching agreements, if we aren’t inciting defensiveness and hurting feelings by mischaracterizing those we’ve found ourselves in a problematic situation with.
I have practiced neurofeedback therapy for a few decades. I have seen the power that altering brainwave activity can have upon individuals. Depending upon the dominant frequency active in our brains we are asleep, relaxed, content, busy, anxious, angry, panicked. I have also seen how susceptible our brainwave production is to “suggestion”. Our brainwaves can be pushed toward one frequency or another via external stimulation. I’ve used this technique, successfully, in therapeutic situations. However, the outcome being sought by those utilizing such methods is not always benevolent.
In general, the lower the dominant frequency our brain is operating at the closer we are to the sleep state. Delta brainwaves, around .5 to 4 hz, are the lowest and are most often associated with sleep. Conversely, the higher the frequency of the dominant operating brainwaves we are operating at the more “high strung” we often become. We tend much more to anxiety at a higher (say, 20 to 30 hz) level of brainwave activity than we are at the lower frequencies.
The higher frequencies we’re being subjected to via 5G are not pushing us toward relaxed contentment. It is pushing, with however much subtlety, toward anxiety, tension. 5G, with it’s high frequency, power and dense mast and satellite distribution can easily affect the electromagnetic workings within people within the broadcast areas. This does not necessarily mean those employing the technology are intending whatever effect the technology is having upon people. But it does mean that the technology has the potential to be deliberately used to affect people in whatever way those manipulating the technology have in mind.
This impingement upon our biological reality is the reason we need to wake up and start taking all the microwave towers going up around the world very seriously. Technology can be wonderful or technology can be a horror story. It all depends upon the wisdom and the agendas of those utilizing the technology. As we have seen in our other industries, manufacturing, banking, media, those controlling things at any given time may, or may not, have the public’s best interests at heart.
As I read the articles about the experience and expressions of anger that are taking place in the U.S. I find myself wondering how much the public’s predisposition to anger is being heightened by the microwave activity in our environment. The influence of this technology can be mitigated to some extent with meditation, centering, focusing on positive values, positive thoughts. This isn’t an ultimate answer, but it can genuinely help. It is certain that in the face of such a real and pervasive environmental influence toward anger, we all should be doubling and tripling our efforts to relate and act toward each other with care and civility.
Many scientists with knowledge of the technology being employed, and medical/healthcare practitioners from around the world have called for a moratorium on 5G. In his book “The Invisible Rainbow”, Arthur Firstenberg has given us a researched look at the history of the effects of technology upon humankind since the late 1800’s. As is the case with the methods of a lot of other industries; the telecommunications industry’s use of microwave transmission brings with it a danger of pollution. In this case, of polluting our environment in a harmful, even potentially deadly manner with microwave radiation. We need to very deliberately examine the potentials of this relatively new industry and see that our communities, ourselves, do not become collateral damage in someone’s rush to riches.
To learn more about humankind’s relationship with electricity and electromagnetic radiation read Arthur Firstenberg’s“The Invisible Rainbow”.The link is to a 17 page summary of the book.
Added July 4, 2020, quote from Albert Einstein: “We are slowed down sound and light waves, a walking bundle of frequencies turned into the cosmos. We are souls dressed up in sacred biochemical garments and our bodies are the instruments through which our souls play their music.” Einstein also said: “Future medicine will be the medicine of frequencies.”
We know, via our increasing understanding of our physical reality, that the first quote is absolutely true. The second is a prediction not yet fully realized, however, the truth of the first definitely implies credence to the second. If vibrational frequencies can heal (and it is known they can), they also have the potential to harm. This is why we must wake up and demand greater accountability from those who are filling our environment with powerfully broadcast frequencies. To think they are of no consequence is to be in denial of the foundational reality of our existence.
I began studying psychology in 1969, as a Freshman in college. I had a predisposition to being interested in human behavior. I felt the same about psychology as I imagine a lot of people do about chemistry, engineering, nutrition, or medicine. I felt psychology held the keys to understanding and improving the quality of life for everyone. During my Sophomore year I changed my major to psychology (it had been music).
As time went on, I found myself in a wide range of environments, exposed to just about the full gamut of human behaviors. All through this time I have had the good fortune to be exposed to instruction ranging from the cutting edge, the esoteric, the eclectic and the classic trains of thought. My life has pretty much revolved around working to understand why we humans do what we do. I am happy and grateful to report that, on the whole with information coming from a plethora of fields of study, we humans have garnered a very great deal of knowledge about ourselves.
We know much about what we need to have healthy, full, wholesome, complete lives. However, as a race, there has possibly been no other time in recorded history, in which we, as a species, have ignored so much available information. I would add: not only are we widely ignoring so much available knowledge, we are, around the world, perverting and abusing much of the knowledge that we do have. I don’t think there’s any field of study more widely abused right now than psychology.
The “powers that be” within industry and government, very early on recognized the potential the information coming from the field of psychology offered for manipulating people. Not for informing and leading people to understand ourselves, make wise decisions, and have healthy, full lives. But for manipulating people to do the things “they” want to see people doing. Buying things “they” want people to buy. Believing things “they” want people to believe. Behaviors that enrich their lives, not ours.
The contemporary, industrial use of psychology as a tool for manipulation of the public began manifesting as: advertising, which evolved into public relations, which has evolved into engineering consent. Engineering consent is currently the art of controlling what people perceive so that their/our reactions will pave the way for the fulfillment of the controllers’ agenda(s). We used to simply call it “lying”, and that definition still applies. But the current manipulative efforts are happening in such a sophisticated and technological manner, being done in service of people whose agendas are so totally based in egoism, so devoid of consideration for those who are the targets of the manipulation, that merely calling it “lying” doesn’t do justice to the depths of depravity these manipulative efforts emanate from.
Back in the early twentieth century, one of the seminal people in this dark trend was Edward Bernays. A nephew of Sigmund Freud, His efforts contributed heavily to women getting into smoking tobacco and fluoridation of public water. He is often referred to as “the father of spin”. I would say his title should more appropriately have to do with mastering the art of betrayal of trust.
What began as, and still is, a science with so much promise for improving the quality of life for humanity (which is how most sciences get started) is going through a time of profound perversion. Mental health services are, I think, the most common interface between the general public and psychological expertise. However mental health in many cases has become just another sales outlet for the pharmaceutical companies.
The reality of the evolution of the science of psychology is that what we have learned can show us much of what is needed to establish personal and sociologic well-being. One example is Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs” which provides a basic template for personal and collective well-being. But these aspects of the science of psychology, the aspects relating to the general population becoming healthy and whole, seem to be truly frightening to those who have been using psychology for manipulation and exploitation.
Restating the situation briefly: the science of human behavior contains great deal of understanding of what we need to be whole, as individuals and as a culture. What we know about what we need to be whole and healthy, as individuals and as a culture, is often directly contradictory to what many in positions of industrial and political power, around the world, want us to believe. What we need for health and wholeness often informs us to behave in ways those currently holding the reins of industrial and political power do not want to see us behaving in. Ways that do not primarily serve them and their egoistic agendas.
Very often today the field of mental health is viewed with skepticism. The results frequently experienced by those accessing mental health services, and seen by those around them, tends to cast mental health services as a marginally effective service at best. To a very significant extent, this is a result of what I call the unidirectional nature of how mental health knowledge and services are most often applied. Every challenge to our mental health is occurring within a context. To try to resolve the issues by only addressing the dynamics within the person experiencing the challenges (mental-emotional distress, maladjustment, mental illness) without simultaneously addressing any pathological dynamics within the context, the society, the person lives within, is to simply ask a person to be healthy within an unhealthy culture. It is a unidirectional approach to mental health.
(There is a similar unidirectional phenomenon happening with laws and law enforcement in the U.S. But that is another story for another time.)
There is a saying: “Culture is to people as water is to fish.” The fact is, a human being cannot be whole and healthy within an unhealthful culture any more than a fish can be whole and healthy within a polluted lake.
The best that can be hoped for is to compensate as well as possible until the challenges with their accompanying stress finally take their toll. Physical illness, and/or mental illness, and eventually a hastened death are not an uncommon result. One coping option, one which some have been using for centuries, is that an individual, or a group, can try to escape the hellish dynamics too often present in society at large by attempting to live in a self-contained society. Monks and Nuns have sought refuge in such an attempt at controlling a micro-environment for centuries. In the U.S. small communes have experienced varying degrees of success. However, such efforts come at a price. That price is the seclusion itself. While those opting for such a lifestyle may genuinely feel that the benefit is worth the cost, such a system is not a viable answer for everyone.
So where does all this leave us? Exactly where we are right now. We are a species too often turned upon itself. Narrowly defined self interest expressed in predatory financial practices, an absence of consideration for others and even an absence of consideration for our natural environment itself, is genuinely threatening to extinguish us as a species. We are on a spaceship called Earth. You would think that even the most narrowly self-centered among us would have consideration for the natural life-support systems we all rely upon. But, as widespread pollution and destruction of essential habitat and species shows, that isn’t the case. Right now, the fact is, there are some extraordinarily short-sighted, narrowly focused, inconsiderate, egoistic, ignorant (by default or by design) people running too much of what is going on. And we’re letting them.
As I’m writing this, April 1, 2020, much of the U.S. and the world is quarantined due to the coronavirus pandemic. As someone has put it: It’s like mother nature has sent us to our rooms to think about what we’re doing. Will we? Will we, across the globe, use some of this time to consider our own thinking, our own behaviors, and rejoin the world at large better for it? Will our individual and collective well-being be prioritized higher than corporate profit, corporate well-being? We’ll see.
Will we, can we, as a species, realize our interconnectedness (as demonstrated graphically by the current pandemic) and apply this awareness to the betterment of our collective well-being? It’s all up to us. Part of what a genuine recovery will entail, is the realization of how pervasively our cultures have been being manipulated by those with narrow, self-serving agendas.
Too often we are being manipulated to hate and fear those who are different in some way from ourselves. We are being manipulated to believe that pursuing narrow self-interest is what we should be doing. We are being manipulated to believe that those who are the most successful at narrowly pursuing their own self-interest are the successes in life. That we should look up to them, emulate them.
As a species, ultimately, we cannot survive, we absolutely cannot ever thrive, with such a mindset. But if we truly grasp our interconnectedness and act in ways which, in every way, further our personal well-being and our collective well-being, we have the potential to experience a quality of life beyond what many have imagined.