No Easy Answers…

It would be nice to believe in easy answers, but I don’t think there are any. The imposition of capitalism on nearly the whole world is at the root of our problems. The idea that money is what the world revolves around is central to how most people live to ay. We have lost sight of so much that is central to making us feel worthwhile, making us feel good about ourselves.

If we were to remove the current government from office, what would they be replaced with? We have seen the disasters that have followed revolutions in the past. And always in violent confrontations the most violent wins out. This is not what we need.

If we were to disband the IMF (oh please, I wish we could) how long would it be before the governments that it has infected with it’s capitalist corporatism realise that it has sent them down the wrong road?

What we need to do is not be violent, nor be passive and accepting, but to educate… to work to get people from as many walks of life as possible to see that there is nothing more valuable than a human life (or any other animal); that we need to value each other for who we are; that economics is just a way of trying to understand the movement of money, not a value system to run the world.

Empathy, kindness, compassion, love and understanding are what we need. The ability to see that people make bad choices, not because they are bad people (most of the time), but because they don’t understand what is happening for others, or why other people are important. They lack the emotional maturity to understand that other people are both real and important, not just tools to be used and the discarded.

We don’t need money to have a good life, an abundant life, full of love and laughter, we need people for that!

The Preface to “Finding Our Way Home”

A long time ago my mother taught me to read. She thought it was a good idea. So did I. I could lose myself in wonderful stories of other worlds. This world always seemed to be such a disappointment. I still read whenever I can find the time and peace to do so.

Many years ago I became interested in alternative lifestyles. I remember a time when we all thought the world was going to end in a nuclear winter, now everything is going to melt. I suspect every generation has it’s own apocalyptic vision. That said, it is evident that modern western culture cannot continue consuming the world’s resources, at the rate it is, indefinitely.

We have a choice. We can either continue as we are and wait for disaster to force our hand, or we can start trying to change things. One ripple at a time. It seems ridiculous not to. The way British society works at the moment doesn’t seem to be very healthy, or happy. Surely it makes sense to start to make a happier, healthier world if we can.

Not to try isn’t really an option, is it? Anyway, talk is cheap, and this is me, talking on paper (or not, if you’re looking at a screen to read this). I have endeavoured to reference ideas when I could remember where they came from. Some have been with me so long that I can’t remember if I made them up or I read them somewhere.

I have read pretty extensively over the years. In my 30’s and 40’s I studied, and then taught, sociology and psychology. I read a lot of “pop” psychology before that. I’ve also read a smattering of philosophy over and above what was necessary for my degree. I have an abiding interest in media and cultural studies.

But for a large proportion of my life I read science fiction, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C Clarke, Kim Stanley Robinson, Katharine Kerr, Anne McCaffrey, Douglas Adams, Iain M Banks, Ursula Le Guin, C J Cherryh, William Gibson, Elizabeth Moon, and many, many more.

In addition to the science fiction I read other fiction writers J R R Tolkein, H G Wells, Daphne Du Maurier, George Orwell, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, I even read Proust! So many different ideas, so many different possibilities. The dismal and the uplifting, the hopeless and the hopeful, the difficult and the easy, I read and absorbed as much as I could.

In the meantime I was trying to cope and make sense of life as I was experiencing it. I got involved with running a smallholding, and bringing up my daughter, my normality was very different from most people’s. I read about self-sufficiency, wrote poetry, fed the chickens, discovered permaculture, milked the goats, tried to overcome my aversion to eating meat, learned to spin…

So, it’s not really surprising if I come at things from a slightly different angle from most people. I always have done. I did even before that period of my life. I can remember my college economics lecturer explaining to me once that when he gave our class the choice of two essay titles, the rest of the students would choose one, and I would choose the other.

I guess I might just have been born ornery. Anyway, my mother is still telling me about the way things are, and I’m still saying “but they shouldn’t be”. In these pages I’m explaining why I think they are, and how I think they could be. I really wish they could be…

Priorities…

I was talking with one of my friends the other day about priorities. We think that Western society has lost it’s way, at least partially because our governments prioritise economics (money) over people. This is a serious mistake for a whole load of reasons, the main one being that money is a tool. It gets used as both a weapon and a god, but only by people who don’t understand it.

Many people have no understanding of economics at all. They think it is incontrovertible, they don’t realise that it is every bit as theoretical as any form of philosophy. It is the philosophy of how financial systems work. It is a science in as far as any analysis of real world behaviour is a science. It is as flawed (if not more so) as any other science of human behaviour.

What economists predict is based on a hypothetical view of the world. Their view is built out of all sorts of assumptions to do with the importance of money and it’s supremacy in every decision making process.

This is not helpful in a world where people starve through no fault of their own and even though there is plenty of food. This is what Looby Macnamara would call scarcity thinking. But we live in an abundant world, which could be even more abundant if people didn’t feel so embattled. If people felt safe and secure they would not need to stock pile so much in the way of material possessions.

We need a serious paradigm shift away from scarcity thinking and economics, to the various approaches that Looby talks so coherently about: Abundance thinking; Solutions thinking; Systems thinking; Thinking like nature; Co-operative thinking; and Thinking for the future.

When we think differently we act differently, some times it works the other way around, but mostly it works best if we change our way of thinking first. The big thing that most people struggle to grasp is that we are part of nature.

We cannot be separated from it in a healthy way any more than any part of our bodies can be separated from us and still survive. Nature, the world, is the big healthy system, we are the malfunctioning kidneys, the dodgy knee, that dreadful headache. Not vice versa.

Yes, I meant that. The world would be fine without us. We would not be fine without the world. We don’t need to save the world. The world will save itself, maybe by getting rid of those pesky humans. If we want a world that continues to nurture and feed humans then we need to look at things a different way, we need to see that we are the guests and a little respect and gratitude would go a long, long way.

Further Reading:

Looby Macnamara – 7 Ways To Think Differently

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