It seems that many people are very uncomfortable with disagreement. I’ve gotten several messages from very upset people, who feel offended because I expressed disagreement with them or with someone else. The old adage, never talk about religion or politics in a pub, is there for a reason. But not every adage applies to every situation.
I acknowledge and respect such feelings, and I do try to be diplomatic in what I say, but as you must have noticed, I’m not very good at that. Diplomacy has always been one of my weakest points. But please understand it’s not intentional rudeness. I do try.
I believe that these kinds of discussions are useful and that being clear about disagreements is very important. So be warned of shoals ahead. I’ll say more about this in my response to Mary.
From: “Mary Nelson”Date: 28 August 2009 01:30:21 ISTTo: “‘Richard Moore'” <•••@••.•••>Subject: RE: continuing dialog re/beliefs
Hi, Richard,One can say “universal enlightenment can’t be a prerequisite to social transformation” or conversely say “universal enlightenment is a prerequisite to social transformation ” Clearly it’s a chicken and egg “conversation” and what I’m saying is that it’s not necessarily just one or the other, but, both. There’s no way to get environmental feedback on either of those views, so why be limited to one or the other? I think one problem is with saying “universal” when/if you mean “everyone”. “Social” also means everyone. Maybe I just don’t really understand either statement.Many hold to the hundredth-monkey theory – 1 in 100 achieving enlightenment will be sufficient to make a world that works for all. What that world will look like will come forth. That would make the statement “an optimal number of people in enlightenment is prerequisite to the transformation of society. Or not/I sincerely believe that this is a semantic issue. Words words words! Yet what else have we when we’re all so separated physically.Hanging in there, Mary
Thanks for hanging in there. You seem to be wanting to minimize disagreement, to paper it over. You aren’t alone. More about this in a moment.
One can say “universal enlightenment can’t be a prerequisite to social transformation” or conversely say “universal enlightenment is a prerequisite to social transformation ” Clearly it’s a chicken and egg “conversation” and what I’m saying is that it’s not necessarily just one or the other, but, both.
Fine, that’s your belief, and you could be right. I’m certainly not right about everything, I just have my current views based on the evidence I’ve seen so far and the thinking I’ve done.
From what I know of the past 6,000 years of history, and of the current human condition, I do not believe that individuals seeking enlightenment is likely to be very much of a factor in bringing about social transformation. On the other hand, if social transformation can be achieved, then we will be very glad to have the seeds of enlightenment available among us. The ground will be more fertile then.
There’s no way to get environmental feedback on either of those views, so why be limited to one or the other? I think one problem is with saying “universal” when/if you mean “everyone”. “Social” also means everyone. Maybe I just don’t really understand either statement.
I’m not sure what you mean, Mary, by environmental feedback. I do think that history counts as evidence, and there’s also evidence in terms of how many people are engaged in spiritual pursuits, how long they stick with it, what kind of social effect their seeking has led to, etc. It’s not like there’s no data at all to consider. And again, my evidence and thinking may be in error. I’m always open to new insights. But for now these are my views.
Many hold to the hundredth-monkey theory – 1 in 100 achieving enlightenment will be sufficient to make a world that works for all. What that world will look like will come forth. That would make the statement “an optimal number of people in enlightenment is prerequisite to the transformation of society. Or not/
Perhaps the hundredth-monkey theory is correct. I hope so. Anything that saves humanity is fine by me. But again, I don’t think so. For every 99 minds radiating love and light, there are 99 million minds radiating thoughts about the latest soap opera or sports event. There’s a lot of muddled traffic on the psychic wavelengths.
I think the real question is this: what difference would it make if lots of people were enlightened? In survey after survey, for example, going back decades, they’ve found that the overwhelming majority of people think corporations have too much power and that we need very strong protections for the environment. And that has had no effect on policy. Instead corporations get more rapacious and environmental decline accelerates. I don’t see a connection between public beliefs and government policy. Again, that’s just how I see it.
I sincerely believe that this is a semantic issue. Words words words! Yet what else have we when we’re all so separated physically.
I think you’ve found words that express your ideas very well. At least I think I’ve been understanding you. It’s OK that we see things differently. In Dynamic Facilitation, they’ve found that it is very important to bring out differences and to be clear about them, and to accept them. That creates a space where constructive dialog can begin. When you realize that arguments aren’t going to change the person’s mind, then you can move on to other issues.
For example, does it really make any difference what you or I believe about the importance of enlightenment in achieving transformation? Isn’t this just an abstract, theoretical discussion? The real question, perhaps, is what are you or I going to actually do about anything? Just a thought.
From: Harvey JonesDate: 25 August 2009 23:02:32 ISTTo: •••@••.•••Subject: Re: continuing dialog re/beliefs
Thanks for the ongoing information and discussions. There are a few of us in NZ who are subscribers and make contact every now and then via our private networks. Some of us meet due to our interests in sustainable communities or transition town concepts.
I thought you may be interested in some recent email communications as listed below. The other writer is trying to make a difference and encourage sustainable communities to counter the effects of peak oil ahead of us.
The discussion is mostly about how communities shift their thinking and actions and what can be done to assist positive changes.Feel free to use whatever you think needs to be shared.best of regardsharvey
—– Original Message —– [from ‘other writer’]
I guess I’m off the view that people need to be led and if the precipice over which they must jump looks too wide or too deep they won’t. however, we should ensure that anything we do fits in with the idea of a new economy and equips people to localise their demands and production.
Nice to hear from you, and thanks for sharing some of the thinking on your network.
As regards your ‘other writer’, my feeling is that if people need to be led, then there is no hope for humanity. In the competition among would-be leaders it is the scoundrels who typically win out in the end.
Also, one cannot conclude what is true of human nature based on how people behave who have been raised in an environment of hierarchy and life-long conditioning to disempowerment. A zoo animal may stay in its cage even when the gate is opened, but that does not prove that the species needs cages.
From: “erik andersen”Date: 26 August 2009 00:51:49 ISTTo: “Richard Moore” <•••@••.•••>Subject: Re: continuing dialog re/beliefs
I just read John’s characterization of the Federal Reserve System and felt compelled to add a few dimensions to this topic. First off, I commend folks read the account of the formation of the Fed by Anthony Sutton. Additionally it should be noted that this historian believes that most of history is by commission and omission rather than by accident.
There will always be moral evil in any activity that is a monopoly and the Fed qualifies as immoral on just about any front I can imagine. It was ostensibly created and given its first contract as money supplier for the US after a banking panic the Fed sponsors deliberately generated. Banking chaos was and is now used as a motivator to arrange financial matters to serve the Fed owners’ interests before all else.
The method used to bring in the enabling legislation passage was to wait to the last minute when most of Congress had departed Washington for Christmas break when use could be made of an obscure procedural rule. The term of the first contract was 20 years but I do not recall reading of any debate about its renewal.
In the 70s Chairman Volker, on behalf of the Fed, was alarmed by the number of US banks giving notice of intent to withdraw from the System. To stop this exodus he asked for and received legislation that made it illegal in the US to be a deposit taking institution when not part of the Fed.
The economist Ludwig von Mises warned against the consequences of granting anyone complete dominion over the money supply (governments in his case) because they would always over generate supply through the increase in credit, which through history has only ever produced one outcome, inflation. Inflation is a condition where theft of value is perpetrated upon all the innocents.
Regards from Erik
From: Larry VictorDate: 27 August 2009 17:53:52 ISTTo: Richard Moore <•••@••.•••>Subject: Re: Jacques Ellul: how modern propaganda works
Richard, I have referred to Ellul many times over the decades, and most frequently to Propaganda – which is one of his outstanding trilogy: The Technological Society, The Political Illusion, and Propaganda. So many books from decades ago remain very relevant. Makes one wonder if humans will ever learn. Larry
Mass misunderstanding is maintained in equilibrium by the very propaganda apparatus Ellul describes. This applies as much to understanding of propaganda as it applies to understanding of foreign policy and the rest. I imagine you know that yourself, and your question is rhetorical.
I think the relevant concept here is culture. The understanding of the masses is, I think we can say, a subset of the culture of the masses. Until the mass culture changes, the understanding won’t change. I won’t try to prove that here, but I’ll offer a loose, approximate, one-sentence argument…
Most people don’t create a philosophy of their own. Instead they go along with one set or another of the belief systems current in their culture (progressive, fundamentalist, libertarian, green, whatever).
For this and other reasons, I’ve come to the conclusion that social transformation can only be achieved by a process of cultural transformation. Ellul make the point, and I think validly, that propaganda, to be effective, needs to be operating on a culture which is both a mass culture, and an individualist culture.
This suggests that the kind of cultural transformation we need – to be immune to propaganda – is toward a culture that is local-centric and cooperative. Those same characteristics are also indicated by considerations of sustainability, productivity, and responsive governance.
I believe that the common sense of ordinary people is generally underrated. That is to say, just because they may be brainwashed by propaganda as regards ‘big issues’, that doesn’t mean they aren’t intelligent and even wise about life in general. If enabled to share their best thinking, leaving divisiveness behind, I have faith that right understanding would emerge spontaneously. It is not right education that we need, but rather the courage to think for ourselves together in our communities. Ellul seems to be implying as much between the lines.
From: “laurence”Date: 28 August 2009 09:11:44 ISTTo: “rkm” <•••@••.•••>Subject: on the meaning of the word “awakening”
this subject of awakening in one that I hold as truly essential, it is also one of the least properly understood concept for it has been heavily polluted. I believe that both you and your friend Molly are right, both of you focus on a different facet of a highly complex phenomenon. My intuition is that there are two main sets of driving values, our true authentic or “core” values which are of spiritual essence and our neurotic reactive values. Our present culture seems deeply trapped within a tight network of neurotic patterns (psycho-viruses) which are highly regressive and destructive. I’ve come accross one author/researcher who has done a tremendous synthethis of contemporary research in the fields of psychotherapy and education and has worded what I’m trying to express very clearly and extensively Joseph Chilton Pearce, his book, The Biology of Transcendance, is outstanding.
If a sufficient number of folks could at least become aware of their own neurotic patterns and seek what their true values/drives are, a real change would take place for our deeper values/drives are the key to our worldview, choices, action, reaction, beliefs. Nothing will change unless the former are altered, and unfortunately, intellect alone is powerless at affecting our deeper beliefs, it does take motivation and experiencing, this is why I do believe that dialog and moderation are great tools.
yoursLaurence (from France)
PS / I am an artist, a photographer, you may wish to take a look at some of my work , unfortunately, I haven’t updated my website lately: http://www.ldu5.info
Nice to hear from you again.
It turns out that Molly and I were not debating. She was stating her interpretation my views, and I was clarifying. Of course your observation about differing focus is a generally applicable and useful principle.
I certainly agree there is a lot of neurosis in our society. I believe our society is inherently crazy-making. And it seems to get more stressful with each passing year.
If a sufficient number of folks could at least become aware of their own neurotic patterns and seek what their true values/drives are, a real change would take place…
There is an unspoken assumption behind your reasoning. You are assuming that government policy is influenced by the beliefs and values of the population. I think that is a very shaky assumption. What’s your experience, for example, of Sarkosy? Is he delivering what the people thought they were voting for?
I don’t see mass neurosis as a causative factor in public affairs. The world is run by 8’s (dominance seekers) who believe that if they weren’t running the world someone else would be. They see the powerless as so many sheep. If they aren’t generating profits, they’re seen as “useless feeders”. We may call this a neurosis among elites, but they aren’t seeking counseling for it.
I really like your photos. You’re doing something special with color, light, and form.
Moderator: •••@••.••• (comments welcome)